Sunday, December 09, 2007

'Burn More Than My Failures': Temporalities of Terror, Trauma and Hope

"Prologue" Audre Lorde, 1973
"Blackstudies" Audre Lorde 1974
Time and the Other, Johannes Fabian, 1983
"Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?", Cathy Cohen, 1997
"Face Up to What's Killing You": Fear and the Prison Industrial Complex, Avery Gordon, 1998
"More on Positive and Negative Images: The Case of Kara Walker, Artist" Avery Gordon, 1998
"A Love Story" (on asha bandele), Avery Gordon, 1999
Global Feminisms Interviews with Cathy Cohen and Grace Lee Boggs , 2002
"Something More Powerful Than Skepticism" (on Toni Cade Bambara), Avery Gordon, 2002
Black Women, Identity and Cultural Theory: (Un)Becoming the Subject, Kevin Quashie, 2004
"Time Binds, or, Erotohistoriography", Elizabeth Freeman, 2005 (again)
Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Memory and the Sacred, M. Jaqui Alexander, 2005 (again)
Giving an Account of Oneself, Judith Butler, 2005 (again)
The Empire of Love: Towards a Theory of Intimacy, Genealogy and Carnality, Elizabeth Povinelli, 2006
in "Queer Temporalities" (an issue of Gay and Lesbian Quarterly 13:2-3), 2006
"Introduction" Elizabeth Freeman
"Theorizing Queer Temporalities: A Roundtable Discussion" Carolyn Dinshaw, Lee Edelman, Roderick A. Ferguson, Carla Freccero, Elizabeth Freeman, Judith Halberstam, Annamarie Jagose, Christopher Nealon
"Cruising the Toilet: Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Radical Black Traditions and Queer Futurity", Jose Esteban Munoz
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, 2007
Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, Jasbir Puar, 2007
"After Sex? On Writing Since Queer Theory" a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, (Summer) 2007
And my own ish:
"But Some of Us Are Brazen: Lust for a Black Queer Community" (lex), 2007
"Chosen: A Review of Meshell Ndegeocello's 'The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams'"

Maybe I know what time it is. (No longer needing the help of Flava Flav.) Maybe you know what time it is. Maybe we know what time it is? At least I know today why superheroes synchronize their watches. Time is happening all the time, but we are living more times than we can once.

Puar provides a short lit review...time is not made up of identical moments that follow each other in sequence. Time is just made up. Not to be measured, stretching and condensing through structures of affect. And Elizabeth Povinelli says time is a social relation. And Fabian reminded us first. Time is the way one world calls itself developed and undevelops a contemporaneous world. Time is the way the powerful create difference across space. Devalue life in some other place, the third world or the inner city by placing them in a different time.

I am living the time of trauma. Where pain is never the first time. Is always right on beat. Is happening again and again. Four little girls blown up again. Black women subject to gang rape again. 11 year old kid allowed to die from a tooth infection again. Police officers shooting the kid. No law that will defend black lesbians, as usual. 7 year old black girl shot six times, defending her mother from an abusive attacker, because the police told the black woman who called for help, one block away, that no unit was available. If you are living with me in the time of trauma you know the drill. Domestic and international, anonymous deaths of people of all ages are routine, if they cant' afford antiretrovirals, if they live anywhere middle east. Palestinians from Brooklyn sent to detention camps with no warnings, no notice to the families, no rights. Citizens and resident interned again. Again.

And the state imposes the time of terror. Some how when Kennedy died it was the first time. It was stop the presses. Even though the four little girls blown up that same year were business as usual. Even through the Sept 11th 2001 was the second time in my own memory that the World Trade Center blew up, it was somehow the first time. But the black and brown people shipped into Iraq were on some "here we go again" time. Injury to the state is always new. Is always timestopping, is always an excuse to erace history and pronounce the innocence of the terrible state. Injury of the oppressed don't stop for nothin. Not on veteran's day or memorial day. The injuries of the oppressed are not monumental time. The injury of the oppressed is everyday.

So whence is the time of hope? Whence the time where generations touch without fulfilling old nightmares? What time is it when I read Audre Lorde's words aloud? What time is it when I touch black words by dead black women, paint old words on fabric stretched to my not-bulletproof chest. What is the time in the mouth of my sister when she's reading a poem about me? What is the time in the tip of my finger brushing tomorrow against my lover's chest? What time is it when I feel you reading this? What time was it when you became an audience worth being brave for?

Whence the time where the fear of the state stopping doesn't mark the legs of the black girl, the arms of the black boy, the eyelashes of the arab brother, the scarf of the muslim sister in some strange explosion of time, some infinite suspension of rights into the time of immediate brutality or infinite detention.

I want to know what time it is when the state reproduces itself branded into my body and what time it is when it shines a white memory erasing light and what time we get there, what time I touch you, what time we get home.

What time is it. Now.