Feminist Games

quo magis speculativa, magis practica

Category: ramblings


it has never been the case
that there was nothing, and then
there was something.

there was always something
before colonialism intervened
in the social order somewhere.

there was always something
and then something else;
a both-and, a hybrid.

narratives of crisis
obscure the both-and and
reflect a nostalgia for
a something before something else;

narratives of crisis
are the something else
reaching back
to an impossible time of not-both.

narratives of colonialism
are something else.

as a looking back
with the hybrid eyes,
gazing for the not-both
with the vision that brought about the crisis.

social order ordered by
the looking forward by looking back;
the looking back ordered by
the promise of living forward.



Harriet Tubman, according to Lydia Maria Child, once said:

“God won’t let Master Lincoln beat the South until he does right thing. Master Lincoln, he’s a great man, and I’m a poor Negro but this Negro can tell Master Lincoln how to save money and young men. He can do it by setting the Negroes free. Suppose there was an awful big snake down there on the floor. He bites you. Folks all scared, because you may die. You send for doctor to cut the bite; but the snake rolled up there, and while doctor is doing it, he bites you again. The doctor cuts out that bite; but while he’s doing it, the snake springs up and bites you again, and so he keeps doing it, till you kill him. That’s what Master Lincoln ought to know.”

In this analogy, we can imagine that Tubman thinks of slavery like a snake, or perhaps an enslaved creature as the snake itself. In either case, it is the conditions of slavery that motivate the biting. But neither slavery, nor people subject to it, operate like creatures, like the snake. Which is not to criticize the choice of creature that Tubman identifies, but simply to account for the reason the body and snake are in relation in the first place. This metaphor, while trying to punctuate the stakes of abolition, takes for granted the necessity of the body’s (the United States’) continued existence. It takes for granted the need, will, or want to live, and perhaps consequently, to reproduce. Such a premise is central to the colonization of the Americas, and it serves as a precondition for settlers to enslave anyone in the first place. It is through property relations that the politics of reproduction are brought to bear on the backs of black folk, and it explains a central premise in black liberation politics: the right to be included in the project of setter colonization. The fight between you and the snake, what characterizes your relationship to each other, is competition over the right to live and reproduce. So while the snake in Tubman’s metaphor might represent an oppressed person, we might also see its constitution – as locked into this competitive dynamic with a man – as representative of colonial politics or coloniality, writ large. If we do, we must be mindful of the ironic limitation to imagining settler colonialism in this way: if it were so simple to contain colonialism into a body, perhaps it might be slain. But colonialism is not a body; it is an act. It is a universe of possibilities and of laws, of priorities and values. And to really know colonialism is to be outside it; to be so completely alienated by it that your existence constantly teeters on the brink of violent erasure. In other words, to be so far removed from any power within the system, that the idea of ever living away from it is impossible for some people to ever accept.


Diversity is the fruit of a poisoned tree. [1] [2] [3]

sitting with nausea

nausea is my self involuntarily reacting to something i cannot see. i sit with nausea most days.

nausea reminds me that something doesn’t belong, but it does not evidence that i do not belong: it’s arrival is more akin to an unsolicited reminder, specifically that things you take for granted have a tendency to break or break down, or otherwise change.

nausea is sometimes a symptom of toxicity.

when reading makes me nauseous, something has broken down. something that I am reading is toxic. certainly the cause is right in front of me: i can see the words. so what is the thing that I cannot see?

if i assume there is something i cannot see, i should consider the things around the reading that are impossible to know but probably exist as evidenced by the reading.

  • What motivates this writer?
  • Why did they write this?

i think the nausea usually follows that last question, but it’s just a gut feeling.

answering that last question requires a great capacity for empathy, and a wide variety of worldly experiences, in order to hazard the most generous answer—the answer that preserves the dignity for the author. and that is so much work. it’s exhausting. it requires multiple drafts, and probably research. it takes time.

nausea reminds me that regardless of the intention an author might have, the things that people write can evidence conflict between us (something I didn’t see before, and so feel) — a break in our assumed community. a breakdown in our relationship. a change in my expectations.

taking care of nausea — the something that doesn’t belong — typically involves mediating that conflict with the understanding that there is no cure for it.

mediating what makes you nauseous does not involve changing you;

in coping with nausea, i learn about the ways in which i can change the world or my condition in it by accepting the things i cannot change about myself.

august 5, 2015, 8:32 PM

I endeavor for the sensation of serenity;

I fight for the courage to self examine my life

circumstance and wisdom to discern

circumstance from responsibility.

I labor for a just and forgiving world.




in the night arteries relax
hot blood flows quickly
to places of neglect
and the sorrow feeds back
into the system like a sap
a coagulant

sweet entropy save me
from the swift return of memory
that familiar ache, grief
my production of juglone

save me, histamine
provoke another transitional phase

today is a day to live

more word play

why do you think that games will matter
where do you find the will to play
what do these games provoke inside you
how do make the makers pay

rip out your heart and see inside you
there’s nothing to see or touch and feel
flickering virtues spin the cypher
whose been played? what’s the game?

ever cycling faster and faster
which is the source, what hurts or hertz?
round and round and round we go
into the hole—is it black or unknown?

meandering thoughts on securities?

safety: when people formalize survival into infrastructure

security: when people make choices that preserve safety infrastructure

virtual infrastructures: when people choose to digitize information in the preservation or conservation of material resources and responsibilities

virtual safety: when people are protected from the instrumentalization of digitized information

virtual security: when people omit or exclude information in the digitization process

cybersecurity: when places make choices about which [null reference] are virtually secure