Neither Happy nor––

selective focus photography of brown monkey

What would it mean to suspend belief in happiness as universal will? My allegiance is to the wretched, so I stand with the stranger, the exile, the banished. The despicable, the miserable. The sorrowful. And weep in defiance of the engine that would equate my fitness with an ability to maintain a distracted removal of my body from its cares. Let us weep together, and then. Let us join the children that they may not lose their capacities to be awed by the wonders and joys that will nevertheless persist, and must, for our continuance. In these we may delight often in concert with our griefs, as the salt of tears returns to laughing mouths. The range of this chorus of connection will not be boxed, packaged, sold, or theorized into anyone’s ten steps. None of these will hold. Only love. This is not the love of salvation by removal from pain. This is the love of immersion: in shit, and grief, and the stink of bodies, the relentlessness of our collective need, and the tedium and immensity of tending well.


The italicized opening line comes from Sara Ahmed, and has echoes across time and geographies, in Audre Lorde, Frantz Fanon, and throughout the Gospels.


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