Near the House of Pot, sandwiched between an electric power station and a direct path to the local airport, the neighborhood I live in is a mix of working-class Asian immigrants, mostly Cambodian and Vietnamese, and long-time African American denizens. The only prophet to ever come out of this northwestern hub, Jimi Hendrix, shuffled through these parts as a latchkey kid.
On almost every TV show I watched growing up, the mother was always too tired for sex. Mothers would constantly shoo away their husbands’ flirts and affections. I am determined to understand the absurdity of the sexless mom.
Every 9 steps in every direction
of the city
there are visuals, signs, holograms,
moaning sound bytes, barely dressed
ladies, sex dolls, and all temptations that involve
lust for the female body
the evolution of prophylactics
became symbolically wholesome
With music—as with many crafts—once you experience that first tremendously powerful time when something really clicks, the intrinsic and dynamic reward system can become intoxicating.
you photographed me
exposed, image of your arm
outstretched clenching my neck
squeezing cluster of wind where life
At eight years old, everything is alive, and everything deserves love and companionship, which, come to think of it, even at 37 years of age, still makes sense.
Is it possible to be delighted, almost mesmerized, by a red carton containing scoops and scoops of my favorite chocolate peanut butter dessert, Oregon’s very own Umpqua ice cream, and not feel as though the burden of guilt—maybe the most wasted emotion of all—has flipped into hyper gear?
When empathy is lost, what follows? What is the agenda? Perhaps, a steady march toward denigration and solidly placing the foot? The assumption of power surely is an unapologetic aphrodisiac.
We sat on the edge of the bed, in darkness, unsure of ourselves or how to proceed. I looked at him, and he looked back. Moments later, my face was wet. It was over. I was confused. Had I been kissed?
Journalists are telling story after story about the COVID crisis and the devastating government policies of the past four years. This media coverage is vital. And yet, we’re more than pain. The part of us that feels joy also needs representation. Space to grow. Here are essays and meditations about delight that are moving, vibrant, and necessary.