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sexuality

<i>Real Life</i>. By Brandon Taylor. Riverhead, 2020. 336pp. HB, $26.

Kiss and Tell

There is a strain of Black campus novel that is obsessed with “realness.” I can trace its origins to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, in which the narrator leads his college’s white trustee on a darkly comic and ill-fated tour of the Black homes, brothel, and mental hospital full of Black patients that lie just outside his historically Black college’s campus. Ellison does not necessarily posit these grotesqueries as any “realer” than the Black university professor who expels the narrator and undermines his trip to New York; but, rather, the tension rests on the danger of the white trustee assuming that the degradation he saw is Black people’s true nature—untouched by white oppression and unredeemable by education.

Celibacy 1

Unmarried, the heart ejaculates
what it must, scarlet-purled, arterial,

away, away. Or conversely, married,
it requires all—venous, freighted with wastes.

Just a Girl

Billie Jean  Her sister’s water broke this morning and her Cymbalta’s not working and she’s soon to be homeless because those twin nephews are fast on their way but today her ex-lover’s baby mother is going to be at the Flag Day parade [...]

Modern Inferno: Post-9/11 Paintings

With the Twin Towers tragedy the American world fell from heaven to hell. The attack created unprecedented ideological, moral, and spiritual chaos, along with physical and mental security issues. Our world became Dante’s Inferno. Morally and spiri [...]