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TSQ*now is a non-peer reviewed publication edited by the TSQ editorial collective featuring 
interventions, special dossiers, communiques, interviews and and collaborative projects. 

An Enclave, hidden to all but us : On the erotics of trans love

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

Note: This prose piece plays with encounters of transgender love in relation to, and as a part of, the environments we live with. Weaving together moments of intimacy between ourselves, the earth, trees, air and birds, it follows through different times and places always attending to the nuances and intricacies of care, acceptance and generosity. Moving away from demands for transparency and definition imposed on transgender people, it emphasizes the unsaid, gestural and unrepresentable articulations of erotic expression, forming contours for readers to imagine with. By celebrating trans love in these relational and entangled ways, it shows how our bodies exceed the boundaries imposed on them, and looks toward more open and fluid conceptions of what trans life and intimacy might constitute.
 
That afternoon like all days we dream of, we meet for hours and quietly we listen to the wind spin leaves, green, white, gold trembling. Our heart beats quicken, mirrors, still like the water with flickers of insects skating across. I roll grass between my fingers while you play your flute and I am surrounded by the smell of you; I dream of kissing you along your line from ear to shoulder. Cold sweet things you make melt within our tongue. Freeness. Lightness, a lightness that ever changes. The erotics of trans love resonate between the wind, earth, feathers, a flute, a glance, an ear, a touch, this heat, this green, this sweat making an enclave, hidden to all but us.

What is a transbody in this world if not a move to vibration, endless transmutation uncontained. The parakeets watch us. They drop parts of themselves, their airborne selves, to the ground. You place a feather in with your flute and wherever we go they follow us. The following is not a mistake. I tell you about the time the doctors said they were hallucinations. They told me I had to be sectioned, there were no parakeets in this place. But we saw (and we still see) these birds gathering air of flight together, they lead us home. We follow them. Murmurs of them remember the shapes of our bodies that day; even now, I see twelve of them high up in a tree chilling the fuck out.

We write this around what can be known between us, the burblings of love and pleasure in one another, in another's existence and in another's love, in our love, without interrogation. Branches thrum and shade and shed and shelter. And in their dancing, they invite others that might want to fly to nestle within alongside and beside them. Branches adjust patterns of what can be known and can not be known between us. They are love’s contours shaped transversely as tree, as trees.

I often walk looking for flowers but today I don't need to, flowers and the memory of you enmesh. The crows are a soft light black a rainbow black. I send you crushed leaves and petals in the mail, I cannot press them. There’s something about this irregular crushing that still keeps their casing intact. You promise to send feathers back. To give feathers back some kind of flight. But this has to wait. You say that you are waiting for the feathers to dry, to lose their trace of flesh. They are still threaded to the carcass of a parakeet, fallen.

Our always falling and returning bodies, what happens to us through the perpetual burning of the world, that sorts us into names and body parts, that turns through our sorting? What prose work happens when we become air and drift into nothing? Does it (the world) burn on, without us; shouldn’t it, the world, burn?

We burn on our own, regardless. I surround your body in laval waves, my breath hot on your neck, my thigh sweaty against yours, your stomach forming caverns with my back. Your knees rest in the back folds of my knees. When we are not inscribed through lack or excess, there is pleasure in the proliferations of ourselves. We laugh, thick as an emulsion. Breath; our bodies smoulder, smoke and feather."

We love each other through the tangle of sweat and petrichor that levels us as renewal, the dust of the day, licking heavy metals off your skin carried by rain - our joy rises up from the ground. From the ground we are and we can be as we are, without name. We can be as we are without name for days, months, years. Being neither here nor there, not of here nor of there. An ease in elsewhere, no force to be something, someone, but diffuse as clouds, formless, shapeshifting, without beginning without end, a threshold not as a curse not as anything, necessarily - there is deep relief in not having to talk about it all the time, but also to know that not talking does not mean it is ignored. Things are allowed to evaporate and still freely given. I think of you when I push my fingers around in the dust far away now, feeling pebbles rub against my skin, the warmth of them from a sun hidden now in the shadow of the locust leaves.

One morning, I tell you that I had a dream where we were standing on a path. The path was smooth pale stone and it wound in and out of itself, into the distance, extending beyond a horizon that we could see. Around us were the locust trees, their vast dripping leaves casting that green-gold light. We were standing side by side, our faces in parallel. The light made our skin luminous. Our bodies were poised toward something, the way we were holding ourselves and each other, there was a feeling of being drawn toward something, but not knowing what it was. When I emerged out of the dream, that feeling lingered hummed underneath me for days. It was a feeling of moving toward something, rather than moving away.

Moving toward, rather than moving away: this feeling floods me again and again. It is a minute shift, an echo, but a shift of in-considerable significance.

And so toward this luminous unknown we turn. I see the parakeets, the same parakeets. Yesterday I thought that I had found their nest in a big oak tree and it wasn’t there today. All I see is green feathers. Green feathers that form new shades of green whenever my eyes meet their coruscating light. Perhaps this is the unknown in-considerable toward that leads us. A toward of bright morning sun without name, beyond name, beyond feather-shape, which is also a toward beyond sky, beyond sun, beyond wing. In observing this toward, we also glimpse the extensions of feeling in us, touching us, outside us, beyond us, extensions unknown, elsewhere, not of here nor of there.
 
AM Kanngieser is a geographer and sound artist. They are the author of Experimental Politics and the Making of Worlds (2013) and Between Sound and Silence: Listening towards Environmental Relations (forthcoming), and have published in interdisciplinary journals including South Atlantic Quarterly, Progress in Human Geography and Environment and Planning D. https://amkanngieser.com/

Petero Kalulé (petals) is a composer, poet, and multi-instrumentalist. Their first book Kalimba was published by Guillemot Press in 2019. Their second book, Marsh-River-Raft-Feather (a collaborative experiment in river-reading) co-written with Clarissa Álvarez will be published by Guillemot press in 2021.
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