Interlude: poetry and porosity

All entities or bodies are characterized by a porosity that allows the outer world to flow through them.…Entities flow through each other, influencing and modifying each other in all sorts of ways….In interfacing with other entities, these entities are transformed as they pass through the body becoming something else and taking on a new organization….Yet that is not all. The material that passes through a body also transforms that body

–larval subjects, “Porous Bodies”

We cannot trust the boundaries distinguishing inside from out.

You and your colleague acknowledge to each other those drifting dream-thoughts just before sleep: yes, you are here on your own soft sheets with your bathroom down the hall and your sleep meds to take if needed, and yet just as you fall asleep you imagine yourself there, in that bunk, risking a flush in the night that might wake your cellee. What are these walls separating in from out, you from me, so real and yet are they?

Suddenly, things that you think of as real–this cat over here, my cat, whose fur I can stroke–become the abstraction, an approximation of flowing, metamorphic processes, processes that are in some sense far more real than the entity I am stroking….1

In your dream you are a trans-prisoner: inside but allowed to leave at night, though this evening no, the guard on duty doesn’t know you, doesn’t care about your story…

You wake in your own bed with the light streaming in through the portal window and the door to the roof. “The state of emergency is also always a state of emergence,” writes Rankine.2 In emerging, you resist the instinct to brush away the mesh of co-habitation, look to recognize instead “the vital porosity that exists among all human groups in the twenty-first century.”3

  1. Timothy Morton, “The Mesh,” in Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century, ed. Stephanie LeMenager, Teresa Shewry, and Ken Hiltner (New York: Routledge, 2011): 19-21
  2. Rankine, Citizen, 126.
  3. McCarthy, Goli M. Rezai-Rashti and Cathryn Teasley, “Race, Diversity, and Curriculum in the Era of Globilization,” Curriculum Inquiry 39, 1 (January 2009): 93, accessed May 20, 2016, doi: 10.1111/j.1467-873X.2008.01438.x