The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Dear Herculine by Aaron Apps

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Dear Herculine by Aaron Apps, released by Ahsahta Press. This book is a hybrid epistolary memoir addressed to Herculine Barbin, the 19th-century French intersexual whose memoirs were discovered and republished by Michel Foucault.

Dear Herculine,

A Letter Concerning the Replication of the Letters’ Contents

                Again life is a kind of material madness that death makes. The dead live long because we live of them and in them. In death everything is equaled, materialized into its raw humanness, its raw animal absurdity.

                Again to write is to be dangerous material, it’s to stir the mud refuse at the bottom of the sea. It’s the place where one wrings out black blood into the snares of words until exhausted, blood cells settling into blood cells.

                Again I write for nothing and no one. Death unto death. Writing is the result of being undead, an absurd inevitability that is simultaneously a miracle cure. The world enters through the skin and emotes its decay.

                Again the entire transcription is written in the present. The instant within the instant is made of fragments. Everything is material fragments with no actual plot beyond the slick moment of momentary slugs.

                Again I am writing atrocious material in order to ward off anyone from liking it in the way one likes material, standing above it, back stiff and postured appropriately. I gesticulate material in and out of my dead skin like a barnacle, glugging seawater, worm-tongued.

Aaron Apps is the author of INTERSEX (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2015) and DEAR HERCULINE, winner of the 2014 Sawtooth Poetry Prize from Ahsahta Press. He is currently a doctoral student in English Literature at Brown University where he studies poetry and poetics, sexual somatechnics, animacy, hybrid forms, and the history of intersex literature. His writing has appeared in numerous journals, including Pleiades, LIT, Washington Square Review, Puerto del Sol, Columbia Poetry Review, and Blackbird.


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