Excerpt from Desire Structure

Zoe Imani Sharpe

Zoe Imani Sharpe is a poet and author of Sullied (Trapshot Archives, 2011).

At the Atrium Vestae I wept for virgins.

By the Atrium Vestae I wept for the vestigial virgins, protecting the social contract.

I escaped the smooth curve of the rational body.

“Sensualist!” they hurled, as I crossed the stone parking lot to my ancient car.

An orange slab of cuneiform, behind glass, in the Museum of Interpretation.

Of which two or three lines determine the generous, onerous

culture of ones.


Your lover’s relationship to language is uneasy

as Barragán’s to music, and you speak little to one another,

though you correctly suspect his shape in space.

Lines along the pink wall prompt a mind’s culling,

succumbed to reason, so you must walk the perimeter,

absent of street noise from Miguel Hidalgo

and for once without project or scrutiny. What happens

at the bottom, from the surface, will be inferred.

Slumping on the informal corner, surging

with braceleted weight, your black tongue

slumping the park bench, as space passes

without law of mediation. Symmetry,

substitutive symmetry, the State

looking normally, terribly patterned.


To feel what the building presses on her despair.

The freedom to despair openly, despite the call to cover her pubis, in service

of persons and children.

Despair is not declaration. The last century’s fetish.

For your subjectivation, they offer paper.

Prison carved as rostra.

Where a sister did time in social space.


Apartment buildings slated for leaks and cracks, analysis.

The hard-bone pipes here not fifty years.

The bone plate of my breasts at seventeen, at twenty-three, at thirty-one.

Where memory plans its circlet route.

If I could just hold myself together, long enough…

– Adrian Piper, What Will Become of Me, 1985.


The right angles of clothes resemble the right angles of buildings, irrationally.

Christos, Jeanne-Claude, and a blue gift-wrapped bridge.

Real aesthetic appraisal, in the country, a long-time implosion.

Just another white-as-bone cloth, she acquires, a body in space.

The past being behind her, she slips on History’s blouse.

Hung dress billows, dislocates, bloats again.

Pour citer cette page

Zoe Imani Sharpe, « Excerpt from Desire Structure », MuseMedusa, no 8, 2020, <> (Page consultée le ).

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