Christina Olivares on the erotic in Audre Lorde’s archives in Makhzin

“Our encounter on the first day felt surreal and decadent, but also terrifying. Who am I to touch her? To others, I'd characterized my presence in Audre's archive as that of a student, Audre's student, because I liked that word's invitation to vulnerability. In truth, I was handling her (objects) with all the guilt of a conscience-ridden thief. I did my best to dissociate from feeling, thinking I might be more sure of myself if I worked clinically. This did not work. I forced myself to look differently. One gaze for Audre, one gaze aimed hazily at my own interior. I found that my desire to leave no trace was merely solipsistic, not generous at all, arising from an alarmingly stubborn refusal to engage myself while in Audre's presence. In order for an exchange to occur, I had to choose to sit at the table with her.”

Read more from Christina Olivares's "Thoughts on the Erotic in Audre Lorde's Archive" in Makhzin Issue 3: Dictationship.


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