The Gorgeous Epic and Engorgement of the Potatoesque

by on Dec.01, 2011

A co-authored-mingling with Lucas “Blue Fairy G.E.M.” De Lima
my cheek is the shattered sky (Raúl Zurita)What is magnetic about the potato is its bulbous, cheek-like humility and humiliation.  The root of humiliation is lowliness, humble, on the ground, humus, of the earth.  Holding a potato in our hands, we want to brush the dirt off its adorable roundness, hold it against our breasts, kiss its endless cheek, wrap it in foil and throw it in a fire, boil it, mutilate it, masticate it, swallow the mashed bolus, feel the energy from its soft life force as our stomach acids further decay it.

I want to eat,
I want to eat,
I want to eat,
I want to eat,
I don’t care whom (Hiromi Ito)

In both its vulnerability and annihilation, the potato resists nothing.

Through a gaze that is, simultaneously, self and other, the potato shatters us:  before our ensconced pupils, uncanny eyes blink open and sprout.  To become-potato is to become what we see, smell, hear, and taste–or to act on the hunger of yellow, ferocious videogame stars. As that which triggers and sustains the poet’s all-consuming cannibalism, the potato gorges on dotted lines.  Just as Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man must eventually devour one another, our pockmarked crop makes opposites feed off each other.  As earthlings, we find ourselves lovingly eating the sky.

The star will consume the star whose every twinkle is a blink of memory (Edmond Jabès)

When we begin becoming-potato, we anticipate the silence of the earth until it cries.  We feel the necropastoral decay that supersaturates the ground.  Suddenly, the mute shadows of untimely, unruly bodies scream, and we hear this angelic shrieking despite our godlessness. The potatoesque erupts as an exercise in extreme empathy, in baring our cheek, in rolling over to flash our private parts at you, chthonic and celestial parasites.

Can you smell her burning fur? (Bhanu Kapil)

A blind, asexual stem tuber, the potato expands as a rhizome.  Its surface is a field of eyes or nodes.  While blind, these eyes are sensate, part of a field of compost teeming with writhing, blood-stained worms.  Each node opens a threshold for further feeding on decay, a portal through which tiny revolts breach out.

This occult, (non)uterine (non)motherhood is the chorus of a thousand tiny sexes (as in Grosz’s feminism of rhizomatics).

Hermaphroditic marshmallows, stay squishy as worm infected potatoes in the dark earth. Stay aware of and in the silent excess of pain in the dying flesh below the earth that is infected with violence. Vibrating monads, jiggle your pink tongues as you perceive. Leak down the intersex! (Aaron Apps)

Unlike poetics aimed at (hybrid) synthesis or (straight) futurity or (mere) resignification, the potatoesque embraces queer and constant mutation, reproduction, and synesthetic consumption.  By occupying the black of censored lines–the shameful, hysterical symptoms of our infected bodies–our famine-ending orb speaks through and against capitalist realism’s ideological and material garbage.

What the potatoesque thwarts, as the heart of Anything and Everything, is legibility.

As the text sucks into itself sky, seagull, and surface as well as depth, landfill, and ground, we kiss and become its unnamable mush.  We give ourselves to all potato cries.

3 comments for this entry:
  1. James Pate

    Really fascinating post…I can’t help but think about Bosch and The Garden of Earthly Delights, where the human figures look vegetable and the vegetable look animal (and the animal human, etc.)

  2. Lucas de Lima

    I love that painting and its orgiastic lushness.

  3. Monica Mody

    Aloo or potato was my favorite ‘subzi’ -‘vegetable’ – when I was growing up. I say this with a straight & faceless face. Aloo added to the least appealing vegetables would make them more appealing. The conviviality of potato. Then there is aloo chaat. Here is a recipe/senses explode/tongue rolls/eye raises tears: I suspect the desi-potatoesque, the ethnopotatoesque would need theorizing at some point.