“Ask” by The Smiths
I would like to dance very sincerely with Lauren Berlant to this song. The summer before I exited the town I grew up and went to writing school in, I think everyone I knew met at a cash-only tin bar to play pool and dance to a jukebox. Rumor is this bar is made from a train car and was bought for a dollar. More and more of us left town forever every single night—for jobs or for only the idea of other towns. It was a summer saturated in heat, expiry, and the 1950’s tones of a lit Schlitz river running behind the bar. We were sad and feared the future. We could no longer afford affect. Our economy could not endure coolness, mask, shy-ness. After years spent learning to analyze our craft (and selves), the structure which had applied the pressure to shape us dissembled and maybe “nature became a language”—but it happened in the same cheesy way as The Smiths’ faux seagulls, faux waves. Once we spent all of the affective capital we had, all the fake, we had only ourselves. And in our generative bankruptcy we found each other, encountering ourselves, asking.
Candice Wuehle is the author of the chapbooks curse words: a guide in 19 steps for aspiring transmographs (Dancing Girl Press, 2014) and EARTH*AIR*FIRE*WATER*ÆTHER (Grey Books Press, 2015). Her work can be found in Tarpaulin Sky, The Volta, The Colorado Review, The Fairy Tale Review, SPORK, and Inter|rupture, among others. She is originally from Iowa City, Iowa and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Candice currently resides in Lawrence, Kansas where she is a Chancellor’s Fellow at The University of Kansas as well as Poetry Editor for Beecher’s Magazine.
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