chapter  2
25 Pages

Try a Little Tenderness: Tactilic Experience in Danzy Senna

WithAlicia Erian

This chapter turns from one ephemeral experience to another, from breathing to touching. As Suheir Hammad’s poetry has shown, the mundane and precarious nature of bodily functions, like breathing, opens up the space for coalition building and shared political enterprise. As her poem “letter to anthony (critical resistance)” makes clear, racism and sexism disrupt not only the ability to breathe freely but also the possibility of creating intimacy. Following that logic, the question arises as to how we understand touches between people with politicized fl esh. Considering that touch affi rms one’s existence, how does touch function when one’s presence remains fraught?