notes on the concept of the heterotopia

I’ve been interested in the concept of the heterotopia for a while now, though I haven’t yet adequately plumbed its depths, nor do I think I actually fully understand it. Originally conceptualized …

Source: notes on the concept of the heterotopia

notes on the concept of the heterotopia

The Rogue Scribe

I’ve been interested in the concept of the heterotopia for a while now, though I haven’t yet adequately plumbed its depths, nor do I think I actually fully understand it. Originally conceptualized by Michel Foucault, heterotopia are defined in his lecture, “Of Other Spaces,” as “counter-sites… in which all the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted.” They are furthermore located “outside of all places,” even though it’s possible that one can pinpoint their locations in real life. Foucault leaves it at that – as a vague definition that can be interpreted in a number of ways, and instead presents six principles that describe or qualify certain places as heterotopias: boarding schools, cemeteries, gardens, brothels, and boats. The broadness of the definition can make it easily appropriated, and it has been done, certainly. Heterotopia, as a…

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i know you as well as i know
the lines i’ve read over and over
of the waste land, and how it goes
on forever
which is to say i know you
to be beautiful
and to sound beautiful
and to mean a lot
but i do not know
how to look beyond
how you speak and think
and appear to me
because you are still
separate from me

This isn’t a new poem, but it’s something I’ve found while digging around my files. It’s a few months old, but I decided to share it because it’s about someone who really means a lot to me – and by that, I mean to say someone who has made me realize the kind of direction I want to take in life. I suppose it’s a little cliche to say so, but sometimes, someone just comes in your life and inspires you, changes you so profoundly that you become someone you never imagined you’d be.


if you rest your fingers
gently against my temple
and look into my eyes
would you hear the hushed
sound of a thousand words
trying to tell you something?
come – come
“the awful daring of a moment’s surrender”
is one thing i can never replicate
i am someone you will never read
and think of as something worth taking
but if i breathe in your words
and the words that you teach
and the eight years
and the ulysses
will your essence be as much
mine as if i had you mine?

One: there’s a quote there from Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” Two: it’s one of my first poems after the hellish semester.


living in gaps
and in between breaths
in the spaces where silence
is what i do
what i look forward to
in the mornings, in quiet
when i go to meet you
waiting in silence
in space of heartbeats
a thousand times louder
than anything it can be
when you look at me
and all the meaning
is lost in translation
because i’m being–
in reality,
you’re something to me,
but i’m detached from you-
i’m trivial, i’m me-
when nothing connects us
but the mutuality of degrees
i live in the interstice,
a reality that might exist.

Not something I’m absolutely satisfied with, but – though I don’t identify as a writer – that’s something that writers deal with, anyway. Alright. The semester’s nearly over, and I’m spending my time in the interstice between wakefulness and sleep, and it’s such a beautiful space – but terrifying, all the same, because half-life and half-death is blurred even more. Or I’m just being pretentious right now, and I need to blow off some steam. So I write something.

Anyway, this poem is related to the previous one, “M.” For reasons, of course, that I will not disclose. Anonymity is beautiful.


eight years and a half
and two degrees
and a thousand pages
from ulysses –
the wedge drives apart
like a breaking disease
and always, my lips
form words like these:
“with all due respect
can I meet you, please?”

I realize that this is highly incriminating. This is about a professor I admire so bad. The title is “M” only because it’s part of the professor’s initials. I can’t believe I did this.

Last Night On Earth (or, I’ll Write You A Sweet Love Poem So They’ll Remember That We Existed Once)

Here the first piece of short fiction on this little blog of mine. A few things first: I tried to style it as a sort of love story set against an apocalyptic background (which doesn’t really take the center stage here, as the love story – or what looks like the love story – is the focal point). I’d say caveat, but then I’ve never really published any piece of prose here or elsewhere on the Internet (unless you count fanfiction, of which I have tons).

Without further ado…

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The Electric Shock Show Stopper

i dream of you
in electric bursts
that run through
every single nerve
my mind racing
body convulsing
when it’s you
i think about.

every shock runs through
like the whisper of lips
a brush across the skin
with your fingertips.

i dream of you
like a current
live wire and circuit
keep me alive
keep me going.

A poem, inspired by the image I’ve been obsessing over the most lately – electricity. I’ve been hounded by work – of  both the academic and the non-academic persuasions – and all my (pseudo) poetic sensibilities had to be turned off. Or maybe right now I just love the idea of electricity and I just needed to write about it.

I’m going to sleep now.