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  • Desola Olaleye

Five Points

Look to the Sun, 2014 | Emma Amos

1. In the Akan language, the world is expressed as ewiase, meaning "under the sun." For years I have stood under the sun, exposed to its warmth yet vulnerable to its aggressions. Glissant says that 'to be born to the world is an exhausting splendour.’ A splendour, nonetheless. As I grow older, I become increasingly conscious of the duality of life. The sun—this world—burns. Still, I yield to its warmth.

2. As we age, our bodies deepen their betrayal, letting us down in unimaginable ways. Diseases multiply. It becomes difficult to ignore the admonition, ‘all things in moderation.’ This warning also applies to the sun—this world. I weep with Czesław Miłosz: there is too much world.

3. Under the sun, I am bereft of tenderness but I also bask in love. Loving yourself and others easily morphs into a chore. But it is a chore less tedious than weekly laundry. Less grating than mowing the lawn.

4. I am thinking again of jouissance. I first heard Žižek use the word, but I did not pursue its meaning. I know now. I think I have felt it.


Its letters dance before coming to a halt. A bit like the feeling itself. A terrible promise. An uncontrollable yet impermanent thrill. An ‘experience of loss in excess of the subject,’ Kristeva says.

5. The world takes, but it also gives. Neither kind, nor unkind. Light seeps through the cracks.

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