Ground of Being
All my life I have looked and looked at the mystery of desire and I feel no closer to understanding it. Nothing else has so shaped my decisions, my way of life; were one to inventory the costs my sexual difference the total would be enormous, yet I know that I would have paid any price. But what is it that compels us, what is it we want? Touch? Entrance behind the barrier of the skin, to penetrate the boundaries of another body, or be penetrated ourselves, as a remedy for our extreme loneliness, the awful sensation of the singular self in the singular skin? Some narcotic form of forgetfulness, an opiate dispensed in the hands of another? Not orgasm, finally, and only partly pleasure: there are many sorts of pleasure, many forms of satisfaction, but what other has the deep lodestone pull that sex has? And I don’t believe it’s simply biology, the imperative to reproduce – since for me, obviously, there will be no issue from the unions I can’t seem to live without. I want; that is the prima facie thing, the ground of being. But what is it, in a man’s body, in the heat and touch and warm interior, the rush and delay of contact, what is it that I want? Shouldn’t I be able, after a life’s worth of practice, to name that?
How can these things ever be inscribed, do they forever belong to the realm of the unwriteable? I have the language of pornography, I have the language of anatomy or medicine, I have the language of euphemism, and I’m happy with none of them.
– “The Unwriteable”, Mark Doty