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Cafe Conversations: Liquified Humanity

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Cafe Conversations is a Brittle Paper treat that ought really to be called Cafe Blather because it is a collection of disjointed babbling about the most random issues. For a taste of the previous Cafe Conversations click here.

Drinking tea is bliss. Smell, texture, and tastelessness: killer combo of Zen and everything thing we both think Zen means. Tea is better than coffee. More elegant. More dignified. I love tea. And work really hard for my love because I take it unsweet. Contrary to whatever connoisseurs think, tea without sugar is tasteless. Tasteless is actually worse than bitter or sweet the same way that lukewarm is definitely worse than hot or cold. Both forms of blandness are boring.

But then lukewarm is also just plain weird. That’s why St. John told the Church of Laodicea that they had to chuck their lukewarmness or stand the trauma of being spat out by God. “Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth, the lord said. Considering that the Divine esophagus is lined with myriad and bejeweled mansions, why would anyone want to be expectorated from it? On a serious note, though, imagine being spat out by a divine being. What would it take for a person to be spat out by divinity? What crime would you have had to have committed?

What does it mean to be lukewarm? I know. The figure of the lukewarm is a limit figure who is neither cold nor hot. It has no place in the oral system of the divine. It dwells in a threshold. A fuzzy zone. A non-place where the non-identifiable live. The very edge of the world: where the only life possible is death. Kind of like people on death row.

To exist in the in-between-ness of lukewarmness is to be disposable, to die a death for which no one will be punished. You are lukewarm when you can neither bring your oral dwelling the pleasure of sweetness nor the therapeutic sting of bitterness.

I will vomit you out of my mouth,” the lord said. But then, why does God have liquefied humans in his mouth in the first place?  Was he trying to drink them? Is that not weird? A cannibal God? But then, God is an inscrutable image for all things and nothing. He too is a limit figure…If you know what I mean.

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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