This article is part of the feature „… a world in which coloniality no longer has a place.

The institution is hungry

4 min read

It swallows you up, you know? The bright white hole at the center of this liberal nonsense. I guess it’s shaped like a palace now.

It swallows you up only to spit you out sweeter,
neater and in a necktie.
It strips sharp words into cotton down;

It tumbles shards of anger into sea glass with soft edges,

loose and frenetic;

collected from black-sand beaches
only to be crammed
in the far-reaches
of 17th-century curiosity cabinets.1

See how those nice bits sit there in the back, collecting dust, with all those other things that used to be dangerous but aren’t anymore?:2

  • elephants, stuffed
  • dinosaurs, fossilized
  • kings, disarmed in stone tombs.

All these blades rust unburnish’d,
but you’d hardly know it since they
shine without use,
kept clean by white men in white lab coats with white rubber gloves…

Touch them live and they’ll burn the shit out of you;
dissect them instead and they freeze –
Hirst’s shark in formaldehyde.3

It’s not a castration, it’s a forum!

If refusing to speak a name invests it with power, this then must be its opposite:

Repeat something over and over again          critique          to drain it of its vitality,

to leak its subversion,          critique          its coercion,          critique          its grit —

until it’s just another set of dull syllables that dawdle on your tongue:


Critique CRI-TEEK | critique | /kriˈtīk/ critique

noun. a scream rendered silent, slaughtered and skinned and hung in the banquet hall of the victors who penned history.


I guess what I mean to say is that          when hot, bright light (painful, searing light;
blinding, weeping, bleeding light!)

is broken
down into its
electro- magnetic
it refracts into a harmless, harmonious rainbow
that is then cast
      across castle walls
      of stolen marble
      for decoration.


The mysterious dance of particle and wave grinds to a halt with your intervention; your observation alters the event:

This vase can only hold plucked flowers.
This urn can only hold ashes.

You want to kill something? Ask it to explain itself.

1 (themselves felled trees that had witnessed 12,000 moons, their secrets scattered in sawdust).

2 I once had a de-clawed cat. It kneaded the ground with ghost talons and impotent force; it clutched at blue birds’ tail feathers – they slipped out of its grasp like silken ribbons.

3 Would you rather be immortalized with your silent soul caught in a net? Or die nameless, screaming loud for a brief flash, tethered only to the shimmering sea?

Abby Klinkenberg

Abby Klinkenberg is a Californian writer and poet based in Berlin, Germany.