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Fiction General

The Nerves

by (author) Lena Suksi

Metatron Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2020
General, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2020
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 18
  • Grade: 12


The Nerves subverts the literary approach to sexuality by treating the erotic not as a site of anxiety but of reverie. Set in an imaginary world where our sense memories tell us who we are, Lena Suksi's literary debut is psychedelic, attentive, cinematic and hot. Writing toward sensitivity and ecstasy, exploring touch as healing abandon, The Nerves is charged with desire, devotion, and creative fantasy. Through a series of joyful encounters, Lena Suksi reminds us that pleasure can be abundant, nuanced and that it can heal. Engaging in a queer erotics of language, Suksi’s debut is a bundle of wet atmospheres, speaking to faith in touch.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Lena Suksi has lived in Toronto for a decade. Their writing has mostly appeared as texts accompanying exhibitions or read at galleries, including at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Cooper Cole, Georgia Scherman Projects, Susan Hobbs, Towards, The Table, and Calaboose. They’ve presented at Doored, Images Festival and Blackwood Gallery.

Excerpt: The Nerves (by (author) Lena Suksi)


Garnet almost convinces me that we might be exploded by the light of the tin plane in the day sky as we navigate the river beach. Yes, its lights are as bright as the evening star, and briefly they scare me.

Garnet talkily convinces me to leave my phone on the threshold of their rickety walkup so we won’t be listened to while we ramble about what we both resist.

Garnet’s charisma shines like their sunburn. Their cigarette is a burnt offering.

Garnet is phenomenal at what they do. I’m not vouching for them as a dishwasher, PR person, or perfect child, but the tattoos they do are perfect. Everything looks like some tiny crummy Victorian porn shredded by the oily surface of the skin it’s pounded into, in the time we live in.

This habit of giving one another tattoos only works in times when you believe the love of the collective has to be offered sadomasochistically first, like an oath, like syncing periods. The rubbery blue tracings are as faithful as the September sun wearing them away, that fierce thing we’d misidentified together as a drone.


We’re unavailable to anyone else after we’ve shut the door. There’s fluorescence and railings framing blank sectionals. It’s like a basement where two big collies got sent to bark, but we shut out their small dog.

Aya is like this: the braces reflecting on their teeth make them look sharp. They have an enthusiastic laugh. I practice my own doggy nature by leaping around on the couch and drooling. I bring my shoulder blades as close to my butt as possible when I get up on all fours. We drank pop to get this hyper. We make gymnast shapes. I want to lick their teeth.

Music videos on the corner TV, the only sign of life besides ourselves. I’m vaguely aware that I stink after our day of activity. Aya suggests I shower. I’m excited by the possibility of that dark glass shower, more signs of life in mould in the grout.

I wasn’t expecting them to get in with me. Our hair needs washing, smells kind of green when the water hits it. They love analyzing problems and reaching inside my desk at school to write in wet pen on my hand. We don’t look at each other under the spray but can’t stop laughing so the shower water goes down my throat. I cough in minerals. Their braces are like dog’s teeth, their moles like a spray of pop. My heart’s in my squint before shampoo stings my eye. Their body is huge and new. It is not like something you read about. We’re simultaneously small, come close together to contrast the coolness, get warm and sweat and almost fall. We try each other’s necks and there’s soap mixed in. I taste their mouth and that inhuman quality of skin so clean the water’s still beading on it, running off of it. We kiss like nothing’s happening. I get down on my knees like nothing’s happening. I’ve been waiting to do this my whole life. It is amazing to stop talking, stop laughing, stop waiting for something to happen and feel nothing happening. I feel their hair on my face. I’m calming down for the first time ever as I press them to my mouth. I taste more than water there.


They go off like an alarm clock. I like watching Yas. Juicy eyes and short shorts. Always kissing someone twice their size, climbing them like a zoo.

Yas takes me to the back field and mimes a blow job. It’s an art: trying to reach their own eyelids and their philtrum with their tongue is what it seems like to me. Smelling the air like it’s their own underwear, checking for how many days old. Blowing their bangs up out of their face in the pee corner, avoiding getting hair stuck to their lipgloss.

They ask me to imitate the shapes their mouth makes on the restaurant window, then cackling, hoard their fries. Their eyelashes make huge moons on their face.

They’re gracious when the table shakes and a glass of water, knocked by a poltergeist, almost totals their computer. I love the whole span of their attention. In spite of all their partners, I admire them most walking away alone.