The Pulsating Plants: Eartha Kitt on What Makes You Purr Beyond the Grave
Written by: Myles E. Johnson
Becoming a feminist for me is more than just painting the town pink. It is about deconstructing my childhood neighborhoods. It is about planting trees in places I am most afraid to go and building skyscrapers in replace of things I held dear. This is work that is happening constantly, but once in a while, I get asked on a romantic date and I can take a pause from this strenuous, feminist work.
In a café, down by the river by my home, a man with a French accent is talking to me about all things soft and seductive. How I remember it, the flowers didn’t bloom, but they pulsated. The sky was purple, pink, and blue. The coffee was strong and brown, and the French man with seduction on his lips was stronger and browner. The river flowed, the conversation and time followed, and my eyes followed his eyebrows to his nose to his lips and back again.
“La petite mort is what they call it in French.” he told me. The conversation flowed into pleasure. I sip. He speaks, “That’s what they call the orgasm in French. It means ‘the little death’ in your language.” My mouth didn’t have much to say, but my eyes were talking and drinking him in. I sip. He sits with crossed legs and broad shoulders, the European way. He speaks, “Some believe that pleasure, the eruption, that feeling of being one with it all and fearful of nothing because the satisfaction is so intense, mimics what one feels before death.”
A butterfly, seemingly translucent, except for the silver that lined its wings and antennas sat between us. A shadow, a silhouette of a woman, approaches the table and scares the butterfly. The shadow speaks, “You don’t know pleasure, until it exists from outside the body.” The voice, a feline brand of feminine, was unmistakable. By this river, with a French man, and plants that seemed to pulsate and moan instead of grow and bloom, we conjured up the spirit of Ms. Eartha Kitt. She purs, “It wasn’t until I got rid of my body that I knew pleasure. All of the great loves of my life became just reoccurring dreams I repurposed from a nightmare once I knew pleasure in the stars.”
She pulls up a chair and sits next to us and the flowers winked at me in flirtation.
Eartha Kitt is the ultimate performer, thinker, seductress, and romantic. I don’t know what happened that day in the café down by the river that made me and the French man summon Ms. Kitt, but this is a transcript of our conversation. I wanted to know what are passion, sensuality, relationships and femininity when the body is no longer of any concern.
What is passion without the body?
Passion exists in the same place gravity and gratitude do. It directs you, my child. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing something transform once passion is introduced. Not just the fire in your belly or eyes, but passion is what set the globe on fire that you call the sun. Passion is what whispers in the ear of evolution for years and years, until maybe something miraculous, like a heartbeat or consciousness is born. Passion, with or without the body, is the true moment when love is focused, fast, and birthing.
What is sensuality without the body?
Darling, do you know touch? [Eartha Kitt laughs uproariously] No, you only know it through flesh. I know it through sliding down a nebula and arriving in the womb of all that is and ever will be. That’s sensuality. Not something confined by bodies or reflections or silks sheets, but instead, the constant flirtation with creation. That is sensuality, my pretty.
What is a relationship without the body?
Relationships only exist on Earth, inside the body. Relationships can only happen when you believe you are separate. Relationships can only happen when you believe you are one and someone else is one, and together you will make two. Without the body, you know you are a part of the whole. Nothing is not in relationship. Everything is connected. We’re always loving, creating, and in conversation with no compromise, just expansion so we can all exist fully.
What is femininity without the body?
I missed my lipstick, my furs, and my voice when I first relinquished my body. I arrived at the feet of God and told her how much I missed femininity. She took me to Venus and we meditated together. She took me to Saturn and we watched it rain diamonds. We sat on the back of father time and discussed feminist theory while drinking tea with rose petals swimming in the cups. God looked at me in all of her brown and gold glory, she smiled, and I knew one-hundred diseases were cured by the sparkle in her eye. We looked onward at the universe. She said to me, “I didn’t take you away from your body, so that you could lose femininity. I took you away from your body, so you can create your own femininity. You can create femininity with all of the resources that creation has to offer, one that does not expire, and one that is infinite.” I responded with the most feminine answer there is. I said, “Thank you.”
Eartha Kitt finished her last answer and faded away while the plants still moaned and pulsated. Once she disappeared, the air went from chilled to smoldering once again. In that moment, I realized everything including myself, the French man, the river, and living plants were all attempting to say one thing. It is a sentiment that I find to be most feminist after my talk with Ms. Eartha Kitt. Everything was saying thank you.