“I know how this is gonna sound, but do you think it’s somehow possible that Neera Tanden is paying random women to come forward with accusations against all the best socialist writers? Sam Kriss and Emmett Rensin, I mean; what a double whammy. Sure, seems crazy. But if in a year Connor Kilpatrick, Keith Ellison, and one of the Haider brothers go down, I’ll know I’m right.”

When I was in my early teens, I used to jerk off in public. Seems crazy, but I would just wander into alleys and cum onto garage doors and stuff. It didn’t take me that long at age 14, but still. I definitely did not appreciate how bad it would be if I got caught. And I don’t even know why I did it, really. I’m not an exhibitionist now, and I wasn’t then either. I just did it and never got caught, thank God.

“Look, I don’t care how much of a jerk Malcolm Harris was being or how smug he is generally. You cannot just mime jerking off when the other side is talking during a debate. Doug Henwood is an asshole. How does a man in his sixties think that’s appropriate? This is why we can’t have democratic socialism.”

In high school, I would jerk off onto beautiful pieces of art I printed off from the Internet or from magazines, let the cum dry, and give them to my girlfriend as presents. Everyone knew about this too, and she really liked that I did it. At least, that’s what she said. Something about how even my alone time still ended in cum for her.

“Shut up! Amber A’Lee Frost did not do a goddamn thing wrong in her ‘Bro Bash’ article. Not. One. Thing. She’s also right about everything. You read her huge Baffler piece ‘All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go?’ Fucking brilliant. We are not having this conversation.”

I’ve had rape fantasy sex with three different women now. All three identified as feminists. All three liked it, and one fucking loved it. It was not a one-time thing for any of them. It is hot, yeah. But it’s weird, too. Believe it or not, it’s probably the only perversion I’ve committed that I really don’t care to talk about.

“If you think Jacobin is bad, try reading the Revolutionary Communist Party’s website.”

Around the age of 17 or so, I tried jerking off to Flannery O’Connor, just as homage. It didn’t work and I felt like an asshole.

“Maybe the only good thing about 2016 has been that I can smirkingly tell my dad, ‘Yeah, I read The New Republic! How could you not! As it turns out you were right all along: it is, in fact, one of the most insightful leftist magazines in the country!’ He gets so mad! Fucking asshole thinks he’s making some kind of profound point by saying he finds Jeet Heer ugly.”

The only time I ever fucked a fat girl: her name was Lou, and when we were both 16, we were both skinny and hooked up a few times, but never went all the way. When we were both 18, she had gotten fat, and an opportunity presented itself to fuck her. I did it for the nostalgia. I had always wanted to fuck her so badly that I just tapped into my memories and went for it. Sure, it’s wrong to fuck someone while you think of someone else, but is it wrong to fuck someone while you think of their former self?


“An Exchange” is an excerpt from Richard Power’s new memoir, Letters from a Heartbroken Pervert. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.