• This essay places into dialogue two queer Chicana/o novels, John Rechy’s City of Night (1963) and Felicia Luna Lemus’s Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties (2003), in order to explore their common aesthetic sensibility. This sensibility is what I call rasquache camp, a stance that arises from the complex entanglement of rasquachismo’s utilitarian aspects of making do and the funky irreverence of camp, without resulting in a dialectical sublation between the two. This essay intervenes in the recent debates on the appropriateness of using rasquachismo as a tool for studying (queer) Chicana/o cultural productions. Informed by rasquache camp, I contend that these two novels develop and employ an ethics of representing marginalized queer and Chicana/o subjects who face insurmountable adversity by overturning the paradigms of morality and literary value, not from idealized, theoretical stances but by making use of imperfect, often cobbled-together solutions. As the future-oriented projects of these novels come to a close, both texts consciously fail to achieve their goals, but this failure allows the future to remain open to new and better aesthetic and ethical interventions by others