Sunday, December 28, 2008


... I move to brooklyn. here are some things I am feeling:
- excited
- lonely
- scared
- dusty
- stressed

it is not the moving that makes me feel bad things. it's the packing. I hate packing. I do it so much. when I feel like losing it and whimpering, "I just want to go home" into an available shoulder, what home do I mean? right now I have 3. but none of them are really homes. I don't live in austin anymore, I am leaving northampton tomorrow, and I don't live in brooklyn yet.

my heart is heavy. I miss her but I don't know where she is.

I am upset that I can't bring the two bags of food with me because I can't take more stuff on the bus.

but tonight peter invited me to light the last chanukah candle. we sang a prayer, my broken unsure voice trying to follow his. we played dreidel and bet with pennies and chocolate coins. I won. he gave me a gift - an antique rintintin watch - and I gave him my favorite ll cool j tape and mc hammer tape. he loves tapes. the cat is sleeping on my suitcase and the dog is on my bed. I am surrounded by chaos and am trying to find some peace somewhere but I think it might be in sleep. I spent the whole day melting and leaking.

goodnight, northampton. I'll be back in the fall.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

thank you, saint jude

last night, amid the celebration, I spoke to my dear friend and old housemate. she is full of light and radical imagination, she is brilliant and always finds beauty within broken spirits and hope within despair. she is real, too, and has long since exchanged her rose colored glasses for naked eyes and open arms. I turned to her, because I did not know how to feel. I was sorely tempted to be swept up in the mob of excitement and joy, but I am also a cynic. I won't believe it until he's inaugurated.

she said to me: "I need this tonight. I need joy and hope, because tomorrow is when the real work begins. I need this tonight."

it was truly a beautiful night. the air was balmy, there were champagne bottles and fireworks. it felt like the new year. I imagine that in some ways it is. we have a black president. we have a black president!

but I was disappointed and not surprised when, this morning, the new york times named this the destruction of "the last racial barrier." I don't have the energy tonight to discuss how utterly false that is.

saint jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. i'm not catholic. but there you go.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


as I am still registered in texas, I sent away for my absentee ballot several weeks ago. this is the third time that I have voted absentee (the first was the gubernatorial election in texas, the second was for the primaries), and I fear that it will also be the third time that I don't receive my ballot until the day before or the day of the election. the first time I paid too much money to overnight my ballot (the county clerk does not provide a stamp, which seems to be technically illegal, seeing as it is illegal to require people to pay to vote) and the second time I received it the very tuesday of the primaries. there are, what, 12 days left until the election? that's plenty of time, yeah, but my instinct tells me otherwise.

perhaps all of the headlines calling out the voter suppression that has already begun are making me wary and cynical. the most alarming and telling account I've read so far can be seen over here. if you've ever talked to me, about anything really, but especially about politics, then you know that I often can't keep myself from invoking history. but seriously. if I'm not mistaken, the heckling and intimdation of voters is a direct violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1964. further, the racialized rhetoric and bubbling violent tension is terrifying and particularly of note because of how reminiscent it is of voting during Reconstruction post-civil war.

sundays are for church, not voting, indeed. they are also apparently for bombing churches. don't give me that. you can't cover up acts of racism, ignorance, slander and libel, potential violence, and illegal voting intimidation with christianity. jesus would call a foul on that one, my friends. also, what are these folks doing, if church is what sundays are for?

perhaps my experience voting absentee (or not voting absentee, as the case may be) is simply one in misordered priorities. maybe the travis county early voting clerk has just too many papers in the In tray (I don't doubt it). the angry cynic-student in me wonders, though, and wants to suspect foul play. what feeds said misordered priorities? I wonder what the "protesters"above would name as their priorities.

I won't lie. I'm anxious about what may or may not happen in the next two weeks. and not just when it comes to my ballot. things are getting heavier every day.

[EDIT: more talk of voter suppression here at Democracy Now! and here at AngryBrownButch. AngryBrownButch mentions the Voting Rights Act argument, too.]

Monday, October 20, 2008

nude eel

I tried to write a post for columbus day, but it just never seemed to work. so I gave up. maybe someday.

the artist formerly known as dino visited this weekend. she is my favorite boyfriend. as we leaned against the car before she left she looked down even though she's taller than I am and toyed with the drawstrings on my sweatshirt. I like the grey spot on her eye. I let her pop any zits she finds on my face. last night we saw chris pureka play at the iron horse and I played with the hair on the back of her neck and she played with the fringe of my scarf. when we walked home she whined at me until I buttoned her coat for her, and then she told a pair of drunk strangers that I smell like old spice. old spice and mint. that is what she says I smell like. she smells like warm skin and not like fresh bread but like the feeling of smelling fresh bread. this morning she tried to steal my brown shirt. now I am laying on my bed with benny the dog and I miss her.

Monday, October 6, 2008

marry me

so, I'm planning a field study for the spring in new york city. it all started when a friend told me about StoryCorps and I decided that what I really need to do with my life is intern for them in brooklyn. because it's only a 20 hour per week internship, though, my field study needs some other things to bulk it up and make it count for an entire semester of Division II.

in my research, I came across an organization called REPOHistory. basically, it is exactly what I'm interested in, almost creepily so:
" REPOhistory began in Manhattan in 1989 as a study group of artists, scholars, teachers, and writers focused on the relationship of history to contemporary society. It grew into a forum for developing public art projects based on history and a platform for creating them. For the past ten years REPOhistory's goal has been "To retrieve and relocate absent historical narratives at specific locations in the New York City area through counter-monuments, actions, and events". The work is informed by a multicultural re-reading of history which focuses on issues of race, gender, class and sexuality. We choose to create public art because we wanted to expand the audience for art by going outside the confines of the museum and gallery structure. By choosing to create work with strong, alternative social commentary we are drawing on a tradition in art that is often ignored; the legacy of the Berlin Dadaists, Russian Constructivists, the New York Photo League and contemporary organizations like Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D), Group Material and Grand Fury.

Through 6 major public projects and many smaller events, REPOhistory has continued to pursue this goal as an artist/scholar cooperative, along the way adding to its goals "to raise questions about the construction of history, to provide multiple viewpoints that encourage viewers to think critically, to explore how histories and their interpretations affect us today, and to engage with specific communities in order to facilitate their efforts to construct their own public histories.""
clearly, I need to work with them. it's unfortunate that they are no longer functioning. their last project was in 2000, I believe, which is a cryin' shame.

however, one of their lapsed members is a professor at my college. holy moly. thanks to sketchydan, my housemate, for pointing me in her direction. he's a good guy who seems to know a little about everything. I e-mailed her and respectfully asked if I could pester her in the near future.

I'm so excited that I might wet myself. not gonna lie.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"good evening, my friends"

at the moment, I am holed up in bed on this beautiful saturday fall afternoon because I am so congested that I can hardly breathe. last night I took some sketchy evil-blue expired cold medicine in the cabinet that definitely put me to sleep but gave me totally wicked, crazy dreams. I'm pretty sure Sarah Palin was in at least one of them.

I listened to the VP debate on NPR (we don't have a tv). I hate politics. they are nothing but bad theatre. good theatre is hard enough to watch sometimes (especially when it involves musical numbers), but politics are just painful. Sarah Palin, however, is hilarious. I felt, and NPR analysts confirmed, that Palin and Biden were locked in this kitschy, folksy battle towards the end, with each trying to out-ordinary-american the other with wholesome anecdotes reminiscent of the fireside chat days - only with significantly less substance. I thought of this post by Tim Wise on the ridiculous ways politicians manage to get out of saying "white americans." the way whiteness is normalized, well, all the time, but especially in politics, is staggering. I thought of a drinking game where you take a drink every time there is a euphemism for "white" used, but I imagine you would be dead before the end.

I hate politics. I vote, yeah. and even though I take him with a grain of salt (per the advice of Glynn Owens, my first academic mentor and eighth grade history teacher), Howard Zinn explains why I spend so little energy on voting and politics better than I ever could:

"I'm talking about a sense of proportion that gets lost in the election madness. Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes-the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth.

But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice.


Yes, two minutes. Before that, and after that, we should be taking direct action against the obstacles to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

For instance, the mortgage foreclosures that are driving millions from their homes-they should remind us of a similar situation after the Revolutionary War, when small farmers, many of them war veterans (like so many of our homeless today), could not afford to pay their taxes and were threatened with the loss of the land, their homes. They gathered by the thousands around courthouses and refused to allow the auctions to take place.

The evictions today of people who cannot pay their rents should remind us of what people did in the Thirties when they organized and put the belongings of the evicted families back in their apartments, in defiance of the authorities.

Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war. Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens."

that said, I kind of can't believe it's almost november and it's almost time for bush and cheney and their ilk to slink off into the night. 8 years with that man! jesus.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


of the many things I don't have time for, this is definitely one of them. which, I imagine, is exactly the reason it's appealing. in any case, here is a place in which I will write things. in theory. probably about theory too.

this past weekend I was in new jersey with the artist formerly known as dino. dino and I went into the city one day, and were wandering about being sickly and grumpy, when we encountered a couple of different tagged advertisements. both of them said basically the same thing, which was something along the lines of "gay people give leukemia rabies." I was confused. leukemia gets rabies from us? or we give some sort of hybrid disease involving both leukemia and rabies? and what about AIDS? isn't that the go-to-guy when it comes to blaming disease on queers? anyways, I wondered what the graffiti in question was attempting to express. that heterosexist people are morons and should maybe read a book or seven? probably.

ignorance like that is bizarrely relieving, though, because it doesn't feel dangerous. it made dino and me laugh and speculate what it was trying to say, and then we forgot about it. as we walked through the east village with linked pinkies or some other innocuous display of affection, even the guy that yelled that we're the ones spreading AIDS didn't feel dangerous. I mean, I yelled right back at him because sometimes I can't keep my damn mouth shut, and I did not fear physical retaliation from him. I'm privileged that I've never been beaten up, raped, assaulted, or harassed in a way that made me fear for my safety as a result of my queerness. my very visible queerness.

it makes me think of the way that many people at my not-so-ivory college think about queerness and its visibility. I remember my first semester there when I lived on the "queer friendly" hall in one of the dorms. initially, there were no specific signs specifying our love of and for fags, which, as our intern explained later, was in case any of the parents helping on move in day might take issue with the hall's designation and keep their kid from living there. I think that was an unfortunate but thoughtful decision on the part of whoever decided that.

it brings up a whole pile of things. seajay and I were looking through a box of different forms of contraception today and talking about the vaginal film method - basically a listerine mouth strip for your cooz that goes over your cervix and makes the environment fairly lethal for sperm - and how both unpleasant and ineffective it seems to be. I think that it's so easy to just think, "well damn, if you don't want use condoms, take birth control or get an IUD. or just get over it and use condoms. or the reality condom. or anything else, really." however, I think it's also important to consider that for some folks, both birth control and keeping it a secret from one's partner are incredibly important for one's safety and health. and sometimes it has to be cheap.

basically, what I'm trying to say is that I have a lot of privilege in a lot of ways. one way is that I can be visibly and loudly queer in the town I live in and the campus where I go to school (this place is a dyke carnival) and not fear repercussion. I can go to new york city with my girlfriend and, at the end of the day, we get to take the bus back to the hotel and are once again safely ensconced in each others' very queer love. I am a fairly masculinely presenting queer, which also comes with a set of expectations when it comes to able-bodied-ness. I feel like the bright-eyed first years who are sneakily full of isms (racism, classism, etc.) yet come disguised in the appealing and beguiling packaging of progressive young (usually white) liberals have the first step down (i.e. "queer people should be able to be out and proud! I love queer people! my best friend is bisexual and I think my mom slept with a woman once back in her feminist days!"), but fail to see the privilege that comes with that, and how it's a conversation that spans race, class, and other identities beyond sexuality. I specify first years just because I overheard a handful of them on the pvta today, playing with their blonde dreads and talking about fair trade coffee and veganism, and I wanted to beat them.

anyway! the point is - I still don't understand how to give rabies to leukemia. that could potentially be a pretty rad skill.