Thursday, January 29, 2009


around the time I realized that the cartoon of tintin on my watch could, and should, be a dyke, I became aware of how young I am. working at the archives, I am surrounded by lesbians of generations past and am often teased for being a youngster. dyvester teases me about being twenty years younger than she is, but I think it's because she likes me. toddy is brash and unafraid, yet she softened when she found my delicately embroidered hankie on the floor. not some paisley, hardy bandana, but one of soft white linen, the type you fold and arrange so the point peeks out of your breast pocket.

"no one gets these anymore," she sighed. "dykes who had these were always so dapper."

this year, the archives is thirty-five years old. these women who sit next to me, make me tea, and request I walk them through the apple interface have been at this for almost twice of my lifespan. yesterday, I changed a lightbulb for joan nestle. with my arms over my head, my shirt hitched up. as instinct tugged the hem down, she told me with a grin that my bellybutton was welcome to come out if it wanted. she is aging and has a bad knee, so I helped her up the stairs and back down again. she patted my lower back and told me, "I just love strapping young women."

I realized recently that I know history best by themes, rather than by dates or chronology. part of thematic history is the birth, death, and sustenence of community. a community is sustained by the young and the old and the new, by those born into it, brought into it, and in love with it; but above all, by those who need it. whether for survival or growth or both, it is the throbbing of need that breathes community alive.