Monday, July 30, 2007

Another reason hypoglycemia can be dangerous...

Especially early in the day. Or late in the day. Or any time in the day, really.

Okay, so I spent close to an hour obsessing over this one sentence in So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (my new novel), I mean this is the way the sentence ended up after close to an hour:

I know it’s irrational to think Jeremy’s gonna leave me because someone else lives for him to pump that asshole like bread -- you know, something easy to digest -- but still I worry that I’ll be dumped for that talented individual’s special hole.

Wait -- now I'm obsessing about it again -- subject/object agreement, believe it or not, or something like that...

Okay, I just changed it -- does it work? Oh no, I'm hypoglycemic again!

Oh, wait -- that's not the whole sentence at all -- let me give you a little context:

Jeremy makes me do it, he makes me hook up over the internet. I hate the internet, but he keeps saying it’s so easy. It’s so easy. He hooks up with someone practically every day, sometimes before or after me and sure I’m jealous but I know it’s irrational to think Jeremy’s gonna leave me because someone else lives for him to pump that asshole like bread -- you know, something easy to digest -- but still I worry that I’ll be dumped for that talented individual’s special hole. Of course I don’t say anything. I’m a whore -- I’m not supposed to get jealous.

Okay, what am I doing back here editing this post? I need to eat!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thank you again, Perverts Put Out!!!





The most emotional moment for me comes when Carol Queen reads an excerpt from The Leather Daddy and the Femme, it's the moment when Randy’s cock is exposed as a strap-on, after Randy’s participated in a lengthy gangbang and then passed out from all of the excitement/exertion, only to wake up smelling like piss and ready to shower with clothes on so as to continue passing, but one of the other guys says it's okay, she can take off the rest of the clothes and what's amazing is that this moment of exposure also becomes a moment of transcendence for everyone involved, which is kind of what Perverts Put Out is like -- I enjoy almost the entire three hours of this show, which says a lot because there's no ventilation at CounterPulse where it takes place, there's an enormous line for the bathroom but some sweet guy points out a nice spot across the street and even watches from the distance to make sure no interference arrives -- there's definitely something sexy about that. There's something sexy about the energy of the crowd in general, the way gender, sexuality and transgression mold themselves into surprising realms of excitement and attraction.

Also all of the lovely encouragement I'm getting about my new novel, which gives me energy to work on more edits when I get home, it actually feels fun again -- the process, I mean. I'd like to write more about all the brilliant performers like I did last time -- we share this space of creation and exploration, the place we’re making in this world that is something San Francisco could be, would be without everything else always on attack. But Perverts Put Out gives me a little bit of hope for what is also possible. I would write more, but right now it's time to get ready for bed.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What I hate the most about fibromyalgia





It's when I hurt myself while I'm trying to help. Myself, I mean I'm trying to feel better. Like I'm on the bus to the new acupuncturist, holding onto the rail at all of these awkward angles and the bus is packed, within minutes I'm so hypoglycemic that I want to kill someone, I mean actually I'm just angry at myself for being in this space, angry at the bus for not allowing me more, I mean not even a little corner on the floor where I can sit down. By the time I get a seat, I already know that my body is ruined.

Or dancing, you already know about dancing -- I'm still recovering. Earlier tonight I went to dinner with Katia and it was beautiful and energizing really, until now, when everything hurts, and I can track the pain back to the chair I was sitting in, I knew it would hurt but I didn't know it would hurt this much. Because it doesn't hurt right away.

Or maybe I shouldn't have stayed in the car chatting after we arrived at my house, my body turned at an awkward angle. I do appreciate precision, but I wish I didn't have to think about all of these routine dangers. These days I hurt myself sleeping, wake up with my neck twisted in an awkward position.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A whole day out


(The crane towering above my old building)

I get outside just as it's getting dark, but I'm excited because it's a foggy day, yes fog all day but then I get outside and it’s still humid. Gross. I walk about eight blocks, to deposit a check in the bank, and by the time I get there I'm so exhausted I don't even know how I'm going to get home.

Hearing music from someone's apartment up above, that brings me to this maudlin sadness that approaches hopelessness but it's almost comforting maybe because there's music, bad music but still music so I can choreograph disaster, I'm thinking that I'm just hypoglycemic, even though I ate right before leaving the house this is what happens.

In the magazine store, my feet feel like they're squeezed inside my shoes, the tops of my arches burning, and this guy leans over and says are you a hairstylist? No, I say, and smile. At least this is some form of connection. He looks up at my hair -- that must take a lot of time. He's looking at the issue of W with a David Beckham photo shoot, the one where Beckham’s ass is up in the air and I have to admit I'm curious. On the way out, I pick it up off the magazine rack, oh the photo shoot is David and Victoria Beckham because they're moving to LA but this photo shoot is in Spain. The best part is the text afterwards, David talks about when he first saw Victoria, who was Posh Spice at the time, she was in a catsuit on TV and he said: that girl there, that's the one I'm gonna marry.

I'm brought back to reality, out the door thinking about all the disgusting things people parade in front of the world as romance and then when eventually I get home I feel like I've been away forever or not really but definitely like I've had a whole day out -- it's probably been about an hour, though.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Perverts Put Out in San Francisco this Saturday

Saturday, July 28, 7:30 pm -- PERVERTS PUT OUT!
The Dore Alley Fair edition of this notorious reading
series (the fair is a nightmare, but this reading should be lovely -- it's a great group of readers!)

Proceeds benefit the Center for Sex & Culture. With the
fantastic Charlie Anders, Carol Queen, Lori Selke, Simon Sheppard, Kirk Read, Mattilda a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore, Gina DeVries and Thea Hillman.

CounterPULSE gallery. That's at 1310 Mission Street, San Francisco, from 7:30 to 9:30, and it's $10-$15, no one turned away I believe.

I will be reading an excerpt from my new novel, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights, Fall/Winter 2008)

A window into the liberal imagination

The Bilerico Project crossposted my Whole Foods/Chicago LGBT Center entry on a DailyKos diary, and the (44) comments there are fascinating...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Okay, I couldn't help but check...

Watch out,

Online Dating

-
But this is funny:

"This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

pain (16x) sex (10x) queer (8x) hurt (7x) cock (5x) dead (3x) dangerous (2x) bitch (1x)"

(Obviously they're only scanning a small section)

via koreanish and everyone else who's been posting these wacky trivia monsters, it's addictive! I guess if my pain goes away and then my queer cock isn't hurting any more so I'm a far less dangerous bitch, I stop having sex but I'm not dead yet -- then maybe I can get on the Disney Channel, yes please the Disney Channel or anything corrupt like that, just give me a GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG for judgment, please just one tiny little gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg

Nothing to breathe

At home, why is everything wet? The sweater I take off, the sweatshirt I put on, even the windows are fogged. It's the humidity, what is up with this humidity? Not the lovely cold fog like usual but something gross and claustrophobic like the East Coast except not really, I mean it's still heavenly here compared to that East Coast suffocation. But it's been two weeks of this weird humidity and I'm wondering if this is the way that summer is going to be now, no more of that Mark Twain coldest summer I ever spent I mean coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco -- you know that quote, right? It's not cold anymore, I mean not chilly like you need to put on a sweater and a coat and mittens and a scarf. The worst part is that when I wake up there's nothing to breathe.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Something for all of our families...

Gay consumerism reaches a whole new level with the opening of a Whole Foods Market in the glittering new $20 million Chicago LGBT Center. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune (echoed in articles in the Advocate/Gay.com/Planet Out and Queerty) gushed about the excitement of "the first retailer of its size to anchor a gay community center in the US."

Whole Foods is a notorious union-busting chain, whose CEO, John Mackey, a free-market capitalist in green-face, is fond of comparing unions to herpes or parasites. Whole Foods is also known for opening stores near smaller, community-based or cooperative health food stores, often forcing the smaller stores out of business (the Starbucks model). And perhaps no other business could be more responsible than Whole Foods for the corporatization of organic agriculture, by which a few mega-farms dominate the marketplace, and the availability of bananas, tomatoes or raspberries at all times of the year becomes more important than locally grown, sustainable farming.

While the wine-sampling machine in the new Whole Foods may become an illicit favorite of queer youth, it seems important to question whether Whole Foods will help to make the Center "a safe space and a catalyst" for all queers who might seek out its services, as former Executive Director Robbin Burr declared to CBS (for now, let's leave aside the fact that the Center just opened a few months ago, and already has a former director).

Who, exactly, is made safe by Whole Foods? Certainly not Chicago's most marginalized queers who might seek out space in the Center (if allowed inside by security) -- homeless queers, queers on disability, queers of color, queens, transpeople and queer youth without enough money to buy prepared food at eight dollars a pound. What about Whole Foods workers denied the right to unionize, and routinely fired for ridiculous "infractions" like giving a botched latte to a fellow worker for free? Oh -- and what about farmworkers in Chile, Mexico, and other destinations warm enough to provide year-round gourmet produce?

But wait -- I'm forgetting that, as Daryl Herrschaft, director of the workplace project (!) for the Human Rights Campaign, states in the Chicago Tribune, "Gay consumers are more likely to be brand-loyal than their heterosexual counterparts." That must be why the HRC store partners with sweatshops around the world to provide its customers with Nike-swoosh equals signs and gay marriage snow globes.

What's next? Will LGBT centers nationwide race to provide the best shopping opportunities for their consumers? How about a rainbow Abercrombie store? A pink-triangle Gucci boutique? Or, something for all of our families... a gay-for-pay Wal-Mart/Barney's New York/H & M superstore?

Ah, the possibilities of corporate/community partnership are just endless!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Looking for somewhere to sit in the sun




There's the newspaper box at Hyde and O'Farrell, I can move it to different angles, but it's not exactly comfortable -- after a few minutes, my feet start to hurt, dangling there with only pain to ground them I guess except that pain isn't grounding really. Then there’s the fire hydrant on the opposite corner, it's even harder than the newspaper box, and the top is rounded, but it's okay for a few minutes until my neck burns, these tiny shooting pains in my forearms like wires poking out. Up the street from me is a gate I can lean against, but there's so much pigeon shit nearby. I could sit on the collapsible plastic seat at the bus shelter, but the sun doesn't come inside. Everybody's smoke does.

Check me out on Feministing!

Yes, it's true -- there's an interview with me that just posted -- please visit me there, and do feel free to leave comments because sometimes on Feministing there will be an endless array of comments for a very short post, but an extensive interview will get none!

Anyway, I love being involved in conversations about feminism, since those are the conversations that have inspired me...

Friday, July 20, 2007

The new strategy



My mother: I'm trying to get everything in place in the new apartment, I've never had a place that's been totally done -- the house was always overwhelming. My mother: Is there a reason you haven't called Rose? I'd like you to stay in touch with her. My mother: I had the lighting redone, it was 2000 which isn't bad -- now I just need a rug. My mother: You're not saying much.

Me: I'm tired. My mother: I'm tired too.

Which makes it worse -- that my mother echoes me like we're on the same page, in the same boat, riding the same wave, on the same path, in this thing together, on the same wave length, riding it out together, going to the same church. The truth is that I am tired, but also it's like as soon as she starts talking my mood sinks so far my eyes could close and stay closed, or they'd stay closed and I'd think they were open, so what's the point?

Rose: I wouldn't do a painting just to sell, so I wouldn't expect you to do a book just to sell, but you could make money I mean a lot of money because novels will be the in thing -- people are bored with movies, television is horrible, people are getting back to reading -- not yet, but they're starting to -- oh, I'm getting tired.

I don't even want to talk about that time of the day when everything's pain again, like I could do nothing or anything and it will only get worse anyway -- I want to talk about the new strategy for dancing, okay? Here it is: five minutes the first week, six minutes the second, seven the third -- you get the point. Until I get to 20 minutes -- then I can go out again. I know that's a while from now, I mean I really wanted to go out last night, but Donna made a good point: she said even a professional athlete wouldn't go right up to exercising for 30 minutes, they'd start with five the first week, six the second, seven the third -- you see where I get this idea, let's just hope it works.

But why don't I go out until I get to 20 minutes? Well, there's no way I could go out dancing for five minutes, okay? This week's dancing song is -- okay, the title is terrible, it's "Piano Playa Hata,” by Wagon Christ but the song is really nothing but brilliance, it goes like this: a screeching noise, mumbling British accent voice, a few beats and then something about a wasteland in the background, but really it's those beats -- oh there’s the screeching again, we love the screeching with the beats and then here comes this: dee dah da da da duh, I mean I'm trying to mimic the sound, another vocal: this is a waste now, this is a waste now -- oh that breathing, a little break. Just a little one, this is when you're used to the whole thing and it slows to a stop, the keyboard drum type thing is slower, now more irregular but then back to the screeching and now it's that bass beat and more waste now, always more waste now.

Childhood, or something like that

Mairead Case asks me to write a sentence or two about my favorite Halloween costume from childhood, and here's what I come up with:

Years later I would realize that costumes were for everyday and Halloween was for everyone else, but back then (razorblades in apples, cyanide in what?) I was still traumatized in something plastic from the drugstore, I would trade my chocolates for my sister's hard candies, crunching them to get away in my head at least.

It's a good start, right?

Wait it's too hot to sunbathe -- what is going on up there?

Glamorous sunbathing on the fire escape

Back to Sarasota...

Oops, I guess I got cut from Joel Rozen's article on Sarasota PrideFest (or the lack of it this year), but Joel did post a great selection of the interview on the Sarasota Creative Loafing blog

A few good conversations...

Troy Williams interviewed me recently for Now Queer This on KRCL-Radio in Salt Lake City -- the interview was lots of fun, and I see that Troy just posted an wonderfully-edited print version of the first part of our interview here

And Stacey May Fowles wrote a lovely invocation of my politics in order to instigate a conversation about marriage on the Shameless Magazine blog...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Butter as a weapon

On the elevator, a woman who lives on the 12th floor. I ask her what she can see. Everything, she says -- pretty much everything. She's carrying a huge poster from a modeling shoot she did for a billboard. Just after 2 a.m. in my apartment, and I can hear a bunch of jocks yelling outside: dude, give me some more butter, man -- dude, more butter! I lean out my bathroom window to see what's going on, is that really a crowd of jocks outside the convenience store, smacking each other in the face with packages of butter? I bet you never thought about butter as a weapon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This is not my favorite moment

At least I'm in a relatively good mood -- I mean, I'm ready to write a scathing article about how there's a Whole Foods in the new LGBT Center in Chicago, yes a Whole Foods and everybody’s so so excited about it -- but actually I can't write right now, my body hurts too much I mean I'm not sure what I actually can do, since reading hurts my hands and editing is even worse, walking hurts everything, sitting in this chair hurts -- I don't know, maybe more feldenkrais movements, even though I just did feldenkrais movements? I need something to break the pattern of what I'm doing right now, that's what usually helps I mean I'm thinking of going to the Nob Hill Theatre but it's been terrible recently, just walking in circles and that hurts too and it's too early to go to bed and to tell you the truth talking on the phone ends up hurting too I'm not sure how, maybe a shower although it's so humid today that a shower doesn't even sound that appealing the towels I used earlier today probably aren't even dry yet but whatever I'll try a shower I don't know what else to do.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Finally, some good public art


(photo by Justina Barron)

The pain, oh the pain -- here it is

This is the worst part: I'm sitting outside of the movie theater because I can't figure out how to sit inside without too much pain -- I've tried moving around and even getting up to stretch, then taking off my shoes because my feet feel swollen, then even my socks because it feels too humid and stuffy in the theater, I hate this theater there's not enough room for my body in the seat but also it's just painful to sit in any theater, really. Then someone gets the person working there to tell me I can't eat and that's the last straw, no actually the last straw is the movie I can't deal with the way men’s bodies are displayed as almost-naked flesh for the director to work out his own desires I mean not work them out just give us some sort of endless pathologization/sublimation like these men are just displaying themselves in something that's supposed to feel authentic but it's just for the director’s kicks, some high-art in-joke but anyway I have to get outside, where I find myself looking at the ant infestation on the water fountain collection, literally hundreds or maybe thousands of ants crawling up I guess six metal fountains on the edge of what looks like a miniature sports field of some sort only too carefully manicured and in four of the water fountains there's pigeon shit in carefully delivered rows. I'm glad the pigeons won't get sick from the water they drink, but I'm not sure about everyone else.

Anyway, I think of eating while sitting on the toilet because the bathroom has a better cooling system, but then the same employee who told me not to eat in the theater follows me into the bathroom -- I'm guessing there's no rule prohibiting my eating in the privacy of a bathroom stall, but I feel strange and conspicuous anyway so I go outside. I'm sitting on the steps, but then there's so much burning around my neck and down my shoulders so I decide to stand up, but I don't want to eat standing up so then I'm sitting down and Chris comes out, he says oh you’re eating -- I was just checking to make sure you're okay.

Chris goes back inside, and then I find myself sitting on the steps crying a little because I'm not okay, I'm really not okay I mean I hate it that doing something so simple as a movie gives me so much discomfort, I mean it's really horrible I wish I could cry more I wish I'd stayed home. I mean that feeling from dancing is almost worth anything, in some ways it is everything but it's so difficult to also exist within this composition of pain, this me that doesn't feel like the same me dancing in collapse and release like anything is possible.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Endorphins, yes endorphins

On the walk home it’s like nothing could touch me until the last two blocks, and by that time it's like nothing matters anyway. Sweat pouring down my face I'm starting conversations with everyone on the way it's like everything blurs an improvement or at least saying hi and waving. Dancing, that's what happened, dancing -- it's what I need, they advertised minimal techno but it was that pounding beat I would call it old-school techno but words, forget words it's that beat throwing me into stumbling so gracefully, turn, fall, feel everything spinning the way you watch people's moves and build into, away from them the walls even I love the walls when I'm dancing the beat I'm dancing the beat.

Oh, and at the end when that guy came up and said thanks for dancing with me, I'm guessing straight guy doing the raver jock thing oh that was so sweet I mean I wasn't exactly dancing with him except that I dance with everyone, I'm aware of the bodies in the room and how I'm going to interact until I'm not aware and then I'm aware again.

Okay, so now we just have to hope that tomorrow everything doesn't hurt too much, I mean that everything tomorrow isn't just hurting, okay? Please, can we just hope for that?

But the endorphins, like I'm asleep and awake at the same time because of all of the sensation in and under my skin.

And if anyone has dancing ideas, here's what I'm looking for:

yes, that pounding beat, some sort of pounding beat
no smoke at all, not even smoke outside that blows into the club or it'll ruin my life I don't want that I'm trying to feel better not worse
the best would be somewhere near my house in the Tenderloin, so I can walk and then walk home too and not have to pay for two cabs so I don't hurt myself even more or get more exhausted, but I'm open to other ideas too
preferably a low-key crowd, I actually prefer places where I know no one, that's what I'm used to for dancing

Okay, time for bed yes definitely time for bed I'm wondering what sleep.

Global warming drama

Outside, there's some strange drizzle because it's so humid out, not the usual kind of humidity when the fog rolls in and it's suddenly freezing but some East Coast global warming drama. Someone smoking outside of a bar touches me with San Francisco realness when she looks up at the sky with dismay: is it really raining? I've never seen it rain when it's this warm.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The end of Pride (I wish)

Joel Rozen called me the other day to interview me for a story he's writing for Creative Loafing in Sarasota, Florida about the fact that this year’s PrideFest was canceled by the organizers due to fears that it was becoming too "vulgar." Indeed, the Herald Tribune, a Southwest Florida newspaper, reports that Karen Murray-Parker, the newly appointed president of Sarasota PrideFest, used to "[shake] her head at the protesters outside who held signs labeling gays and lesbians as depraved and immoral." But now, Karen Murray-Parker is quoted as saying, "Maybe those protesters have something."

Personally, I have no problem being labeled depraved or immoral by those who support the bloodthirsty, imperialist agenda of this fair nation, but I don't think Murray-Parker is taking this labeling as a badge of honor. Apparently PrideFest organizers are particularly eager to make Pride "family-friendly," so that parents of young children won’t worry about exposing their kids to -- gasp -- lewd behavior, which I guess means lip-synching drag queens, fruits in g-strings, “nonprofit” hacks behind tables (or microphones) and a few dykes with floggers (I'm just guessing -- if Sarasota PrideFest is actually an orgy of unprecedented sexual extravagance, well sign me up!)

I am, of course, no big fan of Pride “celebrations” myself, and if organizers were interested in banning corporate sponsorship, for example (since kids are particularly vulnerable to consumerism, and certainly suffer at the hands of multinationals like Budweiser, Pepsi and Tropicana, sponsors of last year's PrideFest), I'd say go right ahead! Unfortunately, this is an example, instead, of self-censorship for the purpose of some grotesque assimilationist agenda. (Please don't offend the straight people! Please don't offend the gay people acting like straight people!)

Kids are not afraid of sexual merrymaking, gender transfusions, panties on parade, or even gawking straight people with rainbow feather boas (although they may be afraid of their parents abusing them behind closed doors).

This is a border war, and Sarasota PrideFest is trying to decide who deserves the rainbow barcode... But, of course, there is a sassy silver lining to the canceling of this year's festivities, especially for those who aren't interested in branding. There's a whole year for Sarasota locals-- and I don't mean the PrideFest board -- to create something much more delicious, defiant and devastating. And no, it doesn't have to happen around the anniversary of Judy Garland's death. I can't make any predictions, but maybe some luscious trouble will emerge.

Friday, July 13, 2007

More pictures of the fog, I can't help it



But wait -- the fog is really rolling in tonight and look at what's left of the Intercontinental...

Oh no -- even more glass on the hideous Intercontinental as it gets closer to the top...


Oh, those songs of seduction at the Nob Hill Theatre!

The songs go something like this:

She's so fine, there's no telling where the money went. She's all mine, there's no other way to go. If you wanna buy me flowers, just go ahead now. If you wanna talk for hours, just go ahead now. My love runs cold, my memory has just been sold -- our love's in jeopardy, baby. Ooooh… ooh ooh ooh. Runaway train, never going back -- wrong way on a one-way track. For the line, love isn't always on time. Oh… oh… oh. You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy. Too many sleepless nights -- I'll be there for you. And baby you're all that I want, when you're lying here in my arms -- we're in heaven.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Poking the pointy leaves with my spongy fingertips



Chris says I'm wired, and maybe he's right -- but I wasn't wired until he got here -- I don't hang out with people that often, I mean with people I like. I mean with people.

Then Chris leaves, and for a few minutes I feel calm, sitting on the sofa next to my new plant that Chris helped me rescue from the entryway -- it was just sitting there in a pot with no soil, waiting -- a foil? Chris says it's a snake plant, that's what it's called but also he's angry at it because the soil clogged my drain, then he had to water the plant in the bathtub and he hurt his shoulder picking it up. His shoulder was already hurting, it started when he did a forearm stand in yoga so he hasn't gone to yoga in two weeks. I can't believe all the yoga I'm missing, he says, and I'm laughing.

Why are you laughing, Chris says -- it's how I deal with the world. I know, I say. Of course I'm trying to be supportive, but also I can't help thinking that two weeks just doesn't feel like anything anymore, I mean exercise is how I used to deal with the world too, but I haven't been able to exercise regularly for years now. Maybe I resent that two weeks feels like too long for Chris, I mean he feels like he's rotting away and what does that say about me?

But then Chris is gone, and my sinus headache is back. Maybe it was already there, I mean here -- but I just didn't notice. I sit next to my plant, poking the pointy leaves with my spongy fingertips. These leaves seem so strong.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Say goodbye to this beautiful shirt -- goodbye, beautiful shirt!


Days when I'm doing dishes in the bathroom sink



I like doing my hair in the bathroom, but not the dishes -- the sink is too small, too low, but unfortunately what's more clogged than the kitchen sink is my head, I swear someone's pouring turpentine into my throat while I'm sleeping. I thought I was resting, I mean I actually slept way more than usual, but today everything's filled with mucus and other forms of messiness. Whoever said that madness was pure gladness -- who the hell was that? They were wrong!

But where's the stirring spoon -- my beans are boiling over -- oh, right, in the bathroom sink. Should I move into the bathroom, plug in a hot plate? There's not enough room -- it's barely comfortable enough for a shower -- although at least the hot water is working now.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Bilerico Project gets wacky

Remember when I mentioned that I would also be blogging at bilerico? Bilerico was an “LGBT” blog that started in Indiana, got super-popular and went national (I was part of their expansion). Now, due to all of this attention, the blog has relaunched (yes, today) as The Bilerico Project, with literally 30 contributors writing pretty much whatever they want (although my posts about cruising are unfortunately considered too racy for the bilerico crowd).

The Bilerico Project has certainly gone after the gay "nonprofit" elite -- starting today, both Matt Foreman, director of the, umm… endlessly inspiring National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) and Joe Solmonese, director of -- gasp! -- the wealthy gay lobbying group masquerading as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) -- both of these ghastly "gay leaders" will be contributing their insights. They will be joining not only me and the original bloggers, but none other than Candace Gingrich (fortunately, Chastity Bono and the Mary Cheney will not be in attendance -- yet!).

But wait -- joining us will also be Jessica Hoffman, one of the brilliant minds behind Make/shift, Yasmin Nair, who somehow manages to publish thought-provoking pieces about immigration, public sex and assimilation in Windy City Times, and Gina DeVries, one of the shining lights in sex radical circles. Also, all of these great people from Indiana who I'd never heard of before...

I do believe that The Bilerico Project is trying to actualize that liberal mythology that multiple sides can be represented together, and a conversation may ensue -- I look forward to the madness of it all...

Usually, I choose selected posts from my very own blog (that's right, the one you're reading) for The Bilerico Project, but today I've posted an elaboration on an earlier post by Sean Kosofsky -- my new post is provocatively titled "Rape and pleasure," and will post 3 1/2 hours from this very moment.

And now you know where to find Candace Gingrich...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

But there's good news

In Masha Tupitsyn’s Beauty Talk & Monsters, she reads/writes my mind:

"I don't want to be another female narrator of masculinity."

And:

"I don't want to remember everything unless it's for an argument or an idea or a way out."

Now I'm stuck here waiting

There's something about sitting in this exact space that’s making everything worse. Like I'm feeling even more dehydrated, that's probably the heat but I'm cold, that's why the heat is on. The dehydration started last night, glass after glass of water before getting into bed of course that meant further interruption. Then this strange feeling on the edges of my tongue like pins poking in, I keep sticking it out in the mirror but there's nothing to see. Meanwhile, my sinuses knot my forehead, energy I mean there is none except struggling against the pain I hate that.

Maybe I need to turn the heat off, that's made everything worse for sure, except that now I'm not cold. But I almost want to go outside to see if I'll feel better there, except that when I went out earlier everything was a catastrophe, I mean everything except the taxi that brought me back. Now I'm stuck here waiting until it's time to go to bed.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Real estate speculation in so many forms

I decide to take a walk, even though I don't have any energy I'm going to take a walk. At least I'll get some of that 6 p.m. sun exposure when the light actually softens the shadows on my face. I start walking down O'Farrell towards Polk Street, past some terrible barbecue on the sidewalk because it's Fourth of July -- is today still the Fourth of July? I guess it’s today, because there's a barbecue on the sidewalk, polluting the whole area with kerosene fumes I'm just glad I don't live above that bar. Anyway, I was going to sit on my favorite newspaper box, but that's right by the bar so I keep walking, past Van Ness even and then the strange area where the streets are almost like highways except they're on hills, then I keep walking. I've decided I'm going to pretend that this won't hurt afterwards, that I'm not completely exhausted and getting hypoglycemic, that I can just go on a walk like someone without these problems and maybe it'll be okay.

Then there's that strange area where I'm out of downtown and the buildings are suddenly ‘60s instead of ‘30s and there are way more trees and no one's around, it's kind of calming because I can hear birds chirping, what is this building on the left -- I guess some kind of senior center, or wait maybe a hospice. Then the street ends, there's a fence around maybe a school so I turn left and then I'm coming up at the subsidized housing, I think this is one of the newer ones built after all the larger complexes were demolished, I mean they got rid of everyone who was living in 10-story towers and then let maybe a tenth of the people move into the new buildings -- public housing disguised as condos, making the neighborhood safer for gentrification.

There are a bunch of kids hanging out, boys on one side of the street and girls on the other -- I guess the boys are reading me or something, one of them says three strikes -- purple shirt, purple belt, and the socks! I smile -- and those fucked-up earrings, someone says as I'm walking past. Then across the street, one of the girls says I like your belt -- thanks, I say, turning around just a bit. One of the other girls says faggot, and I put my hands up in the air like no kidding and someone else argues: no, that's a girl! Her friends says no that's not, it's a faggot. You walk just like me, one of the other girls says and that almost sounds like a compliment except I don't think she means it that way. I'm enjoying the gender confusion -- it doesn't happen often anymore.

It's actually kind of refreshing to me that there’s a small part of the Western Addition where it actually still feels like a black neighborhood, not just new condos and yuppies in renovated Victorians. Although of course I'm getting shade like I'm not supposed to be in that part of the Western Addition, which is only about one block wide and maybe three or four blocks long in this section. I'm almost at the corner and a shard of glass flies maybe five feet from my head, a very sharp piece of glass like if it actually hit me at a certain angle it could really do damage but I decide to think that whoever threw it didn't really want to hit me anyway, otherwise it would’ve come closer. I don't want it to ruin my mood, the sun is shining bright in my face as I turn the corner, and when the cops drive by they slow down like I'm not supposed to be there either -- it feels kind of sad to me that this is just an island with a few blocks of public housing and some low-income ownership cooperatives within a sea of real estate speculation, but still the cops are acting like it's a threat and everyone on the street is looking at me like I walked onto the wrong movie set.

I keep walking, one woman says to me: you must be in a good mood today. I smile -- I don't know what she's talking about, really. Then someone else stops, maybe a dyke -- but no it's a young guy, about to enter his car but he turns around almost 180 degrees to stare at me like he's never seen anything like it. This all feels so strange and artificial -- I mean, we're maybe 10 blocks from downtown San Francisco. At the end of the strip of subsidized housing is a new condo development, three-bedroom/two bath townhouses -- the advertisement even says “gated community.” I guess the gates aren't up yet. It's hard for me to imagine how much those townhomes are going to cost, especially after passing this new building on Fillmore that has the audacity to call itself Fillmore Heritage Center -- cultural removal disguised as a celebration of history -- I think there's even a jazz club in the lobby. I look up at the building -- nothing special, it doesn't even look like the apartments have large windows or balconies -- but what really makes my mouth hang open is the sign that says starting in the 600,000s -- somehow real estate in San Francisco still surprises me.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Thoughts on the pieing of Medea Benjamin

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When a friend of mine mentioned that Medea Benjamin, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace (or Global Trade-Off and Code Pinkerton, as someone posts on San Diego IndyMedia), got a pie smashed in her face at the US Social Forum in Atlanta on Saturday, my first thought was: what a brilliant target! When I read the statement of Bakers Without Borders and Co-Optation Watch, the group(s) responsible for the action, I got even more excited. The statement begins:

"[We] demand accountability from a self-appointed ‘spokesperson’ whose actions further the commodification of resistance and sabotage our movement's sustainability and credibility. This person's actions benefit the NGO Industrial Complex at the expense of real democracy and solidarity."

While the US Social Forum brought together over 10,000 activists from across the US (and around the world), and I'm looking forward to hearing inspiring (and aggravating) stories from friends who attended, there is also no doubt that the event served as a platform for an endless variety of “nonprofit” shenanigans, and I think Medea Benjamin is the perfect target for a critique of the nonprofit industrial complex (the way in which nonprofits have become a self-serving mechanism that facilitates the dumping of billions of dollars into projects that support the status quo rather than challenging it). While I will admit to sometimes being inspired by Medea's interruptions in the halls of Congress (there's Medea getting arrested again, I think while listening to Free Speech Radio News -- at least she's using her privilege for something useful), she's also a grandstanding, jetsetting, new-agey gender essentialist who certainly embodies the contradictions of the funded liberal left.

But the video of Medea getting pied did not leave me with the glee I'd expected; instead I found myself sobbing. I couldn't help but respond viscerally -- it didn't really look funny, it looked like an assault. Maybe it was the context -- before the pieing, Medea was not giving a speech, she was chatting casually with a bunch of CODEPINK supporters and then boom, pie in her face! Maybe it's that I don't hate Medea like I hate some of the other eminent targets of pieing, like San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who famously declared, "If you can't afford to live in San Francisco, then leave." Maybe it's that, since I found myself empathizing with Medea, I couldn't help wondering what a surprise pie in my face would feel like -- How much would it hurt, and for how long -- how deeply would it trigger my chronic pain? Would it be hard for me to breathe? And, most importantly, would it feel like an assault? Would it give me flashbacks of getting bashed, make me scared to be in public?

I don't necessarily have the answers to these questions, and I still think the action was well-executed and effective, it just brings up questions for me about the borders between violent and nonviolent direct action. While I believe in nonviolence, I don't believe in Nonviolence. What I mean is that my version of nonviolence is very different, much more situationally-specific than the version of nonviolence championed by the liberal establishment (to put this a different way, I do believe that there are legitimate arguments for both "nonviolent" and for "violent" resistance).

Of course, it's possible to see almost every action as either violent or nonviolent, depending on the circumstances and who gets to decide. While mainstream media (and liberals like Medea) would like us to think that property destruction is violent, I think that property destruction is the ideal nonviolent action (the more property, the better), as long as no one is injured. Of course, someone else might respond that property destruction, even when no one is directly injured, still terrorizes people, causes long-term traumatic effects.

I don't believe that if a cop or a basher or a battering lover smashes you in the face with a baton or a fist or a brick, it is violent to respond in any way that gets you out of harm’s way. It may be more violent not to respond. This is not as simple as self-defense; I think there is also such a thing as self-offense.

I don't know exactly where all of this leads, I guess it's just what came up for me when I watched Medea Benjamin get pied. Strangely, I find myself nervous about expressing empathy for Medea, as if articulating a radical politic should not involve such messy or conflicted emotions.

In Medea's response, she does echo some of my thoughts about the potential violence of pieing (and, to her credit, welcomes discussion), but she also spins some grotesque liberal garbage, such as when she says, “I actually feel sorry for people who harbor so much resentment and come from a place of such anger.”

Anger is where resistance comes from, last time I checked.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The other side of the vertical blinds

I can see the light streaming in through the edges of my eye mask it’s some impossible time in the morning I'm trying every trick I know to get back into that dark softness -- humming on exhale to enlarge my breathing, poking the tips of my fingers to relax my brain, anal sphincter exercises because sometimes that brings enough of a calming rush to my head, turning on my side to hug the body pillow. But then I'm wired, the worst kind of wired where my brain won't stop I'm planning out three essays at once -- one on censorship and self-censorship, one on contested boundaries in queer and trans subcultures, one on why my brain won't stop I have to get my brain to stop there's nothing helpful about planning essays out in bed when I really need to be sleeping. Maybe if I could make a carbon copy of my brain and look at it in the morning, otherwise everything gets stored differently and by the time I actually have time to write my brain no longer works.

This is the danger zone, where I might not fall back asleep and if I don't fall back asleep then I can't function at all, my body dried out my mind torn up my digestion destroyed it's like the difference between falling and collapse: I can still do something when I'm falling, choreograph and cushion the end results. But if I don't fall back asleep then it's over, now what's happening is that I almost get there I'm kind of dreaming but then I get too hot so I have to turn to the other side and then I'm awake again.

At some point I'm surrounded by this horrible familiar panic there’s someone there do they know I’m here should I look underneath the vertical blinds just a tiny bit so that I know what I'm facing? I'm out of bed, right by the window everything is terror I mean the room is filled with what might happen what happens again and again what always happens, I pull one of the blinds a tiny bit to the side but the space isn't wide enough for me to see anything, my whole body is this fear this panic this waiting to be surrounded. I pull a tiny bit wider: what I see is a white flower. Still I’m panicked, was that really a white flower, what could that white flower represent I mean still there’s the terror like the white flower is that terror the room in waves.

I can't believe this is the place I'm visiting again, I drag myself out of the dream -- those vertical blinds in my room as a kid, they were supposed to be sophisticated. Then I'm lying in bed again, not wanting to wake up too much but wanting to get away from that flashback state where even a white flower means the end of everything, the end of everything again and again and again. Still, it was a white flower, maybe I can go back in the dream to see just the white flower, like that plant my grandmother gave me when I was a kid, yes maybe it sat on the shelf right by the window.

The good news is that I fall back asleep, when I wake up it's way too late but I'm still so glad that I went back somewhere approaching rest, that second wave of sleep the one that truly matters. The bad news is that as soon as I start chopping vegetables, my right arm feels twisted the wrong way, what is it that's increasing the pain, is it something that I do with my hand while I'm sleeping, my stomach clenched it relaxes when I wake up my hand stays wrenched. I'm just glad that drinking lemon water feels like relief, that means this is more of a normal day then a terrible one, I'll stretch and then hopefully the pain in my right hand will have dissipated.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Why I can't give up on public sex, I just can't give up

Okay, so it's the moment when this guy walks into the room with the glory hole, and then I walk next door, we each put a dollar in our respective machine, I'm looking through the hole to see what he wants, then his jeans are down his cock bending upward through the hole and it's like there's nothing else in my life right now I mean I'm practically a cliché for his cock, this old story is that the name of the movie? Of course we’d have to take out practically, practically doesn't sell.

So the point is that I'm crazy, even though I know I'm fucking up my neck right now nothing matters except for getting him off, that's right nothing else matters. Except that I’m also trying to get a picture of myself in all of my rabid glamour, although I'm worried he'll notice or I'll move into an uncomfortable position and then our rendezvous will reach its time limit. This possibility is too much to handle, I put the camera down. Although then I'm worried I'm going to leave it, so I reach over and replace it in my pocket, making the angle of his cock in my mouth somewhat awkward but luckily I know how to recover quickly like I just turned my whole body to the right for another reason like some tricky maneuver this guy didn't anticipate.

I can tell he's feeling my technique because his cock isn't moving, that means he's pushing as far as he can against the barrier, to get into my throat, oh that's what I want I mean that's what I'm giving but am I sucking too fast, back and forth with such abandon no not abandon this is ravenous excitement plus drive although how does that differ from abandon? I don't want to say desperation but you know what I mean, I mean I'm trying so hard to get him off which isn't always the best method. I slow down, lips to the barrier and then he's thrusting, oh I love it that he's thrusting. Then he pulls back and starts jerking off, I say do you want to come in here I mean in here this booth with me, he says I'm okay and then it's back in my throat, the only thing that would be better is if he had his hands on the back of my neck but maybe then there would be something wrong like the smell of his breath or I'd kiss him on the neck and he’d gets scared or I'd lose one of my earrings so maybe this is perfect except for the angle, like I have to get above his cock a little because of the way it curves and then lean my head both down and up that's okay.

All of this sucking, I love this sucking, what is it about this sucking, just the way it opens everything and the time has long ago run out on the video screen so you can really hear me gulping I'm fantasizing that someone's peeking in from the hallway since without the video running the light is on, they would have a great view I love that view. Then the guy’s jerking again, then back to my mouth, throat muscles and everything it's like this is the only thing I want to do for the rest of my life I mean really you know I mean really really really, then I realize maybe he wants me to jerk too although I always try no-hands for top-notch treatment but as soon as I start jerking he's moaning yes, oh yes, I have to listen carefully to make sure it's him and not a video but yes it's him moaning oh yes, yes oh yes oh. I'm jerking slowly now, mouth around the rest and then I hear oh yes, there's something kind of straight about the way he sounds I can't help liking that too I mean it's just masculinity, strangely I probably sound that way too when I'm coming and then I taste it, sweet in my mouth I mean sometimes it's bitter not sweet at all I get disgusted like why not just pull away at the last minute except for that sensation of someone else's release I keep sucking and jerking and then he pulls back I put my mouth right at the hole in the wall between us, see him jerking, then he stuffs it back in my mouth that's where I want it all of it he pulls back, then stuffs it back, this goes on for a few more thrusts there's a rhythm to it then he pulls away again and he's pulling up his jeans, I get a chance to say thanks that was great before he exits.

I compose myself and I'm back in the hallway, smiling and sassy I fix my hair in the bathroom but actually it's not messed up at all -- oh, right, there was a wall between us. Back in the hallway, there's an influx of guests because it's almost 2 a.m., a group of three guys who look younger and trendier than the usual arrive and I'm cruising the one with a bald head and pegged jeans but I think he’s intimidated because of his friends. Then there’s a tweaker who's a regular, he's kind of smiling I appreciate the smile, then there’s the guy who was chasing me earlier, and then someone impossibly hot walks right down the stairs, dark hair with sideburns, red shirt, I motion him into a booth but he looks confused, then I say come in and he follows.

This is the best moment really, when everything just flows from one guy to the next I mean this is the potential of public sex, it's why I can't possibly give it up, even if my chances are 50-to-one to get to this place I'll still keep trying. This guy wants to know what I'm on, I'm familiar with that discomfort. It's all about making out with him, I mean making out in the booth and later I've even got him pressed against the wall in the hallway, liquor breath maybe he wants some of what I've got I've got something yes I've got something I've got it, yes I've got it right now I've got it yes please don't take it away.