Friday, February 29, 2008

Maybe flirting helps

After feldenkrais I get that window of opportunity when my mind clears and I'm ready to write, but I'm supposed to relax for at least a half hour afterwards and do something that isn't one of my body's habits, so I don't write right away. Then I end up checking my email first, just quickly, but that's always a disaster for my body anyway so now the sides of my head are expanding and I can't think. Somehow my brain works if I'm doing something where I don't have to focus, but as soon as I try to focus I can't. I mean my face starts to hurt and my sinuses pound my jaw tightens I keep trying to get the thoughts back but they’re stuck somewhere inside my head or floating outside like I'm in the wind and my hair’s spinning ribbons around me.

I can keep going, just in case. But wait -- sex. Sex brings me out of the fog, I mean right now it's just jerking my dick because some guy on craigslist is writing about giving you head like you've never had before. I didn't even know that I wanted head like I'd never had before. Something about the hair on his chest, and the way he says phone. I mean he writes it. He says he wants someone to call whenever he's horny, yes I like calling -- even if the sex act isn't what I'm looking for, I'll do the phone yes the phone the phone the phone!

But wait -- get this: he thinks I'm cute, if I was in Berkeley he'd already be on his knees but he wants something two to three times a week and that's a lot of driving. What is he talking about? We haven't even met, and he's already talking about two to three times a week -- people on the internet are so weird, I mean can't we just hook up tonight and see what happens?

Now I'm trying to convince him to come over, while he's probably jerking off. And this is after the first guy, someone who'd actually responded to my ad from the other night, he called to get directions and then never called back! Afraid of the Tenderloin, I'm sure, since he was coming from Burlingame. People in San Francisco can't even deal with the Tenderloin, but Burlingame? Maybe that chandelier in his picture was current, I meant to ask about that. So much time people waste on these weird games, I just want to have a list of five or six people who I like having sex with, people to call from time to time and turn it out, right? Right now I have a list of zero. I was even thinking of going to Blow Buddies, although it's never fun on Thursdays.

Okay, now this guy says that the fact that I live in the city is quite prohibitive. Interesting word choice. At least he got back to me, now I'll do some stretches and get ready for Blow Buddies, just so I don't end up in some internet time warp drama.

Oh, no -- internet time warp drama. This guy keeps sending flirtatious messages, and I keep responding. While I'm listening to this conversation about the Gendercator from the Bloomington, Indiana queer film festival. This is what people do all day. The chatting part. Jerking off is hurting my hand, I better leave for Blow Buddies. But first I'm waiting for my beans to boil -- oh, no, they're boiling over!

Do you like this real-time exposé? I guess I'm in a good mood now, or something. Maybe flirting helps, even when thwarted. We'll see how long this mood lasts...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Possibilities and limitations, possibilities in limitations

Katia says when she writes something personal, she worries that she'll remember what she wrote and not the actual memory. With me it’s the reverse -- I worry that I won't remember anything if I don't write it down. In part that's because I blocked out most of my childhood and writing is such an important part of my process of remembering. And really it does help to write things down as they're happening -- even if I write something different than what actually happened, I look at the writing and I remember the differences.

I'm actually feeling some of that pressure right now -- the pressure to write something down immediately, otherwise I'll forget. Because I had this great conversation with Bruin earlier (two weeks ago) and it stimulated all these ideas -- just like but not just like my conversation with Katia, that just ended (two weeks ago) so it's fresher in my mind and I feel less frenzied. With Bruin the conversation went in so many different directions, I wanted to write an outline right afterwards but my right hand was already twisted in that annoying way that happens after I've cooked, so I didn't want to hurt it more. I thought I would just start writing, but then my head clouded over I got so tired I couldn't think -- ironic but not ironic, because part of what we're talking about was my fatigue and how it impacts my life. So then I did some feldenkrais movements, and Katia called so that was a good escape actually. I mean my brain started working again.

Now maybe I'm more tired, and my right hand is still hurting -- but thanks to the voice activation software I don't have to use my right hand much to write, which is a relief. Except that I just used the mouse to insert "but thanks to the voice activation software." I guess I could have said "select I don’t,” then "unselect that," but I just had to type that sentence since I don't know how to get the software to type something that's also a command.

I think I'm ready to claim the word disability. I'm scared of it too, because I'm afraid it means I'll never get to the other side of all this exhaustion and pain and the way it impacts my life in dramatic ways. Even though I know "the other side" doesn't necessarily exist, there are different sides to it every day and some of those I appreciate. Like the way it makes me think about my needs more, and other people's needs, even if sometimes I wish I didn't have any needs and that I could do more for other people. But that's always been the case.

I'm also scared of claiming the word disability because I don't want the place where I am right now to become permanent, and I'm worried about invading other people's spaces that feel more permanent to them or to the outside world. And maybe more inspiring. In some ways it's kind of like claiming transgender, I hesitate and say that I'm on the transgender continuum, because I'm afraid of taking permanence from those who want it. Even though transgender is not supposed to be an identity about permanence, for many it has become a transition from one identity to another -- I worry that my fluidity makes me less legitimate. Even if fluidity is why I want to embrace transgender. Obviously there are people who don't want the permanence of disability, and I'm afraid of being that shameful figure unable to glow with the possibilities of bodily limitations. In actively working to overcome disability, am I an embarrassment?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ventergy

Craigslist is so stupid and obsessive, I mean I don't have any energy at all and that's why I'm on craigslist, trying to find something to make me forget for a little while but all I see is MASCULINE ONLY or Looking for str8/married/bi or whatever other bullshit, it's all bullshit it's just depressing I don't get any escape at all. I call Randy, who wants to know about my trip and am I glad to be back, I mean I am glad to be back but I just feel so awful like I can't even function I mean that's no surprise considering in LA I was worse, I knew I'd be sitting here at the kitchen table staring into space trying to think, I mean trying to think something other than, something other than. Something other than?

Anyway I'm venting and Randy says you sound like you have a lot of energy but it's not energy it's ventergy. Randy says is that a word you just invented? Yes, darling, I'm venting I'm venting I'm venting it’s ventergy!

Anyway then I'm back on craigslist just for a moment, it's always just for a moment and there's one person who actually sounds like he has a personality so I send him an email and then I don't have to be on anymore really, it was that simple. Just one person who probably won't even respond, but he says he likes different types and he's open to new ideas says he's funny he’s looking for someone who says something besides: still looking? So whatever, it's worth a try, and then I notice that Keith actually responded to my email from earlier -- or at least I think I called him Keith, the guy who I met on craigslist, I mean the one who started me thinking that maybe I could have fun with craigslist, that was a month ago and nothing has happened since. I’d given up on him because we talked on the phone but he kept saying he was going to some bar or some other bar and then I gave up. Now he says he hasn't heard from the other guy -- why is he telling me about the other guy, he always says something about that guy like I'm looking for him -- oh, maybe he thinks that's what I want again, that I want to hook up with him and that guy. I tell him I don't care about that mess -- I don't use the word mess, although he sure was a mess. But Keith is going to bed -- that's what it says in his email from two minutes ago, yes two minutes, says he’s been busy and going to bed early but wait, what else does he say?

Soon we'll play again.

Well, I'm not so sure about that, but I'm certainly ready, I mean it actually puts me in a good mood and then I post something on craigslist which is kind of like me I mean it is me with pictures of my paisley sweater and the side and back of my head it's cute and fun and energetic, I say: The truth is that I don't know exactly what I want except someone who can actually connect in the moment, I mean stay present and go with the charge instead of having sex with computer/TV screens in his eyes. So who the hell am I? I'm some faggot with at least a little bit of integrity and charm -- and no one responds but I kind of like posting it anyway, just because it makes me feel present instead of scanning all the atrocities trying to fit myself in.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Taste of Power

I was wondering what happened to Elaine Brown, author of A Taste of Power, about her time in the Black Panther Party, and here she is on Uprising Radio -- perhaps as scathing as ever... with a few contradictory moments (the ballot as the bullet?!), as always, but nonetheless she's incisive and insightful. Bring it on...

My grandmother's art, as viewed in my sister's apartment...





Sunday, February 24, 2008

Choking the way childhood felt

I’m in the backseat of the car with my father and mother, we get to the parking lot but it has big glass doors like a fancy department store, Saks or Lord & Taylor or Neiman Marcus, and on the other side is a one-lane highway with cars speeding by and somehow we have to open the glass doors and make a 90-degree turn into traffic to get inside. It all seems impossible, but somehow we do it and then we have to go down five levels so that each time the front of the car slams down on the cement at an incredibly steep angle that seems impossible, but then we have to get to the next floor. I say to my father: you’re driving too fast! But he ignores me. I’m used to it.

Then we’re in a field with beach towels, maybe it’s July 4 and I hear someone screaming from the distance. I ask my father: was that Mom? No answer again.

Then I realize it is my mother, she’s having a seizure and I rush to her, I’m holding her head and petting her like a little girl, saying it’s okay, it’s okay, while my father is taking her pulse but he’s pushing too hard. I say stop, you’re pushing too hard, but he ignores me. I say to my mother: what’s wrong?

My mother is calmer now but about to pass out, she says Bill, am I on a new medication? I say to my father: what is she on? My father says: I didn’t write the prescription. I say I know that it’s against medical ethics for you to write the prescription, but you can’t tell me you don’t know what she’s on.

My father ignores me, he looks down at my mother on the beach towel and sees a small red button on the front of her neck. What’s this, he says, and he pushes the button like a little kid all excited to see what happens. My mother jumps up in a seizure again, and runs away shrieking. I’m screaming at my father: you’re trying to kill her!

Waking up, I remember that my father’s dead and I’m still trying to save my mother, even if she’s the one who should have saved me. From him. From herself. And I was just thinking about when my sister used to wake up in the middle of the night shrieking help! Help! And my mother would come in and soothe her back to sleep, saying it’s okay. Just like I’m telling my mother in the dream. I realize that at the beginning of the dream we’re in the parking lot where I used to cruise in high school, the mall with Saks and Neiman Marcus and those glass doors. I learned to lead men down staircase after staircase until we were at the bottom, half a level after the parking lot ended but in the dream we’re driving the car down the same angle as stairs but there are none. In Safe, Julianne Moore speeds into a parking lot when she starts choking on exhaust fumes and that’s kind of how it feels in the dream, not exhaust just choking the way childhood felt. I’m still trying to breathe.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm sick of trying to recover

I’m sure there’s something interesting to say about that point when my brain shuts but my eyes are still open, my eyes will still be open for at least an hour or two so I don’t know if I should hope for my brain to open again or just that it stay shut until the time when I’m supposed to wake up, I mean tomorrow around 2 or 3 p.m. Today I went with Jessica to Santa Monica and we stood in a park overlooking the highway in front of the beach, we were trying to get down to the sand, the ocean that actually looked small somehow, but we couldn’t figure it out so we stood there and breathed and looked at the weird overgrown houses stuck between highway and sand. The highway is the stuck part -- sand, well that’s why they’re there. That one looks like a boat. Or country club.

Even with the highway, the air was so much softer and invigorating than the air over here, which just smelled like exhaust when we got back, still over here on the Westside I think they capitalize that but way further from anything to purify. I’m afraid of going back to San Francisco, I mean afraid of taking the bus back and I’ll be inhaling recycled air for seven hours -- that’s the fastest bus available. Plus I have to get up way too early, which is still noon but it’ll destroy me. I’d like to say that maybe I’ll be okay, but I know that even if I could sleep as late as I wanted, then get up like usual and get ready and then go-- well, we know what happened last time. I’ve only begun to recover, and now I have to do it all over again. I’m worried that the bathroom window in my apartment will be closed, the air will be stuck and they supposedly just fixed the stall wall of the bathroom shower I’m worried about dust and mold accumulating in my breathing passages.

I’m sick of trying to recover, just trying to get back to that point of overwhelming exhaustion and hypersensitivity and pain surrounding me -- that place where somehow it’s kind of manageable because I’m used to it. At least compared to now, when it’s way more difficult to function at all and I can only expect that it’ll get worse again before it stabilizes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good news, bad news at 2 a.m.

The good news about LA is that there are so many sex clubs. The bad news is that there’s no one there. The good news is that I finally feel like myself. The bad news is that this only really happens at 2 a.m. Or, at the beginning of really good meal. But not by the end. Or, at the beginning of a really good conversation. But not by the end. Or, when I finally find glamorous mineral eye shadow at a health food store. Eye shadow can cover a lot, and nothing. I’m not even going to talk about my pain, my exhaustion so overwhelming I’m wondering if I can ever travel again but that was earlier now it’s 2 a.m. it's finally raining I love the rain no one else in LA does restaurants are half-full things shut down early but at 2 a.m. sometimes things feel okay.

Not quite LA realness

The good news about the Melrose Spa is that I catch the bus there, I’m not even looking for a bus I’m looking for a cab but then the bus arrives. Then I get there and it’s depressing, I can’t really figure out why anyone would hang out there and apparently everyone else thinks so too, I mean everyone who isn’t there, which is pretty much everyone it looks like. Then I’m upstairs on the glory hole runway, by myself, staring at the red lightbulb in a cage and listening to some song about liberation, you know bang bang booty rub on it ooh oooh ooooh booty booty bang bang, something like that. And I start dancing a little, until someone’s shining a flashlight around and I figure maybe it’s the cleaning staff.

Is someone really smoking in here? I’m staring right at the red ember in front of lips inhaling, this guy sitting in his room with the door open just like that it’s so brazen I almost don’t believe it. Then I’m getting ready to leave, but the guy working says wait for this guy so I’m curious and he’s right, this guy is hot, I hug him from behind and kiss his neck while he’s on the way to the shower and then I check on him again, still wet, but he says he’s just going to hang out in the whirlpool, it’s so so cold outside. The whirlpool is the scariest thing in this place, I’m not going near it. But I appreciate that the employee gave me the hot tip -- that’s caring, once in a while it actually helps to be friendly to people! I tip him on the way out, he says there’s a list of the most crowded times in the intro packet he handed me, which also includes condoms and lube and a peppermint. And more good news -- you won’t believe this, but I catch the bus again.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Okay, now I need a ride from LA to San Francisco!

Well, I got a lovely ride last time (thanks, Kevin!) -- now I'm looking to leave this Saturday or Sunday evening -- that's February 23 or 24. I'd be glad to pay for all gas expenses (or even split the cost of a rental car), and would surely stop at a health food store beforehand and get snacks (not necessary, just a plus if you're interested)...

I'd love help with my bags, but that's not essential either -- just let me know if you want to drive!

The view from my sister's apartment





Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gay people and cultural erasure, my op-ed in today's San Francisco Bay Guardian...

Got Milk? Yes, it may look familiar to those of you reading my blog (I hope that includes YOU) -- your thoughts? Tell me your thoughts...

Entitled to her arms here in this moment

First it’s the cat hairs sticking to my lips, brushing against my nose and I have to get up but it’s already 4 a.m. I don’t want to get up I need to sleep but then I have to get up but I don’t want to get up until eventually I do. I put the comforter in the dryer, hoping the lint removal screen will do the trick but it doesn’t do anything. But the food is comforting, buckwheat rolled in nori seaweed and I actually feel calm, back in bed just after 5 a.m.

Just after 5 a.m. -- that sounds so sensible, until the sound of the heat going on wakes me up, that means my sister just got up so maybe I’ve slept a few hours. Then my sister and her boyfriend are talking back and forth in the hallway, I can’t hear what they’re saying because of the white noise generator but their voices vibrate against my head anyway. Outside, someone’s TV is shaking the windows of the room where I’m staying or at least that’s what it feels like. There’s construction in the building next door, maybe 10 feet from where I’m sleeping, but the worst thing is the sound of the hot water shaking the pipes, an intermittent shriek while I keep turning from one side to the other when the first one hurts too much, second, first.

Then there’s something awful, for a moment I think maybe it’s the spy satellite everyone’s talking about, it’s off-course maybe it’ll crash in LA and President Bush says we’ll shoot it down, maybe we’ll hit it and maybe we won’t. I’m kind of relieved that I was finally sleeping, I mean it’s the shrieking pipes again, but then I realize that means I’m awake again and it’s back to the side one, side two, side one and then I’m out of bed and everything’s awful, especially my walk at 6 p.m. when it’s like someone sprayed fabric softener outside I can hardly make it two blocks. Yesterday the walk helped me, but that was later at night and maybe it didn’t really help if I ended up falling asleep around 5:30, I mean just after five, so sensible.

My sister and I are getting ready to go out for dinner, she says something about how my bag is heavy do I need all that and I just start crying because I’m worried the chairs at the restaurant will hurt my body like last night when it was so hot I kept going to the bathroom to stretch but it didn’t help. I don’t know if everything is getting worse or this is just because I’m traveling and whether I should ever travel again I feel doomed to like I’m going to plan a book tour even though I know it will ruin my life and outside there isn’t any air inside it’s hot too I’m sweating just a few minutes ago I was freezing I can’t go back outside into that fabric softener I can’t stay inside with all this heat.

So I’m sobbing and Lauren reaches down to put her arms around my neck I don’t know how I feel about this touch, this touch right now when I’m worried soon I won’t be able to take care of myself and it’s my mother our mother who could at least make it so that I don’t have to worry about the financial part, I mean to create the account I asked her for, the one that pays my basic expenses, and my sister told me she didn’t believe that’s something I should have, a sense of entitlement. Apparently I’m entitled to her arms here in this moment trying to comfort me, shoulder against my head she says I’m probably messing up your hair. I say you’re right, we both laugh. I go into the bathroom to cry some more, and then at least I feel like I can face the world outside.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Posing

I don’t know what I was thinking. That’s not true -- I know what I was thinking: I thought it would be fun. I haven’t gone on a trip in years, I mean a trip that wasn’t a book tour. A trip for more than one or two nights, a few hours away -- I went on a few of those with Jeremy.

I thought it would be fun. I thought it would be relaxing. I thought maybe it would even break me out of my patterns and I would be in less pain.

I took some pictures today, some pictures of West Hollywood where I’m staying, right in front of my sister’s apartment actually I thought I’d post them but I forgot the cord that connects the camera to the computer so maybe you can picture them. I know you’d be able to picture them better if I told you about them, but right now I’m in too much pain. I’m too exhausted. I’m so overwhelmed that I’m worried nothing will ever be okay again, but I wanted to say hi and explain my absence, I’ll be back soon. Maybe even tomorrow, but probably without pictures. I guess actually that was yesterday when I took those pictures.

The palm trees with the sky in the background, that always works. This girl posing for the camera in the middle of the street, over and over again in leopard print skinny jeans then a zebra print dress then just regular skinny jeans her hair swinging to the side I think maybe she was trying to look like a hooker, ha ha look at me in Hollywood I don’t know. The discarded sofa out front, a cat jumping on top. A woman jogging with her iPod in her mouth, or maybe it was her cellphone -- I didn’t get that picture. I didn’t get the woman in the middle of the street either, I can’t decide whether to call her a girl or a woman my instinct is woman but I’m not sure if I’m relying on a feminist formula that doesn’t actually apply to the world I’m describing. I got a picture of her later, sitting on the side of the street this is that time when the sun becomes shadowless and everyone wants pictures. I thought it was pretty good luck that the cat looked over right when I snapped the camera, I mean the shutter. For the photo shoot -- not my photo shoot, but the one I was documenting, I went over and said do you mind if I take a picture of you taking a picture?

Maybe I said posing, posing for a picture. Up close, her makeup looked so Southern California, the blush two dominant. I wasn’t even dressed, just shorts and a sweatshirt and socks I was trying to get some daylight but I feel like there was a time difference on the way here I guess that’s my sinuses. I actually liked the drive down, it was kind of fun the car stereo had such great sound it was a dance party without the dancing I mean I knew I’d be in pain I just thought. I just thought it would be okay, somehow.
It’s not okay.

My hair looked really good today, it helps to do some extra styling when my hair is fully dry if I’m going out somewhere and I want it to stay in place. Especially when it’s kind of long, and it takes more effort. When I feel terrible, it’s really really important that my hair look good. Especially when my pants don’t fit the way I want them to, I keep getting them altered but they still don’t fit so maybe it’s me.

People stare in a different way in LA, it’s more like tourism but snottier too like no one wants to get caught and the only people who are friendly are really really fake. This part of LA, I mean. The dream of LA that isn’t LA, but it also is. The people doing the photo shoot were actually kind of friendly, at least the woman posing, but she also pretended that she didn’t care, even when she was posing. We all do that.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Differently styled

Of course it's starting to get dark later, so I have more time to get out of the house in daylight but somehow it hasn't worked that way -- instead of rushing out the door at 4:45 p.m., I find myself rushing out at 5:45 p.m. Today there's no way I'm going to get out in time -- it's 5:20 and I haven't even taken a shower. Plus, I've barely eaten anything. But then I remember my new trick -- throw on a hat and rush outside for a few minutes. Looking in the mirror, though, I actually like the way the front of my hair looks all messy so I style the rest and then rush outside at 5:50.

The problem is that I immediately feel awful -- I know I'm getting over a cold, but this happens so often, especially early in the day. I walk one block and I'm already too tired to go out the hill where there's more sunshine like I was planning, but I can't deal with only walking one block so I walk a little further and people are staring at me like usual but I realize I'm way more self-conscious just because I've styled my hair differently. I keep thinking -- are they staring at me because I'm a mess?

I mean, I often think they’re staring at me because they think I'm a mess, but that's a different story. I guess that's part of the reason I like to keep a consistent look, because it keeps me consistently feeling confident. Safer, not in the literal way that no one's going to attack me but in the way that I feel ready.

This reminds me of when I used to get dressed up in conventionally masculine types of clothes for a trick, and I felt so self-conscious and confused and it was difficult to stay present in my body. Except when I walked into a hotel, that's when I felt like I was in a movie and I knew the script so well. But if I saw anyone on the street who I knew, I would often try to avoid them.

But today's shift is so much more subtle -- it's just that I haven't shaved for a few days and I'm not wearing my earrings but those things happen from time to time so mostly it's the way my bangs are arranged in an intentionally haphazard, messy way like the blowdryer went wild instead of curled in front. Just as styled, only differently styled. Someone smiles at me in the way that people usually smile when they like queens, like they’re amused and excited and maybe a little bit in on the joke. Sometimes there is a joke, and sometimes there's not, but either way I can appreciate the conspiratorial glimmer. But today I find myself wondering if this person is laughing at my bangs -- unlikely, I know, but it's still what I'm thinking.

There's a way in which I wish I wasn't so attached to the way I look, but then there's another way in which it's the only way I can deal out there, I mean sort of deal.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Extended deadline for WHY ARE FAGGOTS SO AFRAID OF FAGGOTS?

I’ve received a ton of brilliant submissions for Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?, but I’m now extending the call for submissions all the way to May 15, 2008, and looking for more essays on the following topics in particular:

ability/disability, body fascism, fat politics

race, racialized desire, racism in gay/queer cultures

perspectives from outside the US

perspectives from rural areas, small towns and non-destination cities

faggotry in prison

aging, ageism, older-younger relationships

Sexual safety and risk-taking, HIV, health status

public sexual cultures

Pasted below is the original call -- please forward far and wide…

WHY ARE FAGGOTS SO AFRAID OF FAGGOTS?:
flaming challenges to masculinity, objectification and the desire to conform

* CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS *

As back rooms are shut down to make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture becomes little more than straight-acting dudes hangin’ out, where are the possibilities for a defiant faggotry that challenges the assimilationist norms of a world that wants us dead?

Masculine ideals have long reigned supreme in male sexual spaces, from the locker room to the tea room, the bars to the back alleys to the beaches. But is there something more brutal and dehumanizing about the calculated hyperobjectification of the internet? How do we confront the limits of transaction sexuality, where scorn becomes “just a preference,” lack of respect is assumed, and lying is a given? How can we create something splendid and intimate from that universe of shaking and moaning and nervous glances turned inward now groaning?

I'm especially interested in essays about community-building experiments, public sexual cultures, faggots not socialized or presenting as male, cruising, HIV, consumerism, transfaggotry, polyamory, feminism, sexual safety and risk-taking, norms for faggots outside of the US, and gender transgression (of course). I'm looking for essays that expose hierarchies of gender, age, race, nationality, class, body type, ability, sexuality and other identity categories instead of imposing fascistic definitions based on beauty myth consumer norms. That's right, honey -- I'm talking about interventions that are dangerous and lovely, just like you.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the editor, most recently, of Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity (Seal/Avalon, 2007) and an expanded second edition of That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation (Soft Skull, forthcoming June 2008). Her second novel, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, will be published by City Lights in September 2008. For more on Mattilda, visit www.mattildabernsteinsycamore.com.

The basics:

*Submit non-fiction essays of up to 6,000 words. All submissions must be typed and double-spaced, and sent by post (no email submissions, but feel free to contact me with queries, mattilda@sbcglobal.net). Please include a short bio.

*Deadline is May 15, 2008.

*Send submissions to:
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
537 Jones Street, #3152
San Francisco, CA 94102

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh, no -- I was getting ready for a fun road trip to LA, but then boom a stomach virus hit -- at least these flowers are pretty...


Rock me Amadeus

Some things happen for so long that you can't remember when they started it just seems like it's always been that way, like Lauren screaming help! Help! Actually screaming is an understatement, more like shrieking and then my mother would come in and soothe her back to sleep, she would say: it's okay.

Because it was okay, right? I think this went on for years, it was just what happened when I was trying to fall asleep I was scared too, all the monsters in my room but I tried not to say anything it never helped. Eventually I would listen to the Top 10 at 10 on Q107 on my Walkman, when “Rock Me Amadeus” held the number one spot for a record number of weeks. "Amadeus, Amadeus... ooh ooh Amadeus... Amadeus."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sometimes suddenly it's gorgeous



Almost like another life

Sometimes my apartment is a different world, a different world than the world outside. Like I'm sitting on the fire escape, sitting in the sun I'm thinking I could sit here forever, Grant says but what about when the sun goes down? No, I mean forever like a dream, the sun wouldn't go down I wouldn't get burnt it wouldn't get too hot the air would always be fresh the sky clear no I like rain and fog too I could just keep sitting and getting wet but it would just feel refreshing.

But then disaster strikes -- Gina comes over, but she's just gotten her hair done they put something in her hair she already knows I'll probably be sensitive, even after she takes a shower it's like I'm suddenly surrounded by gloom. I go outside to get some air, except now it doesn't feel like there's any air. I'm trying to walk as slowly as I feel like walking instead of faster like I always end up doing accidentally, sensing how my feet can roll into the ground but it doesn't work. I still feel awful, everything starts to hurt even though I decided not to wear the jacket because the jacket holds my body tighter it doesn't matter everything’s pain now or actually it's just that I can sense it coming on, why? I can rarely tell before I leave the house. Sometimes I feel great, and then I go outside and my life is over. Other times I feel horrible, like I couldn't possibly walk more than a block, but then I walk eight blocks and I feel so much better.

Back at home, I can still smell the perfume from Gina's hair, probably it's on something in the bathroom. The neti pot, okay I'll cleanse my nostrils with the neti pot, then boil eucalyptus and then Florence is on the phone, she's worried about all the OxyContin Rose takes for pain, once you get on it you can't get off. She says you know Milton was a pharmacist, but I was like a Christian Scientist I didn't like to take any drugs. Sometimes I take half of a sleeping pill but then I don't dream, and I like dreaming it's almost like another life.

I check my email, to see what the guy from craigslist has to say about hooking up -- I emailed him a few days ago because I'd already called four times, twice we talked but he was always on the way to some bar. I kept saying call me whenever, but he didn't call. So I figured I'd email, just so he could say no I don't want to get together, maybe he couldn't say that over the phone. So I open up the inbox to see what he has to say. But he hasn't responded at all. Somehow that seems so much worse, I mean my mouth is just hanging open thinking what, he didn't even respond -- it's like I'm not even a human or anything, just something from craigslist and here I thought we had a fun connection. Okay, calm down Mattilda, maybe he's on vacation or maybe he just hasn't gotten around to responding yet. I kind of want to call him and read him, since he actually answers the phone, but then I can't decide whether it would be fun. I mean it doesn't sound like fun. I look through the paper to see if there are any movies I want to see, but there's nothing. I'm not the kind of person who goes to movies I don't think I'm going to like, unless I know that I need to critique them. But I need some sort of escape I don't know what.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tonight is a night of hugs I like tonight

I never think I'm going to Blow Buddies for the music, but then I get there and oh, the music. This time I'm thinking wait, this is my culture that pounding bass those machine sounds the repetition the drum the build the banging I mean this music is part of my history my way of existing in the world I'm missing it. So that's what puts me in the mood where I'm walking around hugging people, especially this guy who keeps grabbing my dick but then I move his hands away and kiss his neck, it's kind of funny, plus the music is making me jump around corners I like jumping.

I come way too fast because it's been 2 1/2 weeks, then I'm talking to this guy with curly hair about Orlando, he lived there all his life, and then the music changes to fake disco, then bad pop, then -- what is this called? Shit, the guy says. Oh, he understands!

Then I'm marveling at the paper towel the guy who sucked my dick gave me, he was the guy who was following me around who I kept hugging, especially when I was hugging guys who were standing at the glory holes. From behind I always like kissing their necks and rubbing their heads and then this guy was trying to get at my dick I had to impressed up against a wall while I was rubbing someone else's head, maybe it helped that she was much shorter. But eventually he ended up sucking my dick and then I came too fast and then he gave me a paper towel. So I'm marveling at the paper towel because it's so supple and stretchy -- I want to ask that guy if he brought it from home. The guy from Orlando says it must be a gift for Chinese New Year, and it is Chinese New Year, but I think he's actually saying something racist about the guy who was sucking my dick, since that guy was Asian.

I'm exhausted, closing my eyes upstairs and there are these great lights illuminating my dreamland, I don't remember these lights. I open my eyes -- oh, it's when the disco ball hits a certain angle and it flashes into my eyes. I go downstairs and meditate in the porn room, I'm not sure if it's working until I get up and oh, I feel so calm, even with all this bad music I'm walking differently, slower my feet into the ground I mean the floor and I go right up to the new guy who I'm hot for, give him a hug and kiss his neck he says what are you up to? What does that mean -- I say what are you up to? He says I'm just hanging out.

I start laughing, really hard, because this isn't the internet this is a sex club -- you can't say I'm just hanging out. Someone runs right into me but then stretches his arms out into a hug, tonight is a night of hugs I like tonight – oh, it's the cute queeny guy who works the coat check. Then I'm in one of the group alcoves, this guy’s fucking someone's face I'm holding him from behind, but then he's holding me from behind which means I'm the guy fucking someone's face, this other guy's dick at my asshole until there's some moving around because the guy doing the sucking is exhausted, his legs hurt he’s laughing I like laughing. So then I'm sucking the first guy's dick he's got his hands on my neck which is great but what’s also great is that just when I start to feel uncomfortable then I stand up. I mean uncomfortable physically, like maybe my neck will start to hurt but you know, I like it when they take control and I've got to make it work I'm a service dog opening wide for Mary’s bone. But really I need a break too so my body doesn't hurt. So I'm taking a break, I like breaks, and then I realize it's already 3 a.m. it's time to go home and at home I feel calm, much calmer than before.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Waiting for the flames to emerge

Even more disturbing than the pro-gentrification/pro-development hoopla around the Gus Van Sant Harvey Milk "biopic" is the sight of queer, non-mainstream and counterculture-affiliated San Franciscans, some of them even present in the 1970s, rushing to don ‘70s realness drag and carry candles while guarded by a police escort. The rhetoric goes that this time in history will finally be memorialized for the general public. Kind of like Gus Van Sant’s scene-by-scene remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, I guess.

But wait -- The Times of Harvey Milk, a 1984 documentary, already won an Oscar. But no one can revitalize history like a gay "indie" director with a death fetish. “NO Garish bright colors such as BRIGHT white or red, or ‘Wacky’ disco-themed ‘70s ‘Halloween Costumes,’" ends the list of wardrobe selections for the new movie. That's right -- no one in the 1970s wore garish bright colors or "wacky" outfits.

Another thing to remember is that, after the White Night Riots, vengeful cops went to the Castro and smashed the windows of a local bar, The Elephant Walk (now Harvey's), entered the bar to beat up patrons and destroy fixtures, and swung their batons into anyone in the Castro unlucky enough to be outside. The 1984 documentary shows great footage of police cars in flames, but includes no mention of the resulting police violence. I'm wondering, actually, if the new Van Sant film will end at the candlelight march, thus avoiding talk about such market-unfriendly issues as property destruction as a political act or systemic police violence against queers. After all, straight tourists don't like to hear about gay people fighting back!

Unfortunately, San Francisco in 2008 is more of a playground for the wealthy than a space for the delirious potential of dissidence. But there are still tons of police cars around, just waiting for the flames to emerge...

Friday, February 08, 2008

More thoughts on Milking It with Gus Van Sant

It seems that everyone from current politicians to friends and lovers of Harvey Milk is clambering to serve as a spokesperson for the new Milk movie.

State Assemblyman Mark Leno (who represents San Francisco) claims he was inspired by the filming of the movie to propose the creation of an official state holiday in honor of Harvey Milk -- maybe it can be called Milking It Day.

Cleve Jones, one of the founders of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the founder of the NAMES Project (which oversees the AIDS Memorial Quilt), now serves as a consultant for the Van Sant film. Presumably he is one of the few Milk movie boosters on the Van Sant payroll, which allows him to create such preposterous quotes as "Just moments before the cameras went on, the clouds parted, the sun shone through and an enormous rainbow peered through above us." Or, even better, describing a re-creation of the candlelight march after Milk's murder, "We made history on the streets and we're gonna do it again tonight."

Visitors to San Francisco can perhaps be excused for seeing throngs of people marching down Market Street in the middle of the night as an upsurge in local activism. But remaking historical moments from pain-and-glory days of the past is hardly the same thing as making history in the present.

San Francisco in 2008 is no longer the city it was in the 1970s, when queers fled abusive and horrifying and stifling families and places of origin to move to San Francisco in the thousands and join dissident subcultures of splendor and defiance. Of course, queers still flee those abusive and horrifying and stifling families and places of origin, it's just that the hyper-gentrified San Francisco of 2008 barely offers the space to breathe, let alone dream.

But there is even more violence in the excitement around reenactment over critical engagement. After all, it's the smiling gay men who came to San Francisco in the 1970s who have consistently fought misogynist, racist, classist, ageist battles -- from carding policies to policing practices to zoning battles -- to ensure that their neighborhood (Harvey Milk's Castro) remain a home only for the rich, white, and male (or at least those who assimilate to white, middle-class norms). This is the tragedy that will surely not be explored in the Gus Van Sant "biopic." In fact, with all of the rhetoric around "revitalizing the neighborhood" and bringing more tourists -- throngs of straight people with cameras and real estate speculators -- it's quite possible that these smiling gays will become active participants in their own cultural erasure.

After Dan White, who’d confessed to the murder of Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk, was convicted of manslaughter instead of murder, rioting queers torched police cars, battled cops, and smashed the windows of City Hall. One wonders how this will be covered in the movie, but, more importantly, there's plenty to protest about today. Got housing? Got health care? Got citizenship? Nope, but we've got Milk: the movie.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A transcendent person of color

I certainly wasn't planning on talking about the election or anything tragic like that, but then I ended up listening to this whole post-primary discussion on Uprising Radio, where Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) and executive director of Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana started gushing about Barack Obama. When the host, Sonali Kolhatkar, pointed out that Obama has little to say about race, gender or the prison industrial complex, Lopez implied that Obama shouldn't be held to higher standards regarding race (no mention of gender), and that Obama's appeal lies in the fact that he's a “transcendent person of color” who "talks about race by not talking about race." Lopez added that Obama's appeal among rural and southern voters, and his "50-state campaign," exposes the lie that "only on the coasts do progressives exist."

I'm particularly wary of this doublespeak coming from liberals and progressives. First of all, Kolhatkar never said anything about holding Obama to a higher standard than anyone else, but merely meant to point out that you basically need a magnifying glass to find the differences between Obama and Clinton's political platforms. So, if Hillary Clinton is a Republican with a liberal pedigree, what does that make Obama?

Obama's "transcendent person of color" status is exactly the type of image that plays well, not only with (white) progressives, but with conservative/liberal voters who want so much to believe that racism is over, who cares about the fact that unarmed people of color are routinely gunned down by cops or used by the millions as enslaved labor in US prisons -- if you just pull yourself up by your bootstraps you can be anything in God Bless America. This same mythology is what allows George W. Bush to hire a "diverse" cabinet of warmongering thugs, many of them no doubt "transcending" race and class and gender in order to occupy the world and plunder indigenous resources.

Obama's rhetoric around healing the world one empty inspirational speech at a time seeks to camouflage his useless political program of pandering to the status quo -- no meaningful changes in US healthcare, little shift in the military/prison industrial complex, a permanent presence of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (whether you call it occupation or inspiration). At least Clinton, with her influence-peddling tough-on-terror rhetoric, appears more honest about her goals.

The liberal/progressive mania for delusional thinking at election time reminds me of all that push to "get Bush out" by voting in billionaire John Forbes Kerry, or more “effectively,” Bill Clinton, who dismantled welfare and brought us gems like NAFTA. If progressives want to choose the lesser evil, that's a position to take, but to claim that an insider politician backed by every establishment figure he can get his hands on is going to heal anything besides his own hemorrhoids is dangerous and embarrassing.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Standing on the corner

I can't believe I cooked an entire pot of black-eyed peas with cilantro -- cilantro is disgusting in black-eyed peas, it tastes like a cross between dirt and the carpet. Actually, maybe that's because I put in way too much seaweed in, and cooked the beans on low instead of high so that they wouldn't steam up the windows. That enhances the seaweed flavor instead of making the seaweed blend in. It's all right after a while.

Meanwhile, I also can't believe that I watched that hackneyed piece of garbage last night -- I hate the way it stays in my brain, sometimes bad movies are the ones that last the longest. At least it distracted me for two hours and I didn't feel like the world was crushing me, then I even had a half hour afterwards while I was waiting for the bus on the corner and the air was so fresh, I studied the silhouettes of the buildings across from the CALA Foods that looks like a spaceship, looking at anyone who approached I mean really looking looking looking. Ready for some kind of adventure, I guess, anything really. It felt so quiet, whenever I leave my neighborhood I feel like San Francisco is a small town I mean around here it doesn't feel that small. Like the other night when I went to the Castro to look at the Gus Van Sant ‘70s realness, and then I went to Safeway to get something to eat because everything else was closed and I was sitting outside with my loaf of bread because that's the only thing they had for me, and I thought the same thing: San Francisco is such a small town.

The next day I woke up and my jaw was so horribly tense, probably from a wheat allergy I was grinding it. But anyway, standing across from CALA Foods I start to dance a little when I'm not sitting on the fire hydrant because there's no bus stop. And my body doesn't hurt, so that's kind of exciting. Wait I mean my shoulders hurt but they don't hurt more -- that's an important distinction. When I get home, I'm so exhausted that I get angry, angry at myself for standing on that corner for too long because maybe if I'd just jumped in a cab then I wouldn't be so exhausted.

The truth is that it probably doesn't make a difference, I actually enjoyed standing on the corner except when there were smokers nearby, but this is what happens now when I get to that point when I can't function: I start blaming myself. Because I don't know what else to do.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Witnesses, sort of

I may be in the minority, but I'm ready for more movies and books and art and performances about AIDS -- even movies about young, cute, sexy, masculine, innocent white guys dying all the sudden in 1985, which is what The Witnesses is about. There's so much insight and perspective to add after 20-plus years. Unfortunately I'm not sure there's any of that insight or perspective in The Witnesses. It's not a bad movie or anything -- not pathologized were glamorized particularly, the characters are smart and conflicted and fucked-up, mostly in privileged ways even when they're not living particularly privileged lives. There’s a gorgeous hooker with punked-out hair and makeup who does a wonderful ‘80s dance in a red dress with a leather jacket, to some French song that’s so familiar but I can't quite place it. Oh, right -- this movie takes place in France, mostly Paris but also the countryside -- I went to see it because it sounded like it was going to talk about the early years of AIDS activism in France, but all we see is a noble doctor giving a few speeches and handing the hooker a few flyers. The least and most interesting character is the straight cop who has an affair with the young guy who ends up dying of AIDS, while at the same time busting the prostitutes across the street in numerous sting operations -- the doctor, who’s in his 50s, is in love with a young guy who the cop has the affair with -- I mean the cop meets him when the doctor brings him by his house, since the female lover of the cop is one of the doctor’s close friends. You see how it's like a soap opera -- overwrought but more elegant and understated except when the European classical music or opera comes in. I do like the very ending, when the cop says to the doctor that maybe they should make up, since the doctor thinks he's trash for stealing his true love, now dead. The doctor says: I don't think that's possible. And we know he means that there are so many divides -- he knows that the cop busting prostitutes and gay cruising areas and even gay bars with the AIDS crisis as a backdrop -- he knows that cop is his enemy, if only we could see more of this history and tension and the eruptions. And then the doctor, who’s the hero of the movie we’ve realized at this point -- and here, again, we could use so much more of this middle-aged man and his struggles even with all of the crystal glasses at the dinner table, but we've already come to the end of the movie. The doctor has a new lover, I mean a lover since he and the earlier young object of affection, the one who died, they never had sex. So the doctor has a new lover, a cute young guy from New York, and they get on a motorboat with the doctor's friend who just wrote a book about all of this, and the cop, and the sun shines on the water.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I'm looking for a ride to LA!

Okay, I was composing a post for the rideshare on craigslist and stressing over vocabulary (people on craigslist can be skittish), then I thought wait, maybe I should post to my blog, people on my blog aren't skittish! So here it goes...

Anyone want to drive?

I'd like to leave San Francisco in the early evening any day February 8-12 -- since I can't drive, I don't mind paying for all gas expenses and bringing snacks -- plus, we could have a delightful conversation/adventure! Ideal situation would be a relatively comfortable car so that my pain doesn't get too dramatic, and if you don't mind lifting my bags into/out of the car, that would be lovely. But these things I can figure out, either way -- my alternative is the glamorous Greyhound...

Let me know if you're interested...

Okay, so I couldn't help taking a look at some of the retro changes in the Castro for that Gus Van Sant Harvey Milk "biopic"...

A 24-hour laundromat! Nothing practical like that there now...



Flyers from 1970s protests, meetings and dances...




But this is the best part -- 1970s real estate prices...




And now...


Sunday, February 03, 2008

I wish I wasn't starting to understand

Generally I'm not a big fan of linoleum, but there are at least two things that are great about it -- first of all, I can drop the glass lid to the steamer pot, and it's no big deal. Second, the rain can pour in from outside and flood the kitchen floor, but I can just wipe it up.

I know -- you can already see me in advertising. Which would be a good thing, if it meant that I wasn't at the Nob Hill Theatre, because as soon as I enter I feel awful. Maybe it's because everyone here is in advertising, but really it means I should leave right away, especially when the first person I see is that guy who I wanted to hit back on subcultural realness night, remember that? Tonight I don't even try, although I do notice he's more tweaked than ever.

It's late -- almost 2 a.m. -- and there aren't many people around, I try the usual glory hole booths but then I figure why not just go in the new one, someone's next door. I put money in and the light goes off, then I look through the hole and actually there's a cute guy smiling at me nervous and tweaked, I say want to come over here? Okay, he says, and then he’s in my booth, preppyish and cuter but also more speed-destroyed up close and he has two big gashes on the side of his face. I'll admit I immediately worry that it's the drug-resistant staph infection everyone's talking about but instead I ask him if he hurt himself. Yeah, he says, I fell off a motorcycle. Then he’s sucking my dick, but mostly I'm wondering about the cuts and then after maybe 30 seconds the light comes on because the time runs out and now his face looks more infected, I think of asking him whether he might have a staph infection but I don't want to be rude if it was really just an accident or someone hit him in the face. I'm thinking it would really be awful to ignore my worries and end up getting a staph infection just from bad sex in a terrible place, I pull my dick out and say I have to go the bathroom.

In the bathroom there's this toxic smell, some cleanser even more abrasive than the usual it's almost hard to breathe. Back in the hall is when I really should leave, again, but then I'm looking through the cracks at this guy's dick all wet and arching upward toward the hole maybe he's teasing someone it looks monumental. It's the guy with the beige shirt I saw earlier, kind of looked like a musician from the ‘70s I mean like he was a musician in the ‘70s, rumpled masculinity the seriousness. Anyway then I'm after him, fast-forward to the point where I'm actually in the booth where he was formerly sitting and he's in the next booth feeding it to me, up close it just looks like a guy’s cock and I hate glory holes because I can't touch anything except a wall and myself, another wall. Plus the angle is awkward for my neck and now I'm worrying that is to a staph infection and hurt my neck, all for boring sex, pointless really what a nightmare.

So I'm not that engaged but the whole time I'm ready to come -- that's what's crazy about places like this, I think the franticness is what makes me ready to come so soon but maybe also because I haven't come in a week and I don't know where to have good sex anyway. The guy pulls back like he's teasing me, I call his bluff and shoot come through the glory hole. Kind of funny and then I'm rushing home, way too far away I'm way too hypoglycemic. Thinking about what I need to do as soon as I get back: wash my dick again, even though I washed it in the bathroom at the Nob Hill Theatre I better do it again; piss right away in case there's a risk of an STD they say this can sometimes flush it away, wash my lips because who knows what was in that glory hole, rinse with mouthwash, do feldenkrais movement so I don't hurt my neck it's funny I always have sex after feldenkrais I guess because I feel more in my body but then I end up fucking up my body it's just another depressing cycle.

Back at home I'm okay, until I hurt myself with one of the new feldenkrais movements, the one where I hang my head with all its weight Donna said like a bowling ball that sounded scary. Now I'm worried it's all over because I stretched the wrong way, maybe I would've been fine except for that feldenkrais movement. I hate not knowing what will hurt and what will help, I hate knowing what will help and then realizing I'm wrong. I didn't used to worry so much, there's so much more to worry about when it's not fun I mean tonight I’m doing all these neurotic things because I feel gross, I mean I know there's this middle class fetish of dirtiness, like ooh, sex in a video booth, that's so -- dirty. Or, ooh, you were a whore -- that's so -- dirty. Sex has never felt dirty to me, I mean sometimes it's awful but that's a different story. I guess when I was a teenager hooking up in bathrooms I hated myself I hated my desires I wanted to disappear. Maybe that’s something similar, it just seems like a terrible thing to fetishize. For a lot of these people in public sexual spaces, every time they have sex in places they're trying to avoid they feel angry and out of control and -- dirty, I guess. I wish I wasn't starting to understand.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Maybe it's true love

The thing about feldenkrais is that it makes me feel so good so connected so present in my body but then I crash. The crash is part of it, your body getting used to the changes, integrating them, but oh no I'm just sitting here thinking about just a few minutes ago when I actually had energy, wasn't that just a few minutes ago?

Meanwhile, I'm kind of waiting for Keith to call. Keith is the guy from the three-way the other night, he sent me an email after I called, his email said when would you like to come over again and play around? Funny because I hadn't given him my email but he got it from when the other guy forwarded my pictures. You know, the guy who couldn't deal with whispering. I wrote back: now now now now NOW. Then I called again. But he was sleeping.

Anyway, we talked this evening -- after work he was going out for cocktails with people from work, then with some friends to the Castro -- so maybe not tonight. I think he said Castro without irony. But I said why don't you call me when you get back -- I'm always up late. So now I'm kind of waiting for him to call, waiting because I don't really have anyone else to call for hot sex, where is my sexual network? Right I'm trying to build build build it, but the problem is that I keep looking in public sexual spaces and those are the same people who can't communicate on any level at all, haven't I learned my lesson after wait, fifteen years in those spaces?

No, I haven't learned my lesson -- I still have dreams, okay?

I scan craigslist just in case there are any dreams there, but only nightmares. You probably knew I was going to say that. Outside, a car skids super-loud and I can hear people yelling whoa, whoa but then the car skids again, and again, and I wonder if it's whistle top mufflers, those are so annoying.

But wait -- someone on craigslist posted: “For all the other white professionals living on the north side here goes - you're just as tired as I am from all of the ‘do you like Asians’ responses.” I reply: “I prefer the question: do you like racists?” And then he actually writes back!: “OK, so you're asian - why be so defensive - tell me you have an insatiable, tight ass and we'll probably have something to talk about.”

Maybe it's true love.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Until I'm able to throw it all on the floor

First thing in the morning and I think wait a minute, why don't I put on Check This Out -- I haven't heard that in a while, I can't remember what made me think of it except wait, it doesn't matter, just that beat into rattle into cymbals into drums into rattle there has to be something about how it's an irregular heartbeat, the way we need that. So simple just the beat building into check this out check this check check this out check this check this out check this check check this out check this check this out check this check check this out check this check this out check this check check this out check this, why would we need anything else except check this out? Oh, but wait there's more: I love it I love it I love it I love it I love it... girl. And the drums are getting deeper with some super-cheesy zipper sound plus spooky background noise but who cares we still have that beat I love it girl I love it girl I love it girl I love it girl I love it girl I love it girl.

Girl is important in that second part of the lyric, okay? I'm not even sure if Ms. Cevin Fisher is saying I love it because, you know, of course the vocal is distorted! But girl is important because it situates the song, I mean it grounds you and reminds you: gay house, darling -- that's right, girl. Ms. Fisher even changed the spelling of her name so that you wouldn't know how to pronounce it, okay?

But wait -- here's the instrumental, so simple that rattle keeps going keeps going keeps going keeps going until it stops. The CD I'm listening to says 2000, but I want to say this track comes from 1995, of course that makes me wonder what they're playing now, the tracks to live live live live yes live for instead of turning into some nostalgia catastrophe I just need to find the places without smoke, DJs that twist and turn and shake and yearn building building building but maybe equally important I need to learn how to listen to the music without dancing too much, at least until I'm able to dance again throw it all on the floor without knocking myself into a pain emergency.