Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Us

Maybe we did smoke in the kitchen -- I just keep picturing it. With the window open. I don’t want to edit the past to make the future clearer, does anyone remember? Last night, in my endless quest to find somewhere to dance, I went to the bar right on the corner where we used to live, the bar that was originally a dyke bar, but by the time we’d arrived everyone just talked about how it used to be a dyke bar. We all hated that bar, but Camelia hated it more than the rest of us, because every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 2 am the street would get super-loud with suburbanite screams and she had to get up at 5 to go to her job at the bagel shop, the place where they boiled the bagels instead of baking them, so they actually tasted like bagels.

I forgot that if you go to an electronic music show, everyone stands around just like at a rock show, stands around and doesn’t move, staring at some cheesy art school antics by straight boys with fancy hair. Like, there’s a film projected on a sheet and behind the sheet, they’re making finger puppets and then the sheet pulls away and there they are, just like in 1967 or whatever, they’re even wearing the same clothes. I was waiting for a moment when maybe something would change, like a DJ in between sets or something-- there was pot smoke right away, but I was trying to pretend that the ventilation system was blowing it away from me, I could feel the fresh air coming down from the ceiling but then at one point I noticed something strange going on with the lights, maybe just steam because it was so hot, but then I looked closer at the ceiling, and sure enough, perched right above the stage was a fucking smoke machine. Rushing outside past to the weekend throngs on Valencia, this one blonde woman saying to another: he asked me where I lived, you must be from the Sunset -- excuse me for looking good! And another, a straightboy with long curly hair so perfectly coiffed he must be a model, modeling this hair: so this chick says to me, are you a Leo or a Pisces? Meanwhile I’m yelling what the fuck, what the fuck am I doing on Memory Motherfucking Lane? Or, okay, I’m not yelling, but I’m thinking about yelling.

I went to Seattle to get away -- for a month, anyway, to figure things out. My two biggest relationships were falling apart, and maybe also my relationship with the queer cultures that meant everything to me. But I need to tell you about JoAnne. We met at the March on Washington in 1993, right in Dupont Circle where the freaks would come up to one another we spotted each other among all the white T-shirts, but JoAnne and I really met at Caffe Paradiso when I arrived in Seattle and right away we were talking about sexual abuse and rape and crystal and everything us and how we were trying not to feel destroyed and mayb finally working. And then I spent a month in her room, we shared her bed and it never felt crowded. How could that be possible, that’s what I’m wondering now, now when I can’t sleep without everything arranged in the right way and then everything goes wrong anyway, but this was a different time.

I would go to Paradiso or the new café, Bauhaus, during the day and read The Courage To Heal, and then when JoAnne would get out of her phone sex job where she actually worked in an office with a bunch of other women and office dividers, eight dollars an hour I think and when she got out of work we would cook dinner or sometimes I would’ve already cooked, huge stirfries with ginger and a homemade peanut sauce or if JoAnne was cooking then she used dill and cashews, and we both used tons of Braggs amino acids which were every vegan’s wild dream at the time and there was this way that we held each other and we held each other’s rage, that was the key, the key that made us us.

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