Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I wanted this to feel like home, hope, an embrace, safety, but sometimes it seemed like the only way Kelvline could experience comfort was to make everyone else feel discomfort. Even walking down the street together was stressful for her, she would glimpse the limitations of other people’s interpretations and this would make her deranged. She noticed that people smiled at me, and this enraged her. She was used to people reacting to her as the stereotypical black male aggressor, and she worried that alongside my white queeniness her masculinity became emphasized. Or, that people might perceive her as just another black person helping some white girl. She would dress more flamboyantly, trying to invoke my queeniness in order to see if people would react to her like me. But this didn’t change her masculine demeanor; people looked at her like she was confused.

Of course, people looked at me like I was confused too. But I’d spent years developing a kind of ease that made it appear like anything could happen and I would just walk on. While Kelvline avoided looking at anyone directly, I greeted people on the street as if I knew them; I reacted to shady comments as if they were applause. It was hard for Kelvline to ignore people’s reactions, but it was harder for her to be ignored, and often that’s what happened when she went out with me; I think this disturbed her as much of anything else. She would get all frantic and start yelling like she was some imagined frat boy in a porn video, screaming on the street corner about pussy, PUSS-Y! I… NEED… PUSSY! Usually it moved in a gayer direction: yeah, you want that manramming boyjuice pussy-pounding tit-stomper, don’t you? It could be kind of funny at first, but then she would go on and on as if she really was some misogynist sex-crazed zombie, and you couldn’t get her to stop. She needed whatever attention would come her way, and maybe the seamlessness I was trying to enact made her more desperate.

Really I was so exhausted that it was hard for me to walk the six blocks to get groceries; usually I had to stop and sit down on the way, or eat a snack because I was getting hypoglycemic. I needed a break, but when I started to say something Kelvline’s eyes would glaze over and she would rap at me, an onslaught of someone else's lyrics at full volume and I wondered if she was trading one embodied aggression for another, and why it was directed at me.


Anonymous said...

"I reacted to shady comments as if they were applause."

I love that about you.

I wish I could learn to react that way too.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thank you, my dear.

Although, sometimes it may take its toll (on me, that is)...

Oh, no!

Okay, back to writing...

Love --