Saturday, December 31, 2011

Without the way

It’s these tiny things that play out in my head, like my mother keeps calling, leaves a message like we didn’t just talk a few days ago, it’s that urgency in her voice like she needs me to call. Tomorrow. But why? Why the urgency, why tomorrow? Doesn’t she realize that I'm moving in 18 days, that I'm planning my book tour and a new anthology and I don't even want to mention what else, I mean it would all be great if I just felt okay. Not amazing – just okay. I mean, amazing would be even better, but the truth is that I feel awful, nothing but awful, and then I leave a message from my mother saying happy new year, but please don't call me and tell me you need to talk to me unless there's a particular reason, I feel free to call anytime but tomorrow I don't think I'll be available.

And then I feel like I'm a horrible person – I mean I left that message so that I would feel better, but then I feel worse. And, talking to her: how it always leads to me feeling hopeless because of that place before words, that time before safety, the hopelessness before hope, the trap of the place where I grew up called home that just meant help, help me, there is no help, there will never be help, and this happens just from nothing, right? This feeling of. This feeling of. This feeling.

And then: like I need to call her back and cancel that, I mean I already tried but her voicemail didn't have that option: I couldn't re-record. I wanted to change the tone in my voice, so that I could say the same thing without. Without the way I'm really feeling.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The sky outside my window

Before, there were words, and I was going to write them. Before there were words. There are words, but now I will write different ones, this headache. This exhaustion. I wrote exhaustion instead of the sea because the voice software wouldn’t type fatigue. The sea: the key.

Oh this is so annoying, even if poetic. The sound check failed – it always fails, for some reason, on this computer. Let's try it again: fatigue. The sea. The key.

Oh, that's much better, even if the sound check failed I mean I think it didn't really fail, for some reason it can't register success, or communicate it to me, all these difficulties. All these difficulties that started when there were words, and then there was just my head, trying to get those words back but remember I already gave up, focused on these other words. Focusing.

But, did I tell you about this guy outside my window – no, this guy. This guy. This guy. This guy. This guy. How do I get the computer to recognize the sky? Okay, it worked that time. The sky outside my window: violet a few moments ago.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Before I leave Santa Fe – a special advance launch for Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots!!!

That's right – come see me read in Santa Fe for the first time – and, bid me goodbye as I prepare my departure: two-in-one, what more could you ask for?

Oh, I know – that the book will be available at this event before anywhere else (a month before the publication date) – it's true! An event not to be missed – here are the details:

Prepublication launch party for Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots!!!
Sunday, January 15, 2 pm
op cit books
930C Baca Street
next door to Counter Culture Cafe)
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 428-0321

Please spread the word far and wide – and, if you're a fan of Facebook invites, here you go

If you do it again

And then the good song comes on: "if you do it again, I'm going to freak out." If you do it again. I'm going to freak. Out. The cold air outside, and I'm thinking let this wind blow it at all out of me – the pain, the exhaustion, the bloating, this sinking sad feeling I woke up with, the wondering if I'm dying, the wondering why no one seems to care about this thallium that’s in my tissues, the wondering why I keep seeing this doctor except desperation, that's it desperation, the desperation, I'm thinking let this wind blow it all away. But then it gets too cold, and I go back inside, wondering if I should get back in bed, but it's too cold, too cold in bed, or in that room at least – at night I like to go to sleep in a cold room but not now.

And then this song, the good song comes on, okay, maybe this is what Davka means about how hope emerges from my writing about feeling hopeless, that's not what she said exactly what I feel: hopeless. What I felt, when I woke up. What I feel, thinking about this thallium, what is it, does it matter? Can’t something get better? I'm leaving in something like 24 days; I wanted to feel better before I left, I mean at least better than this. But then there's the song, all the drumming at the end, all the drumming at the end, all the drumming and I need to eat but at least I have this song.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Never too late

Is it better to wake up in the middle of the night with horrible clenching pain, pain so bad that I can't find any way to lie down comfortably? Is it better to wake up in the middle of the night, sleep interrupted, ruined, destroyed, just waiting for another horrible day trying to feel like something is possible? Is it better to wake up in the middle of the night with all that pain, or to sleep through the night, and then wake up in the morning thinking maybe today is okay, I mean I’ve slept later and I feel awful, but at least I didn't wake up in the middle of the night, right?

Except then I get up, and there's all this pain, so I guess this was going on all night, right? I guess this is why I feel ruined anyway, destroyed, thinking about all the things I was going to accomplish today and maybe I'll still accomplish them, but I'll feel this awful. Hard to stand up because of the pain, hard to sit down, and then somehow I'm going to eat? And eat again. Yesterday as soon as I ate everything faded away: it was like my day was over, just like that. Today my day is already over, I mean even though it just started: what will happen when I eat today? Yesterday I asked Paul Pitchford if he had any ideas for the bloating, he said: you could stop eating.

Right: I could stop eating. Do you ever ask yourself that question: is it better to jump off a cliff, or fall? IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO FIND THE RIGHT HOLIDAY GIFT. This guy wants to know if I'm tired in my dreams, a good question – somehow is comforting to realize that I'm not. Before I was looking at the maps of all the cities, somehow I was in Burma discovering the underground music that everyone knows about but doesn't say, you know – like, in the back of that store, late at night – but, what did it sound like?

Jingles and shingles – can you hear that? Yes, shingles, that's what the doctor thought the blisters on my toes looked like. What do you do for them, she asked. Oh, sorry – I thought I went to the doctor. You see – every day, I'm getting a little bit better. Someone else: have you thought of living in a smaller place? It was Heather actually, the therapist, she meant a smaller town because of the fresh air. But I'm already in the smaller place, because of the fresh air, and it didn't help it didn't help it didn't help it didn't HELP. I can only imagine what would happen if I went further out, waking up in the middle of the night and someone would be burning their trash on their front lawn.

And, can you imagine trying to get somewhere, anywhere? I shouldn’t say that I will never live in smaller place, but I can certainly say that it’s unlikely. I mean, I wouldn't mind a smaller place if everything was within a few blocks – theoretically, I mean – instead of the hideous sprawl that every smaller place has become. Maybe a bunch of tourist shit in the middle, but I don't even know where that thought came from – I'm not moving to a smaller place, that's for sure – give me a city, any city, now.

Or, soon – no, not any city – not the ones where the hideous sprawl connects with hideous sprawl connects with hideous sprawl, but IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO FIND THE RIGHT HOLIDAY GIFT – if we were in New York, we could go to Macy’s together, right? Today I woke up thinking about the ultrasound, maybe I should do that ultrasound exam before I leave, just in case it reveals something. Supposedly my gut health is fine, did you hear that? From the tests, I mean. What would the ultrasound reveal?

Then I worry about cancer – don’t people wait too long to find out, and then that's where death comes in, right? Like my father – his cancer started in the gut. Not a good thought process in the morning, I just have to keep remembering that IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO FIND THE RIGHT HOLIDAY GIFT – I'll go outside to try to find some fresh air, sit in the chilly sun looking towards the snow to see the brightness reflected but not directly into my eyes, it's later today, later than I would like, I mean later wouldn’t matter if I could just wake up feeling better and will that ever happen? Something's burning on the stove.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Alignment

I do like getting up in the nines better than in the tens – and, maybe this switch in my homeopathic remedy is helping to lighten my head, give me a little more energy, lessen the bloating at least a little bit, make my sleep at least somewhat restful, can we hope for all this? What was the word from therapy? Because Heather was asking me what it would mean to feel better – you know, I wouldn't feel completely horrible all the time, right? I would wake up and feel rested. I would feel like all the care I take for myself – the way I eat, the way I rest, the projects I work on – that somehow something would make me feel okay, energetic, excited even – not just drive, everything guided by the goals I have and the push to survive, thrive even, but no matter what exciting things happen I still feel horrible because my body is so draining, always. Even the best moment is just a high for a minutes before the crash, disastrous crash, always disastrous, that's how I feel, like a disaster, or just barely averting disaster, always. And then: disaster.

But, what was the word? Oh – I remember: aligned. I want to feel aligned. Like, if I lie down to go to sleep and stay in bed for as long as feels possible, then I want to wake up feeling better, right? If I go outside to go on a relaxing walk, I want to feel relaxed. If I sit down to rest because I'm exhausted, I want to feel better from the rest. If I cook a delicious healthy meal, I want to feel calm and soothed and energized by it. If I decide to go to a movie or a performance or reading, I want to feel like it could possibly be fun, not just something I'm doing in light of the pain. When I give my own reading, I want to feel like that excitement, that engagement, that intimacy can last, and that I won't end up a catastrophe afterwards. Do you see what I mean? Alignment: I’ll have to keep thinking about it.

So soft and quiet that you don't even notice, until you open the door and -- look!!!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some amazing dream

I wake up earlier than usual, and I can't tell if it's a good sign. It does mean that my sleep wasn't interrupted in a dramatic way, or it doesn't necessarily mean that, but in this case that happened to be true. Do I feel better? That's what I can't tell. So I close my eyes, to see if I need more, more of my eyes closed. And then I still can't tell, a half-hour or so goes by and then I force myself to get up.

Lethargy: that's what started to happen a few months ago, or maybe it was a few weeks? No – with the start of winter, that's what it was, less light, wanting to stay in bed more. Now I'm up earlier, and oh no – horrible horrible bloating, so much pain and I go outside in the cold to sit in the morning air and light anyway. Oh – it's snowing – those big chunky flakes that blow with the wind this time, into my face, so soft. And then the sun's out too, reflecting off the snow and I can pretend this is some amazing dream I mean I don't have to pretend, for a moment at least, because that's what it feels like.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sadness and snow

Oh, no – construction next door at some hideous time in the morning, why the fuck are they starting so early? At first it seems like an okay time to wake up, but then it's not, no not at all, and I start wondering about all the noise in bigger cities, what will it be like in Seattle? In the past I always thought of Seattle as quiet, but now I'm sure it will seem like total insanity, at least at first, although actually I'll be in San Francisco for a month beforehand, in a sublet on my old block, and that will definitely seem like insanity so maybe Seattle will feel calm.

I remember when I got to Denver, and I couldn't believe how many people were out of the street – I couldn't figure out if there were actually a lot of people out of the street, or if I was just so used to seeing no one. I mean there were a lot of people out on the street, and actually lately I've been missing Denver – it was easier to get there, I would go on a trip before my big trip, because who knows when the hell I'll be back in the South/Southwest trajectory once I leave – too late now. But, if you ever want to feel worse than you're already feeling, I have the perfect doctor to recommend – yes yes, my very own doctor, remember how she likes to ask: do you think you would know if you felt better?

Really? But, this time, she says: do you think you can get better? Um, I’m here at the doctor's office, right? To hear you say this shit! Like we’re on some New Age quest – but yes, really, I do everything I possibly can to try to feel better, and nothing helps, especially not listening to you! I wish I said that, but instead I listened to her lack of ideas – this time it actually felt like she had given up – in a month I'll be gone, time for more useless doctors. No no, let's have a useful one, okay? First a shot of vitamin D, and then a walk home through sadness and snow and oh, oh, oh.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Call for submissions!!! – WE ARE NOT JUST THE 99%: Queering the Occupy Movement, Reimagining Resistance

Please forward far and wide…

WE ARE NOT JUST THE 99%:
Queering the Occupy Movement, Reimagining Resistance
Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

*CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS*

Ignited by the Arab Spring, uprisings in Greece and Spain, and protests in Wisconsin, Occupy Wall Street has brought corporate greed and structural inequality into the spotlight while claiming public space and refusing hierarchical models of resistance. "We are the 99%," the central slogan of the Occupy movement, has been crucial in rallying mass support. And yet, this slogan invokes a vision of sameness that stands in stark contrast to a queer analysis that foregrounds, cultivates, and nurtures difference. From Mortville, the queer camp at Occupy Baltimore, to the Feminists and Queers Against Capitalism bloc at the Oakland general strike, queers are playing central roles in Occupy spaces. But, what would it mean to bring a queer analysis to the forefront, going beyond the politics of inclusion to question the very terms of the debate?

For the first time in decades, perhaps there's a possibility for a mass movement demanding radical social change in the US. Still, most Occupy spaces remain straight, white, and male-dominated: how do we prevent the power imbalances intrinsic to previous movements? What about accountability within the 99%? How have Occupy spaces addressed (and failed to address) homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism, ableism, imperialism/patriotism, police brutality, anti-homeless territorialism, sexual assault, and other issues of structural, personal, and intimate violence? As struggles emerge to confront the colonial rhetoric of “occupying” indigenous land (and to address this history), what can a queer analysis bring to this challenge? What do queer struggles have to learn from Occupy/Decolonize movements, and what can Occupy/Decolonize movements learn from queer struggles?

I'm interested in missives from queers involved in Occupy/Decolonize movements, as well as from those veering between skeptical and inspired. I would love to hear about queer challenges within Occupy encampments large and small, across the country and around the world. Bring me your explosive analysis, your rants, your manifestoes, your journal entries, your rage and rigor and hope and heartbreak. In addition to written nonfiction work, I'm also interested in art, photography, posters, flyers, and other forms of visual documentation queering the Occupy movement – its goals and aspirations, its impact, its perils and possibilities.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the editor of five nonfiction anthologies, most recently Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform (AK Press 2012), and the author of two novels, most recently So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights 2008). More info on Mattilda at mattildabernsteinsycamore.com.

Please send essays or written materials of up to 5000 words, as Word or text file attachments only, to nobodypasses@gmail.com. Include a brief bio. Please send a query before submitting visual work. The deadline is March 20, 2012, although the earlier the better. Any questions, send them my way!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The book tour for Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots!!!

Here are the dates, so far – more info to come…

University of Southern California
Monday, January 23, 5 pm
Los Angeles, CA

Claremont Colleges
Thursday, January 26 lecture
Friday, January 27 workshop
Claremont, CA

University of San Francisco
Wednesday, February 8, 5 pm
University Center (UC) 4th Floor Lounge
San Francisco, CA

THE BIG BOOK LAUNCH
Valentine's Day 2012 – Tuesday, February 14, 6 pm
(come early for heart-shaped refreshments)
San Francisco Main Library
1100 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA
A delicious discussion with contributors Jaime Cortez, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Debanuj DasGupta, Booh Edouardo, Eric Stanley, Harris Kornstein, Gina de Vries, Horehound Stillpoint, Matthew D. Blanchard, and your lovely host Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

City Lights Bookstore
Wednesday, February 15, 7 pm
261 Columbus Ave. at Broadway
San Francisco, CA
(415) 362-8193
www.citylights.com
with contributors Debanuj DasGupta, Harris Kornstein, Booh Edouardo and Gina de Vries

GLBT History Museum
A Panel on the Past, Present and Future of Public Sex
Celebrating the release of Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?
Thursday, February 16, 7 pm
4127 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-1107
www.glbthistory.org/museum/
with contributors Jaime Cortez, Debanuj DasGupta, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, and Horehound Stillpoint – hosted and facilitated by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
$5-10 requested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds

Pegasus Books Downtown
Monday, February 20, 7:30 pm
2349 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704-1552
(510) 649-1320
www.pegasusbookstore.com
with Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Horehound Stillpoint, Matthew D. Blanchard, and Jaime Cortez

Sonoma State University
Stevenson 1002
Thursday, February 23, Noon
Rohnert Park, CA

University of Oregon
Thursday, March 1
Eugene, OR

Powell's on Hawthorne
Monday, March 5, 7:30pm
3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 228-4651
with Ezra RedEagle Whitman
www.powells.com

Olympia Timberland Library
Wednesday, March 7, 7:30 pm
313 8th Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 352-0595

Evergreen State College
Thursday, March 8
Olympia, WA

University of Washington
Monday, March 19, 6 pm
Allen Auditorium, North Allen Library
Seattle, WA

Elliott Bay Book Company
Tuesday, March 20, 7 pm
1521 Tenth Avenue
Seattle WA 98122
(206) 624-6600
www.elliottbaybook.com

Residue

I wake up and pull the curtain back a little, oh it's cloudy out there, maybe there will be snow. Walk into the living room, open the door and yes – everywhere, white! So soft and cushy – they call it a blanket, but it's thicker and everything feels quieter except the crows cawing to each other.

Yes, walking is a bit more difficult in this thickness, but more fun too – except for the icy parts in the road, those I could do without. The air so fresh, except for when someone’s chimney blows my way. There's always an except.

Remember when I had a cold, about a month ago? And then, whenever I wake up, it feels like there's still some residue – yellow phlegm, dry throat, almost a cough. More like choking. Maybe it's because of all the smoke, the dryness, the bloating leading to all this interrupted sleep. When do I get some rest, some rest from this interrupted sleep? Oh, no – here comes another chimney, into my house. I wonder what would happen if I kept the windows closed, would I feel more air or less? One more month.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh, I almost neglected to mention the Band of Thebes "Best LGBT Books of 2011" list...

I always enjoy participating in this list – this year I chose Zipper Mouth by Laurie Weeks, and said:

Laurie Weeks’ Zipper Mouth is a novel so lush with language that casual neurosis and intimate decay take us skyward instead of sinking us, a bubble bath in an elevator. Listen: "Has it ever happened even once that she pushed the sheets off, bitter they weren't me, and moved around her kitchen making coffee in a haze, unhinged by love, brushing her teeth with Neosporin?" Also check out Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, edited by Eric Stanley and Nat Smith, and A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski.

Browse the rest of the list here.

Dashing through the snow…

"The white spaces of time"

That calm moment before bed, where is it coming from? Maybe the book I'm reading, Dream Boy, which I always avoided before because the title made it sound trite and hackneyed, but actually it's stunningly gorgeous the way it mediates us towards doom. The narrative of young male love or lust or friendship and the specter of Christian homophobia could be seen as clichéd, but the writing is so pared-down, incest and fear woven into the prettiest moments. I wait for the fallout, and somehow this makes me calm?

No, it’s phrases like this: "The inside of the bus is like the sky this morning, the silent condensing around every sleepy face." Or, "it is a moment of poise, in which he must balance between what he knows and what he should not know." Or: "Tonight he avoids the window, and Nathan watches his shadow undress." Or: "the white spaces of time in which his Dad falls on him like snow."

And so, the next day of awful brain-slamming exhaustion, I wait for the end of the day, when I can read more.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ruined

These days I can't tell when I should stop eating, I mean by what time. Because it's seven and I haven't eaten in over an hour, but I don't feel hungry, which seems strange, but then 7:30 and maybe I am hungry? Maybe that's why I feel so awful, because I haven't eaten? Although the bloating hasn't started, maybe I'm done – because my rule is to stop eating by 8, even though this hasn't helped me at all, but now I'm worried that I'm going to get wired if I don't eat so I put a little bit of wild rice and steamed vegetables on a plate, and some adzuki beans, but then I put the adzuki beans back in the pot and eat the vegetables and rice, and sure enough there's the bloating again. Then I'm so angry I'm screaming at my apartment, whatever that will do, even though my head feels calmer my body is worse and then I'm so sad and tired again, tired too early, tired like I'm just waiting to go to bed, tired but it's too early to go to bed, tired but I have to wait another few hours because I just ate, because I wouldn't fall asleep this early anyway, or I would fall asleep and then I would be wired, I want to go on a walk but I don't have the energy to go on a walk, all the fireplace soot is filling my apartment but I don't have the energy to get the air purifier out of my bedroom and turn it on. I never have the energy to do that. I'm leaving Santa Fe in a month and a day, and I hope I have the energy then, still so much to plan and will I wake up in the middle of the night ruined again, ruined in the middle of the night and the next day ruined in advance, even with all the time I don't have energy to do anything and no one calls, so I call people, but that's just more exhausting, everything is more exhausting, maybe I'll go outside on a walk anyway, just to see, although my throat is starting to feel scratchy again and every time I forget scratchy I think I'm still fighting off that cold from a month ago but actually I think my throat is scratchy because of the fireplaces. Oh, the fresh air – why I came here, right? Now I know, know know know know know, now I know, no no no no no.

Sixth grade math class

Oh, my poor feet – swollen toes, red painful sores. Of course I get up and look online to see what syphilis sores look like – oh, horrifying, now I'm going to have nightmares. I guess I better get an STD screening, just in case. We don't have an STD clinic here, so it's harder. I mean, I got that HIV test at pride, that was convenient, but the only STD they were testing for was hepatitis C, because so many people have it here, especially in prison, but I didn't feel like I was really at a risk for hepatitis C. When was the last time I got it STD screening? Over a year ago, I guess.

I had these sores last year, though, around the same time, so I think it has something to do with the dryness, the way my feet get swollen when they’re warm – and cold, I guess. Swollen: that's the theme of the day. Lying in bed in the middle of the night with this swollen belly, wondering if you could die from bloating, can everything explode? Not a good question to ask in the middle of the night, there's always the specter of Tycho Brahe who died in the 16th century from holding his bladder too long at a banquet, that's what I learned in sixth grade math class anyway.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The next day

How do I describe this horrible place in bed, in my head? Yes, the bloating woke me up, nowhere to turn, as they say. I keep turning anyway, sitting up, lying down, it's all pain – not just in my belly, I realize, but my whole face hurts now, shoulders, arms, and this is when I start to panic, will I ever fall asleep. I mean I go I will fall asleep but will I ever feel better? I came here to feel better; it didn't work. Now I'm leaving. Will that help?

How will I go on a book tour, why am I planning a book tour? How will I get to feldenkrais tomorrow, I need to get to feldenkrais because it will make me feel better but already I'm afraid of how awful I'll feel when I get up, after falling back to sleep, eventually. Sitting up, lying down, rubbing my belly – still more bloating. Is this because of the goldenseal I took earlier, worried that the cold that never quite went away was coming back? Goldenseal is endangered, they say; I feel endangered. Why the goldenseal? Because it's the only thing I can think of that I did differently.

Eventually, yes, eventually. And then. The next day. A shower. I'm going to get my hair cut, and even that sounds awful. I guess I'll get ready, anyway.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Suddenly an adventure

It's fun walking in the fresh snow because you can be on so many levels at once, so many textures too and yes there's that sound almost like chalk on the blackboard and maybe the scratchy feeling of cotton balls on your finger but somehow soothing too. And the air, yes fresh and moist and crisp and everything feels somehow more still than usual, even the leaves swaying in the breeze it's because of all that white, gray sky too and the soft sculptures of trees and walls and grass, even.

And yes, the tiny birds chirping from inside brown skeletons of bushes, crows on top of the tallest snow-covered pine trees, even the spaces in the sidewalk that have been cleared are suddenly an adventure, new textures.

So beautiful.............................









Look, the snow is back!!!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another day

Oh, no – another day. What happened to yesterday? Another day. Will I ever understand why I wake up feeling so awful on a day when I didn't actually sleep that badly, or it didn't seem like I slept that badly. Until I woke up.

Today it's raining out, and I'm not sure that I like the rain, even though it's good for the desert, that's for sure, but I'm going to have to get used to a lot more rain, right?

Today's not a good day to judge whether I like the rain – I'm not sure that I like anything today. Another day. Today. Soon I'll be waiting for the bus in the rain, or actually maybe the rain stopped. I'm glad it's cloudy, although this doesn't make me feel less cloudy, which is what I would like.

Tomorrow. I'm already thinking about tomorrow. No, not tomorrow – let's think about today, maybe something good will happen. I'll go to therapy, that will be okay, maybe I'll even feel better, briefly. This feeling-better thing is always so brief, another day.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Drain

It's 39 degrees out today, and it actually feels kind of warm in the sun. Or, maybe warm it is an exaggeration, but warmer. This though on the roof is melting, dripping down my front window, sparkling in the sun, and I feel awful, the kind of awful that makes me feel like I'll never feel good, or even okay, but I know I'll feel okay at some point, and then awful again. The kind of awful that makes me distract myself with online cruising – you know, if I was just on my knees sucking his cock, I would feel fine, right? For about 10 minutes.

I was thinking about what I would do if I was in Seattle right now – I could go to the bookstore, or maybe the theater if there was something interesting playing, or the awful sex club. Maybe those options don't sound that great, at least when I'm feeling this awful, but actually that's three more options than I have right now. Right now I'm waiting for someone to come over to fix the bathtub drain – they were supposed to come over at one, so I called at 1:20, and the person who answered the phone said they were running a little late, would be here around 3 pm. 3 pm? That's more than a little late.

Not in New Mexico. I could go on a short walk, before this person supposedly arrives. Or I could lie down and listen to a feldenkrais CD, which was what I meant to do an hour ago, before I decided to post an ad on craigslist, look at porn, think about this guy grabbing my head, get distracted by someone who wanted me to drive to Albuquerque. Sure, I'll be right there. As soon as someone fixes my drain.

Friday, December 09, 2011

"Don't Ask Us to Fight Their Wars" – I wrote the intro for the new Against Equality publication, a delicious little book showcasing queer challenges to militarism…

Here's an excerpt from my intro:

It is no coincidence that the obsession with gay inclusion in the US military emerged from the AIDS crisis. In the late-‘80s and early-‘90s, facing the deaths of lovers, friends, and sometimes entire social networks due not just to a new disease, but the old diseases of government neglect and structural homophobia, queers built systems of care that were breathtaking in their immediacy, shared vision, intimacy, and effectiveness. Out of rage and hopelessness came not just the brilliance of ACT UP, but a generation of incendiary art and brave visions for community-building.

As a 19-year-old queer activist surrounded by grieving, loneliness, desperation and visionary world-making in 1993, I'll admit that I held some hope that universal healthcare might become a central issue for queer struggle. What could have built more beautiful and far-reaching alliances, what could have held a greater impact not just for queers, but for everyone in this country? My hopes for a broad struggle based on universal needs were dashed at the March on Washington, which felt more like a circuit party than a protest: a circuit party with a military theme. Except that this wasn't just drug-fueled bacchanalia or straight-acting role play – brushing aside the ashes of dead lovers, the gay movement battled for the right to do its own killing.

More info on the book, here

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The corner

Here I am at the corner, waiting to cross the street, and some car that's about to turn honks at me like, hey, go already, and at first I think okay, but then I look over at the other side – a nonstop stream of traffic, I guess this driver wants me to walk into oncoming traffic. Listen, I want to say – I'm not a car, okay? Anyway, he goes ahead, and eventually I make my way across the ice and snow. I'm on my way to Whole Foods to get a copy of the The Reporter, so I can see what movies are playing – I thought it was warmer out than before, but actually it's freezing. I always think the air will be fresher at night, but it just feels like I've walked into a chimney. An icy chimney, I guess.

But, get this – The Reporter has decided not to list all the movies that are playing anymore, or I guess to list them without any descriptions at all. I know this is a national trend in weekly papers, and I don't understand it at all – don't they want more people to read the paper, rather than fewer? There are only four movie theaters in Santa Fe – is it really too much to describe all the movies that are playing? For some reason this gets me enraged, back at home, looking at the paper and finding nothing.

Or, wait – a feature review on Lars von Trier's latest misogyny spectacle. And, I guess I could see the movie about the Eameses – you know, to figure out why so many gay men fetishize the Eames chair. I could see Weekend for a fourth time, but do I really need to read another praising-yet-homophobic treatment? I mean, I just did. I don't have the energy to walk to the theater anyway.

The alley...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The ideal

It's only 21 degrees out today, but it feels warm in comparison to yesterday's high of 17, and I'm wondering about what it means to feel energy, any energy, or hope for more, more energy? Because, sometimes, when I get up – like yesterday, or today – I think okay, this seems better, right? I mean, I mostly slept through the night, the bloating isn't too awful, my head is kind of clear. But then that fades so fast – I'm looking at the computer, trying to form a sentence, any sentence. Or no, a specific sentence, I know what it is but now it's gone. Or, once I eat, and then everything's over: more eating, more exhaustion, more overwhelm, more fog in my head, ready for bed, why bed if it never helps, or never helps enough, but still that's what I need.

Okay, here comes that place where my brain just closes off – before I was writing about it, but feeling clearer, now I'm pushing through to try do explain something, anything, what's going on. Squinting my eyes to try to get that thought back, or to get that thought, what was it, what is it, what will it be? Heather, my therapist, said something about how my energy is unpredictable, which is true in a way, but also it's so predictable that no matter what it won't last long and I will crash and find myself thinking when, when will I ever have energy again? This happens every day, usually several times, so I guess I get energy in a way, or I just push through the exhaustion to try and find something on the other side but then there are moments like this where I can’t keep pushing, even though it's the beginning of my day I already feel like it's over and yes of course it's okay to give in, to give into the exhaustion and hope that that helps, even if I can't say that that necessarily helps either.

Negotiating strategies with myself: every day's theme. Negotiating. Strategies. Or, just strategies. Like: how will I get to the doctor's office to get my shot of vitamin D? Okay, don't go on a walk first thing, that way when the appointment time comes around I'll still have a little bit of energy, or at least I won't be so drained that I can't possibly think of it, or maybe I will be that drained, but still I will find it necessary to step outside.

The drain in the bathtub is clogged, so that every time I take a shower it fills up – by the end of the shower, there’s almost a foot of water in the tub, which wouldn't be so annoying except that all that water on my feet in the desert makes them swollen. I just called the landlord, but I wanted to call her before this shower, I mean I did call her before this shower, but I wanted to call her several days ago, so that the drain would be fixed in time for this shower. Maybe I'll close my eyes – not in the shower, just now, close my eyes and see what happens. Not in bed, because I guess I slept, right? I couldn't need more sleep, could I? I mean I always need more sleep, but what does it do for me?

I do like this seasonal affective disorder lightbox this year, I think it does help – two of the bulbs are out, so I called to order more but the 1-800 number seems like it led to someone's personal voicemail and then the website didn't exist anymore, so I think maybe the company went out of business. The bulbs are strange size, I wonder if there will be a way to get more. Okay, close my eyes: stripes of white light with black boxes, the sound of the heat in my apartment turning on the space heater down below, my feet on the cold saltillo tiles that usually I love but I'll admit that in the winter they are a bit too cold, my chest going up and down, back against the back of this chair, my hands feel a bit clammy or maybe just oily from all the coconut oil, do I need more, my head is so far to the right, okay let it go, I do like this purple wall, yes I’m closing my eyes but then opening them to write sentences, jaw kind of tense, oh, I'll need to get a new desk for Seattle, since this one broke when the movers pushed it into the corner, the uneven floors, I had the same desk before and it broke when I moved into my last apartment in San Francisco, I'll need a better one this time, but then the trick is to get the ergonomic keyboard tray removed from this desk and installed on the next one, I hope that's not too difficult.

Gina was wondering what I'll miss about Santa Fe, or no that's not what she said, she said I'm sure there are things you’ll like in Seattle, and other things that you won't. Kind of mysterious – I think she meant the cold, and it's true that I won't miss waiting in the 17-degree weather for the bus, but the cold isn't really one of the things that bothers me about Santa Fe. The only things I will miss are this apartment, the beauty, the light. Hopefully I will find my apartment in the ideal location in Seattle, with a view of something, ideally the downtown skyline, and somewhere I can sit in the occasional sunlight, or just the light – an apartment without mold, with enough space, in the right location location location, that's what I keep repeating to myself: location. Vocation. Temptation. Gradation. Exclamation!

Close my eyes again: a larger white stripe, softer now after I open and close again, there’s my breath again, I do like that feeling in my chest, the sound of the heat again, my fingers, my feet, the awkward position I'm sitting in, can't be good for my back, maybe I'll move forward and try for the ideal that never works.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Just before going outside to wait for the bus in the cold…

Circulating

Today it's sunny out, and the wind is blowing the snow off the trees, the houses, the fauxdobe walls. It's beautiful to watch from inside, but a bit scary, considering it's 12 degrees out. Three hours from now I'll be waiting for the bus – hopefully it'll be a little bit warmer then, right? At least I got a new hat yesterday that covers my ears and makes me look like a Russian countess in her bedwear.

Oh, wow – it's really gusty out there, the wind blowing the snow into glitterfalls. I did sit outside a half hour ago in my shorts – but, don't worry: two sweatshirts, too wool sweaters, two scarves, mittens, and the new hat too. The air felt super-fresh and it was hard to open my eyes it was so bright. Back inside to put more coconut oil on my hands, that's the key to keep them safe in the dry cold – so glad I finally discovered it, I must put it on at least 30 times a day at this point, up my nose too to keep it from getting dry and bloody. It works, most of the time, although the tips of my toes are getting red and scaly, is that the dryness too or the cold I'm not sure although I just put on more foot cream too. Now my food’s ready and it's still early, maybe today will be the good day, as I like to say, but I really mean a good day, right? Wow, there goes more snow in big clumps, blowing off the house and the trees – even with the heat on inside I can feel the chill. And it's true, I do keep the windows open a little, just to keep things circulating.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Police action

I'm ready to go on my morning walk in the 18-degree snowy weather or really I guess morning just became early afternoon because I'm waiting for some kind of police action to end in front of my driveway – three police car SUVS blocking traffic in all directions, I've never seen those SUVs before, maybe they bring them out in the snow? And then an undercover in a gray compact car. I guess they're arresting someone in another gray compact car, or at least doing a lot of research and I guess I could go outside anyway, but I don't want to have any interaction with the cops.

But I do want to go out in the snow, although it does seem awfully cold. I decided to wear two hats, one that covers my ears but isn't that warm, and then the other one over that one, a new look. Well, I guess my neighbor across the street is outside scraping the snow off his car, maybe I'll try to go out too.

Well, I get just got dressed in all my layers, but then when I got to the door I realized all the SUVs were still there, blocking off the whole street I guess, so then I got a little nervous again. What are they waiting for? I guess they're looking up a bunch of things on their computers, checking in with headquarters, or something like that, but if this person is so dangerous then why are none of the cops outside standing by the car they are apprehending? Why is this police action in front of my house?

Oh, I think a car just got by, onto Don Diego. I want to go in the other direction. Oh, good, another car. I'm slightly worried that the person being apprehended will suddenly jump out of their car and shoot me right when I leave my house. Their windows are tinted, so I can't see inside. Of course, I'm sure it's much more likely that the cops would shoot me. Oh, wait – now I'm outside, and it turns out that it's nothing but cops – some in uniform, some undercover, hanging out on the break with their sirens on or something – or, not their sirens like noise, but the lights, flashing, at least they're gone when I get back.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

On the verge

Today I woke up much later than usual, so I thought maybe I would feel better, right? More sleep equals more rest, or something like that – wrong! And then, when I go on a walk up night at this time of year, it's nothing but soot in the air, except when one of the 10 million awful old trucks traps me in an alley full of poison – so yes, I'm loving it.

Why did the bloating get worse, puffing up all day long I can see and feel it and I hate it, hate eating, hate walking around, hate sitting down, hate thinking about what am I going to do next, hate wondering when I'll have energy, hate trying to do everything anyway, hate the way the soot surrounds me in my apartment too, always on the verge of a cough and my cold is gone but I'm still on the verge. On the verge of what?

Saturday, December 03, 2011

"9/11 is the gentrification of AIDS" – can we please give Sarah Schulman an award for this paragraph?

"The deaths of these 81,542 New Yorkers, who were despised and abandoned, who did not have rights or representation, who died because of the neglect of their government and families, has been ignored. This gaping hole of silence has been filled by the deaths of 2,752 people murdered by outside forces. The disallowed grief of 20 years of AIDS deaths was replaced by ritualized and institutionalized mourning of the acceptable dead. In this way, 9/11 is the gentrification of AIDS. The replacement of deaths that don't matter with deaths that do. It is the centerpiece of supremacy ideology, the idea that one person's life is more important than another's. That one person deserves rights that another does not deserve. That one person deserves representation that the other cannot be allowed to access. That one person's death is negligible if he or she was poor, a person of color, a homosexual living in a state of oppositional sexual disobedience, while another death matters because that person was a trader, cop, or office worker presumed to be performing the job of Capital.”

From the forthcoming book The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination, out in February from University of California Press

Snowy weather

I'm not exactly enjoying the cold is much as I did last year, but still it's exciting to walk out into the snowy weather – clears my head, actually. Now I just have to do something about this horrible bloating, but what is there to do? For a while it wasn't happening during the day, so at least I didn't have to feel it in the same way, but now. Now it's back to hating and hoping. Hoping it will go away, hating my body. Or, maybe not hating, but just feeling gross – oh, I have to eat more, but why? It'll just make me feel worse again, but still I need to eat.

Sweater number two – the one I put on before my coat when it's this cold out – sweater number two is making my next itch, ouch! Then there's that piece of food stuck in between those two teeth in the top right corner of my mouth were food always get stuck but right now it's hurting, is it hurting because the sweater is itching? Luckily, I get home and I could take the sweater off, grab some floss. Some things are easier to solve than others.

Waking up from a horrible night of clenching abdominal pain keeping me up, thinking oh another day, how will I get through this day, but wait – outside my window – snow! – maybe something will be okay…

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sometimes people ask what I did today

Back to the bloating, oh, the bloating – now it wakes me up every night, in the middle of the night struggling to find a position without pain – if only it was just gas that would come out, just as smelly annoyance, why can't it be that kind of gas instead of the kind of gas that gets stuck, every night, wrecking me. And then, another day when I feel like I should just be asleep, could be asleep, except that I just woke up. But I'm awake so I can plan my book tour, I guess, call U-Haul to find out about the moving truck, think about going back to bed, wait for my food to be ready, put on the wrong music, listen to the news, water my houseplants, drink more water, send in a new lab test, listen to my voicemail, blow my nose, soak my feet in chapparral, put foot cream on, more oil on my hands, oil up my nose, moisturizer on my face, a little bit, don't want to get my face addicted, look at the sky, it’s not interesting just soft blue like that, better check my houseplants again, before I just thought about watering but I didn't actually do it.

Nothing exciting on my voicemail – just more test results that the doctor wants to go over, a dinner party I'm going to be too tired to go to. Can't check my email yet, because I'm not allowed to do that until after I eat and leave the house, don't think I'm going to leave the house today until I do my mile walk to feldenkrais because I got up too late to go on an earlier walk without making myself too tired for the one I actually need to do. Maybe I'll break my rule, just to check email briefly before leaving, hoping that will give me some kind of energy, that's what I always hope, sometimes it works and then it's over.

Now I've eaten, so of course I feel worse. Penske gave me a better deal than U-Haul – it turns out you can bargain with them a bit. Maybe I'll call back later and try to get it lower.

Somehow I make it to feldenkrais, then I'm lying on the table thinking can I just lie here for the rest of my life? Thinking: I give up, it's over, now. Because we have to have a place to think about these things, right? Not just push, keep trying, keep going, but yes, leave it all behind, let it go, give then, it's over. Afterwards I'm outside and it's freezing cold, what is this insane icy desert wind and how am I going to get home without hurting myself again, will I arrived feeling the same as I did when I left? I'm trying to pretend that I'm asleep while I'm walking, but then I start going through all of my different city-to-city moves in my head, it's starts because I'm thinking how glad I'll be to get the fuck out of here, that's for sure, have I ever been this glad to leave? Well, of course there was leaving DC and the first 18 years of my life, oh my, that was a relief. Then leaving college after that first year, getting ready to drive cross-country and I was glad to get away, but getting there had been important too so it wasn't quite as dramatic as getting away from DC, that's for sure, just like my life had started and now it was going further. Leaving San Francisco that first time I was just sad, not ready for it, but I heard already planned it out. Heading back to Brown after three years away, six months of seeing the nightmare of what I could have become and then moving to Boston for a year, oh I was so glad to get out of that hellhole even if it just meant back to San Francisco which was mostly sadness after Joanne's death, eight months and then I moved to Seattle for somewhere calmer, a little over a year later and I was on the way to New York and how did I stay there for three years? Fled to Provincetown to get away from the pollution, and also just to get away and I couldn't stay there a little longer, especially once it was fall and all the tourists had left but there was nothing for me there except beauty, that sounds familiar.

Then back to New York briefly, over to Berlin for a month of jet lag and bronchitis, before I had planned four month in Europe – London for a month, Amsterdam for a month, Barcelona for a month – but after Berlin I was ready to get back to New York where people would actually speak to me. But I think the best move was really from New York to San Francisco, when I first got there I felt like I could finally be myself again, revel in the freakishness of transgression, create new possibilities for resistance. And, when that ended, well, that's when I ended up here.

Then, of course, there were the moves from one place to another in the same city, those were usually more low-key, always pretty exciting. I think, like from my first three-month sublet in San Francisco to the apartment where Laurie and I live in the Inner Richmond that was so cheap, and then from the Inner Richmond to the Mission, finally, when we really wanted to be there. Or, in Boston, from that gorgeous house in Dorchester, where Gabby and I lived with six other queers under 23 I think, or not queers but gay people and lying and class striving and the rest of the gay drama and it was almost like we were fleeing no we really were fleeing to East Boston, which was so much better because it was just us, except for the kids in the neighborhood who tried to chase us with sticks, the person who dropped a cinderblock out their window as we were walking on the sidewalk, or the endless variety of homophobes but this was Boston so they were everywhere.

Wait, I know it sounds wacky that I'm thinking all of this while I'm trying to pretend that I'm asleep on my walk home, but then when I get to the alley just a block away, I actually have more energy than when I started, which is so rare, so maybe I should always close my eyes and stumble a little and think about dreaming on my way home, it actually worked.

Now I can start a new pot of beans on the stove – they've been soaking since the morning, and oh, there's Jory on the phone. Then I check my email again, a university event sounds like it's working out well, plus a note from someone who heard I'm moving to Seattle, a welcome note, I think it's going to be a good move. Even if I've never moved as part of a book tour, or done a book tour as part of a move before – but I guess there's a first time for everything, right? Wait, my water is boiling, at this time of the year I have to boil a little water to put in the bottom of each glass of water I drink, so that the water coming from the water purifier attached my faucet – or, next to my faucet, actually – so that the water isn’t too cold in the glass.

Time to chop the celery and carrots for the beans – or, wait – I think I'll do celery & sunchokes this time, that sounds delicious. Did I tell you I got a galley of Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind in the mail today? When I saw the University of California return address label. I thought maybe this was it, but feeling the book through the envelope I could tell it was a paperback, maybe not. But, yes – an advance galley. I've been waiting for this book for several years. I start crying just reading the quote by Milan Kundera at the beginning: "The first step in liquidating a people… is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture invent a new history. Before long, the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget even faster."

I remember reading Milan Kundera at the end of high school, and how much of a revelation it was for me, except for his misogyny, and whether I would like books that are that grand now. Should I call Randy to congratulate her on her internship at the Hormel Center? She's not there, I leave a voicemail, call Kelvline. She says, are you okay? Am I ever okay? I mean, I feel kind of okay at this moment, but that's about as far as I can go.

Sometimes people ask what I did today, and I can never really figure out how to answer that. I could continue with the rest of the toxic metals urine test – an hour and a half left before I can shake up the urine in the big container and then for some of it into the small container, get all the forms ready for FedEx tomorrow. I could tell you about turning the space heater off and on, doing some feldenkrais on the stretching mat, washing the dishes, maybe reading some more, no I don't think so because my arms are hurting, maybe I'll make another phone call or get everything ready for tomorrow but first, I think I'll turn off the computer.