Tuesday, May 08, 2012

If we were watching porn

Thoughts on thoughts: I don't write about sex as much as I would like to. I don't write as much as I would like to. That rash is creeping around on my right hand again, and I'm worried it's an STD, even if that doesn't make sense, but I have an appointment for a screening next week, just in case that or the sore throat that's probably allergies relate. But anyway I would like to get rid of the rash. STI – that's what you're supposed to say now – it's an infection, not a disease. And probably I don't have either.

The good thing about waking up in the middle of the night when the bloating has moved up to the top of my stomach, right at the chest so that everything hurts, feels like a bruise no not a bruise it feels like bruises the whole thing that's my rib cage and chest and bones and tendons and muscles and then I guess heartburn, I see because it's at your heart and I can't get it to go away when I sit up I feel nauseous, really nauseous so that I push my sweatshirts to the side on the floor just in case I throw up. The good thing about waking up in the middle of the night in my new apartment is that it's light enough in the living room with all the streetlights, light enough that I don't get scared in that place of an incest flashback about to begin, but I do wonder if this is always how I feel in the middle of the night, just beneath the surface that incest flashback about to begin.

I'm going to call the next day old-school because I don't get out of the house until 7:50 pm but I'm not going to worry about it because it's not a pattern, just a one-time thing, and it's been raining all day I mean it always rains in Seattle, right, but not usually like this, all day strong enough that you can hear it but I'm going on a walk anyway. First block I know I'm not going to make it very far, but then honey before you know it I'm already at Prospect without even a pause to think about Aloha, up into the park and there's some guy approaching me on the path and he grins and says a nice night for a walk and it's hard to tell if he's serious but look at us, I think he must be. And, we are not the only ones walking around in the rain like it's part of us and that's what I like about this walk, aside from the air that feels invigorating, soft and soothing at the same time, aside from the feeling of excitement that I made it this far, even if it is the end of the day instead of the beginning I mean walks are usually less tiring for me at this time anyway but it's way more exhausting to get myself to go outside.

And then on the way back Broadway suddenly seems too busy after all the quiet of the park and even this huge bird flying out of the koi pond I'm not sure what kind but something like the one they have in the pond that’s fake, something like a heron but this one flies away, those huge wings and I wonder about the fish but back on Broadway I'm curious about the restaurants that I never go to, is there one that won't make me sick? Haven't been to a restaurant since I arrived in Seattle and there used to be the Gravity Bar where I could eat so many years ago and I would still be able to eat there now except gravity isn't on my side.

Maybe today is old-school too because I'm joking with Andee about the unicorn as the universal symbol of queer resistance and the way these hackneyed images pop up as supposedly authentic, cutesy, sweet and sublime representations of nothing that wants to be something, or maybe something that wants to be nothing. Which is worse? Go ahead – let's copy that thing that those other people copied and then we'll talk about how isn't it such a coincidence that we've all been thinking about unicorns and big chunky ‘70s fonts and pointy rainbows at the same time, moving downhill in our short-shorts borrowed from someone else's disco jubilee: you will never know the way I feel in your short-shorts!

I tell Andee that maybe we need a transcontinental podcast – this is after she tells me that whenever I mention her I'm reading her and yes sometimes she says stupid things but can't I write something else and maybe that's what I'm trying to do now. Although it's become complicated with this blog – when do I mention people, when do I not? Because often it's so close in time to the actual experience of the conversations that infuse my ruminations and what will that mean to the other person and when do I stop writing about other people at all and how is this limiting my writing? Or, when do I write about other people, but not in the way I would like to, because of how immediate this is, and should I start thinking about other options? Should I write elsewhere, instead, and when? I could change people’s names immediately – maybe that's one thing I should start doing, just in case there's something critical I want to say and I want to say it right away without fear of exposing someone in a way that isn't what I mean. If I'm offering a critique, I try to offer it to the person before I write it here, and somehow I've gotten used to the way that writing means writing it here, and the way this infuses my process, but does it also confuse the process?

Andee and I talked about a name change years ago, before my first book even, or not before my first book but before my first novel it was that story in Best Gay Erotica so much more fictional than most of my fiction but still. She was worried about misrepresentation, even though it was more about play and the possibilities of something like something that might happen and if I had it right here I would just quote it, okay, and maybe I do, no probably not on this computer. Or wait – probably somewhere, but I have to go to bed soon – Andee became Candy and Randy and all I was trying to say was that Andee didn't want me to change her name, or not too much, and so I haven't.

That was over a decade ago – we were in our 20s not even really thinking about 30 yet or maybe we were thinking about it, but what were we thinking? I remember thinking that 30 would somehow be the end of turning tricks, but then 30 arrived and it wasn't really the end or beginning of anything. Now 40 is right around the corner for both of us and who knows what that will mean either. Or, right around the corner for Andee, and almost around the corner for me. Depending on what corner: I know I need to start feeling better at some point, that the corner I'm looking for. Now it's been sunny for a few days and I've been lying out in the park and feeling more calm at least, that's a start.

What if Andee and I did create a transcontinental podcast about unicorns and short-shorts and tan corduroys and when Andee went to that movie about San Francisco that's really about speciousness masquerading as spaciousness and I don't know if there are any unicorns in that movie but Andee sent me a picture from Paris in the springtime, not so dramatic as it sounds because she lives in London, the lighting is great and the green of trees in the background and of course I notice she's modeling the ‘70s clone facial hair currently de rigueur for big-city contemporary gay worldliness. She says I knew you would comment on that. But, even better: when I went to that movie and everyone in the audience was working the same facial hair, and I just wanted to go home right away and shave it all off. There are ways of experiencing intimacy that are about sharing and caring, and there are ways of experiencing intimacy that are about sharing and caring about the moments when we want to die, just from watching something that's supposed to represent what we care about, but really it's like hosiery over your face and then someone lights a match at your neckline. I'm deliberately overestimating the drama – Andee says I would never think of killing myself for something like that, and I know what she means, and also I know.

And I know about this intimacy Andee and I are sharing, and its rarity. And I know that I could name the movie, but I haven't seen it yet. Even though I know I will hate it, I will probably have to see it, because it's about San Francisco and young gay male sexuality and when Andee describes one of the sensationalized characters – a black queen who says all the things the white boys don't dare – and then I say oh no, is it? And I'm right. Andee describes how they come out of a bar, and I say oh no, is it? And it is.

The ways these hackneyed representations swirl around themselves until you're surrounded in sludge, and I'm not just talking about that unicorn in your tan corduroys. The sludge of what we were supposed to be, what we will never be, what we still might desire in moments when we let down our guard, what we don't want to desire, what we desire anyway and it makes us sick, even when it makes us sick, and when I say we here I'm not talking about Andee and me but about all of us.

And the dead consumer identities that means too much: that's what this movie presents as authenticity and Andee says it was porn, and it would be fine if we were watching it in a porn theater, because then we could start jerking off, but we weren’t in a porn theater. But I wonder if that's a critique of the movie itself, or a critique of the possibilities the movie will never provide, and whether that's the same thing. Because why not start jerking off, all of us in our tan corduroys with these vapid representations swirling around us and calling themselves art and progress and experience and that big big lollipop that gets stuck to your tongue until you can’t open your mouth without glue and I know that doesn't make sense and neither does the way a deliberate removal of content passes as content. That’s our contemporary gay moment, even or especially in the hipster spaces that call themselves different. Don't get me wrong – all I've seen is the trailer and the two filmmakers who've endorsed it, one whose work I hate, and the other whose work I might love, have loved, yes I will use that word. But let's get back to thoughts on thoughts, the light is on in my apartment now and maybe it's too bright – I still don't know what to do exactly about writing the things I want to on my blog in order to experience the public vulnerability that makes new relationships already feel established, sometimes, I mean when people actually read it, but not that many people read this blog, and I don't know exactly what that means either.

3 comments:

dolphin6 said...

Any day when you don't leave the house until 7:50 pm is an old school day, for sure!

dolphin6 said...

And, this is the most awesome blog ever! You should publish it as your memoirs, if you haven't done that already

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thank you so much, dolphin6 -- I'm glad you like the blog -- this piece in particular I immediately thought of expanding – most of the writing I do here is first drafts that may end up in books at a future date, whenever that is…

And, I don't know why these comments didn't show up until now…

Love –
mattilda