Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ready for more

Okay, I just got a message from a friend asking how my mother's visit went, and I had actually forgotten, so I guess that's a good sign. I mean I didn't fall into deep dark depression drama, right? The most interesting part was at the very end, I think she started by asking me what would have made a safe environment growing up. Although immediately she qualified this by saying that she didn't want to talk about what we don't agree happened, is that how she phrased it? Or did she say: the sexual abuse. And I didn't say that of course we can't talk about what would've created a safe environment without talking about the sexual abuse, or I didn't say that exactly. Of course she knows that, or she knows that I think that, but sometimes with my mother it's hard to say. I mean we can have the same conversation in different forms over and over, and I can't necessarily tell whether she integrates the information. Sometimes she does, and sometimes she doesn't.

So I have to go back and make sure that she knows the thing that always prevents us from having a deeper or more meaningful relationship is the fact that she won't acknowledge the sexual abuse. That would be a precursor. But then sometimes I sense that she thinks we already have that relationship, or at least I sensed that on this trip, and that's why I have to go back and make sure she knows. But what was fascinating was all the information she revealed, right at the end. First she asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about, and to tell you the truth I was too exhausted really to bring anything up, wasn't sure whether I wanted to talk about anything too meaningful. And then she launched into all of the details about her relationship with my father before I was born, and their time living in New York, mostly things I've never heard before, because she was never interested in talking about them. I took a lot of notes, so I'll have a lot more to say soon.

But then last night I went to this protest in response to police violence at an event the night before pride called Queers Fucking Queers, an attempted late-night dance party in the street that resulted in the police pepper spraying people in the face indiscriminately and dragging several off to jail, one woman by her hair, and also including a random bystander. So this protest, by a new group called GLITUR, or the Grand Legion of Incendiary and Tenacious Unicorn Revolutionaries, which started in the context of Occupy Seattle, was meant to commemorate the radical history of Stonewall and to confront anti-queer police brutality in Seattle. In spite of some logistical troubles and an endless range of people smoking in my face, dammit (Oh – and, Madonna, why, I ask you, why, Madonna? But don't get me wrong – I danced to “Vogue” and “Superstar” and even one of the newer songs, I will admit it was fun on Broadway yes Broadway), the roaming dance party through the streets of Capitol Hill with close to 100 queers actually ended up feeling hilarious and inspiring. I'm ready for more.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

So fast

What is going on? My head is racing, should I let it race? Is it this incredibly gorgeous sunny day, or is it because I’ve started brainstorming about the cover for The End of San Francisco – the cover, and the prepublication blurbs, oh my – yes, that's why my head is racing. And, my mother is visiting – a different kind of racing. I said that, and then suddenly the weather started feeling overwhelming, like maybe it will be too warm?

It's gorgeous, but the weather always changes when my mother arrives. Yesterday we watched the sunset over Elliott Bay and that was calming. Mostly we do errands -- she helps with things, and I appreciate that. Of course there’s everything else in our relationship, but I was trying to prevent this headache from coming on. Wait, I didn't realize there was a headache coming on, until I started writing about my mother.

More racing: my essay on the new biography of David Wojnarowicz, I think it's done! More on that soon, I better go, before this headache. Oh.

Oh. This headache. What was I saying about racing? What was I saying? Everything falls away so fast.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Capable

What happened? When did my head become so clogged? I woke up thinking: I love the rain! Went on a walk, and I loved it more. Somewhere between a walk and here, that's when my head became blank stuffed -- you know, stuffed with blankness. Headache too, and my jaw – what has happened to my jaw? Grinding on my teeth off at night, but why? There was so much more to say. There is so much more to say. Hopefully soon I will be capable of saying it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trying to remember

Okay, I've made my decision, after lying in bed wired to all hell because of the smell of smoke surrounding me, listening to people making noise over my two white noise generators and I'm not sure if the noise related to the people smoking or not, but I've made my decision that I'm going to go down and ask them to move to the park next door, or something like that, maybe I'll even guide them there. I mean it's hard because whenever I smell the smoke I want to scream and I feel like I'm choking, so it's hard to go down and talk to people, especially when I'm worried they're just going to ignore me and then I'll have to see them all the time anyway and I'll hate them even more.

Speaking of pride, right, today? Can there please be a moratorium on people who actually know something about me insisting on saying something tragic like happy, happy – you know. It's not happy. I'm not happy.

And, remember when I banned myself from cruising online until September – that was a little over a month ago, and it's all going pretty well. The only thing I miss is the illusion that I might hook up with someone in the middle of the day, but why miss an illusion? Except, now that it's pride, I keep thinking I should try to get together some kind of amazing sex party – or, that's what I thought yesterday, when Broadway was closed off so that the gay underwear store could pull out their sale rack, Walgreens could tell us they were proud, drag queens could tell us we need to fight for equal marriage rights, and that drunk almost-naked older guy could twirl around for hours with his rainbow boa. Actually, maybe he wasn't drunk. Definitely high. I liked him – I'd be excited if you were out there every day.

Speaking of pride, there's that feeling of empty desire when I see these guys who I imagine I have nothing in common with, and I realize I haven't developed any greater tools for approaching guys I'm attracted to than 20 years ago. I just feel shut down an empty, and maybe the emptiness makes sense when it's people I probably have nothing in common with, but how will I know? How will I know, indeed? That's not the Whitney Houston song they were blasting – which one was it? A newer one. I'm trying to remember.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The fresh air

My whole apartment smells like smoke, and my jaw hurts. I don't know if the two are related – I mean, I'm sure the two are related. Everything was fine after I went on my walk in the rain – I love walking in the rain, everything looks so beautiful. People even stopped to compliment me on my coat, this one guy who was gardening even said listen, I'm a straight guy from Chicago, should I call you ma’am or sir?

He was cutting a line in the grass, which is very popular in Seattle. Everyone likes to make sure that the grass isn't growing onto the sidewalk edge – you see gardeners out there day after day with these machines that cut the edge of the grass. But, this guy was doing it by hand, because the property owner he works for likes it better that way, even though it takes four hours or more instead of an hour or so. Sounds like a good plan to me – I keep hearing those stupid machines. Although at least they're doing something – the leaf blowers, those should be banned! Spewing toxic fumes while blowing the leaves to the other side of the street so that they can blow back, what a great idea.

Anyway, the smokers: sitting directly under the awning in front of the building, which is right beneath my bedroom window. I want to yell out at them, but I'm guessing that won't be effective. So I'm literally in the closet, leaving the building manager a message, for the third time, which isn't that many times really. I mean the third time in three months. But why am I in the closet? I guess so the people outside don't hear me – because, if I want them to hear me, then I should just go out there, right? But I don't think that will be effective. Do you see how this just circles in my head, wrecks me with pain. I even went to feldenkrais today – wasn't that supposed to help?

For some reason the building owner doesn't want to put a sign up telling people not to smoke near any doors or windows. There's a park next door, and an abandoned lot behind the building, but smokers can't possibly be bothered to walk an extra 30 or 40 steps, right? So I'm fantasizing about cutting through the awning and throwing urine on them, or just getting a fire extinguisher and directing it their way. I know – that would work pretty well.

But what do I do about this headache, jaw ache? Do I have to leave my apartment so that I don't smell the smoke? It's worse on weekends, because some of these people just sit outside drinking their beer and smoking into my nostrils. I just want to smell the fresh air again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Prancing at the revolution" – a lovely interview in the San Francisco Bay Guardian!!

Here's how it starts:
"Right now it seems we have more in common with the Christian Right than the gay liberation movement. We've become so focused on marriage as the end-all and be-all of gay rights that it's completely within the realm of possibility that the next leader of Focus on the Family could be a gay man. We all have to get married now for tax breaks, health care, or to stay in this country? Are you kidding me?" Mattilda Sycamore Bernstein spilled some truth into my hot pink Princess phone. "I don't know how we got to this position where we're either agitating for more tax breaks for the rich via marriage, or we're treating people like disposable objects on hookup sites because they don't conform to certain standards. It's really sickening. How does any of this further any agenda at all besides becoming what we're supposed to be fighting against? I don't get it."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

LGBT family-friendly

I'm on my walk to the park, feeling that lift as I walk through the tall trees and up the hill to the main lawn but oh no -- when I get to the top I see there's some kind of festival going on – a folk singer folking on stage in front of – oh, is that a Southern cotillion rainbow flag – you know, an oval wrap-around type thing, maybe it's colonial? Lesbians and kids – this must be LGBT Family Pride. Amazon is giving away free cotton candy because LGBT families deserve cavities too!

When I get to the upper lawn I'm so tired that I want to lie down but it's not sunny out although it is humid, kind of warm, so I take my clothes off anyway and lie down in the not-sun, drifting away as I hear the announcement for LGBT Family Zumba – I kid you not, the first family to come up and dance gets free front row seats at Pride next weekend – not just the kids, a whole family, the whole family needs to come up and dance.

How many are in your family, asks the announcer to the lucky winners, and then the zumba music starts – is it like rumba? I'm not sure – I know my mother does it. Actually the music is kind of relaxing like a marching band and I drift off a little bit, then when I sit up and put my clothes on and start to walk back I don't feel so awful and overwhelmed, kind of okay the way lying on the earth lets me let go of something, and then when I walk through LGBT Family Pride again, because I want to see what zumba looks like – kind of like something frat-sorority types do on MTV Spring Break in between the beer bong-a-thon and body waxing festivities.

Now that I feel better everything just seems funnier, especially the LGBT parents giving me weird suspicious looks that I can't quite place. Are they worried that I might not have kids? Then I might have LGBT parents? That I might abduct their kids? I catch one gay guy staring at me with mouth open, something like excitement but of course when I turn his way he turns away quickly. He’s with his boyfriend, but they don't appear to have kids, which is what it seems you need to have to be a proud LGBT family, but maybe they are LGBT family-friendly.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I really like you

I'm at the Other Side with Abby, trying to decide whether I should leave school even though I don't want money to be the terms of my falling out with my father. Abby starts reading this rant about assimilation from some zine she found and it's hot – honey, are you sure that's from Boston? And then this boy Rafael who she knows from BAGLY leans over and says: that's bullshit.

I’m still strung out from coke, opium, pot, and ecstasy a few days ago, plus I'm getting over a cold and all I’ve had is wheatgrass juice and I'm waiting for the waiter to bring me food so I can write. Of course Rafael is wearing a red ribbon, but Abby was wearing a red ribbon when I met her at Glad Day, and she figured it out quick – or, maybe that ribbon is still there on the leather jacket she got at the mall when she first arrived in Boston, I haven't seen that jacket in a while because it's cold now. But anyway there's this random faggot yelling at us, so I say: it doesn't have any meaning except I'm sorry people are dying. And Rafael says: it only has meaning if you give it meaning. And I say: we’re saying the same thing – the red ribbon as a symbol has no meaning, it's what you actually do, right?

And that's when he starts screaming at me, saying: Listen I like men if I wanted a girl I’d get a real one – if I wanted a woman I'd have sex with a woman. And: I'm HIV-positive and Latino, and I like the suburbs, what is wrong with the suburbs? If I want to move to the suburbs, I’ll move to the suburbs – I don't want to live all my life in a ghetto. I grew up in the suburbs. We all act the way we’re brought up and so, what's wrong with that? There's no way to fight your parents, they're the people who made you – the way you’re brought up is the way you're going to be.

And I say: We’re brought up to hate ourselves, and we can go beyond that. And he just keeps saying: I'm not a girl – if I wanted a girl, I'd sleep with a girl. And: I like the suburbs, I want to live in the suburbs, what is wrong with the suburbs? And then: I’d hate to see what they say about blacks.

And I say what? And he says: the people who wrote that. And I say I think they’d have pretty good race politics, their problem would probably be glorification. And Rafael looks at me like he's going to spit in my face, walks off like we're mortal enemies. And I'm thinking I need food I need food I need food and friends, I'm lonely and too dependent on Abby, Sean and Billy and drugs but I've only been in Boston a month and Abby just found this great zine, so at least there's someone here, and did the man behind me really just say, to the woman with him: I have to confess something, I've never given flowers to someone I don't know before, but I really like you, you remind me of my sister.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Without dread of the consequences

And then I wake up sort of feeling okay. Or, my jaw and shoulders ache a bit, lower back clenched, bloating kind of stuck but I guess it's that place in my head, that's where I sort of feel okay. Not the usual how will I do anything, but: what will I be able to do? I just called the dentist, because a part of one of my teeth seems to have cracked off – and, I need to see a new dentist anyway, and can you believe there’s a holistic one just down the street, I found it on one of my walks. Several of my walks, and now I just called.

I don't know if I really have energy, but I'll just savor this place of clarity, for a moment. It may all fade away as soon as I eat my first meal. One day maybe I'll be able to look forward to eating, without dread of the consequences.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gay conservatism: a wonderful interview on today's Against the Grain!

Here's what they say:
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride month, yet the distance between queer liberation and gay pride has become quite wide. That, at least, is the argument made by queer critic and writer Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. She posits that LGBT politics have been dominated by an elite gay establishment pushing a conservative agenda, by advocating for lesbians and gays in the military, gay marriage, and draconian hate crimes legislation. She discusses the rifts within the gay community that even the left media tends to ignore.

I heard that

But tonight I get inside and it's almost empty – that’s Christmas Eve in a college town I guess, even on Friday nights – only the people who don't have anywhere else to go, maybe 20 or 30 of us at the height and the music is more diva than knock-you-down but everyone's doing runway, this trans woman on the side just yelling and screaming and stumbling and one queen shaking her handkerchief and turn, turn like there's no one else around. Mostly black queens, a few Latina, one Asian trans woman, and then someone standing in the center just shrieking like she’s in church, fanning herself, two dyke couples in the corner and that’s who I end up dancing with. I'm one of maybe two white people there and everyone’s kind of ignoring me until towards the end when I’m really shaking it and the DJ puts on something harder, before I thought it couldn't be Michael Sheehan but maybe it is, and then this queen looks over at me like he just noticed and says ooh girl. But not in a shady way.

So then we’re working it out together -- her moves are all sashay and I'm giving my late-night high-speed shakedown and we’re both shrieking a bit and then somehow by the end everyone on the dance floor is feeling it together, yelling and screaming and sweating and some of the queens are saying uh huh, that's right, uh huh, and that’s the song that's playing – okay, all right, okay, all right and the woman in the middle starts actually singing, wailing big deep high notes, and the queen with the handkerchief just keeps walking like there's no one else in the world and I love all her attitude so much and then the music ends, the lights start to come on so I rush to the bathroom and then the woman from the center comes in flailing her arms as I'm zipping up and screams at me: watch the door, it's a men's bathroom, I don't want anyone to have my pussy!

I don't know if she really wants me to watch the door, but I stay anyway while she does two huge bumps, gasping dramatically at each one and when she comes out she holds out her hand and says I'm Lady Dionne. And I take her hand in mine and she says: the pleasure is mine. And then: ooh, your hands are cold, do you know what that means?

Bad circulation, I say, before she can say warm heart: someone already said that tonight. And she says ooh, I heard that. And when I get outside I think that's it, I'm moving to Boston.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

That child's piano

A conversation with my mother, who says I don't remember ever doing anything sexual to you, do you? Did I even hit you? I remember picking you up and putting you down hard on the bed. I always felt like we had good physical boundaries, is that what you recall? Do you think I knew about it? If I knew something about it, I totally blocked it out. Do you feel like I could have done something, like I could have seen it or heard it? I think it's really great that you're working on this. You’re very self-analytical, almost like Freud.

I tell her I might have to stop talking to her at some point, and she gets quiet. I run into Gray at Bread & Circus again, which is funny because that's where we met, he asked me what I thought of the tortellini and I told him I was vegan and he got really interested and that's how we became friends. He’s decided only to wear hemp clothing and write poems that are 69 words, tells me I should watch out for the drugs, his father was a drug counselor. But you hate your father, I say. And then he starts going on about how fags play out violence in sex, and that's a good thing, it’s the ultimate solution to male supremacy. But how is that different than straight men playing out violence with women? Because they're men, he says, men can take it.

I don't want to tell you about the headaches or the jaw pain or how I feel like every time I work on something for school my life is slipping away, I'll just say that somehow I'm done and it's Christmas Eve and no one's around so I'm going to Paradise. Usually I go on Thursdays when the music is amazing and I can fling myself around in the dancing circle at the back corner, especially when Marc is there and I have so much fun jumping in and out of his moves and how do his feet look so light, I wonder if it has something to do with wearing sneakers. I wear shoes when I go dancing instead of combat boots now, but they're still big clunky black shoes and I want to fly but I can't imagine wearing sneakers, I guess I'm a regular now because I get to put my bag in the DJ booth. I remember the first time I walked in I was nervous because of all the attitude, a segregated dance floor with black queens in the front staring at me like get back and then white gay boys behind them looking at me like a bitch please, but then I found that tiny corner in the back where we all sweat it out and don't exactly smile at each other but work, honey, we work, okay, and when Michael Sheehan puts on that Osheen song with the child’s piano oh how I feel that shake that moves me to move everything.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

My new friend

I hate the Castro, I say, but then I realize he doesn't know what I'm talking about – he says try Tremont Street in the South End, so I drive over there and at first it looks like there's nothing but brownstones, but then I find this café, Mildred’s, that looks really snotty, with marble tables and a tile floor, mineral water on each table and fake Andy Warhols on the wall but there’s a dyke and a fag who work there who are really friendly and they let me order just peppermint tea and sit there for as long as I want, while I write in my journal, like in San Francisco. The rest of the street is mostly just posh restaurants, although there is a new gay bookstore that mostly just looks like it has picture books and then the Eagle. But the craziest part is that if you walk in one direction, it's gorgeously restored brownstones with sculpted bushes in front and pretty much all white people, but then a few blocks in the other direction it's and it’s black people and liquor stores and boarded-up buildings

I'm not even going to tell you about my classes because that's just depressing. Aki wants to try ecstasy for the first time so I style my hair into curls and then use the big silver clips for diagonal drama, put on that dress Brenda gave me when we were still friends, a black dress with racing stripes that’s kind of tired for a woman at this point but on me it’s delicious because of the humor, or that's what I think anyway. Then I add thigh-highs, and those clips that look like garters, and when I go to pick up Aki he's all excited about his plaid bondage pants – I can tell he's trying to copy me, but luckily I'm not wearing plaid tonight and he's doing it wrong anyway – I wouldn't be caught dead in bondage pants, especially not the ones he got at Gaultier.

Okay cool, Aki says, like it's a question, and I start laughing – he always picks up my phrases from things I say, moves them somewhere else where they don't really make sense. I didn't even realize I said okay cool all the time until he started saying it. I still don't understand why someone from Japan who buys his clothes at Gaultier would be going to Providence College. He says it's a practice his English. As soon as we get to Quest, this queen with bleached hair and plucked eyebrows comes up and says I haven't seen you around before, and I say that’s because I live in Providence. Do you need anything, she says. Ecstasy. I only have one hit left, she tells me –I was saving it for myself, but I can sell it to you for $25. It's pure.

I've heard that before. Aki and I snort a tiny bit and oh my, this is the real thing. Aki’s giggling and then quiet, and I can feel my eyes getting big. Then we pour the rest of the capsule into our cocktails and wait for it to kick in. These stupid fags keep flipping up my dress, at least I'm wearing the pink flowery boxers. The lights are amazing, but it's already time to go. Let's take a cab to the Loft, I say, I shouldn't drive. Of course the only straight guy at the Loft is trying to pick me up: you're awfully cute, he says. And then: are you a man or woman? And: what's going on down there?

I just want him to get away, so I can let my eyes roll back. Everyone here is on X, I guess there are still ecstasy clubs in Boston, what a relief. In San Francisco everything switched to crystal and that’s a nightmare. This is probably the only place in Boston where people are actually friendly – if ecstasy were only cheaper, I would give it to every snotty queen in town.

Of course there are the older guys lurking on the sidelines with beady eyes narrowing in on some cute boy who can hardly open his eyes – oh, you love me, really? I love you. No, really, I. Love. You.

I just want to look at the lights but everything’s too loud, all the darkness and red is taking me in the wrong direction I'm edgy instead of calm and I just want to feel this place in my head so intense like nothing in the world this glorious place not here I can't breathe so Aki and I pick up our coats and go for a walk outside. Even though that means we can't go back without paying again, but yes this air, yes, we’re holding hands and gazing out for the journey but then there's a gust of wind and I am cold it wasn't cold before but now it's freezing and that's when I start to crash. I'm looking up at the John Hancock Tower, all those clean lines and she’s my new friend, Andrea, my new friend in Boston and Aki starts to giggle – my new friend, he says, but I think he means me. We sit on a bench in Copley Plaza leaning against each other and looking up at all the lights on in the building through glass and I can imagine myself up at the top, beaming down, I guess we're sitting for a long time because the sky starts to change and I'm shivering and I guess we better find the car.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

This isn't San Francisco

I end up having sex with this boy I meet on the phone sex line who’s really cute but so scared he’s shaking and he tells me he was abused by his uncle: I can see it in his body, like when he says something he's somewhere else and I say maybe we shouldn't do this right now and then he looks angry like a little kid and I say I mean I like you, it's just that you don't really seem like you're in your body and he keeps saying what do you mean? What do you mean? And then he grabs my dick and sticks his tongue in my mouth.

Later, I'm thinking about this conversation I had right when I moved back to Providence with someone who I met at Erica's who was also an incest survivor, and she said there are two categories of people: abused and non-abused. And I said: there are people who realize, and people who don't. But now I'm thinking: there are people who realize but don't deal, and I don't want to be one of those people. So then I'm looking at that knife again, the one I got from my parents’ kitchen when I went back, it took me like five times of reaching my hand over to pull it out of the drawer but I couldn't, my hand would just go limp. And then when I finally succeeded, all I could think was that I was going to chop off one of my fingers, or poke my eye out, even though the knife isn't that sharp at all, and then I wrapped it up in lots of newspaper and took it with me. I don't know what it means exactly, but every time I take it out from under the bed I get really scared like something catastrophic is about to happen. But this time the knife kind of arouses me and I start thinking about plunging it up my ass, down my throat, chopping off my head. And then I remember that book by Margaret Randall where she talks about how she was always afraid of mushrooms and finally she realized she put all of her fears of her father into the mushrooms.

But then a knife isn't exactly a mushroom. I make a list of all the people who I love, and there are seven. Maybe eight or nine. Melissa says: I had a dream that I had sex with my father, and I wasn't scared -- I'm scared now. Can’t I lend you the money to move out, I say, but she doesn't want to –why, I say, why? I can't, she says, and I'm thinking about when we met in ACT UP and how she would never say anything at meetings, but then afterwards her analysis about the politics and all the interpersonal dynamics was so clear, clearer than anyone I ever met actually. But somehow she was stuck in her parents’ house in San Francisco. She says: Jim is really sick. And I feel sad but I don't know what to say, it feels so far away.

All I know is that I'm not going back to my parents’ house for any of the holidays, maybe never again, so I'm in Boston trying to figure out where the gay neighborhood is. I’m at Glad Day, kind of surprised that they have Close to the Knives, trying to decide whether I should get another copy – it's always good to have extras because I'm always lending it out. I decide to get it, and then I'm asking the snotty queen with gray hair who always acts like she's at a country club where the gay neighborhood in Boston is, and can you believe she says this is it. So then I walk all the way up Newbury to the end, starting at the Other Side, past Urban Outfitters and Allston Beat, the tacky club store, and the music store and the place where I got my combat boots and a new vintage store and all the restaurants and tourists and hair salons and way too much overpriced high-fashion – I go into anything that seems like it might be queer, a few club flyers but nothing else and then I walk back on Boylston with all the chain stores and churches and office drones and jocks and someone yelling excuse me, ma’am, excuse me. And then, when I turn around: oh, sorry, sir.

So then I go back to Glad Day and I say listen, I just walked up and down Newbury and Boylston, and I didn't see anything gay, and he says what are you looking for? Bitch, I want to say, stop looking at me like I'm trash. But I say I don't know, bars or cafes, maybe something like the Castro? And he says: this isn't San Francisco.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Your body is a door

Later I'm playing with my hair, putting it all up in a mess of clips, pulling out my sideburns into messy curls, and then I decide maybe I'll go to GenX. Brenda says if you see my Greek friend Photi with bushy eyebrows and thick black hair, wearing Gaultier, bring him home. Sure enough, there he is on the dance floor with some other Eurotrash and I realize I've seen him before but he’s always with the snottiest fashion tragedies, so I've never said anything, but this time I go right up and say hi, are you Photi? And he gives me that snotty look, but I say I'm Brenda's roommate so he smirks in a kind of friendly way, but just then Divas to the Dancefloor comes on and yes yes yes yes yes – even though no one's there, the music at GenX on a weekday is so much better. And I get pretty much the whole dance floor to give my wildest crazy runway, flipping out into my trademark kick in the air and then fly around in a quick twirl, staring at Urban the whole time, or I mean the whole time I'm looking in that direction like yes, honey, yes, get over here, but he just stands there sipping his cocktail and then when the song fades out I walk over again and he says what are you on?

I'm not on anything, I say. He says do you know where I can get some coke? I wish, I say, and go back to the dance floor. Eventually he joins me: he does the back-and-forth thing pretty well, we’re echoing each other's footsteps but when I try to bring on jump rope he doesn't know what to do exactly so I try moving closer instead and when we take a break I lean over and we start making out and then I say do you want to come home with me? I'm not usually that direct, but the music’s good and Brenda told me to bring him home, right, although she’s asleep when we get back. It's kind of strange with Urban in my bed – he's so big and hairy underneath all that Gaultier but when he hugs me it feels comforting and when I'm sucking his cock I start thinking Daddy for the first time with a boy and it kind of scares me.

But here's the most ridiculous part, I just have to go right there, even though it's a few weeks later, after the time when I try to snort vitamin C and oh my God honey don't ever try that it's like burning out your nostrils – I mean it seemed like a good idea at the time, and then I left some out on my mirror shard with the rest of a ground-up Xanax, and then when I woke up the mirror was cleaned off and there was a note from Brenda saying that I'm a cokehead and she has to move out. What the hell are you talking about, I said – I haven't even done coke since I've been in Providence. And she says you can't lie to me, I found it in the bathroom. I went through this with Krista and I can't go through it again. Krista was Brenda's ex-best friend who got all coked out and lied about everything, but what does this have to do with Krista? I told you I liked drugs right when we met, just couldn't find any in Providence, so why would I lie about this? Brenda says: Photi told me you were high when he met you.

People can be so ridiculous: I thought Brenda and I were actually friends. I put on This Mortal Coil– It’ll End in Tears, right? And then I call JoAnne, who says our relationship can't be the way it used to be, it hurts her too much – she's getting close to a woman for the first time and our connection was fucked up, I say what do you mean? She says at one point each of us was the most important person in the other one’s life and I can't do that now I need space to love women, to feel the fear and progress. But why aren’t you talking to me, I say, just to some abstract category, why are you putting me in that category? And she says: you don't want to care about me too much. How dare you, I say – I'll care about you as much as I want to, how dare you decide you know what's going on in my mind. But then I say: I love you, you're a beautiful person and I respect you for what you're doing – I know you love me, I just wish you didn't hurt me so much but I understand.

JoAnne says thank you, I needed that, but then she starts telling me about speedballs: it's the most amazing feeling all the colors in your head like you're part of the sofa and everything in your body is a door, the lights on and off, on and off and I say that's not a sofa it's a broomstick and she says what – the wicked witch of the West, that's what I say and then we’re finally laughing together even if her voice still sounds hollow in that heroin way and she tells me she's helping some woman Jack to kick, she’ll be shitting and throwing up involuntarily in bed for seven days and I can't even conceptualize that. Please call me, she says, and when I get off the phone I'm drained but also filled with a sense of possibility, although then I'm so wired I have to smoke two cigarettes, take a shower before finishing my stupid papers.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

My chance

Then I run into Kelly and she’s all worked up about some guy again – I thought we were going to be friends when I first got back, because it seemed like she had actually had a life, but all she ever talks about is some guy who she's obsessed with, like I'm going to be fascinated just because I'm a faggot or something. I don't really try anymore, especially after that time when she was ranting about how someone had described her as that Asian girl with bleached hair, and I said really, he called you a girl? But it turned out it was the Asian part she was upset about, and on my way home I was thinking about how to describe people without mentioning race, and whether this was necessary or just fake, I mean of course this happens for white people all the time and I guess that's the point, and then I realized that actually Kelly was talking about me. Because I had described her as an Asian woman with bleached hair to someone, and then for a few minutes I felt like the most horrible person in the world. But then after that I felt angry, like why couldn't Kelly have actually confronted me, so we could have a conversation?

I do kind of obsess about that question now, though – when do you mention race, and when do you not? Because sometimes if you don't, it actually feels like you're participating in cultural erasure. But then, you don't want to objectify someone in that way. And then I get confused – I used to think that any guy who called a woman or girl or used the word bitch was a misogynist asshole, but then in San Francisco I started to think that when a fag called a straight boy a bitch this was one of the most beautiful things in the world, and I saw the way that when one queen said bitch to another, it could be a gesture of love, and could it be that way between fags and dykes too or was there always that dynamic of privilege that needed to be confronted?

I get home and pick up the phone and it's Melissa, who says: what would you do if you thought AIDS was a government plot? And suddenly it's like everything in the room is vibrating, too dark and too light at the same time and when I go in the bathroom I get that feeling like someone’s behind me, my father, and I know my father is not behind me but I scream anyway: get the fuck away, GET THE FUCK AWAY! That kind of makes me feel better, and then I go in the kitchen and make miso soup with shiitake mushrooms and daikon radish the way Melissa used to make it, and rice noodles and broccoli with sesame oil and tamari, scallions just at the end. Jordan’s coming over tonight although I still can't tell if he's flirting with me or just some straight boy identifying as bisexual, actually we haven't even had that conversation yet and Margaret says he does that with everyone, he'll lead you on for a while and then disappear.

Brenda comes home, but before I get a chance to say hi she's screaming at Jouki. You asshole, she says – you fucking asshole! Because Jouki dragged rice all over her room. But what do you expect when you leave your dog alone all day? I just hope Brenda isn't going to put him in a cage like when Jouki ate the sofa in the living room even though it's not like we were using it or anything, we spent so long painting that room when we moved in, remember I was joking about that 9 pm to 5 am shift and then I stayed up all night to regulate my sleep but we never even use the living room.

Brenda goes outside with Jouki without saying anything, like she's mad at me too, but then I hear her saying hi in that cheerful voice at the door so I guess Jordan is here. We hug hello and I put two bowls of miso on the table– he says: I didn't realize you ate seafood. What do you mean, I say, kind of scandalized, but it turns out he thought the shiitake mushrooms might be scallops. Really?

Then we’re talking about Brown and I don't really understand how he's been there the whole four years, I mean how has he survived? He says he goes home as often as possible – to North Attleboro – and that helps. I say I don't want to go home ever again, and then we talk about why everyone at Brown is so cold and brutal and vicious, and I'm saying something about how I just need more slutty fags in my life and he asks if there are any dating possibilities, and I kind of want to say you, but I don't want to scare him away. And just then Brenda comes home, and when she gets upstairs Jordan launches into his endless questioning that happens whenever he meets anyone new and then I’ve missed my chance.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Turn down the volume

Aaron says I feel self-conscious getting drunk when you're not having anything, but I don't really like to drink when I'm dancing anyway. I'm driving, I say, and Aaron says how about just one cocktail? So I look over at the bartender, and she says a madras? I can't believe she remembers. I take a sip and it's basically pure vodka, usually just the way I like it but tonight I'm not in the mood so I push it over to Aaron and say drink up! Now he's really going to be drunk. What time is it, I say. Almost 12:30, so he finishes the cocktail and we wave goodbye to our best friend – be safe, she says, and I smile, even though I hate it when straight people say that. We get to Babyhead and right when we step inside they’re playing something with all these horns jazzing out over a crumpled metal drawbridge – you know, you step, and everything shakes, and you step again, and honey I'm on the dance floor swinging on the seesaw. But what are all these hetboys doing looking me up and down, violence disguised as lust like I'm the woman they want to rape or something, just because of my tights. Usually I get weird looks, but nothing special, and then four of these guys jump onto the dance floor to try and grind with Aaron and me while people on the side are grinning and rooting them on. I dance more sexually with Aaron and these guys are hooting and grunting right next to us and then this woman steps between them and us, she's right up against him like a wall. Then this guy comes up and starts yelling at them, and soon enough they are maybe 10 or 15 hetboys in the middle of the dance floor about to fight about two fags and Aaron and I are pretending we don't notice, just keep dancing I'm thinking, just listen to those horns and feel the shaking of the floor beneath my feet and then everyone disperses and I don't know whether to feel relieved or worried because I can still sense everyone's staring and I don't want them to know that I care so I get crazy and stay on the dance floor until closing, even when Aaron sits down I'm still moving wildly and when the lights come on I'm dripping with sweat, eyes rolling back with that high I need. Next time I'll wear a dress, I say to Aaron as we’re leaving, even though I'm scared too. Then it's the next day on the green and I feel like I can't breathe, do I have to shut myself off in order to speak? I'm sitting next to Letha who I don't connect with at all, and James who never even says hi, just looks past me like there's something really fascinating going on about two feet to my left. Josh is kind of flirting with me and Jesse comes over and sits on my lap, I assume because he wants Josh but maybe he's just being friendly. I say hi to Yoli because once we had a good conversation about language poetry, but she's too busy to say anything, talking to Pooja about someone who got so high and fucked someone I don't know. Eliana comes over and she's nice enough, but she tries so hard to talk about nothing. Then I'm talking to fags one, two, and three and I'm thinking why do I torture myself? This heat in my body and I leave, say I should pretend I have something to do. Then I'm on Thayer Street and of course I get harassed by the kids who are always in front of Spat’s, and I turn around and wave hi like this is my fan club or something, and two of the girls start shrieking ew, ew, and I keep walking but in my head I'm thinking how depressing it is that the black kids in this white neighborhood are harassing me instead of some racist asshole. Then I get the usual weird looks from everyone else which usually I enjoy but today is different – I'm thinking of smacking the next person who tries to harass me, not a good strategy I know. I mean I know violence doesn't do anything at all, bomb corporate headquarters when no one is inside. But I'm still thinking about last night and how, when I tried to talk about it on the green everyone acted like they were watching TV, turn down the volume.