Thursday, February 27, 2014

The world they call the world

When someone says the law is in your hands, you know they’ve never thought about the law. When someone says it’s in your hands, what does that mean about your hands? If I’m getting to the other side of this deep dark depression, yes, let’s hope, let’s hope. Sometimes the violence of people pretending to help is the worst kind of violence. I used to have a body, but now I have this. Sometimes when you are out of the world they call the world for so long, and then you are in it, this can be confusing.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Context


Probably not a good sign when you wake up thinking have I ever had two good days in a row? One sign of the lack of funding for the arts in the US is how excited writers are getting about a potential Amtrak residency. Once, I stood in a public park outside the walls around the house where Courtney Love used to live, and a security guard yelled GET BACK.

Still waiting for someone to ask for an Amtrak residency to get gang-banged for 48 hours. Sometimes I get so confused by the gender terms people use to describe me
that I want to go back to whatever it was I never had to go back to. “In the 70s, nothing was built. There was no need for buildings.” Thank you to Chiara Barzini for historical context.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Welcome


I found this disturbing sign in my neighborhood. It pretends to be a Capitol Hill Neighborhood Watch flyer, although I don’t think there is a neighborhood watch in Capitol Hill – although, of course I could be wrong. Also, they spelled Capitol Hill wrong, and usually neighbors so concerned with watching don’t make that type of error, do they? Also, it starts by saying “M.A.D.D. & N.A. present,” and it’s hard to imagine there’s really a chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Capitol Hill, isn’t that a suburban thing? Although, of course, the suburban imagination is everywhere now, so who knows.

So then it says “DRUG DEALER WATCH 2014,” which would seem a bit strange for an NA posting, since NA stands for Narcotics Anonymous, and what this flyer purports to be is a “criminal profile.” They give this guy’s age, height, hair color, eye color, and then even his home address, including apartment number, as well as his cell phone number, along with pictures that look like they must be from some cruising site, and then they tell us that he is a “gay sex-club member & coined resident ‘CUM DUMPSTER.’” Oh, wait — actually, they say that the locations of his business include home, phone, Club Z (sex club), and schools (“often with minors.”).
 
Then this flyer tells us this person is suspected of crystal meth dealing and possession, tax evasion, theft, pedophilia, and breaking and entering, and the flyer encourages people to call the cops to report any “illegal and/or suspicious activity surrounding Philip or his place of business.” Let’s back up: pedophilia? Is this 1950? Pedophiles are walking around the neighborhood, picking up kids at schools and dealing them drugs? The worst part is that, given all of the information, the sex profile pictures, etc., this probably isn’t some straight homophobe, but some gay person feeding into straight homophobia in order to get back at someone he has a grudge against. Welcome to the neighborhood.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lyrics


Just realized I’m wearing an eye mask on my forehead like a headband. This could be the new look. Don’t forget that you heard it here first. I remember when my mother or maybe father got that birthday card after turning 40 and it said congratulations, you’re over the hill. And I wondered: what hill? I’m still wondering. Sometimes I think all adjectives should be abolished. At least in writing. Her "loud, happy laugh." Shoot me. I put some fresh mint in with the steamed vegetables. This might be the answer. Yes, I’m still confused by a performance experiment that doesn’t allow late arrivals or early departures.

If there is a hill, do we believe in hell? Now everyone’s talking about an Amtrak writer’s residency, but I just want to be paid back for all the terrible trains I’ve already taken. I hope someone writes about how the freight companies own the train lines, so coal takes precedence and Amtrak is 12 hours late. I hope someone writes about how if we had high-speed rail the 48-hour-plus ride from Chicago to Seattle could be 15 hours, San Francisco to LA in two hours instead of 12. I hope someone writes about the terrible food they serve.
 
I know this happens every year, but somehow I can’t believe it’s 5:30 pm and still kind of light out. If I sound optimistic, I’m as surprised as you are. Something’s really weird in my apartment—I think they turned the heat on. When I lived in San Francisco I tried to pretend it wasn’t California, but when Randy calls me from San Francisco in February and says she’s going to the beach I realize oh. My mother leaves a message to say okay, she’s not going to call me so much. Then she calls three more times because she wants to reach me. She wants to hear my voice. I’m trying to remember the lyrics to this song.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The new cement truck

I just learned that there’s no fear in running through wet cement, as long as you’re wearing the right boots. But what will happen when everything is young adult literature, and will we still read? Remember when we were young adults, and we wouldn’t have been caught dead reading anything labeled young? Now many young adults don’t grow up with the fear of everything young, and this is a good thing. But also there’s this infantilization of the young and the young-becoming-old, and when does this end? At the next purchase, of course. I mean the next purchase. Next. And when will young adult lit be the literature of the young, rather than a branded marketing ploy helping to train the next generation of consumers to feel good about consuming? Here comes the new cement truck, filled with young adult lit, but will the foundations still stand?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Adjusting the shades

In spite of what it represents, fresh cement really is quite beautiful. Unfortunately most people only believe in two kinds of history: the history that never was, and the history that will never be. I want to figure out the exact music to play at every moment of the day, and then never leave. I know there was something more I wanted to say, something big, but it’s gone. Maybe I’ll watch the construction site again, how in spite of all these huge machines there’s still so much human labor required, and somehow this is comforting.

Friday, February 07, 2014

In my dream we will talk to one another like when we first got away

Except now there will be more to talk about because there’s been more time and we will have more space to understand and fewer ways to feel overwhelmed but still we will talk with that same urgency only it won’t be so frightening because we will dream again and not in the escapist way but the way that means we talk until we reveal listening as revelation, as intimacy, as touch, as experimentation, as meaning, as hope without breaking unless breaking means breaking it down taking breaks we all need breaks to examine to exist to explode if explosion means into the world an arrival we will not flee because we have fled already, in my dream we will speak to one another to learn how to speak, again.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

"The Brutality of Believing"—a phenomenal interview by Kathleen Rooney in the Brooklyn Rail!!!

After being a fan from a distance for years, I met Mattilda in person at a holiday party and reading for the online magazine Bookslut, where we shared, as she put it afterwards, “a moment of intimacy in the bathroom.” It was a wintry December night, snowing and blowing, and we’d both ducked into the bathroom to use the mirror to check our hair. I was intimidated—kind of star-struck—and couldn’t say much more than “yes, of course” when she stood next to me and asked, “Can I fix my hair in here with you?” After that, I lacked the courage to speak to her again for the rest of the night. But I did get to hear her read a passage from the title essay of her stunning, concentric, non-linear memoir The End of San Francisco, and I knew just from that excerpt—so smart, so conversational, and so deeply felt in its analysis of love, loss, community, disillusionment, and flamboyance as resistance—that I had to read the whole book and talk with her about it.