happy 2015
January 1, 2015

‘Twas the night before New Year’s, when all through the house

Not a creature was sober, not even a mouse;

The streamers were hung from the ceiling with care,

In preparation for guests who soon would be there;

The champagne was nestled all snug on its ice;

While countdowns and make-outs began to seem nice;

And bae in her bow tie, and I in my vest,

Had just begun pregaming the long winter’s fest,

When out on the street there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.

Away to the side door I drunkenly tripped,

Stepped out in the snow and tried not to slip.

The moon on the trash heaps and gutters of slush

Made me pause, the wind whipping, my face growing flush,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a huge group of queermos all carrying beer,

With a swaggering leader, her style all the rage,

I knew in a moment she must be Ellen Page.

Flyer than eagles  her wingwomen they came,

And she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Hey, Kristen! now, Portia! now Ellen and Vixen!

On, Laverne! on, Riese! on, Samira and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the end of the hall!

Now drink away! sing away! dance away all!”

So up to the porch the roller girls they flew

With bags full of whiskey, and rainbow cake too—

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Into the house Ellen Page came with a bound.

In her best Tomboy snapback, her cheeks all aglow,

her clothes were all dusted with glitter and snow;

She flipped up the collar of her frayed denim vest,

And her Canadian flannel out-gayed all the rest.

Her eyes—how they smoldered! her smirk was so dreamy!

The holes in her jeans made us all a bit steamy!

Her eyeliner game was as always mad strong,

And her skinny tie proved that she could do no wrong;

With effortless cool, she opened a beer with her teeth

when I noticed the mistletoe she was dancing beneath;

I sidled up towards her, with no ounce of stealth,

And I blushed when she smiled, in spite of myself;

A wink of her eye and a touch of her hand

were all that it took; I could barely stand;

She spoke not a word, but started dancing with me,

Robyn playing in the background, as gay as could be.

And laying her hand on the side of my face,

she kissed me, then turned with queerest of grace;

She slipped on her blazer, gave her posse a call,

And away they all ran to Times Square and the ball.

And I heard her exclaim, as she danced out of sight—

“Happy New Year to all, and to all a gay night!”

homecoming
June 30, 2013

Amazing how many different places a person can sleep in two months. I went from a small city in northern France to the banlieue of Paris to the wonderfully familiar bookshelves of Shakespeare & Co to the seemingly never-ending sprawl of LA to Autostraddle camp in the mountains of California to Minneapolis to Carleton College…it was only two weeks ago that I finally made it to Albany, where I will be spending the next year.

As you might expect, being a tumbleweed for a month at Shakespeare & Co was the highlight of my time in France (drinking champagne in front of the Paris city hall when gay marriage passed was a close second). My fellow tumbleweeds were a delight, as they always are. Nathan, last I heard, was headed to India, where I can only imagine he is eating like a king and writing the next great American novel. He and I first met three years ago during the shop’s literary festival, and through the strange machinations of the universe, we both ended up returning to the shop this spring. Tom – Scotsman, musician, and whiskey expert extraordinaire – is still at the shop and blogging up a storm. And Holly, the driving force behind the shop’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, continues to blissfully avoid returning to the US.

If I had not already paid for a transatlantic flight and a spot at Autostraddle camp, I would probably still be at the bookshop. It would seem that the only thing tempting enough to convince me to leave Paris is a campground full of queers (the fact that my French visa was about to expire mattered very little in this course of events, interestingly enough). Rather than try to recount all of camp for you – this would simply be me saying “everyone was so smart and attractive!” in as many ways as possible – I’ll just link you to the Autostraddle staff’s recaps.

After southern California, I flew to Minnesota, where I crashed on a variety of couches in the apartments of very welcoming friends. I discovered that Minneapolis is a wonderful city when it’s not buried under two feet of snow, that small Midwestern towns feel even smaller after living in Paris, and that after a year away, your alma mater will never feel like the home you remember it to be. Despite the onslaught of feelings that hit me upon seeing so many familiar haunts and faces, I made it out of Minneapolis without completely succumbing to nostalgia.

And so I’m back in Albany, my to-do list dominated by grad school applications and my ever-expanding reading list. The bane of my existence while traveling was my clashing inabilities to 1) avoid acquiring books and 2) fit more books in my luggage. Thankfully, media mailing rates exist and so all was resolved in the end.

Things I’ve read:

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald — I somehow got through high school without being forced to read it.
1Q84, Haruki Murakami — very long, very bizarre, very memorable
Antigonick, Anne Carson — a poetic and feminist translation/interpretation of Antigone. Wow, you need to read this.
Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare — best if read with wine and friends
This Jealous Earth, Scott Carpenter — my critical theory professor’s latest collection of short stories
various poetry collections by Stephen Dunn — I will never not be obsessed with “Loves

Things I’m reading:

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami — runaways and talking cats. just go with it.
Moby Dick, Herman Melville — surprisingly hilarious and beautifully written
Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”, Judith Butler — Problematize all the norms!

Last but not least, I’m still writing down my feelings, adding creative enjambment and punctuation, and calling it poetry. Post to follow.

“File me under W…
August 11, 2012

…because I wonce was a woman.” -from “The Secretary Chant” by Marge Piercy

“To say that gender is performative is to say that nobody really is a gender from the start. I know it’s controversial, but that’s my claim.” -Judith Butler

Watch this video.  Pretty please.  Judith Butler is brilliant and eloquent, and her claims about the creation and perpetuation of gender through performativity are what inform the ideas in the following poem, a poem that I wrote because I don’t like the idea of being a “woman.” I don’t like the baggage that comes with it, and it has never been a word I feel comfortable using to describe myself, despite the fact that I have always accepted being female. Butler’s ideas help to explain that although I might be female-bodied, no part of me is inherently feminine – womanhood was never inevitably tied up in my two X chromosomes with which I was born.

On the days I wear skirts

They are taking me and
making me a mannequin,
setting my limbs to allure,
my stiff arms slipped through
lacy silken sleeves.
They are teaching me to
smile and hold the pose,
blush, brighten and whiten
until I shimmer and blind
the stranger out of myself,
until I lose the words
I would use to name
my own budding body,
until my silence is perfumed
and packaged – the Latest Model –
and my batteries are included
for convenience.

I am earning wolf whistles and sideways smiles.
I am kissed and prodded and praised.
I am gathering dust.
I am giving birth.