30 May 2009

Pittsburgh weather

watching the rain come & go
berate the city for thinking we could go without
breathe an answer to the prayers of things green.

we shake like ducks in the wet.
go about our business, let it roll right off us.
this is the term of our tenure.

long-awaited thunder comes,
the catharsis of the cold season,
a Homeric purgation,
the scream of a newborn summer.

We thirst!

the robins always sing after the rain,
as if waking to a new dawn.

11 may 2009

27 May 2009

on fate?

i am starting to think that your first 20-30 years prepare you for the life you are going to live in ways you can't anticipate and may never realize.

i could elaborate on my reasons for thinking this, but i don't think i have a firm enough grasp on them myself, yet. it's strange when you reach a point where you have a conviction not about the way things should be, but about the way things are. and then you realize that this makes perfect sense in the context of your life, that it grows logically out of your experiences. we are not designed to fuck up. we are designed to do what we need to do, in such a way that most people may not even realize they are doing it. think about it: in one way or another, everything you have been or done has prepared you for this moment. and this moment is preparing you for the next one, or for some non-sequential future time that you can't even foresee. not only are we made to do what we need to do, but we are built such that each person's path intersects with each other person's path to help them get where they are going too.

i don't know if i believe in fate, inasmuch as i don't know if i believe that each person's life has only one possible outcome. but i do know i believe that ultimately, everything can only ever be okay.

26 May 2009

on a word

sometimes, the word you need doesn't exist, so you have to use one that comes close, even if it's not quite right. this has been causing me no end of confusion lately. but, confusion makes for fun writing, so...

when i choose to call her my girlfriend, i have my reasons. some of them are selfish. actually, most of them are selfish. it's easier, for one thing, than trying to explain: "well...we're together, so i guess she's my girlfriend, but she's not really a girl, but she's not really a boy either, and....oh fuck it." most people don't need (and wouldn't understand) the explanation anyway.

besides that, it's a way for me to come out. (do i even need to do that anymore? i'm pretty sure i'm so obviously queer that it's practically redundant.) there are ways to express one's not-singleness (unavailability?) without coming out, and there are times when i do this. i recognize that there may still be times when i have to. but it's a matter of pride, for me to express that this is who i choose to be with. this is the kind of relationship i'm interested in; this is the identity i'm cultivating for myself.

coming out is not something you do once. it's something you do over and over again for your whole life, and something you decide to do or not do in a thousand ways every day. this is one way in which i choose to do so, and one way in which i make an insufficient lexicon work for me.

it's also really fun to confuse people with a name and a pronoun that don't match. =)

22 May 2009

another open letter

happy birthday. i still think of you quite often, and hope you are well.

21 May 2009

on silence

"silence is usually more interesting than the stuff on either side of it."

it's amazing what can be conveyed by saying nothing. in a glance, or in the absence of one. a hesitation. a touch.

and this may seem a silly example to use, but the episode of house we watched last night made masterful use of silence. all too appropriately placed, with regards to the conversation.

i wonder that it doesn't work like this for everyone. there are people we can each hear perfectly clearly when they say nothing, and there are people we would never know had "said" anything at all.

in my eval & treatment class last fall, during one lecture the prof emphasized the usefulness of silence as a treatment/counseling tool. if you say nothing for long enough, eventually the other person will fill in. i was the idiot who raised my hand in answer to his question. "i'm really uncomfortable with silence. i always feel the need to fill it. ... especially in some situations. ... like if i'm talking with a professor, and i've finished what i have to say, but they don't say anything yet, and i wonder if i've left something out. ... kinda like you're doing, right now." it doesn't work this way with every person; i suppose it's stronger when we think we are expected to speak. probably with those people who you don't expect will hear you if you say nothing.

and then, there are times when it's completely inappropriate to say anything.

[to return to: silence as a storytelling tool?]

18 May 2009

Smoke rings and Silence

i want to meet your grandmother
and tell her how proud of you she should be.
i suspect she knows
that things are not as they always should have been.

the image of the wrinkled woman in her armchair,
steel blue and grey from years of weather,
nodding slowly as she recognizes what she
has always known.

rings of smoke surround her haloed head,
the yarn of her knitting
roughened by misuse,
a soft blanket becomes a sturdy chair cover.
she grasps it with a wizened hand,
worrying the threads with her warning fingers.

your grandmother is a mother twice removed;
she can see the reality of things
from a perspective we can only imagine
and long for.
she may give or receive advice or words as she chooses,
or say nothing
and teach us to learn on our own.

she rests, secure
in the knowledge that her grandchild
will make the same mistakes,
that some things never change,
but that maybe, we are better off this way.

8 may 2009

14 May 2009

[part of "the story..."]

She speaks me round, purple,
softening the sharp edges of my name,
like she knows how to fit into my spaces.
fill me in like iridescence,
shimmer off my surfaces, to
make the picture whole. you beautiful painter,

my name does not match my person,
and those who speak it best
are the ones who can make it come the closest.

they pull threads of my being
and weave them with their own voices,
bring us together and becoming in the creation of my name
one, more like one.
they know me. they see my whole
and help me fray pleasantly without falling apart.

Wordle: she speaks my name

11 May 2009

i could post more poetry, but

what i really want to write about
is sitting in a big glass room
watching my best friend sign away four years of her life
to something i want to believe in,
"with no mental reservations."

i want always to remember the look in her eyes
as she turned to me
and said
"i'm looking forward to making you all proud."

i may never understand
this impulse
or my own aversion to it,
but i think the latter is based on the fact
that everyone changes, somehow.

there is thunder outside but the sky is colored in sections,
like a toddler got bored with his book.

the military's emphasis on "family" belongs in prose.
i've touched on it once already, and i'm not sure i'm ready to address it with the attention it apparently deserves. suffice it to say, saturday was really fucking weird.

08 May 2009

Portraits of a Community

is a bright green word
always upper-case
serrated but not jagged.
you can curl it into your palm
if you do it slowly.

is blue and purple, lavender flowers,
lei around the necks of dancing hippies.
happily in script, daring in boldface,
rolling off the tongue and into cunt.

blue like a new suit when i address it to you,
red and scabbed when it's hurled like a broken glass bottle from a passing car window.

clinical and gray.
an identity with a lab coat;
it allows you to keep your distance.

fits in lowercase,
just like me.
it's a nice blend of cools,
a mix on the palette.
the curved cue moderates the harsh /k/
and the soft of the /
ɹ/ cradles the ending.
i belong here.
cushion me in the comfort of an enveloping word.

naughty and rough
orange, red and sex
yellow highlights
hairdresser gone wrong.

handpainted signs
and rainbow banners.
sure and sturdy, established and proud,
this is our stone wall
and a fortress not to hide behind, but to fight from.

07 May 2009

quantity is quality?

Whenever i tell one of my Deaf instructors, "I grew up near Washington, D.C.," the first thing they say is always along the lines of, "There's a GREAT Deaf community there." it didn't occur to me until recently to wonder what the implications of this are for the Deaf community here. one of my teachers will usually comment on the small size and different quality of this community, and say it's good, but nothing like D.C. this is one of those things that i understand in ASL but can't quite translate to English. there is definitely a relationship between the size of the community in D.C. and its perceived quality: in a sense, bigger seems to be better. but that doesn't mean the community here is not strong Deaf, or that there aren't good people in it.

then i thought, it must be like going from a town where you're the only gay person to a city where there are thousands, and where so many connect with each other and build relationships and form community. and it's such an impressive thing, really, to know that There Are Others Like You. there are people who will understand you without a tremendous amount of effort, whether that's compromising between two different languages or having to [re]define parts of a [supposedly] shared one. a [queer/Deaf] community of two people is still a community, but you can only speak that language with each other; it's a relief to know that you may run into someone by chance with whom you can communicate effortlessly.

05 May 2009

two thoughts:

while walking to work this afternoon:

Deviance is determined by the degree to which we make others uncomfortable.

would murder be a crime if we lived in a world where no one was afraid to die?

04 May 2009

storytelling, part 4

in the course of conversation the other night, i was faced with the reality that although storytelling is crucially important to our knowledge of ourselves and others (see parts 1 and 2), we may at times be reticent to tell our own stories, or pieces of them. afterwards, i started thinking about the reason for this.

on its face, it is obvious. there are stories i don't want to tell because they reveal a side of myself that i may not be proud of, or comfortable with, or expect other people to be comfortable with. but, returning to the original hypothesis (People want to be Known), this potentially creates two conflicts: 1) people may not want to be completely Known, for any number of reasons, and 2) people may be afraid of being misunderstood, i.e., someone believes that they know them, but their knowledge is incomplete or inaccurate.

or perhaps, if the goal of telling one's story is to make that sacred connection with another person, maybe the hesitance to tell a story stems from a motivation towards efficiency. if one fears or even anticipates that the connection might not be made, why waste the energy telling the story? that effort could be better spent relating a part of the story that would be more likely to build the connection, to make oneself better Known.

[this installment is not cohering the way i want it to.]

01 May 2009

sonnet 73

the only way i'll find my words might be
to force them to a meter and a rhyme.
i've tried this all before; i never see
results that please. perhaps it works this time.
you say that you know nothing. please advise:
exactly how am i to educate?
it seems there is no easy compromise:
i can't speak; you won't listen. Twist of Fate,
how cruel and unusual you are!
you kill my muses and steal all my words
and tempt away the Knight who keeps my heart,
for even he could not resist your lures.
i wish with all my heart he would return;
this quest means nothing if he will not learn.