30 June 2009


just moved, still figuring out internet at home.
(and wanted to get in one more post for june :-)

25 June 2009

Dear Mr. President:

i got an email today from Rea Carey, the director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, asking, "If you had a chance to talk to the President, what would you say?" apparently she is going to meet with President Obama next week to mark the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, and she wants to take the stories of LGBTQ people with her. the email included a link to a form to send her your story or questions.

i don't have a story for Mr. Obama, but i sure have a hell of a lot of questions.

Mr. President, when are you going to keep the promises you made to the millions of LGBTQ Americans who voted for you in November? When are you going to stop doing damage control and start working for real change, repealing the discriminatory laws that prevent us from receiving all the same rights and benefits as our heterosexual peers, instead of promising us a few in apology? How could you stand in support of DOMA, knowing that its repeal would not automatically or even necessarily guarantee legal marriage for same-sex couples? How could you believe that advocating for civil unions is advocating full equality, when you must know the fallacy of "separate but equal"? When are you going to tell Congress to pass an inclusive ENDA so you can sign it and protect all Americans from employment discrimination? When are you going to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, so that we can freely consider all of our options for education and employment, without having to worry about what happens if...? When are you going to stand up and acknowledge that all civil rights belong to all people, and no one should face discrimination based on whom they love?

Mr. Obama, I am proud to be American, and
I am proud to be gay, and I am proud that you were the first person I voted for in a Presidential election. I truly believe that you have the potential to bring necessary and important change to our nation. I want to continue being proud of someone I really feel is my President. When are you going to live up to our expectations and earn our votes?

24 June 2009

while packing (i.e., a distraction)

my life is on hold as i prepare to move again, for the seventh time in just under four years. i feel good about this one: i like my new apartment, and i'm excited about my situation. i haven't felt as good about all of them.

it's amazing the things you discover while packing your life into boxes. i am always surprised by how much stuff i accumulate over the course of a year (or in this case, 14 months). there is no reason for any person [my age] to have this much stuff. things get tucked into corners and forgotten about. stories get shoved onto shelves or into drawers. those same stories are barely even told when they are rediscovered months or years later to be shuttled to a new station, a new place to be left and dismissed. rather, they occur, as a flash of memory that plays out like a subliminal message in a television commercial: if they do it right, you won't even notice. a flood of endorphins. a feeling you've forgotten how to name. a face you never wanted to remember.

someone used to comment on how every item in my room has a story. the game then became, choose one, and i'll tell it. we killed a few minutes at a stretch that way.

the trick when you're packing to move is deciding which stories you want to keep. we are alternately rescued and damned by the dumpster behind the building. if you could live with a gap in your memory, would you choose to do it? would you be faulted for it by those who couldn't comprehend the choice?

19 June 2009

thoughts on Pride 2009

there's something so different about a city Pride celebration from a college one.
at the huge dance party Saturday night and the parade & festival Sunday morning, i kept coming back to the realization that all of these people--and there were so many people--were here together, to celebrate the fact that we can all love each other.
in conversation yesterday, i was pleased to discover that i was not the only one who had felt it profoundly acceptable to just Be, as Whatever You Are.
i loved how you could pick out any given article of clothing and comment on it and the person would accept the compliment graciously.
there's nothing like drag queens.
and it felt so good to see so many families.
that may be my favorite picture ever, and i wish i knew what song was playing. so much about that moment was perfect.

15 June 2009

an aura-reading synaesthete (part 2: music)

this weekend's mental adventures have made it plain that part 2 of this explanation needs to be written. although what i'd really like to write about is aura-reading and how it affects my
experience of other people, i feel that the music section needs to be written first. hopefully sequential sections will inform each other.

although words on a page evoke color, shape, and texture for me, those images are based mostly on the spoken sound of a word. i hear a narrator in my head when i read, as many people do, and its (her?) voice creates the auditory basis for my perception. so, my synesthesia is mostly sound-->color synesthesia, with associated grapheme-->color synesthesia (as per the omniscient wikipedia)....i think.

so: since sound causes colors, shapes, and textures to occur in my mind, music must be particularly ...there's an adjective here, but i can't quite get to it. intense? affective? picturesque? that'll do. when i listen to music, all the parts fit together to form a moving painting of sorts. i tend to think of something like the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor from the original Fantasia, especially the part from about 5:30 to 7:45 in this video:

i experience dynamic landscapes of music. if i sit directly in front of a set of speakers, i feel the shape of it rolling towards me like the red hills at 7:10. i love that feeling like i'm surrounded by the music--as long as the composer and the musicians did a good enough job putting the right colors together in the right way. just like writing, all the pieces have to fit right. if they don't, i am made extremely uncomfortable.

different kinds of music fit right into my ears at different times. there are some types of music that never do. i can't stand popular country (too bright), and most mainstream rap is just painful (too sharp). favorites, on the other hand, include Gustav Holst, certain types of jazz, DJ Tiesto (who i am convinced is god because only a divine entity could create works of such beauty), and almost anything by the Foo Fighters (who even have an album titled "The Colour and the Shape").
volume also affects the shape of music--much like when you look at the waveform on an oscilloscope, or the green-and-red equalizers on an old tape deck. the color and texture of a person's voice usually affect whether i get along with them, because if the sound doesn't fit right, i can't stand to hear them talk, and we obviously can't be friends.

*it seems important to note at some point in this sequence that my experience is enhanced by certain substances and dulled by others. alcohol definitely damps it.

i find it particularly interesting when a person and the music produced by his instrument are not the same color. but elaboration on that will have to wait for a future installment. =)

13 June 2009

she speaks my name, part ii

you yelled my name last night
and it was heavy and cobalt-black, like treacle
dripping from the tensely-strung cables above and between us.

i didn't want to turn around;
there is no backward.
but what else could i do?

and so i sank
into that hot, steaming, sticking mess with you,
but in trying to pull you out
i only entrapped my own limbs,
and two people drowning
can't help each other swim.

10 June 2009


there's the kind of gay where you're attracted to the same sex, and then there's the kind of gay where you're attracted to a similar gender.
i suppose any given person could be one, both, or neither, and at any given time.

has anyone thought this before? what do people make of it?

06 June 2009

the experience of an aura-reading synaesthete (part 1: writing)

i really don't expect that i'll be able to cover this in one post, especially as i'm still coming to understand it myself.

synesthesia: (n) a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color. (from dictionary.com)

so when i talk about "thick blue music" or my name being spoken "round, purple" or a certain word being "bright green" and "serrated," it's because that's really how i experience it. letters, words, and sounds all have associated colors, textures, and shapes.

writing, for me, especially poetry, is in large part an effort to put together words that complement each other, whose shapes fit together like pieces of a puzzle. but not a jigsaw puzzle; more often, it feels like one of those 3D puzzles with several different pieces that you have to lock together to make a cube or a sphere, but not made of wood, usually more like play-doh, or... ...or like two people lying together on a sofa under a blanket. (you just know when it fits.)

not all writing works like this. not all writing needs to. but it's part of why i like certain writers so much, and why textbooks are so hard to read. textbooks are usually very flat, very bland, very grey, or beige
[like the carpet in the townhouse i grew up in, lazy saturday mornings eating cereal and watching cartoons, and nobody wants to do anything]. f. scott fitzgerald was brilliant. he had an incredible talent for putting words next to each other that most people wouldn't realize should go there. i don't even like his stories, so much, but the lyrical style of his writing floors me every time. ("lyrical," for the record, looks exactly like what it means/is meant to describe: blue and curving, lacquered, but like somebody didn't mix the paint all the way so there are streaks of other shades in random places.) in packing up my apartment this week i found a book of poetry by adrienne rich that i'd forgotten about--wow. rhyme and alliteration do things i don't think most people expect. straight prose almost seems like a waste of language: why express anything if you can't bother to make it beautiful?

sometimes, the color or the shape doesn't come from each individual word, but from a line, a stanza, or even a whole paragraph. words are like the shimmering highlights in the oil slick of a paragraph: they change the color in small pieces and contribute to the overall aesthetic. (the shape and texture of an oil slick rarely fit a piece of writing, but it was the best color analogy i could think of.) a short story writer, or even a novelist, needs to be able to put together larger chunks of a puzzle--it's like sculpting, or architecture, instead of painting. poetry is more likely to draw out the finer nuances, to occur on a smaller scale. a canvas more easily framed.

parts that need to follow: music, food,
possibly movies, and auras (the reading of which i'm convinced is related, though some may dispute it).

03 June 2009

Fourth of July

Today i remembered where i was on the Fourth of July that year,
what i was doing,
who i was with,
the words that split the air in the crowded car, full of our own inexpressible emotions and thick blue music.
i remember the fireworks, the tension between us as we couldn't touch for fear that everything would break, the fear that everyone would know.
i remember sitting on the hill, the grass biting our bottoms, in boyshorts and tank tops, after a party in a house too small, too narrow, too full of life and youth and denial.
i remember the race back to the Metro, the sticky orange seats, the way our knees fell together and i barely noticed, and then i could do nothing but notice, and that tangent point became the focus of my entire being....
i remember the frustration, the desire, i remember the way she cried, i remember how that song has never meant anything else for me....
i remember the way her voice broke, the cool of her skin, the wetness of her kiss, the passionate breath, the hesitation....
we wished we could never go home
and now, four years later, all i am left with is guilt.

02 June 2009


"Dyke" is my gender, not my sexual identity.