Bad Queer

And maybe in a year, I will not feel like a bad queer

Adult Mom, “Survival”

 

Autostraddle “To L and Back”

About 6 months ago, I was listening to my favorite queer podcast (Buffering the Vampire Slayer, which I’ve written about here), when Kristin Russo announced she would be co-hosting season one of my soon-to-be other favorite queer podcast, To L and Back, in which Riese Bernard (co-founder of the site for and by queer women, Autostraddle) and Russo discuss every episode of the infamous lesbian Showtime series everyone loves to hate— The L Word. 

As I cued up the first episode, I was unprepared for how swiftly I was yanked back to the blossoming of my own queer sexuality at 19 years old, over a decade ago. 

 

 

 

I first started watching The L Word when I was still living at home. No one recommended it to me. I had no openly queer friends. I had no cable. But I did have a video store within walking distance of my house. I have no idea what moved me to rent the first season on DVD, but I’m lucky I did. 

At the beginning of my To L and Back binging, I had very little memory of The L Word’s specific characters, story arcs, episodes, or seasons. I only watched it once. I remember feeling that, lesbians aside, the show wasn’t very good.

The L Word, Season 3, Episode “Lost Weekend”

But I do remember watching the pilot, watching two women have sex for the first time, and thinking…this is hot! I really like this. I really want this.

It was such a subtle switch for me. I’d gone through my adolescence and early sexual experiences assuming I was straight, because I really didn’t think there was any other option. (Thank you, compulsory heterosexuality) Despite growing up in the Bay Area, I lived in a small island-town attending high school in the early 2000’s. Not long ago, but it could have been eons compared to the growth in LGBTQIA+ cultural visibility that has taken place in the past 20 years. (Never enough) I had no role models, and no community.

sokly543 on Youtube

I had TV. I had a lesbian-softcore-porn-soap-opera. Without which it may have taken me much much longer to begin my conscious queer journey.

Since then, I haven’t thought much about the little show that first raised my pulse and made my blood rush into a host of unexpected crevasses. To L and Back returned me to the inciting incident of my queerness and made me ask myself, why haven’t I been back to visit this beat until now?

Love. Or some shit.

Today is Valentines day. I figured I would write about love or some shit. I could talk about how much I love my wife and how amazing she is and how she deserves so much more than chocolate and flowers. I could write about how this year, gifts just isn’t really an option due to finances. I can talk about how I learned about the biggest way I could show her I love her is through all the little things in life. I could tell you all about my relationship and how it works and our love.


Have a cute photo of us anyway though

But I’m not going to. 

 

Instead, I’m going to talk about what I hope my relationship someday becomes. I’m going to talk about the GOAT of relationships in my life. I’m going to talk about my grandparents. My grandparents, who in our family were lovingly referred to as Ganny and Papa, had a relationship that I have always strived to obtain. They were old school. Papa was the provider. Ganny was the matriarch. Papa would fix things and build things and bbq. Ganny baked and sewed and knitted. But growing up, they were perfect. 


This was them. All the time.

I had them up on a high pedestal: they always held hands. They kissed just because. Papa gardened and he would always bring in a flower or two for Ganny. Ganny would always make sure Papa’s stains came out of his nice shirts. She would make him dinners she knew he would enjoy. She would patch up his clothes so it always seemed like he never needed new ones. 

 

But one of my favorite things about their relationship was their valentines day tradition. Every year, Papa would hand make Ganny a valentine. It would be heart shaped usually but sometimes it was out of paper. Or wood. Or felt. And he would always write some cheesy valentine line on it. 

 

“Now you have my heart. Happy Valentines Day.” 

“I wood be nothing without you. Happy Valentines Day.”

“My love grows for you each and every day. Happy Valentines Day”

 

I loved coming over around Valentines day because Ganny would display the valentine Papa made for her on their mantle and I loved seeing what Papa would come up with every year. Ganny would always tell the story of how he presented it with pride while Papa sat in his spot on the couch with a humble smile on his face. Every once in a while he’d pipe in with a detail Ganny may or may not have known. I lived for these stories from them. They always made me extremely happy. 

 

I lost Ganny in 2016. Papa passed away last year. I could tell how lonely Papa had gotten once Ganny had passed. My mom and I would go over once a week for dinner and I loved our dinners, but it never felt like enough. I always felt bad leaving at the end of the night. You could tell he missed his wife.


I hope my marriage lasts just like theirs. Strong and fully in love.

This year is the first year they will be back together again for Valentines day and I know Papa is making Ganny something amazing wherever they are. It will be handmade and cheesy and full of love and it will be wonderful.

 

They weren’t perfect people, but they loved with their entire hearts. They taught me that love is the greatest gift you have to give and when executed correctly, it is fun and silly and meaningful and isn’t something one overthinks and is never harmful and is always amazing. But most importantly, they taught me that sometimes, the best gifts are the simple ones made with love.

bare hands

im suppoda touch myself right now i dont really wan tew
otha dan ta help me sleep
& i sleep all day

cuz sumbawdy luvs me
in my dreamz
sumebawdy ax me ta dance & not just shake my ass

17 billion niggas floatin on green clouds are chantin
my name
demandin dat i am freed

dat my wrist can electric slide down da isle smotherin

“im just lookin ta fuck”

ta a pulp
da bastardized tale

“where you wan me ta nut?”

iz da question dat ion eva answa i opened my mouf
i swallow
i breave

i sang

“Oh lawd I wan tew move”

i ax fo fogiveness
afta
i alwayz feel ashamed
ta letta nigga i barely know but remind me ov my favah slide in me
den leave

one gud woman

wifa nappy afro
caught on niggaz opinionz
avoidz intellectually knowin haself
& proudly livez wit complicated emotionz


This poem is an excerpt from Meyer’s newest poetry book/offering African Booty Scratcha…lovin da ashy-blaq fat chall wif yella teef, peasy head & a broken smilwhich can be purchased on Amazon here.

 

More about the book: Mayers second poetry offering is another mile stone in literary expression, another fossilized exploration in the identity of Blackness. This time around he deals directly with the conditions and experiences of dark skinned babies, children, teens and adults. He rhythmically lays out the beauty and love dark skinned people are normally denied and the provisions they are always offered too. He uses the Black vernacular to write through feelings and welcomes the reader to challenge their ideas in language and the styling of beauty. As always, it is clear that Mayers’ masterpiece is not written from a distance: indeed, it is up close and oh so personal.

You vs. God vs. Me.

If I was God I would drown the world too.
But first I would pick up my people like dolls
and carve gills into the thin skin of their necks,
and call it preparation, call it guidance, call it love.
It hurts like hell, but now you can breathe, my child,
stop gasping, please, I did this for you.
God lived in my room, in the corner,
seated on the particle board desk,
pressed like weeds between the thin sheets of
the new and old testaments.
God may have wept as He watched,
but He watched my muscles twist beneath his,
and suddenly God was out of miracles,
suddenly God became man.

Does God give His hardest battles to His strongest soldiers
or to His worst disciples?

When you crashed your car your mother
sat you down and pled with you,
Baby, God is warning you, so please listen,
please think about what He’s trying to teach you, my child, my love.
Of course God wanted us dead.
You, His youth group leader in training,
Me, your brief queen hissing heresy every time I said I love you.
I wept for you and watched as you learned to call yourself
a dyke before you would ever say the word lesbian.
I didn’t listen to the warnings He gave you,
just as much mine as they were yours, like all of your pain became.
And He took you from me, from yourself, quickly.
And then He took me too.

You said you were afraid of dying.
You were afraid of the hell that yearned to catch up to us,
like we weren’t already living the hot punishment
of a boiled-over love.

In the wake of disaster,
I can see how maybe we really were wrong.
We should have listened, heeded the call.
Or maybe we were never
Me vs. Your Family,
Us vs. Your God.
It was You vs. Yourself.
And you could have won.

If the world began flooding around us,
I would have swam to you everytime,
I would have carved our necks,
I would have learned to fly
helicopters to the tops of mountains,
I would have sent a final avalanche
and we’d leave the stratosphere in a homemade spaceship.

God cannot find us if we hide,
if we just keep refilling the gas tank,
if we reread Leviticus,
and cross out the parts that we don’t like.

Spiritual Self Portraits: The Creative Process of Embodying Oneself

At some point in our lives, being Queer forces us to engage with negative messages from family, religion and the larger culture.  Many of us are not taught how to gain access to or trust our deepest emotions and intuitions that might shed much-needed light and healing. Without validation, those negative  messages can make us question our desires and identifications — and, sadly, sometimes we ingest that negativity. Although the ways in which we seek our truths are different for each of us, many of us spend a lifetime discovering who we are, what we have to offer the world and how to express that best as Queer creative, spiritual, human beings. Here I share a portion of my journey via the interaction of art with my own body and how that brings up new questions, pathways, and creative expression. 

30 years ago I clip out a photo of this powerful sculpture from a magazine.  But I neglect to include the artists’ name or its title*, so I don’t know anything about the image — except that it speaks to me. 

Four jesters, adorned with only striped body-art and tasseled hair are in various poses; I see each has a different body position, gaze and perspective. It seemed to me that while searching, each jester feels at ease and content in their physical body, with an inner secret, a wry sense of humor — and an open, curious nature.

The Shelf: Episodes 25 and 26

Welcome back to The Shelf, a film review podcast about the physical media we carry with us. This week, Nic and Hannah bring you the thrilling final two episodes of season one. We’re going on break, but will be back in March for your listening pleasure!

In episode 25, Nic and Hannah watched Spike Jonze’s academy-award-winning-cinematic-film-of-the-cinema, Her. Join us as we discuss lighting, color, costumes, set designs, scores, emotions, themes, and Jackass.

You can access the episode here: The Shelf, Episode 25: Her

 

—————————————————————————————

 

In episode 26, Nic and Hannah descend into madness with Ari Aster’s horror hit, Hereditary. If you are strong of spirit and pure of heart, join them. If you want. No pressure. Seriously it is such a long episode.

Content Warning: This episode discusses topics of trauma, mental illness, suicide, and violence. 

Nic and Hannah reference two articles during this episode. If you’re interested in Sasha Geffen’s full take, you can find their article here: “Trans Horror Stories and Society’s Fear of the Transmasculine Body”

You can also find Willow Maclay and Caden Gardner’s blog here: “Body Talk: Conversations on Transgender Cinema”

 

motha how could you eva? a poem fo Hydeia

Written for World AIDS Day 2019


condoms wrappers sealed

sperm dripz hips

grab mouf spread

legz open screamz

once held

cryd

once

but now  i

have

h

 Began to make the an “h” sound.

 

will my baby?

 

screamz

i have it

burns so bad

uterus gag

i have it

& aint no

faggit stuck hiz

dick in me

i have it

&

aint nobody raped

me

 

motha puffed

& stuck

skin wit random

penz

& gave me

& took

& she neva said

im sorry

it was an accident

if only i had known

i wouldntve

nuffin-she-said-nuffin

i just want ta be normal

i just want ta live

itz lyke leachez

are jawing at da baq

of my eye ballz

i caint see anythang but red

im scared dat one day im gonna look up

from a wheel chair

im gonna sneeze & my heart will stop fovea

im gonna cry & cough & laugh & blood will spritz out &

i aint prepared fo errybody to stare

at me

at it

 

im scared ta kiss anyone

i stay in wen itz below 70 degreez

i canit gitta cold

im sore

from peeling awf

& slicin wartz

it

makez me tenda

motha

how could you eva?

i am ashamed

of it

it iz ashamed

of me

da way itattacks me

& i aint do shit but be born

its ashamed

its a shame

i have

H.I.V

& didnt have a choice fo

it


Lester Mayer’s new poetry book “African Booty Scratcha (Lovin Da Ashy-Blaq Fat Hall Wit Yella Teef, Peasy Head & A Broken Smile) is available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle now. 

Trans Empathy – Or, You misgendered me & I thanked you.

Today, my boss apologizes for misgendering me and I thank her.

I work in a very grey office out of a very grey cubicle in a big grey building where a little grey headset streams to me a constant flood of angry patrons who every day find a new way to assume my womanhood based on my voice. My boss, who is by all accounts a very nice woman, is usually very good about my pronouns. I know that every time she talks to or about me I would be able to breathe for a moment – something I do very rarely on the job.

For some reason, however, she misgendered me last week.

I felt as though my one tie to reality in a place where I constantly feel unreal had betrayed me. Office atmospheres are deceiving – they turn everything into the mundane.  It is easy to seem like you are not crushed because everybody behind a computer screen and a cubicle is always some level of crushed. Pain simply fades into the white noise of the place.

I knew this and I couldn’t stand it. I had to make sure she knew this mattered to me. I needed to know I could look hold onto this tiny anchor of sanity to which my boss was the tether.

I sent an email. This was a big deal for me. The last time I tried to assert my pronouns in a work setting, I was assaulted and then fired.

Queeries comes back tomorrow!

Bright eyed and ready for the new year, Queeries returns with new content starting tomorrow!

A lot has happened in the world since we last wrote for you.

Like, a lot a lot.

Let’s make some art about it.

Check back every Monday and Friday for new work! 


And keep in mind we’re still selling the second Volume of Queeries Zine – “SAFE” to benefit Trans Lifeline! Pick up a digital or print copy at a pay-what-you-can price here! The zine will only be on sale until we release our new seasonal zine come March, so purchase it to while you still can and start your collection today!

We’re on Break!

Image Caption: Black and rainbow text on a rainbow background that reads “We’re taking a short break. See you all on January 15th! Hope your holidays are merry and gay from all of us at Queeries Blog.