Monday, July 31, 2017

For Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
"If I'd've seen you someplace, I'd've thought you were a straight girl" was the day I went home and shaved half my head
"Femme Visibility Cut"
7 months later for my birthday, I got the word, "Femme" tattooed in black above my cleavage.

When I met you at Bluestockings, we had the same haircut
Proud gray roots
But yours was dyed pink at the ends, and on your chest,
Where mine said "Femme" was the word "home"

I'm sitting at a table in the Met Life building in Midtown Manhattan, waiting for the charger port on my phone to be fixed. My overwhelmed autistic ears are stuffed with rolled up halves of a paper napkin, an insufficient measure to block out the large wall mounted TV tuned to CNN, and the men around me taking up too much space with their voices.
I've been re-reading "Love Cake", and I'm writing this longhand on a piece of stenographer's paper with a pen I borrowed from the front desk on top of its cover.
In the picture inside, you have a full head of hair, and I wonder if someone once made you feel invisible. I want to tell you, that even without the undercut, the tattoos or the "switchblade hip switch"
If I had seen you in the wild
I would have seen you right away
Queer, Brown, Hard Femme
Because we are not invisible
We take up more space than these chattering men, CNN and Midtown put together
Just by being the
Unbreakable bitches we are
But until I picked up your books,
Found your words when I lacked my own
I might never have discovered this Femme/home.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

When Tired began for me, I didn't know the language to tell you
Like an 8 hour shift as the "sandwich specialist" at Burger King
Covered in grease and sesame seeds, with a 2 and a half hour bus commute both ways in the South Florida heat
Like the time I broke down sobbing in the Galil- that riverbed hike through the mountains, over slippery rocks the size of Volkswagen Beetles
I didn't know yet I was sick then
Only that my body was giving up
Like waking up now Taking shower Brushing teeth and collapsing twice on the bed between steps to pant for half an hour
Like smiling and saying everything's ok
I'm fine
I'm so glad to be here
I've missed you
Because I am
And I have
And I don't have the strength to shoulder your guilt
When Tired began for me
I didn't know the language to tell you
That there is no language for this kind of Tired
But drowning
Too much effort to fight for air.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

For all the sick and crippled Brown and Black queers still awake at 4:47 AM on a Thursday

In Praise of waking up- or more accurately still being up at 4:47 on a Thursday morning
In Praise of IBS with cramps that threaten to send bodily waste out both ends at a time, and make you think of that scene in Braveheart when Mel Gibson's guts are being pulled from his living body and wound around a spiked and thorny skewer; he was an amateur. (We know this.)
In Praise of cracking knees, popping elbows, shoulder joints that no longer rotate and the pain that reminds us of that when we try to put our bed-side arm up under our pillows so we can lie on our side
In Praise of Herxing, with daily migraines, dizziness, hives and hands so swollen you can barely bend your fingers
In Praise of shit that smells like ammonia
In Praise of boldly canceling plans at the last minute because you're not sure which tricks your body is going to play on you today, but you're pretty sure she's cooking something up
In Praise of shooting pains brought on by having to adjust your gait because of other shooting pains
In Praise of bed, where you'll spend countless hours, often lacking the energy to get up to pee
In Praise of neuro symptoms like brain fog, loss of hearing,
Stumbled, slurred and stuttered speech, and feeling like your skin is on fire
Or maybe cold and soaking wet
And on that note
In Praise of night sweats
And day sweats and anytime sweats, even at 20°F
In Praise of night time rituals- the taking of so many tinctures, and so many pills it's almost a meal in itself (you jokingly call the open handful of your pills "fruit salad")
In Praise of morning pill rituals too
In Praise of being the cranky ass sick crip who demands space in this world that constantly tries to squeeze you out,
or at least make you invisible
I raise my purple cane and point it at the sky for you,
For me
In Praise of us, and all we have to teach the next generation of chronically sick crippled Brown and Black queers.
We shape this world build scaffolding of our bones and stories
Our lives are not inconvenient
We Stay Here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

I speak to you of my people- the dispossessed, the powerless the oppressors and the oppressed, the colonizers, the colonized
I tried to express the nuances, and how
We are no monolith, despite the places
We Call Home
How, even in this temporarily "safe" space
Our bodies, our genes remember each diaspora,
Every pogrom
Every displacement and rape
Each edict and genocide
The mass graves and the
Stench of every oven
Tried to explain
Transgenerational inhereted trauma,
The ways each of us carries millions of individual traumas in our cells
These horrors that were
Not our own /Are our own
But to you these things are academic
Things to be analyzed
"Not an excuse"
(I'd never said/say they were)
I said, they are the pain with which we stitch together-
Through Savta, through Saba, through Mother, through Father, through child
This ragged tapestry- this hole filled quilt
Disjointed because we are
Not one people/Are one people
But you cover us all with it, call it a flag
I will not wear a flag
But this ragged tapestry, this
Heavy, hole filled quilt is also mine
And while you can see it, pick apart its threads, critique the spacing of its stitches,
Only we who carry it know its true weight.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A note to myself:
Write your truth
Do not apologize
Do not seek approval
Listen to Anne Lamott
Do NOT seek approval
it's toxic
So write your own truth
Write your OWN truth
Tell all your stories
The messier, the better
Open your wounds
Poke around inside
Carefully though
No need to reinjure yourself
There are your stories
Do you feel them? Their edges?
What are they like, is the blood still fresh?
These are your stories
Tell them
Tell them
Tell them and maybe
You'll start to heal.