Thursday, November 5, 2015

Let's Go to Bed

I'm retiring 17aDay and redirecting you to my new project, 0.00243056. The inaugural post is about autumn and features The Cure. So, nothing too different from what usually goes on here.

Since I've been doing 17aDay, I've noticed where haiku show up around me, like the New York Times, and toilet accessory ads, and sandwich boards.

It's cute, and it's clever, and it's commercialized. So from now on, I'll be wrapping up my autobiographical anecdotes with pop music instead.

Good night.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Luck I've Had

In the past week, I held a modest gathering to thank my closest comrades for helping me through a vulnerable time, signed a lease on a gorgeous apartment with one of my favorite roommates ever, bought a hilariously dorky car that will hopefully get me reliably to all the places I want to be (with help from my dad, whose vocal and tangible support over the last year or so has been especially touching), and drove my charming bandmates and all our gear in said car to our first out-of-town show, where we were received warmly and paid more than enough for gas and road snacks.

Maybe it comes of being a Capricorn, but I tend to focus on the things I don't have, the problems I need to solve, the stuff I have yet to accomplish. I make lists, I pine, I analyze, I wear myself out.

Today I heard a Smiths song and laughed out loud with joy. (The Smiths have that effect on me quite a lot, actually.) As much as I relate to Morrissey's yearning, most of these lyrics don't apply to me. I have dreams all the time, and a lot of them do come true. Then I'm on to the next, bigger dream, almost without pause, the goat scrambling up the cliff. So it was nice to reflect for a moment, as Moz crooned longingly, on the sweetness of my life, which often feels like so much struggle and worry.

There's still so much I want, for myself and those around me, and stopping to see what's been achieved through the collective efforts of those I struggle alongside makes me want to keep climbing. Also, I want to find Morrissey and hug him.
Seventeen by The Smiths
Please, please, please let me
Get what I want. Lord knows it
Would be the first time.
This wagon is flaggin'.
(During our road trip, someone discovered his boxers were too long for his shorts.)
(Not me.)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ye shall Noam me by my works.

Sometimes, in the wee hours before I am awake, my brain has me read imaginary texts. This morning, I was treated to a Noam Chomsky review--in free verse--of a sex worker's memoir. He highlighted the hypocrisy of the criminalization of sex work in the US in terms of the recent Supreme Court decision for same-sex marriage, condemning capitalism, the patriarchy, and fake Christian morality.

I only remember this little sarcastic snippet:

What the market has joined together
Let no law put asunder.
Chomsky on gay marriage (hahaha)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cruel April

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and then got too busy to post it, but the sentiment still applies.
April, you're fucking terrifying.
Last week it was snowing.
How can I trust my bare skin to this air?
Do you even remember February?
How this landscape was a frozen cemetery?
How these trees were tombstones?
Now crocuses erupt from open graves
Past clumps of rotting leaves.
Too soon, April, and yet too late!

My mom bought a house when I was grown.
After years of apartments, trailers, basements,
Moving, always moving, she has settled down.
April, I walk through you like that house.
Nature has no memory,
Or these buds wouldn't be so bold, so tender.
When God sent a flood to cover the Earth
And destroy every living thing,
When the waters finally rolled back
And the land appeared, God sent a rainbow
As a promise.
No one thought to hold Him to this.

Once I went away all summer
And when I came home, my baby sister
Took one look at me and burst into tears.
I dropped onto one knee and held her
As she sobbed wordlessly in my arms,
Like, April, you hold me now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What to do if you fall through

I don't actually like laws, since they are applied inconsistently, usually in order to control and disenfranchise communities of color and poor people and queers. But if I thought laws were more useful than violent, I would be tempted to say things like, "Can we outlaw February already?"

Seriously, why do I live in New England right now? I feel overwhelmed by my everyday responsibilities, I'm questioning all my life choices, I can't handle being around people. All because the world is buried in snow and I forgot what green looks like.

17 Words About Crossing a (Metaphorical) Frozen Pond

listening for the moment the ice starts to crack
send word of what's on the other side

This video is the very literal response when I tell a friend of the metaphorical frozen pond. Except, to my delight, it beautifully extends my metaphor:
  1. Get your breath back. Seriously, just breathe for a couple of minutes.
  2. Go back out the way you came in. The last ice you stood on can hold you.
  3. Kick like hell and pull yourself out.
  4. Roll away from the hole, then crawl. Stand only when you're sure it's solid.
  5. If you see someone else fall through, stay back. Talk them through it. Throw them something to grab onto.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mic Check, or WWJD part 2

As I was working on my last post, I struggled with how to also talk about the media portrayal of trans deaths. About how trans women and transfeminine people of color are disproportionately affected by murder and violence, and no one hears about it, no one talks about it. And then a white girl dies, and it's a national news event. About how I am complicit in widening that gap by amplifying the stories that I can relate to and falling silent in the face of a violence I have never known.

Well, Alok of trans activist/performance duo Darkmatter posted a poem called "bible belt" on their blog on my birthday, and I'm just seeing it today, and it is everything. And if I just shut up and redirect you to other people's blogs forever, I hope you'll understand. Here's a snippet, but go read the whole thing for the love of Maude. And then donate to the Trans Women of Color Collective if you can.

this is the town where i attempt suicide at thirteen.
i did not have the language for it at the time,
it was a tightness in this chest,
a tinge in this voice
a belt around my neck
these days i have all the theory
to know why they would have called this a ‘suicide’ and not a ‘murder’
to rinse their own hands and crosses of the blood
as if we hate ourselves because it is our choice and not theirs
as if we kill ourselves because we wanted to and not because they told us to
as if we were not following their prophesy
on our knees,
in His name
© Alok Vaid-Menon

Sunday, January 11, 2015


A week and a half or so ago, I read about Leelah Alcorn (warning: link contains her birth name for no good reason), a teenage trans girl from Ohio who had just committed suicide. Just before she did so, she had posted a Tumblr note (which has since been deleted??!!) in which she explained that her parents' systematic denial of support in the name of Christianity had led her to conclude she would never be able to transition successfully or be happy. They told her "God doesn't make mistakes" and brought her to "conversion" therapy. They took away her access to technology and outside support. She was made to feel so isolated and alone that she could see no future for herself, no way out.

I only started coming out as trans to my family in the last couple of years, and I'm a grown adult with strong community supports and a number of tools for taking care of myself. Plenty of family members have been great, and some are vocal about their acceptance of and even pride in me. But I've also heard things similar to what Leelah described before taking her own life: that I am delusional, wrong, and couldn't possibly know who I am or what to do about it. This from those who claim to know what Jesus would do.

There are plenty of statistics out there showing that trans and gender-nonconforming people attempt suicide at alarming rates. Studies attribute these attempts to experiencing greater physical and sexual violenceincluding institutional violence and healthcare discriminationand homelessness. This study also cites family rejection as a "minority stressor" (57% who reported family rejection had attempted suicide).

Whatever excuses we are using as a culture to not care for trans people, to treat them as less than human, we need to stop. Whether it's religion, medicine, psychology, politicswhatever we're hiding behind, it's killing people. In her final blog post, Leelah pleaded with us to "fix society," or she will not be able to rest in peace. So get your shit together, people, or Leelah Alcorn's ghost will be at your fucking door!

Poem to Fix Society

If I were to pray,
I would pray for plowshares
To spring up where you brandish swords.

I would pray for my siblings everywhere,
Told that they're sick and broken
Until they break themselves open.

I would pray for no more
Prayers as weapons.

I would pray for no more
Scapegoats, no more
Sacrificial lambs.

But I don't pray anymore.
The rebel cast out cannot commune.

"Jesus was a rebel," you used to say.
Who would Jesus damn?