Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Underworld Photography

 I know the passionate lover of fine style exposes himself to the hatred of the masses; but no respect for humanity, no false modesty, no conspiracy, no universal suffrage will ever force me to speak the unspeakable jargon of this age, or to confuse ink with virtue. --C.B.

It is Devil's Night again, this year, and I am curious about everything.  I am lying on a couch in a living room in a house that is not mine, and whose owner is long gone. There is a slight scent of spice in the air.  Sharp. Cinnamon and pepper.  I'm not sure where it is coming from, but between it and the excitement of being left alone in the house of a person I barely know, I can feel my body coming alive.

I've been remembering, lately, my favorite non-scandalous parts of the body to have kissed: My neck, collar bone, and back. Do you know the feeling? A simple description in a book can spark it's memory and ignite you into real-world action.

I've been enjoying the blue lit light that comes through the window of a new lover's room.

Read that last sentence again, slowly.  Pay attention to your mouth, teeth, and tongue as you do.  These movements, more so than the words themselves, describe, precisely, the pool-room-water-reflection unwrapping of the last few evenings.


*excerpt from Preface II of a second edition of The Flowers of Evil, unpublished, by Charles Baudelaire

photo credit: Brett Lloyd photos; backstage Louis Vuitton

Monday, October 28, 2013

Beauty in Light, or, Saying that I Slowly Fell in Love with Moss Man is Not Redundant: It is Necessary.

When you are in love with someone, everything feels important.

Clothing is sniffed. Ticket stubs are saved. A forest in a rainstorm is documented from a speeding car.


It will rain again soon.

Every once in a while with large, pelting raindrops.  The kind reserved for the thunderstorms of the Midwest.

(Moss Man, in repose.)

(Moss Man, emoting. It was difficult, sometimes.)

(photo credit: me.) 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

(The) Angel was a Devil

Shame is tiring.

And as much as we can tell ourselves it is not ours to feel, there is an entire world and its finger shaking (visible; invisible) to make us flush with it so.


I am not bad for not wanting a ring on my finger.

Many years ago, I had a ring made to match that of a ring I saw on Alan Cumming: a two finger, thin metal ring.  A slender, stylized nod to brass knuckles.

The ring was a gift to myself when I reached the age that people start pressuring you to marry, and inquiring why you have not yet done so.

The artist let me cut the metal for it in his shop. It fits over and connects my ring and middle fingers: a marriage I understand.  Such codes these wedding rings are.  A glance at a ring finger can tell you something and nothing all at once:  Upon a seeing my left hand, I wanted them to be taken aback or slightly frightened before they thought to inquire.


When I was 15, I read Emma Goldman's essay, "Marriage and Love".  It supported and informed my feelings towards marriage.  As these ideas have grown and evolved to fit the world surrounding me today, it is beautiful to see that others were moved by the same words.  One of the best current essays I've read on the topic, written by Craig Willse and Dean Spade and recently updated from it's 2008 publication, begins with a quote from Goldman's original essay. You can read it, here:  Marriage Will Never Set Us Free


Shame of class, race, gender, sexuality, intelligence, type of work, desire, obsession, gift, trajectory.

Ask me how I put myself through school, and I might tell you.

Ask me to tell you everything, and know that I never will.

You will have your straight back, high standards, and pride.

I will have the taste of sweat and honesty in my mouth, and the attention of wet cement in my eyes.

You will hear of me: The ash of my extinguished shames will write stories into your skin of what you could have.  There's no need to be afraid of this. It is only my existence.  I know that sometimes, the gilded window frame from which you gaze can seem the polished bars of a willingly-entered cell.

And although you don't voice your doubts (for you are encouraged not to), I can see the terror that secretly flashes in your eyes when you wonder what it is, exactly, that you have built around yourself.


-Photo credit: Sandrine Zondervan

-A tip of the hat to Alan Cumming, Brecht, and Weill.   This is a song that plays inside of my mind at least five out of seven days of the week:   The Ballad of the Pimp

-The title of this blog entry is a reference to one sentence from the following excerpt of The Three Musketeers. This scene was referenced in a book I read, more recently, and it has served as the backdrop to my mind for the past few months and, today, the influence, inspiration, and reason for this entry.  (This is mid-scene. A woman who had been the love of a count is being described):

Her beauty was breathtaking. One day when they were out hunting, she was thrown from her horse.  While she was lying on the ground, unconscious, the count hurried to loosen her clothes- so she might breathe more easily.  He bared her shoulder. You'll never guess what was on it, D'Artagnan!"

"Then tell me," said D'Artagnan.

"The fleur-de-lis! The mark of a convicted criminal was branded on her shoulder!  The count's angel was a devil! So he tied her hands behind her back and sent her off to be hanged."

Athos buried his face in his hands.  Struck with horror, D'Artagnan could only stare at him.

The next morning, Athos told D'Artagnan, "Forget what I said last night.  When I drink too much, I tell the most ridiculous stories."

But D'Artagnan could not forget his story.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

When I Was a Child, My Mother Told Me the White Flecks on my Fingernails Were From Telling Little White Lies

I've been thinking of subversion in plain sight, and of erasure as of late.

I've been in a class that's taught in Spanish going through the movements of Realism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Naturalism and related information that has me tugging back the timeline of history of art and literature.  I'd never really learned much about these things in English, so it's been a bit of a carnival of a code (art terms) within a code (Spanish) within a code (half-assed mental interpretation to English).  Suffice it to say (specifically as it relates to this Pre-Raphaelite business) that there has been more than a handful of glances into the English window of what our professor refers to as "Santo Wiki" (Saint Wiki).
Hot nose owner


Aubrey Beardsley has been one of my all-time favorite illustrators.

Let's begin with the obvious reason to get it out of the way, and to usher my embarrassment out of the room:

As many of you know, I have a thing for people with broken and/or distinct noses.  I don't know what it's about, exactly, (which is to say that I know exactly what it is about but will never tell you) but he would, without question, fit within this category of nose-owner. (See above).

However, it is the aesthetic and content of his illustration, in conjunction with the questions about his sexuality (surprise) that leaves me in love and craving his ghostly hand to reach into the present day, and keep drawing.

Let me show you the first drawing of his that I saw and immediately fell in love with.  It is also one that, ultimately, would be the drawing that lured Oscar Wilde into commissioning him to illustrate his play, Salome:
The caption reads, "I have kissed your mouth, Iokanaan, I have kissed your mouth", which fits the story. Interestingly, a few French speakers have said it can be translated to read, "I have fucked your mouth, Iokanaan, I have fucked your mouth". Iokanaan is John the Baptist. The translater was Boise (Wilde's lover), the writer Wilde, and the Illustrator, Beardsley. I'll leave it at that. Smirkingly, but I'll leave it at that.

After seeing the illustration, Wilde supposedly sent Beardsley a copy of Salome with the inscription, "For Aubrey: The only artist who, besides myself, knows what the dance of the seven veils is, and can see that invisible dance."  Of course, Wilde was also super offended and slightly pissed at what Beardsley would end up coming up with, insinuating that Beardsley's illustrations shined brighter than his own Salome.  (Whatever, Wilde. You are clever in your words, but stop being a Pretty Pretty Princess. You can't bring a choreographer as your escort, then pout when they outshine you on the dance floor.)

Santo Wiki reports, "Although Beardsley was associated with the homosexual clique that included Oscar Wilde and other English aesthetes, the details of his sexuality remain in question. He was generally regarded as asexual."  

We all were, doll.  Particular vanillas and straights try to frame us all as asexual or broken or perverse or, somehow, all three.  

As I slide my fingers down the timeline of history, it is incredible to feel ("Incredible", here, meaning "sad" or "disgusting") how many beautiful queers were erased, blurred, imprisoned, and killed. Beardsley's story is mid-grade and privileged in this regard. There are so many stories that get darker, more invisible, more blue and purple blood vessels, more dead.  

And as my fingers slide back up and come to rest on present day, it is still happening.  

(Here I'm thinking of so much but of the rate of murder of trans people of color, specifically.  How the sound of self-back-patting about shit like It Gets Better and same-sex marriage drowns out the sound of violence that targets gender non-conforming people of color in a way that deems it an unimportant topic, and the people as disposable.)

And as my fingers slide back up and come to rest on present day, it is still happening.

I've been thinking of subversion in plain sight, and of erasure as of late.

-- k.


In other news:

1) I can't stop dancing on my bed.

2) This week's link to share is via my friend Lewis and has to do with alternatives to calling the cops:


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mistaking a Streetlamp for the Moon ("Somewhere, Sometime"*)

Getting back on track towards what I love and to love, itself:   Waking up excited about the day and curious about both the weather, and the words printed on the pages within the books upon the shelves one of my favorite libraries on campus.  Last night was learning together with thirty-some other people stuffed into a classroom with eager questions and slightly shocking answers.

Things have been good lately.

I've been smiling like some person who is just re-learning how to smile.  Over the past few months, I've forgotten how easily I laugh- and how much I love to.  Even last night, when I stopped for some late night pizza in the University area of town and found out too late that someone had loosened the top of the crushed pepper shaker, I had to laugh.  A red, beaded mountain of heat atop my little slice of pizza, and all I could think was, "Man, they got me.  This shit is funny."


[Here's what I can say:  I know we live in a Capitalist system.  Still, you can't try and cage or own your partners.  Jealousy and insecurity and bad childhoods are no excuse for trying to control another person or their actions. Saying horrible things to someone else because you feel horrible about yourself only goes so far as even the flimsiest of excuses.  A beautiful heart and a brain of brilliance still has a responsibility to manage what they say with their misdirected fire as best they can.  And sometimes when they do, it's still not enough: May those who love you lift you up.  You are, without a doubt, worthy of all the light in the world.]

With that, a 'thank you' and an 'I love you' to my friends, former partners and chosen family who remind me of what love is, and what it can be:

How I adore, enjoy, aspire to, and savor the eccentric, creative castles of love that we build together.  Everyday.  They will always illuminate the path that feeds me, and continually lead me through such incredible worlds that 'do not yet exist' according to most.

Such gorgeous scissors and brushes and songs that we create with, and such light that spills out from a love that seeks to share and connect:

May we continue to play and love and learn to our heart's content.  We are all in this together, and there are so many more worlds left to be imagined and enacted --      and must be.

Until soon,



(Regular-people quote worthy story of the day)

A group of five high-school aged guys are standing around talking shit.  One of them starts showing the other guys his phone and talking about how he's taken to looking up pictures of girls in yoga pants. I take note of this and wonder why I didn't think of it first.

Suddenly one of them, the biggest, toughest looking of the lot says (scandalized and slightly pissed), "Yeah, man. You know Jake? He told me he wears yoga pants because he says they're fucking comfortable." His eyebrows raise; his eyes widen.

There is a pregnant pause.

The five guys glance quickly back and forth at each other like anxious dogs- their mouths slightly open. Expressions of "who is going to correct this?!" across their faces.

Finally, the "coolest" looking of the five- blonde hair, blue eyes, slightly Justin Beiber-esque haircut with diamond earrings and a sideways, crisp looking baseball hat- steps forward and says,

"For one: What's he doin' putting yoga pants on?

And for two: What's he doing with his life??"


(photo credit: still from The Balcony)

*= Partial lyrics to Ache

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Respective Perspective

Roughly 2:01 am, and I can't sleep.  Too much on my mind, too much sugar in my blood. Had an enjoyable conversation about horrible things with someone I arguably should have hung out with years ago.  Everything in it's own time, as they say, and tonight was just the night for a long conversation hidden away in the corner of a dark bar.  (The kind of bar with those brightly colored candles-in-their-own-holders lighting their tables. The kind of candles found on back porches in the summer time.)

Anyway, what I remembered tonight is that context is everything:  What looks bad from one angle, can look like a drop in the bucket from another.

It's all relative.


I'd like to give a shout out to all of the union people in my life- in this state, and all the others.  The thing that strikes me most about you (us) is that you're some of the only people, in these parts anyway, who know what it is to fucking share, and know what it is to not shame people around class and money.  (Unless their rich as fuck and not sharing.  Then, shame away.)

And lastly: Thank you to the wide smile that let me tuck her in like a maniac tonight.

At risk of sounding like The Creepy Guy at the Bus Stop:

You're so pretty when you smile.


P.S. I am over my quoting famous people phase. Now I will be quoting random people.  Like the man working at Fred Myer on the north end at 7 AM who said, "I'm not afraid to be cool.  I can't wait until my daughter starts high school. I'll be like 'Oh! You want to wear booty shorts to school? Well what do you know? *I* want to wear booty shorts, too." Thank you for existing, and I fully hope that you follow through on your words in actions.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Show Me Your Palms: The Art of Giving and Hiding, or, The Filth Inside Our Pockets

"There, I saw something amazing:  The darkness mixed with light."  

- J. Genet

It is the season for exactly what I want.

Bleached sheets.

Garter belts that hold thick tights I have cut at the very tops of their thighs (how I hate the 'drop crotch' of ill-designed leg wear).

Worn pages.

Mugs filled with heat that will steam the view I have through my glasses.

Candles in glass votive holders of crimson, emerald, cobalt - reminders of the stained glass comfort of childhood Catholicism that will forever wrap itself tightly around my body any time their lights flicker in a darkened room; images of hands clasped in desperate prayer.

Analog photographs of stirrings and their candid decisions.


The consideration of butterscotch.

Wet soil and the treasures that mistakenly disappear within it. (It can be so hard to hear the things we lose in the rain).


Seance, perhaps, and all that is akin to it.

Motions towards strangers you are curiously drawn to - if only because it is fall, your interactions are steeped in what streams from your headphones, and you are kept in the protection of that warm, woolen scarf.


and secrets

and revelations of every sort.

Surely the spread of sky will grant me this.



I've been having a lot of conversations about worker's collectives with roughly four people- all connected to unions and/or labor related work- living in three different parts of the country, lately.  It's been exciting to a potent degree.  Coincidentally, I've been reading Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of Hope, and it has proved to be quite a beautiful and fitting accident of accentuation.

Here's an article just about one of the places in the world that this has been happening.  Comparing the overall unemployment in Spain to this one part of the Basque region in Spain, and it speaks for itself. A friend went to research and learn about the system.  In any case, something on my mind as of late:


Jean Genet quote from this 1981 interview, linked here for you, below:

Oh, Jean. You're such a privileged fuck, but you give voice to a particular filth and, for this, I thank you.

(photo credit: darkdaze tumblr)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wait, My Dear: For You Have Dropped the Glove I Just Slapped You With.

The great epochs of our life are where we win the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us.

                                                                    --Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, but as discovered/read on the first page of Times Square Red, Times Square Blue by Samuel R. Delany

When I was a child, my father would always walk on the side of the sidewalk closest to the street. When asked why he did, he told me, simply, that it is what gentlemen do.

My child's mind raced to imagine the root of such chivalry:  Perhaps the implication that one would catch the harshest hit of a car spun out of control across the sidewalk was considered gentlemanly.

I liked that.

It was the day I decided that I would become a gentleman.


A woman who dresses as a man who dresses as a woman who enjoys fucking and not fucking and literature.

What is the threat of it? What is it that makes people love and hate and love again, only to hate?

I have no idea.

I am pondering the Dandy, and the antiquated lace that lines my heart. Hand written letter above email.  A present in the mail in replace of the splooge of necessity.

I take my time.

In that way, I am old fashioned.

Flamboyance in a slightly timeless manner.

Your mean words will not hurry me, nor will they keep you warm tonight.