Sunday, July 29, 2007

sunday poem

Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

ohhhhh joan

i have been head over heels in love with joan armatrading since i was 15 years old. the first time i ever heard her, my heart just absolutely burst wide open, and i've been utterly and completely smitten ever since. her music has been a part of my life...every album signifying a particular time in it, every song a particular moment. when i listen to joan, it's like electricity surging through me, from my toes to the tip of my head. voice of an angel. gorgeous. timeless. medicine that just fills up my soul.

i have no idea what year this live version of "willow" was recorded. being the obsessive fan that i am, i recognize that denim jacket she's wearing...i think it's from 'the shouting stage' era...which was 1988.

delicious. it's the only word i can think of.

oh joan...what you do to me.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

rapid mood swing

it's amazing what a shift in the weather will do to my state of mind. i woke this morning to heavy dense air, knowing immediately that the night brought little relief from the heat of the past two days. and was instantly grumpy. moped around all morning long. cursed the stickiness of everything i touched. kept having to catch my breath because the air there wasn't enough to go around. the cats were lethargic and inconsolable and even a little snarky, and kept giving me that disgusted look that said "do SOMETHING about this shitty heat. we are miserable and it's your job to fix that. service us already!" and i could only muster a pathetic snarl back at them. i decided that reading was the most exercise i was willing to expend, and even then had a slightly put-out attitude every time i had to turn a page.

ehhhh. hot, humid weather is more than a nuisance to's more than an irritation. it's a goddamn abomination. i do not fare well in that kind of heat, at all. and i complain. a lot. i become...unbearable. i cannot begin to comprehend how people can live in places like arizona. i have friends in tuscon who always say "oh but it's DRY heat, you wouldn't mind it at all." um...yeah. it's dry heat in my oven too, but i think i won't be living inside it any time soon.

fast forward hours later to the present down time is here at last. the air is waking up, stretching its legs and happy to find some space to maneuver around in. outside the leaves are doing that wonderful little dance on the trees...they know rain is coming and they're thirsty, turning themselves upside down in anticipation of a long cold drink of water. the sky has darkened enough that suddenly i need to turn a few lights on. thunder is in the distance, rumbling a promise to visit soon and to bring along some lightning for a little bit of a show. the temperature has dropped 10 degrees in 20 minutes.

and it's like i'm comin' alive. coming out of a weird reversed kind of hibernation. i've got paula cole's greatest hits blasting on my little stereo (kimm you'll be pleased to know that i am GROOVING like an amazon woman to 'feelin' love'.) i'm floating through the rooms lighting candles, singing, and reveling in my newly found burst of energy. yes indeed, this fresh outpouring of cool clear oxygen is performing magic on my soul. and i can breathe again. even the cats are happier. we couldn't stand each other an hour ago, but as i sit here typing, willie is resting both front paws on my arm, bouncing a little bit each time i punch a key on the laptop but not wanting to move from me. and oscar is sprawled out on his back at my feet, all four legs straight up in the air with this look of utter relief and contentment (kinda like burleigh's "nirvana" look.) we are just a happy little family right now. all because of the weather. go figure.

the girls will be by later and i look forward to venturing out with them...a little road trip to freeport for bbq ribs and margaritas.

until then, i'm going to sit on the porch and watch the storm. looks like it's going to be a beauty.

it's turning into a good day.

and i'm wise enough to be grateful.

there was a title for this post, but it melted

for those who, like me, are dripping into a pool of mush because of this heat and humidity, i offer you this reprieve:

Friday, July 27, 2007



Pronunciation: in-'säm-nE-&
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, from insomnis sleepless, from in- + somnus sleep -- more at SOMNOLENT
: inability to sleep or to remain asleep throughout the night.

A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky -
I've thought of all by turns, and still I lie

~William Wordsworth, "To Sleep"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

to tarra, from dulary, with love

one more elephant story, this one for kimm.

because last winter, i kinda felt a little like dulary.

thanks for coaxing me out, my friend.

and make sure you watch this video, ("dulary arrives", under the video library) too, because honestly, it's just beautiful to watch the story unfold. and i promise, it's a happy ending.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

molly bolt's thought of the day

"Amphibians must think we're inferior creatures since we can't go in and out of the water the way they can. Besides being biologically superior, that ole frog is more together than I am. That frog doesn't want to make movies. That frog hasn't even seen movies and furthermore that frog doesn't give a big damn. It just swims, eats, makes love, and sings as it pleases. Whoever heard of a neurotic frog? Where do humans get off thinking they're the pinnacle of evolution?"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


i'm an elephant person. i am fascinated by them. they are emotionally beautiful, highly intelligent and sophisticated, with an extraordinary sense of self and of family. it has been said that elephants are very human-like, but i think that's exactly backwards. it should be said that during our finest moments as human beings we are behaving very much like elephants. maybe that sounds cynical. oh well. i just happen to think it's accurate. human beings could learn a whole hell of a lot from animals.

this morning, someone from a list-serve i belong to posted a story about a community of female elephants living on a sanctuary in tennessee. i read it and had a good cry with my morning coffee (oh was very...therapeutic). it's a damn beautiful story.

wouldn't it be lovely if we could all be this attentive to one another, this kind and compassionate...this completely aware.

The Divas and Darling Jenny
By Kate Elliott

Merryn had suggested that I write about the progress of the rescued ex-Hawthorn elephants now fondly known as the ex-circus divas. I started to write and then stopped because all our energy was going towards Jenny, the third arrival at The Elephant Sanctuary who died October 17, after a long illness.

Carol Buckley encouraged all of us to concentrate on good energy to keep the light bright and support Jenny in her process. As we celebrate the beginnings of life, so we should celebrate and honor the end. After we all finally accepted that Jenny was going to orchestrate her passing, it became clear this was not going to be an ordinary week. Carol writes so eloquently in her tribute to Jenny:

Jenny chose a beautiful forested wash area to lie down and rest until her time came to leave this world. Shirley, the closest thing to a mother that Jenny had known, stood protectively at Jenny's side, day and night, helping her to rise when Jenny shifted her weight to lie on her other side.

trust me, you'll want to finish this story...which can be found by clicking here.

reminds me a little bit of the posse.

or maybe a lot.

yes indeed.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

sunday morning music

listening to:

and here's a great youtube video of ms. kd performing one of my favorites. it was recorded seven years after live by request.

the fact that she sings the entire song sitting down is just astonishing.

clearly, kd's still got it.

mostly dead is slightly alive

it is now day 7 in The Remarkable Tale of the Cold That Would Not Be Tamed. yeah. i think there has been a shift in momentum, and slowly but surely i may be gaining the upper hand. thanks to The Posse’s very own ellen-degeneres-look-alike Dr. McHotty, i am now on an intense regimen of an antibiotic i cannot pronounce much less spell (it has 17 consonants and 2 vowels which I assume means it packs a POWERFUL punch). if this works, Dr. McHotty will get a medal of commendation for saving the life of the homosexual rights movement. for sure. and although i become short-winded just walking from one room to the next, and something simple like taking a shower leaves me feeling like i just ran a marathon, i am also pleased to announce that as of this morning, i have enough strength to sit upright. this is a brand new development and my couch is thankful because, quite frankly, it has seen more than enough of me lately and we could both use some time apart. clearly, I am still a little delirious, having just now implied that I’m in a long-term and potentially co-dependent relationship with a piece of furniture. jesus. that's just a sad, sad commentary on my current state of affairs. or lack thereof.

what a long strange trip it’s been. this Cold-Turned-Bronchitis-Turned-Pneumonia-Turned-Bubonic Plague-From-Hell just brutally and with no sympathy or compassion knocked me ON MY ASS. thud. my week was a total blur and i did nothing whatsoever to advance the homosexual agenda. i spent most of the week just trying not to pass out. seriously. my weekend has been completely shot...right this very minute i'm missing out on brunch to celebrate ms. audrey's birthday, and I slept through an absolutely gorgeous saturday altogether. yeah. a total BUST. i’ve hidden myself from the world for the past 3 days, though poor sweet Corey managed to burst her way through my carefully constructed barricade yesterday. i’m pretty sure she's regretting it, and that she’ll be traumatized for the rest of her life. gawd love her, she tried to be polite but she just couldn't hide that honey-i-love-you-but-you-really-should-be-quarantined-and-i-can't-get-out-of-here-fast-enough kinda look.

as my gram used to say, i looked like “death warmed o-vah.”

(a slant rambling tangent:

while i’m sure that “death warmed over” wasn’t a Gram original, it was certainly one of her favorite phrases. How you feeling today gram? Not bad for an old lady but I look like death warmed over. i remember wondering what the hell death warmed over actually looked like. it couldn’t be pretty. i pictured Invasion of the Body Snatchers. other family favorites: my dad liked to call undesirables who pissed him off “goddamn pukebuckets”. that Wayne Pillsbury is being a goddamn pukebucket lately. a receptacle for vomit? nasty. lower than low. one of my mom's favorite phrases centered on a fixation she had with some dude named carter, who apparently manufactured liver pills. pat weymouth has more shoes than carter has liver pills. i always imagined carter was some slightly overweight guy who lived in a big farmhouse and had a barn that was literally bursting apart with purple pills. no idea why they were purple. carter wore overalls and an engineer hat and always looked a little overwhelmed by those pills.)

note to self: in the vein of silly things we imagine as kids, dedicate one future blog entry to my next-door neighbor who had the MUMPS.

anyway...last night i was in bed by 7:30, and did not move a muscle for a full 12 lie, and i have the deep, deep imprint of bed lines to prove it. lovely. i am not even going to try and describe what my hair looked like after such a dreamless and motionless slumber. i must have broken a fever in the middle of the night; there is just no other way to explain the 'do. let’s just say i belted out one hell of a blood-curdling scream when i glanced in the mirror this morning. scared the bejeezus out of myself. So THIS must be what death warmed over looks like.

actually, i think a more apt description of my current state can be found in a scene from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Princess Bride. (aside to the matriarch: we should feature this film during one of our outdoor movie nights). it's a freaking classic. one of the greatest films EVER, brimming over with fabulous quotables. the scene i'm thinking of is a brief but memorable exchange between miracle max (billy crystal at his most brilliant) and inigo montoya (played by the wonderful mandy patinkin.):

Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.

Inigo Montoya: What's that?

Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

so that's me i think. i’ve been only mostly dead, or slightly alive.

i mean i'm not gonna sugar-coat this: i'm pretty sure it was touch-and-go for awhile.

hell, i almost called the vice president of the homosexual rights movement for an emergency swearing-in.

i even had a heart-to-heart chat with my cats willie and oscar about what do with mommie's estate. (like i've previously mentioned: delirium in its finest hour.)

but don’t look for the loose change just yet.

good news appears the huntress may live, after all.

stay tuned. film at 11:00.

Friday, July 20, 2007

sleeps with butterflies

...i like rivers that rush in...

tomboy fatale

next thursday.
alive at five concert series.
5:00, monument square.
darien brahms.

yessirree. darien brahms, who i've had a very serious groupie crush on for about, hmmm, 15 years now. it's just ridiculous. if i bumped into her at hannafords i probably wouldn't even know it was her. but when she's performing on stage...and gets that guitar in her hands...and gets all i'm-a-punky-bad-ass-tomboy-lesbian-rocker-with-attitude...and starts singing in that very sassy growling kinda voice...wellllll...


anyway. she's playing with one of my favorite people in the ENTIRE world...ginger cote, drummer extraordinaire. should be a fabulous show.

Posse...i think this one is an all-go.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


sometimes i walk over to the bookcase and just grab a book of poetry, any book at all. and then just let a page fall open and read whatever it is that lays in front of me. so that i'm not finding a poem...a poem is finding me.

susan griffith, from unremembered country


Learning to
draw tenderness, the
sky is full of
snow for her,
and she knows the
road curves around
her and the chill
of the air has no
fear, and she
sees her sorrow
gleaming in the
hardening river, she is
learning to take
tenderness from the

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

it happens

it happens when you aren’t looking for it. when you have long since packed it away, in some box hidden inside of you, your hope that there is magic in the world.

you wake up, thinking this will just be another day, like every day.

and then, quite suddenly, and without warning, it happens.

the angels hand you a gift, something lost now returned, wrapped ever-so-gently, in all the colors of your dreams.

it happens, and a strange and new feeling that must be...


...rushes through you.

fills you up and then pours out of you, like water breaking through a dam.

and then, though you know are sitting still... feel like you are flying.

and all you want is to somehow bottle it up.

give it back to everyone you know.
everyone you love.

so that they can fly with you.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

marge joins billie for breakfast at the huntress house

for those who are so curious...this about sums it up:

smalley bar
marge piercy

Anchored a ways off Buoy Rocks the sailboat
bobs jaunty, light, little. We slide
over the side after scraping bottom.
The water up to our waists looks brown
ahead. We wade onto Smalley Bar.
I leave the men clamming and walk
the bar alone toward shore.

By the time I walk back straight out
from the coast of the wild island the tide
is rushing in. My shoes already float.
I walk the bar, invisible now,
water to my thighs. The day's
turned smoky. A storm is blowing
thick from the east. I stand
a quarter mile out in the bay with
the tide rising and only this
strange buried bridge of sandbar under me,
calling across the breaking grey waves,
unsure whether I can still wade
or must swim against the tide to the boat
dragging its anchor loose.

Unknown territory. Strange bottom.
I live on bridges that may or may
not be there under the breaking
water deepening. I never know
what I'll step on. I never know
whether I'll make it before dark,
before the storm catches me,
before the tide sweeps me out.
The neat white houses across the bay
are fading as the air thickens.
People in couples, in boxes, in clear
expectations of class and role
and income, I deserve or want no pity
shivering here as the water rushes past.
I find more than clams out on
the bar.

It's not my sailboat
ever, but it's my choice.

couldn't have said it better myself.

oh billie

spending my morning wishing on the moon with billie.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

happy birthday to you


small child with blue eyes and yellow curls
he is tumbling in the sunshine
among the daffodils and primroses.

she lies on the grass in a linen dress
watching the forsynthia blossoms
falling into a little pool.
a gold finch sways on a budded tree
and cocks his little head.

the child’s laughter is like a song
as he flings his ball into the air.
it hovers for a moment in acacia trees
then drifts away upon the wind.
the ball drops into thick grass
like a grapefruit dropping from a branch
and as he plunges after it
the boy is like a downy yellow chicken,
just out of the egg.

RELATED POSTS: letter to z.

Friday, July 13, 2007

that summer

we were in trouble that summer. wendy and i didn’t know it, of course, because you were the kind of parents who never let your strains and stresses show in front of us. that amazes me now, i wonder what it must have been like, carrying those burdens, wondering if at any moment some white-shirt-and-tie banker would show up on your doorstep to say you’re too far behind on the mortgage payments, time to go. it was that bad, wasn’t it. we’d have a dinner of eggs and toast on a wednesday night and you’d make it an adventure “isn’t this fun, we're having breakfast for supper, i'll bet nobody else has ever even thought of this!” and keep hidden from us the fact that eggs were just about the only option at all until friday’s paycheck.

we went camping that summer, like always, in the white mountains. headed to jigger johnson, our favorite campground. on the ride up, wendy and i made our lists of all the things we wanted to do that week...take the gondolas up to mount cranmore, go to attitash mountain and ride the alpine slide, visit clark’s trained bears and ride the train, make our own sundaes at our favorite restaurant in north conway. i don’t remember if you were both quiet in the front seat but I can imagine you were adding up in your heads what our dreamed-about itinerary would cost you. i can also imagine the knots that were in your stomachs as you did it.

we never knew.

we didn’t make it to any of those places that week. instead, we took hikes up trails along the kangamangus highway, rock-hopped along the swift river, rode our bikes, all four of us, through the campground, built little log cabins out of twigs and sticks that we would set on fire that night in the fireplace. spent 2 days just playing in the river that was right behind our campsite, building dams and forts, little villages along the shore, swimming in cold water that felt so good in july’s staggering heat. it was the first vacation in the white mountains when we didn’t jump in the car and go to one of those tourist attractions that wendy and I both craved, and we didn’t even notice. what we noticed was that we had your full played with us and laughed with us like you were kids yourselves. wendy and i have talked about it since, that summer in the white mountains, we both remember thinking back then "i had no idea mom and dad were this FUN."

i mentioned that to you, years later. told you both it was one of the fondest memories of my childhood. i remember you sort of smiled at each other, almost with relief, and as if you carried a long-held secret. that’s when you told me the real story. about how we almost lost the house that summer. about how dad had to negotiate with the bank, almost beg for a chance to catch up. about how you had enough money in your pockets that week to pay for the campsite and the gas to get up there, and maybe a few dollars left over for an emergency. about how we almost didn’t take a vacation at all, only you knew we would be so disappointed, you knew we had done this every summer of our lives and you couldn’t bear to tell us we’d have to skip it this year. so we didn’t.

you budgeted every penny, literally. you bargained shopped for food and packed 2 extra coolers of it to get us through the week. you sat up nights planning the days, figuring out ways to fill them up with free adventures that we might love and remember and you worried and worried and worried some more that it wouldn’t work, that we would we notice and be upset and that it would be a complete disaster.

you told me all of these things that night, years later. gave up the secret.

i don’t know if i’d ever had a keener understanding about the kind of parents you were until that moment. I remember thinking ‘there cannot be two better people living on this planet than my mom and dad.’

i am still convinced that’s true.

and I can’t tell you how much i love you for it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

first thoughts

first-awake morning me.

open my mind's eye so I may see and feel my own present shining light close to me. give me inner strength for my stumbling feet as I battle the crowd on the busy streets of life. widen my vision so that in passing faces I'll recognize not just a stranger, unknown, unloved, but a friend, with a heart...and a soul. let me be brave enough to dig deep within myself and find the confidence i need to become the person i was born, in this lifetime, to be.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


sometimes the best ideas are born over such things as pina coladas and shrimp cocktail. such was the case last week during a lovely 4th of july soiree with friends in falmouth. we started talking about The Slant, and i mentioned how fun it might be to have some of them post as "guest bloggers."

exactly one week later, i am happy to present The Slant's first ever Guest Blogger. she is, among many things, an artist, and when i read something that she's written, i often feel like i'm looking at a beautiful painting. or a photograph. that moves. and i'm grateful to her for letting me share this particular piece on The Slant.


Audrey Luce

this morning I woke thinking "huh, no fog horn, must be a nice day". I looked out the window as is my habit in the morning to judge the weather (a non-precise science). it was grey enough to make me think I had set my clock hours too early. I could not see the trees lining the back of the yard and barely the garden.

I rose, I dressed, stretching the sleep from my body as Burl wagged a tired tail lazily about my knees. black velvet sweat pants, a turquoise hemp top, and sneakers, I am a fashion knockout in the morning, aren't I.

we walked to the beach in silence, not that I expected the dog to talk, but his snorting was inaudible, my shoes not noisy. it was as if the world was being swallowed by the nothing, I couldn't even see the corner ahead. the cross walk lines were a mere ghost in my view. I heard the distant echo of sandy shoes walking away or toward but they never appeared. not even a figure to give the sound life. it made B nervous, he looked at me from the side of his head and receded behind me. I walked as if nothing were different and he gained his confidence again. the beach was an unearthly quiet, I smiled thinking maybe 'I am the only one on the beach', but then the voices drifted out of the fog. at first they held the whisper of birds in a clicking chirping language, but then again they distinguished themselves as human. I sighed, disappointed.

but burleigh burst forth onto the playing field like he had just won the race, spinning around to watch me throw the first ball. and he raced off to disappear in the gloom.

I think, "fog is never thick like pea soup it is only as thick at a distance." it is not humid enough to be thick. the wetness hanging in the air collects on my fleece...wiping the hair from my face leaves it wet. a deep breath fills my lungs with airy water, it gathers on my eyelashes.

Burleigh has found a shadow on the water's surface that flits in and out of sight, a cormorant. a silent ghost of a bird that sinks into water I know is there but cannot discern from the sky. there is not sky today, only the water that laps at the toes of my sneakers as I reach to retrieve the ball in a wave. that wave recedes into nothingness. some odd beautiful grayness beyond.

I smile as I think "if I wore a long flowing gown and walked barefoot, one might mistake me for a being from another world. the world of mists."

my hair and my skin glow in this gray, I look . . . other worldly. the fog swirls around me, spins in my wake and sinks back into its gloom, its blanket on the sand.

toilet tale: the sequel

"New York and Atlanta have robotic toilets," said the mayor, who examined one in Gold Coast, Australia, Fort Lauderdale's sister city.

''I didn't need to go, but I did take a picture of it,'' Naugle said. ``It was a stainless steel facility.''

the robotic toilet tale continues...

just when i thought it couldn't get any better, (see toilet technology) gay activists in florida have decided to give fort lauderdale mayor jim naugle a little lesson in bathroom etiquette.

equality florida has begun the "flush naugle" campaign to "wipe-clean Mayor Naugle's dirty mind" by asking people to mail a roll or several sheets of toilet paper to the mayor's office. how fun is that?

equality florida has also provided a link on their website for anyone who wants to send virtual toilet tissue to naughty naugle via email.

for the entire miami herald story:

i have a friend who works for equality florida, and The Slant is hoping for an exclusive interview. or at the very least, i need to give him a hard time about the important political work he's doing right now. ahem.

by the way, it's amazing what you find when you do a google image search for "toilet paper". here are a few i just had to share:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

gracious goodness

regarding a conversation with A. tonight about baby mallards:

it was a kind and gentle thing, saving that little family of ducks from a potential untimely demise, and even amid the humorous slant, it really was a sweet and touching story. and most definitely "blog worthy"... only i can't seem to write anything that captures the essence of what you did.

so i'll use your own words, from another conversation..."the sweetness of humankind still makes my heart ache sometimes." that seems fitting to me.

and then i'll borrow marge piercy, who wrote a brilliant little poem about virtue that i thought about when you told me your story.

gracious goodness

On the beach where we had been idly
telling the shell coins--
cat's paw, cross-barred Venus, china cockle--
we both saw at once
the sea bird fall to the sand
and flap grotesquely.
He had taken a great barbed hook
out through the cheek and fixed
in the big wing.
He was pinned to himself to die,
a royal tern with a black crest blown back
as if he flew in his own private wind.
He felt good in my hands, not fragile
but muscular and glossy and strong,
the beak that could have split my hand
opening only to cry
as we yanked out the barbs.
We borrowed clippers, cut and drew out the hook.
Then the royal tern took off, wavering,
lurched twice,
the acrobat returned to his element, then dipped,
zoomed, and sailed out to dive for fish.

Virtue: what a sunrise in the belly.
Why is there nothing else
I have ever done with anybody
that seems to me so obviously right?

marge piercy
from living in the open


The Slant has learned from a very reliable source (the potential vice president of the homosexual rights movement, no less) that, beginning in October, the North Star Cafe in Portland will be hosting monthly dance parties--with themes! If you haven't been to the North Star Cafe, what's your problem?? Get your butt over there today, dammit. Click here for more info on this lesbian-owned treasure of a cafe.

First theme up? DYKETOBERFEST. Is that cool or what? Dykes and beer and dancing. As if that perfect ménage à trois isn't enough to lure you away from a Saturday night of watching HGTV, a portion of the proceeds from the door that night will go to THE most fabulous Portland Dyke March Committee (website HERE).

The Slant suggests that North Star Cafe and The Portland Dyke March Committee consider inviting Mike Hein to this blessed event. He's been great for publicity so far, and they are bound to get some stunning free video to post on their websites.

Stay tuned for more details....

Monday, July 09, 2007

rickie lee jones

i have found my new sunday morning musical treasure...

rickie lee jones. pop pop.

go buy it now. listen to it often.

it's just lovely. you should see me sashaying around my apartment right now.

then again, maybe you shouldn't.

anyway, click here for a sampling if you don't trust my exquisite musical taste.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

vacation's over

i woke early this morning to the sweet sound of the rain and laid in bed, cats sprawled around me, and just listened for awhile. there is something about that sound that is comforting and safe to me...maybe it's the aquarian in me that is just so drawn to water, in whatever form it takes. i am so content on those rare rainy days when i have nothing planned, no reason to go outside unless it's just to walk underneath the raindrops. i like the color of the light that comes through the windows on gray days, i love to light candles and incense and play something quiet, like george winston, and to just putter about my space. today was such a day, and a perfect way to end my week away from work.

i spent most of the morning poking around the apartment, feeling slightly guilty that I was so un-productive during my time off, but happy that this vacation was all about playing and not working. to appease that wee bit of guilt, i decided to organize an old cedar chest i have that's filled with 40-some years worth of darlene memorabilia...letters from my first crush wrapped in ribbon, cards from my mom and dad celebrating every possible occasion of my life, old camping photos of my sister and i both looking ever-so-tomboyish, graduation plaques, varsity letters, volumes of journals filled with really awful teenage poetry, college transcripts, baseball cards...this is just a tiny sampling of the things i've collected that i just can't throw away.

tucked underneath a kd lang fanbook (yeah...i know...i really am such a dyke) i found an unlabeled video cassette that peaked my curiosity. so i dug around for the vcr, hooked it up to the tv, put in the tape. went out into the kitchen, poured a fresh cup of coffee, curled up on my couch and wrapped myself in my favorite comforter. and hit play. blue screen. and the words "Wendy and Kevin's Wedding, June 21, 1986". holy shit. my baby sister's big day, caught on video.

the first thing that struck me is how young my sister and kevin looked...almost like two kids playing dress up. the second thing that almost knocked me off the couch was seeing myself in a dress. wow. was i really that person once? i hardly recognized THIS darlene, thin and athletic, with an 80's punk haircut that was a cross between the thompson twins and aimee mann's til tuesday period. it was bizarre, like stepping into a time warp and seeing this much, much younger--and very feminine--version of myself that I had forgotten ever existed at all.

but what really took my breath away was seeing my mom and dad. for a brief moment, i thought about the old man i met in the bottle check out line at hannafords...even though your bodies change, you still look at each other and see the same exact person you married. how strange to watch my parents on the screen, just a few years older than i am now. video is so different than a photograph. video is...alive. with voices. and movement. like time captured in a bottle that you can gaze into and see exactly what life used to look like.

there is this beautiful, sweet moment when my father dances with my sister to "daddy's little girl". he holds her gently, leads her gracefully around the floor (my father is a wonderful dancer) and they talk the entire time. sometimes my sister smiles, sometimes she looks like she wants to cry. it is magical and touching and i know to this day, it is a moment my sister holds close in her heart.

at one point while they're dancing, the camera pans back a bit, and captures me walking up to my mother and wrapping my arms around her. we stay that way through the rest of the dance, watching. i whisper something in her ear (i don't remember what) and she leans her head on my shoulder for a second or two. i hit pause, and stared at my face on the television, wondering if i could read what went through my mind that day as i watched my father dancing with his youngest daughter on her wedding day.

did i have any understanding, at all, of how i would never have such a moment with my dad? did it even register in my mind that this sort of day would be forbidden to me because of who i would turn out to be? i don't remember thinking it then, but today, 21 years later, i am overwhelmed with the sadness and frustration that this knowledge brings me. the irony is this: my job is to do everything i can, in whatever way i can, to win full equality for the people in my community, and i am always aware of the "big picture" and of what it all means on a sort of sweeping political and social scale. yet i spend little time thinking about how it affects ME.

watching that video reminded me of the joy we all felt on that day for my sister and kevin. and of how important that day was, not just for the two of them, but for all of us, for so many reasons. i want that option. i want that moment for me. i want to believe that someday i will find someone who wants that moment too, with me. i want to share it with my parents. and my family. and my friends. i want my father to be able to dance with me and know in his heart that i am happy, i am loved, i am not alone anymore. love is love is love, and when you find it, you ought to be able to have it celebrated and recognized and captured in some beautiful memory of a beautiful day, like my sister's day was captured, forever. no matter who you are. no matter who you love.

clearly, it's time for me to get back to work.

sunday morning cartoon

from the mikhaela b. reid archives:

Saturday, July 07, 2007


this is, very possibly, the freaking coolest website ever.

and that's all i'm gonna say about that.

toilet technology

i spend about an hour every morning scouring the internet for news about All Things Queer. it’s sort of my breakfast of champions and considering my vast culinary challenges, that and a monster sized mug of strong coffee is about as good as breakfast gets for me.

every now and then i come across a gem that just leaves me shakin’ my head and muttering 'what the f*%#'. and i'm thinking it might be fun to occasionally share some of those gems on The Slant. plus it gives me a break from having to come up with some new and insightful and deeply profound post (sarcastic wink insertion would work nicely here.)

so...ahem...without further ado... don’t have a snappy title yet. like all things in my life, this is a work in progress. i could use some help here. suggestions anyone? the vein of “i-can’t-believe-this-was-actually-quoted-in-a-popular-mainstream-national-newspaper”, this week’s Queer Quote award goes to an unidentified ‘prominent gay lawyer' in fort lauderdale:

“I’m not an expert on public toilet sex, but there are those who would say one minute would be enough. Or 30 seconds.”

i am going to resist the almost overwhelming temptation to comment on ANY kind of sex (public place or otherwise) that would take only 30 seconds from beginning to end. GAWD there are so many interesting places I could go with that. but nope. not gonna do it. even though it's absolutely killin' me.

i will, however, happily share an excerpt and link to the anti-public-restroom-sex article from USA Today. i mean, the quote does deserve some context. and this article is just...priceless.

Mayor Uses Robotic Toilet to Target Homosexuals

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle is concerned about “homosexuals ... engaging in sex, anonymous sex, illegal sex,” in the city’s public restrooms, so he wants to spend $250,000 on a robotic toilet with a door that springs open after a few minutes.

“We’re trying to provide a family environment where people can take their children who need to use the bathroom without having to worry about a couple of men in there engaged in a sex act,” he tells the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

like i said...priceless. let's just hope brian duprey of THIS opposite gender bathroom bill infamy doesn't read it. we don't want to give our esteemed representative from hampden any bright ideas for new legislation in augusta.

Friday, July 06, 2007

one of those days

i wish...i could free myself of borders,
those edges and lines that i put in
between things and people, thinking it
will keep my life manageable.

i wish I could be less afraid
to ask for what i want,
even if i know i won’t get it.

i wish i could dance in the rain,
walk along sharper edges,
go outside in the darkest part of night
and not care that i cannot see and
run and run and run anyway.
just let life...happen.

i wish i were as fearless as i sometimes pretend to be.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

jesus camp

okay. i finally watched jesus camp. and lived to tell about it.

i've been avoiding it since the premiere last summer, mostly because i wondered if i wouldn't find the whole thing traumatizing, eliciting memories of a baptist childhood that has made me a religious misfit ever since. i was the twelve-year-old girl who read leviticus and revelations as nighttime bed stories, hoping to scare myself shitless into having crushes on boys instead of girls. i was, let's just say, a tormented kid. so when 'jesus camp' came out, i was both curiously drawn to it and repelled by it. you know, the whole train wreck thang.

so i have a friend who is also a recovering baptist, and I found out she too was sort of curious and nervous about jesus camp. so we decided to watch it together. that way if one of us regressed and started doing something bizarre like speaking in tongues, the other could slap her upside the head and bring her back to reality. you know, sort of shake the bejeezus out of the other. so to speak. and there was beer. so we were good to go.

there were some pretty disturbing crying hysterically and collapsing after experiencing the whole contact-with-the-holy spirit stuff. there was this weird-ass anti-abortion guy who had a little display box filled with plastic fetuses at various stages. the 7 week old fetus looked like a perfectly developed full term baby and my friend shouted at the tv THEY DON'T LOOK LIKE THAT AT 7 WEEKS, THEY LOOK MORE LIKE SHRIMP!!! which has completely messed with my mind as I am anticipating a shrimp feast of some kind at Kimm and Jen's house later today. and then a very old and cranky woman (who looked a lot like my born-again aunt joan) with a life-sized cardboard cut out of a smirking george bush that all these kids chanted and prayed to. that whole scene was just, well, fuh-reeeeky.

the woman in charge of this camp was just an out and out right-wing-christian-whack-job with way too much power over children. her name is becky fischer, which in my mind is perfect because when i was a kid, we were terrified of the wild fishers that roamed around in the woods behind our house. we had cats that would go into the woods and never come back and my dad would shake his head and say "a fisher must have got him." they were vicious nasty little animals that preyed on perfectly nice cats of mine and i think this woman is a little bit like that herself. only she preys on naive and vulnerable kids.

THIS Fischer is a self-righteous drill sargent for jesus who screams at these kids calling them phonies and hypocrites and telling them they need to wash their hands in bottled water (the nestle version, which is on HRC's consumer NO list, by the way) to "drive out the devil." this little youtube clipwill give you the heebie geebies.

the overtly political stuff they were throwing at these kids was also fairly terrifying and the statistics about evangelicals gave me the gay shivers. 25% of the nation's population identify as evangelicals, 85% of evangelicals are "born again" when they are thirteen or younger, and yeah baby, when they grow up, they vote and they influence national policies. george junior and samuel alito can confirm that.

there was one delicious segment in the documentary when fallen angel ted haggard waxed poetic about his moral superiority. that was made especially fun by adding our own color commentary to it (DO YOU THINK HE'S GONNA GO GET A BLOW JOB FROM HIS MALE PROSTITUTE FRIEND AFTER THIS SERMON?) he is just so, so, so gay. check it out for yourself by clicking here.

but really, this was/is some scary stuff. the far right is constantly accusing The Gays of indoctrinating our youth when clearly they are the experts...and jesus camp illustrated that brilliantly just by letting the cameras roll. the camp director is unapologetic about it and says things like "children are so use-able in christianity" with a shit-eating grin on her face. um yeah. not exactly a newsflash. kids believe in santa and tooth fairies and the goddamn easter bunny simply because adults that they trust tell them such things exist. they are damn easy prey, and because of it, there's a whole army of well-trained soldiers for jesus, and they're making a foot path to the voting booth, to washington, to the supreme court and on and on and on.

of course, there is always hope. my friend and i were both little brainwashed baptist kids and look at us now...fierce and firey lesbian warriors. thank god for rubyfruit jungle and desert hearts and the first girl who ever let me kiss her and who then convinced me that i wasn't going to burn in hell for it. i coulda turned out to be one...of...them...ewwww...instead of the very liberal and very proud dyke that i am. yikes. that's the stuff that nightmares are made of.

as a result of watching jesus camp, we are thinking of starting Queer Camp.

instead of a cardboard cutout of george bush we'll bring in a cardboard cutout of Ellen in her very lesbian white suit.

instead of plastic baby fetuses we'll hand out that purple tinky winky that got jerry falwell all worked up.

instead of making kids speak in tongues, we'll have them memorize the lyrics to "it's raining men". click on the rupaul picture for my favorite version of that timeless gay tune.

all andrea dworkin books will be required reading.

and we'll make them watch judy garland movies. especially the really, really gay ones.

little queer soldiers of love to call our own.

it'll be fabulous.

indoctrinate THIS.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

one more for alex

i rose early with the keen understanding, even in those first-awake cobwebbed thoughts, that such a day as the one in front of me would be only about you.

i moved quietly about and lit nag champa in every room, sat on the pillow and held the mala, bead by bead, 108 inhales and exhales, imagining your face between each movement of breath. filled the walls, the ceiling, the windows, each chair, each picture, each light, every object, with your laughter that i could still hear, your hands that in my mind's deep corridors i could still touch, filled it all until every space around me held me like the comforting embrace of a friend. that was my meditation. for you.

then i got in the car and drove, blasted joni mitchell, played river, over and over and over again, singing, for you, at the top of my lungs. stopped at Joe's for clove cigarettes and headed for Evergreen. on the way i saw a woman selling flowers on the roadside, spotted the daisies and knew I had to get them, spent all my lunch and dinner money and bought every last one of them. drove to the cemetary, set the daisies at your headstone. laid on the grass and smoked a clove or two and watched the cloud formations, looking for your face like i used to look for God's when i was a little girl.

last stop, Two Lights and that little cave where we spent hours getting high, reciting our awful poetry, making ever-changing lists of what our perfect lovers would be like and cursing out loud whoever our current bad lovers were, dreaming and planning for better days ahead, thinking time was our ally and not our enemy, not understanding in our careless youth that at those very moments we were sitting in the center of absolute perfection.

i spent an hour watching a loon, all alone, flying about, diving for fish, splashing and playing in the water, until finally, he just sat, floating on the waves, holding himself so still it was as if he were meditating and completely unaware that each rolling wave was moving him further and further out to sea.

his drifting away reminded me of you, you who dove in head first and fearless and splashed and played in the ocean of life, unaware of the cost of that one imperfect lover, you who suffered that price with such steady grace, your anathema to pain... and death. and of how we all watched you slowly disappear, as each day like a wave, each wave like a moment, moved you further and further and further away from us, until, finally, you dissolved into the air altogether. beyond our touch. beyond our view. beyond our world.

our world that was then richer and more magical and more breathtakingly beautiful and filled with brilliant colors we had never before seen...all because of you and your far-too-short but ever-so-sweet visit to it.