Thursday, February 28, 2008

your cheatin' heart

last night i went to my mom and dad's in shapleigh for some much-needed TLC. My mom knew I had been battling a wicked cold and decided a home-cooked meal and some time with the family was appropriate. and exactly what the doctor ordered. the drive to shapleigh was so. beautiful. i've not seen this much snow since i was a kid...snowbanks higher than many of the houses, and the trees leaning over in the road, plush with snow and making this magical sort of tunnel to drive through. it was just gorgeous.

after dinner, we sat in the livingroom and the conversation inevitably turned to my dad reminiscing about my sister and i when we were kids. he likes to talk about the old days...and i love to listen. he and my mom started with their back and forth memory swap and eventually i heard a story that was new to me. seems when i was very little, about 3 or 4 years old, i was a serious chatterbox. according to my dad, i just never. stopped. talking. people would remark about it...my gawd does she ever take a breath?

my mom said the only way they could get me to shut up was to read to me. because i was hungry for stories, any stories, at all. so every night they would tuck me into bed and read and read and read until it looked like i had finally run out of gas long enough to fall asleep. this memory made them both laugh, and i felt them sort of staring at me for a few seconds. i imagine they were trying to figure out how that little 3 year old girl had turned into the 40-something gray haired woman in front of them.

my dad coughed a little, leaned back in his chair, sighed, and talked in a very quiet, almost wistful voice. you know we would walk out of your bedroom and just stand in the hallway. and you'd start talking again, to yourself. or singing. my god Darl how you loved to sing. your favorite song? your cheatin' heart, by hank williams. you knew every word to that song before you could even put sentences together. you'd just lay in bed and sing yourself to sleep. one night your mom and i put one of those little hand tape recorders under your bed and just let the tape roll. and we had you singing 'your cheatin' heart' on tape. ah. what i wouldn't give for that tape right now. just to hear my little girl singing her heart out.

and then we all just sat there, quietly, looking out the window at the giant piles of snow in the front yard, the three of us each yearning, in our own private ways and for our own private reasons, to listen to that tape. just one time.

it was a precious, precious moment.

Monday, February 25, 2008

i need me some summer

this morning as i was trudging through my place trying to find the energy to SLOG into work, 'slide' by the goo goo dolls came on the radio.

and it just made me crave warmer days. steaks on the grill at reg roc road. coconut oil. baileys island. an ice cold beer and some fried clams. damn.

good freaking gawd i need me some summer.



Sunday, February 24, 2008

bitch is the new black

for jill and matt.

'cause bitches get stuff done baby.


Friday, February 22, 2008

hillary

another great Hillary Clinton moment, from last night's debate in Austin. It should be noted that the standing ovation she received went well beyond what is captured in this short video. She was...dynamic.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

posse alert

we are so going to see this movie together.

jessica lange...who i would give up all other women for, in an instant.

kathy bates and joan allen...i mean it doesn't get better than that.

chick flick, posse.
who's buying the popcorn?

shake it up baby

good news, Queer Nation.

it appears we are more powerful than we think...

that earthquake in Israel last week?
we caused it.
that's right.

from the Daily Star:

Israeli legislator blames gays for earthquakes
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
Thursday, February 21, 2008

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: An ultra-Orthodox member of Israel's Parliament on Wednesday blamed homosexuals for last week's earthquake that shook his country and the region.

Speaking at a parliamentary committee on preparedness for quakes, Shas MP Shlomo Benizri lashed out at homosexuality, considered an abomination under Jewish law and in its religious text, the Gemara.

"We are looking for earthly solutions, how to prevent them," Benizri said. "I have another way to prevent earthquakes. The Gemara says that one of the reasons earthquakes happen - which the Knesset [Parliament] legitimizes - is homosexuality."

"God says you shake your genitals where you are not supposed to and I will shake my world in order to wake you up," he added.


hmmm.
shake our genitals?
um. okay. sure.

i've heard of earth-shattering sex in the metaphoric sense...hell, i am happy to say i've even had some of it myself...that's right...

but i had no idea that our unique brand of sexual expression could literally shake the earth. i mean...i suspected.

but now there's proof.

we are somethin'.




Wednesday, February 20, 2008

that kind of day

Never-Never
Marge Piercy

Missing is a pain
in everyplace
making a toothache
out of a day.
But to miss something
that never was:
the longest guilt
the regret that comes down
like a fine ash
year after year
is the shadow of what
we did not dare.
All the days that go out
like neglected cigarettes,
the days that dribble away.
How often does love strike?
We turn into ghosts
loitering outside doorways
we imagined entering.
In the lovers' room
the floor creaks,
dust sifts from the ceiling,
the golden bed has been hauled away
by the dealer
in unused dreams.

Monday, February 18, 2008

it's johnny camarari....

for my angel corey, the matriarch, mchottie & kevin, aka zippy lorraine...

and in honor of the most hysterically funny moment i've ever had paying a cover at styxx...

it's johnny camarari!!

and we are such a fierce posse.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

detroit river











I Be Your Water
by Bernice Johnson Reagon


I woke up moaning in a crowded sick place
Surrounded by evil, protected by grace
There were these hands, hundreds reaching for me
They knew exactly who and what I should be
Each way I turned, each one stronger than the last
Which would I choose and how could I pass

Then I heard whispers (be still, be still, be still)
From deep inside (be still, be still, be still)
Then I heard whispers (be still, be still, be still)
From deep inside (be still, be still, be still)

As I gave power to the sound of my own voice
A wave broke before me, I followed my choice
I walked along the waves of the lives that passed
Till I came to what seemed like an end
Again there, hands, they were reaching for me
They knew exactly who and what I should be

Again the whisper (be still, be still, be still)
Keeping me safe (be still, be still, be still)

What came before me was mine to take
There was no road, no path to take
As I had my life through this muddy rock place
Other toil beside me for a justice to take
I have felt lonely, most of the time
Walking this sweet freedom struggle of mine
I have felt lonely, most of the time
Walking this sweet freedom struggle of mine

Saved by the whisper (be still, be still, be still)
Making me stay (be still, be still, be still)
Saved by the whisper (be still, be still, be still)
Making me stay (be still, be still, be still)

Yesterday I stumbled around the bend
I saw you standing you reached me your hand
I seen you before, oh many a time
Why your life had paved the road right next to mine
Now you make the sun rise in my sky
You rock the cradle of me, you make me fly
You keep me company
Now you make a sound
Rise in my sky, you rock my cradle honey,
you make me fly
You keep me company

I be your shelter
I be your land
I be your everything
I be your friend
I be your water
When you’re thirsty and dry

Friday, February 15, 2008

heirs

last night i watched my beautiful niece play her very last home basketball game for massabesic high school, a playoff game against catherine mccauley in which the lady mustangs kicked absolute butt, and in which my niece, in particular, was...amazing. they will play deering high monday night and, barring a major upset, it will probably be the last time i see her in a mustang uniform. next fall, she'll be off to college...all grown up and ready to change the world. she's become such a remarkable young woman. she is gorgeous on the inside and outside, and i'm so proud of her i think i could burst apart, little pieces of auntie d. floating away into the big sky. gawd she is such a light in my life.

at the end of the game i was overwhelmed with a strange mixture of joy and sadness, of letting in and letting go. it is both beautiful and heartbreaking to see someone you once held in your arms as an infant transform into a young woman right before your eyes, in what feels like an instant. i loved watching her jump and yell and celebrate with her teammates, her smile so big, her eyes excited, so unaware that this was one of life's fleeting moments, here one second, gone the next, this miniscule fraction of time, so big to her in the here and now, and one that she will carry in her mind and heart for the rest of her life. i gave her a giant hug, whispered 'i am so proud of you' and then off she ran, into the arms of friends, disappearing in the huge crowd of exhilirated fans.

watching her run away, it felt like time had changed into some strange slow motion pace, i felt suddenly as if i were in a tunnel, sounds echoing. i could hear her voice as it was when she was so much younger. auntie d. auntie d. i could almost see the little girl that she was, first t-ball game, ball cap so big it covered her ears. snapshots of her life played out in my mind, i thought of a photograph, taken some easter sunday years ago, sam in her fancy little girl dress, holding my hand and posing, smiling. i thought of all the times we sat together, cross-legged on the floor in her play room, surrounded by toys and dolls and games, a little three year old girl looking up at me with her chocolate brown eyes, play me auntie darl? i thought of the million times we would just sit and read, or watch barney, or laugh so hard that she would be overcome with hiccups. i thought of the day we sat on her couch, another photograph of the two of us, me tickling her and her laughter, like music, captured on film just seconds before we left her house to visit her new baby sister in the hospital. and on and on and on. all of this flashed before me in seconds, a beautiful movie of every moment i've ever spent with her, moments that she will barely remember if she remembers them at all, but moments that for me are as alive and as vivid as if they happened only yesterday. and more precious, more cherished, than anything, EVER, in my world.

before she and her sister were born, i never knew that i could love this big. i never knew the heart was capable of holding that. much. love. and then still be able to love some more. they are my sister's children, and so my mother's blood, my father's blood, my blood, runs through them. they are my family's legacy, they carry inside of them our hopes, our dreams. they bring us infinite joy. they learned how to love from us, and my god, they love so well, so very, very well.

they are the heirs of our hearts.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

words

From The Record, the Christian Civic League's e-newsletter, Feb. 1:

"The hyper-liberal Maine Womens Lobby was in the halls yesterday with a video camera. This radical group mainlines contraceptives. They work everyday to protect the sanctity of the abortionist's trash can. Their leader is an out lesbian.

Democrats don't rise to leadership without their support.

Jesus loved children. He loves innocence. Clearly this issue transcends politics. Jesus suggests that a watery grave is the appropriate resting place for adults who violate this innocence."

(click here for the entire post)



There has been discussion on some listserves that I belong to about this recent CCL post. And much of it has been about whether the above statement by Michael Heath was a direct threat. Direct threat? Maybe not. But it sure is a shining example of the thinly veiled hostility towards the LGBT community that Mr. Heath seems burdened with.

Mike Heath will tell you that this was not hate language. He will tell you that he was not implying violence. He will certainly tell you that he is not suggesting that LGBT people deserve a watery grave.

If I give him the benefit of the doubt...if I put away my own biases and all my experiences with the CCL and just assume he meant none of this literally, his choice of words was still incredibly irresponsible. As the supposed leader of his Christian community, as someone who others in his community look to for moral guidance and spiritual direction, he should choose his rhetoric with much greater care.

Somewhere out there is a person whose own moral compass is skewed. Somewhere out there is someone who is angry and hateful towards LGBT people, and who will read Heath's words and take them to heart. Who will read those words and, implied or not, see them as permission to perpetuate violence against LGBT people or others who disagree with the CCL's politics. Maybe it's not a likely scenario, but the fact that the possibility exists at all (and of course, it does) should be enough for Mike Heath to stop this kind of rhetoric once and for all.

And I know that I need to heed my own advice. A few months back, I decided to stop writing about Mike Hein and Mike Heath in a tone that might be construed as hateful. I don't hate them, at all. I don't agree with their politics, I don't agree with their version of Christianity, but I also don't need to spend any time ridiculing those beliefs or inciting others to do the same. It's just. not. worth. it. As a leader in my community, I know my time is better spent advocating and serving the LGBT people, not throwing stones at the CCL and those who represent it. I'm better than that. WE'RE better than that.

The question remains: is Mike Heath better than that?

Monday, February 11, 2008

motor city part 1

I'm back home after 5 extraordinary days attending the 20th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, in Detroit. The Task Force, as they always seem to do, offered up an inspiring and energizing conference that has left me, well...inspired and energized. I hope to spend some time over the next week or so writing about my experience, but today is all about adjusting to a world that doesn't consist totally of 2000 amazingly dedicated and wickedly powerful queer activists.

And then I'll find some time to write about stuff like this:

listening to Julian Bond, chair of the NAACP, share stories of his life as trailblazer and civil rights activist, and then unequivocably and with great passion endorse complete marriage equality for LGBT people.

sitting next to Donna Rose, transgender advocate extraordinaire and former board member of HRC who resigned during the ENDA fiasco and who shared her profound letter of resignation with the world.

listening to Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality talk about her experience in DC during the ENDA fallout.

Gene Robinson speaking about his experience of wearing a bullet-proof vest on the day he became the first openly gay, noncelibate episcopal priest to be ordained bishop.

closing out the conference with an absolutely riveting performance by the mother-daughter duo of Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon. Oh. My. God. they were just unbelievable.

seeing some of my wonderful friends from the Task Force, and in particular, spending time with Monique, the brilliant and fabulous woman who may very well be the reason I became a queer activist in the first place. she recruited me back in 2004 to go to my first Task Force Power Summit, and quite frankly, I thought she was damn cute and figured what the hell, let's jump off this cliff. obviously I also cared very, very deeply about LGBT equality. but the fact that i had an immediate little work crush on her did NOT hurt the cause of The Task Force, at all. i imagine if she knew this, it would make her smile and probably laugh out loud.

and finally, just the truly awe-inspiring experience of being among 2000 queer people who every day, with uncommon courage and stamina, do their parts to change this world for us. This work can be so hard. This work is not always safe. This work can feel never-ending. But what I found among all of them was sheer will and determination and a common belief that we have something worth fighting for, and for some, even worth dying for: our dignity. I think our collective experience as queer people has given us a tremendous capacity to endure...certainly our history has proven it to be true. And I felt it and saw it in three-dimensional living color for five days in Detroit.

We are the change we've been waiting for.

Friday, February 01, 2008

auds

it's been a ridiculously busy week, and i've had not one second to post on The Slant. fortunately, i have friends who don't mind contributing on occasion.

so thanks to Auds for letting me post her truly lovely early morning thoughts...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"the rays of today"

my mornings are quiet and mostly beautiful. then again how could they not be?

I bundle up against the winds and cold, probably looking like I am 4 sizes larger than I am. my dog crisscrosses in my path, the entire 2 blocks to the beach.

today the sky stretched out before me with one strip of cloud hovering above the horizon, equi-distant from the weather bank that sits upon the our portion of the world. the bank is a deep rich vibrant purple, the cloud a brilliant pink that screams of neon but is warmer, if that makes any sense, and the sky is gold. as I walk with the wind in my face and the sea rolling in a conversation of the storm that will soon greet us, I wish, for a moment, for warm weather and to don my flip flops and walk in that surf.

As Burl runs ahead to greet another, his feet loud on the frozen sand, I glance at the horizon. I smile…the sun's entrance is announced by the streak of a red gold beam that is shooting straight up into the sky, slicing in half the cloud and painting the purple bank with pink. I sit and wait for the breaking of "dawn", yet it is light all around me. Burl accepts my position by digging his ball into a hole, which can only be explained by witnessing this event.

I sit, and the beam widens yet loses no intensity. I sit, and it streaks higher, transforming the bank into pink with hints of purple. I sit. I breathe. I wait. I close my eyes and feel the cold, then my eye lids burst into golden light.

the sun has risen. I missed that little sound it makes when it POPS into sight.
or maybe it’s me.