Monday, April 28, 2008

i see a safe journey, i see a safe return

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.


Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

charlie howard's descent

I lived in Bangor in 1984 when Charlie Howard was murdered, tossed over the bridge into the river below, like a coin, or worse, a piece of rubbish. I participated in the vigils that followed, I stood on that bridge with a candle in my hand and can remember, as if it were yesterday, the carload of teenagers driving by and yelling "hope you all brought your life jackets." I won't ever get over it, really, and it changed me, forever. Part of the fire in my belly comes from that experience, part of the reason I will likely die with my boots on as an activist, yep, i will. die. with. my. boots. on. fighting, running my mouth, advocating, marching, protesting, organizing. There's just no such thing as "I'm too tired", is there Lady Bug.

A friend sent me this poem about Charlie, and a link to a video of the author, Mark Doty, reading it aloud. It's just...powerful.

Seems appropriate to post this on the National Day of Silence, and in memory of Charlie Howard, who I did not know, but who was my brother just the same.

Charlie Howard’s Descent
by Mark Doty


Between the bridge and the river
he falls through
a huge portion of night;
it is not as if falling

is something new. Over and over
he slipped into the gulf
between what he knew and how
he was known. What others wanted

opened like an abyss: the laughing
stock-clerks at the grocery, women
at the luncheonette amused by his gestures.
What could he do, live

with one hand tied
behind his back? So he began to fall
into the star-faced section
of night between the trestle

and the water because he could not meet
a little town's demands,
and his earrings shone and his wrists
were as limp as they were.

I imagine he took the insults in
and made of them a place to live;
we learn to use the names
because they are there,

familiar furniture; faggot
was the bed he slept in, hard
and white, but simple somehow,
queer something sharp

but finally useful, a tool,
all the jokes a chair,
stiff-backed to keep the spine straight,
a table, a lamp. And because

he's fallen for twenty-three years,
despite whatever awkwardness
his flailing arms and legs assume
he is beautiful

and like any good diver
has only an edge of fear
he transforms into grace.
Or else he is not afraid,

and in this way climbs back
up the ladder of his fall,
out of the river into the arms
of the three teenage boys

who hurled him from the edge -
really boys now, afraid,
their fathers' cars shivering behind them,
headlights on - and tells them

it's all right, that he knows
they didn't believe him
when he said he couldn't swim,
and blesses his killers

in the way that only the dead
can afford to forgive.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

shhhhh

Tomorrow...

The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. This year’s event will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a California 8th-grader who was shot and killed Feb. 12 by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. Hundreds of thousands of students will come together on April 25 to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.

There are some great videos in honor of this day, some from this year, some from years previous. Here's a couple of my favorites:





willie wonka

in honor of women bloggers everywhere, particularly The Dykes, i offer this post to reinforce the stereotype that we obsess over our pets. yep, presterjohn and mr. macrum, this one is for you (attach a wink and a smile here, please.)

willie is my gray and white tuxedo boy, long hair that makes him look like a brute until you pick him up and realize he's a damn lightweight. really, on the rare occasion i've given this boy a bath, soaking wet he looks like an anorexic feline. we've been in a mostly committed long-term relationship for seven years (if he can hang in there for five more years this will be my most successful relationship ever...) i say mostly committed because i suspect there are a few women who occasionally visit that he has serious crushes on. he's partial to Lady Bug, which reinforces my belief that my boy has truly excellent taste. and of course he thinks The Matriarch rules the universe. And i know for certain that if Corey proposed to him, he'd marry her in a minute and forget i ever existed at all. True story.

But really, who can blame him...my friends are goddamn gorgeous.

he was a caged boy when my partner at the time and i met him, living behind bars on death row at a shelter in brunswick. we would never have noticed him if i hadn't set the car keys on top of his cage, with my eyes and interest on another cat across the way. he grabbed those keys and pulled them into his kitty prison cell so that i had no choice but to give him my attention. he then looked me over and decided i'd be easily trained. no question, he found me, and well, the rest is history.

knowing him as i do now, i imagine living in that little cage must have squashed his spirit big time, must have broken his little kitty heart. my boy likes to roam, to run, to sprawl. he's mostly a serious cuddle bug, but every now and then when he's curled up around me he turns on me, quickly, claws out, ears back, ready to attack. these are rare enough moments, and my theory is that for those few seconds, he forgets he is free and thinks he's back in that cage. i know how that feels--kinda like waking up from an especially bad dream and taking a few seconds to coax yourself back into reality--so i forgive him almost immediately.

He likes constant attention, and if he thinks he's not getting enough, he'll do spoiled-rotten things like swat stuff off tables, nightstands etc. I've learned to put cell phones and other breakables out of his reach because he has learned that such things make especially loud and effective crashes, and i don't enjoy being manipulated by a cat, though god knows i have become quite used to it.

sometimes i forget he's a cat and think he's human--or maybe it's that i forget i'm human and think i'm a cat--i dunno. he's an expressive, emotional boy, and i think he communicates better with me than any other living creature on the planet. he's sweet to me when i'm sad, he's playful with me when i'm happy, he's careful with me when i'm cranky. he's wide open to love and most of the time his love is completely unconditional. if i ever find a woman like this, i'm never gonna let her go.

he gets embarrassed, which i find utterly amusing. just yesterday i had all the windows open to let in the gorgeous spring air, and willie was the first to jump up on the sill and survey the outdoors. later that night, i shut the windows, let the boys inside and settled in to read myself to sleep. apparently willie didn't noticed the windows were closed and did the leap to resume his spot on the sill, only to smack himself head-first into the glass. bonk. he shook his head a bit, looked at me, noticed i was laughing, and slinked off to hide under the bed. came out a few minutes later with a look that said "are you done ridiculing me now, and hey, do you have any aspirin 'cause i have a bitchin' headache."

this morning, as i sat drinking coffee and reading the paper, i noticed him scoping out the dining room window on his hind legs, tapping the air where the window usually is with his front paws. then he looked over at me, just to make sure i wasn't watching, and took the leap of faith to the sill.

lucky for him, the window was opened wide.

and i'm pretty sure i saw a look of relief on his face.

who needs cable TV when you have willie?



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

glimpse

i was just going for coffee, like i have every day for the four years i've worked in town. just like any other day. head down, deep in thought, looked up just in time to notice her walking across the street from me, no more than 10 feet away, recognized her instantly by the way she shifted her body, her long neck, wisps of blonde hair, the sad expression, lips curled downward...so rarely she ever gave away her smile... a face i'd not seen in almost a decade, the last time as i was driving away forever, cat in the car, everything i owned thrown in boxes, everything except the rent check and the handwritten letter i left for her on the table...driving away, her car passing by me, brake lights tapped on, the long wait as she got out of her car and walked slowly towards mine, leaning in the window, our faces inches away for the very last time, her last words to me, ever, pleading, angry, sad...don't ever write to me again don't ever write about me again i have to let you go completely so that i can find some way to keep on living.

i don't know if she saw me too, she looked up at the same instant as i did, tilted her head in my direction, sunglasses hiding the trajectory of her eyes, then looked down quickly...too quickly, did she recognize me too, older, grayer, different but the same, was my gait as familiar to her as hers was to me?

i could not breathe for those few seconds, time stopped, took me back, i felt a heartache that i'd forgotten but that was almost instantly familiar, like riding a bike, i could smell the salt in the air again, could see the willow tree, our willow tree, i could see her long arms spread wide on the deck as though she were hugging all the world, i could see her sweet, sad smile, the straw hat covering her eyes, i could remember the photograph i took on that day, capturing her on film, like a butterfly, for just one second, before she flew away into some other world i was not allowed in. ever.

and for just a moment, that moment when i could not breathe, i loved her again.

i've not written about you. i've kept silent. all these years. until today. just today. and then i will put you away again. i promise.

but right now i will sit here and i will remember and why am i surprised by the filling of my eyes, by the release of everything that we were and might still have been, rolling down my face, water and salt, this quiet and poignant and overwhelming moment of rushing memory, of aching. Of sadness. Of you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

spoonful of spring, with a big dish of summer to follow

It has been a glorious long weekend, with perfect weather, longer days, an empty agenda save for spending time with friends, puttering around the apartment, and reading, reading, reading. i have finally found the time to dive into Fall On Your Knees and I'm having a hard time doing much else but search for a comfortable spot to sit and read. It is so rare that I find a story that totally engrosses me, pulls me completely away from the reality of now and puts me into some other, magical far away place. It seems that each time I pick the book up, within one sentence I am gone from here and immersed in this haunting and beautiful world. I am eating the words up like chocolate.

Yeah. This long weekend has been medicine for my soul. I am moving out of the winter freeze and falling into a long awaited and much-deserved spring. I am determined to not let work swallow every waking minute, always challenging, more so now than ever, but it cannot be everything, I can't let it be everything. It's time to lift. my. head. up. and enjoy the beauty all around me. I want to stretch my legs and walk in tall grass, I want to spread my arms under a starry night away from the city lights, I want to breathe in ocean air. I want to sit outside with The Posse and watch movies under the moon, I want to fill my backpack, load the tent and sleep a night or two on Hermit Island. I owe a friend from The Big Apple the boat ride of her life to Monhegan Island and this summer, I want to pay up. I want to spend a day hopping rocks and searching for sand dollars with Sam & Brit. I want to sit on the deck in Shapleigh and whip my mom's butt at cribbage and walk through the woods with my dad.

Life is sometimes sweet and lovely and she walks around with surprises in her pockets.

And I am certain she's saving some of those surprises for me.

I need to be awake enough to notice.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

i heart tom robbins

"Perhaps a person gains by accumulating obstacles. The more obstacles set up to prevent happiness from appearing, the greater the shock when it does appear, just as the rebound of a spring will be all the more powerful the greater the pressure that has been exerted to compress it. Care must be taken, however, to select large obstacles, for only those of sufficient scope and scale have the capacity to lift us out of context and force life to appear in an entirely new and unexpected light. For example, should you litter the floor and tabletops of your room with small objects, they constitute little more than a nuisance, an inconvenient clutter that frustrates you and leaves you irritable: the petty is mean. Cursing, you step around the objects, pick them up, knock them aside. Should you, on the other hand, encounter in your room a nine-thousand-pound granite boulder, the surprise it evokes, the extreme steps that must be taken to deal with it, compel you to see with new eyes. And if the boulder is more special, if it has been painted or carved in some mysterious way, you may find that it possesses an extraordinary and supernatural presence that enchants you, and in coping with it--as it blocks your path to the bathroom--leaves you feeling extraordinary and supernatural, too. Difficulties illuminate existence, but they must be fresh and of high quality."

Even Cowgirls Get The Blues

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

impatient

I'm revisiting Sex and Other Sacred Games by Kim Chernin & Renate Stendhal. Just devoured an amazing passage, so lovely I read the page three times, and it's my habit to always share such rare treasures. What fun are beautiful words if you only read them or say them to yourself? I think it's just gorgeous writing, i love the rhythm of the words, they way they fall away from your mouth if you read them out loud, they are so much like musical notes, or like movement, or dancing, or all of it together. Maybe I love it most because it just absolutely manages to capture exactly how I'm feeling at this very moment of my life.

"I've been healing quite a while, battling with my translation jobs, my poems, my solitude, the unknown nature of scorpions, mice, animal sounds by night. I watch the days shorten, the sun's arc over the rocks, the shadows filling my little court. The summer goes. My soul slows down, curves in, settles into its solitude, prepares for something I don't know and yet know, for some descending that even without understanding makes sense.

Maybe one day I'll also get that patient with the slowness of human change, this stagnation that alternately drives me mad or drowns me in resignation. What if equality between women and men takes as long as nature takes to level a mountain? I have to accept another paradox: to learn patience and still care.

Feminism is not one revolution, it's just rain. Provocative rains, thunderstorms beating down on that mountain. They wash away the wrong side, speed up, leap into vertiginous cascades, get lost in a crevasse, are gone, declared dead. All the while they rise from their way underground to wet the most unexpected terrains, grow, make themselves a bed, find their own voices, repeat and repeat their message to the rock, speak in the chorus of rivers, move on, open arms, hug islands, take in landscapes, forget the mountain, avoid the mountains with the certitude of their direction, enter every new landscape's dream, grow heavy with their own richness, settle into a stately stream, beat the low pulse of balance, reach fulfillment losing themselves in the ocean that won't turn sweet.

I listen to myself and doubt that my patience will ever be free from resignation."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

listening to...

listening to toni childs...such strange and lovely poetry.



...with a room by the sea
and a voice in the sand
telling me your truth
and telling me your view
in how you see the world
spinning, spinning round
and what is love and what is death
the fears you have to put to rest...

...with a smile in the sun
and a face in the sand
sitting on a swing
unfolding bits of string
the face is innocence
but the words are something more
it's in the voice
it's in the sound
it's in the way the world is round...


it's that small girl, down by the sea, found the angel in me.



senseless

up early on this sunday morning with lots of thoughts circulating through my head. it's been a long and trying week, and i can't believe it starts all over again tomorrow morning. i need a vacation. i need palm trees. white beach sand. drinks with umbrellas, preferrably served by a svelte femme dyke who secretly has a giant inheritance, instantly falls in love with me, and then we live happily ever after off her trust fund, travelling all over the world and just having. fun.

ha.

i am thinking this morning about other sunday mornings of my past. specifically, my way-distant past, when i was 7 or 8 years old. my parents sent both my baby sister and i to the local church's sunday school. first baptist. yeah. it would be a number of years before i realized the hidden agendas of this church. when i was 7, this church simply brought me great joy and community. i absolutely loved it.

we had a youth group back then, and we would do fun, christian-like things...have bake sales and car washes and use our earnings to support a local family that was having financial problems. go to local nursing homes and sing christmas carols. build a huge floating dock to anchor at the local swimming hole so that kids had something to do in the summer. shovel driveways, deliver food for shut ins. we did all of this with the notion that this was the 'work of jesus.' being kind to neighbors and strangers alike. actively seeking those less privileged than us, and doing something, anything, to make their lives easier. i would come home from these excursions feeling energized, feeling happy...feeling like i was making a positive, lasting impact on people's lives. it was easy to reconcile the things i learned about jesus in sunday school to the services we provided in our youth group.

it made sense.

i know that there are many, many churches who continue to follow that path. churches whose primary purposes are to provide services and support to the community. who follow the teachings of christ and who realize those teachings were about compassion, empathy, kindness, love.

it saddens me that there are other churches and 'religious' organizations who have strayed from that path, and who have instead become uber political. who collect money in their offering plates for something other than 'good deeds.' who spend that money plotting and strategizing about how best to attack people in my community, LGBT people. they deliver calculated messages of intolerance. they may not realize it, but these messages infect the minds of people on the fringe, they incite hatred. they give license to those on the fringe to act upon their hatred, and to do it all in "the name of God."

i am someone who has lately been on the receiving end of such hatred. hatred addressed directly to me because of who i was born to be. my safety, my freedom to live in this world without fear of physical violence, has been stolen, at least temporarily, from me. and all of it in the name of Jesus. i think i should be angry, but this morning at least, i'm not. i'm just sad. and very tired.

this is not what i was taught as a little girl. this was not the source of the joy and comfort that i found in the teachings of Jesus back then. this was not what he intended.

it just can't be.

it wouldn't make any sense, at all.

Friday, April 11, 2008

leviticus 18:22

dedicated to the Ignorant Tight Ass Club, Maine Chapter.

bring it.
i mean it.
bring. it.

love,
darlene


Thursday, April 10, 2008

hot mess

my self-prescribed year of cable tv abstinence is over in less than a month. and while i am excited to watch my red sox, and cnn, and sportscenter, i have a confession to make:

i'm most excited to start watching project runway again.

yep.

true confessions of a butch dyke.

i just. love. project. runway. i've been following it on line (which is hardly the same) and i love love love christian siriano.

and if you haven't caught saturday night live's spoof of christian & project runway, you are missing out. amy poehler, as usual, is just plain brilliant:




oh and here's christian's take on the spoof: "I thought it was SO FUNNY. Amy [Poehler] looked exactly like me which is kinda scary, but fabulous. The fact that they are even talking about me is so fierce, fabulous and flawless and is such an honor. [Poehler] was hilarious and little. It was so crazy that she looked just like me! The hair was absolutely perfect. I don’t think I could have done it better myself. It was fierce!"

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

the blue screen from hell

so about 10 days ago, my cell phone was run over by a cab. that's right people. run. over. it was a sad, sad day. miraculously, the damn thing is still working. i can make calls and receive calls, but there's a catch: whatever thing-a-ma-jiggy makes my phone screen work must have been squashed unabashedly by Mr. Cab Driver. So now all i have is a blue screen, meaning there is no way of looking up phone numbers, no way of playing tetris, and, most annoyingly, no way of reading text messages. which drives. me. batshit. crazy. 'cause i get a lot of them. and i'm curious. and i want. to. read. them.

i'll be purchasing a new phone this weekend, but still...every time my message alert goes off, i scream out in frustration. last saturday i tried to figure out a way to transfer my text messages to my yahoo pager and it almost worked. i spent 5 or 6 minutes punching this number and that number onto my pager option screens, feeling all tech-savvy and brilliant. got to the final stage, pressed okay and saw that awesome message: "completed!!"

then another little window popped up with a box to input a confirmation number. and a little instructive sentence that said "we will send this confirmation number to your cell phone".

two seconds later, the damn message alert goes off. on my f'ing cell phone. that i can't read.

um yeah. it was infuriating.

realizing full well that i need. to. get. a. life. (and a new phone), i'm sending this urgent message to all my friends: please don't text me for the next 7 days.

cause i am losing my mind people.

lesbian radio, accoustic style


Monday, April 07, 2008

ps

Take Back the Night
Friday, April 25, 2008 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Portland
Location TBA

Portland's 27th annual Take Back the Night Rally will take place Friday, April 25th, from 6:00 to around 8:00 p.m.The program this year begins with a rally, followed by a march through Portland's Old Port, live music, and a Speak-Out for survivors and those who care about them.

This is an opportunity to speak out about how sexual assault has affected their lives.

Take Back the Night is not a women-only event. Statistics show that 1in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and men are encouraged to attend as survivors and as concerned others.

Current statistics show that:

1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime

1 in 2 rape victims is under 18 and 1 in 6 is under 12

women aged 16-25 are 3 times more likely to be raped than other women

alcohol is involved in 90% of all sexual assaults

Clearly, sexual violence affects all of us. Each of us is a survivor, loved one, co-worker, family member, or a concerned other. This event helps to break the silence that surrounds sexual assault and promote healing for those whose lives have been impacted by it. Come to participate or help as a volunteer!Email infosars@sarsonline.org if you would like to be involved in this event!

chocolate overdose

went to the chocolate lover's fling yesterday with one of My Favorite Women in The World, lady bug, also known as the vice president of the homosexual rights movement, also known on lesbian radio as the activist of the universe. twenty bucks (whoever spent that on beer or coffee this weekend raise your hands) gets you all the chocolate you could ever dream of consuming. i am a chocolate. freak. and even i overdose. serious.

the proceeds benefit the important work of Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM)--self-described as "the state's oldest and largest rape crisis center, founded in 1973 to support survivors of sexual assault, their family and friends, and to help eradicate sexual violence. From these roots, we have grown into a major crisis intervention and resource center for all of southern Maine." click here for their website.

sexual assault is a gut-wrenching-gnaw-at-your-bones horrific-epidemic-like problem for women in this state and we need to stand up for our sisters who desperately need the services that SARSSM provides. and i was really truly disappointed that of the hundreds of people attending, i saw no. one. from the greater portland lesbian community. and i just don't get it. we should have been there in droves. (lesbian droves! how nice.)

lady bug and i have decided that next year we're buying VIP tickets...spend a little more money, get a table, and have some fabulous volunteers serve you mountains of chocolate. and i'm sending out an s.o.s. right now to my lesbian peeps. we need to fill some tables up next year and show some love. 'cause if we don't take care of each other then nobody will.

the lesbian community should know that better than anyone.

who's in?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

i just woke up that way

Whose poetry
is the glow that adorns the setting sun,
with its jadelike hands
caressing the endless sky
and its lotuslike heels
that cross over the boundless ocean?

Whose faint lamp is my heart burning for
...reasons unknown...
through the night?

Han Yu-cheon

chicks with guitars

I have it bad for them. Chicks with guitars. And last night, sitting inside my inbox, was an email from my Favorite Guitar Playing Chick In The Universe. No lie. No exaggeration.

She ended her email with: "breathe deeply, and turn the music up."

I love that.

So, for you Finkle, I'm posting this video of another Amazing Guitar Playing Woman.

And Nancy Wilson? In this video?

When she steps back and then kicks that left leg up? With those boots?

Oh. My. God.
I'm sliding right. off. my. chair.

Oh and Ann is pretty spot-on hot too.

Heart.
Better than chocolate.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

874-3000


From my good friend Virginia:

Lesbian Radio will be part of the WMPG Spring Begathon this Thursday afternoon from 1:30 until 3. It is the pledge drive that happens twice a year to keep community radio diverse and commercial free. I know many of you support a good number of issues and causes, it is one of the things I love best about my community, our involvement.

I ask that you consider a pledge to WMPG with recognition of lesbian radio. Few cities in this country have a lesbian radio, few would receive the encouragement we have from the management of WMPG. They have been absolutely unconditional in their support of lesbian radio.

Our efforts are completely volunteer along with almost 150 other volunteers who make community radio happen ... we are a community too, from around the globe with a variety of perspectives and musical interests, working really hard to keep the airwaves accessible and meaningful for our diverse Portland Town.

Lesbian Radio is close to beginning our third year. Creating segments that are fun and informational with members of your/our community. Please consider a pledge this Thursday while we are on the air (874-3000) in support of "the homosexual agenda"... Hell yes! And your pledge can be ten dollars, the amount is not what we are seeking, it is your investment in community radio that becomes visible with a contribution of any amount.

You can pledge online (wmpg.org) or you can call anytime this week. I am asking that when you donate you mention lesbian radio. I am hoping for 20 calls during the show tomorrow .... it only takes a few minutes and we can send you an envelope for mailing in your pledge or you can put it on a credit or debit card.

And finally, thanks for listening, for participating, for being community.

Virginia

call to pledge: 874-3000

Tuesday, April 01, 2008