credo

The day starts with blessings, with sacred reminders of what I know and why.

I’m grateful for the person who tagged “gender fucked” on the border of east and west bay.

This form of witness bears repeating.

Port Angeles, WA 2007
Port Angeles, WA 2007

I start packs on Sunday, bleed on Tuesday, and plan for French Fridays.

There are four core love asteroids: Amor, Eros, Psyche, and Juno, also the queen of Heaven.

Florence, Italy 2008
Florence, Italy 2008

There’s a desire to write from a place of softness, from sentimentality.

To record; to repair.

Make visible; resolve.

April16
April16

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself,
beloved on the earth.

–Raymond Carver, Late Fragment

op-eds

just because they know your name doesn’t mean they know where you came – cat power

august 13, 2016 7:48pm
august 13, 2016 7:48pm
discovering grace through curated understandings
some spoken, explicit, but most often held in breath
in glances and in rhythmic exchange of metaphors
a particularly classed communion

quiet clung to the lake’s edges
marred only by wandering hymns and thundering mornings
and thinking about all those places that made us
an acceptance of vouchsafed motions, hard-luck blessings, raptured devotion

this is the tenuous nature of belief
in effort, a maintenance of fallibility
oh holy day: in haste, but with love

necessary but not sufficient

“Act so that there is no use in a centre.” Gertrude Stein

zoso ross

those years embraced us ferociously
as fear and pride perpetuated dissonance

weights, a fog, referents

that way you feel inside my mind
not quite spiritual, more phenomenon

desires, a politic, intimacy

there is joy in unraveling
then there is curation of what remains

joyful rejection

We are a cramp nation. Involuntary, restrictive, a tool.

Oakland, June 2016
Oakland, June 2016

our periods, collectively, are politically vogue
gender representation reflects without liberation
we process reclamations as speculative transmissions
even the clouds, and now their patterns, wander lost

the simplest narratives are stored in the bends of our flesh
rancor its own habitual expression, a saturation of cultural static
transfigurations of competitive positivity, a sharing economy
Angela Davis said the political reproduces itself through the personal

how far does your radiance reach?

visceral

January 31, 2016

“Art has to be disturbing.” Marina Abramović

He wrapped his hands around her throat and told her she was good.

This was their mutual understanding.
A feeling of being surrounded in pleasure, an abstraction.

A chorus bleeding into verse, chorus, and back to verse.
Then, and now, a reminder that metaphors are not to be taken literally.

Our mouths numb from atrophy.
When prompted, not quite coerced,
revelations of agency are found.

It could all be about the light or a phrase turned into image –
brilliance unspoken.

after extra time

Have you noticed love is always on sale and violence is on demand?

Oakland, May16
Oakland, May16
she dug deep, and still,
my hips held position

walking through clouds of words
hearing only “baby”

performing radical distortion, always inward
personally speaking, “no” becomes aspirational

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

Lately, this fevered responsibility begs for cultural affection, for mass-blessed kisses, for wanting.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

She wore tights the color of sun-hidden skin.
I stole touches. Even in stillness, the body has a beat.
Oblivion’s call such a tempting response.

with(out) you

artist: Kourtney Roy
artist: Kourtney Roy

underneath the ocean
the quiet roars

we all have an edge
soft margins with sharp centers
fiercely contoured boundaries

we sanction ourselves
love is provocative
as we make our homes museums

every day and every night a tender eve
books left marked to forever hold place

let go

Let every kiss hit the body / like a season. – Ocean Vuong, A Little Closer to the Edge

artist: Mary Abbott
artist: Mary Abbott
sun patterns become cloud covers
we react as resistance
malefic masculinity

we are born again in times of violence
flash moments designed as destiny
patterns worn translucent

soft and hard (but never loose)
when the middle shifts
the center sways

inertia

die vorfreude

Julian Wasser, Susan and Dorita, Los Angeles, 1962

She called exactly four hours after the earth stopped moving. While we waited, wave after wave, we sat. Through repetition and capture, we learned how to stay constantly aware. It had been years since I gave my soul away. An unbecoming strategy for some; survival for others.

Protecting misgivings and intentional reactions, we spent our days building machines that ran on unrequited syllabic utterances. Flip back, back track, forward leaning free verses flowed as patterns, as privileged misdemeanors. Our hearts grew to beat metaphorically.

After pausing to ask how the earth breathes under the weight of concrete, she said act like you’ve been here before. It was a coded reminder of our legacy. A collective fantasy replicated endlessly in anticipation for moments we never took the time to define. For some, wanting more is our purpose.

transgression remission

september 10, 2015
september 10, 2015

I want to know what happens after the scene.
After the play ends. Which position do you assume?

That morning the City reflected transformation.
A kindness from and because of suffering.

I know. I know. I know.
Those words, their rhythm, influence me.

The water moves against itself; I forget to breathe.

divination

I’m going to ride your heart – Bleached

south dakota dec11
South Dakota Dec11

Have you noticed our conversations are almost always about safety?
Will you listen to that fear? Will you listen to my need?

[fighting what feels natural / what has been conditioned to feel good
finding providence / hard-won wisdom]

What imagination led us here?

He said practice creates habits
a reference to his dangerous life,
a prophetic retrograde.

promise of fortune

Margaret Kilgallen
Margaret Kilgallen (Ratio 3, Aug 2011)

we both wanted more
so we took it

hands act like scarves
wrapped necks
turned over
for you
face down
filled with your effort

dusty mandarins marked with stranger’s fingerprints
how do you carry your violence?

risk & reward

photo by orange_and_tangerine
photo by orange_and_tangerine

the mountains found their own solitude
spooning each other to hold their gaze
while hills white from not-yet-risen clouds
were in contrast to the Bay warming blue

grateful for forgiveness and forgetting
time as construct, a gravitational force
wrapped around desire, momentum, abundance
absence has pulled your energy elsewhere
away from me

every day we show our stories by waking
under cloudless skies as nests of nests
of birds clamor and inspire the cat,
a product of us: neglect and minimal care
unencumbered with material fancies

all this and things undiscovered
guide our personal rhythms (fulcrums/hips)
like how our body’s most graceful state is to be at ease
and unlike that first summer we drove across country
with every possession we assumed we needed

satori

NYC Mar15

“So (re)invent us, still weeping the solutions we came from, imagining ‘things’ would be fine if only a single interpretation could be shared, meaning enforced.”
Laura Mullen, Complicated Grief

Golden fur and morning light warms calmly.
Energies, swirling, occasionally oppressive
as unconscious as the way we sell love.

The mural reflected a range of fruits found in this region,
geographic signifiers, orbs of light and juice. Positive
transformations expressed through practice, ritualized execution.

Repeat, forcing action. Asking for it, suppressing.
The real economics of what we dream, imagine, and desire
divided, found between centuries of exclusion, forced space.

Think about how resistance is holding what remains.

mindfulness

my needs are non-negotiable
my wants are yours

cleveland Nov04 (photo by Atlee)
Cleveland Aug04 (photo by Atlee)

the problem with the women in my family
we always stay too long

there is no inertia
hilltop clouds linger past what feels good

what we mean to each other matters little
if living presently, an influence of detachment

bend
forward

tiger dreams

ocean beach Dec15
ocean beach Dec15

aspirations of distillations
the clouds reflected their own rapture
in cycle                     omens

impact a function of proportion to intent
mountain passes carve telluric love notes
as ecumenical bridges span our heartaches

that morning the eclipse darkened light
the back of the truck carried bright yellow fans
spinning like lemon slices

excelsis

aleksandra waliszewska

We are taught someone has to lose.
Perpetual calculations of how much we allow
in contrast to what we can’t take anymore.
Revery forbidden, outwardly.

I feel nothing but desire to keep myself whole.

Our collective resentments (cultural backlash)
form dysphoric protests, an occupation of complexities.
Mass wish fulfillment to move beyond fear, imagined and not.
In excelsis, suspended.

erotic plasticity

behave_Elizabeth Isley
Behave_Elizabeth Isley

An embroidered pillow littered the interstate
along with an unpartnered shoe and other items
mostly unseen like kisses blown into ocean currents
(small reminders dividing our morning gaze)

I am worth showing up for
bound by all those quiet erasures
pulling towards shame in order to remain prone
a worship of sorts, a ritual formed from survival

a lous péché miséricorde
an intimate maxim linking mercy to sin
suppressing repressed domination > perceived value
as artificial as the light and politics we are surrounded in

enough

“We need, each of us, to begin the awesome, difficult work of love: loving ourselves so that we become able to love others without fear so that we can become able enough to enlarge the circle of our trust and our common striving for a safe, sunny afternoon near to flowering trees and under a very blue sky.” – June Jordan

August 7, 2015
August 7, 2015
The truth?
I knew a long time ago.

I shouldn’t deny that I don’t practice conscious love. I do.
All those times when I said no.
All those times I said yes.
All those times worth was mine to know.

July 12, 2015 (photo by Atlee)
July 12, 2015 (photo by Atlee)
“Use the power of man. Use the word. Fuck. The word is love.” – Kim Gordon

over OK Feb16
over OK Feb16
Overhead, the backyards had pools and trampolines.
A land of only oxbow lakes.
A land where delayed gratification is a religion.
A land where there is no sympathy for the devil.

politics of owning

tumblr_o1kpxpq9g01t5vk0oo1_1280

“Write your self. Your body must be heard.” Helene Cixous (1975)

How much of our wants are manifestations of neglect?

Inside this somatic posturing, this restless hustle, our bodies are celestial. Distillations of notional constellations open and wide.

It is true: commitment is not exclusive to monogamy.

caesura

Come prepared.
Always dress your best
for the world may end.

Nikki McClure
Nikki McClure
The days hum, a frequency (consistent).
Flashbacks are low-grade returns.
There is seduction in being loved.

There is always something you can learn from an interruption.
A moment when clarity finds you knowing.

ceremony

Look how much you
love me. Little maps.
from Bruises by Leah Horlick

Berlin Aug14
Berlin Aug14

The clouds formed an amphitheater
over a city transformed, a super city.
Its atmosphere thick with performance
and domination within its own limits.
Listen to the bubble pop pop pop.

Queering our gratification
– delayed to a frothy anticipation –
is an economic ritual with historical reputations.
Golden greeds and lusts as deep
as the veins that financed this spectacle.

Ceremonies of repressed aggressions
baptisms unfurling (catch and release)
physical bodies manifesting, hands cupped,
entertainment as reward and pleasure.
A violence that feels good.

follow the signal underneath the noise

All the dreams have wound around need.

Nov 22, 2015
Nov 22, 2015

This time of year the radiator sings at night. The gray mornings are carbon copies of Cleveland’s skies. Those years full of bravado that only darkness holds or youth demands. To the east, the pastel light spun out into easter yellows, baby blues, and softened ripe peaches. I watched him dip his boots into the fountain, one at a time, muddied from the urban forest he was paid to curate.

When we talk about the work be explicit.

Do you care
enough?

We all have somewhere to be
someone to hold (ourselves mostly)
accountable for what happens today.

æsthetics

“Between us we create a circle of something like worship, a ritual of mutual incarnation.”   Mykel Johnson from “Butchy femme” in The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader  

Kiri Dalena, Erased Slogans, 2008-2014
Kiri Dalena, Erased Slogans, 2008-2014

We declaimed those who seem to own their identities so easily while affirming our own temporary status through amateur gif porn, bourbon, and sunburns in the unlikeliest of places – like the bend of your elbow or the middle part running across your scalp. Furiously finding ourselves up against our will, again and again, we realized much later how these proxies for desire, unfolded along an axis of repression and deviance, were sublimated into online conversations and polished stories shared in darkened rooms that no longer play the music we recognize.

I have a memory of you exhaling this is it for me onto the back of my neck. It’s resurrected as I sat sandwiched between stores filled with cheap shoes, bed fashions, drugs and groceries. In my direct view a poster warns, Don’t think, know. Another flashback holds a detail of strategically opened windows that bragged to your neighbors about our business, which was more carnal than intellectual. Others wane simply as background noise. Some are so intimate they can only be expressed as secrets found in between the way we choose to embody vulnerability and the actual practice of being authentic or the way these specifics are mine to own and tell.

—————————————————————

breath/control

rhythmic
breathing, a song –
a strategy for calm
inevitable after such
habits

follow the breath

Absence opens possibility.

We gather inside and treasure light. We are enamored with the hues of soft pinks and peach oranges that have lengthened during this seasonal rotation. Yes, we do have an agenda, a way of being, of feeling seen.

While shadows form, for they provide their own value of shelter and comfort, we scout for interdependence. We want transformation not assimilation. Our politics disrupt, express, reconceptualize desire and power. It’s a decentered practice. A rebellion.

What we seek is an acknowledgment of the complexity of difference and an orientation that does not ignore a reality that is relational. All of our connections, regardless of intimacy, physicality, and emotional depth are nonnegotiable and non-hierarchical.

Our resistance depends on it.

epistemic relevance

our days have been brighter
an optics, a behavior, of being awake

12-31-15 5:48pm
12-31-15 5:48pm

this year’s declarations:
*  occupying neutrality is poetic nuance *
*  embody love as deep as it can go  *
*  shame has subjective exchange rates  *
*  judge listening and justice as actions  *
*  what feels good and safe is happiness  *
*  it is ok to change your mind, to leave, to quit, to cry  *
*  apologies and forgiveness are patterns of endless appreciations  *

pleasure triggers

“show me how to love and I’ll show you how to beg”
–  Lullaby for the Working Class

Trotsky_Nov11
Trotsky_Nov11

anthologies of thought curated by universal themes:
resiliency, worthiness, credence

Trotsky and I_Nov11
Trotsky and I_Nov11

move from punishment to acceptance
towards complexity or, if fortunate, erasure

bedroom_Nov11
bedroom_Nov11

say yes when you beg
when you solicit
open inward (like a prism)
intimately filled with your effort

quiet hearts

Berlin Aug14
Berlin Aug14
Technically speaking, reflections cannot absorb.
We are even in that regard.

Some memories start with an act of god.
They have become sacred.

How graceful we can be with that nostalgia.
Lest we forget our worth depends on it.

squad politics

2016 pantone colors of the year

Camile Paglia is a seductive writer. She also is very aware that she’s entitled to her opinion.

Camille Paglia Takes on Taylor Swift, Hollywood’s #GirlSquad Culture is a slope of cascading arguments. She urges a broad demographic of “women in Hollywood” to “aim higher and transcend a narrow gender factionalism that thrives on grievance.” Paglia does this by reminding us of the past as a way to demand better of the future.

She maps “squad” as a term and concept to 90s hip-hop culture.

Arriving at a boundary of solidarity, she challenges the reader to not be tricked into defaming masculinity. She connects masculinity to strategies that have avoided “sexual jealousy, emotionalism and spiteful turf wars that sometimes dog women.” Is this what being a man feels like?

It’s an interesting charge for us to study the “immensely productive dynamic of male bonding in history,” which assumes male bonding has been productive and that production has been positive. This is where her contradictory ahistorical argument wanders into abstract proposition.

Yet Paglia’s scolding tone is enticing and visionary. “For women to leave a lasting mark on culture, they need to cut down on the socializing and focus like a laser on their own creative gifts.” Let us be blessed and count our fortune to be in a squad that is “about mentoring, exchanging advice and experience and launching exciting and innovative joint projects.”

What is driving this iteration of the gender wars propensity to want to thrive on grievance? Is it the emotionalism or the sexual jealousy that Pagila names?

Connection, collaboration, and bonding (which requires affection and trust in order to be safe and healthy) are the inherent politics of any community-oriented experience, regardless of gender assignments. It is a shame those practices have accumulated such heavy and fractured gendered prescriptions.

Kept in the Hollywood gaze, as Pagila has strategically framed, the reader is reminded, as consumers of said culture, that supporting girl squads can be a way towards “expanding female power in Hollywood.” Let’s hope that power doesn’t replicate the same product as the boys.

harbor

threads, knots, unravelling builds strength
misogynist men keep wives to seed the next generation

we is first person plural
as a twin, this feels political and personal

oh haven of somatic resilience

what if lust is a reaction of little understood consequences?

The stones of Örelid, an Iron Age burial ground with standing stones in a field of rye, Sweden, 1930
The stones of Örelid, an Iron Age burial ground with standing stones in a field of rye, Sweden, 1930

noble silence

we are our own private property – B

"NG BABY" May14
“NG BABY”, May14

The voices most common to me end with the sound of a question.
It’s that curl at the end, a curiosity unspoken.
There’s a particular consciousness when I hear that familial cadence.
Prompts that possess risk and assumed uncertainty.

Yale Ave N, May14
Yale Ave N, May14

The sun was an escort that morning.
A morning with purpose and mummified mandarins.
This and other routines becoming orientations –
a private relationship with temporality.

somewhere over WI, April14
somewhere over MI or WI, April14

In silence, I see violence.
In breath, I think sex.
In the pornography of my dreams,
you know you can’t fuck me like that
and then act like I’m fragile. That is
a subtlety best reserved for detachment.

cazimi

Hotel Villa Convento Nov15
Hotel Villa Convento Nov15
“This was love, to be eager for tomorrow.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adochie

I don’t know why we love differently. Why we are still able to find love.

There is an essential unfairness in you not knowing me.

In New Orleans, I observed the tourist’s shoes. There were also discarded squeezed limes, sleeping homeless bodies under quilts, and stray cats eating street meat. How quick things can go hard!

So instead, I collected curiosities like watching her eat giant grapes in half bites.

born again

He tells me everyone has a god-shaped hole.

His accusation that my hole was filled with everything
but god was profound, if only for its blind accuracy.
The contents of that enclave signifying nothing beyond
a persistence to reject a god that does not know love.

Wet ice formed on frosted car windows that late night I prayed
for you to save me. We were finally on our way home from somewhere
staying longer than they had wanted. Leaving behind one tension,
that kind of politeness, for drunken silence, his version, not ours.
Barbed wire fences reminders of distance from road to ditch.

There is mystery in how we got here.

Joanna Pallaris, L'aquoiboniste_Waiting
Joanna Pallaris, L’aquoiboniste_Waiting

reasons

Cold Evening Venice, Bato Dugarzhapov

She told me she cut her hair short:
she “didn’t want to look corporate”
like me.
I faced west.
You laughed softly
off to the side
watching me embrace myself.

wake

Are you the aggressive one? The one I ask for?

San Francisco Dec15
San Francisco Dec15

I never finished bell hooks book about love.

Cleveland Nov03
Cleveland Nov03 (photo by Atlee)

The body speaks. A language born of vigilance.
An effort that does not deviate. In the same way
cyclical is about more than repetition and less
becomes obvious. Those times when scarcity
is a luxury of desire (thought) or when home
is opposite of feeling (being) love. Seasons nested
between gaps of wants, things you don’t need,
taking without realizing its cost.

Rome March08
Rome March08

What is left behind in this wake?
A free fall. A slow fade. A disclosure.
What is it that makes us different?
Tracing boundaries of shared recognition.

stand back

Oct 23, 2015 3:33pm
Oct 23, 2015 3:33pm
Three years ago today, it was a nearly nude fashion show, and four years ago doing my own thing found itself on a “good things” list.

Do you know if the richest cities face west? What if we found settlement in a such a place?

Weeks form around us. Patterned reconciliations, memories of bus rides in other cities, different exchange rates. Those were my hard gained needs.

From your perspective, I cannot exist. Shifting your vengeance, a cruel blindness, that’s the type of aggression I inherited now abandoned for gentle privileges, useless hardwired knowledge, plotted along sensitive geographies. Navigating scripts, a dialect of claimed silences, lulling like waves like violence like survival. We have always carried this resistance, this method of rapture.

spiral

“being devoured can make you cry” – Robin Coste Lewis

Beauty Bar Oct15
Beauty Bar Oct15

The earth is burning.
The jade tree hedges down the street are dying.
Stores release their fall line of sweaters, scarves, and jackets.

I have something to say, anything, nothing at all.
I write love letters in the middle of the night.
I think about your broken tooth, back, heart.

She spoke about representation and desire.
Our wars are a proxy for absence or relentless regrets.

I think we all
even you
want to escape
to start over
to be reborn.

Coatlicue state

wanting nothing more than everything

Mom Knows Now, L.J. Roberts, 2003
Mom Knows Now, L.J. Roberts, 2003 at Alien She, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, January 2014

all day windows look at each other
expert witnesses

breathless inside anxiety
our arms crowns

the days are hard, but ours
no longer so tightly holding on

ferocity

think of nothing
other than silence
in the city that knows only how to challenge

rotate at your own pace:
the rhythm of an anxious heart

every weekday morning
we follow each other’s red lights
blinking, random
unforgiving

center

and stupid stuff it makes us shout
oh dance with me oh don’t be shy
oh kiss me cunt and kiss me cock
oh kiss the world oh kiss the sky

— Pixies U-Mass

July 4, 2013 (Oakland)
July 4, 2013, Oakland (photo by Atlee)

The Pope sold out Madison Square Garden this week.
It was spectacle, indoctrination by hypocrisy.
Earlier, his message of misogyny delivered to a divided body politic.

Our rituals are to find each other
to worship sacred alters
at those soft edges of mercy.

The body twists, inertia its own reward.

means

 

April 11, 2007 Port Angeles, WA
April 11, 2007
Port Angeles, WA

 

It’s more exciting
when you believe
there is no purpose in life.
Nothing destined; nothing gained.

country

The contents of the detained shipping container
(according to the public news)
were from the 1970s, from China
and filled with spoiled meat.

A story just as true as
finding your way home
after being in between
gone and disappeared.

labor day weekend 2015
labor day weekend 2015

One-sided wind blown trees tell their own version of the story.
The golden slopes another clue to the way force shapes.

What a divine disruption!

A moment when breathing in makes you bigger
full – more – when exhaling makes you smaller, less.

Counting blind spots, your breath, my exhalations
their frequencies filed under proportional commitment.
A revelation when patience for violence wore thin.

discursive thoughts

Kiss me hard before you go / Summertime sadness – Lana Del Ray

8-6-15
8-6-15

I remember the red, blood red, carpet.
The sun, both setting and rising,
made the western facing room feel that much warmer.

I remember the heavy dining room table,
a dark honey wood, with majestic claw feet.

This is where we were forced to cry,
to talk about the weather, money, crops.

7-4-15
7-4-15

This was the house where I realized that speaking up meant salvation,
a deliverance of blame so that others could go unpunished.
It also meant wooden spoons broken across our bodies.

There were dinners of noodles, meat, tomato sauce.
It meant mom was able to go the store.
I was grateful to have something else added to the endless supply of ground beef.

6-26-15 "fuck new money SF"
6-26-15
“fuck new money SF”

The driveway was circular,
it went nowhere and everywhere at the same time.

The dogs were treated as workers.

The horses were tall, smelled of earth and hair,
their soft velvet noses stiff with whiskers.

perpetual motion

It’s harvest season.
Conscious of renewal,
we plan for what we need tomorrow.
This is the time of year to honor defeat
celebrate the shifting light
embody lived experiences
transform our perceptions.
We love fiercely, in this community.

Francisco de Zurbarán, Agnus Dei, 1635–1640
Francisco de Zurbaran, Agnus Dei, 1635-1640

 

staccato

I like words that can be soft
like peach preserves
saved for cold winter mornings
over hot buttered toast.

Or words that mend hearts.

Aug15
Richmond, CA Aug15

crucible

It was the way you disappeared. There was a strategy to it.

beauty/duty July15
beauty/duty July15

I’d tile this chapter: collapsing just short of understanding. Every day forged into an act of hope, not to be confused with faith. The mountains, when revealed, were tucked into each other and clouds pale like bone. These people we’ve become feel unconsciously different. We are borderline confident.

politics of expression

Sex! It’s a provocative subject that has been analyzed for centuries and often reflects more about the author’s tastes, deviance, and experience than any scandalous title may suggest. The subjectivity inherent in this undertaking creates a scene where perversity and contradiction thrive. This quest to distill ourselves – how we come to understand our sexual identities and how we perform those norms (which can result in panics) – has coupled sexuality with body politics for as long as flawed history books have been written.

The what you want, all of them, and all those sticky enshrouded and repressed reasons why you want are complicated. It’s biological and it isn’t. It’s fixed and it’s dynamic. You could focus on visibility, accessibility, the mechanics, or anything from economics (think about all those ways we feel pleasure from consuming) to culture and still not completely satisfy your curiosities. And we aren’t even covering the erotic. A lush landscape that could lead you to play with the tension of what can be imagined to the exploitation of deeply held desires.

There’s something about all the ways we talk about sex that attract the most attention. Sexual testimonies that have been passed down, a legacy we measure ourselves against, as the origins of our understanding about sex and sexuality – yours, mine, our neighbors. These narratives are situated in specific cultural, racial, historical, gendered rituals of age, geographical locations, and within very real systems of power. It’s the dominant stories, the ones that are replicated to the point where they are assumed to be truth, that get mythologized. Our destiny is to then decide to perform or reject.

This metaphysical project of measuring perceived reality in proportion to these mythologies, is what The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality attempts to unravel. “And it is this link between sex and self that sits at the root of how sex is regulated in our culture, more than any individual rule or whim of cultural fashion.” A contemporary ritual of self-worth we must all fulfill.

The interviews that thread The Sex Myth chapters are specific histories woven around a frame that is supported by a strong economic influence. “To be sexually ‘free’ is not just a question of doing as you please but a public display of self: an identity that is contemporary, cultured, and financially secure.” This is all within what Hills calls an “attention economy” – any form of recognition is a form of validation. The Sex Myth also pulls apart performance from judgement and normalized expectations.

The chapters on masculinity challenged me for personal reasons and so did the one dedicated to femininity (narrowly constructed around “learning heterosexuality”). I saw my angsty former self expressed in the confessions that got to the root of religion’s control over your autonomy and self-worth. I’m still learning how to undo that damage.

I learned just how extensive the heterosexual agenda is for all of us.

“The primary account of heterosexuality in these films [G-rated] is one of heteroromantic love and its exceptional, magical, transformative power,” the researchers wrote – Martin, Karin, and Emily Kazyak. “Hetero-romantic love and heterosexiness in children’s G-rated films.” Gender & Society 23 (June 2009), 315-36.

I was reminded of just how far beyond those prescriptive expectations I have wandered.

In the end, The Sex Myth is a tale centered on the “tension between control and freedom”, and the price we pay in that constantly fluctuating exchange rate. I appreciated the implicit action to destroy the instinct to question the body first and the system that defines us second. “The Sex Myth is palpable not only in the what we cannot do without fear of stigma or harm, but in what we feel we must do in order to avoid feelings of shame and inadequacy.” It’s critical to deconstruct our feelings about sex and their potential connection to how we embody shame and inadequacy.

My hope is that the conversations started in The Sex Myth agitate and provoke its audience into questioning their own stories and assumptions about what is normal or “true.” Another hope is that we destroy the myth that sexuality is a determined process bound by binary thinking. That’s one way to bridge this gap between our fantasies for more – more freedom, more pleasure, less repression – and envision a reality where our politics and how we express ourselves is ours to tell.

hedonia

Tiina Törmänen

Pleasure. This should be our lifetime pursuit.

ritual June15
ritual June15

Following horoscopes like choices, prioritizing sharing, locating power and minding interpersonal boundaries.

Matters of the heart extend beyond erotics.
We dare to say please and ask to end with thank you.

The summer days draw strength from warming slowly.
It is energy saved to make those days that seem to find you.

rückkehrunruhe

point reyes june15
Point Reyes June15

Peaches says living is more important than making sure you write every day. My mom told me the prairie is the ocean. Both are true.

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rückkehrunruhe n. the feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness, which makes you wish you could smoothly cross-dissolve back into everyday life, or just hold the shutter open indefinitely and let one scene become superimposed on the next, so all your days would run together and you’d never have to call cut.