Archive for June, 2005

walkies

The walk over the giant hill was too much for me… then fog… My body is throbbing with pain all over and I feel sort of limp and flooblely as if lifting up my arm or leg were like… moving through very thick congealling syrup. erg, pain and exhaustion.

but i felt so good at getting nice email from an editor about my article – she liked it a lot.

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fractals of history repeating itself

Apparently TG$F told this chick who’s been in the community for a bazillion years she couldn’t be on the float and couldn’t march with them because they were going to wear matching classy outfits and wanted to be on TV. And this chick DD walks around the city like, all the time every day, clad in nothing but a gstring and high heels and is a little nuts, used to be a sergeant in v1etnam, many a colorful story… A funny and cheerful person. I just have to point out how much it sucks that she was just dissed by her own community. And I’m meanly glad there was a commercial break in the parade coverage just as their float went by. Arrrrgh, the bitches. Love how their web site about this year’s pride march is all about “inclusion” and acceptance.

As if for years there weren’t parade officials trying to suppress any sort of TG presence…! For fuck’s sake! Here is something on the very incident I was thinking of – when the SF pride march committee tried to exclude trans people from the march because the media would pay too much attention to flamboyance, sexiness, etc.

TGSF should get its head out of wherever it is and look at history. Who started Stonewall? Are we going to ignore that? No, sorry, whores in lingerie can’t be in our revolution, even though they started it.

I take it all personally as it’s just what happened to me in Aust1n with the lesbians and lefty coalition – “don’t dress like a whore, don’t wear your leather, you make us look bad, you steal the media attention…” Darlings – the media isn’t going to pay proper attention to your issues ANYWAY so you might as well have some fun and celebrate outrageously as you choose. And my flamboyance got media coverage, sometimes good and sometimes bad – sometimes just the image alone, which you could argue would be inspiring and cool for some texas queers. and sometimes i got to speak and be quoted or the slutty outfit got a crowd of people listening to the safe sex demo. Yes, it attracted a conservative backlash. But that is no excuse for suppression.

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another good day of work

Another good writer from today – Ad3la Z4mudio, from Bolivia… super-ardent militant ass-kicking feminist activist and writer – died in the 20s. Today I translated the poem from this page (and did it better) and a couple of others. I have to dig deeper to find more of her poems, as I only have 4 or 5 of them. I especially want to find “Loc4 de H1erro.” Back to the big library basement!

And more by M3rcedes M4tamoros, who deserves translation and publication in full – It’s good poetry and I’m so annoyed no one seems to know it’s there. I mean – of people who should know or would like to know. People are still reading P1erre de L0uys so why not M.M.’s “last hours of safo”?

How I miss the B3nson Lat Amer. Collection in Aust1n! Holy crap! That place was so awesome it was scary.

so… what catches my eye as I’m cruising for poets from this era? what goes into the anthology?

- overt anti-patriarchy content. Oh yeah! There’s some.
- other feminist content; poems from one woman to another. Perfect example: st0rni’s venom poem. (Like the movie rule about more than one woman in the movie on screen at the same time, conversing.)
- stuff that’s super deep/metaphysical/abstract
- stuff that’s political, about connections to other countries, nationalist in a complex way
- stuff about the body or desire
- satisfyingly perfect example of a particular “ism” or a poetic form…
- mentions modern tech, is urban, has radio antennas, factories, trains, airplanes (unusual)
- talks about writing itself; artist positioning herself arrogantly in the genre
- I tend to like love poems that have grief and death in them, and thoughtful elegies
- I don’t mind a little syrup if there’s some venom in it
- seems outrageous in any other way
- extremely gorgeous, dense, clever language
- I might try to have at least one woman from each country? I have all but the tiny ones covered.

I was thinknig again about what N4na told me about her mom in Br4sil – when her mom was a teenager, her grandma found her poems and burned them and said only whores write that stuff – that was how Agust1ni and all them came off in the 20s.

Last night I couldn’t stop working or turn off my brain. Today… well… I did a lot of errands, interruptions, housework, etc. but here I am working again and then blogging about working… arrrr, must stop!

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indicator needles swinging back and forth wildly

I no longer know what’s good and bad. I’ve read so much poetry from 1870-1930, my head has cracked open. At this point I’m thinking of just putting WHATEVER into this anthology and explaining why I like it or not, or why I picked it to translate, rather than being so ambitious as to judge everything’s literary quality relative to each other and to everything else in the entire world. Overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, I thought this was charming:

To Aurelia (from Mercedes)

They say in the valley one day,
a sweet, innocent lily,
full, proud, happy,
shone in the sunlight.
“Could there be another, tell me true,
so white and pure as I?”
And she died of envy,
howling with madness,
when she met Aurelia,
who was whiter, more pure.

To Mercedes (from Aurelia)

They say that one day in the valley
a certain lark complained
because she had learned a tune
and couldn’t sing it.
“Could there be another, tell me true,
as unfortunate as I?”
And the lament that she sang
was so divinely harmonious
that all songs stopped
and made her their queen.

(1892)

(Perhaps more charming when you know that M3rcedes was extremely fond of S4ppho.)

It’s the opposite of duel-poems, doing the dozens, or flyting (the norse tradition of insulting and boasting in improvised verse). Instead, clever, loving praise of each other, one poet to another. I had not thought about those poetic genres together (insult exchange vs. praise exchange) but only thought of poets praising patrons, kings, or their beloved. What fun when you have both sides! I get the impression that this exchange was very public and possibly verbal, at some cafe or “salon” or perhaps it was public in a newspaper. Part of the charm of the originals is their perfect conformation to form – the oct0syllabic d3cima – 10 lines and 8 syllables to a line. (Harder to say something complex in that form than in a sonnet.) The duel-poem also uses oct0syllabic couplets…

Well- so, I would happily go on about that sort of thing in the anthology. I can’t help wincing at the thought of the readers’ possible reaction at how the poems are so often about lilies and roses, jewels and mist, but, wtf it’s the modern1sta aesthetic. (and how these poetisas aren’t modern1sta, I’m JUST not seeing. ) There are also a lot of mirrors and statues: a feminist thing, I think, a way of expressing subjectivity as women, and a way to distance from being-your-body the way that poems to women by men make the women into their bodies. The women tend to write about their own bodies as merged with nature but then when they want to speak and can’t (as flowers) they become statues or mirror-images or other imaginary-people, products of artifice that are trying to produce their own artifice. A strange pattern I am seeing again & again.

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mit blog survey

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I’m a bully

I figured out today that the car-fixing place that seemed fairly nice and helpful is EVIL. The manager chick had a few weeks ago ordered me very cheap replacement front running lights and the slightly incompetent dude bolted them on. Then she said that as a safety issue the part of the front that fell off, I shoudl replace it, the importance of bumpers in a collision, etc. etc..

Today: I insisted on looking at the parts… And asking a lot of questions… and looking at the car carefully…
- my truck’s front bumper is still there and perfectly functional, though dented.
- the bits it’s missing are the end caps (plastic) and the grille cover (plastic)
- those aren’t safety issues at all!
- the expensive part she ordered is a replacement bumper, but i already have a bumper!
- she was about to charge me $150 in labor to do the job

I said screw it, return the parts and keep my $20 deposit, just put the new light on.

- Then she was going to charge me for labor on replacing the light and make me leave the truck overnight!
- I squawked like fury and said I already paid for labor andn the part – they installed a defective part which blew my taillights and could have gotten me killed…
- They insisted that my truck must have an electrical problem – despite my having explained about the defective part several times.

Bullying successful. I paid nothing and I stood over the guy while he drilled 2 holes and bolted the new light onto the frame and screwed in the 2 screws.

Fuck those people… I liked them and their shop, but clearly – they were being super nice for their first job for me, giving me a discount on the part, doing the work in a couple of hours…. But that was only to rope me in for future work where they could cheat me! Aaaargh!

So, I still don’t have the front grill but I don’t think I need it. and I just saved $250 bucks by not swallowing the hook. Go, me.

I really hate it that there are people who work to establish trust on purpose to fuck other people over by betraying that trust…

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whither thou, feminist history?

I shouldn’t be surprised one tiny bit, but I just stumbled across a 2-volume book from 1915, an anthology of lyric poetesses from 16th century spain and lat. america. There must be a hundred women poets at least, in there. Romances, lyrics, epics, sonnets…

It hasn’t been checked out since 1941.

I leave it to the reader’s imagination the number of times I’ve been in some lat. amer. studies or lit class and heard a prof. say (or been reading some “anthology of things spanish from forever-ago till whenever”, in english or spanish) that there weren’t any women writing then except for of course Sor Ju4na.

Did you hear the part above – Perhaps it needs repeating – an enormous anthology of women’s writing from 16th and 17th century spain and lat. america. It doesn’t apply to my current project, but… I could cry. A tear has sprung to my eye more than once this afternoon.

Meanwhile I’m newly in love with m3rcedes M4tamoros!!! I found a huge scholarly edition of her stuff! With footnotes and dates on all the poems, thank you thank you… And the poems rock!!! …and WITH, crucially, an appendix with a bunch of poems that the women wrote back to her and also a couple of guys. And an intelligent looking intro that I only skimmed but that mentions homosexualidad feminina and the songs of Bilit1s by L0uys. Score!

And a volume of col0mbian poetisas. From 1936. The editing SUCKS and was done by what must have been a blind naked mole rat… i swear. And most of the women were fucking coy about their age and there’s no publication dates; most of the bio information is like “she was born in a town, and she had parents. And her brother was a poet and so was her uncle. Then she died in 1910.” ooookay. Fine. Be that way. A fair amount of the poems looked promising! I tend to pick out the ones that are like, “ode to Imagination” or that look vaguely feminist, or the ones to other women. Or — i found one poem to a rose that was unlike any other poem to a rose that I’ve seen… so personal and serious, really addressing that individual rose. I’ve seen a jesus fuckload of rose and dawn poems. the insomnia or moon ones come as a giant relief! Anything on “azul” gets xeroxed instantly.

Whew! Now -off to pick up Moomin. I Cant WAIT to start translating this stuff and typing up details and putting it all in my organized indexed binders. Oh dear Moomin you might get the shaft this afternoon as I will park you in front of nearly any TV to buy an hour and a half more… Or… well. that would be so mean. He needs me. Arrrgh.

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sweetening up

Creamy french blue cheese, very cambezola-like… warm and spread on top of black figs. YUM.

And some innernet dude mailed me a 600-page compilation of all the lyrics to v3nezzuelan songs old and new – some of them I’ve been wondering about for half my life. I have some that he doesn’t have, which should make him happy. I’m listening to S1món Díaz now in celebration of being able to look up the words.

All very cheering!

Back to work.




temper

My hands and toes hurt this morning and it makes me ill-tempered. I had to prepare the nursery school snack and cook pasta for Moomin, plus my batch of coffee ran out so washing more dishes and making new coffee. I hope none of you know what i’m talking about and never find out, but joints hurting + morning dishes = grumpy. I require time to unstiffen. Or it hurts! Every morning, not even ones like this, it hurts just to hold the coffee cup.

The mental image of myself with future gnarled fingerjoints and unable to casually spank people newly met in dungeons doesn’t help the mood. Note to self: acquire canes and paddles, small ones easy to hold. Also: grow set of useful boneless tentacles.

Moomin is very pleased with the batch of library books I grabbed last night. Mostly lots of Bill P33t and the 4th Ak1ko comic.

I was not so lucky as I grabbed a CJ Cherrrryh book off the “new arrivals” shelf, vaguely thinking of all the times people have said she is good… but OMG this is one of the dumbest, most boring, disappointing books ever! I fucking hate it! Her politics are stuck somewhere far, far up her own ass. Does this story about far-far-future gene wars really need the “dagwood and blondie” marriage dynamic to help it along? Oh – wait, since I can’t turn off the “literary analysis” lobe of my brain even for a book as dumb as this – yes, it does need it – as the attitude of the conservative anti-change Earth factions towards the freedom of info exchange and evolution and terraforming, or whatever the fuck, is supposed to change (the main point of the book) from panicked “no way!” patriarch and rebellious punk-haired teenage daughter into slightly less panicked patriarch and rebellious punk-haired teenage daughter. Oh, so boring! The “action” of the book and its endless conversations could be compressed into maybe 10 pages without losing a damn thing. I know it’s “Cyt333n” that people always recommend, and I’ve never read it though i seem to remember trying once as a teenager and hating it with every fiber. What crap!

The book and the gene wars have a perfectly good premise but worst execution… “execution” is a good word for the effect of the muddy prose … it make me think of that moment when everyone got very excited about “cyberpunk” and the worst crap in the history of SF was written very quickly as everyone tried to jump on that train. I would rather re-read “Super Divine Diaper Baby of Dune” or whatever that worst in the series was than tackle another Cherrrryh! I’d like to pin her eyeballs open and make her read Edgar Rice Burrrroughs for 72 hours straight and then maybe a hint of dramatic tension, style, and maybe irony would creep into the murk. If you’re going to overblow your prose, overblow it for real.

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the launch window has opened!

At the park, a manifestation of pregnant sexist evil bugged the shit out of me so extremely that I was glad I had my extra-ripped-in-the-butt jeans on. I hoped that the power of my underwear would strike her dumb. It didn’t work.

“Oh! It’s so hard being preggo with my THIRD! my husband’s not even TALKING to me! Especially because, you know, three BOYS. ” I beamed non-comprehension in her direction. “You know! Because boys Fight All the Time.” “Well, not necessarily… and I don’t believe that’s true.” I owe it to Moomin to say that out loud any chance I get. Otherwise he will believe it and internalize it. that’s what I think, anyway.

And this troglodyte… she never quit it, if one of her kids even moved towards another kid she’d scream at it not to hit, not to fight. “CONNOR! ETHAN! NO! What did mommy tell you about girls? DON’T HIT GIRLS! Be GENTLE with GIRLS.” I’m sorry to scream in capital letters so much, but that’s what she did. I am merely the textual conduit. It was her only topic of conversation. What…. the fuck…. is people’s problem… “And with a THIRD BOY they will just be fighting all the time! My huzzbin is SO MAD AT ME.” I am embarrassed to admit that I only muttered the words, “Tell your huzzbin to cut off his fucking balls already” instead of yelling them.

Finally they left! I was digging river systems in the boiling sun with that Captain of Industry, Moomin M. Yong. “Dig faster, Mommy!” “Thanks, sir.” “Good work, Badger! You did a great job.” I got another kid playing with him. They ran around together, pretending to be squirrels. Success! Though – horribly – I asked his mom if she was his grandmother. You’d think I’d have known better… OMG….. But she thought it was funny and we hung out chatting a while. Soccer. tree-climbing. I have been trying to climb on every piece of playground equipment to make myself nimble and muscular… I still can’t go across the monkey bars but I hang on a good long time. Moomin was less shy than usual!

He is obsessed with sending fan mail to D4v Pilkkey and keeps asking me questions like, “What is D4v Pilkkey doing right now? Is he finishing the next R1cky R1cotta book, which is, which is, which is, R1cky R1cotta and his M1ghty Robot and the N4ughty N1ghtcrawlers from N3ptune? Where does D4v Pilkkey live? Did he read my email? What does he look like? Because I would really, really, really like to tell him that I am WAITING.”

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