Posts tagged "gender/sexuality"
Louie’s New Truck

Louie’s New Truck

The tiny Montana town I grew up in had one main intersection where two highways came together at a T-shaped junction. One stop sign told vehicles traveling east to give way to the north and south traffic passing straight through town. On the corner stood Dad’s pharmacy: a two-story, baby blue, eyesore of a building....
Little Rambles (Excerpts)

Little Rambles (Excerpts)

#20 Dear _______, I am studying the genetics of calico cats; taking formal (and informal) photographs of tissue boxes (probably best not to ask); and studying the design and psychology of contemporary sans serif fonts. Sometimes I write. Freud thought that people over fifty weren’t educable. Plato thought that fifty was a good time to...
After Losing 113 Pounds, Diet Alone is Not Enough to Keep the Weight Coming Off

After Losing 113 Pounds, Diet Alone is Not Enough to Keep the Weight Coming Off

So I ask Robert, the trainer who lives next door, what the neighbor rate is on a workout, and he teaches me to squat with my heels on the ground, to crunch with one leg bent high above my waist. He wraps my hands in tape and teaches me to stand with one foot perpendicular...
The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

I raise my arm to write on the chalkboard, and the skin draped over bone and muscle swings in contrapuntal melody. I am ashamed to be caught in the act of living in skin. I hope my students are not hypnotized by the distracting motion. I hope no one sees this hammock of flesh and...
Symbolum Apostolorum: The Apostles’ Creed

Symbolum Apostolorum: The Apostles’ Creed

In my high school, where God was king and country and girls were not, everything teetered on the tightrope of treason. We knelt like mendicants while nuns used their wooden rules to measure the distance between the immaculate floor and the hems of our box-pleated mini-skirts. Because length and sexual proclivity were intertwined in the...
Misinformation

Misinformation

When I was young I dressed like a boy, though I became irate when misidentified as such. Even now I am sometimes called sir. I object less. When I was young, the boys I loved wore their hair in the style of a bowl cut. I enjoyed the mushroom shape rimming round their heads. Now...
Backstitch

Backstitch

On the bus from LaGuardia Airport to Grand Central Station I’m thinking about the night, thirty years ago, with the boy who lived in Hell’s Kitchen. On 57th Street, in an apartment on the 57th floor, with a view of the Empire State Building. He was Cuban, this boy, with bright blue eyes, and his...
The Salmon

The Salmon

Before today, I’ve been my sister’s helper. Last summer, I’d helped Cindy clean the Leggett Motel cabins scattered in the redwood grove just off the highway. The buildings are run down, porches sag, and the floors inside not exactly plumb. While the cleaning solutions burned our eyes, we’d scoured the bathtubs, the showers, and the...
Beauty and Youth

Beauty and Youth

It begins with a man, an older man, and he is nothing like your father. He is tall and kind and has soft hands and a lot of money. He waits for you to grow up. You are his housekeeper, his running partner, his intern. He is the bank president, a private pilot, your high...

A Review of Michelle Tea’s Black Wave

Over the past month I’ve been on a binge of queer nonfiction, devouring Eileen Myles’ Cool for You and Inferno and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, annotating the latter until ink from my pen took up more space per page than printer ink. The attraction isn’t just the quality of the writing—though stunning—or the presence of...
A Pop Quiz for White Women Who Think Black Women Should Be Nicer to Them in Conversations about Race

A Pop Quiz for White Women Who Think Black Women Should Be Nicer to Them in Conversations about Race

True or False: Gender oppression is way worse than racial oppression. True or False: I am aware that Black women experience both, but feminists should stick together and focus on fighting sexism, instead of getting distracted by what divides us. True or False: Racism is mostly about personal slights and hurt feelings, not a systematic...
Why I Let Him Touch My Hair

Why I Let Him Touch My Hair

I sat beside a white boy in a dead bar. Alone, he slurped beer, watched football. Hair yellow like an unpeeled onion, no signs of sun on his skin. A typical white boy. No match for me, yet, I started it, impressed him with what I knew white boys liked: Metallica, tits, Seinfeld. He was...
Full Service

Full Service

It is black Friday. I am wearing a black hoodie with the words RACIALLY PROFILED printed in white across my chest. I am selected, randomly, at check in. Hands in my hair,                       down my back, in my hometown airport.                       Never touching my skin, only the fabric that is covering it. I am...
Bruised

Bruised

I cut off every curl.   Every nappy thread that would forever belong to him unless I disposed of them.   Even now, when I lie alone at night and close my eyes I can feel his cool fingertips tracing through my scalp.   Until he clutches his fist, my strands tangled around his fingers,...
Beach City

Beach City

We talked about Miami Beach like it belonged to us, convinced that the tourists who came down to swim in our ocean and dance in our nightclubs were fucking up our city. We were seventeen, eighteen, nineteen-year-old hoodlums, our hair in cornrows, too-tight ponytails, too much hairspray, dark brown lip liner, noses and belly buttons...
You Will Find Me in the Starred Sky

You Will Find Me in the Starred Sky

One day you will hear a physicist say we are all made from the bodies of dead stars, and it will feel as if you’ve known it all along. You’ve long suspected there are particles in space bigger than you were at age three, when Ray went after you with his pants around his ankles...
Naked

Naked

Grandma owned a swimsuit, but she never wore it. She owned other things too, jeans and dresses two sizes small, hanging with tags attached in anticipation of the day they would fit. She wore instead lots of shapeless denim, spent whole days in her dressing gown, loose terry cloth hiding folds of soft stomach. Tonight,...
Shenandoah

Shenandoah

I have frizzy brown hair and I am nine years old and right now my whole universe is a gape—null, nada, total annihilation—and that gape is shaped like a horse. The word Shenandoah sounded like quick-flanked gallop, like tresses flowing mountain-winded, like chestnut shimmering through mist. Like hill and vale (whatever a vale is?), and...