Monthly Archives: May 2012

rhythm is a dancer.


“purple represents, brings about, and is present during radical transformation from one state of being to another. purple appears at twilight and predawn. it stands at the gate between the land of material flesh in one world and the land of the spirit or soul in another and is present in the envelope of energy that surrounds the body, usually called the ‘aura’. […] I asked a traditional Witch to tell me the qualities of purple. […] [she said,] ‘purple has always meant power, spiritual power. it’s connected to the birth and death and all kinds of transformations, and to the number seven. And it’s also a color associated with the moon. but more than anything, it means power.'” -judy grahn, another mother tongue: gay words, gay worlds [an amaaaazing book! please read!]

so. i feel a little silly being 30 and dyeing my hair purple. but you know what? i never got to be 16 when i was 16. i had a job and a lot of family burdens and i was very old back then. and having fun hair was impossible (mainly because my job wouldn’t allow it).  i’m not so old now. and then i thought that anyone who might criticize me for this probably got to be a teenager at the age-appropriate time, and to them i have nothing to say but: fuck you! i’m reclaiming my youth, now that i’m old enough to enjoy it.

anyway. i just came back from a trip down south with two of my favorite heart-friends. it was wonderful. we slept outside & made a lot of silly jokes. listened to mix cd’s and talked openly. amanda went to a wedding in durham, NC while ben & i rode our bikes all around and cooled our hot feet in a fountain. it was just perfect.

i asked them, “did you ever have good vacations with your family?” amanda had. ben & i hadn’t. family vacations, for me, were just a new place for us all to fight and be unhappy. in fact, we often fought more and were more unhappy because there was the stress of traveling. i said that this vacation we were on now felt like a good family vacation. the way they’re supposed to (& yes i know they’re a privilege and i was lucky to go on any at all, no matter how miserable). i felt relaxed and loved. got to see some new things. i messed up a few times but it was okay. nobody yelled at me, we all worked together to figure out how to make things right again. and i did the same when amanda or ben needed me to. amanda said i was the MVP of snack-sharing on the trip & i’m glad.

last night i was biking home from my sweetie’s house at 2am. i’d been wearing a miniskirt and biking around all day. it made me feel awkward, the skirt, but i wanted to wear it. but i didn’t want to give pervy guys a thrill when i rolled by on my byke. but at 2am nobody was out. i felt safe. just hiked my skirt up so i could pedal faster. i thought, “soon there will be no more feeling safe at 2am. there will be no more sweetheart. [at least not this particular one]. soon i will be on guard every second again.” but i think it’s okay. think i’ve been nurtured enough, think i’ve been safe enough, to be able to fight again. safety. i never had it before i came here. and it has changed my life. i hope i don’t forget.


it’s summer, no job anymore, so my to-do list looks like: file for unemployment, dye hair purple, hang out at the library during the day with all the other wingnuts. i haven’t gotten to any of these things just yet because i’ve been busy: in the three days of unemployment i’ve read twice, got hickeys from two different people, made some intriguing new friends, had a perfect BFF moment with alyssa where each of us hated our sunglasses and wanted to get rid of them, but they each suited the other perfectly.

my tummy hurts and my intestines are acting a fool. i sat around the house all day drinking nettle tea, which didn’t help, and finally left the house to get some pepto-bismol, which did. i had a cigarette last night, which was bad bad bad! but at the moment it felt very right. drinking beers and talking intensely with a sexy writer dude. we’d read together, and our writing styles are very complimentary–he reads edgy hetero smut and i read sassy queer smut. haven’t met a writer that i really click with in so long. i kind of wanted to go home with him but decided against it; came home to my journal and a sad panicky text from my girlfriend instead. i woke up the next morning, happy to be alone. monday morning; haven’t had one of those in a while.

gotta find a publisher! gotta finish my memoir (which is currently 20,000 words, but i’m trying for at least 40)! gotta think of a title and edit the shit outta that thing. gotta go to the ocean in north carolina  next week with amanda and ben; gotta hold my girl till she can sleep through the night again. gotta stay strong & remember the people who hate me are stupid–not because they hate me but because they are, simply, stupid. it’s just a fact. gotta divide my possessions into what i can give away, what i can take and what i can leave behind temporarily but not jettison completely. gotta figure out how to say goodbye to this place.

at the other reading i did, all the other performers really touched me. something so beautiful about sitting in a living room as two soft-spoken high school twin girls harmonize. and knowing that everyone in the audience loves you, even the people who don’t know you, because they loved what you have to say and how you say it. i know i’m not gonna find that in good olde SF. i’ll find a bigger community of people who like what i do, but nobody who likes it as much. it’s not possible.

i know i talk a lot of smack on fb. but sometimes it leads you to truly wonderful things…


….like this. i found it on my old pal theresa’s fb page, but she got it off of leslie feinberg’s fb. i lived with theresa 11 years ago, when she read “stone butch blues” and it made her cry. this picture & this dedication almost made me cry. so fucked up and yet so amazing.

i have other things to say but they all seem irrelevant. let’s remind ourselves what we’re capable of, despite everything. let’s remember to fight back always & resist in any way we can. refusing to give in to despaid can sometimes be resistance. & most importantly, let’s take care of each other.

to learn more about cece, go here.

to learn more about leslie feinberg, go here.


I have taken back my author rights
to Stone Butch Blues.
I am working on plans for a
20th-anniversary author edition
of Stone Butch Blues
for Spring 2013.
 A digital multi-media edition
 will be available free online.
A not-for-profit, at-cost print edition
will be available for order online, as well.
During our visit in jail,
I asked CeCe McDonald
if I could dedicate
Stone Butch Blues to her.
I’m thrilled to announce:
She said “Yes!”
When I saw this attached photo
for the first time, it was clear to me,
 that this is the dedication photograph!!
More information on novel publication as it develops.
Soon, I’ll also post information regarding translations.


super moon & mayday & love & living.


whoa, this weekend was off the CHAIN! i don’t think i’ve ever had a day like the one i had on friday. or saturday.

friday was the mayday variety show in bloomfield. i had one of those moments, sitting in a sweaty clump surrounded by friends, watching etta and suzy on stage–suzy dressed like a beautiful & strange & ethereal tree, etta draped in christmas lights. i tried to take a picture with my phone, but of course it doesn’t capture the moment at all–suzy is a mass of blinding white light (aura?). but it was one of those moments, so safe and cozy, where i realized how desperately i will miss all this, that weird magic that i’ve only found in pittsburgh. how will i live without it, & what will happen to my heart? i don’t know. but i guess i’ll find out. i guess i’ll manage.

i read marge piercy’s poem “for two women shot to death in brookline, massachusetts” which got a good response. it was the first time i’ve read that poem aloud and not cried at the last stanza, which was good because i hate crying in public, but also a little strange. i blame the anti-depressants. & it’s a relief to take a vay-cay from being over-emotional but it’s a little strange too! anyway. the guy who went after me gave marshmallows to the audience & we all threw them at him & he tried to catch them in his mouth while jumping rope. i love that these two acts can co-exist side-by-side & i love that people cheered for us both.

afterwards there was a punk show under the bridge & people got arrested. don’t want to say anything besides that here. walking back to larryville to get my bike, i ran into j. who was fleeing a hipster bar and we drunkenly played on the playground.

the next day was the mayday parade! no time for 8 hours of sleep, just go go go! oatmeal, coffee, sunscreen. sequinned gold booty shorts. bike up that damn hill, fast, that hill that used to seem so imposing and impossible. herron ave, you ain’t no thing anymore, my thighs are practically machines now, you don’t fuckin’ scare me. made it there in time, lots of good people and fabulous costumes, gorgeously decorated umbrellas, amazing vibes. i passed this along the way:

& it was so appropriate. i felt like i was living up to the urgings of this little metal doodad chained to a random polish hill fence. & then a bbq full of delicious free food. jail solidarity meeting, we decided to head down there. i went home to change out of my booty shorts, shower, and frantically cook and bake. released prisoners need food, jail solidarity people also need food. lentils and peanutbutter oatmeal cookies.

the tone was serious at the jail but the vibes were good. we commandeered a corner, set up our food and umbrellas, making each other laugh throughout this shitty circumstance. don’t forget to bring beautiful things to ugly places.

i can’t even describe how jail solidarity was, so i won’t. all you need to know is that i accidentally brought a lady bug into the jail and felt terrible. a wild bunny visited us. we all had each others’ backs. i made so many new pals! i was there for 7 hours, some people were there for 12+. waiting until everyone gets out. nobody left behind. the day felt like it had months of activity crammed into it. like we lived and laughed and cried and raged enough for it to count for at least a month.

i crapped out before everyone got out, but i was there for the first 3, and it was so good, marching towards them twirling the umbrellas, their huge smiles at seeing us. M and P and some boy i don’t know & i were all watching the supermoon from the upper corner of the parking lot. the jail almost obscured it, but it couldn’t. it couldn’t reach that high. the eerie light made the glass-y weed-y parking lot gorgeous. M said, “i’m always going to remember this,” in a way that makes you notice. makes you look around at what’s going on, makes you aware that you’re really living it.

this little poem was propped up against the light pole when i got there. i like to think that it wasn’t one of our crew who placed it there, i like to think it was a random person who believed in words and synchronicity and strangeness. who believed in the power of little, tiny things like this. because we all know it’s the little things, right?

my friends are so smart.


kelsey says she wants to go to one place she’s never been every month this year. i text aaryn and tell him that the song “san francisco” keeps shuffling on my ipod and i think it’s a sign, and he texts me back, “follow the signs…take the detours…it’s time for change!!!’ he’s right, of course, and not only because he’s moving back to the bay and wants me to come, too.

at work, frank starts singing, loudly and off-key, a song about loving danger and not being afraid to die. barry sighs, “this is the best place ever.” and in that moment it feels that way.

i’m feeling confessional and so i tell arthur on the phone, in a furtive whisper: “i got a britney spears cd out of the library and i’ve been dancing around my kitchen to it! i can’t stop!” he sighs, “oh, you’re such a fag!” and i brightened because he always knows exactly what to say somehow. but that happened last winter, why am i pretending it was recently? now i dance around my kitchen to rihanna. so much has changed.

lying in bed with D i tell her that i am learning how to date people without throwing my whole life away. her face brightens up. she gasps and says, “that’s SUCH a good idea!” in a way that is so adorable that i can’t help but smooch her again. but it’s a good quest, a necessary quest. being on anti-depressants and dating multiple people and knowing that i’m leaving soon helps. loving fiercely but not overwhelmingly. it’s all a balance, right?

at work again, i tell myla that my name is actually ocean–or rather, my email address does it for me, when i send her something from my personal account. i expect her to think it’s weird. she says, “oh, that’s your nickname? my nickname is egypt!’ without missing a beat.

sharon n. (who is more of a friend of a friend than a friend) said, “when in doubt, freak ’em out!” sharon k. said, years ago, perched on my toilet lid in brooklyn: “not all happiness is punishable. you have to understand that. you have to understand that!” and, oh, this is only a little, tiny bit. only a fraction of the good things that people tell me, that i am so lucky to hear. thanks.