I’m idolizing him again. I’m wondering if I could fall in love with him again, feel that tenderness and admiration for him again.
I’ve missed you a long while.
I idealize you,
I tear you down.
It is not personal.
You are a stand-in for something greater than even I can create.
Everything is grungy and real, hardhitting smelly like bodies and booze bar room rock and roll, dark like the Stooges and slow and syrupy like the late 70s deathdrugs. Feels like fall, it is gray outside and humid, and i am listening to Sonic Youth and drinking coffee and making art in bed. Best things.
i stand in the doorway, looking into the dark room. not bothering to peek further in or spill any more hallway light in. “i’m sorry i came over so late.”
sleepy deep warm woman laugh from her bed.
“mmm… it’s okay.”
“uhmmm… i was dreaming.”
“okay. love you.”
another rich low laugh, and rustling blankets.
“yeah. rita is downstairs still and evo should be home soon. on shrooms.”
i start to close the door but she says she wants to hear the music of rita’s piano downstairs. “oh, sorry. go back to dreaming, love you.”
there’s a girl i treasure very dearly who, i fear maybe horribly truly at the core of herself, hates herself. it all spilled out one night we were way too drunk - wait, i wasn’t. i was holding her up. she was.
clutching and stubborn-fire-bitchy-fierce-determined trying to light a broken cigarette outside some house party, she turned to me and leaned in and we kissed on the mouth. we’ve done that before, hardly ever, mostly kissing on the cheek instead in moments of closeness, but it happened then and we were sloppy enough that it lingered, it lingered without becoming anything more.
but then she became all mumbly and insistent, explaining to me emphatically that she’s dated girls before, committed to one as a real relationship once, and she can’t do it.
"I love men!" she sighed and sounded tearful. "I’ve tried with women before, I’ve tried, but… I love men!"
and it was almost funny, in the embarrassed for her and trying to get her to hold herself together way, but she was so insistent and apologetic. it startled me, made me feel heated and so close to her. i held her hand. she kept talking, so much spilling out.
the more she talked the more mixed up and connected it all seemed, her hating herself - her hating men - her desiring men and craving sex with them but wanting them out her bed, wanting to kill them afterward - her admiration of and reverence for women but the impossibility of being fully satisfied by a relationship with a woman - and achingly, overarchingly, hating herself hating herself wanting to die.
we were clutching each other, i kept trying to say something helpful but everything was clumsy and far away because she was someplace i couldn’t reach her, someplace tearful and small and little-kid voice.
"let’s put on our shoes and go home." she tugged my sleeve. "and do art and put on a movie and cuddle."
fanciful overwrought overwritten writing (like I’m some kinda authority, to voice overwrought dramatic feelings about painting. please.)
Writing an essay arguing with Thomas Frank’s “Why Johnny Can’t Dissent.”
His essay is about the commodification of all that was once dangerously rebellious and counter-culture. He references how William Burroughs was in an ad for Nike (I cringed when I looked up the advertisements but was able to successfully exercise my ability to not judge. I hold nothing against you, Burroughs. But it did hurt just a little.), how so many business guys nowadays congratulate each other and themselves on how RADICAL their tactics are, how they don’t answer to the man, they imagine themselves rebels, extraordinary in their “question everything” attitudes towards former ways of business, etc. It’s pretty gross.
Basically, commercials perpetuate this dated notion of a 1950’s conformist society but tell us that we are individuals and they know we are individuals and we can demonstrate our individualism by buying their products. “Look at the dumb masses, they’re in chains! But you are free, free to buy our products!” kind of capitalist bullshit.
And yeah, that shit is awful. How dare people take what was once sacred and shocking and use it to sell crappy consumer goods, how dare some corporations capitalize on other people’s underground movements.
But I’m arguing with him a few ways-
One, if you believe that a few
washed up icons of underground culture selling products on tv means that true rebellion is dead, then you are one hell of a sucker. It’s easy to believe that everything underground has been co-opted and stripped of its original meaning, it’s easy to believe that there is nothing left to push against or challenge, it’s easy because it’s so fucking lazy.
Like, yeah, it’s feels dumb to say “question everything” when businessmen are heartily agreeing and selling you t-shirts with that very statement on them, but if you accept that as meaning rebellion is dead, you are sorely mistaken and have not taken the meaning to heart. Question why you are buying one in the first place! Disengage from the capitalist machine as much as you can or want to if that is what you want to rebel against, be subversive in that way. Make your own goddamn shirt.
Two, don’t go to advertisements looking for heroes of the underground. There are always interesting, inspiring scenes happening on the margins of society. I promise you all is not lost. There are people who are too radical, too political, too queer or brown or complicated, brilliantly and sincerely against the grain who will not be paraded about as a company’s spokesperson. There are individuals whose places in culture are too complicated, who exist outside of binaries, who simply cannot be packaged up nicely and marketed easily, they cannot be made into consumable goods. You just don’t see these people because they are not on billboards, the posters on the sides of buses, front pages of magazines. Duh. They’re on the margins. Dig a little for the underground before declaring it gone.
Another note- Once a person becomes an icon for anything, they are in jeopardy (jeopardy of being the face of a movement, their messages being warped, becoming a parody of themselves, misrepresented, selling out, etc). Revere the principles, not the people. (Personally, I constantly ascribe glorious principles and ideals to individuals. Makes ‘em relatable, easier for me to understand and engage with. It’s how I deal with people and characters and figures of history, whatever. But that is not the point I am making in this paper.) Be suspicious of icons. Question them, even if they are familiar faces you once admired. Don’t accuse people of selling out if you are still buying their products, you’re enabling.
When did I slip into talking to a “you”??? Anyway, it’s a mess of a paper right now. I’m watching Sex Pistols documentary and reading some of my books on the Beats, Riot Grrrl, punk culture, feminist literature, a Cometbus zine talking about Green Day, etc in search of quotes. Writing here helped me articulate a lot though. If anyone wants to talk to me, argue, ask questions, that’s cool. It could help me by making me further verbalize my ideas.
I am dreaming of someone again.
someone to clutch tight and dramatic, horrible romantic, and whisper poetic somethings to. someone to kiss me back and sling an arm over my shoulders and lean in close and tell me something awful and draw back, grinning.
someone to make a mess with me, not be sorry, play the music over the fuzzyspeakers louder and louder, turning everything up just by being here.
are you gonna slam me into something?
is it gonna be heavy? is it going to hurt?
Feels like you’re about to slam me into something.
I hope that it’s heavy. I hope that it hurts.
- Last Night’s English Breakfast
- Like a Specter, She Appeared (at the Door)
- Cigarette Girl
- Girl (with a Voracious Appetite)
America so blue America so vast
America you lie when you talk about your past
America so white America so wide
America I once believed I’d never leave your side
America so red America so broken
America I confess I once dreamt you free and open
America, America please do not call again
If I could I swear I would make myself forget your name.
you drive me crazy because
because you like me better in pieces
because you like to watch me claw myself apart in front of you
you like the red mess of it
you drive me crazy because
because you me better in pieces
because you like to watch me tear myself inside out and open
you like the wet mess of it
you drive me crazy because
one of us (or both of us) might be getting off on it.
you drive me crazy because
well, because you like to watch.