cartoonpolitics: ”There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state. The other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.” .. (Commander Adama, Battlestar Galactica)
And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I’ve written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
the engine driver | the decemberists
Invádeme con tu boca abrasadora,Soneto I, Pablo Neruda (via o—n—i—r—i—c—o)
indágame, si quieres, con tus ojos nocturnos,
pero en tu nombre déjame navegar y dormir.
When you ask me a question,
I chew my words
until moist and inscrutable.
As if I were fed a bad piece of meat,
raw and gnashed to the tendons,
and you half-expecting me to spit
back at your feet
an admission in blood.
At the heart of the matter
it’s not about my heart at all
but of your right to enter,
like sunlight stabbing through closed blinds
and into my gut,
where you believe my heart lives,
and where a sucker punch
can regurgitate the words I don’t share.
Why must my relationship with society
resemble an open book
only pretended to be read,
papers splayed open artfully to flatter
the reader’s illiteracy of me,
and for those library passerby
to admire their dissection of my life
laid on the table
like an autopsy of words?
It’s not my words you really seek
but a trick, a slight of hand
to reveal how I tick. The illusion
of pulling an endless rope of cloth
from between my lips; dyed in honesty
and dashed in pain, bestowed
in rainbows around your feet
to the patter of pitiful claps.
Would you like me to show you?
It’s an illusion you can trust—
a string of showmanship
and half-truths, the thinnest of fabrics
you attempt to introspect.
Satisfied, you scarcely notice
when I retrieve my own intestine
and wreath it around your neck.
Our always-eloquent reviewer Amal El-Mohtar has some serious issues with Jess Row’s provocative new Your Face in Mine.
Trans men and women face many problems — not least among them is the small but pernicious group of people,usually found on Tumblr, who use the rhetoric of trans experience to claim that they too are trapped in the wrong body: an able body (I have the soul of a person in a wheelchair!) or a white body (I’m black inside!). Treating gender, race, and ability as identical and equivalent categories, they blithely declare that they are “trans-abled” or “trans-ethnic,” so they too understand oppression. The appropriate response is usually an eye-roll.
To see Jess Row raise the subject of “Race Reassignment Surgery” with seriousness, and to see him use it as a fulcrum from which to examine, at exhaustive length, white liberal guilt, demands rather a different response. Never before have I read a book that marshalled such a wealth of research and intellectual inquiry to so grating a purpose: portraying the white need to appropriate black culture as an equivalent to the danger and difficulty of living with gender dysphoria.
I had Jess Row as a professor just this past semester. If Row’s novel is anything like his attitude toward teaching, it’s an esoteric ramble of self-indulgence that acts to impress with its breadth of knowledge rather than tackle an issue with hard, clear insight. In other words, I’m down with this review.