Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Gift Part 3: Binary Counting

Binary Counting

A simple thing: “This is me, this is mine”.
And all done.

Two become one
and a two.

My fingers are shining in a halo
Lamp in the still of the turning
Groaning
World

O

I remember my feverish dreams of Mexico
Orange peel scent in the sweat of a virus
In the Red of blood the hibiscus blooms.

I remember a future of records and wine
In an elegant lone ness a cigarette poised
A one by one. A two by two.

My perfume coiling up in snatches like
A song long lost and my eyes fixed on
Horizon
Haze

I remember I was to be loved. In my
Most white lone ness I was to be a loved
One by one. Two by two.

I had a dream of myself as my mother.
She in natural shine and blue inscribed eye
In the heart of things I was her powder.

A one and a two and.

I am sitting in an hour of many hours
A night of many nights, a ship on the
Crest of
Time.

I am wrong and always will be.

O

A one and a one and a one and a one….

Christmas gift part 2: Dot

.

Don’t be a dot. tonight
Be a line lion I can lead
On a leash around the town to
Describe the edges of your form in footprints
Twisting about you like a licorice stick

Say Grr baby.

Do not be a dot dot: tonight
Do not ask me the meaning of “Our Frank”
Talk make me sweet in pushing the punch of
Your content and hot to the answers of your
Circular questions.

Say Grr Baby.

Do not be a dot dot dot…

Tonight we’ll pretend we have
Finite ends, firm means and motives,
I’ll pretend I’m you and you can pretend you’re Me.
As good as any
In a flash as hot as dark.

Christmas Gift part 1: Story

As my Christmas Gift to you all I am posting 3 new poems...including a "Christmas poem" that follows. I hope you all have had a good and warm time...I are getting ready for a huge Lasagna dinner, and enjoying the quiet. much love SR65 X

------------------------------------------------------------------
STORY


She was big as can be, you see
Heavy and tired, with him
Kicking all night

The trip to see the taxman

To pay up and be counted

We started off as two
And ended up as three

The census was confounded.

“Is this my crown?” she screamed

She was so young then



He was so good. He walked along and let me lean
I was heavy and tired, with him
Kicking all night

A pain ran through my body,
From hands to feet and back,
And a ring of sweat beading round my head
Is this my crown? I screamed,

Now that’s a joke.
And us not yet married,
But not til then…

We started off as one and ended up as two.

I can’t remember so much anymore but…

But not til then…

We looked for somewhere to stop.
And me with a Nile inside about to break and wash
Up our little fish, our little lamb.

It was too late, no one would take us,
We sat in a barn thinking of what to do.

Joseph chewed a straw.
Then he was so young.
His hands were still soft,
And I loved every inch
Of flesh that held the
Best of souls.

Not til then did I know, for sure for
Certain…

When he finally came, and it took many
Hours I lay on the straw in my gore
I looked into the face of that body

The most beautiful face in the world



She looked into the face of that body the most
Beautiful face in the world, and was silent.
I wondered what she was thinking.
Then we were so young, so moved about
So shuffled and shifted but in the light of God
We thought, In the light of God.



He was so small, so pink in the warm night
I looked at that part of myself that is a miracle,
I thought, “This is my glory, this is my crown
This is my burden, this is my pain.”

I guess all mothers think that.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

manhattan mania

oh well. Home again home again. On Long Island safely ensconsed in something like a christmas snowglobe, feeling ok, ate a big slice of my favourite vanilla meringue cake at dinner, but also strange/ wondering why nobody's been writing to me...ho hum. Out to dinner today and saw a terrible musical...won't go into it...Christmas with the fam' has it's various rituals...some good some bad.

cookies good. musicals (especially modern ones), generally, bad. Going to the Opera after christmas though...and that I am looking forward to...OFFEnbaCH: TALEs OF HOFFMAN, WOW!!!! so exciting! i love the Opera, haven't been in over 4 years. haven't been to the Met' in about 12 years! SNOWFLAKE LIGHT FIXTURES....twinkle twinkle.

but now I need to do some work, and think about things.

Christmas is kind of eluding me this year. we walked by the tree in rockefeller center, and past windows bedecked and layered on 5th Avenue, and it kind of didn;t do much...maybe i am jaded. Which would be a great pity. Actually one of the things I value most is wonder. Or maybe it's just missing those I love. You know who you are.

SR65

Friday, December 17, 2004

wo shuo: Yazhi Zaijian!

So the wisdom teeth are out...I have a face like a 6 year old chipmunk, and I didn;t get into the Vagina Monologues!! Can you believe it!!

anyway, just wanted to say goodbye to my teeth. and my wisdom, perhaps.

more later, when not full of codeine.

SR65X

Monday, December 13, 2004

When Lips Speak Together....

Apologies to Irigaray...it seems like I am always apologising to her actually, even though I disagree with her on so many things...actually while I am at it I will apologise to Kristeva too even though I hate what she says becaus I am so nasty about her in every class at every opportunity, and it's nearly CHristmas and I sholdn't be mean...I son't want to get a lump of coal for being a bad feminist....anyway...I am here announcing that I auditioned for the Harvard production of THe Vagina Monologues yesterday, and it went quite well...I am hopeful...so everybody keep your fingers crossed...maybe one day you'll see my name in lights....the lights of Loker Commons! GLAMOUR.

much love and lips.

SR65
X

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The British Embassy

Firstly, Hello to all thoose here whom I have not met, hopefuly one day we might..

So, Yesterday I went to the British Embassy Christmas Party (By the way I live in Beijing if any of you didn't know), I had mixed feelings as I walked in to the Pub inside the Embassy (the only embassy with a license to sell alcohol, says alot about English society), indeed it was a strange experience which after a while as I was being given mulled wine and guiness became beautifully surreal. There was a curtain drawn across the stage when the manager of the Embassy, this realy straight no nonsense guy, poked his head out and started singing the monty python song "I like chinese", the curtains were pulled back revealing three rotund guys dressed up in traditional chinese dress performing to the music in absolute perfect time. It was beatifully offensive, I'll have to try and find the lyrics and post them on here.

I havent quite digested what exactly was going on there in that bastion of Englishness, but whenever someone would say something that normaly would have made me feel like an unwanted misenthrope in England (should I be not offended when some one asks me "who the fuck are you?" just because they're drunk and irish? I don't know, I'll let you know the answer when I've worked it out) I was quietly reasurred that outside the walls of this building (classic 1960's foreign concession style) these confused feelings of nationhood and identity would quickly evaporate for me, but perhaps not for them.

Anyway, national identity looks all the more ridiculous when it's isolated and slightly defensive and indignant, that, I found quite empowering actualy. In any case, I think I've been hanging around with too many Canadians as I was told I had a North American twang to my accent, Ah well, I think there is something beautiful about having the people you love around you affect the very way you speak, not that its true though!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Practical Theater: Identity, Role and Acceptance in Stone Butch Blues

In the novel “Stone Butch Blues” and the accompanying pieces we have looked at this week we have been exploring the practicalities of living as a “Gender Outlaw” that we had begun to examine in “Boys Don’t Cry” we are facing issues of class and race, and moreover, again coming upon the practicability of living “without” norms, or normativity. I explored a lot of the issues of binary replication in classification of lesbian groups, and the need for solidarity that simultaneously arise for individuals treated as gender outlaws and so here I will be further examining these issues alongside the personal story created for the character Jess Goldberg by Leslie Feinberg in this novel.

This is a bildungsroman in the true sense. It talks about the layered and painful development of its protagonist Jess Golberg through h/her violent and in many senses circular trajectory through a working class life in the US and indeed through variously gendered and sexed bodies, and through the conceptual mire of gender itself. From the outset Jess is looking for home, a home within hi/herself and in a community of others who can accept her, as is exemplified by her childhood encounter with the mirror, or h/her early life in the company of a group of Native American women, and indeed, h/her early propulsion in the New York state bar scene. He/She seeks a harbor of recognition and safety represented in h/her dreams and daydreams in the form of a hut, a gathering circle, or a ring. Again and again we see the symbol of the circle manifest itself, whether representing a unity of workers, of butches, or an acceptance for a new body, or indeed the safe home offered by the arms of “high femme” (who at certain points embodies a kind of motherly ideal, interestingly), which in the end is the feature to which Jess is most attracted, regardless of “sex”. And it is striking that throughout the novel despite the evident and painful search for individual identity, the “type” as a group, a home, a locus of solidarity remains fairly strong. Jess strives heroically to create and recreate, to build and rebuild a home around and within h/herself, to nurture and be nurtured. But the strong association between femme and home between “wife” and home remains remarkably stable considering the precarious path jess walks through the gender minefield, as does the character and ideal of butchness, although that it seems that that is subject to more change than the former. These signifiers have a purpose: Edna is attracted to the qualities of “Butches” for example, the “butch heart”. In h/her reaction to h/her evident placement within a continuum of evidently fairly interchangeable butches and her striving for a lineage of the butch as is exemplified in h/her need to search out Butch Al, Jess aligns herself with a set of characteristics, a stereotype constructed inside Lesbianism itself. The political and emotional necessity for this tracing of a butch family tree for Jess, even though in the end he/she in many ways has transgressed even these boundaries, is understandable and evident. But again we must ask what the effect of such fixed binaries of “butch/femme” are within lesbian/gay groups…we see the horror with which Jess reacts to the relationship between two butches, in many ways echoing homophobic discourse, and we are faced with the consequences of a perpetuated politics of symmetrical complementariness along what truly are gender lines, now having been removed from their presumptive biological foundations. It is not my intention here to belittle the efforts of our resourceful and engaging principal character, who, after all stands as an example of an experience that in many ways is widespread. I believe however that it is precisely the aim of Leslie Feinberg in writing these situations into the novel that we should question the distinctions drawn, as Jess h/herself does in the end, even as we revel in the Kerouac-like “beat” and beaten grace of the Butch. We must conclude that in all events Jess walks a tight rope between an idealized trajectory of “self-realization” whether itself believed to be innate or in socially informed and socio-economic pressures in h/her journeys through gender, and that in any and all events he/she is engaging in a self-making practical theater of which he/she is at various points extremely conscious.

The novel itself, as well as being a document of development in the fog of gender war, is a sort of confessional. We are party to the most intimate and painful moments of Jess’ existence…the humiliating and horrifying rape, menacing beatings, private doubts and public embarrassments. The responsibility of the writer to create a relationship between the text and reader that is not engaging, or relying upon a sort of gender exoticism is extraordinary, and in fact Leslie Feinberg manages this well, we become a sort of lover to the character… We stand facing the image of the little girl in her father’s suit. It becomes our image and that of our fantasy, just as it is for Jess…we are made so intimately sympathetic to Jess that we cannot but identify with h/her, and in effect we are thus allowed to act as femme and “melt the Stone”. At the cool climax of this record of intimacies, at the end of the novel, we again find ourselves in within the circle… catapulted into a confession-within-a-confession that echoes the letter that begins the novel…and into the effects for the protagonist of a self-conscious confession before the crowd. Judith Halberstam speaks in her articles of a need to find a new language to describe the erotic life of the butch, the erotic life based on giving pleasure but remaining resistant to it oneself, what she actually identifies as a catalogue of “negative” sexuality based on “what is not done”. In fact this is the ultimate contradiction at the heart of the condition of being Butch with a capital “B”: in the moment that one admits, confesses, lets flow all that has been inside into discourse, in some senses one ceases to be a Stone Butch. However we view the political effectiveness in this sense of Jess’ articulation of h/her condition in public in the final pages of the novel, we are confronted with the joy and release it provides, and the perhaps necessary redrawing of
Jess as an individual in relation to categories of sex and gender within and in fact beyond heterosexual norms. Perhaps that is the ultimate endpoint of the ring.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Punctum/"You are my sweetest downfall"

It is after 4 in the morning and I am listening compulsively to Regina Spektor...this is "Samson". I am sitting in a pool of white light cast from the lamp on my desk and smoking a fag, making a spotlight in the darkness like a lighthouse on the sea off the South Coast. Thinking about something I read of Judith Butler's new book today...the idea of relationships, of love or mourning, passion, as an undoing, an unzipping of the soul, where we sit beside ourselves in abject ex-tasy or horror. I am sitting at the centre of the ennoument, wondering what is happening now across town, what boats are floating across the sea and what birds are picking through crumbs many many miles away. Light is spreading across the hazy clouds high over head. Peaceful sleep is sneaking in and out of the eyelids of 3 in an upstairs apartment, snacks are being eaten in bed by the light of a quiet cigarette, the cat is sleeping between a couple in Texas, weak sun is coming through the kitchen window of somebody's basement flat sparking off all the pots and pans, and the workday is dragging itself into its final waltz in a classroom and an office.The ends of the threads of my heart are spreading themselves out at 4am, at 4am we are all connected.

this is an audio post - click to play


You are all my sweetest downfall.

Listen to this and find a quiet centre in your heart.

SR65X


Sunday, December 05, 2004

the italian icon

scaryMichelepastaface
scaryMichelepastaface,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
So I know Dimaco is going to kill me for putting this on, but I couldn't help it, it's the ultimate italian stereotype...I think Dimaco's friend who came to visit in London took the picture and set it up so that his parents wouldn't worry that his italian-ness was being corrupted by living in the UK so long. "Here Mama, don't worry about me." So I think we should all get our wife beaters on, smother ourselves in Parmigiano...grano baby grano, and bring out our inner italian in honour of Dimaco as a fine italian man.

Ciao!

fairylights

fairylights
fairylights,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
I am tired...what, more work???
watch me slump...fag in hand.
But note well my new fairy light halo...Aren't they great??? getting ready for the holiday season...have had discussions about Yule, Xmas and Hannukah today, so I know that the season is upon me.

Also it's fucking freezing which is usually a good sign.

Will I ever get to bed??

Saturday, December 04, 2004

V

Show and Tell: Drag/Passing/Performing/Being

1. Drawing the same circle a thousand times: Repetition and Synthesis

This week we have been exploring the idea of performativity in a number of different contexts and valences (hereafter referred to by the synecdoche V), the extent to which performativity constitutes identity, or fails to as the borders of same escape the edges of the performance necessitating repetition. Further some of the texts and film we have looked at explores conscious performance and the implications on that on the necessity of the subject to “pass”, without revealing any split between their assigned sex and assigned gender so as to prop up the conceit of continuity between and within the two categories even as its logic undermines the very primacy of the original. Judith Butler posits a link not only between all gender and drag, but also between repetition and constitution, in effect concluding that gender is a kind of spell made true by repeated incantation, a mantra with no original form that both is and does.

2. V for Vicious

Implicit in the idea of this mantra of gender/sex is the idea of passing, for though, as the film Boys Don’t Cry (and countless other examples) shows there are members of the gender/sex continuum whose process of “passing” is more acute, more dangerous, practically violent and filled with trepidation, we all “pass” to a lesser or greater extent, and not only in terms of our physical appearance. Indeed it is perhaps less of a case of “womanliness” as masquerade as it is “personhood” as masquerade, where, however the mask and the face are part of one another, as I have argued elsewhere. In semantic groups, in grouping within groupings we reduce the variety of the individual as a flow of social and biological into logical and workable groups for better or worse, and this fact becomes particularly noticeable in those places where our own logic shows its multitude of flaws, and disrupts the epistemological net upon which phallogocentricity is supported. These more potent points of confrontation between the conceit of the natural and the (not-necessarily-self-identified-as…) subversive performative, are perhaps the very loci of which Butler speaks where there may be a “political imperative to use…necessary error or category mistakes” to reuse names that divide sharply… like “gay” and “lesbian”, “butch” and “femme” but I consider that it can be a thorny problem; essentially we face the perennial difficulty of using such dichotomous logics in attempting to disrupt them, we try to keep a subversive hand on the wheel, though the road ahead seems straight, but that is not to say that such terms are not useful at times. Processes of thought, modes of expression are all converted for acceptable use within dichotomies of “pro” and “anti”, “left” and “right” within which we may or may not feel comfortable, indeed much psychotherapy whether focused on the sexual strata of psychoanalysis or on cognitive behavior is about learning to “pass” comfortably in society. To return to the idea of gender in particular, as an aspect of this self-constitutive process, and to the parallel concepts of drag and passing, first let us consider what is involved in drag, in dragging. Whether we are seeking to emulate the “male” the “female” or a vision of ourselves, constituting oneself can always be seen as a process of becoming the other, since the ideal is the mirror image, the imago and thus not the self, but a vision entering into the realm of desire, and therefore, ultimately, an impossibility. Thus to a degree we are all cross-dressers, perhaps. But in the process of acting a “gender” or “type” this process becomes more obvious, and the potentials and pitfalls of the dressing, the drag and the detail are revealed. In repetition, as Butler argues, we can see the self, or impossibility of a Self balking at a label, so that the label like some band-aid on a swimming child’s knee needs to be attached and reattached to cover the wound where move, change and growth is happening. In fact, this re-iteration of category is, even in those who willingly conform to heteronorms, obviously and evidently unstable…a person’s vision and presentation of themselves is in fact expected to change over time, as age and experience of various kinds act upon us, and we upon them, but the limitations of this expected to change are interestingly closed off…for someone to seem to become less or more masculine or feminine, if moving “away” from their proscribed sex ( a sex that is socially inscribed and constituted in this other to which they move) would be considered unacceptable or suspect, as can be seen in the attacks on the perceived “masculinization” that occurs in menopause as Anne Fausto Sterling explores it in Myths of Gender. In the repetition, and the inability to produce a stable definition, or even a truly reliable copy, we can see the potential disruptive and creative force within the layered gender. We can also see how the effect of this incantation is to make it seem natural, and internal, because in fact, it is no more external than internal, it is no more other than self, since as indicated above the other and the self are linked across a fluid chain. When “re-performing” a “gender” or “type” however, certain other problems come to the fore…although such performance may have disruptive power to the idea of the primacy of the natural as implicated in gender performance, the cluster of concepts around the gender remain fairly fixed, and the dichotomy is repeated. To act like a woman, even for a man remains to be ladylike, emotional, and concerned with personal grooming, among other things, so to be a woman still carries this baggage with it, clearly. Thus although the being of a woman may have become disengaged from a “female” body per se, what it is to have a female body and to be a woman is still circumscribed within the focus of the performance…the “real” that is striven for but that is precisely not real. While it may be true that there is “no proper gender, a gender that is proper to one sex but not another” in practical terms, in problems like the “urinary segregation” spoken of by Judith Halberstam et al. we see that the unstable perimeters that circulate sex, gender and self are constantly policed through a network of hegemony, and that they are policed precisely because they are unstable, and it is for this reason that drag may at once signify a valence that is v for vicious and a v for victory in both directions.

2. The Insightment(sic) to look

In her article “Decking Out: Performing Identities” Butler speaks of the content of this interstitial space between and inside self and sex in the following terms...”Part of what constitutes sexuality is precisely that which does not appear and that which to some degree, can never appear”(p.25). The tensions between the unseen nature of this realm and its status as part and parcel, and indeed centre to an economy of desire is at the heart of both the creation of sexualities that run along a continuum in relation to social sex designation and sex object, and to the contradictory desire to see what is not there, that is found in the bathroom drama described in Halberstam’s essays, and in the dialogue of revealing, both violent and “voluntary” that takes place in Boys Don’t Cry. In this film the audience is made party to a series of revelations on the nature of Tina/Brandon’s “Sexual Identity Crisis”, we are put in a position to see the line of cleavage, to his menstrual drama, and to his forced confessions. But in the end though at times we are in intimate and sympathetic relation to the character, we are party to his undoing, we are implied in his rape, and are forced, like Lana to look at his genitals which have no bearing whatever to his conception of himself. We are made culpable and our gaze is involved in a visual rape that prefigures the physical rape to which we are also invited. To add insult to injury perhaps, we are then presumed to have seen the truth of Tina/Brandon’s sexual status as a woman, a lesbian, as is evidenced by the lesbian lovemaking seen, where Brandon takes on an incongruous female role , which seems preposterous, (a result of his being taught by the phallic eye and the rape, perhaps a “true” role?) especially in relation to his nearly immediately preceding rape. The rape, the necessity to rape as a punishment for transgressing gender roles is in fact a site of the more violent aspect of this afore mentioned policing of gender. The rape, the use of the penis as weapon, seems to be the only way in which the characters, in this film can regain a sense of the importance of this organ after the true castration they undergo upon discovering that Brandon does not happen to have one. This castration is absolute, rather than physical or phantastic, because it reveals the true semantic distance between phallus and penis, and the import or LACK(sic) of same, in the organ in the making of masculinity.

4. VVVVVVVVVVWV
There are many more questions to be asked about the nature of identities that, like Brandon’s self describe within the binary dichotomy of male and female even as they challenge them. The objects of desires, and natures of desires can be seen to create a multiplicity of different identity formations within the realm of “gay” and “lesbian” in a way that can be an effective tool for reflecting the reification of desire in the heteronorm if they can be excised in part from dichotomous schemes of their own, so as to highlight the constitutive and synthetic functions of repetition and to allow perhaps some basis for practical movement on these issues that so violently impact the lives of many.

Friday, December 03, 2004

"Us":by Regina Spektor

"We're living in a den of thieves...rummaging for answers in the pages."

New music...the album,"Soviet Kitsch" is great, something that I got recently after hearing it on local radio...for all you voyeurs out there (and I know you're out there you gorgeous perverts... you tell me!) keep an eye for Regina wherever you are, and enjoy.

more later,

SR65
X

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Puerto Rican Doggerel (Trad.)

Se murio Lola. Lola died.

Que Lola? Which Lola?

Lo lamento. I'm sorry.

Que mento? Which 'mento'?

Mentosan. Mentosan.

Que san? Which san?

San Germa'n. San Germa'n.

Que man? Which 'man'?

Manati'. Manati'.

Que ti'? Which 'ti''?

Tiburon. Shark.

Que ron? Which rum?

Ron DonQ. DonQ Rum

Que Q? Which Q?

Cubo 'e [de] agua. Pail of water.

Que agua? Which water?

Aguarra'. Aguarra'.

Que ra'? Which 'ra'?

Rabo 'e mono. Monkey's tail.

Que mono? Which monkey?

Monopolio. Monopoly.

Que polio? Which polio?

Polici'a. Police.

Que cia? Which cia?

Se acabo. It's over.

Que bo? Which 'bo'?

Boca Chica. Boca Chica

Que chica? Which girl?

Chicago. Chicago.

Que cago? What do I crap?

iiUn mojon asi' de grande!! A turd this big!!

Neruda: poem of the day///

So the morning was rather beautiful today and this Pablo Neruda poem came into my head...visions of verdant crepescular plants and memento mori et al. what follows is a spanish version without accents...sorry, and then a translated version, which I am not one hundred percent certain about...any suggestions welcome, that;s what you get from th inernet, what can I say.

Anyway, Enjoy,

SR65
X
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CABALLO DE LOS SUENOS

Innecessario, viendome en los espejos
con un gusto a semanas, a biografos,a papeles
arranco de mi corazon al capitan del infierno,
establezco clausulas indefinidamente tristes.

Vago de un punto a otro, absorbo illusiones,
convero con los sastras en sus nidos:
ellos, a menudo, con voz fatal y fria
cantan y hacen huir los maleficios

Hay un pais extenso en el cielo
con las supersticiosas alfombras del arco-iris
Y con vegetaciones vesperales:
hacia alli me dirijo, no sin cierta fatiga,
pisando una tierra removida de sepulcros un tanto frescos,
Yo sueno entre esas plantas de legumbre confusa.

Paso entre documentos disfrutados,entre origenes,'
vestido como un ser original y abatido:
amo la miel gastada del respeto,
el dulche catecismo entre cuynas hojas
duermen violetas envejecides, desvanecidas,
y las escobas, commovedoras de auxilio:
en su apariencia hay, sin duda, pesadumbre y certeza.
Yo destruyo la rosa que silba y la ansiedad raptora:
Yo rompo extremos queridos: y aun mas,
aguardo el tiempo uniforme, sin medida:
un sabor que tengo en el alma m edeprime.

Que dia ha sobrevenido! Que espesa luz de leche,
compacta, digital, me favorece!
He oido relinchar su rojo caballo
desnudo sin herraduras y radiante.

Atravieso con el sobre las iglesias,
gallopo los cuarteles desiertos de soldados
y un ejercito impuro me persigue.
Sus ojos de eucaliptus roban sombra,
su cuerpo de compana galopa y golpea.

Yo necesito un relampago de fulgor persistente,
un deudo festival que asuma mis herencias.

--------------------------------------

Needlessly, watching my looking-glass image,
With its passion for papers and cinemas, days of the week,
I pluck from my heart my hell's captain
and order the clauses, equivocally sad.

I drift between this point and that, absorbing illusions,
converse in the nest of tailors:
sometimes the voices are glacial and deadly-
they sing and the sorcery goes.

There's a country spread out in the sky,
a credulous carpet of rainbows
and crepuscular plants:
I move toward it just a bit haggardly
trampling a gravedigger's rubble still moist from the spade
To dream in a bedlam of vegetables.

I walk between origins, beneficient documents
chopfallen, dressed like a natural: I want
the spent honey of deference,
the sweets of the catechism under whose leaves
drained violets drowse and grow old;
and those bustling abettors, the brooms, in whose image,
assuredly, sorrow and certainty join.
I plunder the whistle of roses, the thieving anxiety:
I smash the attractive extremes-worst of all,
I await a symmetrical time beyond measure:
The taste of my spirit disheartens me.

What a morning is here! What a milk-heavy glow
in the air, integral, all of a piece,
Intending some good! I have heard its red horses
naked to bridle and iron, shimmering, whinnying there.

Mounted, I soar over churches,
gallop the garrisons empty of soldiers
While a dissolute army pursues me.
Eucalyptus, its eyes race the darkness
and the bell of its galloping body strikes home.

I need but a spark of that perduring brightness,
my jubilant kindred to claim my inheritance.

____________________________________________________________

Monday, November 29, 2004

in frame

in frame
in frame,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
Ok, so I am frustrated with Roland Barthes and Kristeva...(oooh, she makes me MAD), and I am writing about confinement, incarceration, ranting and silence...so I put myself in a box...sort of, jsut for fun

THings are better...I can;t believe what a big difference it makes just feeling more cheerful to my work and everything

I don't even mind that I have a stupid amount of work anymore. I guess it's social conditioning Harvard style.hmmm.
Human beings can get used to anything, huh?


XXX

Friday, November 26, 2004

J'AI RENDEZ-VOUS AVEC VOUS by George Brassens

this is an audio post - click to play


The fabulous and naughty French songster George Brassens sums up my mood when waiting for an SMS date...Recorded from my mom's old vinyl (hooray Mom!!) from the late 60's, so crispy, but warm, huh? I am rying to promote George Brassens here...go out and find some...he seems pretty damn near forgotten and he's sooo cool. He writes with humour and passion about 10 minute love affairs beneath umbrellas, escaped gorillas raping judges, lovers on public benches, being hauled off by the police, feeling like a puppet to love, falling in love with the shape of a flower in the skin of a cow. I love him, I hope you all will too.

translated Lyrics:

My Lord the sun
As I do not admire him much
Takes away his fire, but I don't give a damn about his fire
I have a date with you
The light I prefer
Is the one from your jealous eyes
All the rest leaves me cold
I have a date with you

Monsieur my landlors
As I have wrecked everything
Kicks me from his house, but I don't give a damn about his house
I have a date with you
The residence I prefer
Is your rustling dress
All the rest leaves me cold
I have a date with you

Madame my housekeeper
As I owe her too much money
bars me from her table, but I don't give a damn about her table
I have a date with you
The dish I prefer
Is the flesh of your neck
All the rest leaves me cold
I have a date with you

His financial majesty
As I do nothing to his taste
Keeps his gold, but I don't give a damn about his gold
I have a date with you
The fortune I prefer
Is your heart of tinder
All the rest leaves me cold
I have a date with you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

got thanks?

Folks, this is the first Thanksgiving I have spent in the United States since I was six, and I think I am ready. I have planned how to avoid Sport on TV, my parents have a plentiful supply of indigestion aids, and i am set for turkey heaven.

I am currently in the Sturbridge Host Inn in Sturbridge MA, where we used to come so often when I was a child, for holidays with my brother and all, and also when I would come up to Boston for surgery. We would always stop in Sturbridge and try to relax, swim in the superbly 80's pool, which still exists, and play arcade games, and eat muffins in front of the fire. THe fire is now electric and purely "decorative", (bastards) but the place is much the same. A bit more decrepit perhaps, or maybe it's just a matter of perspective. But they do have WIFI, and that you've got to love/

I am wishing all of my friends a Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are. I am not sure exactly what the whole thing means, especially since I am not doing what I normally am doing at this time...making italian sausage stuffing with my brother and in the kitchen of our London house, and getting ready for a weird day. My Dad would put the turkey in the oven uber early in the morning so that you wake up to the smell of meat, whch is really strange, I think, but kind of exciting. My mother makes amazing pumpkin pie, and I really love pumpkin pie, I can't even tell you how much...so yummy...with whipped cream and nutmeg! We always had a big dinner party to which all my parents' British friends would come and I would occasionally bring a few of mine. This would be the day on which I would be a pseudo American, just by virtue of the fact that I was more American than anybody else there except my parents, of course. Plus the Ubiquitous Priest, and of course, my Gran who is now gone, sadly, she would normally be hovering around, having taken the principle of a holiday that is pretty much purely about eating to heart, making sure that everything was being done exactly as she wanted, and being a fantastic fussbudget generally. I miss her so much. My father would invariably have some kind of loud, obnoxious and filthily conservative discussion at table. I remember one year it was on Thanksgiving that Margaret Thatcher got ousted from parliament...my brother cried. help. I was too young to really understand, I just felt bad, cause everybody seemed so upset.

I remember too the first year Will came to my house for the whole affair...we turned up with a big bouquet of flowers for my mom, and I can remember being so proud to have him with me. And so pleased to have someone to conspire with in a "pinkosubversive" manner. Oh I pledge allegiance to the f(l)ag! (thankyou brad epps.)

So here I am, away from my little room in Cambridge and trying to fathom out what Thanksgiving is all about, and what horizons I am to keep my eye on now. But I was writing this to say to all, enjoy the break, and much love and I send my thanks to whatever powers that be for giving me the friends that I have and the friends that I have made, and the strength to be where I am doing what I am doing to which you all have contributed. much love.

Thankyou!

X

nice doohicky I picked up from lady_babalon on LJ

      
tea is love
brought to you by the isLove Generator

Friday, November 12, 2004

SNO

It;s been snowing here almost all day...the first real snow of the season...I can't believe winter's here already. Normally snow makes me really excited and childlike, especially when it actually sticks...and we've got about an inch on the ground. But I got a kind of depressing email from my tutor, I have shitloads of work...I'm stressed, my skin is terrible and I'm generally kind of down. And I don't have anyone to share the snow with. I'm snowed under. I'm experiencing extreme academic anxiety, and I think my IQ is going down every second///Help.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Ballad of a Mapmaker

What is the lay of the land?
How does the land lay, and
How does it lie? I am making
Taking notes now when I walk Out
Humming in the canyon
Between waking and sleep,
On empty streets with only
The wind as my companion.
The light is cut in logical squares
And All the soft darkness that hides my
{My (invisible) } friend
They weave the web of sense the
Geography of wakefulness
The deceit of what could be.

The trees swing in that breeze, swinging with dancing like tangoing privately
In the cold. Lost in thought, not seeing that they are seen
Doing
A little striptease
(bend then, stand straight as compasses) as the leaves
come
down
to
warm
their
feet...
They
at last
Stand Nude

Vulnerable and wholesome.
Frightened and thrilled
Waiting to be touched

By starlight, by moonlight, by a child’s hide -and
-seek -hand

And how does this land lie?
In the rustle of a paper bag in the park
In car horns and coded traffic the flashing
Light. In breaths and tones on telephones…
Light.
You ask me what it is that I am doing> what games nowadays?
I tell you I have become A CARTOGRAPher

Making sensual maps of the city streets
Walking a sentence around this town
With steps like words
Hiding from the punctuation of the road.

------------------------------------------------------------------

This poem has a lot more graphical play than it seems to have here...sorry, it won;t let me do it on the posting.
Any questions about that, just ask me.

SR65

X

Friday, November 05, 2004

I think this about speaks for itself-quoting Lady Babalon

TO all those on the mirror stage...again I am quoting a very astute person from LiveJournal for the purpose of better understanding. How does this election affect the average American you might well ask...well....Average we can't help you with, but American, we can certainly try. Lady Babalon wrote this in a fit of justifiable rage, but I think we all benefit from her rapier-like wit. Thanks for letting me quote you, Lady Babalon! Again, if you are interested in having a look at Lady Babalon's blog which is filled with strange dreams, occult divinations, weather gazing and black humour, go to:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/lady_babalon

muchos besos

SR65

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear America,


How do I hate you? Let me count the ways...
I hate you for your unquestioning hatred and fear of dear friends and family of mine, and your eager willingness to deny them equal human status, which extends so far as to excuse people who violently beat them to death for merely being who they are by saying "Oh, they felt threatened, they couldn't help themselves."
I hate you for your eagerness to jump to war as the first solution for everything, and to rabidly defend your war leader even when he has been proved over and over and over again to have been lying about the reasons for the war, the difficulty of the war, the length of the war, the numbers of innocent people killed in the war; the goals of the war; and the benefits you will receive if you just give in and join his army.
I hate you for your knee jerk reaction to the word "liberal" as if it meant "baby raper" instead of someone who feels all people deserve an equal chance and has a somewhat different view of how things should be run than "conservatives".
I hate you for your willingness to use Christianity as a club to force through any law prohibiting adult consensual behavior, thereby making the nicer sort of Christians feel guilty if they don't go along with it and giving great energy to the asshole wanna be theocrats who are multiplying at alarming rates.
I hate you for your craven running and hiding in fear and being willing to give up every liberty granted you in the Constitution without a fight just because the television tells you your life will be better and safer that way.
And I hate you for your sheep like insistence on voting for only two candidates, despite the fact that you almost all admit you don't like either one of them, instead of fomenting a national revolution and en masse voting for a non Republicrat. Your easily won compliance virtually assures they will do nothing to change their policies which are slowly dragging us into fascism, an impossibly huge national debt, and a deep economic depression.
This is a democracy - you came out to vote - and you made yourselves the mockery of the world with the idiocy of your choices.

I hereby renounce you, America - I am no longer your citizen, I am a free person. I will take part in no more of your rituals other than the ones you threaten to imprison me for if I avoid them. Take heed that I do these things only under great duress, do not take them as a sign of happy good-citizen-like compliance. I will subvert you every place I can. Your nation's government is a worthless sham and not worthy of my support or respect, and neither are you.

Those who have actively worked for human equality and real political change may exempt themselves from this rant (which almost certainly includes most of you on my frineds list). But if you are anti-gay or pro-Bush you may go away now, you aren't wanted here. You aren't just part of the problem, you *are* the problem.
Now excuse me while I work out a bunker mentality for my family, whom apparently, most of America wants to destroy...

political piece/peace by SophiaSerpentia

Dear all on the Mirror Stage...I am posting some writings by very clever friends on another blog that I think may be especially interesting to those of you outside of the United States...THis one is by SophiaSerpentia a friend and Massachussetts resident who writes on LiveJournal, who has kindly allowed me to quote her here and provide you with a link to her blog which contains much spiritual searching and musing of the divine, philosophy, ephemera and politics, if you are interested please go to:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/sophiaserpentia

Enjoy, much love,

SiRen65
------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, John Kerry said some pretty words in his consession speech about how we need to heal the divide between us and try to be nicer. It's not going to happen, and here's a few reasons why.

1. For many of us who are opposed to the war in Iraq, this matter is not a question of policy, not a matter of taxes and budgeting to be debated rationally. We believe that the war in Iraq is an unspeakable evil being perpetrated in our name.

2. The Republicans have no reason to start playing nice because they're winning. They consolidated their hold on the House of Representatives by creating gerrymander districts in Texas so severe, a federal court has ruled that they may well violate the civil rights of millions. They won the governorship of California through a campaign of misdirection. They sent out mailings in rural areas claiming that Kerry wanted to outlaw the Bible. Before the election they actively discouraged people from voting in New Hampshire and they worked to invalidate the registrations of many voters in Ohio and elsewhere. Sure, the Democrats have done their share of dirty tricks, but not on nearly the same scale.

3. Social conservatives in this country are not united around their support for something, they are united by their fear and hatred of people who are different. They speak of "defending marriage," but if that was truly their goal, they would focus on the people who are having trouble staying married, not the people who want to be able to get married. We who are queer did not start the culture war against us, but we have no choice but to fight it, as viciously as we must, until we prevail, or at least to a standstill. We are outnumbered and outgunned; our very lives and happiness are on the line. It is not reasonable to ask us to be "reasonable" in the face of organized hatred.

4. The very freedoms that fundamentally define this country are being threatened in the name of "defending" it. The cure (if indeed it is a cure; it has yet to be demonstrated that the loss of civil rights makes us any safer) is worse than the disease. This last point is actually aimed at both Democrats and Republicans, who have been united in their assault on basic American freedoms, and is the main reason I did not vote for the candidate of either party

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Any of you on my friend's list who voted for Bush, I have a few questions. I'm really, really curious.

1. Regarding those claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The specific WMDs Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair claimed to have detailed information about, but which simply and plainly did not exist. You know, the "weapons" we said we wanted to keep out of the hands of terrorists so much, we started a war. Those claims either represent gross incompetence, or are blatant lies. What I would like to know is, what are you telling yourself about these claims that made it possible for you to vote for Bush?

2. Speaking of keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists, what about the weapons and explosives in Iraq which really did exist, but which were left completely unguarded after the invasion? America is not safer now than it was before the invasion of Iraq. The security situation, in fact, is much more grave. Do you really find that acceptable?

3. Why should any friend of yours who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered ever speak to you again?

4. Please explain, using your understanding of economic theory, why you think it is good for America to continue to widen the gap between rich and poor in this country. For extra credit, explain also why we are better off working for Wal-Mart than keeping the high-paying technical jobs which now belong to workers in India or China.


sophiaserpentia

Exhuming Nature

Exhuming Nature: The Matter of Sex and Self

1. To Thine Own Self Be True

In the essays and writings we are looking at this week, in Fausto Sterling’s erudite exposition (literally as well as metaphorically) of intersex and its treatments and her dissection of the underlying problematics of the nature/nurture dichotomy as well as in the majority of other works we have looked at over the last few weeks we are running against a basic problem. This problem although it is recognized in linguistic and conceptual terms really needs to be faced head on…that of where exactly we are trying to arrive at when we begin to dismantle the trip wired room of sexuality in current discourse. One of the main features of much analysis of the character of sexuality it seems is focused on unmasking its “natural” pretensions. But once we have accepted that the making of the sexual personality, the person marked by sexuality is discursive modern and a complex process involving both biological and cultural factors although in what admixture and along what axis we have no way of knowing, where are we to go? The problem is that all this stripping of sexuality’s robe of “nature” implies a hierarchy…nature, being true, is preferable to the sham.

2. Going Digging

In fact this brings us back to the same reductions and difficulties associated with attempts to locate a female or homosexual brain. We are still looking for an inherent “truth”, an essential, measurable nature of mankind (sic), desiring knowledge of the true desires and needs of the natural man. Feeling ourselves in the modern world to be far distant from “nature’ we seek to exhume it and breathe life into its corpse. Fausto Sterling addresses this in her discussions of the two models of an individual through time, as if cloned and propelled by time machine into the distant past…she points first to an understanding of sexuality as fixed, as biocentric, genetic or con-genital(sic) that it seems is commonly held and is essentially bound up with the idea of the self-knowing individual, as well as with the primacy of genetic science and thus with the construction, as we might have it, of both the phallic human and the monstrous perfect. . If a basic nature for a pre-social individual is buried somewhere, an unlikely prospect if not an oxymoron in itself we might think, it may well be a series of dis-membered(sic) parts, the fragments before the first confrontation with the mirror, and thus basically outside of the individual as a concept. There is no body for us to breathe into. Quite apart from the ultimate futility of framing ourselves thus within a self evident economy of desire, I think perhaps it is necessary to admit that we have no real context for understanding our hypothetical corpse, our un-socialized human, the basic essence of man, if there is one, and would have him either savage or sage, monster or innocent. Thus such seeking out of the true nature of sex, or sexual identity only serves to bolster ideas it ostensibly seeks to rend.

3. Mask or Face

Indeed, instead of decrying the false nature of our sexual roles, our personhood, the sham of the constructed and synthetic, I feel it would be well advised, having made clear our dissatisfaction with the roles into which we have been cast, note that there is much freedom in the constructed…there is freedom to add subtract and change, while taking well into account the limitations of such an endeavor for the “individual” mind. This perhaps is to find a locus of power in a creative act that can belong to all. That is not to say that one should not fling spanners liberally into the epistemological works, but perhaps more in line with Fausto Sterling’s second model accept the human mind in all its complexities, (the only way to do which is to admit that we only partially understand it and that this inability will most likely persist---consequently, from a biological perspective too, there is no way in which we can “know ourselves”, and consequently no way in which we can be “true” to ourselves since we do not know what that self consists of), as not covered or clouded by the constructed, but as perhaps precisely to be located within the constructed. In other words masquerade is not womanliness, it is personhood, but the plethora of masks donned at various time are not so much the masks of a carnival as precisely the at once disposable and integrated faces of the mutable person.


4.Catch 22 and the Möbius Strip

Charging head on and skirting away in successive regressive advances, the model of the Möbius Strip as introduced into the current discussion by Fausto Sterling’s article, has been my undulating guide here, but in the self stated uncertainties we have visited above a certain anecdote comes to mind. “There is no such thing as absolute truth” was for a while a tattoo across my tongue, but I have since revised my tattoo…it now reads “There is no such thing as absolute truth…sometimes.” The certainty of my uncertainty came back to haunt me. I have at the centre of this ribbon of reasoning a basic uncertainty that must be thus be brought into the half light…a catch 22 that forms the essence of our ramble with the ants, and all other tentative stumbling in our afore mentioned trip wired room…at the risk of falling head first into a solipsistic pillow we must take up a position that in its destabilizing facility may very well destabilize any proclamations we seek to make. The task of picking a path through these shifting sands is then perhaps at its heart both a basic denial and requirement of those grappling with the practicalities and theories of living in the sexed and sexualized self.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Anyone for Canada??

I've heard rumblings. People are getting their red and white flags/socks/tshirts in order, collecting the bright red leaves as they float gently down on the pavements of the people's republic of Cambridge. People are thinking about it....how long can we actually enjoy railing our opposition to certain policies, certain politicians, certain penises (N.B. Not phalluses...they want to be...oh yes they want to be)? I saw myself in an everyman with a leafblower engaged in a syssiphian (did I spell that right?) sruggle against the wind (What the fuck are leaf blwers supposed to accomplish anyway?). No amount of chai tea can sew that one up sister. TO all my American compatriots in arms: in the interests of personal inquiry and greater understanding across the board I am posting a lnk to the BBC's coverage of the presidential election and particlarly to a page of comments from correspondants across the world on global impact of same:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3978489.stm

it doesn't seem to be hypertexting so just copy and paste.

So on a beautiful Autumn day I found myself in the Science Centre (I know I know Center, not Centre...honestly, who gives a fuck.)eating Sushi and reading about the Mobius strip (would be a great name for a strip joint, no?) in relation to the creation/construction/conception/construal (is that a word?) of sexuality. Looking outside at trees that look like they've been decorated with painted paper leaves and a fresh blue sky with the cleanest sort of light, the closest I've ever come to the light in South Africa in Autumn...And in any case, dear friends, I thought about it. How is it that a nation as self consciously constructed as the United States can be so divided on precisely what it is that is the "content of the character" of an American? Or does it really have anything to do with that...are we all just frightened children looking for someone to look up to, someone to save us...squabbling over state hood and the constructed importance of marriage. We are being polarised. THis is bad. It's bad because it ends up being part of the same thing, a global struggle enacted in our petulant nation on a foucauldian grid of power, and it's even worse because the poles are artificial...we are closer together than we are shammed up to be...not to say that I'm happy with where we are. I'm not. I guess that makes me a Pinko Subversive. I dunno.

I shuffled along the pavement listening to Tracy Chapman and smoking a cigarette manufactured with the worst possibe auspices, and looked up a the sky. Going off the neatly swept path I kicked through a heap of red Maple Leaves. Consider your options, baby, they rustled in chorus. As I latched my front door shut I considered the Divine Comedia slouched on the sofa and with hands raised in a gesture of supplication cried out,

"God why couldn't you have Reversed the important Curse??"

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

voting blues: ICH HABE DIESE REIGERUNG NICHT GEWAHLT!!!!!

this is an audio post - click to play

To all those of us who voted for Kerry, or who are horrified at the prospect of 4 more years of Dubbya, I give this song...Remember: "Nobody can steal the way you sway, the way you walk..."

"May there Never be a time you don't live through."

Monday, November 01, 2004

ever wonder2

m&mhalloween2
m&mhalloween2,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
Here Dimaco and Miguel pose for a photo op. "damned reporters" they think to themselves..."tasty though...what do you think...sauce bernaise, Dimaco, would that go??" says Miguel. "Oh yes," says Dimaco, pictured right, "Very well indeed".

Ever wonder....

m&mhalloween1
m&mhalloween1,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
How zee ovver hahf lives?? aristo vampires michele and Dimaco get ready their bloody appetites for a night on the tiles first checking out their "reflections", projected in an elaborate scheme from the small camera in Dimaco's cold hand of deathso as to keep their status secret when necessary. They would be rocking out with other ghouls but you never know when some dirty mortal is leering at the vampires only restrooms...anyway, vanity is no sin, especially for a vampire. tasty.

toomuchwork

toomuchwork
toomuchwork,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
How much work did you say I have to do again?? Surely not. Surely there must be some kind of mistake. Surely you don't expect me to read a 150page novel, 100 pages of a novel in Chinese, 40 pages of comment and write a paper about it all for one class in one week. surely not. surely you don't expect me to also read 350 pages of theory for another class and 150 more for yet another. And prepare a chapter of business chinese. and starting writng about the chinese stock market. And have two precis of final papers and a mid term paper due in 2 weeks. surely not. somebody pinch me. oh yeah, can't be asleep because I DON"T SLEEP. I forgot.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Samhain

We are all born naked.. Everything else is drag. -- Ru Paul

At least that's close to what he said. As I write this I am preparing to go into ritual. Tonight I am the Winter king. I am preparing to fight and kill the summer king! I will than take over! I plan to freeze you all out and to create utter chaos for the land. I am dressed up for the occasion. I have an aged white face and grey and silver hair tonight. If I can get a picture of me that is not flooded with white I will send it to the Mirror Stage.

Tonight is the night where the veil between the world of the living and the world of our ancestors is the thinnest! Tonight I remember my Papa Butz, Grandma Rene, Papa Harold and all who have past on in life. This is the feast of the dead.

halloween2

me in costume3
me in costume3,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
Me in costume minus hat after coming back from the evenings festivities...

halloween

halloween3
halloween3,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
The West Owl Relic and I on our way out to a party and the Rocky Horror Picture show...don't we look cute??

Friday, October 29, 2004

Between Flesh and Glass: Autoeroticism and Narcissism

Between Flesh and Glass: Autoeroticism and Narcissism

I have declined to write specifically about the problematic relationship with women that Freud exhibits in his writing simply because I feel this aspect has been explored very well by many of the greatest feminist thinkers and in order to even make an attempt at saying something not totally redundant I would have to reread a great volume of work to re-familiarize myself with the state of analysis and the argument as they stand. Instead I wish to explore the concept of the self that lies within the assumptions and aporia that Freud employs in his description of narcissism and “objectless” libidinal “aim” in the context of infantile sexuality and autoeroticism in general.

In what is perhaps the most controversial tract of the works on sexuality which we have examined, Freud characterizes infantile sexuality as autoerotic and narcissistic, at the same calling it “objectless”, presumably therefore pertaining only to the realm of the subject. But in the light both of the problematic central to Freud’s schema of desire and of the writings of Lacan on the Mirror Stage, we come up against a fragmentation of definition of the autoerotic, both in adult and infantile sexualities. Desire, aim, libido, we are told is masculine in nature, that is to say active. Leaving aside the problems of gender running throughout this work, we may wish to consider Freud’s concept of the active aim. The aim being active is in this schematic inclined to seek out its object, which is passive in nature. However the object itself is said to be actively emanating and creating the seductive power that draws the one who desires in towards it. This then shakes up the passive/active dichotomy considerably.

If we extend what we have gleaned above to the particular situation of autoeroticism we find yet another nexus of interpretative trouble, a “knot” to borrow Lacan’s favoured term: the love of Narcissus is that of the self for the imago of itself, and thus, in fact, the other. It is in the location of the image of the self beyond the fragmented limits of lived experience that constitutes one of the primary sited of desire, it is true but desire projected on the imago therefore most definitely has an object: the image of the self. Furthermore we see that the imago is phallic in nature…it forms the basis of the mirage of the self as complete, and consequently provides another instance of the phallic other, and this is in itself primary because of its relation, its “Echo” if you will, of the status of the phallic (M)other. The phallic, or in any case the complete, occupies the basis of our linguistic economy perhaps precisely because it constitutes the conceit on which we build our selves and on which we form our desire of others, and the relationship between the two. Thus the mirror image and the mirror stage is much more than the perceived cohesion of the fragmentary personhood of the pre verbal infant…looking into the mirror in fact constitutes an entire drama of desire and signification. Therefore we may quickly see that if the eroticism of infants is to be found in narcissistic tendencies Freud’s statement and its nature as object less is quickly annulled.

The only locus then for a truly objectless desire, if we are to understand “autoeroticism” at least on such terms as Freud provides us with, would thus be found in the infant prior to the mirror stage, whose concept and awareness of the body is without imago, or in a parallel economy of desires that figures throughout our lives, for if we are to take Lacan and Freud at their words, after 18 months there can be no place for the fragmented personality, and thus no place for the truly object less desire, the autoerotic, if we are to understand the term as stated above, and yet Freud posits exactly such a desire as central to the eroticism of infants. Much of the richness of Lacan’s approach to psychoanalysis is to be found in the tension of contrast, frustration and contradiction within the split nature of actual lived existence in relation to this desired phallic other that is the imago. Naturally if such a tension exists, despite the mirror, the child, the image and the mirage the fragmented self does persist. And then it is perhaps this persistent aspect of the pre mirror stage self making a sensual response to all it’s disparate parts that forms the autoerotic as defined by Freud. Whether actual autoeroticism is acted and perceived of in this manner is open to debate, but one thing is clear: if this consciousness does persist in dreams, the subconscious and indeed in autoeroticism it constitutes an alternate mode and model for desire, and a key into an alternate language of self and the erotic. It is perhaos this moment of jouissance that we think of when we contemplate a diffuse sexuality that stretches beyond the body, just as the pre mirror stage child has no sense of a break between himself and others its needs in this continuum (I avoid “desire” in this context) are also perceived as spread beyond objective limits. Although Freud seems convinced that it is women who are sites of repression, and retrograde in their development along the developmental teleological axis, it is men, also according to Freud who retain the same object and aim in their desire from infanthood into manhood, once the drama of the mirror and that of the oedipal attachment are enacted, and arguably before. However it may be in readdressing the content of that desire which so eludes Freud both in women and in men, the autoerotic, and the erogenous, that is to say the polymorphous perverse, that we may arrive at some alternatives in our approach to the complex truth of sexual and sensual experience and some destablizing alternatives too in our modern quest to construct ourselves in light of same. Somewhat macoronic though it may be: In masturbatio veritas, perhaps.

Monday, October 25, 2004

"may you never" from Solid Air

this is an audio post - click to play


My gift to all of you...john martyn singing a beautiful thing with a heart full of love...if you hear a funny wooshing noise in the background it is my warm air heating going on during my recording of the blog...consider it *character*.

Also, trying to inspire you to all run out and buy lots of John Martyn cause he's super cool and should not be neglected.

X

theorama...martha, courts and foucault

The Sexuality that is Not One (Part 1):
(with apologies to Irigiray)

In a film in which the words “lesbian” or “homosexual” are never uttered, silence, that great semantic hold-all, reigns and the meanings of the terms rumor, speech, silence, friendship, and gender are all subtly and systematically destabilized, in ways that inform the understanding of issues of sexuality contemporary with the film and which continue to be part of the current debate. While it is true that “The Children’s Hour” is a piece of fiction, albeit one masterfully wrought, and the records of jurisprudence to which we have been turning our attention in the latter part of this week are within the realm of the factual, there are two important reasons why it may be helpful to re examine this film in the light of these readings, besides similarity of content: firstly, this version of the film adhering as it does to the original form of the play, lies alongside the records of supreme court trial in the realm of the textual, joining a narrative that “is embedded in the founding of the nation” and engaged in informing he discourse. Secondly, in that the film represents events as contemporary with its making, and the judgements of the cases of Griswald v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade occur within 25 years of the time in question and challenge legal precedent that far precedes them, the outcome and comment of these court cases speaks directly to the theoretical context within the film was produced.

So, for the purpose of this response, I shall take from these cases a few salient points to use as tools with which to prise apart the seams of meaning in the film. As we have discussed in class, abortion law has a relevance and resonance in the formation of both “persons” and “sexualities” and the link between these two terms that will become evident. Firstly we may note that Griswold V. Connecticut explicitly states the collapsing together of acts such as adultery with the “homosexuality” under the umbrella of “sexual misconduct” which “the state forbids” and frequently uses the term “mother” to indicate “woman” or “pregnant woman”. This may remind us of the recurring theme of Karen’s desire for a baby in the film, where having a baby immediately becomes of the utmost importance in the moments before she evicts Joe from the sealed off house. The house by this time in the film has become a site of contagion, where the “filling” aspect of pedagogy becomes a locus of dread as the hold of moral hegemony is threatened by the potential transmission of a miasma of alternatives to the cemented borders of the implicitly heterosexual, or indeed non-homosexual, meaning speakable, episteme. The house is bordered by a patrol of the seamier side of the heterosexual norm from the moment that it is seen to signify the edge of the heterosexual world, and it seems that in this place that has lost its purpose, that is significantly barren, the promise of productivity, of fecundity is the last desperate sign by which Karen may still cling, or struggle her way back into the heterosexual norm, or less rigidly, to the productive doctrine of the nation and the state, to remain a woman, and therefore a mother… an option which she has seen as safe and familiar. Joe’s ambivalence in the matter persuades Karen that although he may profess otherwise, (the average) Joe’s feelings and views of her have changed, that in his eyes she has indeed fallen out of the norm to which she once belonged. This it would seem is compounded by the fact that Karen knows herself to have been changed by this process, and that her understanding of normality…of words like friend, and woman is changed now and forever.

More than this however, the Griswald v. Connecticut case deals specifically with the legality, limitations and status of the private sphere, an area very much relevant to the plot of The Children’s Hour, where the ostensibly private becomes public through the whispered secrets of children at the heart of this pedagogical struggle. The judgement simultaneously privileges the marital (and therefore heterosexual) bedroom as the realm of the private, a private which is conceded not to be specified in the bill of rights, and yet undercuts the implicit premise that the state and the private individual are opposed by the insistence of the “interest” of the state in both the “mother” but more especially in the maintenance of the “unborn child” (n.b. as opposed to fetus/embryo, and with all the doctrines of potentiality that are contained within and to be “born(e)” out in Roe V. Wade). As stated above the context of the film implicitly runs into issues of transmission of knowledge, and the link that therefore must be seen to be presumed between knowledge and carnal knowledge, the sexuality of the teacher/student relationship. The private sphere as discussed in Griswald v. Connecticut is SPECIFICALLY said to include freedom to choose modes of education, a choice which as Poovey and others argue is necessarily limited and false due to the unequal availability of said choice/ It is interesting to note again that this privileges productivity and heterosexuality…indeed I would argue that one of the main reasons that the subject of gay marriage remains so hotly contested is that it essentially casts members of what is seen to be a gay “class’ in the role of educator and producer, and just as in the past the “homosexual” teacher (as in the Children’s Hour and the case of Marjorie Rowland and Mad River as outlined in Halley: “The Construction of Heterosexuality” in Fear of a Queer Planet) has been ostracized to an extent that would persuade against identifying outside of the heteronorm, today with the prospect of gay parenthood, the destructive consequences for heteronormative mores are taken seriously enough to warrant continued prejudice, Both in society and under the law.

In The Apparitional Lesbian Terry Castle argues that the apparition, the insubstantial state to which the unutterable and belief defying woman loving woman is relegated can be viewed not simply as a victimisation, and just as Goldberg would seek to reclaim Sodom, she seeks in the end to use this penumbral (cf. 14th amendment discussion) manifestation to create a fruitful way of opening up the canon to the excavation of a lesbian literature. This in many way is at once an acknowledgement and an unsettling of the “out” “lesbian” identity, and shows the paradoxical nature of the act of naming in the case of an essentialist equating of sexual “orientation” and personhood, ( as defined in the discussions in Poovey’s article). This too is the nature of the suicide in The Children’s Hour: Martha finds herself outside the heteronormative realm of the person, and consequently finds that her only recourse is to abort herself, to die and thus enter the only alternative space open to her, that of death, where she too may become an apparition.


(PART 2):
“Your existence will be maintained only at the cost of your nullification” (HoS p.84)

In the first section of this response piece I discussed the film “The Children’s Hour” in the light of the court cases of Roe v. Griswald and the articles of Mary Poovey and others. I ended by discussing the space which Martha occupied in the film with regard to what has been referred to as the “heteronorm”. In this section I wish to discuss the limitations, layout and shape of this “heteronorm” with reference to the first volume of Foucault’s “History of Sexuality”, to confuse and problematize the monolithic entity of “heterosexuality” in particular (and indeed “sexuality” in general) into a multifaceted continuum, a sexuality which is not One. De-unifying the box of the normal may perhaps be seen as particularly important for those engaged in the battles taking place in jurisprudence, and those in social movements seeking to overturn the “status quo” but my task here is not to form a single-bladed weapon (with all the phallic connotations that implies) of response to a monologic monstrous (the word at it’s center being the name of the Father) entity which would indeed not slay our proverbial dragon…it is to show how Foucault’s arguments on the pervasiveness of power through sex enable us to destabilize these categories within the limits of our own epistemic realms, the limits of a society which may well be that on earth which is most steeped in its own ”ars erotica” in the form of a “scientia sexualis” that now runs through it like a stick of rock. Because, after all Foucault’s argument is that we are that dragon, and all of us have the power to slay it (at least for ourselves, or in part) and also to breathe its fire, or perhaps that there are as many dragons and as many blades as there are loci of power, and thus sexual encounters. In order to destabilize our reptilian friend, our “heteronorm” then, we must in fact induce in it a multiplicity of “petites mortes”.

One of the chief points made by Foucault and others arguing for the discursive creation of “sexuality” and particularly the division between and creation of “hetero- and homo- sexuality” is that it is the reification of deed into person. And this conclusion is particularly interesting when comparing it to the analysis of Halley as discussed above; one can quickly see the limitations of an assumed group, the depth of fear of the “homosexual” perhaps relating to the very fragility of the content of the “heterosexual” identity, the fear of the latent and unspoken heterogeneity within the category itself, a heterogeneity that threatens to implode the neatness of normative assumptions. Thus we may outline the nature of the discourse that creates these “sexualities”: essentially because heterosexuality is an assumed norm although it is restrictive, in many realms it need not form itself directly against an object so that it is indeed, as we have seen above in the analysis of the “Children’s Hour” the indictment to silence and latency that categorizes it in general societal terms, just as the indictment of law as outlined by Foucault is the negative (“thou shalt not”), and not the act itself, and just as the construction of “gayness” or “queerness” in recent years seems to have been more based on the speaking, the naming, on “pride” in this discursive speaking of the person, and consequently creation of the other…the “non”. It appears then that in those sites of the enactment and transference of power heterosexuality, that is, the constructed “norm” must in some way privelege “the other”.

This is much the argument of many in the field of Postcolonial studies, and borrows from the Foucauldian notion of the eroticism of the speaker, the sufferer or victim within this episteme, and here we run into one of the difficulties in Foucault’s text. Although we may acknowledge that the confessional, and the space of victimhood are erotically charged, they are thus as a consequence of the imbalance of power, or perhaps vice versa which one could extend as the systemic replication of the inequalities in that first erotic exchange, the oedipal moment. But since it is the case that these powers are constructed as unequal, and since Foucault makes no claim that repression, that is the effects of certain powers believed to be operating within these spaces does not/do not exist then the net result, the psychic harm induced by this albeit constructed and forged process must also be seen to exist. An example of the gap in logic thus created in Foucault’s writing would be his story of Jouy, the mentally deficient peasant seeking sexual satisfaction from a child. We are led to consider it pitiable that this man should be penalized for his simple desire, but there is little point in lamenting the condemnation of the action…for although it is the nature of sexuality and of desire that relationships of power in sexual encounters should be unequal, the continuum of pleasure or harm induced to the individuals engaging in sexual relations is no less real than the inequality of power itself. Perhaps if our ars erotica were a different one this factor would be less in play, however the nature of desire at the base of our culture being what it is, I fail to see how there could ever be a utopia of bodies and pleasure in which inequality of power and the nexus of potential pleasures and harms therein inscribed would cease to exist. Foucault’s utopia would be a desire-less state, and without desire which pervades even our onanistic fantasies, whither pleasure?

To return to our reptilian analogy, what we find is that the relationship between the norm and the other is indeed complicated, because neither remain fixed. As Foucault argues, they exist in fluid clouds that condense at points of power interface, sex being one. But it is still fair to say that in those moments our actors take on their unequal mantles of power and that these, though they may change depending on circumstance, must also be considered in terms that relate to the lived experience through which Foucault arrives at his revelations, as he himself seems to point out, we cannot throw off power and nor would we wish to for each of us has it, but I believe we must also take into account the relationship between these valences of power in their different fora in order to truly use the power that is ours for our greatest benefit and pleasure.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

valentine1975

valentine1975
valentine1975,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
this is a cool image from the Residents website that i stole, sort of, on instigation, I might add, of the west owl relic, and now I am posting it here, because I am trying to avoid doing work. You can view it on my flickr site by clicking on it.

All Hail...

...the new "Desktop Despot", Will is now second in command blog administrator!!

HOORAY!!! Congratulations to Will!

So if you have any problems you can direct them at him...I'll just take the praise, thanks.

Anybody else interested in admin let me know...all it means is that you can invite people on to the blog, and you can edit posts and do other editing type stuff...so if any of you have secret html skills that I don;t know about, I'd be grateful if you let me know...I want emoticons and flashy shit but I don't know how to put it on!! Take care darlings!

Sing Your Life!

XXXX

Song of the Moment...

this is an audio post - click to play


Feeling lonely...so ease it with Billie Holiday singing from "Lady in Satin".

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Life in the Freezer

Listening to the Pogues...

It has rather suddenly become freezing here in Cambridge...my hands are still kind of cold and stiff even though I got into my apartment about an hour ago after spending three hours doing face painting at a Haloween party run by Harvard for local kids and Harvard families. Volunteer work...it was fun, but tiring. All these kids painted as vampires and witches and skeletons and stuff running about eating peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches.

Now I have tonnes of reading to do.

Last night I walked home at 7 from the Harvard Yenching Library in near pitch darkness with a howling wind and was shocked at how quickly winter has come. Although it's officially autumn it's pretty much as cold as it gets at the height of winter in London right now...especially with the wind chill. The wind blew me past a cold and formidable looking William James Hall and down the street trying to tug on my yellow scarf, and me tired out from jet lag and sadness, and a lack of sleep as I had been up late when The West Owl Relic came and stayed wih me Thursday and we watched Delicatessen. It reminded me that I had David Attenborough's "Life in the Freezer" series with me which Will bought for me as a gift before I left the Uk. I remember squatting down by the nature videos in the HMV sale debating what we should get, and then sitting at home snuggling up with him on the bed smoking a fat joint and watching penguins strangely hopping up hills of snow. AMAZING. I feel a bit like one of thos penguins at the moment...doing something I have to do but feeling awkward and somewhat ill adapted to it. I wonder if there's a patron saint of penguins I can pray to...

Spending this weekend catching up on work, so I don't wear myself out with worry...Will write some theory here by the end of the weekend. Foucault and all that. Looking forward to seeing posts from all our fab new members...I love it that the ranks are swelling!!!

X

Friday, October 22, 2004

All Along the Watchtower

There must be some kind of way out of here
Said the joker to the theif
There's too much confusion
I can't get no relief
Business men they drink my wine
Plowmen dig my earth
None will level on the wine
Nobody of it is worth

No reason to get exited
The thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I we've been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us talk falsely now
The hour's getting late

All along the watchtower
The princess kept the view
While all the women came
And went bare feet servants too
Outside in the cold distance
A wild cat did growl
Two riders were aproaching
And the wind began to howl

Thursday, October 21, 2004

msn virgin

So I just had my first msn messenger conversation...and it was one of the members here who deflowered me. I won't name no names.

Back in the USA after the whole funeral ordeal. I will write in detail about it later. Just wanted to check in and say a special hello to all new members...Love you all!!! Enjoy, and get writing...you blog virgins have got to do it some time.

XXX

song that is the poem below...have a quiet listen...and contemplate!

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

(a)wake

I was going to write about my Gran's funeral, about the wake and the whole thing...but I don't know if I really can.

It was good to be around other people who loved her drinking guiness and toasting a woman who was so much full of life and help and kindnesses. And in the end that's how I want to remember her, all her good qualities, not the box and the crying. I haven't again found that serene place I had discovered before where I felt her walking with me, but with the maelstrom of oher things going on, the good and the bad (mostly painful) it's not suprising really. I'm hoping that that will change. Wish me luck and stay in touch, I need it.

X

Sunday, October 17, 2004

poem for you from Joni Mitchell

yellow2
yellow2,
originally uploaded by SiRen65.
Just before our love got lost you said,
"I am as constant as a northern star"
And I said, "Constantly in the darkness
Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar."
On the back of a cartoon coaster
In the blue T.V. screen light
I drew a map of Canada
Oh Canada
With your face sketched on it twice
Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet.
Oh I would still be on my feet.

Oh I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints
I'm frightened of the devil
And I'm drawn to those that ain't afraid,
I remember that time you told me, you said,
"Love is touching Souls"
Surely you touched mine
'Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
Oh you're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drinka case of you
And still be on my feet,

I met a woman
She had a mouth like yours
She knew your life
She knew you devils and your deeds
And she said,
"Go to him, stay with him if you can
But be prepared to Bleed"
Oh you are in my blood
You're my holy wine
You're so bitter, bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you, darling
And still be on my feet
I would still be on my feet.

Joni Mitchell "A Case of You" (from "Blue")