Don't tell me this moment isn't everything
Your bi-weekly shenanigans - Wk of 08/04
Leos reportedly hate criticism. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been criticized in my life. However, like many of you, I do have an inner troll who likes to yell, most often around my birthday, that I’m running out of time!
No shade to the 20 under 20s building spaceships out of their bedrooms in middle school. The kids are more than alright.
But what about the people who live many lives in one, constantly evolving? Maya Angelou went from dancer to Miss Calypso to the iconic poet many of us love.
Or how about the folks who don’t pen their first novel until joining a faculty fiction writing group at age 40 (see: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye)?
And what if…What if our worth has nothing to do with what we do at all?
Hold on, pausing to laugh at me saying this like it’s not my main problem.
Okay, I’m back. As a person who creates stuff in a capitalist society, time can feel like a trap. But I think people like Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison show us that time can be your friend. Time can be beautiful and transformative. Also, time is what makes us human. It’s our 4th dimension. Perhaps it is to be embraced.
I wrote this poem about time called This is Meditation…
They say time don’t matter
when every song
and you better have a reason for clapping off
and once we were babies
and now we’re grown
and once I made a joke
and no one laughed
and everyone dies
don’t tell me
this moment isn’t everything
If I had a penny for every time I claimed Beyoncé non-fandom only to find myself arguing her skill to an inevitable hater like Thee Beyhive Spokesperson, themself. OMG.
I’ve heard from the true Beyhive, the thoughtful reviews by Black gays and queers, the intellectual disses whispered into the shadiest corners of the web…
With that said… Plastic off the Sofa, Cozy, Pure/Honey, and Summer Renaissance are my faves. How bout yours?
Nah for real, as a musician and former singer, before the testosterone flogged my vocal cords into talentless submission (a small fee for my sanity), I genuinely appreciate artists making intricate, full-bodied music. Music, okay?!
Voice as an instrument, conceptualized to a T, smooth as butter transitions, complex vocal layers, live instruments as a treat, sources cited, gay, gay, gay… That recipe!
Queer Black folks blessed these tracks on the front and back end, from past and present. And the credit was given.
Not that the girls today aren’t doing it. But. A lot of them aren’t.
(The Iconic Moi Reneé, Miss Honey below, sampled in Pure/Honey …)
P.S.: Highly recommend the documentary, I Was There When House Took Over the World.
Time for the main event: a fictional short story called Next Joke, about a comedian living unhoused in NYC.
(TLDR; scroll down and click)
I wrote it almost 12 years ago before folks knew I was trans as a way of exploring an alternate universe had I avoided college and bopped off to New York right out of high school.
I never “came out” (or I come out every day, depending on your thoughts on the matter). Back in the day-day, I quietly changed my name with an official court order, bought my first bowtie, intro’d my fam to my very femme partner, and went about my queer business.
All of that could have gone horribly. Ugh, it could have been so bad.
But it wasn’t. And every time I look back on Next Joke, I think of how lucky I am.
Now ‘round here we keep it light, so I’m not gonna dive into all the ways 2010 and 2022 look mighty familiar for many Black queer and trans folks.
Instead, I’ll say that after all this time, Next Joke still captures all that same angst, sarcasm, desire, and hope I felt writing it.
I was so afraid back then to be seen all the way. Too afraid to make the protagonist gay, so I made his brother gay. Way too scared to make him trans, so he’s cis. But the heart of the main character is my heart. We’ve shared it all this time.
I hope you enjoy it.
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