After sleeping until past noon (9.5 hours of blissful slumber), I slowly emerged and glided through the day eating some of my favorite foods (compressed tofu lightly sauteed with baby spinach, kimchi, and raw carrots) and reading the poetry of Cavafy and Lorca. I have the most complete collection of Federico Garcia Lorca poems, a bilingual edition edited by Christopher Maurer (for a long time I have been looking for a similar edition of poems by Charles Baudelaire with the original on the left and the translation on the right.)
For music today I have enjoyed a steady Pandora diet of Sigur Ros and Mogwai. I also played a little I’m From Barcelona, the 30+ member Swedish band. Last night I heard the similar sounding and delightfully queer band, Dangerous Ponies in Hartford after my gig.
The concept of the “starving artist” abounds in pop culture and public consciousness. Fortunately I have plenty of tofu in my fridge, but artists need other types of feeding–artist food–namely art. Reading poems, fiction and literary non-fiction as well as attending plays, going to art museums, and listening to music feeds my artist soul and gives me artistic energy and inspiration.
Earlier I read a poem by Lorca that I’ve been munching on all day. Below is the first stanza:
Mi corazón, como una sierpe,
se ha desprendido de su piel,
y aquí la miro entre mis dedos
llena de heridas y de miel.
and in English
Like a snake, my heart
has shed its skin.
I hold it here in my hand,
full of honey and wounds.
You can experience the whole poem here.
While in Seattle I got to enjoy the art of Coyote Grace, the “left coast bluesy folkroots duo – with a fruity twist.” One of the members, Joe, writes and sings openly about his experience as a female to male (FtM) transgender person. Watch their very tasty video currently on Logo on-line (and then VOTE for them so that lots of folks who watch Logo can experience them.) And what a blast I had with my friend Jane on our way to the Coyote Grace concert–that was comic art in itself! (read Jane’s insightful blog post about her experience as a non-trans person seeing my play at a primarily female-to-male transgender conference.)
In Seattle I got to meet a skilled and passionate poet named Cole Arden Peake. Post-Gender Odyssey Conference Cole and I got together for some vegan Vietnamese Pho soup and a time of sharing our writing with each other for desert. The first poem Cole read me is called Recovery, and after he read it, I asked him to read it again. I so wish you could hear it in his own voice (Cole–recite it on video and post it on YouTube 🙂 )
Cole gave me permission to share his poem on my blog (sorry that WordPress doesn’t let me format it properly.) I suggest you read it aloud.
by Cole Arden Peake
Spend years forgetting your body. Notice only improvements; become practiced at ignoring the things that stay.
Remember them briefly enough to do something about them. Be angry at God. Be exited. Tell everyone just how afraid you are.
Submit to this changing because it’s your only option. Curse God for this. Allow hands on forgotten flesh, let them open you. Wake up growling and curl around your wounds.
Bleed for days.
Remain angry at God while you bleed. Sleep more than usual. Watch your body do what it was made to do. Marvel at the intelligence of healing. Let a stranger finish your sentence and feel less alone.
Feel better. Come out of hiding. Stretch yourself, first with caution—then with wild abandon. Be surprised at what you will wear and how you will hold yourself. Love God—with the caveat that he never pull that bullshit again and place your hand over your heart daily. Let another trace your scars and try to remember yourself before, Fail. Turn back to what you have now and hold it. Know it is the only real thing and hold it.