Monday, April 15, 2019

Speaking to Our Monsters: Revolting Lesbians, Garden Marches and Springtime Memories #revoltinglesbians #riseandresist #mercerofftheboard

George De Castro Day added a new photo — with Anne Maguire and Benjamin Heim Shepard.
April 13 at 2:58 PMIt's starting to feel like a revolution. Revolting Lesbians The Earth is Still Not For Sale! A few early snaps. Revolting Lesbians and friends were at the American Museum of Natural History today to demand that the museum stop taking Mercer money and remove Rebekah Mercer, climate change denier and white supremacist oligarch extraordinaire, from its board. We gave a special shout-out to the AMNH's scheduled hosting of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce's award banquet for Jair Bolsonaro. #revoltinglesbians #riseandresist #mercerofftheboard" 

Spring was everywhere.

Garden marches and protests, daffodils growing and walking  pickets.

Saturday, the teenager and I went to the Museum of Natural History to join our friends  in  the Revolting  Lesbians.

“History museum cut the chord, Rebekah Mercer off the board!!!” we chanted over climate denialist Rebekah Mercer’s place on the board of the museum.

Rebekah Mercer is a monster.

“Mercer Money is killing our planet, kick her off the board god damn it!”

Climate change is one of many stressors teenagers cope  with now.

Tests and pressure to score high. 
School shootings and looming fascism.
As I write this, one of the schools our kids attend is shut down because  of  a threat to the school.

And then there those things below the surface.
The memories from last winter, last February when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students.

In  March of 2019, two survivors committed suicide.

Here in New York, memories that lingered from the year before when Thea jumped off her building.

Our  teenager had been with her earlier  in the day.

A year later, that experience still resonates.

Absolutes disappear.

Pressures mount.

Growing up.

April is the cruelest month, TS Elliot wrote.

And we feel.

We internalize it.

The pressure to do the right thing, to be the right thing.

Even in the springtime, it grips.

Kids feel immobilized, between here and there.

So they dance, grow, inflict harm, self medicate, and try to survive growing up.

We walked through the Lower East Side.

Peter recalled me showing her butterflies at  a similar  march years ago.

She did not want to look.

She didn’t want to watch Gaia duke it out with the machine.

Brads no longer here.

Neither is Thea.

Neither are other friends.

Time passes.

Some things do not change.

Other friends remain.

But the anxieties continue.

At the college, the 38th Annual City Tech Literary Arts Festival will feature poet José Olivarez, author of the recently published Citizen Illegal, his debut collection of poetry. José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants.

His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal -
seems to unnerve some,  triggering fits  of white fragility.

Others wonder what it means.

José Olivarez has his own monsters to contend with.

my therapist says make friends with your monsters
is my favorite poem  from  the collection.

we are gathered in truce
to discuss our differences,
my therapist seated between us.
my roadrunner legs point
past the door in case. we
are gathered in truth,
because my therapist said
it was time to stop running, &
i pay my therapist too much
to be wrong, so i am here.
in case my therapist is right.
my monsters, coyotes in the
chase, look almost human
in the sterile office light.
my monsters say they just
want to be friends. i remember
when we first met, me & my
monsters. i remember the moment
i birthed each one. each time
i tried to shed a piece of myself,
it grew into a monster. take this
one with the collar of belly fat
around its neck, the monster
called Chubby, Husky, Big Boy.
i climbed out of that skin as fast
as i could, only to see some spirit
give it legs. i ran & it never stopped
chasing me. each new humiliation
coming to life & following after me.
after me, a long procession of sad
monsters. each monster hungry
to drag me back, to return me
to the dirt i came from. ashes
to ashes, fat boy to fat.
i point my feet to the nearest
exit, all my fire alarms go off.
my monsters crowd around me,
i stare into a no-fun house of mirrors
showing me all the angles i try
to forget. my therapist says i can’t
make the monsters disappear
no matter how much i pay her.
all she can do is bring them
into the room, so i can get
to know them, so i can learn
their names, so i can see
clearly their toothless mouths,
their empty hands, their pleading eyes.

We walked all Sunday afternoon, looking at graffiti, talking about gardens, roller skating here, eating there, wondering if its best to make friends with our monsters or  to vanquish them. 

Go back to the scene of the crime,
to the  place where  it really hurts,
where the damage happened.

I can’t ride  there. 

I don’t want to go there. 

Gay bashers here,
Homophobes  there.

Bad memories:

“A couple of men  started to follow, saying I look like a dyke, threatening me physically, saying I’d give them aids.”

She started screaming. 

Crowds formed.

And then they ran.

But the memories linger long after.

But what happens when the monsters are inside your head?

And  we can’t just kick them or the board or scare them away?

“[H]ard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head’ – Sally Kempton.)” 
Viv Albertine confessed.

Clothes, clothes, clothes,
Music, Music, Music,
Boys, Boys, Boys.

“No matter how silly you feel or uncool you look, no matter how small that voice inside you is, that voice telling you something isn’t right: listen to it.”

Viv reminded us;
Listen when that
that voice screams something is wrong. 

We’ve all got a lot of  living  to do.
Learning about the closings and the openings.

But facing our monsters is never easy.

Sometimes we take to bed.

“Humans take to their beds for all sorts of reasons,”
Viv explains.

 “…because they’re overwhelmed by life, need to rest, think, recover from illness and trauma, because they’re cold, lonely, scared, depressed – sometimes I lie in bed for weeks with a puddle of depression in my sternum – to work, even to protest (Emily Dickinson, John and Yoko…free from the stress of life, from the need to labour, from the multitudinous burdens, anxieties, and vexations of existence’.‡ Even when I’m well I like to lie in bed and think. It’s as if” 

None of us really know how to speak to our monsters.

So we  eat and talk.
I like your book dad,
She says.

Viv’s is better.
I think  so. 
Thanks Viv!

And talk about a few of the protests this weekend:

“Join Revolting Lesbians at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) for our second annual Earth Fest demo to remind everyone that the Earth is NOT FOR SALE!
Rebekah Mercer is still on the museum's Board of Trustees. At the same time she gives millions to organizations promoting climate science denial ($4M in 2017 alone). She is part owner of Breitbart News. She was central to Cambridge Analytica's corruption. She funds anti-Islamic, white nationalist propaganda. Rebekah Mercer IS the Ultimate Predator. Instead of ousting her, the AMNH offers her "respectability" by keeping her aboard. Colluding with Alt-right Climate Denying Billionaires Has to End! Rebekah Mercer has no place on the board of a science museum, or ANY museum in New York City.
Mercer Money is Killing our Planet, Kick Her Off the Board God Damnit!
Everyone Welcome - Spread the word - Bring signs - Dress up as the Ultimate Predator!
Resistance is Not Enough! Revolt!
The nearest subway stations are the C at 81st St. and the 1 at 79th St. The closest accessible subway station is the 72nd St. 1/2/3, with a connection to the northbound M7 bus on Amsterdam Ave.”

LUNGS Spring Awakening.

“Join us on Sunday, April 14 as we parade and party to welcome spring and celebrate the opening of our community gardens! Spring Awakening Parade kicks off at noon, East 12th Street between Aves A/B, and ends at the LUNGS Avenue C Weekend Walk with music, pony rides, crafts and entertainment for kids and adults.

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