Pornography Disclaimer

This is a an imaginary diary of facts, confessions, or messages. This is a notebook of working but broken ideas, lines, images, notes on books I'm reading, writers I admire, and brief fantasies of language. Here unfiltered  all mannerings pseudo-private, publicized, ur-. Here I am art and unrevealed: poetic, political and pop. These are my moonlit rough beginnings and should not be taken literally, directly, truthfully, reliably, and none of it is legally binding. These lies are all choreographed, but only haphazardly. Beware.



So this has been bothering me since the Vice Presidential Debates:

Already upset by the Republican approach to just about every spectrum of the political agenda, I have decided to vote for Obama. It took me a second. I LOVED Clinton. Bring her back, I say. 

O.k., then I got over it. The more I see McCain (fearmongering) and the more I see Palin (I mean, the first time she travels out of the country, she makes sure to get footage of herself firing an AK-47? Really?) the more proud and necessary and importantly I feel about my vote for the Obiden ticket. 

Then in the middle of the Vice Presidential Debates: the gay question. The uncomfortable shifting in the room. The squirm on Palin's face when she insinuates that she has gay friends and family. The awful burst of laughter from the audience and the candidates to be relieved of talking about us, the gays. And that cold, sure, resonant NO, when Biden firmly responded that he does not believe in gay marriage. 

Why haven't I read more about this? 

Friends and Strangers, let me tell you, this HURT me. I am a tax paying, loyal, responsible citizen. I am trusted to teach college students how to think and write critically. I contribute to my community and to society in a significant, if not seriously under-appreciated way, poorly PAID FOR BY THE STATE. Here I am, an intelligent and involved member of this country, and my own party, who I believe in, who I've been fervently speaking for, arguing for, who I've sent my hard earned money to, has now openly and nationally disavowed their support for me. I've never felt so marginalized in my life. Growing up Chicano, I knew, was often told, but I never felt I was on the outside of anything. I had rights. And I knew it. I was different sure, but I felt in myself a sense of equal humanistic footing. I was shocked into disbelief when I was called a "spick" in the hallways of my traditionally white Arizona college prep high school. But my friends of color and I felt a sense of self-propriety. No one could mistreat us legally. We knew we were equal. 

And with one cruel word, one coldly spoken, monolithic no, I suddenly felt that I did not belong, that those things I believed in did not qualify me to be held as an equal. I don't think a word has ever hurt me as much as this one, spoken so clearly and easily and awfully to our nation.

This whole conversation about the difference between civil and religious ceremony is a load of crap--it's a distraction, a way of saying we're not the same and that we shouldn't be treated the same. It's a way of minimizing the significance of the relationship and the idea of the relationship between gay couples.

I don't want to get married. I never have. But I do want to know that as a human being among others, I can be allowed the idea of a sacred pursuit. Not to mention the legal rights associated with that devotion! The great irony is that I've written and officiated three of my sisters weddings and one of my cousin's. 

I don't know how it feels for gay republicans to be so openly refused by their party. For myself, I felt disappointed, orphaned, disavowed, broken-up with, abandoned, and alone. What a bunch of pussies! Or as they say on Dan Savage's Lovecast: what a bunch of scrotes! I really loved Joe Biden, trusted him, shit I even thought he should be the one running for president! But hearing that response, and the pat "well at least you both agree on something"--so that the ONE point that both parties can agree on is the ridiculous idea that gays should be able make a sacred pursuit together, to make and pursue promises, to create a kind of ceremony as monument, and to have the same economic rights recognized by the state as our neighbors and family and co-workers and employees, well

It made me feel like I didn't want to vote for anyone. I paced my room. I'm not voting. I am so not voting. Disbelief, and a realization. I mean, what are we? Persons criminal. Profane. 

I've come around, but I'm not done being angry and in love.

So here it is. I was asked early this year to edit an issue of OCHO magazine, due out February 2009. Dear gay Friends and Strangers, dear Fags, Dikes, Trannies, Transvestites, He-she's, She-males, Tomboys and Mamas-boys, Lesbos, Fudge-packers, Muff-divers, Bears, Twinks and Closet Freaks, Butch and Lipstick, Hairdresser or Harley-rider, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green--Dear family, dear people of color and other,

Friends and Strangers, please forward this to everyone you can.  Please forward this to your friends, family, peers, professors and students:

This is my call for queer poetry, essays on poetics, and reviews of works by queer poets for the 2009 OCHO magazine DEAR AMERICA, DON'T BE MY VALENTINE issue. 

Your work does not have to address the politics of this post. The purpose of this issue is to highlight and bring together a strong sampling of diverse work by queer authors in the contemporary American poetry scene. 

Please submit your work as a single word doc attachment, pasting your cover letter and bio in the message itself, to: dontbemyvalentine@hotmail.com 

. . . . . . .


Didi Menendez said...

Its about time somebody did this call.

Didi Menendez said...

Hey can people like me who fall in the "other" category who do not practice anything, are not into anything, that used to be heterosexual and are now no sexual and are single, parents, and not available, not looking, not seeking, not getting married again, not even when hell freezes over send you poems too?

Didi Menendez said...

Well on second thought I guess I am not queer. I am just strange so lets leave the call the way it is. I am forwarding over now.

Pris said...

I followed didi's link back here. Good post and it sounds like a good issue call. I think I fall into didi's 'other' category, too:-) I'm going to pass this call on to Collin Kelly. His poetry is wonderful and he may very well post the call on his blog, too.

greg rappleye said...

Good post.

I was also disappointed by Obama/Biden on this issue.

Dustin said...

Exciting news on OCHO.

javier said...


I've yet to understand how a post-politics presidential admnistration would work. The president still has to be brave and take a stand. This involves taking sides. Biden's first answer was meant to please and play both sides of the gay marriage debate. When he was pressed for a definitive answer, he showed that the Obama/Biden ticket isn't that brave.

You don't mean you're not going to vote at all this November do you? It seems one way to get back at that NO and all those other painful Nos would be to Vote NO on Proposition 8.

Get it: Proposition 8; 2009 OCHO.

Look forward to reading your issue of OCHO. Good luck with it.

Laura said...

Reminds me of the Kramer rant of '07:

My photo
I've got one foot in the grave and the other's in my mouth.

Poetry Disclaimer

My work has been awarded the Katherine C. Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, a Swarthout Award, and has twice been nominated and shortlisted for the Pushcart Prize. My first book, A Book Called Rats, was selected for the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry (Eastern Washington University Press 2007). I'm curating editor for the online journal of poetry: PISTOLA and my poems and reviews most recently appear in Massachusetts Review, Beloit, Ploughshares and RAIN TAXI. I currently teach writing and literature at Santa Monica College in southern California.