somewhere out there

April 10, 2010

Our poet laureate is an intellectual butch dyke. How did I not know that?  It’s a selfish thing on my part to feel left out of the loop. I could have paid more attention to the news or to poetry. I could have been a better dyke, I suppose, and kept up. It’s just I can’t believe that there’s somebody like me out there in the world (not in the poet laureate sense – she’s a genius and I’m a fan), but in the butch and intellectual sense.

Imagine not seeing yourself reflected back to you in most of the things you want to do and most of the things that give you pleasure. That’s how I experience the world. It’s kinda like being a ghost. Hard to take up space. I don’t think most folks realize what it means to see themselves represented in the larger culture. It’s powerful on a subliminal level, but still powerful. So much so, it seems to just be taken for granted, at least until you go missing in the larger picture. But don’t get me started about what happens when you butt up against the ever present male gaze or the straight point of view or white hegemony. No one is up for that kind of rant, no matter how real the rub is.

I just don’t hardly ever see intellectual and creative butch dykes in the public eye or holding prestigious positions. I mean, wow! And even more amazing is that Kay Ryan is an open dyke – married her partner of 30 years in SF when Gavin opened the floodgates for that brief, wondrous time – but no one seems to call her a queer writer, thank god. Because there is nothing like those qualifying labels to marginalize your work and hem you in in a hurry.

I really am just a little blown away by the whole thing.

Here’s one of her poems, but definitely check other stuff too.

What’s the use
of something
as unstable
and diffuse as hope –
the almost-twin
of making-do,
the isotope
of going on:
what isn’t in
the envelope
just before
it isn’t:
the always tabled
righting of the present.

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