Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Bartenders know me best when I'm not drinking. And maybe that's the problem.
Judy at The Cantab says it looks like I'm starting to be less depressed. I had no idea I looked depressed. I thought that safe that hit me bounced off my skull without leaving so much as a dent. My eyes aren't puffy because I've been crying, I just haven't been sleeping well.
Amy at The Lizard Lounge thanks me for the book I gave her. When the check comes, it's about twice as much as I expected. "You didn't pay for your dinner last Saturday." She says. Which does explain the extra $20 I've had floating around this week. I apologize so profusely she has to shine the fog from between the two os in "I'm sorry" in order to see me. "Oh, don't worry about it, dear." She says. "You were so very into your writing that I didn't want to disturb you."
I have been so far from reality this week, I can't see it with the Hubble telescope. I can't see it with a far reaching pop culture reference. Reality is so far away from me, it doesn't even have oxygen.
"Are you working yet?" Amy asks me. And I'm not, not because I'm lazy or they're awful or anything, I just suck at making plans this week.
As Amy talks to me about her recent trip to Hawaii, I watch a quarter fall out of her hair and on to the pavement. It bounces once, twice, then rolls under a bush. This is bad. We're inside. There are no bushes here. I am in pretty desperate need of some sleep.
I'm debating whether to check my e-mail when Regie Motherfucken Gibson sits down next to me and begins talking to me about transgender issues, people claiming to be multiples, and the politics of slam poetry. Slam politics don't interest me anymore. I am not transgendered. I think most multiples would shit their pants if they ever interacted with a real schizophrenic.
Regie is one of the greatest conversationalists in the world, but it's much more fun to talk about things we disagree about, and we can't come up with anything we disagree on. I agree that most people are bilovual, but the subject of bisexual poets disturbs me. We tell numerous stories about women who have an epiphany that they hate men, and then suddenly they're lesbians. Personally, I find that extremely belittling and bullshit. Real lesbians, like real gay guys are sexually attracted to someone of their own gender for the same reasons heterosexuals are attracted to people of the opposite gender. Phermones and chemistry.
Last week, I was hanging out with one of them open relationship slam poet people (my friend Ellen) and one of her lovers. The lover was a kind of cute little bearded dude. He seemed smart, funny. But something seemed off to me. It wasn't just that he looked ridiculously young or that he kind of reminded me of an even younger looking Elvis. There was just...something.
Turns out he was a she. And, see, it's chemistry. I didn't know he was trans. Physically, he was very much a he. Mentally, very very much a he. To the point he spent time grabbing me inappropriately and talking about how much he liked to fuck guys. All this while his girlfriend was walking between us. My conciousness 100% believed this person was a guy. But my nose knew differently. It said, there is something off in the testosterone/estrogen quotient said "I am so not attracted to this very cute, smart, funny, person. And it's not just because he has a girlfriend."
Benny once told me how he picked up a drag queen at a club. It wasn't a Crying Game moment. He knew it was a drag queen, but "The dude was easily one of the hottest looking women I'd ever seen. The hair. The face. The body. Everything. Perfect. We went back to my place, he laid down on my bed, everything tucked carefully out of sight, and I...I just couldn't do anything. I wanted to kiss him, but then...I can't explain it. He was wearing perfume, and was everything girly, but my brain said "man" and that was the end of it. I couldn't be gay if I wanted to."
"So," Regie asks after I relay the Benny story to him, "the bisexual thing pisses you off too?" We're not talking about bisexuals in general, but women (and it's always only women) who take the mic and go on and on about their bisexuality. Women who have a bad experience with an ex, "go lesbian" for a few years, and then shut their homosexuality off like it was a movie of the week.
"It's bullshit. And I hate that people buy it." I say. "If a man were ever like 'Yea, I dated this girl in high school and she was a real bitch to me, so I decided to be gay.' he'd alternate between being laughed at and having the crap beaten out of him. Sure, if he were hot, most gay guys would probably fuck him, but that wouldn't make him any gayer than the Shania Twain and Ani Difranco t-shirts he'd no doubt start picking up at thrift shops in an effort to be more visible."
And then our conversation slips into slam politics, people pimping their race/gender/sexual orientation/blah/blah/blah. Later that night I catch The Body Count Slam at The Cantab. Two good friends doing some of their best work, but EVERY poem (with the exception of the cactus one) involves someone dying or dead. Mark Twain used to keep track of casualty figures in the collections of bad poets. I started taking down the notes last night. Four sexual orientation related deaths, two suicides, two overdoses, and a really mean archangel wiping out all of humanity out of spite. After the second tiebreaker between dead victim poems, I had to get out of the room.
Today I am back to playing e-tag with people who can't figure out what they want or what their plans are. Basically, I'm talking to better looking versions of myself. Forget strength, give me sleep, contentedness.