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Response to "A Gender-queer Generation" by Alexandra Funk, or, let me forget myself

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I did note that Alex wrote a piece on genderqueer students at single-sex colleges; and I felt I ought to say something, since I identify as genderqueer, for lack of a better word or concept. But the thing is, it's intensely private. And the thing is, the problem of my gender identity is perhaps the only problem which I can't solve by writing and talking about it. A friend of mine (one of those LJ friends I've never met) commented thus on one of my entries in early February: 

"Every time I read your posts angsting over this issue, I worry that you spend too much time wondering about what you are and not enough time being it.

"I think if you just do 1) what you want to do, 2) what you need to do and 3) what will avoid hurting you, you will get better results - and it will be hard enough to figure out how to do that as it is. You don't need the stress of worrying about why you can't figure out what you are. I'm not sure I'm articulating it well. Maybe I mean that we're all individuals, and to try to plaster labels all over ourselves isn't going to help. Acting and presenting yourself how it feels natural and right will get you where you want to be, and worrying about how to describe it will just make your persona more constructed, more artificed."

This particularly friend tends to give really good advice. And I haven't been talking about my gender identity much. And it feels good. A little guilt-making, but good. 

In my previous post, I said that there are things I am not willing to reveal about myself here, which I would write about elsewhere. This is true. But I have found that sometimes I can hide behind poetry, I can conceal as I reveal. And so I was in a crappy mood this morning, feeling alienated and not too keen on talking about queer stuff for my Here and Queer class, because even I get so fucking sick of worrying at the issue of sexuality. So, I wrote some poetry. And it's about ... no, it arises from my experience of being genderqueer, and other things as well, because I experience being genderqueer very much in relation to other things. Actually, I think it's more about certain other things, harder to corrall into just one itty bitty word, than being genderqueer. But nevermind. This is my response. 

The phrase "let me forget myself" are the last words in Jarman's film Edward II, adapted from (homosexual) Kit Marlowe's play about the last European monarch to be, for lack of an accurate and non-anachronistic term, openly gay. We watched it for Here and Queer on Wednesday (the day I turned in a paper about Oscar Wilde and Velvet Goldmine and queer mythologies, and it was a tad autobiographical and definitely experimental and not exactly succesful, but I'm glad I wrote it). 

Later, I reference both Herman Melville, who is familiar to everyone in this class, but also Thomas Pynchon, who probably isn't. Pynchon is a post-modern writer whose novel The Crying of Lot 49 I read senior year of high school and it was ... revelatory, I suppose. It's part of the reason why I describe myself as a postmodern atheist, because certain postmodern ideas do form part of the base and part of the core of someone of my central beliefs. 

I also make reference to a character in Catch-22, Orr. But ... I don't understand his significance to me right now, or his significance in this poem - which isn't to say this poem isn't true, oh no! And I have a geology lab to work on.  


Response to "A Gender-queer Generation" by Alexandra Funk


let me forget myself


crowded and tired


and jostling

in the sexuality stampede

and will I veer away

before some cliff comes?

words words words

can’t see the way for the words

can’t breathe for the words

can’t hear my heart beat


gonna lie down and rest


for awhile


dust settles

i see the sky

black bird specks

i’m blinded by the bright

sweet bright pain blindness

see the sun?

see the sun

with me?

sweet bright pain blindness

in the brain

instead of brain

no room for words

no room

still still

no room

not even bodies and pleasures

just a finally still quiet mind

and no hurt

in the bright


gratitude to poetry

gratitude for temporary rest

from the striving limpidity

of the academic paper

here, the roil, the obscuring white

as words


down the page

as they fit

just because

break language



on shattered rocks below

and the whole of it

rock splinters

white bubbling water

and me







hiding in the rocks and water


I promised I would come back.


and sometimes a crowd of words comforts

sometimes not

and sometimes your words make me feel understood

sometimes not

often not

often I don’t want to talk to you at all

off and on

sometimes your words make me feel close held and beloved

so often not

sometimes they shove me down the stairs

sometimes they crush me against the walls of the labyrinth

tearing the string and the torch from my hands

and sometimes I just want you to stop talking

all of you

all of us



i’ve got athena on the brain

anyone got an ax?

unloose my tongue

or my brainpan

they’ll be blood either way

there is blood

but no one seems to see it


i’m just thinking out loud on paper

between the lines of the notepaper

between the lines of my 10:00-11:30 am class

Here and Queer

Jarman’s film Edward II and

d’Emilio’s essay “Capitalism and Gay Identity” and

pretended families and


all that brain-tickling sweet stuff

but i’m so tired of people today

(just a mood just a mood

it’ll pass it’ll pass pass pass me by

let it just let it go

I’ll miss ‘em if I didn’t have ‘em)

and my eyes are too sharp

i see through my attempts to create

meaning for myself

just a little life

just one brief struggle

more words than the average per capita

words spilled easily on cheap writing paper

and spreading through the infinite unspace of the internet


If all I had were this notebook, what would I write?


when i grow up

i want to be a nomad


hard enough to fine

roommates for my headspace


“we don’t know who we are

or where we come from,

and maybe we’re not as intelligible

as we like to think”

the professor says 

and now i’m glad i came to class

this string

might lead



unknown unknowable unknowing

and if both Melville and Pynchon think so ...

Melville warns us against drowning in the attempt to know

and Pynchon tells us that we'll try to know anyway

and maybe all that matters is that I feel pleasure when I read their writing


but I will spend my whole life trying

to know and make myself knowable and be known




fly with Orr

and crash with him into the sea

and paddle to Sweden.










and that’s fine if i don’t think about what the words mean


and now i find speech on my tongue

appetite for words

energy to joust and jostle with them


to take them in

and give them

to strive to be understood

to speak


and … “yet another incredibly queer politics”

the professor says 

and … this is my life

yet another




yet another life

and just