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see minotaur

One Student's picture

See Minotaur

Or, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Minotaur






the mutilation of the corpus which bore me

Livejournal entry, 11:26 pm 09/10/2007

I very quietly freaked out when I saw a preview of a show about transsexuals in America at the beginning of freshman year - I happened to be wearing a skirt, and I really wanted to get *out* of the skirt. And now I'm plowing through readings on trans/intersex issues in recent American history and googling all kinds of things, and I'm very quietly freaking out again. And I don't know why. My hypothesis is because I lack a vocabulary to describe my own gender identity, and this sort of thing gets it all stirred up. I suppose the best term is genderqueer, but … I guess I don’t know what I mean by that. I’m not transsexual. I don’t feel like my body is wrong, or that … I mean, I don’t think of myself as a woman, and I don’t like the word woman, but I certainly don’t think of myself as a man, either.

Livejournal entry, 01:41pm 19/10/2007

What's getting to me is that I'm feeling a little distressed by my body. Before my attitude toward it was like, 'It's my body, and it's a nice body and ... yeah' and it turns out that the 'yeah' stands for 'but it's not quite ... something'.


Academic writing raises questions and answers them; the aim is to be definitive. Personal writing tells a story. Hermaphroditic writing raises questions … the hermaphrodite raises questions … I raise questions …



Hermaphroditism is not just between, it is more. It’s at the hard cold margin and way way outside it all. Place. I’m the oracle and I’m telling you where we are and where I am and where you’re not.


In classical mythology, sex-changers usually end up male. That’s a happy ending, to end male.


Do you know where the word ‘hermaphrodite’ comes from? The son of Hermes and Aphrodite was stalked by a nymph. She was a very very effective stalker.


I don’t think ‘hermaphrodite’ is the right word after all. Herm.



A Hymn

Oh Dionysos, breaker of boundaries.

Oh Dionysos, you wear what you want

Or nothing at all.

Oh Dionysos.

They leave offerings for Athena

And sing her hymns.

I notice the holly.

I notice the green out of season.

Oh Dionysos, breaker of boundaries.

Sing to me, Dionysos,

I break boundaries

For you.

Sing to me, Dionysos,

Sing me out

Sing the boundary broken

Sing me to the place

Sing the place I am

Sing it

For me.



Fall 2005. Anne Dalke asks her College Seminar class what fairy tell character they identify with. One of them can’t think of anything that sounds like what everyone else is saying. Cinderella? Who wants to be Cinderella, anyway? And she-for-lack-of-a-better-pronoun remembers a girl on the back of a bull struggling forward through a metal forest the both of them together one effort, girl on the back of a bull in a metal forest.





Did the oracle speak then? Should we have known all along. I have spelled my name jessY since kindergarten. I once told someone I met for the first time that the Y was integral, and months later she remembered. Though I had forgotten. Integral. To what? jessY lYnn brodY. YYY. Y3. Y? Why? Y? jessY g?rl. YYY. Simple tree of ambiguitree.


Should have seen it coming, but in kindergarten I wanted to wear dresses all the time.


Sit down and shut up. I’m going to tell you a story.


A girl in a metal forestlabyrinth. Riding a bull. A bull in a metal forestlabyrinth. And a girl on his back. She clears the way. He goes forward. They’ve never seen each other. They’ve never been seen by each other. They see so little: the way forward, the way forward. They have never been seen. Unseen. Unspeculated. Unthought. Unknown.

The minotaur has been running into walls in the labyrinth for years. It’s dark and she doesn’t know the way. He’s got no ball of string. Ze’s never seen anyone else, though it smells their breath on their air and stumbles over their deep footprints in the mud. The minotaur has never seen or been seen.

Eventually. Crash of brittle metal. Outside. Lit by the sun and casting a shadow for the first time on the green dying grass. The water in the pool ripples and wavers, and the minotaur stares at the reflection and stares at the reflection and stares at the reflection, and breaths and breaths and breathes out what is seen, and fades away.

The landscape has a little piece of minotaur in it now. The air has a breath of the minotaur’s sight.



see minotaur

breathe minotaur

dionysian minotaurian brokenlabyrinth writing

that’s me see it that’s me


back off mythographers stay away

don’t come any closer i’m warning you

the minotaur is my mask

they’ll change it

the minotaur is my mask

don’t break it



listen to me!


I can’t write my body on the world as I want to, because I will always be read as a woman. If I write what others can read, if I present myself so that I am read as, at least, a queer woman, then I will not be writing my self. I can only write myself through words.


I can only write myself through words, and there are no damn words for my self.


I don’t like the name I’ve been given and I can’t find a better one. Do you know how much this hurts? Do you know why it hurts? I don’t understand why it hurts, to be misnamed. You do this to me. You do this to me.


There aren’t any words for what I am. Woman, girl, man, boy. I might once have been a questioning g?rl, an uneasy womanperson, but now … throw them out, throw them out. I’ve got no use for them at all. I’m never what they have in mind. I’ve got no words to use at all.


I’m not in the wrong body. I’m in my body. I’m in my right mind my mind mine. You read me and you place me wrong.


Girl, look at this!

Don’t call me that!

Then what should I call you? Dude? Kid?

No. No. I don’t know.


Hard to place.

Can’t give you directions

to the place where I’m standing.

I’m still in the closet

because you can’t speak me

see the place I’m at

you’re so far away

around an unturnable corner.

I kill myself each time I write myself

and you don’t see me.

Suicide of the author.

Are you watching?



This event is open to

Jewish and Muslim



don’t look

i can’t tell you this

i won’t

i’m leaving it out

this is expurgated

do you see?


you won’t see

so I won’t say.

to be revealed and unseen nononononono

my body is harder to see than my mind

you can’t see it I won’t write it

not for you

who won’t see it


This is a letter to the world

Which writes me everyday

A letter to you and you write me

Everyday you write me down



Are you listening to me?


angry and stuck and angry

stuck here angry



thankyou gstein

watch me!


Girl, -!

I told you, don’t call me that!

But … I’d have said girl no matter who you were.

Oh. That’s alright, then.


I’m drinking for the first time in ages

I’d missed the taste

And I’d forgotten that I like dancing

When’s the last time,

Can’t think of it

And I’ve missed this too

Though I’ve never known it before

A whole entire commercial establishment full of


First time out drinking in America

Always drank in other countries

Now I’m on my own turf

My own

And ours

And it’s closer to my turf than just about anywhere else



Nooks and crannies

Here we are

They’re not quite like me

But close enough

So much closer to enough

Here we are


And the first gay person I ever knew is dead.

And the first lesbian I was ever friends with is a man

And I overhead – nothing to do with me –

I overhead, someone else knows that

Things Have Changed


The other day, she told me,

The whole structure of gender just stopped making sense

And I wondered why I act the way I act

But then it reasserted itself …

Said a friend

One of the few tall people I’m attracted to

She looks good in a dress

She looks good when she cross-dresses, too


Why is it that only now do I admit

That one of my favorite smells in the world

Is the smell of my own menstrual blood

Right up there with the smell of the air when it has just begun to rain

The smell of the air when it has just stopped raining

This is mine my body

Makes more snese now

I see it I see it I can tell you that much now

I see it

The first thought that crosses my mind when I see the blood

A surprise as always

Is that it’s such a beautiful color

Like poppies

My favorite flower

Which doesn’t grow in the American Northeast

But I’ve seen them in California and Israel

So I know that read

I’ve seen that red

I’ve read that red

It’s my red



You learn to read slowly

But you do learn to read eventually.

I learn to speak

In the nooks and crannies of language.

I learn to speak

You learn to see


Now read this my body

What you can see of it anyway

I’ll show you in a mirror

So you can see around the corner

Look over my shoulder into the


[Edit October 1 2008: I have chosen to cover the mirror. My body is private, more private than my thoughts.]




Don’t image a book, unless it’s a very messy and large scrapbook with strings leading out of it, body parts and bodies pasted in, videos and images and sounds, conversations and tensions and thoughts.

Your thoughts.

My thoughts.









You. You write part two. Go on, do it. Write me. Write me down.


The end of all human societies writes ‘The End’

and closes the book

and throws it on the fire

crackle crackle




the end

no one to see



One Student's picture

actually, gertrude stein

??? Actually. no. *quick google* No, definitely not! ; ) Gertrude Stein was the most direct stylistic inspiration.

shelle o'reegen's picture

this is striking and awe-inspiring

you must have read 'the arc' or at least Oulipo. i must read more.