Foto by tgw, New York City, 2010
My Gender Switching I Am
I've been peddling writing to a closer-than-close friend, a brilliant young woman with a brilliant mind and so many nooks and crannies of multiple climaxing stories or relations to relate in one of her various multitasking dimensions. Writing as a personal way to promote yourself and your feelings whether inward ones or empirically based ones. She sent me back a short note from her notes--notes she decided to start taking in terms of herself writing. It was funny and I got what she was driving at.
All last night I dwelt heavy with myself when a story idea snuck up on me and I had to deal with it no matter how far away from my routine it took me--a spontaneous way of writing development that imposes its will on me when it baits my actions with such imposing sparkling ideas for tales--I'm going to show what I've written on it so far. Like I ended up telling my closer-than-close friend, I want to lose my self in my writing--yet, my I Am keeps wrestling with my muse for protagonist powers, my muse telling me to deceitfully mask my I Am in...well, say, my closer-than-close friend's aura--can I write and think like a brilliant beautiful female like her? The challenge. Here's how all these imposing baits of ideas tried to fish me out of my deep-diving I Am and into trying to be a female (I Am She):
"Once upon a time..." the writer wrote before getting wiggly and grabbing for his cigarettes as he started to fall. He fell. In an head spinning effort he arose. Then he fell upon what came after "Once upon a time...". The Queen used to tell him, "Don't you all be goin' back in them woods, 'specially them hilly woods up there where it's always chilled." "Why not, Queen?" he the first time he heard her say it asked. "'Cause Benny's up there." "Who's Benny?" "Benny's a hermit." "What's'a hermit?" "A hermit's a man who ain't got no soul, no heart, no nothing, so as he don't wanna live no normal life, like we're s'pose to live." "Aren't there any women hermits?" "Naw, son, women can't live alone--or if they do they live near they family or sometin', but, no, no woman 'less she's crazy as an outcast coyote's gonna live like Benny does. 'Sides, it takes a man to live off raw flesh." "RAW FLESH," I screamed, "What the hell you talkin' about, Queen?" "Damn right. I ain't lyin'. Old Man Skimmer's said he's seen Benny trap a rabbit with his bare hands, slit its belly open while every thing's still all hot in there, then stick his face in there and come out bloody faced and a chewin' real big and happy like." "Old Man Skimmer's a piece of hot-air crap, ev'rybody knows that, Queen." "OK, smart-ass, how 'bout your own father, the King?" "Come on, my father's seen Benny eat a rabbit raw?...fur'n all, I suppose." "The King said he vouched Benny had the fur of some animal 'round hiz mouth the time he saw him."
But I'm not writing fairy tales. I'm trying to write actual things as this woman, Queen, retold them. Fiction? OK, yes, it's fiction. Isn't history mostly fiction? Aren't most texts of past solutions mostly past being actual anymore? Like 1 and 1 equals 2. Is that still true? So I guess I am writing Queen's fairy tales. That's grim to me. And I joke within myself a lot. I'm in love, so I'm writing as though I'm racing to stay ahead of time, of passing time, time I'm defending my goals against. But I've had Queen and Benny on my mind lately. As a result I started drifting back and being in that big living room with Queen where I was once upon a time. Queen sitting on her throne. A big E-Z rocker like she liked. She called it an E-Z rocker because she said it reminded her of Peter Fonda's motorcycle in Easy Rider. Or at other times she might tell visitors that she liked it because it matched the special driver's seat The King had custom built for her in her always-new Cadillac. Now she sat in that E-Z rocker and watched television morning, noon, and night.
"TV's reality, son. Hollywood's just a reflection of how we all see ourselves in our mirrors," she'd tell me. "Shakespeare said all the world's a stage and...," I would try to inject. "I used to fake those silly evangelical hillbillies out by declaiming Shakespeare at 'em." "You quoting Shakespeare?" "I was an actress, sonny boy, a damn good actress. You gotta be a good actress to be a band singer. You gotta be a good actress to be a good anything. A good wife. You bet womens is all actresses, while men can be phonies and posers and trick-pony experts--like being their natural show-off selves--women started acting and then men saw they could get the choice women if they'd start being actors, when actually men are all playwrights. You see those hundreds and hundreds of actors and actresses on that hot box there, that 21 inches of open-window-on-the-real-world? They represent our civilized ideals to us. Either we accept their ideals as our ideals or we're off the page and called eccentric."
But back when I was a kid, she was always on the front porch of her castle. Her house. The King's home. And my home. But she ruled it. That's why she was called the Queen. It was legit. Her name really was Queen. Queen Elizabeth Wolfe. She was the wife of who she called The King. My dad, E. A. P. Wolfe (yes, for Edgar Allan Poe). His dad, my grandfather, Al Wolfe, swore our Wolfes were direct descendants of Edgar Allan Poe. Later when I learned the truth about how Edgar Allan Poe wasn't a real Poe at all, I hadn't the heart to tell Old Al that he wasn't kin to Edgar Allan Poe if he were a Poe descendant. Although I could hear Old Al (we never called him Grandpa) now defending his ignorance. "Shucks, you shavetails, I was joshing yo'r little jive asses. Of course I knew Edgar Allan Poe wasn't a real Poe--hell, that thar dog over there knows that. I was jest testing you're investigative powers. You know, I'm hopin' you grandkids'a mine grow up smarter than me but not as sharp. You all'll never be as sharp as Al N. Wolfe." That causes me to remember how my uncle's kids used to ask him, "Mister Al, what does the 'N' stand for in your name?" "Nothin'. N-O-T-H-I-N-G...Nothin'!"
Before she was Queen Elizabeth Wolfe she was Queen Elizabeth Lamb. "My mother when she heard who I was marryin' said, 'Holy Moses, I'm feedin' my precious little Queen Lamb to that awful Al Wolfe's son. May God forgive me.'" Truth was, Mother Lamb and Little Queen Elizabeth needed money and old Al had plenty of money and land and Mother Lamb knew full well Al's only son, my dad, the King, was gonna inherit it all when they finally carted Al off to his already paid-for plot in the local high-class cemetery--Rolling Dells Cemetery. Weird name I thought for a flat-line flat cemetery. Rolling dells! I once heard the King say after Old Al's carcass was buried there that they were changing the name to Rolling Hell because Old Al's ghost was in there and in charge of the ghost situation. "You believe in ghosts, King?" "The Holy Ghost, hell yeah, son." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Back to the Mainline:
You see at the end of what I finished of the tale, I had shrugged myself back into my I Am. I had become my self again. I can't think like women; not even the women I was ever the closest to--and what women were those? I think. I lived with one ten years and to try to think like her twists me into clowny knots. I haven't a clue how that woman thought. Does her spirit haunt me now that she's in her Rolling Dells plot?--under a tree actually in the backyard of the adobe house she built with her own two hands. You see, had I used her in a tale, I would have never had her building a house with her own two hands--hands that I knew in a totally opposite way.
I knew another woman 30 years and if I try to foist myself on her character, I'd be too bittersweet (a great Aretha Franklin song, by the bye) to be fair to her. I mean, this woman could be so "loving" on one side and so fucking frozen-ass cold on the other side.
In the story above, I have no idea who Queen is out of my past. She doesn't think at all like the female I intended to impersonate. Where did she come from? Aha, I hit myself on the dome, of course, she's me; she's simply my I Am in drag.
I can't get close enough to any women I know to become them in drag. But maybe it's possible with this one now I'm wanting to see things like. Yet, the character Queen pops into what started out and still is the Benny character's story. God-damn, I love writing. Writing is my God.
I've been reading one of my fellow bloggers who's spouting into deaf ears that economics is a religion! YES, I hollered back at him--as Huey Newton said, everything is economics and economics is Capitalism in this country and that's what's wrong with this country--Capitalism needs continuous growing profits however it can get them--like Oliver Stone's character in "Wall Street"--the one Michael Douglas was playing--said, greed is the way to a stronger Capitalism...and Greed is certainly a God in the Economics pantheon. When there are no more profits, Capitalists start WARS. Our economy NOW is a WAR economy--WARS defending Capitalism--WARS perpetuating Capitalism. And look at all the global markets that through greed the Corporate World Domination will bleed national economies dry through buying up their land and stealing their natural wealth, breaking their backs, then imposing IMF loans on them to put them then in perpetual debt--where their citizens in order to survive have to become slaves to the Capitalist system.
Whew. I'm Bushed. And so have WE the People of the Good Ole USA been Bushed. The New World Order is upon us. Its bootheel is on our necks.
I am who I am and can't seem to get out of the rut of it. My I Am is my best friend but also my worst enemy. I am a lone Wolf, but not a lonely Wolf. I do have an ideal woman in my lone Wolf head--and I do know who that woman is. But I must be quiet in my "Howlin' for my darlin'"--I must re-be ME and in the meantime, find out who this Queen woman is--is she my ideal woman? Am I subconsciously creating her in the image of my female self? Oh how utterly fascinating--or as my real dad once commented as we passed a field of dairy cows, "What an udderly lovely scene." So pastoral my dad. So cornfield. So many of his fields seeded in wild oats.
for The Daily Growler