Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer has hit and I have found myself not quite as focused as I had been in winter months. I could blame this on the sun, but more likely it would be appropriate to blame my blaming the sun instead of taking my mind by the reigns and galloping about amongst the daffodils, instead of attempting to grab the horse by its flanks and see where that gets me. Mostly, nowhere and in pain. That probably seems obvious.

But, when my mind wanders I do tend to let the internet take control of me and I came across these photos by Sophia Wallace that feature some masculine females. This seems to be a sort of trend in fashion and in art right now (at least in circles I run in, I guess) but I think what interested me about this is that of female masculinity being en-vogue over in Berlin. Now, I've always had a thing for female masculinity ever since I cut off all of my hair for the very first time(I think I was in 1st grade?). I remember hating my curls and wanting to feel liberated from the washing, brushing, etc. On top of all this I was closer to what I had desired (and seems to be a popular desire of young girls), which is that of wanting to be a boy. They got to ride lawnmowers and wear cool shirts, ones with pockets and Wolverine on them. I was a stealer of my brother's clothes, which also seems to be a common theme among the gender-bending youth I have read about. And yes, my brother was angry about it.

So, it wasn't a popular thing to do. That Le Tigre chorus runs in my head: "Are you a boy or a girl/Are you a girl or a boy?" A common question before breast development, I assure you, and still a running theme afterwards.

Either way, it made me want to live in Berlin, and excited to live in an (almost) gender ambiguous mecca such as New York City, although it isn't as if I haven't had my problems here (mostly with hairdressers and salespeople). But I do worry about those less progressive areas and although it is great that female masculinity is being celebrated in popular culture and art, I just wonder to what end. I wonder about how politics and art work together a lot lately -- finding the only successful artist doing this sort of work being the great Erik Ehn, and I've seen work by Jess Barbagallo & I'd say it's doing political work as well. I'm not sure why political art is hard, maybe because the language around it can seem like one giant cliche and can't really effectively communicate the severity of political situations like apartheid, homophobia, and Virginia Tech true. It can only try to simulate, or recreate the real world, when maybe the real world is exactly the problem.

This all makes me wonder why I am a poet. If being a poet among poets (because, let's be honest, who else reads poetry?) am I just preaching to a "choir", so to speak. It makes work seem silly, but also always the only work I am able to do. This has been a theme in many conversations in my life recently and I have yet to find any answers. Maybe that's where the best work comes from -- when you find that you can't find any solutions and you have to work in that space where language fails because you haven't found the words for it either.