Number 158 Summer 2014 $9.95
RFD 159 Fall 2014 1
Issue 160 / Winter 2014
DIFFERENTLY ABLED FOLK
Submission Deadline: October 21, 2014 www.rfdmag.org/upload
Disability Within the Community
As queer people we often think of ourselves
closer to heteronormative ideas, we lose
as different yet we often do not consider
a bit of our magical edge in embracing
people who are “differently abled.” Just
the “weird.” Weird was a word of power
saying differently abled leaves something
and strength, but as conformity came to
to the imagination. It is a coy phrase for
fear difference, we have embraced what
trying to undo the damage of the labels
we think of as typical. We all face some
put on people: deaf and dumb, physically
amount of being weird, and yet it is the
handicapped, mentally challenged, or
magic we bring to share.
emotionally disturbed. But like any moniker, which a community has some way of
We hope our readers embrace the idea
creating, we both embrace it and reject it.
and submit their stories, poems and artwork
We hope our use of the phrase is seen in
and images for this issue to embrace our
an embracing light, not as a label, but as a
phrase of identification and power. We’re hoping our readers will write in and share their personal stories of being a queer “differently abled” person or share how being in community with people having a variety of abilities expands our thinking about what we all have to offer. As the gay movement cycles closer and
RFD 159 Fall 2014
Recounting Forty Dishes Vol 41 No 1 #159 Fall 2014
RFD Turns Forty! In this issue we dedicate the issue reflecting on our past but we hope it inspires our readers to consider our future—RFD is now one of the oldest GLBT magazines still in print and we’re proud of our scruffy, dedicated core group of readers but we’re working on idea to expand our readership. We’re still working on digitizing our back issues—if you can contribute to helping pay for the scanning and the eventual server space—please visit our website—www.rfdmag.org/archiveproject/ We’re also launching a survey on our Facebook page so look for it. We want to know which service you use to read magazines online. RFD has roots in many streams and we’re proud of them all. We’ve always strived to represent our readers—so as always send in your stories, ideas and visions. As you enjoy this issue we think it worth mentioning that we have submissions in this issue from folk who have been here since 1974 and folk born in 1974. We do hope you’ll enjoy the issue. When we asked our layout master what he had to say about working on RFD for five years of its forty—he shrugged and smiled—now this is a friend with benefits!
—The RFD crew from White River Junction
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Submission Deadlines Winter–October 21, 2014 Spring–January 21, 2015 See inside covers for themes and specifics.
On the Covers Back Cover: Donald Gallagher by Willie Cole
Managing Editor: Bambi Gauthier Art Director: Matt Bucy Editor: Paul Wirhun
For advertising, subscriptions, back issues and other information visit www.rfdmag.org
RFD is a reader-written journal for gay people which focuses on country living and encourages alternative lifestyles. We foster community building and networking, explore the diverse expressions of our sexuality, care for the environment, Radical Faerie consciousness, and nature-centered spirituality, and share experiences of our lives. RFD is produced by volunteers. We welcome your participation. The business and general production are coordinated by a collective. Features and entire issues are prepared by different groups in various places. RFD (ISSN# 0149-709X) is published quarterly for $25 a year by RFD Press, P.O. Box 302, Hadley MA 01035-0302. Postmaster: Send address changes to
RFD 159 Fall 2014
RFD, P.O. Box 302, Hadley MA 010350302 Non-profit tax exempt #621723644, a function of RFD Press with office of registration at 231 Ten Penny Rd., Woodbury, TN 37190. RFD Cover Price: $9.95. A regular subscription is the least expensive way to receive it four times a year. Copyright © 2012 RFD Press. The records required by Title 18 U.S.D. Section 2257 and associated with respect to this magazine (and all graphic material associated therewith on which this label appears) are kept by the custodian of records at the following location: RFD Press, 85 N Main St, Ste 200, White River Junction, VT 05001. Mail for our Brothers Behind Bars project should be sent to P.O. Box 68, Liberty TN 37095.
Artists in This Issue Crowdog 4 Don Shewey
Juni 44 Allan Troxler
Robin Hood / Robert Birch
“Ethereal Visit” by Jim Jackson
CONTENTS Letters and Announcements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 RFDâ€™s Early Roots in Southern Oregon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The Running Waters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Franklin Abbott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Thoughts on five years into forty with RFD . . . . . . . Bambi Gauthier. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 A Backwoods Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sister Soami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Nestled in a Web of Liberation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Voyager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 My First RFD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leo Racicot. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Really Fucking Delightful. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Franklin Abbott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Drawing From Faerie Spirit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jim Jackson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 RFD and EuroFaeries Celebrate Twenty Years Together. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Junis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 A Most Mysterious Gardener. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Finger. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 The Forgotten: LGBT Amish in America . . . . . . . . . James Schwartz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Morning in Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Schwartz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Cavicles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Elmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 So Be It. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Joiner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Five Steps to Take When Managing Your Reactions to Bitchiness in Faerie-Space. . . . . . . . Albion Faerie Mushroom. . . . . . . . 50 A Tale of Two Poets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Franklin Abbott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Paper Catapults. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dan Vera. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 My Double . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dan Vera. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Patrick, My New Nurse. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Steven Riel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Postcard From P-Town. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Steven Riel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aaron Mayer Frankel . . . . . . . . . . . 58 State of the [queer] Union Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gavy Kaleidoscope . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Water Bearers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Robert Birch / Robin Hood. . . . . . 63
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LETTERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS The Bee’s Knees
Dear RFD, Thinking of you all as you traverse the worlds again. I look forward to hearing all about the magick! There was a letter to the last RFD about not having enough naked beekeepers. So I shot one this morning: —Robin Hood aka Robert Birch
Dear RFD, Thank you so much for making this happen. I was so grateful to find this wonderful issue of RFD in my mailbox on Gay Pride weekend in San Francisco. The timing was perfect to bring me back to that era we all share. To be included in this particular issue that revisits the AIDS crisis is particularly important to me and I too, like Covelo, found bitter sweet emotions when I learned we somehow omitted the photographers who deserve credit for their generous contributions to my book and my lifeHere’s what I know: Photo 1 of Gay Widows, me, Janice and Viva: I’m not sure who took this photo but it came to me as a postcard (obviously cut out of a larger photo) from Bobby Scotland post marked, 25 Sep. 1974 (that’s why there are postmarks on Viva’s face.) The note read, “here is the segment of the photo you desired, someday you will have the entire picture, promise, xxxxxxx Baba” (I assume he took it but can’t say for sure since he is no longer with us to ask.) Photo 2: the beautiful color shot of me and Tommy, Gay Pride Day 1979, was taken by Dan Nicoletta and I add he donated hours of labor to color correct this and several other photos throughout my book. Much love and thanks goes to him. Photo 3 and 4: Mama and Viva and Viva and Tommy were snapshots taken by God only knows who. Photo 5: Leather Queen at Roll Over Alice. I regret to say I can’t recall how I came by it but the photographer was Dana P. Porras who I tried to find but never could before I used it in my book. I first saw it published in a 1992 Calendar called Blue that someone sent me but then someone also sent me the actual photo and I can’t say who or when. Photo 6: The book cover photo was taken by David Greene in my kitchen in 1974 and the cover design was by Jennifer Lim 2013. So to all these artists I owe my gratitude and hope to find their names in your next issue. —Thank you and much love to all, Dolores De Luce
Corrections Dear RFD, I meant to have written earlier, and I realize I’m almost a month over the deadline for submission for the Fall issue, but in some future issue, we need to make a correction regarding the author of the “Men Who Love Plants” article in the Summer 2014 issue. The author of this was “Jenks Farmer” and not me. I’m not sure how this mix up happened, as I only submitted the photograph (which I did take). Thanks for the work you do and sorry for the confusion. —Hunter Desportes 4
RFD 159 Fall 2014
Photo: John’s naked bees, love Crowdog
Raise for the Roof at Zuni
Exciting news! Money contributed towards roof repair will be matched by an anonymous donor! That means that your tax-deductible contribution will have twice the impact! This offer is only good for a limited time only, so please give today! You can contribute online at http://www.zms.org click on Donations. In addition to the powerful WooWoo happening on the land there will also be some power lifting
Dear Friends, We’ve carried RFD for all forty years, I think, though we no longer have on hand the records that go back that far! We celebrated our 40th anniversary last year. If we knew about RFD, then we certainly had it. Our store is now closed, though I hope there will be a buyer very soon, who will contact you about resuming shipments. It’s been lots of fun! Love, Ed Hermance Giovanni’s Room [Editor’s note: Since Ed wrote to us Giovanni’s Room was purchased by the Philadelphia non-profit, Philly AIDS Thrift. The store will have a reopening in October 10th]
Letter for our 40th… and power digging and power mudding! Work parties will be happening all week long to help check off some long overdue items off the “to-do” list. These projects include road maintenance, out house improvements, water system repairs and upgrades, structure and foundation repair, and long overdue roof repair. Specific project details and cost estimates can be found at www.zms.org under the Projects tab. To get these projects done, we need your financial and physical help! Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, financial contributions we receive for roof repair will be matched. Visit www. zms.organd click on Donations. We hope you will be able to make it to the Gathering. If you are interested in attending and need additional information, feel free to call 505-783-4002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Many of your first time visit questions can be answered in the visitor’s guide posted on the website as well. Please help us take full advantage of the generosity of our anonymous donor by making a tax-deductable contribution today. These opportunities don’t happen all that often! Visit www.zms.org and click on Donations. Thank you for continued support! With love, —The ZMS Community
Photo courtesy Zuni Mountain Sanctuary.
Dear RFD, I am proud to say an article I wrote (about swimming in a nearby pond) was published in the very first issue. [Editor’s note: this ran in issue 9, but Allen did write in the first issue about a Deadly Nightshade concert.] I still swim in that same pond, 40 years later. RFD was founded as a magazine for gay men living in the country. I lived at Butterworth Farm in Royalston MA with other gay men and we put together several early issues of RFD. A few years later, the magazine was pretty much transformed by people who called themselves “radical faeries” who shifted the magazine into a more dogmatic faerie magazine, thus making it irrelevant for rural gay men who did not adopt the faerie line of thinking. We are still here at Butterworth Farm, but none of us have subscribed to RFD in ages. This narrative makes me sad. On the other hand, I’m glad RFD has survived in its new outlook, and I wish you all luck. —Allen Young
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RFD 159 Fall 2014
A very early call for the second issue of RFD. Courtesy Allan Troxler.
RFD’s Early Roots in Southern Oregon
Standing: Jeff, Landon, unknown, Carl, Allan. Kneeling: Stevens.
Jeff helped with the first RFD from North Carolina. Landon worked on several of the early issues. Stevens and Carl were partners in San Francisco and then lived together in Wolf Creek, for a while. In the photograph, he was visiting from Michigan after moving back home. RFD #1 includes Carl’s account of the Wolf Creek gathering in memory of Stevens McClave, after his suicide. In ‘73, Landon (who was building his house way up the hill—with a donkey to haul the heaviest timbers) and Carl and I, plus Art, who lived down on the other side of Wolf Creek on a straight commune, were all there was of gay men’s community there. —Allan Troxler
An original RFD envelope from Wolf Creek.
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The Running Waters Interview with Ron Lambe by Franklin Abbott
How did you come upon the Radical Faeries and Running Water Farm? Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my somewhat hazy memories of those wonderful years. I was introduced to RFD by a countertenor (Stella) in San Francisco. He had been to the first Gathering in 1979, and he shared a copy of RFD featuring that gathering [#22]. Shortly after that, I decided to leave San Francisco (which was a rather illogical idea) mainly to visit Europe. I had sold my share of a house there, and had a little savings and felt that it was time to “see the world” and open myself to new things. My general plan was to visit Europe, but first there were a few other things I wanted to do: 1) attend a conference at the ARE (Association for Research and Enlightenment—the Edgar Cayce Institute which I was rather heavily involved with then); and 2) attend a gathering at Running Water per the RFD article. I also spent some time visiting old college friends on the North Carolina coast after the ARE Conference. I had very little in the way of preparation as to what to expect. My experience in California that anywhere near what I thought it might be, was maybe white water rafting, but I suspected it would be different—and it was. I arrived rather unfairly like and I must have 8
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been rather lost appearing, because I remember Claire stating that, “yes, this is the place.” I rapidly felt at home. At that gathering, Mikel (who owned the place) announced that it was for sale. I had been looking for land for years in California (as part of the Back to the Land movement then), so I decided to come back a week or so after the gathering to check it out and see if it was a good fit. I had a friend who I thought might join me in that venture. But lo and behold, I was not there an hour when four more faeries came down the drive also looking it over to possibly purchase. We had a good visit and found that we shared a lot of visions (Cayce reading being one of them) and pretty soon decided to chip in (as none of us had enough to purchase it outright ourselves), and that was the beginning of our collective (Rocky, Peter, John and I). We worked on the legal details, and by the fall gathering we announced our collective and our purchase of Running Water. As we had almost no way to survive the winter (or money), we piled into Peter’s truck and went to Tampa, FL to work to save up some money—another chapter. We returned in the spring. When were you first aware of RFD? Can you remember how RFD came to Running Water? Do you
Photo by Don Shewey. Pictured, L to R: Steven Greer, Franklin Abbott, Andrew Raimer, Ron Lambe, John Burnside, Harry Hay, Crazy Owl.
have memories of Faygele? and Don Kilhefner. As a way to divide up the labor, Yes I remember Faygele who had been the we developed Department Editors who would work “keeper” of RFD after it left Washington. He had from their homes and edit parts of the journal, such been in that collective but had family in North as Poetry, Brothers Behind Bars, Fiction, Cooking, Carolina so he was the “business manager.” The Homesteading. When of received submissions, we production had been in different collectives, and the would forward them to the appropriate department last one was in New Orleans with LaSIS (Louisiana (volunteer) editor, who would edit the material and Sissies in Struggle). We had no particular plans to send it back. It was lucky that the journal was a take on RFD then, but almost all the other Faeries quarterly as we had so much correspondence. seem to think that it was a given, so in short, we did. When did you decide to become the editor of Faygele brought us a couple of boxes of papers relat- RFD? ing to RFD and we almost despaired at how little In the process of sharing the work, I eventually we had to work with, but we worked as a team, and emerged as a (Miss)Managing Editor. I attended to Peter and I typed and John did a lot of the art work. the negotiations with the printer, the banking, postRocky was supporting in the kitchen and editing. ing, etc. We had a typewriter, and everything was done on What were some of your challenges? galleys with lots of glue. Some of the most fun we The challenges were great as we were scattered had was laughing at what and disparate, and we we dared not to print. had almost nothing but a Faygele was a constant typewriter to work with. I gatherer and had lots of don’t think any of us had wonderful stories. any publishing experience. Producing RFD and Money was always a probWe had a typewriter, and hosting the Gatherings lem, and the logistics of everything was done on (summer and fall) were getting the issues from the galleys with lots of glue. the two enterprises for printer and stuffing them Some of the most fun we us as well as fixing up in mailers to post kept us the place and developbusy. had was laughing at what ing a garden. We didn’t What were some of we dared not to print. need much money to your fond memories of that Faygele was a constant live on, but that little bit time? gatherer and had lots of was hard to come by. I do have fond memoThe Gatherings yielded ries of those years as we wonderful stories. enough to pay the taxes, felt that we were creating and eventually, RFD something worth while. generated about $200 a I remember getting RFD month for us. As I recall, into libraries and in the we lived very comfortconnected with National ably, and while we could not afford any extras, we creative writing associations. I remember librarate well, had plenty of work to do, and slept well at ians writing to ask just what RFD stood for, which is night. We lived a fulfilling life. impossible to say. As we got visitors to the Collective over the years How did RFD grow and change under your stew(1979-1988), we garnered help with the producardship? tion. Charles did a lot of wonderful typing, DeLite RFD had some tentative and scary moments, but did artwork, etc. I think I just followed a number with careful and steady management, it grew. When of other managing editors over the years. We soon I left it in 1987 or 1988, it had a couple thousand realized that we had to rely on writings from our dollars in reserve. Unfortunately, I turned the manreaders to generate a production, so it was termed, agement over to a fellow who had more compelling “a reader written journal.” After all, it was formed concerns than the journal, and he wasted a lot of to be a voice for isolated rural gay men. It also the reserve looking for a companion, I was eternally became a voice of gay men exploring their place in grateful for the Short Mountain Collective for takthe world. The Gatherings were an integral part of ing it on and continuing the production. It is now the journal. So, we published writings by Harry Hay one of the oldest continuing gay publications in the
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country. Short Mountain was always our brother collective, and we attended each otherâ€™s gatherings. So, it was a kind of family affair, just as coming to Running Water was via Faygele. Can you talk about the transition of RFD to Short Mountain? Can you talk about your role in the founding of Gay Spirit Visions and what you have been up to since then? In 1988 I took a job with an environmental organization (WNC Alliance), and that brought me to Asheville. That is when I had to turn the production over. Also, Rocky and Peter and John had left the collective some years before. Since none of us could buy the other out, we opened to ownership to the Faeries, as a kind of guaranteed loan. So, we raised enough money to pay back Rocky and Peter (John had no capital in the venture) for their investment, and we had shares. After 1988, it became distressingly clear that I could not turn the property over to another steward (at least the one who came forward), so I determined to sell it. A friend and
10 RFD 159 Fall 2014
neighbor bought it, and I was able then to repay the loan shares to the faeries I could find. Missing the Gatherings, but also feeling somewhat frustrated that the gatherings had become somewhat predictable, Raven, Peter and I got together to determine what could follow. The three of us (with some others) decided that we needed for the gatherings to have more structure, with workshops, keynotes, etc. And, we wanted to retain that special magic that the gatherings had. This would be a tricky compromise, but we felt that it was time to step beyond Faerie 101 and start delving into our place in the world. We would also need to find another place for the gatherings. After several ill fated attempts, we found the Unitarian Universalist camp, The Mountain a welcoming home, and it has remained there now for longer than the Running Water gatherings. I like to think it is a testament that we got it right. It is a heritage I am very proud of. w
Franklin Abbott with Faygele ben Miriam. Photo courtesy Franklin Abbott.
Thoughts on five years into forty with RFD by Bambi Gauthier
hinking of what to write for the RFD anniversary made me aware of a few things: my own personal narrative history with RFD and my knowledge of others within RFD’s rich history. How RFD has been a place first for gay men then over time Radical Faeries and now as things continue to evolve more queer people who use a variety of identities and hold various places within many cultures and communities. I first saw RFD at Food for Thought Books in Amherst MA in the late 80’s. Soon after I was at Short Mountain Sanctuary during a Beltane gathering and carting boxes of RFDs together thanks to Sister Mish for the gay archive project I started in Northampton MA. I was a sometime subscriber and always sought out copies to read in the bathrooms of friend’s places or tucked in a pile of magazines on their coffee tables. I saw RFD as the journal of record for the community I identified with: faeries, rural people, queers who were interested in justice for more than themselves. Meeting with many of the people who shared my experience—I learned more about RFD’s history and it’s multiple mothers, it’s various homes and throughout—the strong support RFD always had from it’s small but dedicated readers. Living in New England and being part of the Northeast Radical Faeries I was introduced to names which in our best oral tradition spelled out characters unmet but worthy of making part of our mythical thread of his-story. So I heard of how Allen Young was part of putting together an early issue of RFD when it’s focus was on rural gay men trying to create connections and create communities in their immediate environs rather than retreating to the vast gay ghettos in the large coastal cities. I heard how Faygele ben Miriam sheparded the magazine west after it’s sojourn in New Orleans. How Arthur Finn was part of Magdalen Farm in Wolf Creek OR. I heard how the collective of a mythic place called Running Water carried RFD forward through the 80’s—the awful Reagan—Bush years of AIDS, Central American dirty wars, the war on the poor and people of color under the guise of getting rid of “welfare queens”, and the war on drugs that
created the prison industrial complex. Ugly times yet RFD and the place and people it helped document saw of flourishing of conversations about how to change America. Conversations that are now honored badges of our willingness to dialog, grow and reshape our lives as we looked at our spirituality, our diverse sexuality, our desire to live closer to the land, to depend more on local communities and create a culture of self reliance. In that span of time I learned how to organize, to fight for gay rights, to struggle for a sane response to my friends dying of AIDS, and a growing understanding of how vital the people were around me. Some of the people who shaped my survival include many men who wrote or submitted art to RFD’s pages - it strikes me that as my personal worth was being nurtured by this circle of men they were reaching out, sharing visions, gaining ideals and finding places for thier politics and their rightful rage which the era created. RFD throughout it’s existence seems to always be a place to share in the creation of community - early gay men’s communes which now are the focus of gay / queer studies were merely a handful of men reaching to sustain themselves and open their doors to new input, new friends and lovers. The many names of these communes strike me more as a spell: Elwah, Butterworth, Magdalen Farm, Running Water, Hop Brook, Short Mountain… Even though I was a mere five years old when RFD launched in 1974 and I was exposed to it in 1988, I’ve been thrilled to be a part of helping steward it forward since 2009 when RFD moved from Short Mountain to New England, after the Mountain’s long stewardship came to an end. As ever a labor of love I’m ever hopeful that it will continue. Something Allen Ginsburg said in his journals seems a way smart way to end my revery: “Fortunately art is a community effort—a small but select community living in a spiritualized world endeavouring to interpret the wars and the solitudes of the flesh” —July 11, 1954. w
Bambi and Sister Soami at the close of the RFD office in Tennessee, 2009.
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A Backwoods Glance by Sister Soami
s a friendly witness to the birth of RFD in Iowa City forty years ago when fellow faggots in arms and activism created that first issue and later as production manager for most of its twenty-two year stewardship at Short Mountain Sanctuary, I have long felt intimate connection with this queer publication’s existence. By church schooling and personal predilections, pronouncements come easily to this aging sister in spirit. And considering its forty years of continuous publication, I choose to reflect on a number of issues with particular resonance for me before I conclude with a coda of confession. Issue 25 (Fall/Winter ’80) The Ozark Faerie Issue was a double Fall/ Winter issue and the reason why after forty years we are at Issue 159 with this venerable queer quarterly and not Issue 160. That issue was also remarkable for so may fine articles: Milo’s “A Faerist Not-Manifesto” with so many evocative, quotable passages and quotes from Walt Whitman, Harry Hay, Sally Gearheart, and Mitch Walker, Clover Chango’s report on the second Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries held in Colorado that summer 1980, Sai’s Halloween Faerie Gathering at Bolinas, and Dennis Melba’son stirring “Excerpts from a Journal Written for a Friend in Prison.” Ron Lambe’s, on the cusp of becoming RFD’s guiding force at Running Water in North Carolina provided a cursory index to the first six years (24 seasons) of this dynamic quarterly for country queers across the continents. The Ozark feature with its warm browns on beige illustrations throughout conveyed the excitement of back to the land life gays were creating in that bio-region. In his years of helping edit RFD, Jan Nathan Falling Long ever proclaimed Issue 20 (Roaring Fresh Decisions, Summer ’79) among his favorite covers. It was also the first issue done in Middle Tennessee at the old farmhouse of “Wag-ing-tung” (now “Gabby”) and staffed by Milo Guthrie (Pyne) and John E. Greenwell among others, before it found a home on the Roan Mountain in North Carolina at Running Water for over nine years. In that transition from the West to the East Coast, it was one of four printed (Issues 17-20) in a fold-out tabloid form. Allan Troxler did that uplifting art as well as the iconic Country Lovers poster as a centerfold in the issue for all our subscribers to share the dream that RFD was fast becoming for so many isolated gay folk. Long before the internet, letters written and published once every three months here gave opportunity to advertise for a partner or lover. By the late eighties I remember our letters editor, Maqui, needing seven or more pages for the contact letters sent in and Ravel needed four pages for his Brothers Behind Bars pen pal solicitations from prisoners. A particularly apt collective statement from that issue echoes our evolving mission: “For many of us, RFD brought the first intimation that other rural gay men existed, an intimation accompanied by great relief and rejoicing. We feel that RFD’s focus should remain on rural gay men…but we must maintain our flexibility…we also feel RFD must be 12 RFD 159 Fall 2014
RFD #3 had a “Pansy Seed” seed packet stapled into it. Packet courtesy Allan Troxler.
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inclusive, not exclusive. The need RFD satisfies transcends both country and gay…We are all parts of a greater whole. Each oppressed group has its own special and very real problems, and through understanding others’ oppressions we gain a better understanding of our own.” This panoramic picture of the recent RFD Altar (below) I created for the Rhodes College in Memphis exhibit: No Fate But What We Make is topped by pale green poster so sums up the thread of comradeship we have ever instilled. The artist, Allan Troxler, and his country lover, Carl Wittman, were indeed so very much responsible for the graphic look and radical content of those first years. I remember meeting them at a layout party at Rick Graf and Don Engstrom’s Washington Street collective house in Iowa City as they were journeying from North Carolina to their Oregon homestead near Wolf Creek. That established the rotating editing relationship with Northwest and Midwest for alternating issues though the Wimmin’s Press in Iowa City did most of the printing in those years. Issue 124 (Rebels, Fabrica-
tors, Dancers, Winter ’05-’06), which featured some highlights of those early years, had a well deserved tribute to Allan’s graphic visions and also featured the real macrame border of an Asheville reader/author/ artist, Jim Gentry and the superb quilted banners, Revelation (’86) and Continuing Revelation(’98) by Seattle seamstress, fabric artist and faerie brother, Patrick Dorman. Issue 22 (Returning Forest Darlings, Winter’79) is remarkable for its comprehensive 47 pages on that first national Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries. It was also a single issue return to the 7x10 inch format of the first twelve (also the current size of RFD) and featured on the cover, the now lost “Faery Shawl” by its crocheting creator, 14 RFD 159 Fall 2014
Dennis Melba’son. Milo Pyne who established Short Mountain as an intentional community in the early ‘70s largely penned this issue’s collective statement grounded in the socio-political realities of those times. Issue 14 was the first one dedicated to photography and it is a theme we’ve often returned to featuring the images of West Coast activist Greg Day (59,89,99) San Franciscan’s Danny Nicoletta (99,133) and Rink (134) employing Dominic Vine’s superb layout skills. NYC’s David A. Foullard’s dancers graced the pages of Issue 128 and Issue 130 and Faerie documentarian extraordinaire, Keith Gemerek/Fussy LoMein, got his own feature with issue Issue 76 but his images appear in numerous other issues and on the cover with his portrait of Lynda Luna (137). He also curated the two issue coverage of Luc Edouard Georges’ portrait book of the NYC Faeries (133 & 134). Canadian Daniel Collins in Issue 89 (Reflecting Fraternal Diversity, Spring ’97) delivered one of my favorite foto galleries with his Nudes and the Merely Naked and gave us the most festive fey image for our previous family themed issue of Issue 88. Memphian Ben Fink attended a Short Mountain gathering and turned Keith and Keer’s home under construction into a faery portrait studio and we were blown away by the oversized distressed images that made the pages of Issue 81 and the inside covers in Issue 80 and Issue 82. Steven Baratz in Issue 77 and David Sharp in Issue 90 richly documented SMS Beltane gatherings. We made Steven’s cover for Issue 135 with Vine’s centerfold collage to accompany Mugwort’s Faerie Ancestor List into a promotional poster celebrating in 2008 thirty-five years of queer publication history. Frequently Kwai Lam’s portrait pages from gathering across the planet have celebrated us in all our diversity as in Issue 106 with Billy Club and Kin’s gatherings at Heartwood in NoCal. Finally in Issue 133 his faerie erotica from the pools of Summer Breitenbush was the center spread, with a double page reprise in Issue 134. Robert Giard visited the RFD Collective at Short Mountain to portray us for his book in progress of Lesbian and Gay writers. We followed that up with an eight page center spread from his Particular Voices, in Issue 84 and Dan Vera reviewed it in Issue 95 when MIT Press published it. We’ve appreciated having his stunning portraits of Edward Field and Jim Kepner (96), Tobias Schneebaum and Alan Gurganus (97) for interviews and tributes in these pages. Gary Plouff (61), Lee Steenhuis in our 1990 Calendar, Dear Love of Comrades, Mark Skinner (105) and in numerous issues, and Peter Lien, Jan Lynch, Rick Castro, Mark Chester, Gregory Aide and so many other fine fey photographers equally enriched our RFD seasons during Short Mountain’s stewardship. We participated in one of Sean Strub’s Community Card Packet mailings to promote RFD to a wider audience after the 1993 March on Washington. The overwhelming requests for “a sample copy” resulted in making the most ‘rare’ RFDs in our inventory of hard copies the Fall thru Summer of Volume XX,
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that celebration of our 20th year in publication. Issue 75, Fall ’93 announced the theme for the year, Recalling Former Decades. The title page featured the cover of Issue 9, Fall ’76 with Michael Ford’s design of Candor Smoothstone’s photographs into one of my favorite covers from those first years. Wayne Sizemore, Atlanta’s queer arts impresario and graphic designer did that cover featuring our 20th anniversary t-shirt and tote bag and John Harley, beloved drag maven from that same city who ever delighted us with his creative array of costuming each gathering and whom we were soon to lose in that first decade of those terrible dying years. Inside also were the obituaries of Dale Larson, our gentle spinner of wool who frequently stayed with us, Heartsinger/Richard Strange, who regaled us so often with his countertenor repertoire at Running Water gatherings, our Tommie Hodges, Maqui’s ‘tommietom-tom,’ living just down the lane, and Sandorfag’s beloved Act-Up intimate, John Greenberg. “By his example and through his eloquent words, he challenged us to empower ourselves by taking control of our own treatment decisions and thoroughly educating ourselves about our health care options.” Equally rare for those promotional fulfillment reasons is poet Gavin Dillard’s cover Issue 74 of The Horned God in the style of Matisse’s paper cutouts and another cherished favorite in my RFD archive. Issue 76, (Relax, Folks! Dream!, Winter, ’93) announced the birth of a new community nearby SMS, then nameless but quickly becoming IDA, and still thriving after two decades. Phil Woodward, one of its earliest artists-in-residence designed our cover which depicted Scott Love’s newly created Garden Gate at the Sanctuary. And our weeping mulberry covered in that surprise Halloween snowfall. Dancing Mane, our long-time Gardening Editor reminded us of the maple sugaring possible in January and February in our region. Sandorfag expanded his Down Home Erotica as a centerpsread. Sylvan and Robin continued their side-by-side Country Journal. James and Jannathan covered that fall’s Gay Spirit Visions Conference and with a concluding interview with Portland novelist, Tom Spanbauer. We featured the faerie photography of Keith Gemerek/Fussy LoMein with a reflective essay, “The Personal Becomes Political Becomes Spiritual,” about Gemerek’s work. Steve Berg’s ongoing quilt series, “Gentleman’s Choice,” focused on Crazy Quilts in this issue and gave me insight into my own Victorian era sensibilities. “Queen Victoria was a compulsive collector of ‘stuff,’ from memorabilia of Albert [her husband who died while still a young man], to flora and fauna under glass to clothing to furniture. Her overdone style was copied by her admiring subjects…” (Lichten, Francis. Decorative Arts of the Victorian Era.) The opening Collective “Between the Lines” statement clearly embodies the familiar grace, style and wit of our most dedicated writer living with us then, JanNathan Falling Long: “There were signs this year: a chilly rain that suddenly dampened enthusiasms the final day of the Fall Gathering, and the rapid coloring of foliage that followed hard upon. When the Mother trick-or-treated us with a teasing Halloween snow, she finally got our full attention. We sought out the plastic sheeting and wrapped the outhouse to minimize those rude, chilling gusts from below. The chain saw, serviced and revved to life after 16 RFD 159 Fall 2014
summer hibernation, seemed once again to be one of our most valued tools as we began to stack the woodshed.” I end this selective backward glance at our forty years of publication with a small but personal confession. This summer issue Issue 158 on the cusp of our “full forty” is the very first issue that I sat down and read non-stop from cover to cover. With its theme of “Lost Culture” contributors shared tender memories, piercing, heartfelt poems, evocative accounts of assisted suicides. I was confronted with
my own amnesia, then recalled the almost unbearable loss of loved ones, and I was deeply moved by these dedicated chroniclers of our shared grief. Ultimately, I felt comforted by the power and presence of so many friends dead yet in the mysterious ways that words and pictures call forth—alive again in this ongoing witness and song of ourselves that RFD is. Happy Anniversary, RFD, and thanks to all who make it one of queer culture’s mitzvahs, darshans, blessings! w
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Celebrating Queer Communities
RFD has often focused on celebrating queer communities. These are places and regional groups of feys weâ€™ve returned to in subsequent issues or covered previously. Kawashaway/Northwoods Faeries (102,151)benefited from the photographs of Keri Pickett. Jai Sharonda provided many of the portraits in the Short Mountain Sanctuary coverage (101,129). Philly Faeries (99,119) laid out their accounts and proudly honored their patriarch, Walter 18 RFD 159 Fall 2014
Lear. Long-time contributor Kwai Lam helmed the Santa Cruz issue (120). Seattle (121) NYC (122) Euro Faeries (92,123) Zuni (99,125) Wolf Creek/ Nomenus Sanctuary (100,126) Portland (127), OZ Faeryland (129) DC Faeries (131), Destiny (100,132), and Memphis Faerie Circle (111)put together features and created covers that captured the spirit of their lives. IDA in Issue 102 (Rhubarb and Fried Drives, summer, 2000) had collective
folks looking back at their seven years of art and activism just down the road from Short Mountain and looking forward to their first IDApalooza Fruit Jam music festival in September. Fourteen years later their music festival continues in late May/early June and after years of renting they have purchased their land in Vickers Hollow.
Celebrating Faerie Elders
With Franklin Abbott’s interviewing talents we launched a Celebrating Our Elders theme for issues Issue 95-98. They featured filmmaker/poet James Broughton (95), anthropological author Tobias Schneebaum (97) and poet Edward Field (96). Historian Joey Cain presented Harry Hay and John Burnside’s stories (96) and the covers displaying Stevee Postman’s digital mastery and Vaughn Frick’s familiar graphic style
framed those issues. Stuart Norman wrote an appreciation for master musician Lou Harrison his partner Bill Colvig and their artist friends in Issue 95 (Ravishing Furry Dudes, fall ’98). In Issue 96 (Rad Fag Dads, winter ’98-99) activist/ historian/journalist Jim Kepner was honored and remembered, along with Lisa Kanemoto’s self-portraits from her book, Dark Mirror. In Issue 97 (Rousing Flirtatious Daddies, spring ’97)Keri
Pickett wrote a retrospective essay of her uncle, Roy Blakey, one of the forefathers of homoerotic photography and we were thrilled to reprise his dance photography for a new generation.
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20 RFD 159 Fall 2014
Editor’s Note: The Shawl is now officially gone—she was last sighted on a train in France—oooh la la..
RFD 159 Fall 2014 21
Nestled in a Web of Liberation by Voyager
round town in Philadelphia, I’ve recently carried “The Next Generation,” RFD No. 146, Summer 2011 and “Transgender Faeries in Community,” RFD No. 152, Winter 2012. I asked Albo if he had a copy of “the Summer 2011 issue with the fae boy with piercings sitting in front of flowers.” We laugh at how generic this description sounds among our ilk. He knows precisely which one I am talking about and loans it. These two issues, the ones I’ve read the most thoroughly of RFD, have eerily similar yet divergent front covers. Ont “The Next Generation,” David Ford, photographed by Walt Cessna, stares directly at the reader, seated amidst purple flowers, ruffles on their off-white blouse, shoulders turned-in and slightly concave, fingers wrapped around each other, palms facing yet slightly open, heaviness in their eyes, a perplexing expression neither enthused, angry, distraught, nor upset, a captivating stare that draws the reader in without conveying clear emotion. On “Transgender Faeries in Community,” Messapotamia Lefae, painted in watercolor by Emily Smith Satis, stares directly. Charcoal ruffles cascade, framing her face. She clutches a fuchsia flower between her thumbs. Her fingers close fist-like, phalanges facing one another. Clad in a black dress, a widow look with heavy ruddy eyes, an upset expression oscillating between anger and dismay, it is unclear if Messy is going into mourning or coming out of it. Indiscernible rainbow watercolor shapes flank her sides. These covers are not chipper, ecstatic, nor defiantly proud. They haunt, chill, perplex; they hold liminal emotional space. I sit here with “The Next Generation” open, and I understand how unstable RFD is as a journal. A breathing entity, a living lover, it grows, transforms, refuses to stay stable as some texts perform themselves to be. Handling this issue is nothing like my original experience. Albo has a submission in it, “The Queer Voice? You’re Choking On It,” yet I didn’t know this until I reread the issue. I remember first encountering this specific piece of writing at an exhibit, Witness: Artists Reflect on 30 Years of the AIDS Pandemic, not from RFD. I didn’t realize Nikita has an article in “The Next Generation.” Yes, it is published under a slightly different moniker which I wouldn’t recognize immediately, 22 RFD 159 Fall 2014
but how did I miss it? The article on consent, how this is practiced in gay and bi communities versus punk and anarchist communities, is encased in lots of very masculine gay love photos. Maybe this turned me off from reading the article, despite Nikita being a big ol’ sissy. Maybe I avoided it entirely because of a recent breakup. Hella Degenerate has an article in both of these two issues. Even though I adore their writing I’ve since read on tranimals and bonobo hobos, back then, none of it from “The Next Generation” sunk in. “Hope for the Future, or Why the Queer Movement is Doomed” by Arcana spoke to me the loudest on the first read, the only article that stuck in my memory. Arcana discusses pervasive ecological destruction, genocide, and the ineffectiveness of most culturally appropriated New Age spiritual tools to resist this. If more adept holistic indigenous societies used these tools yet were still nearly decimated, how will appropriated use fare any better? Arcana considers this “negative reality” as “the starting point for an authentically positive outlook,” declaring I, now, am waiting for nothing to begin my life of defense of the earth, of creation of new/old ways of living in real harmony and community and love with those around me, human and non-human, and that is the most uplifting view I could possibly give to myself. I know what path to follow for the rest of my life: how could I not be joyous at that?
n a recent read, more articles resonate loudly. I feel new rhythms in the magazine, new affinities impossible prior. In “The Next Generation,” Jacqueline fka Free Lady, Now asks Radical Faeries to “look outside the sanctuary box,” to incorporate abolitional democracy into sanctuaries and new intentional communities. Gay liberation pulses in her text. She demands we abandon GLBT object language in the style of military industrial complex acronyms. Jacqueline describes Valencia’s profound influence on her life. I recall Valencia clarifying genderful love to me, describing the racism towards blacks and people of color inherent in experience of Radical Faerie sanctuaries, telling me about the Sojourners Land Movement. Many gay liberation coalitions could not separate abolition, prison solidarity, and anti-im-
perialism from gay identity. They dreamed us new generations, in all our betrayals of their dreams, quite parsed from their worlds, into being.
was first exposed to the existence of RFD in 2010. Through Scott Herring’s academic research on 1974 RFD, I learned it was a rural magazine designed to facilitate communication between geographically dispersed gay men (and lesbians) outside of cities, which has since become primarily Radical Faerie oriented. The journal was modeled after Country Women, a journal for rural lesbian-separatist women. I learned the working-class editors fancied themselves as “non-normative alternatives to bicoastal U.S. gay lifestyle and as cross-identified anarcho-effeminists.” Contrary to the urban activities of many effeminists, RFD editors imagined the journal as “an extension of anti-homonormative gay liberation magazines such as Boston’s Fag Rag.” Prior, in 2008, I met my first Radical Faerie, Nikita, who was a fellow worker-owner at the Maryland Food Cooperative. While they are fabulous, anarcha-feminist, lucid, I didn’t have any urge to connect to Radical Faeries. I was spiritually shutdown, full of queer rage, brimming in self-dejection. The Radical Faeries had no appeal. After a couple of years of leftist organizing, agitation, and thorough burnout, I searched for purpose. The Cockettes (2002) documentary found me. I was entranced. Communal, anti-war, hippie drag queen acid freak, gay liberationist, the art of the Cockettes mentored me, a guide through my rapid-cycle underworld of despondency and hope. I formed a deep bond, unaware of the importance of these people to cultures from which the Radical Faeries emerged. In 2010, I handled archival documents in the D.C. Rainbow History Project. In Bruce Pennington’s papers, I came across an issue of “A Conference Report Faggots and Class Struggle,” an issue of Morning Due: A Journal of Men Against Sexism (1976). The “Sissy Caucus” and “Anarchist Caucus” reportbacks appealed to me. The “Sissy Caucus” report includes critiques by rural “sissy-identified faggots” of urban “straight-identified faggots.” Later, I learned that this conference was held on land that is now Nomenus. The language of sissy-identification seduced me. Soaked in queer rage yet yearning for gay love of those before and around me, I continued to scour and search for historical clues to what I am. I watched Word is Out (1978) and formed deep affinity with Tede Matthews. I read Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture (1978) and learned more about
the betrayal of straight-identified faggots and sustained communal magick. In 2011, after I finished writing about the Cockettes and their historical milieu, a dormant spirituality awoke. I visited Short Mountain Sanctuary for the first time. On the main porch, I plopped down on the couch covered in wet dog hair and picked up “The Next Generation.” It’s the first issue I actually handled and read cover to cover. Later that day, it dawns that Voyager, a name I received years ago at the Maryland Food Cooperative, is a faerie name. Whether it was a Radical Faerie name, I figured only time would tell. In Fall 2011, I moved to Philly and Arthur Evans passed on to the beyond. Over a couple of years, I meet more of the Philly and New York Radical Faerie community and came into a sweet place with the Rad Fae, a transition from betrayal and mistrust to tentative trust followed with deep love and affinity. I met Jan Nathan and learned that they worked at the same food cooperative as Nikita and I but in the early 1980s, quite early in its founding. I told this to Nikita the next time I saw them, and they had no idea. The same place, in which my name was cooed to me, is intertwined with the story of the Radical Faeries.
hold fliers advertising a queer arts and music festival against the cover of “The Next Generation,” purchase groceries around an indoor market. Gleaming collards, kale, corn in one plastic bag dangle from my wrist. Another bag holds discount, blemished carrots, zucchini, corn. Australian and U.S. lamb shoulder reside in a tiffin in my messenger bag. I walk intentionally, poised, am emboldened to walk back over to the white, fat, lightly mustached, dandy, punk queer who gave me back my EBT card, who returned a confident, knowing stare. I give them a flier and chat them up. Prior, I take a Department of Health research study questionnaire in front of a pretty gay coffee shop, a chance to qualify and receive a Visa giftcard. “The Next Generation” glares up from the table, sitting between the interviewer and me. He is black, thin, butch queen, angular cheek bones, masculine-because-that’s-allthe-job-allows. Atop the RFD, my journal presses down, a visible pink and black flag sticker and an obscured message, OLITION NOW! CKANDPINK.ORG “What sex were you assigned at birth? Male or female?” “Male.” “Do you identify as Male, Female, or Transgender?” RFD 159 Fall 2014 23
“Transgender.” He uhs and stutters on the next question, visibly confused. I am not confused. I am grounded, swish, present.
fter I danced Naraya this year, I recuperated in the home of Daz’l and Randy. Off their shelf, I read The Anti-Exploits of Men Against Sexism: A Tale of a Revolutionary Queer Prison Gang in the Pacific Northwest. I learned of the organization’s prison resistance by queer, gender-variant, and trans prisoners in Walla Walla beginning in 1977. During Naraya, Joan Henry taught me in a nurturing and haunting manner, “brothers and sisters before you dreamed you into existence. There is no other way.” It was not RFD alone that led me to the Radical Faeries but the intertwined dreams and work of a multitude of liberationists. Why do we restrain RFD in Radical Faerie subculture when the publication is nestled in a web of liberation? RFD, you beautiful Radical Faerie commodity, your unstable history before your emergence as a Radical Faerie rag still courses in the paper. We do not need print media in the same way as during the
24 RFD 159 Fall 2014
1970s to encourage communication among rural sissies. What is imagined and dreamed becomes real and corporeal in only a handful of generations. We need you, RFD, to disaggregate Radical Faerie subculture and reveal our people as a coalition. What dreams will we hear when we stop to listen to each issue of RFD, not impose a simple history over so many decades of publication? Dwelling in beauty and thresholds is something that we desperately need to keep alive, for our individual sanity and for those cultures that will come after this one. - Arcana
hank you, writers and artists alive and deceased, for so many decades of continuous creation. Thank you, reader. Know now you resist strangling vines and cultivate new growth simply by being present here with this print media. Thank you “The Next Generation” and “Transgender Faeries in Community” for all the time you’ve spent with me. Thank you Lenni-Lenape people and spirit for tending the land that grounds me, the space and energy I have used to write this article. RFD, may we steward the visions as they unfold in your dried paper pulp form and continue to dream wild. w
My First RFD by Leo Racicot
efore I tell you about the first time I saw RFD Magazine, and Mitzel and Glad Day, I think it is good to tell you about Miss Stanley, our kindergarten teacher, who taught the class a little dance, nothing too elaborate, because we were kindergarteners. At the end of our baby ballet, she instructed, “The boys will bow (here, she demonstrated how to bow) and the girls will curtsey.” (She showed us how to curtsey). “To repeat—the boys will bow (bowed) and the girls will curtsey” (curtsied). We did our tiny turns to the music and at the end, you can guess, of course, what sissy little me did. I curtsied. I was
rather self-pleased until a wall of laughter and derision knocked me over like a bowling ball. If I could have crawled under the floorboards or jumped out the window, I would have. Following this, my father felt I needed “straightening out” and against my mother’s wishes (I can still to this day remember the very real and scary argument they had about it), I was placed at Saint Patrick’s School across the street, run by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. I was settling in to the very strange, new surroundings, not happy but not sad when one day, in a dark corner of the school
Browsing the periodical rack. In February 1979 I headed down to Boston with two friends to try and
put a bookstore together. Glad Day remained at this location until the fire of July 7, 1982. By Jearld Frederick Moldenhauer
RFD 159 Fall 2014 25
hall, I spied two nuns who seemed to be pushing each other away but who, on closer inspection, I noticed, were drawing each other near. The giant rosaries hanging from their waists tangled and collided in a mad, black clacking. Looking back years after, I realize that what I witnessed was for them a quick dip in The Lady Pond. Their pubic mounds were pressing so hard, you could almost hear them roar, the heat of them burned under the weight of their heavy, holy folds, a furnace of desire. The sounds they made lasted for them five minutes and for me, a lifetime; my ears have never forgotten what they heard, nor has my soul. The nuns and priests were forever reminding us to be pure, think pure thoughts, never give our bodies over to sin. Like Jesus. Even at that unformed age, my mind told itself, “Something is very unJesus-like in Jesus Land.” These two incidents, plus years of being targeted as a queer, a “fish”, a dink, a fairy made me confused and fearful to express my true self except in the most private of moments. I learned that being open with my desires was not a good idea. Parading around the yard in my mother’s dress and high heels, loving the click-clack of them on the sidewalk, filled me with a primal, tingling joy until our neighbor, Alice Achin, who my sister, Diane and I were sure was a witch—she had the scowling face and broom-like hair of one—suddenly appeared to scream at me from her porch that I was “a wicked, wicked child”, “a SEX MANIAC !!” It is small wonder I chose to hide whatever I was and what I felt for other boys and men. Don’t get me wrong; I was no shrinking violet. I sucked and fucked with the best of them and had enough sex for ten lifetimes. But these liaisons took place in dark alleys, dark bedrooms, dark toilets determined to keep my sexual proclivities and trysts hidden until, that is, the day I found out from my friend that a gay book shop, Glad Day, had opened in Boston. I just had to find the courage to go, for books were, from a young age, my comfort and my shelter and I had never laid eyes on a gay book much less on gay porn which it was also rumored the store sold. I set off boldly on my journey and found Glad Day which was located on the second floor of a downtown building. That first climb up the stairs was one of the hardest, longest climbs I have ever made. My knees nearly buckled under me a few times and I felt sick in my stomach trying to muster the courage to go up and into that forbidden bookstore. Two-three times I tried, making it a third of the way up, then halfway, then almost up before 26 RFD 159 Fall 2014
turning each time and rushing back down. Finally, I took a deep, hard breath and entered. My heart and my cock lifted in joy as there before me appeared a wonderland of books. Here were literary and popular treasure chests of shelves filled to absolute bursting with Proust, Cavafy, Capote, Walt Whitman, Harper Lee, and racks, racks, racks screaming to the ceiling, screaming louder than Alice Achin ever could, of the most delicious and explicit filth I could never have even dreamed existed. The store was small, very small, so cramped and crowded you had to huddle up against the other customers cruising the aisles—Yum! The guys were looking at books and magazines, sure, but at the same time, were looking at each other, longing for that one afternoon trick or someone to cuddle with or haul home for a one-night stand. One guy I have never forgotten (we later knew him as “Miss Package” or “Mrs. Toilet”) brushed so tightly against me trying to get by that his heated handlebar mustache came this close to my face and the sweat off his hot, muscled shirt made me so weak, I wanted to faint. I was home. And there watched Mitzel over us all like some scholarly, protective, perverted uncle, an avuncular gay Guardian Angel. John Mitzel was to become a pioneer in the beginning years of Gay Liberation. Hired by owner Jearld Moldenhauer to manage the Boston branch of his Glad Day stores—the other Glad Day was in Toronto—Mitzel became an instant hero to the Boston and New England gay and lesbian communities. At a time when homosexuals were vilified and when businesses like gay bookstores simply did not exist, Mitzel held the GLBTQ banner high. When a deliberate fire burned to the ground the first Glad Day, Mitzel defiantly opened the second Glad Day, on Boylston Street in the Back Bay and held forth bravely there until homophobic realtors and neighbors did finally what a fire could not and shut Glad Day II down. Undaunted, Mitzel opened up yet another bookshop which he called Calamus located in the more accepting South Station area of the city. He triumphed there for many years until his death in the fall of 2013. John Mitzel was an anomaly at a time when gay men were sporting handlebar mustaches the size of hammers, sexy sideburns, loose, open, flowered shirts to showcase their hard pecs and oodles and oodles of chest hair, and the tightest jeans you could ever imagine, accentuating their “tools” for all the
world, and each other, to see. In contrast, the erudite Mitzel, always perfectly coiffed, perfectly dressed, a suit-and-tie man, a venerable Tom Wolfe of the bookstore business, always made me wonder why he insisted on wearing such formal clothes—he looked like a walking-talking ad for Brooks Brothers, a real dandy. I puzzled over this until the day I realized that he wanted, above all else, to present to the haters, the naysayers a picture of a civilized gentleman. For what Mitzel (and all of us) wanted, whether we said so or not in those dark days of persecution, was acceptance, of ourselves and from the straight world that seemed so mindlessly to despise us. “Here I am,” Mitzel seemed to say. “See what fault you can find with this.” He lent gay men class, respectability, freedom and a pride we did not yet have. It is to Mitzel I owe a thousand thanks for allowing me the opportunity to pick up my first copy of RFD. Its erotic art, literary output and very, very naked men aroused me so intensely and immediately that I ran home with it under my arm and devoured it until its pages were soaked with my insatiable curiosity. RFD sent me into an outer space of self-acceptance and utter contentment. Hallelujah for that magazine! Because a gay bookstore is not so much a place as it is a way of life, a way of living. I learned who and what I am on my many visits to Glad Day. And I learned who and what I am from opening my eyes
to RFD and publications like it—Blue Boy, Fag Rag, Christopher Street, so many, so many... _____ I reached a high point in my life as a gay man when, in 2012, I accompanied the American writer, Edmund White, to Lincoln Center. He was dying for me to see a rare performance of Balanchine’s Jewels for my birthday. Going up the stairs of Lincoln Center, too, was a long, hard climb for Ed was recovering from not one but four consecutive strokes that had left him wobbly and struggling with a cane. But he is a strong man, was dying to see these ballets and would, I think, have crawled up those stairs if he’d had to. Again, as when I climbed the stairs that very first time into Glad Day, we got a third of the way up and stopped to catch our breath, then halfway, then all the way up! New Yorkers are widely known for being blase about celebrity sightings but when the mostly gay audience in our section saw Ed appear, they stood and they cheered and again, I about almost went legless, my knees buckled as I realized where I was and who I was with. I thought of what had led me here to this place and this moment—RFD Magazine and John Mitzel, a gay man with a dream he never let go of. And even Miss Stanley now, I think, with a wink, would permit me my curtsey. I have earned it. We have all earned the right to curtsey or to take a bow, whichever we choose to do... w
Glad Day in Boston from the street. Photo by Jearld Frederick Moldenhauer.
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Really Fucking Delightful by Franklin Abbott
y first poems were published in RFD. I was in my late twenties, the faeries were emerging our cocoons after five hundred years of patriarchal horror. We were fluttering our lovely wings and checking each other out. Among my early faerie family were the sister/brothers of LaSis, Louisiana Sissies in Struggle. My poem, “In the Absence of Our Fathers,” appeared in issue No. 22, “Returning Forest Darlings” edited by LaSis. It was roughly printed on newsprint with a two tone color, pink and lime green, colors running into each other, Dennis Melba’son wearing the Shawl of Cernunnos on the front cover, a fantasia of bathroom graffiti on the back. RFD, founded in 1974, was floating on the wings of love those days. Faygele ben Miriam had brought RFD to the Southeast with him. He had been one of the early stewards at Wolf Creek and in his indomitable way would not let RFD go to sleep when he left and moved in with his mother Miriam in North Carolina. It was like some ethereal disease that Faygele carried and spread through the Southeast. Once infected we had no choice to keep the voice of radical effeminacy going and we did it here for almost two decades. RFD is the publication that will not speak its meaning. If you peruse the titles of each issue you will find they all, mean something different. Fey folk are protean, shape shifting, gender bending, script amending beings who are here to both be and make a difference. RFD as a vehicle of that intention is turning forty this year. In 1987 before the Internet became a point of reference, believe it or not, you could not Google 28 RFD 159 Fall 2014
RFD and come up with a thousand links. To read it, you had to hold it in your hands by subscription or loan or in one of a brave few libraries that subscribed. You could also peruse it in one of the emerging gay bookstores. RFD was tactile, a touch stone and a tactile, touch stone it remains. RFD has always been a potent combo or the personal narrative and art. The art, like the verbal content, is generated from the readership. RFD has never paid anyone for words or images, they have always flowed freely from the readers. When I was poetry editor for RFD, I got to read the best and the misbegotten. Knowing how important publication was especially for poets, I did my utmost to give the opportunity to poets who were ready. Fey poets are a special tribe and finding each other is crucial. Michael Mason and Aurora Corona were my…is there a word in English (maybe not) for a soul connection between creative people? Inspiration seems too weak for the job. Michael Mason, Aurora Corona and I always read together at the gatherings. Their breath supported my breath. We held each other in tender esteem. Their words run through the RFD’s of that in between time. You can find us in some of my favorite issues of that period. Issue No. 23, with its front cover by Raven Wolfdancer and back cover by Jeff Glauser is a snapshot of the Atlanta faerie community in 1980. Issue No 27, “Rhyming for Daze” was the creation of Michael Mason and the faeries of Asheville. Each issue was created by a different collective until RFD landed at Running Water Farm and the editorial guidance of Ron Lambe. Sister Soami and Gabby
Franklin, Neil Adams (standing) and Raven Wolfdancer (seated) in 1980 at Lodestar in Atlanta. We were roommates when we put No. 22 together and much of it was done at Lodestar, our collective household.
Haze brought it to Short Mountain for the second half of its southern sojourn. RFD has ebbed and flowed in my life. At times I have been far away from what it has to say and at times I add my voice to the dozens who populate that space between its covers. One of my great pleasures is to profile poets, writers and artists introducing them to RFD and the RFD community to them. James Broughton, Assotto Saint, Tobias Scheebaum, Essex Hemphill were recognized in these pages. Edward Field came back in the last
Poetry clips from Issue 27, Summer 1981.
issue for a follow-up interview at the age of 90. RFD is rainbow brilliant in the voices that come through its pages. So I began with RFD in my late twenties. I am now in my mid sixties. My enthusiasm for RFD has only grown over time. The future is wildly unpredictable but Destiny takes requests. One of mine is to keep on contributing to RFD for a few more decades. The thought of RFD at fifty, sixty or seventy is really fucking delightful. w
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Hand-drawn cover from Issue 27
Ad for RFD from the 70s. Art by Allan Troxler.
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Drawing From Faerie Spirit Jim Jackson
creative explosion splattered all over me. It infected my muse and my heart, and broke out in my art. The Radical Faeries can take a big part of the credit—through them I met a creative culture that encouraged all kinds of personal artistic expression. It became a way to let it all hang out after a very, very slow personal coming out process. I remember giving a slide show of my art at Cambridge Center for Adult Education in Harvard Square in the mid 80’s. It was titled “Coming Out to My Art.” There was discussion of first daring to violate the rules that my male teachers had taught about keeping the work strong and masculine. I wasn’t supposed to use pretty colors like pink and lavender. So, I started using them. Next thing you know, I’m drawing, painting and sculpting naked men. Sometimes in x-rated contortions. Always expressive, sometimes in the extreme. In just three or four years, I was fully out to my art. It wasn’t always explicitly gay, but it had to be what it wanted to be. I sent drawings into RFD. It was all black and white in those days and seldom could they afford the halftone process that photos required. So I drew in pen and ink with a stipple and line technique. Sister Mish and Dwight Delight were kind enough to use some of them so when I went down to Short Mountain I presented them with a stack to be used as needed. I became a regular contributor. I also contributed to Hippy Dick and Draghead zines. Amazing what could be done with copy machines. My imagination fuels my work. I really enjoy images that go from mind to hand and appear on paper. When the magic is working there seems to be no end and I’m as surprised at the results as any viewer. I do work from nature from time to time, sometimes using models and photos, but even that work tends to get dominated by spontaneous inventions.
a kind of meditation takes hold. I look for suggestions of images that I can let grow into something that has an identity, most often a body part or a full figure, but maybe a flower. No censorship. For around 10 years I drew compulsively. During this time, I began having regular nightmares, so I went through Jungian therapy. My therapist Barbara Holleroroth encouraged me to draw out my dreams as well as write them. No surprise, but the analysis revealed that I had a deep fear of getting AIDS and losing my partner Jay. Digging deeply into those feelings through the drawing, writing and talking process caused the nightmares to go away and yielded an unpublished book called Harbinger Dreams. However, the thousands of drawings over the years gave me painful writer’s cramp and I gave up this kind of intense drawing and turned my focus more to painting and sculpture. Sadly, that is why in the mid 90’s I stopped contributing drawings to RFD. So now we have color and I can show some samples of faerie inspired sculptures and paintings from these pivotal times. Also, we can look at some samples of where the work has evolved today. Six years ago I moved my studio to southern Vermont and in doing so my work has taken yet another turn. I am now collaborating with Robert DuGrenier, a glass artist and neighbor. I really enjoy incorporating his glass pieces onto my paintings as a vital part of the composition. We work well together. Thirty years ago I was using a simple process in drawing that helped open a flood of creative insight into my core gay being and that went on to influence my painting, sculpture, photography, film, video and other design projects. “Coming Out to My Work” made a huge difference in my life. Thank you RFD for the helping hand. Website: www.jimjacksonart.com w
he process goes something like this: I start with random marks and dots on the paper and then
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“He’s a Girl Inside”
Above: “Faerie as Animal”; Below: “Jack the Rabbit”
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“Mask Body & Face”
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“Scott Luscombe Playing Dulcimer”
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Above: “Stark Man”; Below: “Six Gates Kitchen”
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Above: “Sleep”; Below: “Old Faerie Friends”
“Divine Being Welcomed to Heaven by Isabella Stewart Gardner”
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RFD and EuroFaeries Celebrate Twenty Years Together by Junis
For the EuroFaeries, Short Mountain community and RFD have been an ongoing source of inspiration during a period of twenty years. A cultural example of how to give form and content to what we call gay spirituality and gay identity. In the last ten years the European Faerie development has grown rapidly, partly due to the fact that a larger segment of the LGTB population felt disconnected from the commercial gay mainstream. More aware of a superficial fast lane, consumerism and the industrial plundering which has dangerously upset the balance of the eco systems of our planet. After equal rights were finally established more than forty years ago we as a people only then started to investigate our common history. Guided by visionaries like Harry Hay we became aware of the large portion of hetero-imitation in our lives. A world of competition in which LGBTs are swung back and forth and in and out, accepted and excluded. While, and here Hay states it very bluntly, we as multi dimensionalists, folk that are most attuned by our nature, can actually see better what is actually happening, and that in the end it is not about competing but about giving and sharing. We queer folk have an essential role to play in maintaining and enhancing the so called “common 44 RFD 159 Fall 2014
good”. And we can express this best to walk in the front line when it comes to guarding and protecting our natural environment, our mother, our goddess, our earth. I strongly feel that the connection with nature, the four elements which we have tried to visualize so often through our rituals, can create real susceptibility and thus forming the basis of a deeper going relationship with each other, in a subject to subject consciousness way, and so awakaning a real spiritual sense. The so often heard claim that being a faerie is what you personally like it to be does not draw a complete picture. Afraid as we are to spread dogma’s we tend to cling to individually formed values, forgetting that we do share a common history and principles. Especially now we can learn from the shaman’s, medicine men and healers who were the guardians of the ‘good’ so long ago and which is so much under threat in society of today. Next year we celebrate twenty years of EuroFaerie’s and ten years Folleterre. More news about the EuroFaeries and upcoming celebrations will be published in RFD’s spring issue. w
A Most Mysterious Gardener for L.B.
What you are to me, I don’t understand: why me? You have unfurled vines of tendrils from the canopied trellis of my soul. I thought I was tough enough to withstand the weight of dark grapes waiting to be plucked and pulverized into such sweet red wine. I thought I’d been doomed to tart bitterness. My first summer of you has decomposed old roots steaming hurt in my compost pile. You noticed not whether my grapes were ripe but how shakily I had held my ground. Unasked, you righted me and pruned dead leaves from my face. You radiated water. Oh, how I laughed! Shimmer, shimmer, and bloom. —Finger
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The Forgotten: LGBT Amish in America by James Schwartz. Written for presentation at the Symposium, Global Faerie Gathering 2014. What if I told you a large portion of Americans are being stoned to death for coming out? According to “Amish Population by State (2014)” data published by Elizabethtown College, a total of 290,090 Amish today live in thirty states with the Amish population doubling every twenty years. By 2050 the population is expected to reach 1 million. If you go by the 5% rule that’s a lot of shunned Amish LGBT. Shunned? The recent Emmy nominated PBS documentary, Shunned, points out the practice of shunning is the “New Testament version of stoning someone to death.” The Old Order Amish who deliberately keep apart from mainstream society deal with their LGBT minority by shunning (cutting off all contact) them, forcing them to leave the church and community. If families refuse to shun their children they too will be shunned. In marriage equality states and non, Amish refuse to perform same sex marriage ceremonies, believing homosexuality a sin and citing Biblical Scriptures i.e. Leviticus (always a classic read). Should a gay Amish teen come out of the closet
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he or she will lose everything and possibly be sent to a reparative therapist at best, unwelcomed unless they repent for the “sin” of “lust” and return to the Amish Closet which does happen. The Amish, originally called Anabaptists, formed in 1693 Europe and fled to America in the 1800s to avoid religious persecution. Today, untouched by the civil rights movements, it might as well be 1693. What is needed for a broader acceptance is dialogue with other faith leaders i.e. their more liberal and accepting cousins the Mennonites and their own neighbors. Chances are if you live in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin you have Amish neighbors. Be neighborly, say hello and engage in dialogue on LGBT issues with them. We have come a long way in a short time on LGBT equality yet a large portion of Americans are being left behind. Support LGBTAmish.com, the first LGBT network for Amish and ex-Amish “LGBTAmish.com offers support, education, networking opportunities and friendship to those who share in our mission.” Dialogue, outreach and resources remain vital. w
Miss Kalamazoo Pride 2014 Ladonna Divine and gay ex Amish poet James Schwartz supporting LGBT Amish (www.lgbtamish.com) at Michigan Pride August 23rd, 2014 in Lansing, MI.
Morning in Michigan His stubbed jaw in the dawn. His sleepy, knowing smirk. Empty bottles, echoes of laughter. Pinnacle and piercing positions. The sounds of humming vending machines and maids. Drift down dim hallways. Outside semis lumber onto I80/90. Factory workers and farmers breakfast. Alone, driving home. Drive-through coffee, and miles to go. —from “Arrival and Departure” by James Schwartz (Writing Knights Press, 2014)
Photograph courtesy James Schwartz.
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Cavicles My collarbones yearned on Ash Wednesday. My sternum quietly, insistently hungered The way the Tucson desert hungers For the lightening that releases the rain In monsoon season. I did not physically hurt; there was no pain. The magnetism wasn’t even a proper ache; Although I had throughout my life Overreacted to the lonely sensation Dancing within its rigid cage Red haired and wild eyed. In my 38th year I made contact With the pull of my plexus, The sternum’s quest to express. It wasn’t sex or intimacy Or hope or television Or any other synonym for distraction That I reached for and could not have, As I crossed the Granville Bridge (Defiantly blessing with prayer my longing and other resented things). It was this poem. I am a creator. My clavicles ring in the wind. My heart pumps images that scramble free from my throat. I sing an unfulfilled song of chastity and sobriety That cuts the flesh in my mind. I am freed by the force That drew me out to praise itself, High above black water and candy-sprinkle lights. I have the key at last.
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So Be It I would dance— without the skill without the stage without the price of admission/ education/ jurisdiction —for sheer joy for this music you’ve been playing I, in reply, would like to play the fool. I would gladly butcher up your soulful tune with the way my chunky clumsy body swoons to the moan mouths make over every morsel pinched from pots that you’ve been stirring Good God Almighty That Is Right my body says, a slumping putty eyes up at the ceiling with all this yes. Yes, child Yes, mama Yes, honey Yes, you asked me for my answer and I said.
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Five Steps to Take When Managing Your Reactions to Bitchiness in Faerie-Space by Albion Faerie Mushroom
o you just found out that some SHADOW-Faerie said something negative about you....?
Share what you are going through from the heart in spite of the vulnerability you fear!
Check in with yourself. Is the criticism deserved? Is there anything to learn? Has someone called you a lazy selfish bitch and recently you’ve been doing nothing for your community and just looking out for yourself? Be grateful for the kick up the panties!
None of the above? So a SHADOW Faerie has had the audacity to call herself a Faerie. To cast malicious shadows about you! To abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you! You have been defamed, maligned, slandered. Your name has been blackened. Your reputation has been sullied. You have been vilified, denigrated, disparaged, discredited! Your reputation has been ruined! You have a strong emotional reaction to this.... Ask yourself why? Is your light so dim? Is your sense of oneness with the Divinity of Nature so compromised that a mere mortal shadow dancer can extinguish your Fire? Remember you are pure radiant light. It is only the lack of confidence in this truth will cast you into the dark and the cold! Are you angry that your capacity to remain joyful from moment to moment in Faerie community is so limited that a single incident like this can cause such a meltdown?
Step 2 Wonder about the one who passed on the information to you. What does it say about this faerie? Does it serve some purpose for her to be a broker of negativity. What kind of SHADOW-Faerie is this strange creature? I once had a work colleague who spent her life in the shadow of an incompetent, uncaring older brother. She gave her life to her mother who determinedly persisted in preferring the brother to herself. She took great pleasure (and caused no end of disharmony) from her habit of witnessing individuals’ pain when she was able to spin a story to them that someone else on the team, because of their status/gender was getting a whole load of credit, reward and preferential treatment for all their hard work! Are you 100% certain that what has been conveyed is 100% accurate and has been described completely in context?
Step 3 You may not have been actually ‘told’ anything. Maybe you have a good sense that a SHADOWFaerie just doesn’t like you from glances, reactions and body language. Ask yourself “Is it really true?” Are you projecting your memories of a past relationship onto this Faerie? What, in this past relationship, was so challenging? Did these challenges invite you to make uncomfortable changes to your assumptions and outlook? Did you recoil from this invitation at the time? Are you ready to explore this discomfort now? Is this SHADOW-Faerie offering you another opportunity to grow and develop away from unskillful ways of being? 50 RFD 159 Fall 2014
Step 5 Connect with the divine. Feel the warmth, the strength, the comfort. Is the SHADOW-Faerie projecting shadows from her own past relationships in your direction? Is she unable to recognize what is going on? Is it still too painful for her to forgive and release the discomfort? Know that you are offering her an opportunity to revisit these wounds. Be open to heart centered overtures to explore, understand and heal. If there are no approaches from her then simply stand confidently and compassionately in your power. You are truly beautiful and loving. Of course it is quite a challenge to go through this whole process. The alternative is to say “JUST FUCK IT” and then F-I-I-I-IGHT! NOTE: The idea of the SHADOW-Faerie is simply that. An IDEA, a MYTH, an ILLUSION. Whatever you do please don’t fall into the trap of believing that Faerie community is made up of SHADOW-Faeries and NON-SHADOW-Faeries.
The worst thing you can do is to check out with a fellow Fae if they think so-and-so is a SHADOWFaerie. It’s the start of a process of divisiveness, dualism, us-and-them-ness, of binary thinking. Thereon lies the path to civil war! If you think you have discovered a SHADOWFaerie embrace her and then gently work on finding
Cover art to RFD #20 by Allan Troxler.
some source of illumination: if it feels uncomfortable accept it, change it or move away from it. You will shine all the more brilliantly for this great work you have done for your Faerie community and you will act as a beacon of brilliance for the world to follow! Good Luck! w
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A Tale of Two Poets Interviews by Franklin Abbott
Dan Vera When did it occur to you that you were a poet? Well, I do believe that poetry is something all of us do in one way or another. I started formally writing poetry in college during the run-up to the first Gulf War. I was surprised as anyone to be writing or expressing my thoughts in poetry. But I shared the work with friends and it resonated with what they were thinking about concerning the war. I kept writing poetry through the years and reading more poetry and being moved and taught by what I was reading. I do believe poets are moved by other poets and other poetry to add their voices to the conversation. In your book you reflect a lot on the experience of immigration and of coming from a different culture with different customs and language. Can you talk about the intersection of being Latino and gay? Well, I think the intersections are always there. It’s never been a matter of either/or but more both/and. My understanding of myself and my sexuality are indivisible but they’re culturally rooted, which in my case is probably tricultural, Cuban, Mexican, American. It has so much to do with language because words are one way we come to make sense of our stories and when you float between two worlds or more, there’s always a searching for the right words to describe yourself. You reference Latino poets like Neruda and 52 RFD 159 Fall 2014
Marti. Can you talk about their influence on you? Well, Martí is a poet I grew up with, in the sense that my Cuban father recited his poetry. He was also an advocate for human rights and equality so his identity was indivisible from his work. Neruda on the other hand came to me when I needed him. I vividly recall the first book of his I read, Libro de Preguntas/Book of Questions. At that moment I was Dorothy opening the door of the house after landing in the tornado; my life went from sepia to glorious technicolor. I swam in Neruda for many years, absorbed as much of his work as I could. I was most taken by his approach to the world, his ability to write odes to the glorious and the common and to find glory in the common. And there’s a nice line from Whitman, through Martí to Neruda as Martí saw Whitman, wrote about him, and popularized Whitman to Latin America thus becoming an influence on many poets like Neruda. Your poems are in English with generous references to Spanish. Do you compose in both languages? Is there a language you dream in? I compose in English. My command of Spanish isn’t dextrous enough for poetry. But I’m not sure about dreaming. I feel like I dream more in symbol and image than language so I’m not sure what language exists there. My comprehension is pretty fluid between both languages so I believe it’d be both at the same time. Dan Vera. Photo courtesy author.
How has the radical faerie movement influenced you as a poet? Ah, the radical faerie movement gave me the sanity to understand that questions weren’t antithetical to being. I recall coming across RFD after coming out of the closet and feeling as if my head had become disconnected, as if the heart had grounded itself. It led me to other reading, which led me to meeting and corresponding with Harry Hay and John Burnside, doing their workshops. Trying to reach a sense of inner consensus, to embody a sincere heart circle in my work. I’d like to think that the way I observe and respect the world has its roots in radical faerie consciousness and the old school ideal of subject-subject consciousness: each thing, each person as the other who is my beloved. Tell us something about your creative process. When do you write, how has your writing changed as you have grown older? I write at different times of day. But I also take a lot of notes. I’m also rather cultish about keeping a small book with me at all times and the little book has becoming a companion of sorts. And then I begin a draft of a poem or transcribe a poem onto the page. And then comes a lot of editing. I only take Ginsberg’s admonition “first thought, best thought” as a means to get it on the page. Get it down before you start editing. But, like Ginsberg, edit a lot. Don’t be afraid to
edit. I’m also blessed to be part of a writing group with a few other poets who have helped me work on my craft. We’ve come to be in conversation with our work over the years. We trust each other and we trust our uniqueness as writers. We respect each others’ counsel and advice and we respect each other enough to take or ignore advice when it comes to our own work. When I first started writing I experimented in form quite a bit. I used tape-recordings, cut-ups, I tried it all out. I think it taught me there are many ways to the mountain and that rigidity isn’t helpful when you’re starting out. Not that it’s helpful later either. It’s also good to break things up from time to time. I do think I pay more attention to words, the incantatory line, the mantric word that is so vital in poetry. I do feel myself moving toward the more historical in my writing. I’m curious about how the story, the personal stories, the familial, the received official history, how it’s changed from time to time. But I hope that I’m always challenging myself to write in new directions and in new ways. I do believe in the talismanic power of poetry to illuminate and transform.
How did you discover poetry?
It wasn’t until my senior year in high school that I began to understand how poems worked and become drawn to them. We had an inspiring English teacher named Roger Lincoln at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts. Coincidently he also had a major influence on an earlier student of his who became a celebrated poet: Galway Kinnell. Initially I was most drawn to poems by Tennyson, Plath, and Creeley. But I had always reveled in hymn lyrics and the language of the liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church in which I was raised. And I performed in student theater from sixth grade on, involved with language, song, and timing as drama. How has writing poetry changed for you over the years? My poems have become less didactic and rhetorical (in the common sense of the word). By this I mean that my poems nowadays embody more ambiguity, tension, and questioning, and less often present one perspective as correct. I now perceive such unselfconscious surety as a flaw in some of my poems in my first chapbook, How to Dream, which I wrote mostly in my twenties. One of my teachers in the New England College MFA program, RFD 159 Fall 2014 53
Ira Sadoff, encouraged us to keep questioning the endings of our poems, to push them further. After what I learned in the MFA program, I certainly ask my poems many more questions. I’m less interested in work (and people?) that is too sure of itself—its assumptions and conclusions. Does this result from the influence of post-modernism, or arise from the perspective of a middle-aged man? Probably a mixture. I have certainly internalized the initial drafting process I learned in my twenties from Pat Schneider, the founder of Amherst Writers & Artists. I am able to create a safe space for myself where I can let first drafts come and allow myself to be open to what emerges from my unconscious and outside dimensions. I’ve learned to “sketch” as a writer, to play and experiment. I’m less anxious when I write. I have faith I will find the words eventually, even if it takes decades. In your new book you explore themes of growing up gay, dealing with AIDS and the death of your brother, gender identity and celebrity. Can you talk about these themes and their importance to you. Of course the AIDS theme was thrust upon me and our community. None of us chose it. I never receive any pleasure out of the poems I’ve written about those experiences, even if I can sometimes feel their artistic success. It can be so undilutedly painful to have one’s grief communicated and ultimately understood by a reader. It has brought me to tears when someone has paraphrased it exactly so I knew they got it. I find myself avoiding writing about my brother’s illness and death, and have to force myself to try to tell that story. As a survivor, I don’t want to appropriate his life and suffering, but parts of the story are mine, too—one of the most important experiences I’ve ever lived through. 54 RFD 159 Fall 2014
Although I write about celebrities such as Lena Horne, Elizabeth Taylor, Chris Evert, and Cyndi Lauper, I don’t think it is their celebrity that draws me. Rather it has been their striking and unusual personas and personal attributes. I’ve never been one to read the tabloids in the grocery-store checkout aisle, or even to watch the Tony and Academy awards ceremonies. I’ve never watched the Kardashians. But when I come upon a memorably unique and expressive woman in mass culture, my imagination is captured, and the queen in me responds. In some cases these have been fictional characters, not real celebrities, like Cruella de Vil; or Rosemary Woodhouse, the main character of Rosemary’s Baby. You were poetry editor for RFD for a number of years. What was that experience like? How did it challenge and reward you? Thank you for recommending me for this role, Franklin! I took great joy in selecting good poems by people who had never before been published or who truly deserved a wider readership. I loved receiving poems by prison inmates and corresponding with those men. In another society, we would be incarcerated for being gay. One mistake that I made was to try to provide feedback to poets when their poems came close to making the cut, but this slowed me down and probably isn’t how I’d proceed today. Those who submitted poems needed a quick response and deserved a faster turn-around time. Do you think of yourself as a gay poet or a poet who is gay? I have been asked this very question three times in my career when interviewed by reporters from mainstream newspapers. When you ask it, Franklin, it’s not annoying. With them, I knew that their preferred response (in fact, all telegraphed this by Steven Riel. Photo courtesy author.
how they posed the question) was: “I think of myself first as a poet who happens to be gay.” Perhaps that answer would make it easier for them to relate to me, or they didn’t want me to “limit” myself by thinking of myself only as a gay poet and not writing about “universal” themes? They wanted to make my books seem relevant to their readers. Of course no one asks a heterosexual poet, “Do you think of yourself as a heterosexual poet or a poet who happens to be heterosexual?” When a white heterosexual North American man writes a love poem, why has that been considered automatically universal and worthy of the canon? Hopefully no one thinks that way anymore. In my twenties, I needed to write predominately about my experience as a gay man. This was part of coming to terms with my identity and its implications. I came to develop and explore what I think of as a “gay chat” voice, and also a campy voice. These were essential steps in my development as a poet. In terms of thematic content, one of my most central projects is a series of poems I’ve been working on for decades now called “13 Ways of Looking at My Effeminacy,” in reference to Wallace Stevens’ “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” There’s no getting around my gayness in those poems!—there, I’m taking risks and pushing the exploration of gender issues as deep as possible. Effeminacy is one of my primary topics. I must write about it. That being said, I have always written about other themes as well. Since my twenties, I have consistently addressed Franco-American experience and the topic of war. As I have gotten older, I’ve become more interested in creating dramatic monologues, speaking through the voice of another—real and imagined people, and even animals. Since I was 19 or 20 years old, I have considered my work to be in some sense in dialogue with that of other gay poets, both antecedents and contemporaries. This is a spiritual sense, of course, but I also understand my work as being part of a gay literary tradition with gay literary influences—just as it is part of American literature as well as Franco-American literature. David Groff and Jim Elledge recently edited an anthology titled Who’s Yer Daddy?: Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners. Neither you nor I have an essay there, but maybe if we wrote ours, they might find a home in RFD. I’d like to read yours!
condition and had a cardiac implant in 2004, that urgency has taken on a different cast. When the medical staff were putting me under anesthesia, I kept thinking, “I have to survive this so I can write all the poems for my third book that are still in my head.” My heart problem helped clarify my priorities, and I entered a low-residency MFA in Poetry program when I was 46 years old. I learned a huge amount there, cleaned out quite a few backlogged ideas for poems, and feel profoundly energized as a poet as a result. Having written my critical thesis on Alfred Lord Tennyson, I came to understand how
he studied the history of the English language, and used its Germanic roots and sounds to powerful effect in his poems. I also came to appreciate better the importance of sensual elements in language— how they enable a reader to use his or her imagination to enter into a small detail or the larger world of the poem. I’ve learned as well that reading my drafted poems into a tape recorder and listening to them outside of my own head helps me understand better how to fix them. So this period after graduating from the MFA program has been exciting and fertile. w
How is growing older influencing your work? Beginning in my late teens, I’ve always felt urgency to write, but after I discovered I have a heart
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Paper Catapults Consider the immaculate hands the gleam of silver scissors her precise cuts at the kitchen counter. She takes great care to include the full story the accompanying photos of young faces the headlines with the cause of death. Pneumonia, Kaposi sarcoma, “complications of AIDS” Her son will open the monogrammed envelope remove them, unfold them, place them in my hands, say Look at what my mother keeps sending me in the mail. On that day I will have no answers for him. Years later I will wonder on the tribunals that never came. The use of the bodies of the dead as punishment for the living. —Dan Vera
My Double I tease you about the dog’s affections. You have his eye when you’re in the room and when you walk away his ears keep pace in case his feet must follow. He wants for you so dearly when you’ve departed. I tell you, What am I, chopped liver? But you are his beef bourguignon. You are the steak tartare of his every dream. I play green with envy but the truth is, he is my clearest mirror. If I lived in the lovetime of a dog and thought that every time you left you might not make it back wouldn’t I climb the chair near the window? wouldn’t I pace the floors in deep distress? —Dan Vera
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For Patrick, My New Nurse who led me inside the bathroom, threaded my arm & two of its tubes through the wrong armhole of a second johnny when I confessed my worry about mooning random passersby; who planted his thighs a thumb’s length from mine to tie soft cotton snug against skin stretched over scapula guarding that hollow where prehistoric wishbone soared like prayer; who remained, unruffled—I focused on the telling little muscles at ease around his eyes— when my hard-on rose in thanks, alive —Steven Riel
Postcard From P-Town How could I not write to you here? Ramshackle floorboards, painted lullaby-blue, creak underfoot. You’d notice plaster-soft wood, hollowed treads, guess at olden layers of gloss. Up on the second floor, we’re making a nest, striding across rooms & rooms of bumpy sky! Walls: butter-yellow. Woodwork: clean white. We’ve opened every window to its screen. Bird-chirps & breeze swirl through our tree house. One side peers over a bower of wisteria— I am not making this up, dear!— benches placed, dream-like, for tête-à-têtes, while heavy-headed dahlias nod—& I must mention a truck just rattled the length of town, delivering something wanted. How could I not wish you were here? —Steven Riel
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Aaron Mayer Frankel
e were out to dinner for only the second time, my new girlfriend and I, on a frigid and snowless late February evening, at the Barba Yianni Grecian Tavern in the northernmost tip of the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. The restaurant is across the street from the back end of Garcia’s Mexican and just down from the Chicago Brauhaus—the longtime and famous German saloon with its wide selection of German beers, blond waitresses in dresses the pattern of the original Pizza Hut tablecloths, and a full polka band featuring two accordions and a white-haired vocalist. Our first restaurant date a month earlier—my first nongay date in thirty years, in fact—had been at a Moroccan café on Irving Park, and in the interim all our joint meals had occurred at one of our places of residence. Now, a few weeks in, we were venturing out again. Things had been escalating at an unanticipated pace in these few weeks, and so I had barely a half hour before I met her kids for the first time, five months earlier than she had originally anticipated. Why she decided to make this introduction now I couldn’t entirely say, other than she had determined in the brief but growing-in-intensity time we had known each other that our connection was deep enough to last the requisite period, so why wait. Plus she had very recently admitted to them the very fact of her dating now, a year and a half after her divorce, first to the oldest son and soon after to the youngest, so the point keeping the identity of the subject of the dates theoretical served only to keep the meetings furtive. The introduction itself was brief, casual, low pressure, about ten minutes long. Rather than honking I came to the door as they ate their own dinner, and I sat briefly with them at the dining room table, where the youngest mumbled hi without facing me and then ignored me completely, concentrating only on his peas, and the oldest with good humor and grace engaged me in pun-laden conversation. So already for this reason the date had an even more heightened quality, the implication of that child’s hello quivering in the background like the second verse to some British seventies folk ballad. And this served to put ballast on whatever this was I was doing, to weigh it with the lead of reality—that I was really in this, that this wasn’t just a diversion 58 RFD 159 Fall 2014
or a histrionic reaction to the split from a longterm boyfriend; expectations were beginning and had been raised, a test of hers had been passed, and my exploratory lesson was turning rapidly into a whole curriculum. Our acquaintance had taken on a trajectory all its own, faster not only than both of us had anticipated, but faster also possibly than I could easily integrate, having only a month earlier been publicly and officially occupying the opposite side of the fence. Now here I was, standing in the middle, and the view was interesting but the balance precarious. We sat at a round table in the well-lit middle section, examining the menus. A large open area to the right served as a dance floor on Thursday and Saturday evenings. Some weekends dozens of couples gathered for Greek line dancing and couples’ dance lessons (I had seen this a few weeks earlier, when I had eaten there with a couple of friends from out of town), followed by a buffet. This evening, though, the place was mostly empty, with only one other couple in our general vicinity, two or three more in a narrow section over by the full bar and the front door, just underneath the flickering but silent television, and no one, not even much light, in the dance area—just a lonely line of amplifiers pressed powerless against the far wall. Fresh bread and olive oil had been delivered, along with water, and tea for Jenny, but we had not yet placed our dinner order. I had been expounding to her about my favorites, since I had been coming here for years. The chicken riganati, baked with lemon and oregano. “Tons, tons of food. Not just half a chicken but also green beans and roasted potatoes and rice and soup and salad, all for around $10. And the arni psito!” Thin slices of leg of lamb, along with all the same extras. I had already closed my menu, since I knew it almost by heart. But when Jenny shut hers, in almost the same fluid motion she reached out and grabbed my hand, which had been resting near hers inattentively on the table, just to the left of the small yellow candle lamp. Like snatching a fish out of the water. This took me by surprise, this hand grab. Since all my visits to Barba Yianni had been with friends, hand holding had never been included and didn’t figure in my memory of the place or in my conception of a dining evening. Still, this had a romantic quality, sweet and intimate;
her palm felt warm, and I reciprocated, wrapping and she just broke up with her heterosexual, her my fingers around hers. This wasn’t a silent hand human boyfriend. Or maybe her cat just died, or her holding, obscured by jackets or the rubbing of sides, boyfriend died. Perhaps she hadn’t realized this man with dangling digits intertwined. This was a loud, she is with was gay until this very minute. He has public hand holding, with her arm stretched across just told her, but he holds her hand out of support, the table passing by both our plates, the full length to let her know he still cares. She still matters to him of the elbow to the wrist, and even beyond that. This in the same way, out of deep feeling and love, only shouted out with no subtlety, no ambiguity: We are they could never ever have sex, ever, because he is a together, me and this woman, on a date, in a relahomosexual. tionship, together. Recognize this, all you who see. At the same time I thought she looked beautiful, The earnestness of her expression, combined with and I was really happy we were out together. the firmness of the grip, added to the portrait, the I am a very private person. Even aside from the illusion perhaps, and I felt glad to be with her and impression I imagined we were giving to everyone touched by the earlier introduction of the offspring around us, their curiosity about this odd gender play and our presence out of the house together and her in progress around them, I don’t really like holdwillingness to be seen with me in public. Affirming ing hands in public normally. Perhaps this is a gay even of her decision to thing, since originally in order the lamb. But almost my relationships with guys simultaneously the really you couldn’t hold hands good-looking late-twentysilently in public. It was an something Mediterranean act with volume, one that …the really good-looking busboy walked over to refill shouted. People on the late-twenty-something our water glasses and her best day would notice with Mediterranean busboy tea. And he looked at me sweetness and support, but with the tiniest of smiles notice nonetheless, and on walked over to refill our and I thought immediately, the worst day, in the wrong water glasses and her tea. instinctively, I was certain: neighborhood, it could lead And he looked at me with he knows. Who are you to snickering or ridicule or the tiniest of smiles and fooling, he is thinking. You even injury. As a private want me, he is thinking. person, since man-on-man I thought immediately, You don’t want her. Of public hand holding could instinctively, I was course, you can never have not be quiet, could not be certain: he knows. me, because I am young anonymous, I shied away and hot and you are a troll. from it for many years, even I became hyper-aware at though my partners prethat moment of our hands ferred it. This was never out together like that. And in the process of imaginof a desire to obscure our presence together, or to ing, assuming, interpreting what the busboy was deny I was with a gay partner or boyfriend, but out thinking, I separated from our presence together of a general wish not to be noticed, to be left alone. at the table, saw our hands sitting there as if from a Even so, eventually I came out of my shell and grew distance, the hand of this strange and indecisive guy to really enjoy that part of togetherness, that public clutching the hand of this woman, on a date, and I display, at least in the highly gay Chicago neighborthought, Wow, that bus boy really is kind of hot. hoods that I called home, especially as the world And then I glanced around and it seemed everychanged around us. one in the restaurant, the people at all four of the So maybe it wasn’t just the feeling of being a occupied tables were looking at us and wondering fraud at that moment, or my conception of other why this gay guy was holding hands with a woman people’s impression, but just feeling the hand holdin the restaurant, a restaurant in which no one holds ing was so visible and so out of place in this particuhands, it’s not that kind of restaurant, the lightlar restaurant, it just felt weird being so noticeable. ing isn’t all that romantic—way too bright, even Maybe that’s all it was. Maybe. The pretty and darkthough there are really nice murals and frescos of haired waitress came over to take our order, smiling, Athens and Sparta—maybe this is a sympathy hand while our hands were still clutched together—they holding, they think, that he is her gay best friend, had been intertwined for more than five minutes
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now. We grabbed our menus then and let go of our fingers to order, but the waitress continued to smile, and I partly thought she was just a nice person and partly thought she felt it was so sweet if a little saccharine that these two were holding hands so publicly, in a restaurant where no one really holds hands. But then I also recalled she had been my waitress a number of times when I had visited the restaurant with gay friends, with Jerry or Gary, gay friends with gay-sounding conversations that she must have partially overheard. Gary’s recounting of recent sexual escapades, for example. Gary always talked about sex too loudly. So she too felt curious about the story, smiling because she wondered what I was doing, who was this woman, what game was this man playing. After dinner we strolled up Lincoln Avenue in the mist, looking for a café to grab dessert and coffee. Because it was cold and the tone of the evening had already been set, and because in spite of the psychological oddness of the scenario that was unfolding within me we were having a really nice time, I had my arm around her, romantically, in a very
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heterosexual way, a very Chicago dude way. Suddenly, a group of actual gay guys walked toward us from the other direction—there were five of them, and they were talking. I felt increasingly sheepish as they approached, conscious again, as in the restaurant, of the image we must be creating, aware of the paradigm within which we walked. Like a live marionette, engaged in a form of theater, detached from the moment and trying to remember all the lines, the gestures recommended by the manuals, the advice of patriarchs. The look they gave us as they passed, this cluster of thirty-something gay guys, the look they gave me, cemented the entire evening. Curiosity and confusion, that’s what I picked up, dusted with a touch of ridicule. Just like before. But harsher than at the restaurant, without the smiles, without the sweetness. Who do you think you’re fooling?, they said with their eyes. What the fuck are you doing? Get a grip, and drop this woman off in a cab and go home to your trick hustler boyfriend where you belong. w
Inside back cover of RFD Issue 8
State of the [queer] Union Address A politico-aesthetic rant by Princess Gavy Kaleidoscope, PhD
adies & gentlemen, gays & lesbians, faggots & dykes, butches & femmes, trans- brothers & sisters, bisexuals & asexuals, old & young, large & small, mild & wild, ancestors & children of the future, doms & subs, hippies & punks, the 99% & the 1%, the artistic & the autistic, the shamans & the addicts, fellow tranimal goddesses & perverted princesses, in other words, queer-folk: It is with unusual humility & signature panache that I share with you A STATE OF THE [queer] UNION ADDRESS for 2014. It is not definitive, comprehensive or objective—just the set of observations & opinions that form my perspective—offered to you here with a wink, a nudge, a fist, a howl. Agree with me, disagree with me, ignore me completely, but a framework seems necessary in order to appreciate & interrogate the personal/political impact of queer art. We must first ask ourselves a few questions: WHO ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE? WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING HERE? Let’s take a long, hard glance in the queer-view mirror. It’s 2014 and Barack seems to be easing into the role of lame duck, sitting back until Hillary rises like a phoenix from the ashes of disappointment. Obama has turned out to be more Reagan than FDR—a popular POTUS rather than a populist one. We like him…enough. We trust him…sorta. We’ll forgive him...eventually. (Even as he sells economic & social justice to the highest bidders) If 2016 rolls around & the U.S. does not have legalized marijuana, comprehensive immigration reform & a healthcare website that isn’t run off of a 1996-era dial-up modem we must admit that this experiment in HOPE has been a failure & accept that we have been fucked-in-the-ass-without-lube by an Ineffective/Kenyan/Muslim/Socialist/Socialite who successfully mashed-up the princely charm of JFK with the digestible assimilation of MLK & placed the “awe-shucks” Americana of Jimmy Stewart alongside the ability to deliver wryly topical observation like Jon Stewart. But, in the end, we’ll see whether he was more concerned with image or truth?1 1 Obama may only be fully redeemed when a dildo molded from his POTUS-penis finally becomes available on the shelves of sex-shops all across the post-national-cyber-marketplace of late-capitalism. Isn’t it about time that the average citizen can get some pleasure out of be-
At the very least we have finally been blessed with a FLOTUS who has knocked Jackie O off of her pink Chanel throne once & for all. Michelle IS twenty-first century style. She IS fitness. She IS ease. For the love of Pawnee, that bitch guest starred on Parks and Rec! She synthesizes the tenacity of Eleanor Roosevelt, the birthing hips of Barbara Bush, the fun-loving sociality of Dolley Madison & the warmth of Martha Washington, all with the ebonyflair of Miss Sally Hemmings. She is the secondcoming of mother-fucking Oprah. On an International level, queerness continues to be a force of change, resulting in both liberation & repression. Russia & Uganda have harnessed queer-fear into political witch-hunts. India & Germany have broken the gender binary allowing their citizens to officially register as a third gender. Does deviation from the norm bring the world together through creative empathy? Or does it split us apart, fueling a collective obsession with the danger of difference? On the cultural map, queer is as hot as ever. We continue to ask ourselves whether our creative energies are just being appropriated & commodified for mass consumption OR if we are spreading our visions & values vis-à-vis the cultural machine. Doogie does drag as Hedwig and the Angry Inch triumphantly returns to Broadway with the bonus added name recognition of NPH. Jared Leto wins an Oscar for his portrayal of a transgender woman with AIDS. Professional athletes come out of the closet & cruise the locker rooms. Ryan Murphy introduced us to Unique, a young trans-person of color on Glee, & camped-up witchcraft with American Horror Story: Coven, but has taken a sharp right-turn toward the gay-mainstream with his HBO version of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart. a.k.a. Julia Roberts + AIDS = $.2 RuPaul came under attack recently for delivering her weekly “She-Mail.”3 Though I find the larger issue with RuPaul’s Drag Race to be the way in which it seeks to legitimize drag culture within the framework of capital. I mean, the winner gets put to work as a walking billboard for Absolut Vodka. The ing fucked by the government? 2 See Richard Kim’s “Close Down the Gay Movement?” in The Nation. www.thenation.com/article/179377/close-down-gay-movement 3 “She-mail” is eloquently defended by Andrea James for BoingBoing. http://boingboing.net/2014/04/04/rupaul.html
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show remains watchable, but anyone looking for a truly fabulous reality TV show replacement should invest some time in a few back seasons of FX’s Face Off… where the serious make-up occurs. Where do I see unabashed queerness in popular culture? The kids of Bob’s Burgers, everything Janelle Monae, the rise of princess boys, the emerging feud between Beyoncé & Monica Lewinsky, Matilda the Musical, Margaret Atwood’s post-apocolyptic, eco-transfeminist MaddAddam Trilogy, the films of Gregg Araki, Katniss Everdeen’s bow & Bronies, of course. In the artworld, this year’s Whitney Biennale certainly reflected NYC‘s love of queers, as well as finally admitting its admiration for work coming out of Los Angeles.4 The lower levels of the Whitney now even houses gender-neutral restrooms (institutional progress seems to move as slowly as turtles on Quaaludes). The piece that had the most impact on me personally was queer in its own way—not even a work of art per se. In the back corner of an upper gallery hung a calendar from the mid-1980s on which David Wojnarowicz had scrawled meetings, events, doodles & dates. This living document resonated with the speed, intensity & sweetness of one of our most daringly honest artist/ancestors.5 I admired his handwriting & offered a silent, narcissistic prayer that one day my calendar would be so esteemed. The New Museum’s partnership last year with Visual AIDS also signified an important recognition 4 Zachary Drucker & Rhys Ernst, A.L. Steiner, taisha paggett, My Barbarian, Lisa Anne Auerbach to name just a few. 5 “You Can Read David Wojnarowicz’s Journals Online” by M.H. Miller in Gallerist. http://galleristny.com/2014/04/you-can-read-davidwojnarowiczs-journals-online/
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& revisiting of our more recent collective traumas. Reaching further back into our past, the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History has queered the very notion of what a museum can/should be.6 It is time that we look around us & within us & ask ourselves: Who are our David Wojnarowiczes? Our Robert Mapplethorpes? Our Jean Genet-s? Our Audre Lordes? Our Sylvesters? Our Gloria Anzalduas? Our Jim Hensons? Our Gertrude Steins? Our Marlene Dietrichs? Our Allen Ginsbergs? Our Oscar Wildes? Our Angela Davises? Our Edward Carpenters? Our Pier Paolo Passolinis? Our Sylvia Riveras? Our Harry Hays? Our Divines? Our ______________s? (insert your own queer-o here). It is time that we look around us & within us & ask ourselves: Are we failing our queer youth and elders? What is the future of queer sex? Have we forgotten our queer brothers & sisters behind bars? How has technology silenced our rage & minimized our empathy? Is gendering children a form of abuse? How can we invest in queer divinity, queer economy, queer linguistics? What should we really be terrified of? How do we celebrate our freedom of expression most fully? How do we continue to negotiate the uncharted territory of radical inclusion? Might it be time to queer queerness itself? Queer is a space. Queer is a time. Queer is an anti-structure. It is no longer an identity, or never was. It is a way of being apart from & a part of the world. The STATE is corrupt. The UNION is broken. All we have is the [queer]. Blessed be. w
Robin Hood / Robert Birch
Water Bearers Know what facing extinction feels like first Most intimate self, communities of lovers claiming Tribal soul loosing Threats scapegoat removing The rest enslaving Soul commodified entombing The Indigenous know. The Jews know. Grandmothers of Africa know. Faggots, too History knows. Species, oceans and lands, do. Necessity necessarily forgetting Generations salving, integrating, survival celebrating, uncertainty remembering Miracles wounds searching Every when and where floundering, horrors and joys earthing Helping, healing, ancestral heartaches ebbing, compassion flourishing Living our stories daring Into and through hope and despairing Decisions carrying fear to the feat of caring Living history within us all, Nature’s greatest musing Our lives culture making, we now know Sooner and later, we creation, future will our choosing June 11, 2014 First draft while reading the final chapters of Eric Rofes’ 1996 “Reviving the Tribe”, about the profound cultural shift gay men and our allies made during the early days of AIDS.
Above: “Self Care is Sexy”; Below: “Where Art and Nature Meet”; Both by Robin Hood.
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ALL: A James Broughton Reader GAY SPIRIT: Myth & Meaning OUT SPOKEN: A Vito Russo Reader Reel One and Reel Two www.whitecranebooks.org/catalog.html Coming in 2014: A reissue of Witchcraft & The Gay Counterculture with previously unpublished materials from the original lecture series, Moon Lady Rising.
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Issue 161 / Spring 2015
Submission Deadline: January 21, 2015 www.rfdmag.org/upload
This is calling to Fae people who have life
of Mother Earth herself in her promiscuous
experience in Rewilding. What the fuck is
fecundity. How as a community can we
rewilding? Please share your stories, personal
engage with these primal forces in our inner
lessons, art, poetry, recipes, and journals
joys that is expressed in outwork actions?
entries to empower and inspire the larger Radical Faerie community in this fundamental
This is a call for changing the way our
change and reclaiming of the way we relate,
community relates to humans ability to be
interact, and live on the earth.
with the earth in a symbiotic and nurturing way; changing the level of awareness of our
Our relationship with the earth that we have
impact on the environment, how our culture
been told is a lie. Humans were meant to be
has taught us to interact with the earth, and
a part of the earth, not apart from the earth.
the reality that we are a beneficial species
Civilization is all we have known, and it is a
when we are living in symbiotic relationship to
used-up path of death. We are recreating the
ancient future for the beings of tomorrow. We hope to hear in these entries a concise communication of our understanding of what this is, and how this moves in us. The word Rewilding was coined in the Earth First organization as a term for reintroducing parts of an ecosystem that were important for that systems healthy continuance. The term has been taken up and passed about spawning inspiration for a movement of people returning to direct connection and symbiotic life ways with the earth. We are interested in how our radical freedom expressed in our sex experiences can be a call to rewilding our psyches, especially for those living in urban environments. We are curious between the links between inner sexual ecstasy matches the erotic abundance
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RFD Vol 41 No 1 #159 $9.95
66 RFD 159 Fall 2014
a reader created gay quarterly celebrating queer diversity