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A lovely piece by young poet Alex Sparks.

Being Othered: Queer Art as Its Own Genre

by Ashe Vernon

My whole life, I’ve been loud.

It got me in trouble in every single class I ever took. I’ve been hushed in public, reprimanded by teachers, teased by friends. My voice carries. Part of this comes from a background in theatre and part of it comes from growing up in a home that was always on the verge of volcanic eruption. And part of it is just me. I am loud.

I’m loudest about the things I believe in.

When my poetry career first got off the ground, I made it a point to announce—loudly and often—my queerness. It is a part of my story that I’ve always wanted to make sure was told. The biography of my first book, Belly of the Beast, opens with the words “Ashe Vernon is a queer poet from Texas.”

   My mother asked me about that; it wasn’t with disapproval but I think it was with a little bit of worry. I think she was afraid of what the world would do with that kind of information offered up so willingly. I remember her saying, “Why a queer poet? Why not just a poet?”

And I could have done that. I could have left my sexuality to context clues. I could have kept it more private. It wouldn’t have been a bad choice.

But it would have been wrong for me. I am loudest about the things that matter and this mattered so much to me. I wanted to be a voice—speaking, singing, shouting if I had to—that could remind other people what we all have to offer. I wanted queer kids to know that there was someone speaking up for them, and I wanted people who weren’t queer to know that there are things all of us can relate to.

You tend to get pigeon-holed, as an artist, when you come out like that. What used to be just art suddenly becomes “Queer Art.” What used to be poetry becomes “gay and lesbian poetry.”

On the one hand—thank god somebody is writing about queer issues, queer experiences. Thank god there’s an easy way to search for works like this: that speak to those of us who truly need them. But on the other hand, how alienating to be othered in such a way. We are expected to all relate deeply to the literary legacies of straight, white men (never mind the fact that so many of us don’t), and yet art created by marginalized groups is marketed as being only for the groups it represents—as if we don’t have things to learn from each other. As if the voices of people different from us don’t matter.

For a period of about three days, Belly of the Beast, was ranked #5 in the “gay and lesbian poetry” section of Amazon. And of course I was elated. I was through the roof. For a few days, I was two slots behind Richard Siken’s Crush, which has always been one of my biggest sources of inspiration as a queer poet. But there was a part of me that was frustrated. I was frustrated for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being that I am not gay or a lesbian. The category felt like a misnomer. My queerness didn’t fall into their parameters, my sexuality not included on this list. “Gay and lesbian” is not a catch-all for queerness. For those of us whose genders and sexualities extend beyond this, it can feel as much like alienation as inclusion.

I labeled myself as a queer poet (loudly) from the very beginning—because representation is so, so vital. Because mainstream media is quick to brush queerness under the rug. Because people like me, whose sexuality doesn’t fall under either category of gay or straight, have been written off and pushed into categories they didn’t belong to for decades.

I can’t fix this, on my own. But I can tell my story: loudly and unapologetically. Maybe no one will pay attention. 

But if I yell loud enough, they at least have to hear me.

Ashe Vernon has been writing for as long as they can remember, but they found poetry when they most needed it. Their words first hit the stage in the tiny town of Lufkin, Texas and since then they have been featured in two poetry anthologies and published a collection of poetry all their own–Belly of the Beast, via Words Dance Publishing. They’ve stumbled her way onto stages across Texas and just  toured the southwest with their best friend and partner in crime. At 5'2", Ashe is a very tiny person with very tiny hands and a whole lot to say about it. Their second book, Wrong Side of a Fistfight, came out this summer and is available  through Where Are You Press.

Click the link below, dawg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOO8CZVtyfI

This is a piece of video poetry by experimental and multimedia poet, Jovial Jellyfish. Personally, I appreciate the fast and awkwardly forward editing style, but this piece also brings up such a fascinating and hilarious point about the egalitarian nature of expression in the information age. I find the concept of fitting every conceivable reaction to this song within the frame of the song’s own time length to be cleverly comedic. But it also touches on the fact that each of these statements come in such immediate and rapid succession after one another. Every thought is subsequently pushed to the side by the other, with little (and sometime negative) chronological space in between them. Superficially speaking, it seems that we are watching a jokey spoof on the people that find music through such banal channels as top 40 radio, but after a while it becomes apparent that this video is a broader statement than a tongue-in-cheek sentiment. The selection of Pumped Up Kicks for this concept also speaks to the massive shift in the way music has changed over the past decade - just a few months ago, Foster the People were nobodies. Vendors promoting FTP have used this as a means of representing them as some sort of ‘indie’ act, when the reality is that they’re just one more victim of the one-hit-wonder machine. Pumped Up Kicks is weird in that it became an overnight sensation, marketed to the awkward ‘dad rock’ crowd instead of the general tween masses, which never would have happened ten years ago. The extremely malleable dynamics of what is ‘cool’ have evolved in progressively stranger ways, and now our grandparents can tweet about it. Thousands of struggling artists vie for the attention of commercial representation every year, and after that consumers struggle for the attention of each other when expressing our feelings about what we’ve just been sold. Where does the competing end and the spectating begin? Do we understand our relationship to each other as producers and consumers?

Also the DIY quality to it is really great.

The Long Heat

In the garden the cat pauses
to lick the dew from her paws.
In morning the day is still forgiven.

Night’s chill lingers in the grass.
A dove dips water from St. Francis’ feet
before vanishing between hackberry leaves.

Like hens protecting chicks from a hawk,
Oaks pull back their shadows;
the sun circles the empty sky.

The cat ignores the mockingbird
chattering from a fence post.
Sunflowers umbrella her like saints.

Later the air hides beneath hawthorne.
The basil bends its head to the ground.
Only a butterfly struggles across the yard.

Rising from beneath the deck, the cat
stretches before slipping into the house.
The grass continues its crisp watch.

By midnight the air breathes again;
the sidewalks glow like morning beds
still holding our shape’s warmth.

(Breadloaf, Vermont Summer 1990)

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・・・ #poem #prose #poetry #writing
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“You can’t take my picture but you can take a picture of my watch. It’s a Timex. It can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. I was wearing this watch when Betty passed away from cancer. We were married for 51 years. She was something else.”

“Can you tell me about your happiest moment together?”

“I’m not gonna go into details, but the last three years were golden.”

(Jacksonville, TX)

Looking at You

I’ve never died and all the lives I’ve lived, one time, passing, the bits of a fence planted, rusting, over, and over the bushes surrounding, where it had fallen into disrepair, finding the smell, like sweet skin, under arms, the hair all gone, and the stubble, pours, just enough sweat, sweet sweat, like, sap, maple, in the undergrowth, under the skin, the human factory, pumps the taste, enough, bite, said enough, berry, burying my face, because I can’t take it, and stronger, than any other, white, bone, through skin, break, like another, ripe fruit, sitting in the sun, long enough to burst, like they do, when time has taken, the bits that only pests, spoil in our eyes, feeding what, flowers call life, with open mouths, lost, enough of that fur, and nerve, to feel curious, but not callous, as hands gripping, thorns wrapping vines, strangling, strange fruit, could be cherry, pulp, the pieces of a man changing himself into the godhead.

#Repost @j.ironword with @repostapp.
・・・
This is available to purchase on my etsy page, as well as all the rest of my writings.  #poem #poet #poetry #photooftheday #instaart #poetsofinstagram #kcco #instagood #instalike #iron_word #life #motivation #inspiration #read #texas #writersofig #qotd #gym #fitmom #me #her #quote #quotes #fitness #words #smile #writer #follow #followme

mellow vibes demo
  • mellow vibes demo
  • castle bohemia studios
Play

ahahaha. that one time my friends and i stayed up in the studio till 4am writing a song. we’ll probably never finish it, but i wanted it on my blog. 


oh the wind blows all through her hair,
on this summer night without a care

we follow these dark old texas roads, 
and where we’re going nobody knows

and the moon came to say hello,
so we waved and said hello

we’ll drive and drive till the sun comes out,
we’ll drive until the sun comes out

youtube

1398. “big and bright” 

“I grew up around music. My parents played and had they had friends that played as well. I remember getting a little play drum kit when I was 3 or 4 and I banged the hell out of it, much to my mothers dismay, I’m sure.”

“When you started your band did it take off quickly or was it a slow build?

"I started Tragikly White in 1993 and back then, it was tough to land a gig man. Other people were covering Pearl Jam while I was singing Jessie’s Girl. These days though it’s a lot better. We’ve got great fans here in Tyler so we keep coming back for them.”
 

(Tyler, TX)

Move In Special

I’m getting better, in my speech, tone, conviction, like the first time the police stopped me, and I was wrong, and the next time they had it coming, and the third strike was a home run, like if you tried enough, and between you and me, I stole every last bit, but that.

One original, one copy, one mad, magazine for the cultured, you know the ones that get around, like its staged, but you just left the camera rolling, in the lifestyle, and this is business, shows us fucking on a mattress in your parents house, that’s how it goes.

So faster is better, longer counts, deep breath, own an ounce of cocaine, and a lot of pills, nigger rigging the elections, and she wins in the polls, and if you asked anyone, they would tell you, but you ask me instead and I tell you, with my face you can have anything.

#Repost @j.ironword with @repostapp.
・・・
This is available to purchase on my etsy page, as well as all the rest of my writings.  #poem #poet #poetry #photooftheday #instaart #poetsofinstagram #kcco #instagood #instalike #iron_word #life #love #lovequotes #read #texas #writersofig #qotd #gym #fitmom #me #her #quote #quotes #fitness #words #smile #writer #follow #followme


“High school didn’t teach us anything about real life except how to not be late to class. My parents are out of the picture so I had no one to tell me that I needed to know how to manage money or apply for a place to live on my own. I don’t know anything about how to build my credit and it seems like everywhere I go people ask me about my money situation and credit score. I didn’t even  know to ask about those things. They were never mentioned. The schools should have taught us real life skills but they didn’t and honestly, it’s really hard.”

(Tyler, TX)

Good morning world some real shit that’s why it’s my last summer at my job they don’t care about your well-being all they care about is they money one thing about me u can’t brain wash me or get me to kiss your ass I don’t care how much money or power u think u have because u have none over me it’s time to build my business and expand it instead of working for a company that don’t respect me,think they can control me, and want me to be an uncle Tom fuck that y'all have a good day and keep focused on your goals homies #CEO #goals #songwriter #atx #musician #rapper #music #art #music #boss #texas #rap #rapper #poet #confidence #hiphop #512 #atxhiphop #austintx #austin #business #Drewsta #crazyclick #yearofdadrewsta #entrepreneur #platinumplagueent by platinummandrewsta http://ift.tt/1hQwUAK

“I set 3 life goals for myself:
1. No sex before marriage
2. No drinking before I turn 21
3. Become a hair stylist
And I can tell you, I successfully reached all of my goals without a single slip up. Now I own my own salon.”

“What’s the most challenging part about owning your own business?”

“The hardest part about being a business owner is that I’m always being watched, and I have to be more careful than ever to never make a mistake, because any little thing can make the salon lose business.”

(Canton, TX) 

“What’s your favorite thing about your mom and dad?”
“They’re both really awesome.”

(Tyler, TX)


I have so much respect for parents that take an active responsibility for their kids. These guys were having a blast when I approached them. The younger brother copied everything the older brother said.

“I’ve been with my girlfriend for around 6 years now. Shes the nicest person I’ve ever met. Like, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a good or bad reputation, she’ll give everyone the same fair chance when she meets them. If she sees someone that needs help, she’s the first person to help them, every time.”

(Tyler, TX)