Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Zack and Peterson are back in person with each other, but it might be the last time for a while, as Zack has accepted a job in the DC area! But don’t worry, the podcast isn’t going anywhere! This week we take a trip to Harding University in Arkansas, Flour Bluff School District in Texas, and even Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas! The topic? Free speech and queer identities in education. Take a listen to learn all the latest happenings about how queer people are being erased!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week’s episode:

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» This week’s erotic poem: Episode of Hands by Hart Crane.

» Read the Harding University Queer Press, follow them on Twitter, Like them on Facebook, and watch the President’s scathing speech.

» Learn more about the decision to prevent the GSA in Corpus Christi.

» Zack’s response to the Westboro SCOTUS decision and Bill O’Reilley’s discussion with Megyn Kelly.

» Learn more about the “Be Happy, Not Gay” t-shirt controversy.

» OUTspoken 2011

» True Colors 2011

» Adelina Anthony

» Jade Esteban Estrada

Subscribe to Queer and Queerer in iTunes!

The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.

If you use a different podcatcher, the Queer and Queerer raw feed can be found here.The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.
Like us on Facebook for instant updates, new episodes, and discussion!
Follow Zack (@ZackFord) and Peterson (@p2son) on Twitter.
Peterson is desperate for you love and attention:  Like him on Facebook !
Our theme music is “Appalachia” by Machelli. Download his album, “Opus,” on iTunes.

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Bisexual Superhero Robyn Ochs

Peterson and Zack are delighted to welcome the fabulous Robyn Ochs to the Queer & Queerer Podcast. Robyn is a renowned speaker at conferences and on college campuses and is particularly known for her bisexuality activism. In this episode, we discuss the complicated nature of sexual identities and the history of bisexual advocacy. Robyn also reminds us of the power of the personal narrative with a story of her own. Join in the conversation by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page!

Queer & Queerer Ep. 40 “Bi and Bier–featuring Robyn Ochs

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Check out Robyn Ochs’ homepage and Like her on Facebook.

» Find this week’s erotic poem and other bisexual testimonials in Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World.

» Get details on the upcoming central PA GSA Leadership Summit!

Subscribe to Queer and Queerer in iTunes!

The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.

If you use a different podcatcher, the Queer and Queerer raw feed can be found here.The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.
Like us on Facebook for instant updates, new episodes, and discussion!
Follow Zack (@ZackFord) and Peterson (@p2son) on Twitter.
Peterson is desperate for you love and attention:  Like him on Facebook !
Our theme music is “Appalachia” by Machelli. Download his album, “Opus,” on iTunes.

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Zack is going to Netroots Nation, so he fulfills his promise to do the podcast naked! To help set the mood, Peterson reads some erotic poems. The conversation evolves into an exploration of queer culture over time and throughout different regions. How do we all move forward when some are living in the closet while others are eager to reject the norms of society? In what ways does sexual liberation overlap with queer rights and what can we glean from Zack Rosen’s decision to use his body to get votes? Tune in and then leave a comment to join today’s sexy discussion.

The Queer and Queerer Podcast Episode 14

Audre Lorde

// Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Zack’s post about Zack Rosen offering to strip for votes. (Lots of discussion here!)

» C.P. Cavafy Homepage

» Audre Lorde and the Erotic

» “Sweet Voices” by C. P. Cavafy

» TransForm New Hampshire

And if you want to see a photo of my cock, given to you free of charge without exchange for votes, click here.

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After sleeping until past noon (9.5 hours of blissful slumber), I slowly emerged and glided through the day eating some of my favorite foods (compressed tofu lightly sauteed with baby spinach, kimchi, and raw carrots) and reading the poetry of Cavafy and Lorca. I have the most complete collection of Federico Garcia Lorca poems, a bilingual edition edited by Christopher Maurer (for a long time I have been looking for a similar edition of poems by Charles Baudelaire with the original on the left and the translation on the right.)

For music today I have enjoyed a steady Pandora diet of Sigur Ros and Mogwai. I also played a little I’m From Barcelona, the 30+ member Swedish band. Last night I heard the similar sounding and delightfully queer band, Dangerous Ponies in Hartford after my gig.

The concept of the “starving artist” abounds in pop culture and public consciousness. Fortunately I have plenty of tofu in my fridge, but artists need other types of feeding–artist food–namely art. Reading poems, fiction and literary non-fiction as well as attending plays, going to art museums, and listening to music feeds my artist soul and gives me artistic energy and inspiration.

Earlier I read a poem by Lorca that I’ve been munching on all day.  Below is the first stanza:

Corazón Nuevo

Mi corazón, como una sierpe,
se ha desprendido de su piel,
y aquí la miro entre mis dedos
llena de heridas y de miel.

and in English

New Heart

Like a snake, my heart
has shed its skin.
I hold it here in my hand,
full of honey and wounds.

You can experience the whole poem here.

While in Seattle I got to enjoy the art of Coyote Grace, the “left coast bluesy folkroots duo – with a fruity twist.” One of the members, Joe, writes and sings openly about his experience as a female to male (FtM) transgender person. Watch their very tasty video currently on Logo on-line (and then VOTE for them so that lots of folks who watch Logo can experience them.) And what a blast I had with my friend Jane on our way to the Coyote Grace concert–that was comic art in itself! (read Jane’s insightful blog post about her experience as a non-trans person seeing my play at a primarily female-to-male transgender conference.)

In Seattle I got to meet a skilled and passionate poet named Cole Arden Peake. Post-Gender Odyssey Conference Cole and I got together for some vegan Vietnamese Pho soup and a time of sharing our writing with each other for desert. The first poem Cole read me is called Recovery, and after he read it, I asked him to read it again. I so wish you could hear it in his own voice (Cole–recite it on video and post it on YouTube 🙂 )

Cole gave me permission to share his poem on my blog (sorry that WordPress doesn’t let me format it properly.) I suggest you read it aloud.

by Cole Arden Peake

Spend years forgetting your body. Notice only improvements; become practiced at ignoring the things that stay.

Remember them briefly enough to do something about them. Be angry at God. Be exited. Tell everyone just how afraid you are.

Submit to this changing because it’s your only option. Curse God for this. Allow hands on forgotten flesh, let them open you. Wake up growling and curl around your wounds.

Bleed for days.

Remain angry at God while you bleed. Sleep more than usual. Watch your body do what it was made to do. Marvel at the intelligence of healing. Let a stranger finish your sentence and feel less alone.

Feel better. Come out of hiding. Stretch yourself, first with caution—then with wild abandon. Be surprised at what you will wear and how you will hold yourself. Love God—with the caveat that he never pull that bullshit again and place your hand over your heart daily. Let another trace your scars and try to remember yourself before, Fail. Turn back to what you have now and hold it. Know it is the only real thing and hold it.

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On-air WNPR (photo by Catie Talarski)

On-air WNPR (photo by Catie Talarski)

About an hour ago I stepped out of the studios of WNPR, the Hartford local public radio stations, where I appeared on the Where We Live program to talk about transgender Bible characters as they appear in my play Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible. Also on the show performance artist Scott Turner Schofield spoke about his one-person show, How to Become Man in 127 Easy Steps. Scott, who is a female-to-male transgender person shares much of his own story in his theater work–and what a skilled artist he is! I saw his show Debutante Balls in North Carolina earlier in the year.

This is my second time on Where We Live. As host John Dankosky led me into the studio, he pointed out a plate prominently displayed outside the studio announcing that his program won the 2007 PRNDI award as the best public radio talk show in the country that year. The episode that they submitted to be judged was one they did about gender identity that included a chat with Jerimarie Liesegang, PhD. Director, Ct TransAdvocacy Coalition and me. Catie Talarski was the mastermind behind that show and in particular in having it focus on gender identity instead of just orientation. (You can hear that show here.)

On today’s program, Scott and I got to talk to John about our performance work, which touches on transgender issues and identity through storytelling. In telling his own story Scott invariably connects with the audience and their own stories. In my play I don’t tell my story but that of other people in the ancient past and today interweaving the two together. My hope is that people will also recognize themselves in some of my characters and narratives.  Hopefully beyond that they will also expand their understanding of the gender spectrum and the many different ways people identify and present their gender. As Kory, a guy at one of the sessions I attended at Gender Odyssey, stated, “I have a fancy gender.”

Scott and I have seen each others work before, and both initially didn’t want to see the others show, but we were both delightfully surprised by what we experienced. We get to talk about each others work on the show. I even get to recite a new favorite poem by Cavafy.

Have a listen to today’s Where We Live program Transgressing Gender.

I perform my show tonight at Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford and it will be a fundraiser for the CT TransAdvocacy Coalition, and Scott will have two performances next weekend at Real Art Ways.

How to Become a Man in 127 Easy Steps, written & performed by Scott Turner Schofield

I changed my sex. Now what?
Irreverent and dynamic, graceful and playful, this one-person show engages the deep questions (and the locker room jokes) about what it means to become a man. Moving beyond the transgender narrative that focuses on the experience of transition, Schofield’s stories explore the drama and hilarity of living a new life in the “opposite” gender.

Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible, written & performed by Peterson Toscano

Drawing on inspiration from interviews with transgender and genderqueer individuals, Peterson Toscano weaves their experiences into the stories of transgender and gender-variant people from the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Hilarious and moving, Toscano’s one-person play deepens well-known (and lesser-known) Bible stories as he presents an array of characters with an array of genders.

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Devastated by Cavafy

I adore the poetry of Constantine P. Cavafy, the poet originally from Alexandria who made a habit of writing in demotic Greek in the early 20th Century. Often he drew on history for many of his poems, but he also wrote about personal experiences, about love, sex, long lost passion that still lived long in his bones and heart and mind and escaped through his pen. Last night I stayed up until 3:00 in the morning reading some off his poems aloud.

One poem in particular stunned me and kept me up long after I closed the book. You should know that Cavafy was a man who loved men and loved being physically intimate with men. Like many men in history (and today) he kept that fact hidden from most of the world. He needed to hide his true feelings. Only in his unpublished works and among his friends was he open about his sexuality. Many of his poems were published after his death in 1935.

Perhaps he wrote the following poem with you in mind.

Hidden Things

From all I did and all I said
let them not try to find out who I was.
An obstacle stood before me and transformed
my acts and my way of life.
An obstacle stood before me and stopped me
so often from what I was going to say.
My most unnoticed acts
and my most veiled writings–
only from these will they know me.
But maybe it’s not worth it to devote
so much care and effort to knowing me.
Later–in a more perfect society–
someone made like me
will certainly appear and act differently

(from The Collected Poems of C. P. Cavafy–A New Translation by Aliki Barnstone )

Read more at the Cavafy official site.

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Good News

The following is intended to be read aloud.

Good News. She didn’t even charge me for desert. Good News. Salim found the goat. Good News. I found it under the backseat, oh, and this too. Good News. I was able to salvage the carburetor. Good News. She fired me. Good News. He’s fine; thank God the police didn’t pull him over this time. Good News. I lost five pounds. Good News. I guess I’m not allergic anymore. Good News. Thanks to your faithful giving two more villages in Luapula province now have adequate water supplies. Good News. At least she didn’t suffer much in the end. Good News. We’re having a baby. Good News. I just saved a bundle on my car insurance. Good News. He said that he will cover my shift on Friday if I work for him on Saturday which is okay because I was going to go in anyway. Good News. We get in for half-price after five. Good News. We’ve just had a cancellation so we can make an appointment for about three o‘clock? Good News. She said yes. Good News. I will never have to talk to him or see him again in my life. Good News. We can pay this month’s rent. Good News. We’re having a HUGE sale on all electronics and appliances. Good News. Investigators say that if the weather cooperates later today they will recover the bodies from Tuesday’s crash. Good News. Looks like we’ll have a decent crop this year after all. Good News. She said no. Good News. I’m finally putting on some weight. Good News. They decided to build it somewhere else. Good News. They had over 50 people show up. Good News.. At least he didn’t spend all his paycheck on drinking. Good News. She will walk with only a slight limp. Good News. The initial reports show that only four people were killed during this year’s election season. Good News. Looking at this x-ray we see the bullet only just missed his lung. Good News. And it’s only 50 calories! Good News. She told me not to worry about it.Good News. No worries, I made sure I backed it up before we started.Good News. Under the circumstances, of course, we will waive the processing fee. Good News. She passed the entrance exams with flying colors.Good News. I happened to be in the next room when it happened. Good News. I am NOT pregnant. Good News. She said maybe. Good News. Analysts predict that over the next six months we should see a steady decline in gas prices. Good News. I have that in black too. Good News. In contrast to what you tell yourself (and what others have to say about it) God is not pissed off at you. Good News. Look, I can get into my jeans again. Good News. We should be able to get the stain out. Good News. The bite is deep but it did not get infected this time. Good News. They opened a new branch next to my work. Good News. They’ve given us a week to find a new place. Good News. He’s never coming back again. Good News. The tests were negative. Good News. The tests were positive.Good News. I’ll be able to stay here with the children for the time being. Good News. They will be hiring again soon. Good News. I’m eligible for a free upgrade. Good News. Chemicals derived from microbial defenses are leading to new antibiotics beginning with one to fight malaria, which causes 500 million annual cases of infection world wide—one million of which end in death.* Good News. She can still eat a little if it’s chopped up in tiny pieces. Good News. You can hardly see the scar. Good News. I should be able to just knock out the dents. Good News. We got to see her on our way back home. Good News. He won’t suffer any more. Good News. The baby survived. Good News. They serve coffee now. Good News. I’m going to try one more time.

*Nature’s Chemical Warfare – Good News for the Worldwide Malaria Epidemic

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Decadence–A Poem


Oh, Come…

“…according to the government’s latest figures, the labor market has shrunk by more than 17% in the last quarter alone. Analysts warn that the current downturn will…”

“I told him NO. No more. I don’t know; I just can’t handle this anymore.”

“And with your tax-deductible donation of $150 or more, you will get the mug, the fleece jacket and the bumper sticker.”

“I can’t decide…Oh what the hell, I’ll take them both!”

“Oh! My!! God! !! Did you hear about Kristin and Rob?!?”

“Later this morning Chef Pauline will whip up some holiday goodies but first we go to Ron in the Weather Center.”

“One no-foam venti soy pumpkin spice latte. You wanna make that a double espresso? It costs the same.”

“And in what is being called the comeback of the new Millennium, she will launch her world-wide concert tour on Friday. Keep listening to hear how you can win tickets for four and an all-access VIP Pass.”

“We don’t carry that in small. Medium, Large, Extra Large or Double Ex.”

“…Now don’t forget the butter! I prefer the whipped butter you can get in tubs, but sticks will do in a pinch.”

“I’m sorry honey, I just can’t this week, but maybe your mother can on your way to the concert.”

“The angels come in from the right. And you shepherds need to appear startled but not terrified.”

” ‘A crocodile in my soup?!?’ cried Fatima, ‘but I asked for Chicken Noodle.’ The waiter grinned a greasy grin, ‘But my dear they all flew the coop. Please. PLEASE try our delicious and nutritious Crocodile Soup.’ ”

“A police spokesman says the cause of death is still uncertain but a toxicology report will be released later this week. Now to sports with Janet in The Zone…”

Let Us Adore

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Marvin interview Earthel Forester, an 87 year-old Black lesbian. Marvin’s Aunt Sylvia also calls in and I even make a cameo appearance. Oh, and Marvin responds to Elizabeth Jeremiah, thus modeling how to stand up to a spiritual bully (and if anyone knows about this it is Marvin)

Listen to Trans-Ponder Podcast #86 for an episode filled with poetry and so much more. Mila and Jayna crack me up!

OH!!! And Very Important. Trans-Ponder Podcast has been nominated for the Podcast Awards under the GLBT section. You can vote once a day this Thur, Fri and Sat. Please vote. You will make Marvin ever so happy.

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The veil covered her eyes along with the rest of her face.
They say she wore it in adherence to a religious practice long ago discarded,
all but forgotten except for reminders in art.

Upon first encounter you face a blank wall of silk,
alluring and disconcerting.
You witness no facial expressions,
No rolling of the eyes,
No impish grin,
but over time you encounter these as they emerge through her voice
with its
many rolling inflections and tones,
(flowing, winding like the ancient river that sustained her people all those years.)

Over time the barriers between you two grow thin,
as her soul pours through  g a p s  in the fibers.

Her humor, passion, outrage and thoughtfulness
envelop you,
you thank your god for that veil
which protects you
from the full force of her humanity.

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Losing It & Understated Beauty

This week I am on Bowen Island near Vancouver, BC at a place called Rivendell. It serves as a retreat center where I have slept and walked in the rain forest, ate good food and written poetry. Today we gave each other various topics to write about. One was simply, “Losing It.” I have not read much in the news about the financial turmoils in the world, but everyone talks about it and senses it is worse than we could ever imagine. No surprise that thoughts of this crisis got into the following poem.

Losing It

Under the mattress,
Behind the cushions,
In my 401K plan and demurring portfolio,
At the Business Park,
Throughout the global market place,
Everyone’s doing it.

The cool cats and nerdy geniuses,
sudden kin with homeless men and welfare moms,
stare transfixed at the jutting, zigzag staircase to panic and poverty.

Everyone suddenly in community,
in unison,
in the corporate devolution,
Everybody losing it.


The next poem I wrote more as a playwright than a poet.


Understated Beauty

It’s in my dresser, top drawer.
No, the one on the right.
Of course you can wear it.
You can have it. (smile)
It was your grandmothers you know.
She gave it to me when I was your age.
I’ve seen you eye it before.
I thought I would probably end up getting buried with it,
Or maybe give it to a granddaughter one day,
Since I only had boys.

What would my boys do with these pearls?

Your father always said he wanted a little girl.
We never realized we already had one in you all along.

How could we know?
Being your mother, how could I not know?

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