Dear Friends who are considering voting for Romney/Ryan this fall:

I’ve been trying not to write this for weeks now. I couldn’t stop myself any longer.

So….Republican friends….If you ever see a Democrat so intellectually dishonest in his words and message as Paul Ryan was last night, please send me a note and link so I can speak out against it. (I always keep an eye out myself, but it will mean more coming from you).  If I had a son or daughter, I would be ashamed to have them see me vote for someone who used their words to deceive so many about so much at a time when so many important things were at stake. (And yes, I’m well aware that this might keep me from voting from anyone at all, and you can tell me that, but as of now that’s just the usual cynicism that prevents us from imagining change.)  I don’t want to debate. I’m just asking a favor: alert me to deceptions on the my side.

Notice I’m not telling you who to vote for. If my post makes you think about your choice and the kind of person these two men are, that’s on you.  You’re welcome to make me think about the kind of man I’m voting for. I’ve actually thought about it a great deal. I think about often as I:
* happily pay my taxes
* plan my wedding to a *man* I love
*use my healthcare and know that my mom, dad, and family have care
*pursue an advance degree using (an albeit too small) government loan
* have (some small) hope that my niece and nephew just might have a viable environment when they grow up
* feel safer that Osama Bin Laden is longer a threat
* feel pride that my gay brothers and sisters can serve openly in the military (if they choose)
*know that my home state got bailed out and that it worked, etc. etc.

I should add how happy I am (nothing against you, and I’m not aligning you with your party) that at least my side (despite its many flaws) isn’t coming to be defined (even by members of its own party) by
*religious extremism
* dangerous views on women, women’s rights, and women and violence
* several degrees of hate (even toward our armed service members)
* greed
* racism
*a pathological ambivalence toward helping others (“let him die!”) that somehow co-exists with anti-abortion views
* and a virulent distrust of science, education, the arts and the intellect in general.

(I know you do your best to disown members of your party who take part in these views. I do the same when I see it in my party. But to be honest, and I’m not being a dick, I don’t see these things in my party.)

So, yes, I’m especially okay with my party not being the party that seems hell-bent in going in that direction. Go ahead and imagine the Democrat’s direction. I’ll be you at its worst it’s not so noxious, dangerous, anti-American, and destructive as the direction you see above—especially when you consider (because I know you’re saying Obama and the Dem’s will ruin our economy) how obstructionist the Rep’s have been when it comes to plans to improve things. And I know you’re not one of those people who think Obama really is out to ruin America on purpose, because you’re my friend and I don’t have friends who are crazy.

All that being said, I’m also okay if you want to call me naive, tell me the Dem’s are just as bad. I’d rather be thought naive that any ONE of those things I list above.

PS: Looking at that list I think to myself, Romney and Ryan most certainly would see me as ‘taking advantage’ of big government, as part of the problem, and hurting American’s “traditions” and threatening its future. If you feel that way too, well….

“Queer” by Frank Bidart

Wow, just wow.

Thank you, terror!

You learned early that adults' genteel
fantasies about human life

were not, for you, life.  You think sex

is a knife
driven into you to teach you that.

Post-LSD Romantic Aaron Shurin discusses the pleasure of embodied poetics.

Excited to report that my interview with Aaron Shurin is now live on the Poetry Foundation website. Aaron’s insights, poetics, and his all-around eloquence are really worth checking out, as our his experiences with Robert Duncan and a career that began around the time of Gay Liberation. And quite a bit more. Here’s one of my favorite spots.

CH: Reginald Shepherd writes that in your poem “Multiple Heart,” the prose pieces “enact the intercourse of sexuality and textuality that is so central to [your] poetry.” He explains how you deploy “song [as] sex, the poem is a wedding of writer and reader.” What’s your personal sense of your relationship to the reader?

AS: In “Narrativity,” I used erotic terms for describing the writer-reader dynamics of narrative versus lyric [poetry]. I decided that narrative performs an act of seduction, which is to draw the reader into person and place via the transparency of language: Come to me! And then the counterforce, lyric, is display. I imagine a peacock, or one of those crazy birds building its magnificent nest: Look at me! Just look at this! That’s also a mating call, a dazzling act, a spell.

A new video poem project

My good friend (and Thom Gunn and Lambda Award finalist) Garth Greenwell is featured in a new video poem project called Three Poems. It’s quite stunning. Check it out!

D.A. Powell, sex, poetry, and a stunning review from Stephen Burt

The last paragraph:

Many GLBT poets (as we say now) write about sex; many seek not just libidinal celebration, not only attentive mimesis, but also ethical stances against prejudice and denial, disease and death. Even among those peers, though, Powell’s puns and his ironies, his command of genuinely elevated along with grinningly rueful tones, his refusal to simplify the life he depicts, and his sense of the shape of a line set him apart. Those attributes make his new writing, on sex but not just about sex, not only sad and funny and grotesque and dense and resonant, but itself often thrillingly, shockingly sexy. One of the last poems in Useless Landscape even bears the title “Ode to Joy,” though it takes place in the apparently unromantic space of fast food restaurants, with “teens, as teens must do, eating the potato nuggets / of cupidity . . . . Their cups / of catsup and other dipping sauces creating little o’s / of transparency in their suck-me-off jeans.” The very next poem gets religion: “There is no God but that which visits us / in skin and thew and pleasing face.” Powell’s new poems could make you believe that too.

Sex and gender trending on the web

I’m trying to start a tumblr for my online course where I post stuff I’ve come across on the web that speaks to issues of sexuality and gender in hopefully fun and provocative ways. Would love to get folks suggestions as they come across stuff!

And check out what I’ve already posted!

Joe Brainard, Tim Dlugos and ‘the gay artist’ question

From the new Joe Brainard Collected Works, via an interview at the back of the book with Tim Dlugos. (Thanks, Matthew Hittinger! And congrats on Skin Shift!)

TD: Do you consider yourself a “gay artist”? Is there such a thing as “gay art” outside of subject matter? Is there a “gay sensibility” that infuses your work of infuses the work of poets you know?