“Stranger Things and Queerness” — A Hot Take

•July 13, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Let’s begin with a massive SPOILER ALERT — do not read further unless you’ve watched at least episode seven of season three of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” More below —

Continue reading ‘“Stranger Things and Queerness” — A Hot Take’


La Isla Bonita (2)

•June 26, 2019 • 1 Comment

I literally used to hide in my closet with headphones clasped tight to my as yet unpierced ears, hoping the dice of the airwaves — when they yet mattered — would roll onto Gina G’s “Ooh, Ahh, Just a Little Bit.” I was eleven — cut me some slack.

That experience was my introduction to a broader world; couched in my bedroom closet, clutching my Walkman, tuning in to what was then a terrifying yet new world, terrifying in its newness and what demands it’d make of a precocious tow-headed fat kid from a dying once-industrial city. Even now, I can’t let go of the place, its empty plants and still warehouses, pretending at its best still to be the non-Chicago hub of mighty manufacturing. That is gone, of course — hi-speed rail connecting Rockford to the shipping lanes of the city, Milwaukee, Madison, Des Moines would make too much economic sense for Springfield.

And so it goes. Rockford dwindles — perhaps rightfully so — and Chicago gains. That’s the 21st c. in nuce — the cities get larger, far beyond their breaking point, and the towns (I write this, despite the fact that Rockford’s MSA is ~330k) just bleed and bleed. I’m not innocent. Part of the reason I chose Dartmouth over Harvard was because I wasn’t ready for “the big city.” Boston is not a “big city” by any metric, yet it seemed so, long before I lived in Berlin. Frankfurt a.M. and eventually Boston itself. For whatever reason — having been educated in the hinterlands, I didn’t know how to comport myself around daughters and sons and cousins of former and future presidents. A field I’d yet to learn how to navigate, unsure if I even could.

La Isla Bonita

•June 12, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I couldn’t have been older than thirteen. Maybe even twelve; old enough to figure out that the thing between my legs had capabilities other than pissing.

I was intensely aware of my body — still am, sorry; I was the fat kid, never quite good enough at playground football (American style). I was deeply in love (still am, in ways) with the girl from the other side of the tracks — the more I learned about her, the more I wanted to know. Teenage romances never work out, and ours didn’t. My fault on that. But the moment I return to in my memory is sitting in the back seat of the Chevrolet Caprice her older sister drove, coming to pick her and me and her best friend (who in turn became one of my best friends) up from Magic Waters — as you may surmise, a waterpark on the outskirts of our city, a Chicago satellite. For some reason, Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” was on the radio — remember when radio had that possibility to alter a universe?

You’d had to have been there.

North Carolina

•May 5, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I didn’t go there for experience. Definitely not for the weather.

There was a boy and a girl. I was 18 and I wanted them both. I was there to build houses. I cared about building houses; they’d be occupied eventually by people who needed houses. So, under the cruel sun and the humid breath of North Carolina at any time of the year, I hammered, spit nails, longed for the shower at the end of the day. We’d retreat to K.,’s house in the research triangle — spacious, equipped with a fire pit out back, where we’d talk shit with each other.

I mostly kept silent — I didn’t know what to say. I just took it in, the silence, the lightning bugs triggering their brilliance on and off, the moon laughing. I didn’t realize what majesty I’d stumbled into. We watched “Donnie Darko,” and I thought I’d seen the face of gods, but he wasn’t interested. More hammering, more nails (no puns).

Eventually we drove back to New Hampshire, most of us never to see each other again. Yet the moment his eyes met mine with 80s perfect, as only they could be, and everything after… that I can’t rewrite, renarrate. It happened that way, and we both forgot.

•May 1, 2019 • Leave a Comment

For me, $18 is a lot of money. That’s like a month’s worth of petrol, or one futile submission fee. So I was nonplussed to say the least to see a charge for that amount on my bank account; then I remembered the time of year and realized, oh, it’s my annual fee to keep this url. I should probably use it more often…

After all, there’s no one quite like… (you knew it was coming) —


Sly Beasts

•March 23, 2019 • Leave a Comment

At night, I like to read or watch TV/stream something or just waste time generally in bed, two pillows propped up behind me, a book or my iPad propped up in front of me. Ariel, my furry friend, likes to snuggle up right along my left hip — he seems always to fashion a little blanket nest into which — shockingly! — he fits as perfectly as a dollop of butter on a hot waffle.

He has a maneuver, of which he seems very proud — and should be, as it’s thus far enjoyed a near 100% success rate — according to which he’ll slightly and slowly turn his head to his left, so that no matter what I’m doing, I can absentmindedly scratch his chin and right cheek with my left hand. (If it wasn’t obvious, I’m right-handed.) Then, he’ll spring his trap, start purring and look at me with languorous bedtime eyes. As he starts to bring his head down, he’ll extend his right arm over my left forearm, so that his impossibly cute paw curls around my outer forearm, and is therefore no longer accessible to me. At this point, he’s won. I can either try to free my left forearm and risk waking the dreamer or just — as is usually the case — submit to being a kept man.

I’m okay with that, Ari.

•March 6, 2019 • Leave a Comment

My English copy of Adorno’s “Minima Moralia” (seminal seminal text of post WWII response to vogue existentialism) translates „Reflexionen aus dem beschädigten Leben“ as “Reflections on a Damaged Life” — this is not the proper translation; technically it is an honest and fitting translation, but. I’ve seen that translated also as “Reflections on Damaged Life,” losing the article to express what I interpret as Adorno’s point — it isn’t that *a* life has been damaged, rather that “life” as commonly understood, the process of *living* as an extant being has in its essence been damaged beyond conceivable repair. This interpretation holds true even 74 years after WWII’s end, and projects a means of resistance to the post-capitalist public information-totalitarianism knocking on our collective doors.

*addendum* — by the act of writing to a collective “us,” and addressing a future “we,” Adorno complicates the postwar logic of I and Thou.

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