Week 21. Classification systems

Let me love living things, I think, as I remove a snail – dead – and a beetle – alive and dazed – from my salad and place them outside.

It was Pentecost last week – the end of Christian holy time and the beginning of “ordinary time.” We wore red to symbolize the Spirit’s descent as flame, though it occurs to me, sitting in that crimson church, that fire isn’t red, and I can’t think of what color to call it.

I wanted to be a pathologist until I saw people in pain – pinned like butterflies by biopsy needles, evinced by bags of bright red blood. So much out of place. I never wanted to work with living things again, so I studied viruses and chemicals. And paint, with its blood-implied colors, colors that represent life, not pain: pyrrhic, sanguine.

My resolution for Pentecost was to respect the words for how viruses hurt people, how there are always lives haunting the data. I write out genus and species names, eschew abbreviations, as if this matters, and it does; it forces me to look at the word and what’s behind it. Everyone at the church hopes, just a little, that the ghost who descends will be one of theirs.

Materials: ink, watercolor

My son’s preschool had 3 transgender kids. That seemed like a large ratio of boys in headbands and skirts peeing at the urinal.  The kids didn’t mind changes in names, pronouns, hair length.  I worry for those boys though that the price of acceptance is certainty. 

Could a girl be a boy then girl again?   

Out of college I lived in DC and met a group of girls who performed as Kings – dressed as extreme masculine men while singing and dancing on stage.  Some of the Kings were raising money to have top surgery – one minute we were singing and laughing, the next women were chopping off body parts.  I felt abandoned in womenhood.

I feel gut reaction support for the transgender movement, but at the same time I dont believe in gender.  Or certainty.

I am a high femme women trapped in a low to medium femme life. I would like to sing in silky slips on top of pianos.  I would like to wear flowing gowns.  I would like to match my underwear  and bra.  I get as far as wearing colors, lots of color, my kids too, we are a mismatch of orange, red, yellow, blue, green.

Medium: ink

Reference: Excerpt from a song in the front yard, Gwendolyn Brooks


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