Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  EN LA VIDA

Speaking in Tongues
Notes from the Writer's Notebook
by Lisa Alvarado
2003-06-01

This article shared 3635 times since Sun Jun 1, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


'The major drug companies are currently developing a card which will carry the encoded genetic history of the bearer.'

From a recently televised news story:

Passport

Identity card riddled with the mottled

code of my double helix.

The last secrets I have will be trapped

there, too. Not just how years of tequila

branded me, scored my liver, dissolved

gray matter.

Much more than eye color,

sex, ( relatively speaking )

where they can find the scars.

They will know the things

that have merged flesh

with memory,

memory with desire

and I am afraid.

I hold these things in the body,

and soon they will know,

and there will be nowhere to hide.

Things like

a woman's wet and ruthless mouth

on my nipple,

her tongue like acid.

How I straddled

my married man lover on a desk,

a scorching, thick pierce.

Shameless and proud

in the midst of betrayal.

I was fearless then.

Not like now.

Not after they know.

It will all be on a card soon.

They just want to check,

just want to make sure I'm fit.

I have never been fit

for anything

but fucking, and longing,

and merging and disappearing.

And keeping secrets.

But there will be no secrets soon,

and I wonder if I will be able to learn

how to bury desire

before I learn

work makes freedom.

----------------------------------------

Reaching my mid-forties, combined with ten years of creative work has strengthened my belief in myself, and the idiosyncratic way I do what I do. I'm able to trust my body and its answers, finally able to write poetry and performance that comes from intuitive knowledge, stillness and meditation. I can say without hesitation, that I have the ability to both celebrate and redefine any experience; including the painful, the ecstatic, the glorious, the oppressive. I believe it is a political act to make art.

Private/public, boundaries/violation. These are the themes I want to address in a personal and creative way. I'm completing a trilogy of performances that is a different kind of memoir. It will use spoken word, poetry and dance to tell the story of recovery from childhood abuse. The last decade of my life has led the way to this project, through the process of looking at those issues, and the experience of physicality as a kind of language and syntax.

What else can I say about how I work, the process of getting words on the page? I realize there is a cyclical, almost 'seasonal' nature to it all. The process of creation for me is one of incubation, sometimes slow and almost imperceptible, sometimes intense, vivid. It is not something I control, but something I have to allow to happen. It means being a container for what needs to be sent through me. This means making time for meditation, prayer, and long stretches of time spent in nature. When I do those things, ideas come to me fairly regularly. When I don't, I feel dry, unable to create. During the time an idea is gestating, I feel a building sense of discomfort that leaves when the idea is formed, when the action is taken. It's made me have a new respect for a part of myself I had termed 'neurotic' and 'difficult'.

There was one book in particular, that became my foundation for understanding who I am, what I need, how it all works for me. Divine Daughters is an autobiography, written by Rachel Bagby, African American woman who survived emotional and physical abuse. She studied law, hoping to transcend poverty, that violent legacy, becoming the 'good' girl her parents wanted. She broke under the weight of those expectations, that false life, after what some might call 'nervous breakdown.' It was a spiritual crisis, forcing her to make a radical change. Bagby chose to follow an inner voice: a voice that propelled her to dance, to live life as an artist, dedicating herself to the creation of work which addresses identity, ancestry, and femaleness.

We have a similar family legacy, and I spent many years trying to be 'good enough,' trying to please everyone else. I also had a similar 'break,' which taught me I could no longer resist my true identity: artist and writer. It was a spiritual challenge to face myself as I really was, requiring me to move my life in an unknown direction. It was ultimately accepting the truth, no longer stealing time and energy from what really needed to be done, and refusing to live up to someone's else expectations for my life. Rachel's creative use of genre is similar to my own, combining spoken work, poetry and dance. I claim her as mentor, placing her in the company of women like Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Marge Piercy, Ana Castillo, women whose work has shaped my life, how and what I write.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

I dream. I remember. I fall in love. I fall out of love. I string together words. It's an act of resistance, a necessity—it's sex, it's prayer. I have mentors and co-conspirators, but so far, I've never looked to some outside source to sanction what I write or perform. Inspiration comes to me from many sources, and that is a singular blessing.


This article shared 3635 times since Sun Jun 1, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Achy Obejas' bilingual poetry book Boomerang/Bumeran explores immigration, liberation 2021-10-11
- Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American writer, translator and activist. Boomerang/Bumerán, her newest book, confronts questions of immigration, love and liberation. Like a boomerang, these ideas return throughout the collection, even ...


Gay News

POETRY E'mon Lauren Black talks queerness, podcast, Black mobility 2021-03-11
- Even though she's only in her early 20s, E'mon Lauren Black has accomplished so much. Not only was Black named Chicago's first youth poet laureate in 2016 (an honor from Young Chicago Authors, in partnership with ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: LGBTQ authors, paczki, skin-care items, Keto Mylk 2021-02-05
- —Tempest, by Ryan Meyer (NothingPeak.com): In Tempest, young LGBTQ writer Meyer departs from the horror themes in his 2018 poetry collection, Haunt. Using fictional vignettes and surreal personal accounts, he ...


Gay News

Chicago native named as state's fifth poet laureate 2020-11-25
- Illinois First Lady MK Pritzker announced Angela Jackson as the next poet laureate for the state. Jackson, a Chicago native, is the fifth Illinoisan to hold the title, an honorary position selected by a committee of ...


Gay News

MUSIC Trans singer Kyler O'Neal debuts music video, talks poetry 2020-09-01
- Kyler O'Neal is a transgender contemporary, folk artist. She officially released her debut music video for her single Satan's Tears on Sept. 1, and that is currently available for streaming on YouTube and Vimeo. Windy City ...


Gay News

'One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives' Aug. 18 2020-08-13
- On Tuesday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m., the Poetry Coalition—a network of 25+ literary organizations that includes Lambda Literary and Young Chicago Authors—will present "One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives." In this ...


Gay News

BOOKS Yvonne Zipter: Looking at Chicagoan's life, poetry collection 2020-08-05
- Writer Yvonne Zipter nurtures nature and other ideas in her new book of poetry Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound. Zipter grew up in Milwaukee and lived there until she was 24. She earned a ...


Gay News

The Queer Landscape, Chicago Danztheatre presents performance on LGBTQ+ identity 2020-01-14
- CHICAGO (January 6th, 2020) - Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble is pleased to announce the third installment of its 2019-20 Art & Activism Performance Series, THE QUEER LANDSCAPE, an evening of live performance, art, and poetry centered around ...


Gay News

Trans Day of Resilience Art, Poetry Uplift Black Trans Power and Liberation 2019-11-20
- November 20, 2019 — Ten trans and non-binary visual artists and poets of color from across the country, including Chicagoan Benji Hart, have collaborated to honor Trans Day of Resilience (TDOR) by creating original artwork to ...


Gay News

South Side Open Mic, Writing Workshop Series planned for survivors of sexual harm 2019-09-04
- Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation is producing two south side programs for survivors of sexual harm. The monthly writing workshop and the monthly open mic are intended to give survivors a brave space to work on ...


Gay News

Gene Siskel Film Center to present Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am Aug. 23-29 2019-08-06
- As a venue that celebrates all art forms and a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center mourns the loss of the celebrated Black author and Nobel ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous 2019-07-23
- Book by Ocean Vuong. $26; Penguin Press; 256 pages One quote on author Ocean Vuong's website refers to him as "the Walt Whitman of Vietnamese-American literature." Vuong's poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, was a ...


Gay News

Poetry block party July 27 in Pilsen 2019-07-22
- The Chicago Poetry Block Party (CPBP)—a free, all-ages celebration of poetry, music and creativity—returns to the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. on Saturday, July 27, 3-8 p.m. Presented by the Poetry Foundation ...


Gay News

POETRY e nina jay aims to help women shed shame 2019-06-26
- e nina jay wants women to stop feeling shame. "I think about how much we, as girls and women, waste being ashamed," the Black lesbian poet said via phone. "How many conversations don't happen and how ...


Gay News

Artist fuses video, poetry to inspire psychedelic experience 2019-06-23
- Poet, new media and sound artist Sara Naomi Goodman will perform "Deep Dream: An Evening of Poetry and Video Synthesis" followed by a Q&A at Slate Arts and Performance Tuesday, June 25. The piece combines a ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.