I had an amazing Christmas yesterday, and you helped to make it so utterly memorable. It wasn’t about the gifts. Janice and I decided to skip that part of Christmas this year. There wasn’t any overwhelming reason. It wasn’t about anything worthy or principled. We just didn’t feel like piles of presents. What we felt like, was celebration. The very fact that enough psychic space has been cleared in my life so as to permit celebration is attributable directly to the support and overwhelmingly generous love and social connection that so many of you have shared with me. No one knows what to do in the face of cancer. I didn’t have a f*cking clue. And you somehow, against all odds, found the courage and the insight to step into the void, beside me.
So last night, on Christmas, celebrate, we did. Lots of people who I love came to our house for “A Little Christmas Queer”. And please don’t think ‘queer’ is about the sex/gender of who folks cozy up to. It’s just about affirming a principle of kinship that is other than blood ties. And of course, many people who I really wanted to celebrate with DID have family things happening that were good and wonderful, and so couldn’t be celebrating with us last night. So it was far from the whole queer family. But maybe that’s all there ever is anyway — that particular queer family, that night, in that place, and f*ck the idea that there is ever a “whole” anything. What I do know for sure is that there was a lot of love in our house last evening and also, that all my research into how to cook the perfect turkey sure did pay off. Some things should not be an ‘adventure in deconstruction’ and a turkey, perhaps, is one such entity. Although even this claim seems quite suspect.
Yesterday, the bag of breast cancer books that has been a fixture in the living room finally got moved to the back room. It’s almost out the door. I haven’t consulted one of those books for weeks, and the last of the stray volumes that were, up until recently, strewn about the house, was collected up and deposited in the bag.
Loki the super-dog cozied up to everyone, and saved a very special kiss for one of her (many) one-true-loves. Somehow, she manages to find space on the couch for the great dane self, even when there isn’t any. If ever there was a postmodern mathematician with a very post-structural theory of space, it would be Loki.
I started this blog with a story about queer love, a tattoo, and a poster on Ange’s wall that inspired me so many years ago. Last night, P, who knew Ange for many years, brought me that very poster – the very poster of the Deena Metzger photograph that I had spent so many hours staring at on Ange’s wall. After Ange died, P had been guardian of the Metzger poster. P’s generosity in passing on the poster to me is extraordinary. Ange’s poster now sits on my kitchen table, leaning against the wall. I had forgotten that there is a verse of Metzger’s poem on the poster. I was inspired by Metzger’s beauty and courage back then, as I saw it embodied by Ange in her own struggles with cancer. And now, it reanimates my own life. As you do.
Thank you so very much for walking with me, this year, in the most ghastly places that we have had to inhabit. Your courage and kindness have inspired me, and kept me company. I will leave the last word to Metzger.
I am no longer afraid of mirrors where I see the sign of the amazon, the one who shoots arrows.
There was a fine red line across my chest where a knife entered, but now a branch winds about the scar and travels from arm to heart.
Green leaves cover the branch, grapes hang there and a bird appears.
What grows in me now is vital and does not cause me harm. I think the bird is singing.
I have relinquished some of the scars.
I have designed my chest with the care given to an illuminated manuscript.
I am no longer ashamed to make love. Love is a battle I can win. I have the body of a warrior who does not kill or wound.
On the book of my body, I have permanently inscribed a tree.