Once Upon a Train…

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The train slowly gathered speed as it pulled away from the station. The sound of the wheels rattling against the tracks was something she found soothing. It established a kind of rhythm that, at least momentarily, drew her thoughts away from what she was leaving behind. From what had happened there.

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Flower Child

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My original concept for this self-portrait was more of a hippy-dippy-let-your-inner-child-free-to-romp thing. Then this last week happened. More young black men gunned down by police for no apparent reason, police officers falling victim to sniper fire in Dallas, the ongoing BLM protests amid hyperbolic and untrue rhetoric about their “violent” motives, the over-aggressive police reaction to protesters across the country. And I haven’t even touched on other news. With all this going on, I wasn’t even sure if I had a voice anymore or, if I did, what I wanted to say. Then last night I was thinking about an article I’d read that compared what is happening in our country today to what was happening in 1968. I decided to go ahead and do this self-portrait with less of a staged costume effect and with a different focus in the narrative.

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Attitude!

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When I was child, I remember having a great deal of freedom. I don’t mean that just in the sense of being able to spend a lot of time reading or wandering through the woods across the road from our house. I also mean it in the sense that being a girl was only one minor aspect of my existence and experience rather than being the thing that defined me as an individual.

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Flesh

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Adolescents are the ones who get it
right, relishing
the graphic image as they cling together,
so close,
and whisper, “Oh, gross…”
Guts
and blood are undeniable
as are fingers, eyeballs, liver and kidney.
What have souls
and such to do with the body,
the words,
reduction and reproduction?
Even the phoenix only rises from the ashes
to become its fleshy self
once again.

The Beauty in the Body

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When I was talking with my sister about this self-portrait series and what I hoped to accomplish with it, she jokingly suggested that I pose nude. Um, no. Nude was out of the question but it got me thinking. One of my primary goals with this project is to explore aspects of myself that I have not completely revealed in the past or that make me feel uncomfortable. So I thought maybe I should push myself a bit and pose in a way that, for me, is more scantily clad because I’ve always had a poor body image. I knew I’d have to psych myself up for it.

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Never Too Late

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In my post yesterday, I mentioned that I’ve been experiencing a bit of a writer’s block lately. So this morning I decided to start a new project as a way of unclogging the creative pathways. A week or so ago, I came up with the idea of doing a series of self-portraits with something written to go along with each one. The goal was (and is) to give tangible form to parts of myself that tend to remain at least partly veiled. My queer self, for example, is given free expression within the fictional and poetic realms but not so much outside of those. My masculine and feminine selves are often at least somewhat obscured by a layer of what is socially expected. And so on. By creating the self-portraits, I hope to push myself beyond those boundaries.

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Heroes of the Revolution: Harold Norse

Fantastic post from my fiend, Rob.

Art by Rob Goldstein

Art by Rob Goldstein Portrait of Harold Norse by Jim Breeden

In 1977 I lived in New Haven, Connecticut.

There are hundreds of reasons I loved my time in New Haven.

One was Manhattanwas an hour away by train.

I took Amtrak to New York at least twice a month to hang out in the Village.

One weekend in the Fall of 1977 I stopped for a drink at Uncle Charlie’s on Greenwich Avenue.

I met a hot guy who invited me home.

He had a studio apartment with a bed, a chair and a nightstand.

On the nightstand was a book of poems by Harold Norse,  Carnivorous Saint.

A devouring saint?

I sat on the bed and opened the book.

I’d never seen poetry like this before.

I said good-bye to the hot guy, raced to the bookstore, got Carnivorous Saint, and hopped the train back to New Haven.

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