POST-SCRIPT RE OTHERNESS:
Setting: EVERGREEN CLASSROOM
ME: "blah blah, otherness, blah blah..."
STUDENT: "try being a transgendered asian american in the northwestern woods and i'll show you otherness."
Upon returning from more healthcareful fun, I found in my inbox waiting for me a poem by Amy King, dedicated to me, which (my addition) is to say, us. This is neither the time nor place (do they exist here?) to perform an exegesis on Amy's poem. Rather, I was really touched, and the poem itself is beautiful - jagged, open lines that subtly torque the personal pronoun and gender such that the reader/writer/worker comes out, in such a careful (and politically fist pumping) way as (in trying to find the right way to describe it) this poetic acknowledgment of a "familiar other." From "What Is Is Not There":
I will fall for one woman
when his heart’s got the right circuits on board.
I till the fields till then.
For all the talk and writing and etc regarding torquing pronouns and obliteration (attempted) of the myth of the stability of selfhood, the tyranny of the subject treated as objective in poetry since god knows when, I think one only begins to find that this talk, so many books dedicated to voice, etc., are hitting on something not just politically important (libertarianism be damned!) but phenomenologically true when something happens such that the reading of it is supplemented by the getting it. Lately I've been discussing my illness with Amy, and Amy has been so deeply supportive and present as a human being that I've begun to come out of my shell regarding being sick. More importantly, I think it takes something - maybe not getting sick and having the body rebel on you, but maybe something strikingly mundane, like a simple thought fart about one's sense of self or lack thereof, to feel the otherness of oneself, thus helping one to acknowledge the importance of that otherness on another. Amy King's poetry does so many wonderful things, but what I often find most striking beyond the sheer [new] music is how her work plays with these multiplicities as up against normative notions of identification and nomination - the dangers of "the fit."
Just the thing I needed after a bad week. And who says people can't form connections online? Oh, I do. But you can certainly make those connections stronger via simple acts of human recognition. Human: there's a category I think I'll keep, self-identify with, at least for awhile.