Using Ink to Make Wings
September 30th, 2019
* * *
Ollie is my friend. Sie sometimes carries a metal baseball bat to protect hir friends. On the queer dating app I ask if sie plays baseball. Sie goes: it’s all baseball, baby. Ollie thinks a lot about the things I also think a lot about except Ollie thinks of them in a very different shift. It’s faster than my gear, it’s wilder and profusely genius. When we first met we talked for hours on my screened in porch about music and gender and the Midwest. When we make love that night, the butch femme binary erodes and makes the space I crave: the delectation, the slidey sigh down new shapes of this ancient sphere.
Ollie and I don’t see each other often but we send emails. I send hir videos of me in a black garter belt and stockings topped with a massive black t shirt borrowed from another friend. Sie texts me: whether or not butch is ever part of a binary, it's also a language.
* * *
Sept 18, 8:38 PM an email from Ollie:
I'm running out of phallus puns
Oh shit good luck w your submission, please, please tell me how it goes. I need to buy this book
keep me in the loop.
I'm super fucking proud that you're not drinking right now. I'll buy you an odoole's or whatever
that fake shit is so you can look like a hot gay while also, like, secretly queering the trope that all
gays exist only while getting drunk in bars or hanging out with straight friends.
I kinda fucked up my neck and throat so I'm on steroids and skipped work and can't really talk aloud. It's pretty cool. Besides that it's normal weird brain realizing I have a body and kinda taking care of it for the first time kinda thing. Look emailing is kinda hot isn't it? Is that word?
Something about it just makes writing a message way more fun to me. I have to hold back from writing out my train of thought more than usual, it's like cognitive edgeplay. Maybe it's nostalgia. Maybe I'm fucked on steroids and illicit anxiety meds. Maybe it's fucking maybelline who cares, I'm just logging my train of thought again, thinking about you too though. Hmu when you're alive, we'll do a thing. Maybe play pool if that desire isn't super fucking fleeting for me. Do things not around alcohol if that's what you'll be needing. It's all baseball and whatever
Stay gay out there, I can prob make you a diy punk-passing dyke pinback button soon, lmk if you have a request
Wed Sept 18, 10:32 PM
there is something sexy about emailing
what happened to your throat sounds intense
yeah a non alcoholic beer sounds cool sound dyke sounds like a lean on an alley wall sounds like that
yeah pool would be fun but I usually just like watch cause I'm really bad at it I will do a petty criminal lean with my fake beer tho
hm I can send you my submission once it's done
I kinda wanna do an all trans hangout/party at my place but idk that many trans ppl
are you in(to) the modern lovers yet or
I kind of think iowa is okay now I'm not sure but not drinking profusely reminds me that nothing is linear - even healing itself
You know how quantum particles change behavior when they are observed? I think that's what gender imperatives are: these massive fictions that look at anatomy and make it an ontology. Changing the being by looking, by observation.
I think you're really good at emailing
I think I live in all tenses
Wed Sept 18 11:07
do you ever think
What is it actually
* * *
Then, the next day, I’m really hard and chain smoking on my porch. I get another one from hir. It only submerges me deeper in our psychosexual salt water surge. I click to open it and get a mellow stream of smoke in my left eye. It tears as I read:
* * *
Sept 19 12:24 AM an email from Ollie:
Even writing is nonlinear unless you never edit
I like your brain and time is more fluid than my gender. Which is probably actually the wind. Shit you're getting me too close to a stone butch blues references
Did you know
Lesbians make punk music sometimes? What I'm saying is modern lovers is aesthetically ok, not my scene, but hearing a trans dyke croon about the feeling of an unvoiceable connection is a fuckin experience. Hearing a cis butch scream about surviving abuse from other women and from their men is a fuckin anthem. Hearing the echo of shittily mixed tracks recorded on cheap fucking mics. Trash guitar riffs and sometimes something that actually sounds real fuckin sexy.
But it all does doesn't it
Kinda ended up writing something resembling a poem here thank the prescriptions
I'd maybe skip the trans party to avoid the cult of pink pussy abuse cycle heroes who probably know my abuser and a lot of them really get groomed quick or come in already knowing how to wish freaks like me didn't exist and you kinda know the story
There's only two genders and that's Schrodinger's gender and Schrodinger's gender
The other genders are
Communist but hornier
Transgenre postwomancore altgender
Post-circumgender politically transfem butch boy
Organic strap fagdyke
An untranslateable block of Hebrew script composed of a hybrid of Yiddish, Yinglish and Hebrew
Double dysphoric dykehead
Reading "Eradications of Talmudic Abstraction" and realizing why you're treated as a monster
Taking testosterone for a decade due to a freak genetic accident called being alive then taking estrogen off and on for a few years and now you kinda want bottom surgery and laser and to follow it up by taking t and getting a double mass before your family cancer or your Other Dysphoria catches you and also just to really piss everyone off
Sept 19, 8:34 AM
Your email titles are poem titles
I think your gender list is limited dear Ollie you forgot biological essentialized WOMAN the very present terrifying imperative of well everything
I think nonlinear writing is all I give a fuck about
I don't like these plotted fuckeries of reality
As I write this I feel like it's boring
Yes I love punk but it's definitely more my thing when it's gloss or downtown boys
Your mind is wild I'm lying the bed digesting being sober it's sort of okay I guess
How many coffees do you think I've had
I am reading Herculine Barbin by Foucault
Are there lakes around
I want to swim in one I had a dream I was on a boat and then I went to berghain and was doing loads of drugs then I landed in a pool with my sister laughing
So if I can't take substances irl it's nice I dream that I am
Sept 19, 11:43PM an email from Ollie:
You're a poem and your shifting structure doesn't bore at all. I'm not pretending it's supposed to be a deep revelation or some shocking hot wet deep thick new trans lit earth changing academy masturbating masturpiece just because one of us writes our weird passing but rather mild shit at the other, there's just a person there hiding behind all the bits of letters on the screen and that's okay. I'm not glad because I want a fuckin book I have books. I want to talk and hear and be heard and I'm Fond so this is a good place for it
I've put the depressing serious Please Radicalize bits into parentheses this time
Please, don't forget MALE, the only or most real gender under almost every lens, the construction of the impulse to hold up an oppositional heterosexist idol of unapproachable, unlivable heteromasculinity that one may only pretend at, and instead of challenging the myth ACCEPT that it applies to self defined men (unless they have vaginas then they could never buy into heterosexism right) and onto whoever looks mannish to you. MALE, separate from everything, MALE that everything orbits, MALE that you approach if you like grow mustache hairs and don't talk about your pussy to balance it out, MALE the singularity that crushes, MALE that is never actually observed, only the phenomena surrounding it, and we might ask if it's actually a system of social violence that's affecting us all just differently based on our material relationships and maybe males don't exist, only ideologues, extremists, cultists, casualties
I know how it feels to change things and to suddenly have a brain and a body and they're just living at default clock speed which is kind of rude isn't it and then you have to figure out how to go second by second reading fucking Foucalt and reminding yourself he's gay and definitely not wishing to escape to a fantasy world that may or may not be wholly inaccessible. Maybe my experiences aren't universal but that just makes this a personal admission which is ehhh roughly as sexy as making observations
There are lakes to rent boats on and there's rivers to walk along down forested paths, without a tightly controlled bit of nature that we manage to live outside of as much as will ever be possible where would we go when our heads are popping off. I like going "into nature" but not alone. I refuse to swim, though, and you're clever enough to know at least some of why
I dreamed of an androgynous boy who looked butch but who was rather alienated from anything like that by misogyny and sexism trying to fuck me. And I dreamt I went out with a girl who had a boyfriend and the boyfriend was controlling and coppish as y'know as one does. I don't think it
You can take substances, I could take substances, we're just not doing that right now and that's fine. We were human drunk and full of packs of cigarettes and we're human if we stick to food and water and vague melancholy. I know it's harder when our brains are weird and you know my number if you need anything to help or if you need to talk. I'm glad you have some people there to support you. I'm unsure how you can manage to read the things I write. I can't even reread them really I have to try to prune them, start again, and give up eventually. I hope you'll have a good day, or have a day at least. I'm glad to know how you're doing. I think I'm better today physiologically at least.
Ollie "I Might Like This Better Than Sam" Bricke
Sept 19, 11:54 am
Will drawing an eye on everything I own stop a bit of bad
I need fabric and paint and sewing kit for patches and I need a denim jacket.
* * *
I don’t respond in an email. Instead I set my vintage wrangler jacket on the foot of my bed for hir. I send hir a messaging asking if sie wants to make love again. Really, it’s unmaking love. Unmaking the violent categorical of our socializations, writing with our bodies that which we were taught to keep starved in periphery.
We: wet, moaned up and eager. We: take what the world told us we could never be and cum out of abjection into our chosen tread somewhere like, forward.
* * *
Ollie is a butch being who came to the crossing of gender and learned that sie could not swim. Sie experiences transmisogyny, dissociation, and dysphoria. Sie is a politically radical, politically transgender, lesbian and a proudly illegible Madwoman. Sie lives because of the hands of so many women, queers, and dears that pulled hir from the water and called her sister, friend, lover, comrade. One day sie'll write or be a sufficient thank you.
Eliot Duncan is a writer, performer and co-founder of The Slanted House. They write fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. They like to start playlists with Clash’s Bankrobber.