Friday, November 20, 2015

Spider Cult Kickstarter Reward Sonnet #5 for Mary Purdey

Mary asked: "If you could include references to my love of tea, my love of sarcastic humor, graphic novels, peanut butter, to the fact that I am a librarian, and my love of "Star Wars", that would be great!"

I give you...

Mary the Librarian

In galaxies far and in times long ago,
a woman worked in a library.
When she was there green, black, and herbal tea flowed.
Her name, in the legends, was Mary.

She'd read every tome by Millar and Ware,
she'd stacked her shelves till a few broke
with V for Vendetta, pushed Vanity Fair
far under her last Killing Joke.

Some worried about her. At times days would pass
and she, locked away with her clutter
of Preacher, the Sandman, Tank Girl, and Kick-Ass,
would eat only raw peanut butter.

But Mary was happy. She stayed inside her
library, with company that she preferred.

Spider Cult Kickstarter Reward Sonnet #4 for J. Johnson

J. Johnson asked for a sonnet about sailboats, time, grape leaves, and red hair. So I give you...

The Last Redhead

The world's last redhead flees the forest pines.
For months she hasn't had a night of sleep.
The melody of windsong sounds like whines.
The fairies and their dances make her weep.

When she was younger, everywhere she saw
bright manes like hers reflected in relations.
Now hers seems like a monstrous tragic flaw.
She stands right out in any situation.

She finds the ocean, nestles down, and grieves –
nowhere for her to go but to the sea.
Then she recalls the bundle of strong leaves
she gathered at the local winery.

Now alone, upon a grape-leaf boat,
the world's last redhead voyages afloat. 

Spider Cult Kickstarter reward sonnet #3 for Jason Mellin

Jason asked for a sonnet about "a queer as heck ghost dragon."

The Legend of Myranth the Flaming

Myranth the Flaming scandalized his hoard

when he refused to sit upon his gold.

The dingy cave was making him quite bored.

Besides, he knew that he was getting old.

Such splendid gems and jewels were gone to waste

all hidden in a dank and fetid hole.

Myranth was well-esteemed for his good taste,

and thought “They should adorn me on a stroll!”

No, never was a dragon such a sight

as he that day, emerging in the sun.

His trinkets blazed and twinkled in the light,

a dazzling beacon awing everyone.

Now, on Northern nights, you'll sometimes see

Myranth the Flaming's dancing jewelry.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Spider Cult Kickstarter Reward Sonnet #2 for Celilia Villero

The Mermaid and the Dragon

A mermaid and a dragon fall in love,

and right away, a test to their devotion:

The dragon must protect the skies above,

the mermaid must defend and guide the ocean.

The dragon's flame would quench beneath the sea

and mermaid skin won't last long in dry air.

But neither will accept or can foresee

a future as a solo, not a pair.

The mermaid casts a whirlpool, waters part

so now her lover can escort her home.

The dragon calls a tempest from his heart,

a funnel cloud where they can dance alone.

In these two storms, the couple laugh and spin.

They won't come out. Who would dare go in?

Check for updates at

Spider Cult Kickstarter Sonnet #1 - for Jayson Zigman

Jayson asked me to write a sci-fi sonnet about his cats, Mr. Murdock and Onyx, and how they felt about spiders.

Onyx, Queen of the Spiders

While Mr. Murdock licks his paws and mewls
his partner, Onyx, studies the terrain.
She sneers at those poor unenlightened fools
who've fled. Now only she and Murd remain.

From out the window all across the land
each speck of earth is covered by their legs.
These Spiders! They've consumed the rock and sand
and drained the oceans to arachnid dregs.

They had the chance to board that fateful ship
that left the earth. The cats were fully warned.
But something caused her to rethink the trip.
She's wanted to be queen since she was born.

The spiders are fine subjects. Who'd foreseen?
And plus, they're quite delicious. High protein.

Check for updates!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg From a Queer Who Changed Their Name

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg

Hi. I'm Jade Sylvan. That's not the name I was born with. I chose my name because I wanted to be a writer and a performing artist and “Jennifer Schaibley” sucked for those things. I wrote and performed under Jade Sylvan for years while still going by my birth name at work and school. The separation was helpful to me at the time. I grew up in a very conservative, very Catholic part of the Midwest, and I've always written and performed about queer sexuality and controversial gender issues.

In Indiana in 2005, Jenny was a, smart, funny girl who wore sneakers and worked as an English tutor for low-income high school kids. Jade was an outspoken genderqueer publicly mouthing off about LGBTQ issues, pansexual attraction, and gender fluidity. There were several years during which half of the people I interacted with knew me as Jenny, and half as Jade. I had two social media accounts and two email addresses. I was not more myself one place vs. the other. Quite simply, it was safe to be Jade in some rooms, and safe to be Jenny in others. Aside from the overarching fear of bullying most queer people dealt with in my community, if I had been open about my artistic life at my job at the time, I would have risked losing it. I did not want to stop making my art. I loved it and thought it was important and it was ultimately what I wanted to do with my life. I also did not want to lose my job. I loved it and thought it was important and it was what was paying my rent.

I'm telling you all this because recently, Facebook has started blocking drag queens from their accounts until they use their “real names.” (The reasons behind this decision are dubious and statements from the company are vague, and quite frankly, clueless.)

You said a while back that “the days of having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end very quickly.... Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

The thing is, young Jenny/Jade agreed with you – at least with that first part. I dreamed of a day when I could work with teenagers in the afternoon and stand naked on stage in the evening and only use one name. I did not want to live two separate lives, I wanted to become Jade, and eventually, when my artistic career picked up and I moved to liberal Cambridge, Massachusetts, I did. I even went down the the courthouse and changed my name legally. (If your Internet gnomes ever send me a message asking to see my ID, it will be promptly provided.)

It's that second part that I have trouble with. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” This, to me, sounds like the words of someone who has absolutely no concept of what it's like to exist outside of mainstream culture. I'm not saying you're a bad person – most of what I know about you is from a biopic I watched half-drunk a few years ago mostly because Trent Reznor did the soundtrack for it – I'm saying you and
your personal social network view having more than one named identity as sketchy because you generally have not experienced discrimination and/or violence because of one or more of your identities.

I know, we queers talk about identity all the time. The thing is, identity is at the forefront of our lives because for most of us, there has always been someone in power trying to punish us for ours, invalidate ours, or take ours away. Not everyone who exists with separate identities wants, as I did, to become their AKA. I know people whose gender identity, name, and pronoun preferences change based on their situation, or simply based on what they feel like that day. These people deserve the right to interact with their community as the person they truly are from moment to moment. That is honesty. That is integrity.

I love Facebook because it allows me to create an intentional image of myself that I present to the world. Identity is not invalid if it is not legal. Forcing people to use their legal names against their will is not only dangerous, it's disrespectful. By doing this, you are denying them the right to be themselves, and, ultimately, destroying the safe and open online community your company says it wants to create.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Maybe the Gay Bears Just Like Cocksucking

I fucking hate I fucking love science.

How do you handle a fun story about two male bears (caniforms, not big hairy dudes) in a Polish zoo who regularly like to have oral sex with one another? If you're I fucking love science (or a number of other sites), you use it as an opportunity to make heterosexist jokes and promote outdated views on homosexuality.

First sentence: “
Two captive brown bears have been spotted enjoying oral sex, and researchers wonder if it’s because the two males were deprived of maternal suckling too soon.

first fucking sentence posits that the gay oral bear sex is a deviant behavior brought on by improper parenting. This breaks my queer little heart. There was so much opportunity here to celebrate what is apparently a consensual gay relationship between two non-human mammals, thus rebuking the fading-but-still-very-there conservative voices that call queer sex “unnatural.” Instead I feel like I'm reading the DSM-I for bears.

Seriously, just looking at the facts, the actual acts that happen, there are so many other directions the writer could have taken this. 

One was always the giver and the other was always the receiver; the larger one never reciprocated. The smaller, giver bear would initiate contact by approaching the receiver while he was resting on his side with part of his abdomen exposed. Sometimes the giver bear would push his head into the nether regions or use his paws to separate the legs before settling into a more comfortable position.”

THERE IS A DADDY BEAR. A fucking daddy bear and you choose to clip on the Irving Bieber gels and view this male homosexual behavior as the bear product of bear mommy issues.

“Oh, but it's what the researchers thought!” I don't give a fuck. Whenever human beings assume to understand an animal's "motivations," we project our own motivations and values onto them.

These scientists are experts in bears. They are likely not also gender theory scholars. They are combining an obsessional level of knowledge about bear biology and behavior with what is likely a cursory, outdated, European-society-imbued, human understanding of sexuality to explain a bear behavior they've never witnessed before.

They are placing their own societal constructs of sexuality onto these bear Bjs just as much as I am when I say these two bears are obviously in love and have a whole kinky top/bottom thing worked out for mutual physical pleasure and emotional fulfillment.

Your job as a science writer is to translate what these anorakish scientists say to the plebes who read things like I fucking love science. Like any writer, you have a responsibility to be aware of the worldview your words promote. Writing an article like this without even calling out the scientists' problematic statements is damaging. This story was not only an opportunity wasted, it was an actual blow (pun possibly intended) to social progress.

Oh, and just in case I fucking love science was worried I hadn't completely broken down into tears because of the handling of this story, their Facebook post announcing the bear BJ article read “Silly bears! That's not how you make cubs!”

Because sex is obviously only for straights and making babies even for bears and also it's Adam and Eve not Adam and Yogi Bear.

Fuck everything. I'm going to go have gay sex.