I Love This Prince …
Will Oldham / Bonnie “Prince” Billy sings “I Am Goodbye”
HOPE YOUR ROAD IS A LONG ONE
Hope your road is a long one.
Along the way, have some nuts
and berries; they’re not obsolete.
In my own hand, cashews, almonds,
cranberries. Don’t be irritated by
the vacant woman’s insecticide laughter.
These signs pock the landscape just so
you know what finery the world’s
remaining greens can tailor.
Intersect yourself with the occasional
lizard or bear. Offer flowers borne
by the hem of your soul. Go to work
as little as possible. Make more art,
especially if you are not an artist.
Refuse the names of corporations;
they are not worthy of your lips.
They abuse our mothers-in-need,
who sweep the hollow floors there.
Be brave when bravery is unpopular.
Avoid cool for the mask of an in.
I’ve played the enslaved piper because
of such dusts. I’m a fool and a wrench,
a mite and a coffee — try on many hats.
Annoy clerks if you have to.
Sell lattes and chai to minors, imitate
the you-child now and then. Ignore
the deficit; need only words which sustain
your mind’s eye. Break bread that is shared
and therefore akin to crocuses and oxygen:
desired. When you use two or three fingers
to eat, consider the monkeys, our friends
in earthly clamor. Junk the witchy master
who makes casts of your footprints; these
are the days past forget and remember.
We are post-time and always forever,
though the hardest part is knowing
like all the fish who don’t see water.
who cares about this topic? well, MILLIONS of people have been reading, speculating and commenting about their relationship for quite a while; a lot of them have been queer people like me; and a LOT of them have been, it would seem, intensely homophobic straight people. If you care at all about how young queer women are being collectively imagined and how that affects us, then you might think this worthy of analysis. The reactions to samantha have been kind of old-school homophobic; see the first comment on this thread. She’s frightening to a lot of people/losers out there because she’s not performing femininity according to the mandatory requirements, and she’s not trying to be liked. The reaction to lindsay is more complex, because its mixed up with the weird thirst our culture seems to have to heap scorn on very young troubled women we also lust after. First there was endless, snarky disbelief that the relationship was real; then the idea that this relationship was just another instance of lindsay’s fuckedupedness. And by the way, she’s been clean for well over a year; there’s this thing when you’re on probation called mandatory testing. Meanwhile, few commentators reflected on how much her emotional instability has to do with struggling with her sexuality while her homophobic family/entourage groomed her as a teen sex symbol. I don’t know whether she’s bi or lesbian, but its clear that she is mad about Sam, enough to go public, enough to be with her non-stop for a year, enough to make a bit of a fool of herself now that she’s been dumped. (I use the word mad deliberately; the stereotypical association between lesbianism, madness, and violence is longstanding, and if you’d like a list of instances, let me know-but lindsay isn’t all that crazy, she’s a 22 year old having her heart broken for the first time). And its hard to say how much the breakup has to do with the relentless negative attention. There’s been gleeful speculation, for example, about whether Sam was violent towards Lindsay based on no evidence in a way that was never true of say, Chris Brown and Rihanna. My point is that the two of them have been interpreted in homophobic ways from the very start, and if you don’t think that’s true, I venture to suggest that that’s because you haven’t experienced homophobia yourself.
Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edited the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.