Archive | Astro Matters

Fool on Tap

Don’t Look Now, it’s elementary school Liser

Like many oddbot children, I spent my formative years absolutely convinced I was meant to be a superstar. I considered myself a quadruple threat–writer, actor, dancer, singer.

Dancing was the first category to go. Mind you, it wasn’t by choice. I spent most of first and second grade leaping, twirling, and boogying through grocery aisles, playgrounds, the living room. After school I took ballet and disco, the latter held in the school cafeteria, tables and benches pushed back so we’d have room to really dig into the classics–you know, the funky chicken, the bus stop, the hustle. The hot lunch special heavy in the air–I still associate Donna Summer with sloppy joes–I wore a sparkly tam o’shanter I was convinced wouldn’t be out of place in Studio 54. (Then as now, my imagination was overactive.) Though micro-movements requiring any finesse eluded me, hip-waggling has never been a personal deficiency so I got by.

But when it came to ballet I was the pits. A tall, gangly child clad in dirty pigtails and coveralls, my outsized hands and feet could not be coaxed into first position, let alone fourth and fifth. I kept tripping over myself and the other girls, neat as pins in their perfect leotards and hairbuns. Worse, I kept nervously joking –“position, huh? What’s your position on the gas crisis? How about the Iran hostage situation, badabumpbump.” A daddy’s girl saddled with an unfortunate preciosity, I was like a mini Jerry Lewis rather than a singularly uncoordinated second grader. Continue Reading →

A Parade of Cousins

Furry cousin

Ever since I uploaded my big green post, life has opened back up and I’m grateful. What I remembered–and it shouldn’t have taken so long to recall this fact–is that my adoration of strangers does not preclude other sorts of communion. Also I forgot my most ardent belief: we are all cousins.

The cousin dynamic is my favorite model of human relationship, because it implies an innate connection that, as my shrink puts it, “does not affect the matrix of your life.” Parents and siblings and children can fuck you up, while resonating with a cousin just lends life an extra glow. And if you don’t resonate, it’s no skin off anyone’s back. You just wave across a room and leave it at that.

I always think about what my second cousin Martine Rothblatt said when we met. One of the first transgender women in the United States to undergo reassignment surgery, she had been a tall, brainy lad known by my dad as “Cousin Marty” when they were coming up. (Rubenfire was their grandmother.) Given how estranged I am from my clan, I’d been reading about Martine in gender theory classes and magazines (she’s also famous for launching Sirius Radio and the transhumanism movement) long before I realized we were related. After I did, I mentioned her in a book review, and she made her way to Brooklyn from Central Park Avenue South so we could meet in person. Continue Reading →

Dowager Shock

I think to myself sometimes—maybe you do too— why all the selfies?

I barely took a picture of myself until I turned 40. But I spent yesterday with an old lover and it gave me an inkling of an answer: You really can’t go home again. Not because time is hopelessly linear but because if you keep on self-reckoning, eventually you outgrow obfuscation and objectification, diminishment and toxic possession. Shame. You stop saying, “Daddy, please approve of me.” You start saying, “Daddy, you have no invitation nor right to my deference.” Which is to say: you stop taking or talking jive. And maybe that’s why I take these pictures now. To remind myself that, despite the fact that I have aged out of viability in the eyes of patriarchy, despite the fact that I am untethered to a romantic relationship or biological family, despite the fact that I have very little cash nor clear prospects, despite the fact that I carry more weight than ladies are programmed to allow themselves, I am still here. At 48, I am more sure than ever before of who I am, what I can tolerate, how I can serve, and of the space I claim. So today I put on eclipse-season, mercury-retrograde, dowager-chic armor: a boob-revealing mini dress, platforms, 4D hair, lipstick, big glasses, fannypack—essentially I transformed myself into a 6 foot 4 spacecrone. And what I am saying—what I always am saying in Trump’s fucked-up, cockocratic, white-supremacist dystopia—is this: I’m not just a lover. I am a fighter. And I have earned the right to look back at you.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy