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In Love and Anger: Larry Kramer, 1935-2020

That Larry Kramer was 84 when he died was a miracle. But it was not a privilege. It was a victory hard-won through the sheer voltage and focus of his beautiful, ungainly will–that same will which saved millions of “othered” bodies through his dedication to activating the passive, the phony, the pious-all the institutions that didn’t give a fig about a virus that was mostly killing off queers, POCs, addicts, and prostitutes.

I always say when a public figure dies, we are re-acquainted with his legacy, so the timing of the AIDS activist and writer’s departure is not a coincidence. And it’s not just because we are once again grappling with institutional indifference to a widespread lethal virus. It is because Kramer showed us that we had to enact our righteous fury if we are to ensure the justice and protections that every human body deserves.

For today–this week, this year, all of Trump’s treacherous term–we have been wrangling with the bloody legacy of the colonizers we still exalt. This dangerous dehumanization always has been the law of the land (literally and figuratively) but our evil reality TV oligarch has newly empowered it—much as Hitler liberated a long-simmering national anti-semitism just as German gentiles were feeling disenfranchised post WWI. With new technology, Americans with white skin are waking to a reality that everyone else on this land has never had the luxury to not know: that freedoms, including the right to live, are only a given for those whom our fucked-up Founding Fathers deemed human.

As a white woman–queer, yes, but privileged in so many other ways– it is not enough for me to say I am devastated by the lethal entitlement that is literally institutionalized in my country. It is not enough for me to just write something here, which is why I’ve largely kept mum. It’s not even enough for my heart to break, though it really, really has. We must follow Larry Kramer’s example.

He taught us it was not enough to prettily and politely express our objection to institutionalized murder. He taught us to love each other enough to rise against the machine of greed, willful ignorance, selfishness, hate, violence. And he taught us we must act as if every human body endangered by institutionalized oppression is our own. He taught us that the goal is for every body to live long enough to tell their story.

We still have much work to do but you have earned your rest, Cousin Larry. Thank you for your messy, loving resistance.

The Artist’s Way

As businesses and beaches slowly (and not so slowly) re-open, I’ve been thinking about artists as essential workers.

We’d have lost our minds this spring were it not for movies, TV, books, DJ sets, Zoom dance parties, all sorts of creativity. This tracks, because artists always have been the ones to lead us out of chaos by dancing on the precipice between order and disorder, and combining holy patience with holy impatience. It’s a vital model, for to rise wholly (and holy) from this viral dis-ease–to effect conscious, constructive change–we must reject the 21st century, post-industrial concept of linear time in which every hour, minute, second (and nanosecond) has been scheduled and over scheduled. Instead, we must embrace the lessons of our Covid-19 tesseracts, and continue to rest, to look and listen mindfully, to practice gratitude and economy, and above all: to create.

For art was never meant to be consumed and collected the way capitalism has taught us. Instead, we are each meant to process our unique joy and pain through creative expression—be that baking, sewing, sowing, singing, spreadsheeting, painting, witching, writing, whatever suits us sustainably and beautifully.

To be an artist is to be a spirit worker, social changer, chaos wrangler, and time traveler—and we all must be artists now. This is a key lesson of Venus Retrograde in Gemini. And this is a key lesson of this Wrinkle in Time.

For a reading or ritual to activate your own creativity, book here. Art: High as Fuck, an open-air quarantine creation by Josh Smith, courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery.

Venus on 42nd Street

Outside the deli
Primroses and daffodils
I open my coat.

I was reminded of this haiku as I ventured out for my walk super early this morning—the only time to honorably unmask outdoors. It’s my favorite entry from the Haiku on 42nd Street project, which took place in 1994, right after I arrived in New York and then-mayor Giuliani closed down all the deliciously seedy Time Square “theaters” (read: pornhouses). While normally bustling 42nd Street was still a ghost town, local poets had their way with all its marquees. These interstitial moments in history offer such stubborn, sad beauty.

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