“Human” by Ethel Veva King Inspires Anne

HumanEthelVevaKingHuman Behavior

Naveera never felt more alive than during nighttime in Manhattan. Her boyfriend, Damien, gripped her hand tight, as he led her past lampposts and tourists on Fashion Avenue. One of the design firms held a by-invitation-only rave for tonight only. Damien scored the invite because he knew a girl who worked there. It gave Naveera a funny feeling that Damien always knew a girl, like falling from a height or getting high.

From across the street, strobe lights pulsed on one of the upper floors. Shadows flickered past the windows, followed by the familiar trails of glow sticks. She let herself be pulled toward the stone building, past the line of clubbers, and right up to the side door. The bouncer barely looked in her direction as he nodded Damien through.

After spending nearly $350 on a fake ID that she didn’t get the chance to use, Naveera gritted her teeth. The guy that printed it promised it would pass scanners and black light tests with a money-back guarantee. She wanted to test the theory. The only thing he couldn’t promise was her seventeen-ass self would pass for twenty-two. Naveera eyed her wardrobe: short skirt, tight top, and a push-up bra. So much skin, and the damn bouncer glossed her over!

A thick girl, with piercings Naveera envied, waved them further into the building. “I’m so glad you made it!” the girl’s lip ring cooed. “The rest of your band’s not here yet.”

“Oh,” Damien said. He didn’t match the other girl’s smile. Warm relief flooded through Naveera. “It’s early.”

She watched the girl’s pierced eyebrow raised when Damien introduced her as his girlfriend. Naveera shook the other girl’s hand, secretly feeling sorry for disappointing her. Clearly, she thought Damien was available. Clearly, Damien let her think it.

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Jen’s Book Club

Last Thursday I had the opportunity (aka time off work) to go listen to Andrea Gibson spin poems at the University of Virginia. Let me tell you that it was in the most archaic church I’ve ever seen, all stained glass and heavy dark wood and busts of important religious folk who were probably judging all the queers stuffed into the pews.

University of Virginia has bells that chime every hour. Loudly and with feeling. So, during the performance Gibson paused to let the bells chime. They never did, though, and it was almost a poem when she looked at us and said, “They turned off the bells for the gays.”

One of Andrea’s books, The Madness Vase, is all about the irony of turning off church bells, among other pretty and hazardous things.

From Amazon.com:812+21mSbYL

“The poems’ topics range from hate crimes to playgrounds, from international conflict to hometowns, from falling in love to the desperation of loneliness.  Gibson’s work seizes us by the collar and hauls us inside some of her darkest moments, then releases out the other side.  Moments later, we find ourselves inhaling words that fill us with light.   Her luminous imagery is a buoy that allows us to resurface from her world clutching new possibilities of our own.   Throughout her career, Gibson’s poems have always been a call to social justice.  But this collection goes beyond awareness. Her images linger in our psyches and entreat us to action.  They challenge us to grow into our own skin.  The journey may be raw at times but we are continuously left inspired, held, and certain we are not alone.”

This book is small in stature but big in meaning, and it’s more than just gay literature. It’s church and state. It’s falling and getting back up with bloody knees and a good laugh. It’s that pinpoint of light in the darkness. It’s raw like silk can be raw, but also raw like nerves exposed. It’s loss and fear and hate, and love in spite of all of it.