This blog contains 1000 posts. Posting to Blogger with such a large archive has become unwieldy. Also, your blogista, who is sewing a kesa, is not writing much at present. She has ceased adding new posts. Still-active links are here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


These people can nail you to whatever cross they like.

Not saying they're all the same, but, see: they all have the same power over you.

You have to find the right one. Someone to hold open the gate for you, and not hold the gate against you.

A gatekeeper can place high hurdles one behind another, and then, if you're desperate, and don't know any other phone numbers, you learn to nimble it, leaping, gathering strength to leap again.

You learn to lie.

If you cannot lie, you’ll find you must go it alone.

You must turn aside the five invidious suggestions along the way.

Yes, it’s dangerous to be a woman; half the population knows that.

Yes, it’s a one-way trip; so’s life.

Yes, I can end up lonely, been there, survived that.

Yes, I have issues with my childhood. You don’t?

No, I don’t think becoming a sensitive man will help; there aren’t insensitive women, then?

And, no, it’s not about the clothes. It was never really about the clothes. When I was whipped over the clothes, I knew, though I did not know how to say it, that it was not going to be about the clothes.

No, you don’t have to believe me.

I understand you will not be writing a prescription.

Here’s your effing one-hundred-dollar check.


-- risa b

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

When I earn my face

A fellow worker is incensed.

“A man,” she says, “dressed like a woman, has gone to the women’s restroom!”

Who? Where?

“He’s over there!”

I see what to my eyes is woman only, about my age, the kind called pleasingly plump, busying herself at a public computer terminal. her handbag rests on the countertop by the monitor. She’s gray, her expression careworn. It's even a little dull. She’s been to a thrift store, to judge by the pleated-trim skirt, but she’s shopped her color well, and hasn’t mixed silver with gold. Perhaps her hands are large, and maybe there’s a hint of Adam’s apple; to confirm would require rudeness.

To me she passes.

This is the monster, bent on who knows what
devious plan, that went to the “wrong” restroom.

And how was she going to go to the “right” one?

On the spot, I must begin my co-worker’s training, for the lady’s sake, and, oh, for sure, my own.

There are lots of men, I tell her, that have this condition; it is well known to the medical community, there is a course of treatment that they recommend.

This is now a woman: we must be kind.

Here is a website: see, this is a doctor; a dancer; an airline pilot; this, a member of New Zealand’s Parliament. This, a famous writer of travelogues.

My friend begins to marvel. “Look, they are all so beautiful! Oh, my!”

Oh, my.

I become aware that I am sad.

I will not have this beauty.

I have begun too late. But I hope, when I earn my face, some beauty from my heart will show, enough to go, oh god! to a restroom in this place.

-- risa b

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

The speech that I must learn

"What do you remember first?"

I remember that my mother sought a place at camp for me.

I was slow to mimic the ways of boys and men.

In the boys’ cabins and in the men’s lodge, inflicting pain was virtue.

The voices of men frightened me.

They woofed at one another, hnghh-hnghh-hrunnnnnhh-hrgnh.

They devised elaborate ruses to detect, to punish weakness, if found among them; this was called joking, joshing.

When I was an infant, I was her burden of pretty; women would stop her on sidewalks to say, oh! what a beautiful girl!

Oh! “Oh! To this day, huffing, she quotes and disputes with them.

He is not! He’s a boy! How could they think that? the very idea!

And so she sought a place of safety within the camp; I was to sleep, a six-year’s child, among women, on a trundle-bed.

I lay in lantern-light, bundled, intently, watching the beautiful hands fold towels.

They spoke softly among themselves,

ullulu-ulullulu-ulu, ullulu-ulullulu-ulu.

Yes, this was the speech that I must learn.

-- risa b

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Twenty-eight blue pellets

The pills have come from New Zealand, by way of Vanuatu.

The wrapper is that plain one, brown, in the best porn-shipping tradition.

I find myself hidden away to see the contents alone: buried in white Styro popcorn, the small white box; within it, a clear polyethylene wheel, bearing twenty-eight blue pellets, each carefully matched to its ordinary day: Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr, Sa, Su.

Today, which is Sa, is, however, no ordinary day.

I read, for the first time and also the last, the three hundred dreadful side effects, not without interest, not without concern.

I am not young, after all, and my heart comes from a long line of stutterers.

After, having set down the water-glass, I step into full gardener’s light; with trembling hands, I reach for string and scissors, watching a woman’s shadow, on straw, bending to her tasks.

Today, she will train peas.

Tomorrow, beans.


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