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Blind luck put me on this yard where the men have decided to make good use of the empty time forced upon us by the state.Yard A is downright peaceful, nothing like the prison yards where racist convicts stab and assault people. The catch of the steel teeth as the cuffs tighten is austere and final, and never so much so as when it emanates from the small of your back. He spends his days eating shoes, peeing on the carpet, and jumping the backyard fence.I kept looking for and finding queer books and writers.
The anthology This Bridge Called My Back introduced me to many new writers like Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Barbara Smith, Audre Lorde, and for me, perhaps most importantly, Theresa Hak Yung Cha.I eventually stopped reading men in college, and so the queer writers who influenced me the most were women.At Bennington’s Summer Writers’ Conference, I met the writer Blanche Boyd, and while she was not my teacher, hearing her talk about her work stayed in my mind for a long time after.We have a meeting I can’t guess at somewhere ahead of us both. I only know I have to be there with whatever I’m doing next. I then took a job at the startup of , and wrote my first story for them in 1992 about a middle-grade writer named Jacqueline Woodson.I left for graduate school at Iowa, where I was a student, and met the late Reginald Shepherd and Chris Adrian.Over the past year, more than a hundred people have worn my handcuffs. Three months before his third birthday, his Italian grandfather (on his mother’s side) set him on a proper bicycle, pushed him forward, and shouted, “Spingi, spingi, spingi! I suggest that a powerful antidote to the manufactured past now being created for us is the secret history of Indians in the twentieth century. But no matter where we go, I notice that he always knows the way home.Not long ago, in a self-defense class, I wore them myself. Geronimo really did have a Cadillac and used to drive it to church, where he’d sign autographs. I saw the smoke over the hills, knew the ferocity of the Santa Ana winds, and figured it wouldn’t be long before the fire would reach us. Like the other fishermen, I am waiting to have the day’s catch processed and flash-frozen for transport back to the Lower 48.Tom Spanbauer’s The Man Who Fell In Love With the Moon, John Weir’s The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket, John Fox’s The Boys on the Rock, the stories of Sam D’Allesandro, and the work of Kevin Killian, David Wojnarowicz, Paul Monette, Essex Hemphill, and Richard Rodriguez.I became friends with the incredible Mx Justin Vivian Bond, who introduced me to the trans lesbian playwright Kate Bornstein. I moved to New York and while still working for A Different Light, in their West Village store, discovered the works of Christopher Coe, Edmund White, Ethan Mordden, Robert Ferro, Andrew Grumley, and became friends with Dale Peck, who worked around the corner at a clothing boutique.