Wednesday, January 14, 2009

on the origins of the name (Part II)

or identity as an instrument of non-reciprocal self-interest

*for the story of how I came to be called pii see on the origins of the name (Part I).

Pie O’ Pah is a character in Clive Barker’s epic and mystical love story Imajica. Pie is a type of being known as a mystif: rare individuals who are born with a peculiar genetic “defect” that results in an utterly unique ability; mystifs can alter, at will, any aspect of their physical body whether eye color, height and weight, or even sex.

One of the things that drew me to Pie O’ Pah as a character was that “he” had no sex yet had multiple sexes, “he” was simultaneously genderless and all genders. This feature of his being was both a condition and an ability. It made him utterly different and therefore always one wholly “othered” yet it allowed him a type of radical freedom from the constraints of sex and gender. He was able to opt into whatever physical form was ideally suited for providing for the needs of his lover. Dedicated to the pleasure and well-being of his lover, the exact nature of his form did not trouble him. That his condition made him uniquely suited to an orientation towards the other before and beyond the self was highlighted in harsh terms when his soul mate, in a careless remark during a time of irremediable melancholy, told Pie that he should become either a prostitute or an assassin. The former subsists by submissive servicing of others whereas the latter subsists by detached eradication of the other. Pie O’ Pah was thus verbally reduced to an other-oriented function, whether it be a provider of fleeting pleasures meaningless to Pie or else a sharp instrument of destruction equally as meaningless. Pie’s great gift was, in an instance of verbal abuse, recast as a novel albeit utile freakishness.

What attracted me was that Pie not only had this gift of being non-gendered and all genders but that he was thus one naturally inclined toward the fulfillment of others. “Commanded” by his lover to become either a whore or an assassin, Pie chose the latter. He could not bring himself to defile his great gift by using it for the basest of functions. The fulfillment of the other was his calling and he himself was fulfilled in the filling of that function. Gentle (his lover) rendered the gift useless and Pie became an assassin. In thinking about this recently, it occurred to me that Pie was happiest, was personally fulfilled, when he was able to be exactly what someone else needed him to be at the time. His own identity was utterly subordinated to this calling. I wonder if our sense of self, our identity, is the most rigid, the most ossified, when we are the most self-serving? Is it the case that an other-orientation is best served by a negotiable identity, one that has elasticity and plasticity? Or perhaps, even, and ideally speaking, the best case scenario is one in which an other-orientation is served by the eradication of an essential identity for the sake of the greatest degree of freedom in performing virtual identities, ones that are crafted in response to the exigencies of a particular context and towards the fulfillment of others?

Monday, January 12, 2009


Midway between downtown and not-downtown
Between queer and superficial
Banal and avant-garde

The halfway house for niche existence

Amongst the animals
Males perform vibrant plumage struts and songs
But it is my homeliness not my gender
That camouflages

An obstacle like the rush-hour traffic I am immaterial and unburdened

10th and Piedmont
Vibrant and alive with little queer quanta
Electric charges that flow in an alternating current
Unintentionally affirming that the property values have been properly appraised

The self-proclaimed hip side of the city

When I was in grade school
I had a mail-order ant farm
And from the vantage point of a god
I learned about hierarchy and cooperation

Now, from the vantage point of a ghost I learn about pride and distraction

I don’t know whether or not I have a people
But these are not my people
The unapologetically wealthy/shamelessly yuppie
The queerer-than-thou

No, I am not of them, merely among them

Yes, I am envious

And oh how I cherish these moments of anonymity

Sunday, January 11, 2009


To aspire is to direct one's hopes or ambitions toward achieving something. It comes from the Latin verb aspirare which is comprised of the prefix ad which means “to” and the root spirare which means “breathe.” To breathe, then, should be to aspire. Why else take a breath? If the point of taking a breath is to sustain oneself long enough to merely take another breath then the entire process is rather futile, is it not? So why do we not all aspire?

It seems to me that the overwhelming majority of us let our volitional fluid—that which acts as the necessary and sufficient conditions for active aspiration—coagulate into a synthetic polymer, an unyielding epoxy, by our late teens. Epitomes of obduracy, we add-on liars justify our haphazard formation with dizzyingly dexterous oscillations between outright denial and the stealthy subterfuge of rationalization. We strive but we do not aspire. We strive with herculean effort to maintain what we've inherited, gleaned, absorbed, garnered, accepted, and otherwise obtained. We find ourselves thrust into being already in possession of dogmatically held opinions for better or worse. Our fears and desires are bound up with these views yet we dare not look too closely at them lest we find them unfavorable. Perhaps this is the greatest fear of modern man: to realize that he is not individual, that he is not the progenitor of that which he champions, and that upon closer examination, that which he thought to taste so sweet is nothing short of saccharin saturated scheisse.

Friday, January 2, 2009

excoriation (exposing the quick)

Morality. I am familiar with the hollow concepts, but I am a stranger to the living beast. I deduce, sense, and intuit that none of the codes are acceptable and all of the foundations are contrived. The flag bearers are hypocrites all. Kierkegaard was right. Abraham is a hero, not a murderer. Nietzsche was also right. Morality cannot be codified, because the condition of being human cannot be codified. This is why Jesus taught in parables instead of grocery lists. But if morality is fiercely personal, I am empty. I have a confession: I do not know right from wrong. I have a primal sense and an intuition about love that have been my guides thus far. I am not dissatisfied, but I do not have answers. Respect, compassion, and love I feel. But right and wrong are fairy tales that I have never believed in. Am I corrupt? Am I a slave to my worldly wants? Am I freed by transcending them or by embracing and reincorporating them? An answer must exist. An answer must be found. Or perhaps culled, conjured, and crafted?