Tagged: Erica Cardwell

For Karyn Washington

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Your silence will not protect you. Your silence will not protect you. -Audre Lorde

Those words were rolling around in my mouth as I read through the several blogs posts and articles chronicling the untimely suicide of Karyn Washington, founder of For Brown Girls. Immediately, my bones stiffened like concrete and my heart began to thump briskly behind my breasts. This response is familiar; it arrives as a protective warning and physiological memory of trauma. Karyn and I had never met but in solidarity we carried a kinship of resonant armor. I was distressed by the reality that the darkness of mental health had taken another one of us. A darkness that has also visited me.

Here lies a complicated conversation surrounding silence. It truly demonstrates the abstract space of the individual, the shadow that seals the body in tight, discoloring our vision and making the world appear to exist very far away from us. A scrim used to protect and sometimes hide behind, but cannot always be removed. Her singular experience may never be able to be examined. The private qualities to mental illness. The darkest parts of vulnerability. The depth of repressed pain. These complexities are difficult to pattern or describe. They are real. Real enough that her emotional experience most likely existed like a violent, but familiar enemy lashing out unexpectedly. As we have seen. Some may believe that Karyn had the resources and belief systems she needed to rise above social naysayers and tackle the dense barriers inside of a black female body.

Is this proof of our silence not protecting us? Continue reading

Homotextual #9: Hold On, April 20th

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In the typing of this introduction many cigarettes were smoked. In the Flesh does not smoke, but bought a pack when it got locked outside of a friend’s apartment and all there was to do was sit on an orange crate and wait outside the building chainsmoking. That is what In the Flesh did. It waited, and looking cool made the waiting more bearable.

The difficulty with HOLDING ON is that it is about being stuck, or it is about not knowing, about trusting without evidence that trust is what’s called for. It is waiting for her to come back on the telephone, it is Wile E. Coyote running in mid-air. Lately, In the Flesh has been wondering: How do you forge ahead when there seems no clear way forward? How do you know when to cut your losses or re-double your efforts?
In the Flesh has a hunch that HOLDING ON comes down, not to truth, but to desire. We hold on to ideas, to things, to people, because we want what they represent to us to be true. Holding on can be an act of jealousy, of purest love, of fear, of deception, or simply, blindness. Sometimes we are rewarded, and sometimes we are punished, but we have no way of knowing in the moment of holding on itself.
Chicano writer José Villarreal writes, “All I can tell you is that you should have faith for the present, and when the time comes when you feel you do not need the belief, the doubts will help you discard it, forgetting the friend it once was to you.”

Come to In the Flesh at the Bureau and hear what contributors have to say about how they held on, how it shook them, and how it shook out.

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Greg from the Bureau with Ella and Erica.
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Lovely Emily.

Erica Cardwell is a queer romantic, educator, and activist. Recently, she served as co-organizer for an anti-violence week of action called, POC Rising– an intercultural, multi-gendered alliance within the platform of Vday’s One Billion Rising campaign. Check it out at –www.pocrising.tumblr.com. Her most recent essay on phonics and feelings entitled, victory,appeared in The Feminist Wire, in January of 2013. Erica lives in the land of make believe in Astoria, Queens. Follow her @theomnivorous

Ella Boureau is a writer, teacher and translator living in New York, Marseille and her own twisted little mind. She runs the monthly reading series and online magazine In the Flesh. She also has a reputation for turning people gay with her presence, at least temporarily. So if you weren’t before, you will be now!

Emily Skillings is a dancer poet poet dancer. She earned her BA from The New School in 2010.  Recent poetry can be read in Bone Bouquet,LingerpostStonecutterLa Fovea, and Maggy. Skillings dances with Saifan Shmerer, the A.O. Movement Collective and The Commons Choir (Daria Faïn and Robert Kocik). She lives in Brooklyn, where she is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative, a feminist poetry collective and event series. She is a co-curator of the Brooklyn reading series HOT TEXTS with Krystal Languell. In March 2012, she co-organized the festival HOW TO CONTINUE: John Ashbery Across the Arts at The New School with Adam Fitzgerald and Robert Polito.

Homotextual #8: Transitional Life, March 16th

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Ariel, Ella, Aldrin and Hana.
Maybe you’ve just moved to a new city and are staying with your cousin in his one bedroom at the exact moment that he and his girlfriend are trying to get pregnant and you are frequently asked to leave the apartment because she is ovulating. “No problem. So, I’ll just step out for a half hour or so?”Or perhaps you’ve started a temp job in Midtown and find yourself staring into a bowl of beernuts at PJ Moran’s with your co-workers, seriously considering going home with Awkward John, just to confirm your lesbianhood once and for all.

OR Maybe you finally worked up the nerve to wear those new stockings and short skirt out in public, and you notice there is a tiny hole in the stockings and how could that be possible because you just bought them so you are too busy being upset about that damn hole and how it could have gotten there to be nervous about whether you pass or not.

It’s a tricky business starting something new, and the force of change often pushes us into bed with strange fellows. Sometimes literally. The phrase “How did I get here” was made for such times, and at this month’s ITF you will hear ALL about those sweaty moments that helped our readers get them to where they are.

Join us at The Bureau for General Services- Queer Division on Saturday March 16th at 7:30 PM.
For more about The Bureau: http://bgsqd.com/

Readings will begin ON TIME

READERS:

Ariel “Speedwagon” Federow- is a performer whose work has been seen on Broadway, Lafayette, Chrystie, East 4th Street, Fulton, Vanderbilt, and other streets and avenues around New York City. She blogs for dapperQ.com and Velvet Park, was once Miss Jew-S-A, spent her youth as a ballerina, and can be tracked down at http://www.arielspeedwagon.com/.

Erica Cardwell- is a queer romantic, educator, and activist. Recently, she served as co-organizer for an anti-violence week of action called, POC Rising– an intercultural, multi-gendered alliance within the platform of Vday’s One Billion Rising campaign. Check it out at –www.pocrising.tumblr.com. Her most recent essay on phonics and feelings entitled, victory, appeared in The Feminist Wire, in January of 2013. Erica lives in the land of make believe in Astoria, Queens. Follow her @theomnivorous. You can also read more of her work atwww.theomnivorous.blogspot.com

Aldrin Valdez- is an artist and writer who grew up in Manila and Long Island. He studied painting and writing at Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts. Aldrin’s writing has been published in Art:21 Blog, The Brooklyn Rail, BRIC Contemporary Art, Art Slant, and In the Flesh. He is a 2011-2012 Queer/Art/Mentorship fellow. Along with artist Ted Kerr, he organizes Foundational Sharing, a salon of performances, readings, and visual art.www.aldrinaldrin.com