Um tal país do sexo


“Travesti de lambada e deusa das águas”, de Bia Leite, 2013. Obra que estava na exposição ‘Queermuseu’. DIVULGAÇÃO

Brasil não é (apesar do que muitos gringos pensam) e nunca era o país do sexo. Num país do sexo de verdade, se discutiria coisas mais interessantes do que como um sexo heterossexual sabor de baunilha é bom, ou se a traição é culpa do traidor ou do traído. Se discutiria coisas mais interessantes do que se alguém está fazendo sexo com todos ou não está fazendo sexo com ninguém. Se encontraria palavras mais interessantes e mais adequados para descrever o sexo do que ‘natural’. Se discutiria o que significa sentir atraído por uns e não por outros e por que, além de alguma estética supostamente universal ou o bom senso de quem nos curte e a falta de bom senso em quem não. Se discutiria porque um ato entre dois vira da conta de todos e acaba construindo ou destruindo capital social. Se discutiria como fazer um sexo que enaltece e não rebaixa. Se discutiria a inevitabilidade de pessoas diferentes terem gostos diferentes e a obrigação de conviver com isso no âmbito social. A arte pode ajudar a fomentar essas conversas mais interessantes, mas somente se as pessoas estiverem dispostas a conversar.

Sim, certas coisas não deveriam ser aceitas como a pedofilia, a zoofilia ou o estupro mas sem a capacidade de sequer conversar sobre elas, se desvia o olhar do mal, se perde a capacidade até de dizer o por que e de onde provém, se inventa qualquer desculpa fácil e mais alguns inocentes se fodem.

Não podemos perder de vista que viver numa sociedade necessariamente significa ser exposto a cada conversa sem noção com cada pessoa tão nada a ver que nenhum de nós consegue imaginar todas — para senti-lo é só dar uma olhada na música tosca no playlist da pessoa ao lado ou os videos idiotas que assistem antes de dormir. Ou tomamos isso como uma oportunidade para renovarmos nosso pacto com o amor alheio, criarmos novos laços e construirmos uma sociedade melhor ou o usamos como justificativa para a crueldade interna de cada um.

O país do sexo morreu. Viva o país do sexo.

The noise they make


Loving other people hurts
Why didn’t you tell me?

Not the romance
That part’s easy
I watched the movie

but the other one

Sharing space,
the noise they make
their smell
and stupid favorite color

They won’t shut up
They won’t shut up
Do you know what I mean?
They won’t shut up

There’s a meanness

I can’t whisper an X
without someone telling me no
and they think they’re right
but what do they know?

Answer me
Are they stupid or dumb?

Even when we agree, just look at
that shirt they got on
that looks like a bird shat on
Are they blind?

I wouldn’t lend them a dime
if they were dying
fuckers don’t deserve to go to heaven

I’m steel that would not bend

And yet life won’t let go
despite the smudges in the window
a glare still gets in

Despite the fog
like a silly poem on a metal rod
a nauseating hope melts within

And it’s hard
I know it’s hard
they’ll take everything from your pants to your name
I can’t imagine any other way
it’s the world I live in

It’s too cold outside
and they need me
I’ll build a place for us to live
if it kills me

Just make me an opening
so sun can get in
and I’ll be there

I’ll be there

I’ll be there?

Serious Writing


I want to write something serious
a theory
an interview
an article
editorializing everything
a piece of think
a transcript
from my visit to the shrink
a review
a political thing
manifesto, I meant, manifesto
a recipe
capital J – journalism
a clever tinder profile
a biography
a play with no lines
ad copy
a thesis
a textbook chapter

But all that comes out is stupid fucking

blow me

Of Ants and Babes

Growing up
I knew I was special
My ears were bigger
My fluff was thicker

My pillows were made of dreams

Give me your honey covered tongues
Or I’ll tear them off
Hand over your hearts
Or you better watch out

Life isn’t for the easy sitters

Ants tear into the skin
Heh, look at them go
Stare into the lights

And they’ll start to glow

I told my mommy to keep it down
Told the mailman to watch his head
I am the Batman
Coming for you tonight

In bed before nine and I’ll be alright

I can’t escape my fate
Greatness among ya
Hold my crown while I spit
I’m the bearer of the claws of justice

Perpetrator of the laws of trust us

Ants tear into the skin
Heh, look at them go
Stare into the lights

And they’ll start to glow

Death from above
I am the chosen
It’s what I tell the doll
When I’m about to drop

Some plastic munitions on its head

Freedom is another word for play
With the cat’s tail or chasing
He’s better off this way
You called me your favorite little man

Come give me my hug

Ants tear into the skin
Heh, look at them go
Stare into the lights

And they’ll start to glow

The crowd cheers
The girls fear me
I am a dinosaur
Throw them in the pen with the rest

There is no rest, I’ve got school soon

I love me a little competition
Why are you crying?
Sit in the corner, you’re out
No time for mourning

What’s fair is fair is fair is fair is fair is fair is fair

Ants tear into the skin
Heh, look at them go
Stare into the lights

And they’ll start to glow

I am your son
You can’t deny me
I am your son
Isn’t this what you wanted?
Isn’t this what you wanted?

Isn’t this what you wanted?

Ants tear into the skin
Heh, look at them go
Stare into the lights
And they’ll start to glow

On Being an Artist

goyaSometimes I feel like I’m chasing after my own pain with a butterfly net, so that once or if I catch it, I can put it in a glass box in a zoo for people to come stare and bang at. Am really helping anybody? Or am I just tickling their egos while they jack off mine?

I was fine by myself. I was happy even. You can’t hurt anybody when you’re hiding in a pile of books. Why should I call attention to myself now? There’s too many fucking voices out there already. I despise them. There’s no peace outside. Just pretentious assholes. Do I wanna be another prick contributing to the noise?

What’s the point? I’m not beautiful. Neither are my words. The world is fucking ugly and disgusting. It’s dripping in the green runny mucus of greedy selfish arrogant bastards, who would be happy if some old lady tripped on their secretions and snapped her neck in two, but only as long as they knew it was their snot that’d done her in.

That’s when they tell us that mucus is beautiful. It’s hot. It’s in. It’s trending. Well, fuck me two times! If that’s beauty, I’d rather do something hideous. And anonymous. I’d rather pop my own pimples, thank you very much! NO CAMERAS ALLOWED!!

Everything’s different when I close my eyes. Then I can see. The bastard is tormenting me, wants me dead by 27. The inescapably bright light won’t let me sleep, and I can’t function when I don’t sleep! Is this a muse or my ego in a dress?

Some days all is so beautiful. I just wanna lay on the floor and penetrate my skin with it, rub it in my wounds, shove it up my nose, just get it inside me, burn the pain down to a wisp while the sink overflows and the inside of the fridge rots. Beauty is horrific and delicious. I can easily forget the day still goes by and that there is no one here but me.

Go ahead and laugh! At least my pain is a big fucking joke for somebody. My neuroses must seem adorable. Well, they’re not! They fucking suck! Everything I say sounds different once I’ve said it. My words are like balloons. Either I pop them, or they float away. Everything I create abandons me.

What’s the point? I’m condemned to be clever. This isn’t the 19th century. I can’t die a virgin and moan about unrequited love or die a patriot from tuberculosis. I can merely cry “authentically” while giving you a wink while crying on the inside.

So fuck you very much! I’m an artist.

A Tale of the Artist and the Monster: An unconventional take on the Azealia Banks – Iggy Azalea beef

The following is an experiment in absurdity. I’m not interested here in aesthetically judging the quality of either musician’s work nor ethically judging their artistic intentions, but merely examining what it means for an individual to decide they wish to become or that they already are an artist.

I first read about a feud between two rappers I’d never head of, Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea, on Facebook. During a radio interview Ms. Banks had accused Ms. Azalea of exploiting racial biases to construct her musical career. Ms. Azalea responded on Twitter by calling Ms. Banks a whiny jealous idiot. My inner pretentious caveman growled, “Grumble, grumble, grumble. Pop music reflects everything that’s wrong with this country. Grumble, grumble.” The inner pretentious caveman is a cranky fellow.

But the argument was more interesting than it had appeared. Behind the celebrity gossip was a fundamental question: How does an artist decide what their responsibilities are to their audience and to society at-large?

In an ideal world, art would be pure and could be judged solely on its aesthetic qualities. In this artistic utopia, only the individual artist would exist. He or she should would sell their own art to themselves, write their own reviews, send themselves letters expressing gratitude for the enormous impact they had on their own lives, give themselves big contracts to keep making art, present themselves with important awards and take up posts at universities they had founded to pass on their legacy of great art to themselves.

Tragically this world does not exist. The artist isn’t alone. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an individual artist in possession of reasonable taste must be in want of an audience. However, sharing space with this monstrous quasi-human judgmental abstraction changes one’s priorities. It isn’t enough to make beautiful art. The artist desires that their efforts be recognized and validated by the monster, not to mention they need it to help them pay their bills!

This means that, aside from producing aesthetically-pleasing art, the artist must commit themselves to two additional tasks: attracting the quasi-human abstraction’s attention and leaving a positive mark on this abstraction for posterity, both requiring a heroic degree of vanity! By necessity artists are simultaneously politicians, marketing strategists, preachers and saviors, and it is up to the individual to mentally keeps these roles separate.

When they fail to do so, things get messy. Since the artist is also a marketing strategist and a politician, it becomes easy to confuse popularity with artistic achievement. At the extreme the individual creates merely to increase audience size. Because the artist is also a preacher and a savior, it becomes difficult to decide whether to act based on aesthetic or ethical priorities. At the extreme the individual creates merely to encourage the audience to take specific political action. In both cases the individual risks ceasing to be an artist altogether.

On the other hand, the artist may piously claim out of deception, denial or naivety that they are only interested in art for its own sake, but the monster smirking in the corner gives them away. It is indeed a troublemaker.

There is a great line in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being that goes, “…Living in truth, lying neither to ourselves nor to others, was possible only away from the public: the moment someone keeps an eye on what we do, we involuntarily make allowances for that eye, and nothing we do is truthful. Having a public, keeping a public in mind, means living in lies.” An artist must possess enormous self-awareness to preserve their own artistic identity, sanity and general well-being, for once they expose themselves to the audience there is no turning back. They are changed forever.

We could easily imagine our mischievous friend causing an argument between two hypothetical musicians, something like this:

Musician One: I deserve the favor of The Audience monster because I worked hard to get here. The quality of what I’ve produced demonstrates this fact. The proof is in the monster’s unwavering gaze. If the monster hasn’t been kind to Musician Two then they must not have put enough effort into their work. They should stop complaining and do something about it.

Musician Two: It’s completely unjust the way the Audience Monster rewards individuals for trivialities that have nothing to do with artistic ability such as physical appearance and ethnic origins. That’s the only way to explain Musician One’s success. It’s not as though they possesses any artistic merits. I’m sick of the monster’s bullshit and of the would-be trainers who enable it. How many individuals must it have scared away from becoming artists? There ought to be safe arenas where its shenanigans can be reined in.

The monster’s central role in art means that misunderstandings are inevitable. As outsiders we can never be sure how much of an artist’s decisions were based on aesthetic, commercial or political concerns, but the monster isn’t interested in these distinctions. Its memory is too short, and its love of pungent odors is too strong. What does it matter to the monster whether it listens to an artistic masterpiece, war-time propaganda or a cereal jingle?

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard tackled the problems of this abstract beast in the work Two Ages: A Literary Review where he says, “…A public is something anyone can pick up, even a drunken-sailor exhibiting a peep show… [it] is all and nothing, the most dangerous of all powers and the most meaningless… That sluggish crowd which understands nothing itself and is unwilling to do anything, that gallery-public, now seeks to be entertained and indulges in the notion that everything anyone does is done so that it may have something to gossip about.”

So then how does the artist keep their various roles straight and avoid being consumed by the monster? How does the artist regain artistic purity?

Purity starts not with rejecting the monster, but with placing it in its proper context. The monster is a means to an end. Who is the artist’s true target during their long hours of effort? Who does the artist mean when they cry out ‘beloved’ in the middle of the night? Whom do they desire with all the longing their little souls can muster? The individual artistic consumer, of course!

Only a person in the singular, with a name and a face, is cable of being influenced by art. That’s clear enough. But the artist wishes for too much. They hope to witness their art’s influence on the individual with their own eyes, an impossibility and a sacrilege at best. The act of artistic consumption is a moment of complete intimacy to which the artist has no access or rights. They can never be sure whom their work influenced and whom it did not, or even if they reached a single individual. It has to be taken on faith.

Once the artist realizes and accepts the individual as the legitimate object of their affections, they must commit themselves to the never-ending task of separating the individual from the monster. This is necessary because of the artist’s blindness at the moment of artistic consumption. Indeed art’s single greatest dilemma is that the individual can only be reached by first going through the monster.

This task involves recognizing the monster’s gaze for what it is, a conservative reflection of society’s present values. For this reason the monster looks to art only for gentle creative reminders that what it already knows of life is sufficient. The individual on the other hand has an aesthetic and spiritual need for more. No individual ever feels entirely represented by the oft-stated ideals of a collective abstraction. As such art can serve as a more perfect expression of ideals which the individual had previously been incapable of vocalizing, ideals which subvert the monster’s claim to universal appeal. The best artists are constant students and masters of deception, who exploit the monster’s confidence to pervert it and reform it in the name of the individual.

The preoccupation with influencing the individual artistic consumer also betrays an underlying interest in the individual’s wellbeing. The clear-headed artist cannot escape this fact in spite of all their self-righteous clamoring for aesthetic freedom. They too live in society.

The artist, in their concern for the wellbeing of others, may wish to use their stature as an artist to achieve genuine political change: encouraging their fans to donate money or lend support to a cause, to vote for a candidate, to support or reject a fellow artist, to write a letter, to come to a rally, to denounce an individual, action or systemic problem, etc. Sometimes nothing is more appropriate. Nonetheless they should know it is not the individual to whom they have directly appealed but the monster.

Likewise the artist can make a direct appeal to action within a work of art. This is fine because direct action can also improve the wellbeing of the individual. However, the artist should accept that in this case that their work would be rightfully criticized on aesthetic grounds. While direct artistic appeals are always intended for the monster, art’s true interest is the individual. It is a fine line between promotion of societal wellbeing and loss of artistic identity.

The battle to separate aesthetic, commercial and ethical needs continues as long as the individual persists as an artist. Artistic salvation lies in purity. And the individual who merely desires the monster’s attention desires nothing at all. For the monster isn’t real.