Copyright (c) by Sassafras Lowrey, 2008.
Sassafras Lowrey is a queer history obsessed genderqueer high femme, militant storyteller, author, artist, and activist. Ze believe that everyone has a story to tell, and that the telling of those stories is essential to creating social change. An accomplished storyteller, ze was an original member of "The Language of Paradox" founded and directed by Kate Bornstein, contributor to numerous anthologies including: LGBTQ: America Today, The Femme Coloring Book, Gendered Hearts, and Visible: A Femmethology. Sassafras and was honored as one of Portland's top emerging writers by In Other Words feminist books in 2004, and is the editor of the highly anticipated Kicked Out anthology (Fall 2009) from Homofactus Press. Sassafras is also the author of GSA to Marriage: Stories of a Life Lived Queerly (Homofactus Press, Summer 2010). Ze lives in New York City with hir partner, two puddle-shaped cats, and a princess dog. www.pomofreakshow.com
GSA to Marriage: Stories of a Life Lived Queerly weaves a tapestry of raw and honest tales to explore the paradoxical nature of one queer’s life. Memories of childhood sexual abuse, coming out in a conservative semi-rural area and being kicked out as a teen for being queer emerge in these tales of survival, escape, and triumph. Following Sassafras through multiple gender changes from butch, to FTM, and finally to high femme, the stories play with fluidity and the politics of passing. GSA to Marriage charts a sometimes perilous journey to adulthood through the lessons learned in escaping the demons of one’s past.
Where I Come From a reflection of queer history, and butch/femme culture is an excerpt from GSA to Marriage included with the permission of Homofactus Press
Where I Come From:
an excerpt from the memoir GSA to Marriage: Stories of a Life Lived Queerly to be released from Homofactus Press Summer 2010.
Butches sit posed
Scuffed saddle shoes
Half smoked cigarette
Black and white
Yuppy card shop
Stare into faded eyes
Smudged with times fingerprints
What would two old butches think
After the flash
To be buying
In card stores
That someone came first
I've always loved butches, hearts of stone. Found my body pulled close, trembling beneath a firm touch. In the moonlight I can make out the faint line of scars. As darkness envelops us, your fingers stroke calluses, aorta, ventricles, valves, and chambers. Our hearts pull toward one another, songs of pain and longing spew forth as our veins sing as if a harpist's hand strums them together. Our journey, a harmony of collective pain, sorrow, and strength planting firm intertwined roots.
Bruises find one another. We know better than to shy away from the pain. Our hearts press into each other. Bruise to bruise, the sweet exquisite secret pain, which only the injured can ever adequately appreciate. Old wounds weep together with thick red blood. Pressed tight. Plasma trades aortas, telling fingers where it is safe to grip. Eyes locked, pupils focused on the first to understand.
Mouth to mouth we resuscitate each other. Our heat brings blood from trickling creeds into mighty rivers: Columbia, Clackamas, Willamette. Through your mouth I taste desert summers chasing lizards, through my lips you find your tongue coated with the metallic grit of dirt.
You hold my heart in your hand, callused fingers tickling my aorta as your nails and cuticles are dyed crimson. My blood warm and wet seeps through your fingers as they staunch its wounds. I beat tenderly in your palm, your fingers laced in intricate bondage around the subtle pounding. Don't let me go. Your touch, the most real I have ever felt.
Garage sales, flea markets, trashcans
Our families of origin
Burry our truths
Burned in oil drums
At the end of long gravel roads
Love letters charred
Photographs left to rot in landfills
Two men in polka dotted aprons
Stand thigh to thigh over a sink
In a kitchen that looks like the one
My grandma had
During the war
Jeans with rolled cuffs
Beautiful woman on the back of the bike
The way my cousins would ride there
Through small hick towns
I want to know where we come from
Make a habit of scouring old photographs
Looking for faces of people
I can recognize
Searching for pieces of history
Telling us that people came first
Convincing us we are alone
Keeps us scared
Four women pose together
An east coast beach
Three in black stripped swimming clothes
Whit pressed pants
Button down shirt
Dandy sailor cap
Arm around the femme closest
I stare into their faces For clues
About who they are?
Who are we without histories?
We don't raise our young
Not guided to adulthood
With stories of people who have
Come (out) fist
I place them
In a box
Time to time
Finger the rough edges
Stare into faded faces
Begging them to tell me their stories