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National Poetry Month Continues : with Justin Chin

Back When I Knew Who I Was 

i was content to spend my afternoons
wondering what co-dependent meant
not realizing that those lazy
humid daylight hours was better  
spent figuring out the physics
of dependency and codeine dreams

back when i knew who i was
i was much better than i ever thought i was
i could conjugate fuck like nobody’s business
       fuck me, fuck you, fuck it, fuck him, fuck her
       fuck them, fuck yourself, holy fuck, goddamnfuckit

i could shovel dead pets off the driveway
     that my aunt ran over on her way to choir practice
     and not shed a single tear
i could choke down every family fight about money,
every caning that would come for no reason after those fights,
every time we were forced to go to my rich relatives for dinner and we’d
find ourselves in the kitchen cooking and doing the dishes.

i believed i knew the meaning of alcohol
i believed i knew how to get out of every scrap
i believed i wasn’t gonna make 25
i believed in 18 molecules of carbon
21 molecules of hydrogen
3 oxygen and one fab nitrogen
all in a sweet mixture enough to make me
feel like jennifer beals in flashdance
twirling my ass
in front of the snotty audition,
praying for a stinking place in 
the dance-a-thon of actuality

back when my balls were the size of brazil
and my ego was the size of the antarctica
and my courage was the size of phlegm
i learned to trust few people
learned to want little
and to need even less
i learned to say “FUCK IT”

with such ease and venom
the most cynical rattlesnake
would have its underbelly turn emerald
in two seconds flat.

you could wake to find yourself in some sweet danger,
in some piss-flavored version of addiction
designed to make up for lost time,
lost ideals, lost lovers, lost causes, lost saviours
but -shit- these days,
all i find is myself back when i was
back in the conga line of perpetual desire
the territory of an incessant need
i crave my one habit of a good man
and i want to secede from
the grip of addiction philosophy,
from the colony of “i should’ve known better”

fuck that 12-step thing, i say,
i like to keep my options open
and i like having the option
to get absolutely fucked up
when i feel like it,
and not feel like i fucked up, dammit.

do things change that much?
can some stupid sign from the almighty
whip you right around?
maybe i should be looking for visions of jesus
in billboards of spaghetti sauce,
visions of buddha in men’s semen,
maybe i’ll be a much better person
if i knew who i was when i knew who i was
but who the fuck do i think i am?
i can’t even piss straight into the bowl,
can’t even tell my lover that i want to cook him
breakfast for the rest of my life,
can’t even cross against the light,
     (ooh, walk to the light, walk to the light….)
can’t pay my bills on time nor balance my checkbook
can’t dance, can’t mosh,
can’t get fucked up like i used to, not that i want to anyway
can’t take it like a man, whatever that means.

all i can is kiss who i was
back when i knew who i was
goodbye, one great big tongue smooch
and wish him a good journey
as he walks to the light
and falls off the edge of the earth
and into a peaceful hell.

i’ll meet up with him later.

Justin Chin, from Bite Hard
     Manic D Press, 1997

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Three Cheers for Celluloid Premieres & Flaming Queers! (HURRAH!)

 

So, yeah. June?

June’s a busy month ’round the Clintsville.

In addition to peddlin’ word at The Poetry Brothel and collaborating with Paris Sadonis and Zoetica Ebb for a special performance at Salt Lake City’s Dark Arts Festival 2010, this month I’m also honored to be part of two feature-length film premieres.

Up first : we’ve got “just another” genre-hopping, stop-motion animation experiment in contemporary celluloid communications, interspersed with autobiographical super 8 docu-dramitization of writer/director Hilary Goldberg‘s disparate experiences spanning a wasteland of family, palm trees, a violent car salesman and a stint in a mental institution . . .

before fact is eclipsed by the story-line of a fictive post-apocalyptic, “unincorporated community formerly known as Los Angeles” — where riot police, Amy Goodman, and Queer Superheroes run rampant, that is.

Uh-huh. You read that correctly.  And I may or may not very well play the role of a character known as Gaylord Wilshire.  [ Conversely, I may or may not play the role very well! ]

Guess you’ll have to wait till its world premiere at the National Queer Arts Festival 2010 to find out . . .

“Hilary Goldberg’s recLAmation is a feature-length experimental documentary/narrative film shot on Super 8 in which capitalism in contemporary Los Angeles is overthrown, and queer superheroes navigate a possible future. recLAmation illuminates historic connections between private and public systems of oppression, and explores how worldview shifts caused by personal trauma rendered the capitalist paradigm nonsense.

In the first two sections  1) Consumption and Colonization, 2) Collapsepersonal narratives interact with moving images of contemporary Los Angeles, stop motion animation, and sound design. Writer/director Goldberg’s memoir unfolds, offering reflections on time spent with her mother’s violent fiancé and in a mental hospital. Then, a fictional narrative envisions a dream of Los Angeles after it has been liberated from capitalism. Queer superheroes explore a possible future for the city that includes housing for all, truly free markets, the end of prisons, and more. The World Premiere Film Event is accompanied with live narration.”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

8 p.m. at The Garage,

975 Howard, San Francisco, 94103

Tickets range from $12-20, and are available on-line through

The Queer Cultural Center

★ ☆ ★

Then, four days later . . . Same city, different festival — and an incomparable project to contrast:

Renown documentarian Christopher Hines is “following fast on the heels of his success last year with The Butch Factor,” by examining not only mannerisms and varying degrees of masculinity among gay men, but also the broad spectrum of ways in which the pursuit for perfection — or perhaps merely a desire to “belong” —  manifests [itself] physically.

For those of you whom I haven’t seen in a while — or ever — look for me in the first 60 seconds of this clip. I’m the tan guy, no shirt, pecs so pumped-up; you might as well call ‘em “mam”s.

See me there? No, not that one.  Definitely not that one, either.  Wait . . . what? You’re kidding, right? I’m that one, there, by the dude wearing a baseball cap!

“Do looks matter? When it comes to the male physique in the gay community, the answer is of course a resounding YES. In this fascinating, thought-provoking documentary, filmmaker Christopher Hines (The Butch Factor, Frameline33) turns his camera on guys of all shapes and sizes to explore how body image affects status among gay men.

Through intimate interviews with men across the United States, including several from the Bay Area, Hines uncovers the very common, often unsettling reality of how many gay men struggle to achieve and maintain a particular image in order to be accepted. As he talks with experts and everyday folks, we hear how body discrimination can lead to feelings of inadequacy, as well as issues around drug abuse and severe eating disorders that transcend sexual orientation.

One especially muscular guy admits that even though he knows it’s superficial, he “feels more respected and accepted” when people compliment his look. Hines explores how these issues trickle into other areas of our modern world by looking at everything from the gay porn industry to a naked yoga class in San Francisco that helps students feel more comfortable with their bodies.

The Adonis Factor deftly balances diverse viewpoints and voices to paint a picture of a complex world where beauty is too often considered skin deep.” — BRENDAN PETERSON

★ ☆ ★

The Adonis Factor World Premiere

★ ☆ ★

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2 p.m. at The Victoria Theater,

2961  16th Street, San Francisco, 94103-3633

Tickets vary in cost for those who are organization members versus non-members — and if you’re able to actually find those exact figures at Frameline 34 – San Francisco International LGBT Festival ? You’re a more astute person than I!

*In that event, please comment or send me a message via the “Contact Clint” option. More than happy to update the listing, thanks!

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