3.23.2006

Laramie, America

Some of you may know that I have been writing again. Something long, something very focused, and something that I can only write at night, in bed.

Last night I found The Laramie Project playing on cable and tuned in. I saw it the first time several years ago, I think when it first aired on HBO, when a kind friend taped it for me and let me borrow it.

It was like being beaten, punched in the gut, again and again and again and again.

This is what I want my poem to be.

*

One of the most powerful aspects of The Laramie Project is its editing. Everything provided to the viewer is offered in brief snippets, most of which are only vaguely narrative or linear.

The film must be strung this way in order for the viewer to continue to watch. The difference between being shallowly stabbed hundreds of times and having your chest split right open.

I mean, some things are unforgivable.

*

Some things are unforgivable. I want to believe we are all good people at heart.

*

Over the past several months, visitors to this area have asked me on different occasions the same question. How do you manage here?

I don't know. I have become a cautious person. The way people pause before when they ask, "And how is your      roommate?" Some I correct. Most I don't.

Yesterday at a convenience store, I took a phone call from a loved one while paying. I said, "I am at _______ store." I said, "I love you." The clerk, a woman, joked with me. She said, "Ha ha, 'Who's that woman in the background?!' 'No honey, I'm at _____ store, I promise!'" To pass for heterosexual is surprising, unnerving, and disappointing.

How do you manage here?

How does anyone manage anywhere. Wyoming or not, we are all just a short drive away from a field.

6 comments:

  1. "Some things are unforgivable. I want to believe we are all good people at heart."

    Wow. I have never seen The Laramie Project: I have always been a bit afraid of it. And afraid of the rage it brings up in me.

    Best wishes for you, and your project.

    Writing in bed! Instead of "Lunch Poems" --> "Bed Poems."

    ReplyDelete
  2. That last line there belongs in your poem.

    Writing more to you soon.

    Ali

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hope you manage to work all these thoughts into your poem, and I can't wait to read it. I've also never seen the filmed version of Laramie Project, but did see a stage version here in Atlanta. Of course, everyone in the room was crying almost from the beginning. How could you not?

    ReplyDelete
  4. What they all said. There's definitely stuff in this post for your poem.

    I've never seen The Laramie Project. I want to, I think, but I'm a bit afraid of watching it alone.

    I'm assumed to be heterosexual all.the.freaking.time. Probably because I pretty much appear to conform to gender norms, etc. and because I don't have a partner I can casually bring up in conversation (it's a LOT harder to come out casually without being able to do that). Not long ago a lesbian colleague, someone I've socialized with & with whom I have quite a few friends in common, told me that for the longest time she thought I had a husband. A husband! She was finally set straight (so to speak) by a mutual friend. When she told me this I laughed and laughed, and then I went home and cried. Sometimes I envy really butch women who just cannot possibly pass ... the ones who are still alive, that is.

    Fuck.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A good friend of mine felt the same way when we lived in Arizona, and has now found a wonderful and surprisingly small community where she feels no real need to be so guarded.

    I have driven by fences in Laramie since moving to Colorado, and every time, I want to scream, cry, and throw up.

    ReplyDelete