GreyhoundPlaylist by Aeon Ginsberg
I think it's silly to think of any community as a "legion" or a collection of the sum of its parts, but I truly do believe if one is to speak about where they draw an ethical line in the sand it needs to acknowledge the ways those lines are faulted by those that claim community over them. These pages are heavily inspired by The Microbial State: Global Thriving and The Body Politic by Stefanie R. Fishel, and in writing the Greyhound poem, a longform expansive piece on movement's influence of the body and the shapes gender takes around it, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the ethical and moral movements taken by singular bodies and the communities made up of those bodies. It is one thing to tweet about all of your writing being against the police and its accomplices so I wanted to be explicit in my stance that my writing is against the police, borders, prisons, and containment, and that it is important to reckon with the parts of my larger community that remain complicit in the existence of what I am against. That being said mine and my writing's stance shouldn't be static, and I hope to convey in the movement of these pieces that it is something I want to go to even if I must struggle toward it. —Aeon Ginsberg
Let’s say for argument’s sake that we are a body made of bodies. A body of water is made of a body of wetness, sibling to a cloud – which is also a body made of wetness.
The body of a body is also made up of wetness, but the wetness of the body is made up of smaller bodies: molecules and microbes. One could say that the human body is made up of small non-human bodies.
The body of being alive is the body of energies. The body of energies is the body of confusion. Everyone is trying so hard to figure out why we are alive. It would be a shame to find out, probably.
If the body of a cisgender person is made up of non-human bodies, how do we know the non-human genders in the body are also cisgender? Maybe born in the wrong body is a microbial standpoint.
The body of transgender persons is a body of water, a body of molecules, a body of clouds, a body of energies, a body of confusion. The non-human bodies are the powerhouse of the cell. The cell being either the person or the prison.
The body opposite of water is the body of fire – one made up of kindling. The body of kindling is made up of whatever catches. The body of fire is a part of the body of smoke, and steam and, therefore, cousin to the body of a cloud.
The non-human parts of cis bodies are related to the non-human parts of trans bodies. Both bodies bleed similarly enough, but one body catches easier. The body of the cis is a part of the body of water – the body of the trans is part of the body of fire and of water.
If you can light water on fire, it’s better to say it’s oil.
If you feel heat, you say fire. If you feel damp, say rain. But for both, you don’t say much at all. The body of the trans does the saying.
The body of the saying is what makes up the body of the scream. The body of the snitch is cousin, the body of the silence is opposite and also adjacent.
If the body of the trans is the body on fire, the non-human parts of the body burn into the body of noises, into the body of ash. Maybe the microbial parts of us were born into the wrong human body.
If the body of a pyre is the body of kindling, the kindling is part of the body of a forest, parent body to the body of trees. Making it also the parent body to the body of a faggot.
Queer and trans bodies are part of the body of a faggot, part of the body of a forest, bodies of the earth. Buried bodies are the human parts of a non-human body.
If a faggot is representative as a bundle bound for a pyre, upon which to throw atypically presenting persons on top of, then the faggot is also what symbolizes that which is used to burn the witches and noisemakers and spiritualists.
For the purpose of the metaphor, assimilating into death machines is what the cis want even if they don’t want us. An enlisted queer can be a dead queer. A queer in the police knows where to find the rest. A queer politician is brainwashed.
So many trans and gender nonconforming persons in my life are becoming witches, herbalists, noisemakers, spiritualists.
It only makes sense to operate in secrecy when we already do. The webcams are watching. We snitch on ourselves in our search for community.
If one queer person is used to destroy another queer person, how can we have faith in each other to not eat each other alive? I want to be the bigger bitch, but we have been hurt so much. Trust is an empty spell. It’s hard to cast it when there’s not even us to catch us.
The cis want this. The heteros want this. If you can get your enemy to destroy itself, what’s the point in hate, then? I never want to see my rapist again, but I will not be the pyre, or on the pyre if I can help it. What is the point of destroying that which wants to destroy us?
A trans person in power is a good thing, and that’s all I should feel. But even still I fear so much of where our information goes. I fear the day when a trans census is used to round us up. I’ve said before that privatized gays code-break queerness; if I can look it up on the internet, it isn’t a safety I can have.
The moving queer parts of the universe slide in and out of our sharpnesses. I worry so much for young noisemakers. Who will they accidentally snitch to? I worry so much for the elders who got to become elders. I am sorry you have to watch us fight to make mistakes your friends died for.
If the faggot is a pyre, and the medium is placed above it – on fire – then why not burn everything down? Why not run from the flames into the buildings they built to keep the queers out?
I dream of movement for all. I dream of a body that breaks and runs anyway. We read about protagonists and antagonists who are damaged beyond themselves – and still they fight on, so valiant or so terrifying. I dream of a body of genders that is valiantly terrifying. I dream of a body of genders that saves as it slaughters. I dream of a body of genders shapeless as all hounds are shapeless. I dream of a body of genders that fights until it cannot – and then continues. That runs until it is wounded, and then keeps going.
There is nothing holding us back from building a community of our best selves but our worst selves – a self we all have.
There is nothing that can kill us that hasn’t already. The slow lurch toward hell is paved with the bones of dead queers. Hell itself is the bodies of those against us that we dragged to the mouth and let fall in.
I dream of the movement of bodies like ocean currents forever breaking.
If this is a poem about moving, where is it going? Where is it going to take us if not away from something else? The movement asks us where we would like to be, and we go. But what do we need to leave behind to get there? What sacrificial offerings do we leave behind to transit? I leave safety in tiny pockets of winter coats of the country. If I can remember an address and get to a city, I can be someone who continues to travel rather than stops indefinitely.
If there is a way to be among company, there is a way to become a part of a larger whole, wholly myself and wholly the group. I want to be a part of the end- machine that stops the movement of war.
When we talk about movement, the writer, the reader, the poem, the story, the article, the conversation must recognize the movement that happens without our urgency – in fact, regardless of our urgency or agency. The movement of militarization. The movement of police. The movement of borders. The movement of bodies.
If we can get to a place where someone knows our names, that does not mean safety, always. The borders are snakes. The police and the military are snakes. The government is snakes. If you watch the movement of enough of them in a row, you see the movement of a river. Life is a constant crossing of water, of rivers, of snake nests. We sacrifice so much to become safe in a world that is increasingly against our safety.
When we talk about bodies, it’s important to point out that not all bodies are allowed to move. Like chess, the ones in the highest positions of power move the most, but some still only move within restrictions. I change my name and everything you would find to identify my body stays the same. I am white and that means I’m more likely to be alive, if I am found. Within gender there is sacrifice. There are one million scales we push and pull sand from. I am ashamed of the safety I’ve asked for despite myself, in spite of my gender. My body and my gender sacrifice less so that I can move in this body, in this country, in the ways that I can, and for that I am thankful.
When we talk about war, we have to talk about complicit movement. If we have the opportunity to not stand for nationalism, do not. If we have the opportunity to not stand for prisons, do not. If we have the opportunity to not stand for borders, do not.
The body of a border is against the movement of diverging selves, against the ability to be oneself and be alive.
If the poem is about movement, the poem recognizes when not to move. If the poem must move, it moves in tandem with bodies moving for other bodies. I move to the world where snakes are solely snakes, by which I mean to a world against the police, against prison, against borders. I move to a world of snakes. What was nature should return to it. When I am dead, transition my body into the earth. Use my bones against power, use my hair against power, move my body against what I am against, what is against me, what helped me die how I lived, how so many do, looking for safety.