the f word
Here is another little piece resurrected from the never-finished These Are Our Weapons zine project of ought five, from the days when I was fresh off the boat here and taking care of snotty (in every sense of the term) five year olds for a living. Enjoy.
“So you don’t like the American regime?” Tannus asks me on the subway escalator after class.
“No. Bush is a moron. I can’t believe that so many people voted for him. But maybe that just shows you that a lot of Americans are stupid too.”
“Well what do you believe in?” Tannus is from Iran. Wants to study in California someday. Wants to know everything about America and Americans. “What are your politics?”
I hesitate–how to reduce 22 years of simmering murk into a subway station response?–then plunge. “I don’t like labels. But if you had to call me something, maybe you could call me an anarchist.” I cringe. Another. Meaningless. Label.
“But what’s that? I’ve never heard that word before.”
I look at the floor and open my mouth to respond, but it’s Laura–a classmate from Spain–who answers. “It means she loves freedom.”
the cries and the wails of the valley below
Here it is, back from the dead, yet another little diddy by Tara from the never-finished These Are Our Weapons project. Enjoy.
It’s amazing, once you start thinking about it, how many things we actually repress. Most of it has to do with language, things you can’t say, won’t say, etc. Then there are the cries of grief you can’t even explain, unutterable wails of despair that rise up in your throat only to be choked down again until you’re literally choking on unexpelled air, because we’re not supposed to be so emotional. There are sobs that turn into muffled shrieks as little gasps escape when you finally have to suck in a breath or implode. And all because dorm walls are too thin, and crying isn’t something we want to impose on others.
There are suppressed cries of shock, little gasps that could turn into full out yells and deep moans, if only our parents weren’t listening from the next room when we’re doing something we’re not supposed to. There are stories, endless stories, occasions when you want to break down and start pouring out how one time when you were little you stole a couple Skittles from the glass dish in the babysitter’s dining room and got yelled at and you couldn’t understand what you had done that was so wrong, what reached the level of putting your shoes on the couch in the untouchable front “living” room in the eyes of the woman who had control of your life for 4 hours of every day.
There are times when we want to rant endlessly about ex-first loves and how they were really assholes and treated us like shit but had just such a way of touching this certain spot, and there was that time when they went and got our laundry and an extra pillow and brought it upstairs and stood looking at us while we brushed our teeth as if we were just amazing, brushing our teeth like that, when brushing our teeth is normally such an unattractive activity.
We never get over those ex-first loves, because we don’t talk about it. We never get a really good cry over it to the point where we really get it all out, where we’re really done crying. We always get to the point where we say, well, ok, have to go eat dinner now so I better stop crying because it’s a little silly to be crying this much at 5:14 on a Monday evening anyway, and the sobs get put away, the air gets pushed back down into our lungs, and we move on. Or so it seems. The sobs never really leave. They’re still down in our throats, still completely unutterable, and every time we get a little push a little too close to the area where we store all those unused gasps of air, we get a little closer to the edge where we just lose it all and everything, every last unoxidated fermented breath we’ve been saving up for years and years just spills loose and gets vomited all over the floor in sounds so impossible they hurt.
That’s what we’re all waiting for. That final moment of release, like when you finally throw up after hours of nausea and regret and unpleasant hangover sensations. When you’re finally empty. This is why we’re so unstable. We’ve deemed it unattractive to puke, and we’re all carrying around untold years worth of bile. No pill is ever going to fix all that, no therapist can ever extract all the ugly sores, because the therapists want to make it go away. And the answer isn’t to make it go away but to embrace it, to fully fuck every last painful moment until you climax and it’s done. Not gone away, but sated, finally having gotten the attention it deserved. The air should be filled with noises.We shouldn’t have to hyperventilate.
these are our weapons
Once upon a time a few people and I–mainly me and a delightful co-possessor of Stewart genetic material–started work on a zine. It was about non-violent protest and about dumpster diving and about food and about books, about using pens and needles and paint brushes and typewriters and forks as the tools of our daily revolution.
But, like many of my zine projects, it has never seen the light of day, and damn it, older though they may be, more than a few of those peices deserve to escape the dusty prison of my paper-mountained office and feel the sun on their face, the wind rustling their little yellowing dog-ears.
This excerpt is written by Tara Stewart of George Goes Green (in)fame, seamstress, writer, seventh rider of the apocalypse.
Look at the tag on the nearest piece of clothing. Where was it made? It might list a country- but were you aware that the country on the tag isn’t required to be the actual country of
What name is on the tag? A company, likely. Who is that company? Who actually made the garment, who ran the machine that cut and stitched and folded and attached that convenient little tag? How many people worked in the factory? What were they paid?
How many other people in the world own that identical piece of clothing?
My grandmother taught me to sew before I could properly hold a needle: she handed me a pair of scissors, and I made a quilt with scotch tape. It is, to date, the most useful, meaningful skill I have ever learned.
I am a seamstress. I like to think I carry on a tradition. There have been seamstresses from the moment our ancestors began donning bits of fur for warmth. The same cannot be said for, say, bankers. If the economy collapses, if the world overturns, I will still have a useful skill. There will always be need for clothing.
Centuries ago, people took apart their old clothing and make it into new, until the fabric was too worn to stitch again. Then it was reused. In all ages of history, old clothing became rags, for cleaning, for filling mattresses, for soaking up menstrual blood, for the rag woman (rags were once turned in to be recycled into paper–same principle as turning in cans). Women turned pieces of clothing into quilts, works of art.
My grandmother never threw anything away, including napkins and Ziploc bags. I thought she was crazy until I made the connection that for thousands of years, people did not throw things away until they were no longer useful. There was no such thing as disposable- disposable was actually a movement in the late 60s. People had fewer things, and they were made to last- something difficult to find in modern stores full of cheap, poorly made crap that?s meant to be thrown away within a year. Every piece of clothing was worthwhile, in some way unique.
I am an artist. I make clothing from fabric inherited from my grandmother, from bedsheets, from curtains, from random items found at Goodwill for a dollar and cut up into new and interesting things. I make recycled art.
Thousands of years ago, art was what you put on your body- clothing, tattoos, jewelry. It was the image you painted on the side of a pot, the design you carved on a wooden spoon. It was useful, it was sustainable, it was a part of everyday life. It lasted, it was handed down through generations. If we are to truly start a revolution, here it is- we must bring art back into our daily lives, save it from standardization and mass production. The scissors in my hand become a weapon for change.
We are what we eat, we are what we wear. Where did you come from? Who made you? Every morning every person makes a choice- what to wear? What do you choose?