Do You Dare

for Sax Quartet and two Narrators
2015

*trigger warning*

When I was 16, I was dating a...man-shaped person. And my friends would ask me the typical questions. "Where did you meet?" "How'd you start dating?" "Have you said I love you yet?" Fast-forward 8 months, I have a few more things figured out, and I'm dating someone who at the time identified as female. You'd think the questions would be similar - "Where did you meet?" "How'd you start dating?" "Have you said I love you..." But these aren't the questions we were asked. Actually, the questions were much, much different. So I started writing those questions down and when I finished writing down the questions I'd been asked, I started writing down the questions some queer person somewhere had been asked before. Then I began writing down the questions that I wanted to ask, that I wanted to ask of...perhaps...straighter people. I wove these questions into music, using sax quartet (the most flamboyant of chamber ensembles) and finished with what I considered a challenge. As if to say - Do you dare imagine what this is is like for us? Dare you ask? Dare you help? And most importantly, dare you do something about it?

Her Body is a Book

for Electric Cello and 3-6 dancers
2014

My exposure to dance has always been from a place of release. Even when I first started dancing blues, it was about feeling the music in your own body rather than memorizing any particular steps. The summer of 2014 was when dance became something much more therapeutic. I started exploring Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms and discovered that dance helped me live authentically in my own skin.

“Her Body is a Book” attempts to illustrate this journey. It begins with reluctance, hinting at a chaos that hides beneath. This chaos builds through soft-spoken spurts of lyricism and relentless, rhythmic pizzicatos. When the chaos has amounted to full expression, the piece withers into calm, though not entirely content.

With improvisatory dance cues, one dancer is cast as “She,” representing the journey of a dancer from fear of dance to surrender. The other dancers act as supporters, each with their unique way of interpreting the music. The cues for the dancers outline the 5Rhythms to show the progression in and out of the most intense parts of dance. However, the final section is dedicated to a partner blues dance as a way of illustrating the calm of surrendering and the necessity of compassionate human connection, especially after an intense emotional journey.

The title “Her Body is a Book” describes my own mental shift in viewing my body. First I viewed it as something on loan, something transient and destructible. Dance has helped me view the body as something powerful, something that has the capacity to express who I am and where I’ve been.

we taste queerness on the twilight

This is a poem about how a community collects trauma. I read this poem as part of Golden Bridge's "Youth, Truth, and Talent" show July 29th, 2017. *This poem contains content on substance abuse, sexual assault, and suicide.*The dancing was a collaboration between all the performers. Much thanks to the dancers Michelle Wilkins, Laurel Hauck, Grace Slocum, Christina Shore, Keva Victoria, and Miranda Gerzon. 

Here is the text of the poem:

 

This poem brings Whipped Cream Burnett’s to parties.
This poem loves to make straight people uncomfortable. 
This poem isn’t afraid to correct the Chancellor’s interpretation of their gender pronouns on stage in front of a thousand person crowd.
This poem used to listen to a song called “Hegemonic Blowfish.”
This poem’s favorite band is PWR BTTM.
This poem used to have wet dreams about Jesus.
This poem doesn’t give two shits about white gay cis men theorizing in ivory towers. 
This poem wasn’t born this way.
You can bet your sweet ass this poem knows when to take a laxative.

This poem shaved off all her hair the day after the election.
I walked this poem home from the straight bar after he got kicked out for yelling “Fuck Donald Trump.”
This poem cried when we got home.
This poem is scared of men.

You wrote this poem on my collarbone with your teeth.
This poem would fuck you all night long, and all day long, regardless of substance.
This poem sobbed the first time she kissed a girl.
This poem doesn’t believe in healthy relationships.
This poem once got a ride home from a stranger on Grindr in exchange for sex.
This poem knows that being campy is a survival tactic.
This poem knows it’s less dangerous if straight people are laughing at you.
This poem wouldn’t say no to a line of coke from a stranger at the club.
This poem smokes a packet of cigarettes when he’s drunk.
I held this poem’s hair back as they were vomiting at the bar.
This poem will get fucked to forget.
This poem hates how sometimes fucking leads to remembering.
I see this poem in my lover’s sad eyes after they give me an orgasm.
I cried after this poem fucked me so hard I had to look at the sandpaper pillar of fear in my spine.

This poem called me at 4:45am to say “I legitimately overdosed. My dad found me in time.”
This poem has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Or Bipolar I. Or Bipolar II. Or maybe Borderline - they haven’t decided.
This poem knows the differences are invisible but the consequences are deadly.

This poem likes to take a couple shots before performing a drag show.
This poem gets double takes in gendered restrooms.
This poem hates when servers end their “What drinks will you have” with a “ladies.”
This poem defines dysphoria as an intense current under which you have no grounding.
This poem doesn’t want your pity.
I am devastated that I can’t even protect this poem in my own bedroom.

I started writing the poem the day a man in a pick up truck asked me and my high school lover to take our sick shit elsewhere.
I knew I’d never stop writing this poem the day my ex-lover stuck a bloodied note in my locker.
I knew this poem could never be unwritten the night she was crying silently in my room and whispered “I think they make that word sound ugly so that no one will ever want to say it.”
That word was rape. This poem is about rape.
This poem isn’t going to forgive you.
This poem isn’t about you.
None of this poem is for you.
None of this poem is fictionalized.

This poem was once angry but is getting tired.
This poem is weary but awake.
This poem keeps going.
This poem writes itself.
This poem never stops.
We will never stop.
We will never stop writing this poem.