We all had nicknames in the shipyard up north, not so down south. I don’t know why that is; maybe because the yards down south were so damned big and the bosses were always watching. We would never collect in groups out in the open in the southern yards, while up north we had real unions and some really tough shop stewards, so the ass-kicking went both ways…
Michelle Tea redefines autobiographical fiction by paring it down to its emotional core and dressing it back up as a work of beauty that never loses sight of the balances an artist must achieve in order to both create and to survive. And the cameo appearance by Matt Dillon is just icing on the delicious cake.
Normally, I would offer you my name, by way of an introduction. Names are important; they are currency in a conversation, they are expected, for good or ill, and we bind ourselves to each other with them. But I won’t be offering my name in this case: talking about my time in prison could cost me my career.
This piece was part of the show “Queerology 101,” performed in April 2017 for Rowan County Pride. In the show, a misguided professor attempts to define each letter of LGBTQ, getting it wrong every time. For the B, he said that, like the Sasquatch, Appalachian Black Panther, and other “mythical” creatures, there simply was no proof that bisexuals are real.
The Appalachian LGBTQ+ community doesn’t need me to say a damn thing for them. Their voices are ringing down the gravel roads and bouncing off twenty story buildings. If you listen you might learn something…
Lonnie Ray was all gangly arms and lanky legs and big ears and toothy grin when he lit out across the Ohio River looking for work. His big brother in the driver’s seat put his mind at ease and they had some food to hold them over till their first payday: a couple fried baloney and biscuit sandwiches, six Cokes, four whole Hershey bars. The Skaggs boys weren’t strangers to growling bellies. That grumble and a little gnawing on their backbones didn’t intimidate them boys a bit.
Your cheek brushes against the soft ear covering of your headset. You put it on. It’s early Sunday morning, and there are hardly any calls. You sit in ready for thirty, forty minutes without interruptions. Clench your teeth out of boredom. Spin around in your chair. Clean the dust off the keyboard. You should […]
They must keep them somewhere, these fathers of sad girls. They are locked Mr.-Murray-tight in a column somewhere on dark distant planets far away à la Wrinkle in Time. Or perhaps we hope they are. They are trapped somewhere, maybe under falling debris from earthquakes, maybe under the weight of their freedom. They’ll […]
I joined the impromptu clique of smokers outside the coffee shop and slid into a conversation about tiny houses and woodstoves, teepees and yurts, composting toilets. Some dreadlocked white boy just off the Appalachian Trail was rambling happy about his tarps and tents and his buddy’s yurt, and I let him pronounce it App-a-lay-shun because […]
Our lives were horror stories, but we didn’t know it. We were the figures that stalked the nightmares of middle- and upper-middle-class parents. Some of us were the brave young black men first eaten by the monster; others, the virginal Final Girls pure enough to survive until the end. We were the big-haired bombshells who…