A Short Letter About Your Letter, to the narrator of STONE BUTCH BLUES



Jeff Key

Stockton, ENGL 5940

Cloth Wounds: Stone Butch Blues

30 August 2012


Three Pieces of Women’s Clothing

I read your letter to Theresa tonight. I hope you don’t mind. I’m assuming you don’t. The letter is all I know about you. So far. Tomorrow night I’ll learn more. I suppose I’ll learn as much as Leslie Fienberg would have me know.

I might have been afraid of you at one point, you know. Maybe I still am a bit afraid. In your letter you make me feel things I don’t want to feel. In your letter you make me feel things I never want to stop feeling.

I’ve made a reputation as a peace activist. And a lot of people think I’ve done something good for “gay people.” With regard to my activism I get props for being a “bridge builder.” Your letter makes me want to bomb the bridges. Marines learn how to bomb bridges.

I want to go back to the bars you describe at the time you describe. I want to kick the shit out of those cops. I want to free my people. I want to take your place on my knees in front of that unzipped cop and that probably should disgust me but it doesn’t. You should know I did that myself. LAPD. Hollywood division. In the precinct house. I wanted to.

What you write in your letter makes me long to fight alongside you. As brothers. But even saying that makes me wonder if that might piss you off. Maybe you’d want to kick my ass. The little girl inside me is afraid of you that way. See? I don’t even know if it’s okay for me to say that. Sometimes in my life I’ve worn three pieces of women’s clothing.

Before I let you go, as long as I’ve said so much, you should know how sexy you sounded in that letter. But I understand that you’re not a man. Are you a man? What is a man? What is gender? I can tell you that my mind has been fucked up by what this world attaches to those words. And I can tell you that no matter what. Fighting, blood, defiance, white cotton, denim, and staring eye-level at the buckle of a gun belt will always turn me on.  

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