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Forest Crone

A Life Rarified in Shame:

The Outsider Artist in an Insider’s Skin


     There is no time that I expect a crone to poke her long finger out of the forest more than at 3 am when the varieties of drugs that I’d devoured ravaged my mind, unshackling my imagination and running the movement curves of the Earth, the trees, the shadows into a vibrating profile that could do little to distract from the fact that I was pissing directly into the yawning chasm before me.

Maybe I’m an optimist, but I hoped that nothing was below me.

     I looked down again and the chasm was replaced by my own feet, soaking in the now rising stench of vague ammonia. “Fuck you”, I muttered to nobody in particular, courting the line between parody and way-too-real-life.

     I had a friend once, she made the coolest fucking art… Comics and sculptures and paintings and dreams! She once told me a thing that I’ll never forget, “There’s a fine line between enlightenment and depression”. Maybe it’s from something, but I like to think that it’s her wisdom, cause it was; it is.

I’ve been nourished by the wisdom of women, the wisdom of the femme. I adorn myself with earrings and rings and a necklace. I wear a skirt on occasions, I don’t act like I used to, though I am better for it. I don’t know when I ceased to be a man, but I’m certainly no man now. (Was I ever a man? Certainly not in the conventional sense).

      Sometimes I feel like the most woman you could ever meet. Eyes flashing in their secret sureness of their own allure; I feel sexy in those moments. It’s a sexy that can’t be replicated with masculine forms, it’s wholly divested from that worldview. It’s the feeling of being sexy for oneself; to surpass sexuality itself and to exist as a FORCE OF NATURE. It doesn’t matter if someone finds you attractive, it goes way beyond that whole deal. Sometimes I flip my hair when I walk on the street; I like watching the white men (you know the ones) scratch their heads as I pass. Confusedly enraptured and disgusted at the same time. It’s powerful and painful; like I’m stuck behind numerous panes of glass.

      I think a lot of agender and non-binary people feel this way. I remember in High School; I was one of the few Jewish kids at my school. There were three of us in that whole school that were Jewish openly; it was a dangerous place to do so. There were times I walked down the hall and I looked at the doors and I laughed internally about how I run as a Jew, I run. I laughed internally while the Neo-Nazis heiled Hitler in the hallway and I looked down at the tile floor, at my stack of books marking me as inherently other.

      Every morning, for a whole semester, I would get to school at 7:25 and have to lift weights next to a truly killer fella. He was a wall; a muscular mountain that I could barely make out the eyes on. He would rip the dumbbells up and down, screaming like his life depended on it. I watched the blatant swastika on his big-Germany left arm go up and down as I touched my face, feeling its (obvious?!) Eastern European, Jewish curves.

      “Don’t look him in the eye. Don’t touch your nose, they’ll know. Don’t speak your language. Don’t be progressive. Don’t push. Don’t pull. Stay where you are. Stop being a communist. Does this brute know that I’m Ashkenazi? If I told him would he know what that meant? Does he support Zion?? Who the fuck am I anyways?”

       Sometimes I sit back and imagine what would have happened if I had realized I was non-binary in High School. The place didn’t have the best record with mental health and trans folx, lemme tell you… I can imagine myself being brutally honest and telling all those bastards just who I am in its now glorious melody, but I know it’s just fantasy.

       Flargus the Barbarian was known for herding sheep and being completely incompetent with money. His family was kidnapped so he has to pay off the debt. Unfortunately, his compulsive gambling makes things difficult for him rummaging his body through a series of ever more cyclical tasks and trials that seem to decry even what this is, a fantasy.


       We write what we want to see. We write what we are.

What happens when somebody is everybody else?


       How do we construct gender? Why do I feel like I have no gender at all?

Why does this make me feel like taking a fucking nosedive off a cliff somedays and to climb a mountain on others? Why can’t I express intimate emotions with other people? Why don’t I have any friends that act as regular support?


I think everybody thinks that I’m SUPPORTING MYSELF?!

Why? Why does this always happen?

        It started when I was a child, for sure. People just didn’t get me. I liked talking and creating imaginative narratives with people, purposefully improvising theatre, music, and (in a form) dance. I don’t think people enjoyed that in First Grade all that much when everything was at the precipice of this new world.



        I remember kids would talk about things and I’d listen on in. Things haven’t changed, at all. I still listen.

        I still hear the same fucking outdated references about cable TV shows that I never watched. I’m just bored of doing the performative act of, “Oh, I didn’t have cable when I was a kid”. Some people nod knowingly, perhaps having the same experience or perhaps only resonating with a vague remembrance of a power outage that left them listening to the weather over the radio; maybe that’s what they imagine.

        “DID YOU EVEN HAVE A CHILDHOOD?”, this one prick says. I sigh and reply, “Oh, don’t give me that shit”. I’ve lived long enough to know that my very existence and history tends to break peoples’ worldviews and perspectives. I’m just close enough to the fucking norm that I hide in plain sight, so I feel a mystery to people.


        Some of it is because I’m agender. It’s because when people look into my eyes, they see their shadow, especially white men. They see the ultimate form of what someone who looks like a white male can represent. I’m a shaman in the oldest sense (not claiming ties to a specific shamanic tradition, just the concept itself), and even the powerful can feel my power as they squirm. The libertarian in the chair next to me keeps staring at my beautiful flower skirt. It’s long, like the people of the Homestead used to wear. I’m basking in the ugly fluorescent grime of this libertarian. He radiates the sense that he’s got money and thinks that makes him great. Fuck him.

        Right now he’s being forced to, for just one hour, confront something deep within him. Some tiny piece of him is screaming out that it wants to put on a dress just like this freak next to him and to do one spin, two spin, three spin, four. I land on the floor with my sweatpants and loose t-shirt, my hips moving in association with my wrists, as my hands dig into the Earth, scraping my fingernails in pitch black dirt on a full moon in Costa Rica.

A woman is blowing tobacco smoke in my face and feeding me rosemary.

I will never see her again.

        I take a drag from the cigarette and I’m reading the Communist Manifesto in a dusty library as a dingy cat jumps between the typeface and the letter scrapes against the box as I finally put in my application to college through an old desktop computer, chugging on what sounds like a full night train rumbling through a saxophone graveyard of screams and late jazz nights convincing D---- to stop talking about SEX with me. To never fucking touch me again.


        The next time I will be touched, it will be consensual. It will be good.

I will savor the experience of touch. It will be with a Femme-Person that I love because along with being a raging Femme; I love the femme in turn. It will be present and aware. It will NOT be gropey, too fast, fight/flight/FEAR that chills my finger bones to write about.


I will say no more tonight.

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