High on mushrooms with my best friend on my 22nd birthday, sitting in the dirt, watching him play in the trees on the mountain, all of time seemed to have collapsed on itself, and at the risk of sounding like hocus pocus, everything in material reality seemed like a big inside joke. It seemed obvious to me that our bodies are new, but our souls old, if old is even measurable at all; but that the soul and body are not the same. Faced with the physical reality that is my body; one of a young woman, of what I’ve learned is “classically beautiful”, “striking”, a genetic lottery of sorts, and at the same time, in a constant immune battle against itself and in near daily danger just for existing, just for being a female person, the lesser sex; all things I struggle to consolidate inside myself everyday, I remembered, re~learnt, decided, that my body carries lessons I can learn, this time around. That the vessel I carry doesn’t define me, and doesn’t decide my fate necessarily, but has much to teach, it has much to inform my experience of living, and is an essential tool in my art.
when the only tampons available at a gas station are size super super plus with cardboard applicators (literally cruel!) and, having to change your tampon in a bush between bus-metro-bus transfers on an hour and a half trip because not even the transfer stations in the middle of nowhere have public washrooms. Dude!
Some drunk guy called me late one night in a mutual friends kitchen.
Moving in closer, eyes wild in the reflection of my own, he said,
“Suck my cock, Blondie Beeeaatch!”
Placing a hand on my shoulder, pushing firmly, nodding towards his crotch.
“Suck my cunt first then.” I said,
raising an eyebrow, almost bored, without missing a beat.
“YOU’RAAAaaaaaa CUNT!” he spat,
and I stood:
still, smirking, staring him square in the face.
Eyeing me up and down, he grit his teeth, he bit his lips,
“Will you suck my cock Puuuuuhleeeeeze!?”
His words like grunts, forced through cigarette breath.
If nothing else, I knew, he was way too wasted to get hard anyway;
making his request really kind of funny,
laughable, cute, emasculating.
“Hmm, not today.” I shrugged,
twirling my long blond hair, taking another swig of my whisky mixed drink.
“Can’t say I wont ever, but not today.”
Our friend, effeminate in a silk floral robe,
was bent in half laughing, cackling at this, he loves a show.
“Will you suck my cunt tomorrow?”
“Well, I don’t know now do I…” he snarled.
“Right, so, if we see each other tomorrow, we can discuss it.”
“He really respects you.”
the friend said later, earnest.
I laughed at this too.
I know that sometimes, to some people, in some states,
I’m nothing but a mouth and a cunt, hair and lips and legs;
and to them I say, suck it.
…be dissolute, be despotic, be an anarchist, be a suffragette, be anything you like, but for pity’s sake be it to the top of your bent… Let’s live, you and I, as none have ever lived before.” ~ Violet Trefusis to her lover Vita Sackville-West (who never did leave her husband) (early 20th century), quoted in Janet E. Hardy’s book, ‘GirlFag’.
A man says in a Spanish accent that he’s closing the window beside me and I say,
“It’s going to rain?”
Disbelieving, liking the air untill yes it’s pouring.
Sitting under a coat rack in the corner, our legs intertwined.
His best friends girlfriend keeps calling me his girlfriend,
loudly and giggling.
“Not girlfriend!” I say from under the coat rack.
He’s sticking his hands in through the rips in my jeans,
we are high on MDMA.
A black capsule split in the bathroom,
he wrapped it in toilet paper.
I made a face,
asking does this actually work?
I swallowed it anyway since he’s been doing drugs for like as long as I’ve been alive.
“Would you like a bump?” Asked another,
the kind of aquaintance I haven’t known how to bond with previously and I hesitated,
“Oh…,” he said, “I dunno, I’m just trying to be nice.”
So I did two off my triangle tattoo because why not and this is how to make friends.
Then I met a guy who looks like Nickelback and we did a bump together too.
Then he stalked me all night like a fucking softcore Canadian nightmare.
Standing way too close, staring, following.
As if I owe him sex for a sniff of Coke.
Haunted by his terrible haircut,
lurking in the shadows of the shadow loft.
So I crawl under the coat rack,
digging in my bag for my soggy gum.
I need three pieces to save the skin inside my cheeks.
And we watch as he lurks at the bar,
watching us be watched.
His best friends girlfriend keeps slipping us free vodka drinks.
We watch super models hullucinate and I rant about friendships.
Beside the bar,
under the coat rack,
he says, “Not girlfirend!”
His eyes coaxing and scanning my face like the first time,
when he was the stalk-y one.
“She’s just teasing us.
You do whatever you want,
I’m just happy to spend time with you.”
And I smiled the smile I feel for being so happy to hear men say that.
And the spanish man with a cigerette in his mouth and a coffee in his hand,
slides back open my cafe window.
Even though it’s still raining,
the wind has softened and the storm has passed.
We exchange smiles and I say, “Thanks.”
I’m really interested in ultra-femme power imagery, and an esthetic quality so beautiful it shatters all traditional understandings of what ’empowered women’, femininity, female sexuality and/or ‘beauty standards’ can look like. I also quite literally believe that ‘selfies’ are a revolutionary movement, and that aided by the internet, they can change the worlds perception of women, and women’s perception of themselves, in a really profound way.
Madeleine Black is younger than the number of her sexual partners would suggest.
She is presently a student in, ‘How to change the World with Beauty and Non Violent Protests of the Heart’, at Concordia University in Montreal.
She drove a boat for the first time yesterday and isn’t afraid of the dark.
A sister piece to ‘Fall is for the Ultimate’
I wrote most of this around the end of April and I’ve been building on it since.
I’m already nostalgic for Spring now that Humid Summer is upon us (even my eyeballs feel sweaty!).
Spring is for the romance. Spring is for wanting (to have) someone to pet your hair, because just the feeling of the wind moving through it in the sun is enough to make you cry.
Spring is for wanting to eat burgers everyday, so you do.
Spring is for first encounters skipping handshakes and moving straight to hugs.
A Mile End landscape drawn on diner place mats. The reflection of rainbows that last nights top sends casting across the table and your bagel. Comparing the colors of your eyes and ending with, “well there’s so much here!”
Spring is for a new book for every sleepover. And for only ever reading the fist three pages of every one of them when I can’t sleep. And for borrowed books, fiction and otherwise, about sexuality.
Spring is for men saying to me, “I think you’ll really like this.”
(over breakfast and beers)
Spring is for friends who look like all of Tumblr at once, and up all night talking until 9am because whatever.
Spring is for, “Can I touch your scabs?” said romantically. She said, “You are quite literally an open wound.” Highly sensitive people discussing sensitivity and MDMA hangovers in sunrooms and over cigarettes. She said, “It sounds like you don’t need to do drugs, you can already feel it all.” I feel so much.
Spring is for skin theory, surface contemplation, sensory overload. And should I be a lab rat? And exactly how deep does my disease go? And how much of myself can I expose before vulnerability will be misinterpreted as performative.
Spring is for meet me in the rain would you like a cigarette?
Spring is for blueberry pancakes, when the sun feels dark, visiting the animal shelter for emotional therapy, and every Vitamin water tasting like, “are you hungover?”. Can I buy every shade of lace and plaid and blame my art?
Spring is for a fresh new notebook soon filled with sprawling letters written while kneeling in a gravel alley way. A notebook like a companion to remember the overflow. The overflow of living presently.
Spring is for school is over, seems like it’s someone’s birthday every other day, how many days can celebrations last before they become benders? Is there such a thing as a date bender? Can you overdose on feelings? Fall into a pit of romance, down down down the rabit hole only to find yourself lying in a park sharing a beer thinking, ‘Oh, I think I’d like to get used to this’.
Spring is for April feels like some sort of time joke, like no, I haven’t had enough of purgatory yet.
Spring is for a roommate asking what the poem you read was about and when you say, “being a girl”, her saying, “ahh” with a smirk because this topic seems to consume all of you and by extension all that you create.
Spring is for can everything be a photoshoot? Are you filming? Is this a vine? Am I on the internet already saying this? (and I haven’t even finished my sentence yet.)
Spring is for I can finally write this outside. And we can finally make out outside. And we are drinking wine and making out in the park. He said, “We are the people we would normally laugh at, but also feel happy for.”
We are spinning. Twirling around the poles on metro cars like this is a Jon Hughes movie and I’m sometimes scared it could be.
Spring is for he is in my bed again and he literally blends right in. And where does one naked hug end and the next begin. He said, “I wear lace shadows on my face just for you.” And I can’t keep my eyes open, and I can’t see you this up close, and are we talking about hamburgers or sex, actually? And in how many different contexts can that last question apply before it will feel like a city wide joke?
Spring is for the lipstick smudges over my tattoo gave me an idea for a painting.
Paint me your brain in watercolor. And I will send you my name in flowers since you like to say it so much. Spring is for you say so much, I wish I had a tape recorder at brunch. Spring is for brunch became a picnic and picnic became life. Sleepovers and goodbye parties trail from the park and back again for days on end.
Spring is for “Are you titillated?” Tittylated. Tittyland.
“You’re breasts are even nicer than mine.”
He said, “Are you actively into girls?” and she (the girl I like) said, “You and I will be wearing leather for very different reasons.”
Spring is for gender neutral pronoun politics making me self conscious. But only because I’m so relieved to be living in a sexually progressive city. He said, she said, they said. We are a galaxy. He (they?) said, “Madeleine, what if the galaxy really is reflected on your skin?”
Spring is for NO PARENTS. And this means sex in the kitchen. And texts saying, “Your kitchen is an erogenous zone.” And I’m, beginning to wonder what’s not. And your hip fits perfectly in my hand like side of a pin ball machine. And I want to play you like a win win situation.
Spring is for having erotic passages about pinball read to you in the park.
Spring is for the rain giving me mermaid hair. And for mermaids giving me hope. And for mermaids who smoke like 1950’s movie stars to match their haircuts.
Spring is for this threesome or that one?
Spring is for this city is smarter than people give it credit for. Not just a pretty place, not just a La Bohemian lifestyle. This city brings personality to knowledge, and it brings people together in living rooms where we gladly share beer and poems and are kind to each other even when we’ve been sleeping with each others lovers. Imagine that.
Imagine a place where I have not been home yet.
Spring is for if you see me out in the world somewhere before 7pm imagine that I haven’t been home yet. But also imagine that there’s a 30% chance I’m just earnestly up at a decent hour and probably trying to be productive or find coffee or round up a picnic.
Spring is for do I have a cold because:
(1) I kissed someone with one
(2) rolled around the city all night wearing something sheer
(3) put substances up my nose
or (4) all of the above.
Spring is for I hate to admit that I kind of judge people based on their nail polish color.
Spring is for at this rate everybody could be married by the weekend.
Spring is for there was a moment this morning where I forgot how to write so I wrote this instead.
Spring is for group writing parties. And fact sharing. And cross pollination between disciplines to procrastinate the morning away. And caesars at 8am when you haven’t been to bed yet because maybe this will bribe the essay outa me?
Spring is a place where one lover is saying to me about another lover, “For someone who falls in love so often, I just don’t understand people who make such a big deal about it, just be nice to each other.” while I’m making a big deal about it.
Spring is for we can hear you fucking while we say our awkward, lingering, tension filled goodbyes.
He cut all of their faces out and filled them with light. And I left my eyes blank because I’m unsure of what I see. And my prof considered this unfinished but I consider it self aware (optimistic).
Spring is for I have been taking pictures of my reflection reflected onto other surfaces for months, and then I met a boy carrying around a gigantic sheet of a reflective surface all day. And he said, “Oh you and I, Madeleine Black, we’re going to be great friends.”
Spring is for can you choke me and he said, “Gladly”.
Spring is for sexy socks. And friends running into my bedroom screaming, “Maddy! I feel like you’re the expert on boys!??” only to find me in bed with a girl. Spring is for booty calls have dress codes and hers was black socks, which she didn’t have and I gave her. Mine has become no makeup, and sadly that is actually something I have reason to feel proud of myself for.
Spring is for all I can think about is skin. And so I pulled it all off, in public. And a new friend told me a month later that the first time he saw me I was standing on a bench surrounded by a crowd and he thought, ‘What the fuck is she doing?’ And I got an A.
At a party once my roommate told another friend that she thinks I’ll be a performance artist, and that was the first time I’d heard her say that. Spring is for every prof telling me that I’m very performative. And all winter I’d been trying to hide behind a scarf, but then they say the scarf became performative because it was on me, and I laugh to myself about trying to hide from the things that always find me, like performativity and kissing people (everyone) at parties.
Spring is for I’ve given up on trying not to put on a show. I am treated like a spectacle in a hoodie and no makeup at the grocery store, so I will not apologize for the spectacle that erupts when I do nothing more than add lipstick.
Spring is for sweethearts who ask, “D’you think they have performance art in vancouver?” And, “I have so many clothes because I’m a performance artist”. And no, absolutely not, my mental health has nothing to do with it. Mental health has nothing to do with anything. And how could you live in this century and not be at least a little depressed. And, “I only like people who are a little fucked up”. And I totally hated her when we first met because she was so happy and she was encouraging me to be happy and I thought, bitch.
Spring is performative in the same way that your hair always looks specific in the mornings by accident.
Spring is for your hot prof jumping up and down with excitement to show you artists whose work yours could parallel someday. And telling you that you could be a really interesting artist someday. And that you have a presence. But sometimes it’s just so hard to get your essence to the spaces where it needs to be, literally your body where it’s supposed to be when, and that’s a problem.
Spring is for the predictive text in my phone suggests, “this —> cuddle”.
Spring is for we’re so platonic he didn’t even notice he was spooning me naked in the morning.
Spring is for anxiety about happiness. The seasons are designed to make us all manic depressive and I am in guilty adoration of mania, my own and others.
Spring is for anime eyes. Wide like the way I feel to the world right now. In terrified and elated awe of all the beauty and chaos and mania that it brings.
Please, just hold me. (and pet my hair)
My friend Simona and I went to NYC for reading week (way back in Feb). We walked a lot and also got yelled at on the street, stayed with super sweetheart couch surfers, drank so many fresh juices, went to strange parties, drooled over lofts, danced at cool parties and saw a lot of art. (I had also recently lost my super fave HD Fuji Film camera of many years, these are digital too but I actually think they look a lot like film and I miss my HD.)
El Anutsui’s incredible, completely recycled pieces at the Brooklyn Museum.
Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party at the Brooklyn Museum.
Unknown/forgot to write it down at The Brooklyn Museum.
yaaaaay Brooklyn! am I in Girls yet am I in Girls yet am I in Girls yet?
Unknown artist at a Chelsea Gallery.
Unknown artist at a Chelsea Gallery.
A Jenny Morgan self portrait at some Chelsea Gallery. I died, couldn’t look away.
Hanging out all night with my friend Matt Donnelly at ‘The Studio’, where he works. (Making outfits for celebrities, props for film sets and costumes for kids birthday parties with billionaire parents, fifty pairs of child sized hobbit feet anyone?)
What I love most about NYC is that it’s like every colour and culture are stacked on top of each other, and the subway, obviously. Speed dating on the L-train, always.