Lust on the Corner of South Third

Photo: nyctaxiphoto.com

Lust on the Corner of South Third

I wrote this piece around 1988, when Williamsburg was a very different place.

Dark hair, sexy, with an arrogant face like a dyke or a thief, harder chin and hotter eyes than any other woman in decaying Williamsburg. White, with jagged short black hair. Are you a lesbian? One of the most beautiful heads, mouths and jawlines I have seen, here in this wasteland. On Lorimer Street all the women look beaten. Quickly scan the legs, which come out tan and hairless out of light blue shorts. Shaving seldom means everything. I know thousands — but how could I miss so much? Even from far away this one looks sick, every thirty seconds like she’s hit in the face, a slap of confusion, or nausea, or loss. Like a stick across the eyes. She’s tall, and stoops a little. As she passes close to me I feel attraction and pity at the same time, I want to fuck her and to give her aspirins, water, toast. “Sweetheart,” she says, and my heart’s racing, my hips take on warm speed, “do you have fifteen cents for a little juice?” Juice — You bet I want to give you juice, I want to give you mango, guava, apple — I say “Sorry” because I am and “NO” in as loud a voice as I can, I step back. I think she wants me to fish in my pockets so she can step in, step closer and — my instincts say to move. My karate teacher said to always follow my instincts.

Did she have a knife in her pockets or was that just the knife of her face, I was expecting peril but a different peril. Do they really resemble each other? Genet sees a murderer and moans. I don’t, I want a different lover, a different loving — Not this smack in the guts — Not wide nausea filling all the throats on Lorimer — Was her pain as sexy as her rocky jaw, why did my heart move to her fists? I know one hundred reasons women should be tough as rocks. The same: the reasons why I want to open for an avalanche.

(c) Donna Minkowitz 2012

Happy Birthday, Occupy Wall Street

Photo: david_shankbone's photostream

Mayor Bloomberg just made a ridiculous remark about the 10,000 or more folks who rallied with Occupy Wall Street yesterday, including me. He said in his radio address that we were just “a bunch of unions,” not the “real” Occupy Wall Street folks, so therefore the enormous size, power and hope of the march should not be credited to the Occupy movement.

That is absurd. I love unions, and Zuccotti Park protesters, and students, and old people, and nurses, and homeless people, and nannies, and feminists, and writers, and all sorts of folks who just lost their jobs and houses.  And we were all there yesterday. All of us were, and are, Occupy Wall Street.

“The 99%” is the most hopeful — and brilliant — concept I have ever encountered in American politics.   We don’t have to be set against each other to accomplish radical change — the opposite is what is true.

Spring Memoir Writing Class


Hi folks. This is just to let you know that I’m teaching a memoir writing class this spring, from Wednesday February 8 to Wednesday March 28 (eight weeks).

It meets from 7 to 9 PM in Brooklyn, and the fee is $300.

This workshop focuses on craft, particularly on using emotion, sensory details, and imagination to construct a profound and relatable piece of personal writing. Students will get frequent feedback in a supportive atmosphere.

The number of students is limited to eight.

If you’re interested or you have a friend who might be, please let me know at minkowitz AT earthlink.net.

Many thanks!
Donna

More info: Donna Minkowitz has taught memoir writing and creative nonfiction since 1998, at the 92nd Street Y, the In Our Own Write program of the New York City Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center, the World Fellowship Center, and The Kitchen, as well as independently. She won a Lambda Literary Award for her memoir Ferocious Romance, which was also shortlisted for the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Visions Award “for the most promising and distinctive work by a new author.”

A Week in the Life


When the Lambda Literary Review asked me to write an essay documenting a week in my life, I was flattered but afraid of sharing the indignities, anxieties and pleasures of a whole week. It was more fun to share than I’d thought.

Here’s some:

Monday. Make coffee and cereal with blueberries, dates and almonds. A gift to myself. Stimulates the writing. Karen gets up and we jockey for control of the “airwaves”: the right to fill the house with sound. I can only write using voice dictation software because of a disability with my arms, so if I write or use the computer for diddlysquat, Karen can hear everything I’m writing or doing. (“Move down three paragraphs. Start email. Blubbering in the soft humid air. Think about Divine Pussy.”)

For more:

http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/09/06/the-banal-and-the-profane-donna-minkowitz/

Bear Days (prose poem)

In a meeting about the beloved community, my old enemy. She’d always told me I wasn’t good enough, never did the work of community-building right, never ever higher than a disgusting subhuman. For years, a little gremlin inside me deeply believed her. Now, in this volcano of a meeting, tiny room, I have such bigger muscles than I used to, and when she jumps down my throat I start chewing. She withdraws with a snarl and I tower up over her like a bear on its hind legs she towers back a bear too showing sharp row of teeth we push our faces up against each other nose to nose, I hiss and claw the air for show.

She withdraws. Or was that just a stalemate? It’s at least a day till I remember she’s a person. I try to imagine her as an infant left in the snow beside my howling bear, in my third eye she is wailing and I raise my rough paws over her, claws in, scoop her up and take her to my cave, milk by the fire, my silk blanket upon her.

(c) Donna Minkowitz 2012

Lebanese Tomato Sauce

By Giff Constable

I had the most extraordinary sauce at Tripoli Restaurant on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It was an okra dish with lamb “chunks,” as the menu put it — I love it when chefs use that word — in tomato sauce. The tomato had gotten infused with the mysterious flavor and a little bit of the texture of the okra, and also much more subtly with the lamb chunks, until it had a delicate vegetal umami I wanted to keep tasting all day.

Served with white rice.

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