COMING SOON: ejaculating beauty @ the fresh fruit festival

ejaculating beauty @ the Fresh Fruit Festival July 20th NYC

Ejaculating Beauty
Written by Aimee Herman
Choreography by Asja Parrish
Featuring Aimee Herman & Asja Parrish

Located at The Wild Project
195 East 3rd Street New York, NY 10009

Ejaculating Beauty is a coming-of-age exploration of queer language and the search for where one is on the spectrum of media-inspired/socially-influenced beauty. Through movement and storytelling, this piece gets to the heart of what happens when we finally put sound to the various dialects of gender and beauty within the brain.

long-term relationships or dissecting my fear of monogamy

I have been inside quite a few relationships.

I’ve gathered up miles, kisses, spoke the word love more times than I can keep track of, and find myself at this certain age feeling the wrath of commitment.

Forget another.
Forget the idea of girlfriends, partners, wives, lovers.

I’m talking about myself here.

I have a difficult time committing to me.

And oddly enough, this constitutes as my longest relationship.

Granted, it’s kind of hard to walk away from me.
(And I’ve tried)

Over two years ago, I got involved with a gender-unconfirmed lover with wide angled bones, graffiti’d thighs, and an unyielding adventurous spirit that never sleeps.

This lover has breath of apple cores.

This lover has many other lovers.
(I guess we are polyamorous.)

This lover speaks more languages than I can keep track of and I tend to feel inferior to this lover’s infinite knowledge of art, music and history.

This lover is moody, though I am too.

And those times when I feel overwhelmed and want to run from all of this,
this lover unpeels the sky and throws the moon up there, extra bright, for me to notice.

Hard to compete with that.

This lover……this…..this lover’s name is New York City.
Nicknames include: Brooklyn, NYC, the apple, my city, my home, the grit of the east.

We’ve gotten quite close recently, but suddenly I find myself looking for more of a commitment.

This is where it gets complicated because I don’t need to be exclusive with New York…..I just need to know that I am wanted.

So, I am pressing this into the earth, as loud as I can get…..
competing with the sounds of police and ambulance sirens
and ladies with curlers caught inside their hair screaming at their own lovers
and subways screeching against the tracks from down below
and car traffic with disgruntled 9 to 5’ers
and the birds outside my windows
and pigeons scraping their beaks against chicken bones left on sidewalks

as I beg this city
with infinite possibilities
this lover
this partner of mine
to ask me in the thickest accent I have memorized and cannot do without
to stay
persist just awhile longer.

In this land of rainbow’d buildings and elevated parks and benches everywhere and more food than one could possibly consume in a lifetime, I find myself thinking of past lovers:
called Denver
called Boulder
called Victoria
called Vancouver

as I romanticize my life then.

Brooklyn, NYC, the apple, my city, my home, the grit of the east,

I can no longer afford you
why do I feel so lonely when I am surrounded by millions of people
if I could just find a job here that would explain away the student loans and overpriced education
could you just send me a sign that reminds me how phenomenal you are?

I really, really want to be monogamous with you, New York.

how safe is your wardrobe

I am covered in condoms. My hair is gone and I am sweaty ocean without the water or waves. Just salt. I am salt.

They want to know all about my obsession with condoms. I have more than one human should own. And I am told I misuse them.

I press hot glue to the backs of each one, push onto fabric and wear it unopened.

I feel safer this way, I answer.

A long time ago, in a faraway land called New Jersey/Connecticut/Colorado/New York……lived a redhead with a body unhinged from doors, windows or welcome mats.
And in this land, condoms could not be used due to horrific allergy/ lack of access/ it just doesn’t feel as good and don’t you want it to feel good?

Years passed, and suddenly this redhead got sick. She began to understand the importance of condoms and hand washing. She decided allergies and inconvenience were no longer an excuse to risk her body’s health.

A collection began.

It was small at first. From bathrooms or baskets at parties or gay pride. Then came the hoarding and the need to not just place into pockets, but cover them.

We don’t always ask.
We don’t always inquire about histories or health scares.
We don’t insist upon formalities such as safe sexual practice.

It ruins the mood……….
so does genital warts.

there is beauty in the ridges of your forearms

Here is the thing:

I don’t really spend much time “getting ready”.

I don’t own a brush and because of this some knots have formed. Some, I’ve recently cut out. Some, I leave because the stories are too massive to slice off of me.

I do own a mirror and it reveals the entire length of my body, but it’s more of an acquaintance than a best friend/soul mate. I am often told I don’t match.

I recently learned shoes must match the rest of the outfit.
This is difficult to aspire to when I only own one pair of black converse high-tops.

Oh, and stripes do not match other stripes.
I’m still not quite sure I agree with this one, so I tend to rebel against it.

Next month, I am performing beauty.

That is, I will be singing some songs that have arrived during bike rides, during moments when I am alone and just want to turn myself into a radio or self-contained Broadway show.

I will be reading text: memories, poems, declarations of my own beauty and what is seen.

What is queer beauty?
How do I want my beauty to be seen? To be known? To be heard? To be remembered?

So, as I continue to write this piece, I find myself thinking about beauty a lot .

* * *

I see a human.
This human is dressed in black and piercings and scars.
How do I not notice the scars.
Am I supposed to not notice the scars?

And they are beautiful.
And suddenly it feels like this human has skin made out of mirror-flesh and I can see myself in her.

This human spreads her wings or arms and begins to poem.
I watch her watch us watch her.
And she is beautiful.

I would like to take the power away from this word because it doesn’t sound strong enough or it has too many visuals attached that are not relevant to my version/interpretation of beautiful.

Airbrushed humans = not beautiful.
Skinny bones starved and gasping = not beautiful.
Flesh that is wrinkled or tattooed and painted or pierced. Flesh that is devoured by languages and stories = beautiful.
Ignorance = not beautiful.
Openness to all kinds and removal of all labels to make room for the in-betweens = beautiful.

Recently someone asked me about performance.

Do you normally do that on stage? I wish I wasn’t so self-conscious so I wouldn’t be afraid to do that.

That is defined as performance art/ as my body climbing a naked man, attempting to force him away/ binding him and taunting him/ angrily mounting him.

I don’t often think: I am going to take my clothes off now. It happens because the words push them off or my emotions force them away.

So, I answered:

I’m entirely self-conscious and I believe many people are. But I let go of that once I hit a stage. If I am too worried about my stretchmarks or cellulite, I’d never go nude.

Stretchmarks and cellulite = beautiful.

Or if I waited for my stomach to get flat like floorboards or six-pack of highly defined muscle, I’d never take my top off.

Bellies that are curvy and folded like Victorian fans = beautiful.

This is a continuous language. A discovery that doesn’t end.

Self-discovery = beautiful.

And when that self-discovery never forfeits……when we leave room to re-define and re-name, that is most beautiful of all.

come out…come out…wherever you are

I am nineteen.

We arrive at Hunan Gourmet on route 9 in Manalapan, New Jersey.

(We = my mom, dad, and I)

This is it, I think. I’m going to tell them. They are going to be shocked. Maybe I should wait until after we finish our soups. Dad and I will get wonton and Mom will get hot and sour.

Or, should I do it right after we order? While we fill our impatient mouths with crispy noodles dipped in hot mustard or duck sauce.

Maybe I’ll just wait until we’ve finished. After the last broccoli is taken from the large, decoratively garnished plate of chicken with broccoli. We’ll still be drinking our tea.

Maybe we will get ice-cream. My dad and I will get pistachio and my mom will get chocolate.

Did I mention it is my birthday?

I cannot tell you what I was wearing besides several layers of sweat and anxiety and nausea and….well….excitement.

People ask: When did you know? I never wrote it in my diary. I didn’t see a gay character on television who reminded me of me. There were no openly gay characters.

So, I don’t know when I first knew. But I know that when I knew…..when I learned the language for what I was/what I am….it was like I put a giant pair of glasses on my life and suddenly everything was in focus; everything made sense.

I met someone, I say.

Someone? says my mom.

At the movie theatre (where I worked at the time), I answer.

What is their name? asked my dad.

And for the next ten or two or twenty minutes, we played the awkward game of pronoun indifference.

Finally, I said: Her name is ………..

There were no noodles flying.
No soup flung from spoon toward face, scalding my skin, sending me to hospital.
The reaction was…well, there was no reaction.

Later, I learn that my parents knew. Or suspected. They were just waiting for me to come out. So, here I was coming out. I’m out. I’m out!!!!

My dad has said: Aimee, I don’t care who you date. If they are male, female, brown, purple, spotted, striped….as long as they treat you with respect.

My dad.

Maybe I always knew I was gay.
It’s hard to honestly say.
All I know is: it’s definitely not a choice; it’s within.

I’d like to call that my coming out story, but the truth is, I often have to come out daily. Or maybe weekly.

What does gay look like?
I only ask because sometimes people tell me I don’t look like

Sometimes, I’d just like to wear a shirt that says: queer.
It is what I am. It is what I feel. It is how I identify.

However, I have an aversion to labels.
Hairstyles have no connection to my sexual orientation.
The way I dress can only be described as awkward, maybe colorful and quirky, but my clothing has no sexual orientation.
I’m not just one way in bed. I’m multi-faceted.
I don’t feel like
one gender. I’m a mess of everything.

hair today then/gone.

Here is the thing about hair.

When I was younger, it was a slightly different color. Not as red. A bit more…….(gasp) blonde. Some referred to it as dirty blond, but I’d yet to reach the true height of my experimental dirty phase (that has yet to end).

It was long and curly and healthy and luscious and.. and.. and.. pretty.

My grandmother always said:
If you ever cut it, give it to me.

She had thin hair and so does the rest of my family.

Luckily, I also obtained other qualities detached from genetics: dimples, small breasts and my homo-ness.

I’m sure if I searched deeper in my family, I’d find the culprit of my dimples
(actually, I remember my grandmother having a hint of them)

I’d find someone in my clan with small breasts
(thank you to whomever that may be…….though I wish they could be even smaller)

And I know of at least one queer wonder in the family, though I never met him.
(thank you, too)

As I grew, my relationship to my hair got tangled. I kept all my anger inside my curls. The length represented someone who I no longer wanted to be. Each time in my life when things were wrong, I took rusty (sometimes) scissors to hair and would cut.

One inch.
Two inches.
Three inches.

I went from long to extremely short in well under five minutes at the age of seventeen.

My mother called it: boy short.

I called it: freeing.

Then, I bleached it.
Dirty blond shifted to slightly orange.

This began my journey through root experimentation.

Pink. Purple. Blue. Black. Red. Red. Red.

Hello, Red.

I finally realized I was just in the wrong scalp.

I was born a redhead in a dirty blond’s body.

Each month, I must alter this. This becomes my least favorite time of the month, perhaps tied with the days in which my body reminds me of these eggs I’ve got and the babies I could (possibly) be birthing with each stain of my underwear.

Through each haircut, I’ve been the exact same person. Naturally, I have changed just a little: gotten a bit more mature and gained knowledge in areas I was not so aware of.

But I’ve always been a homo.
Funny……how hairstyle can sometimes change that.
Change the type of homo I am.

I’ve got all these knots in my hair.
Dreadlocks and tangles and today I cut two of them out.
Big ones.
Big monstrous ropes of red mixed with other shades of not-so-red.

When I went to work, I felt lighter. There was too much stuck inside those beasts of hair.

Then, I came home. Had a dance party in my bedroom. Grabbed my scissors and began to cut.

Slowly. Deliberately. Like a contemplative meditational chant.

I could use a touch up…’s hard to reach some places…..but I feel lighter than I have in over a year.

It’s just hair.
And I’m still just as queer as I was yesterday.
I’d like to keep cutting.
I could use some help.


to save a life build furniture

Several days ago, I saved a butterfly.

My body was elevated on bicycle named Heleanore. I used to listen to music with tiny black buds of sound bouncing against my eardrums. Then, I got into a slight accident. Now, I sing. I sing songs that are cooked inside my brain and come out of poems or become poems. I sing songs that I hear from radios that pass me by built into cars that pass me by. Without the plugged-in sounds, I hear everything around me.

And, I notice more.

Like this butterfly.

I rode right past it, then………..stopped. Parked bike against sidewalk and went toward it, struggling in the middle of the road. St Johns Place. Somewhere between home and where I came from.

This butterfly was brown. With spots. And of course, illuminating with symmetry. Its wings were almost as large as each of my palms. And its body. Shade of caramel, thick and furry.

There were no cars approaching, so at first, I sat with it. Or, knelt toward the gravel. Perhaps it was taking a break. I often do this when I’ve biked too long and my bones are out of breath. But it was more than just over-extended. There was injury within this insect.

My fingers carefully pinched its wing to lift it up. An elevation. Assisted flight.

Slowly, I brought this butterfly back to the ground, onto the sidewalk, where traffic was minimal and it could be seen.

This is happening more and more. Signs. Creatures. Breathing life silently in an effort to slow down. Look. Approach. Live beyond these lists I swim against and love away from the norm. When I was away, when I was conversing with the mountains, I fell in love. I found openness. I disengaged my chest and hips and jaw and listened to the sound of my body reconfiguring itself. I felt for the almost-invisible string connecting this body and mind.

Sometimes I think of myself as a building. Or a piece of furniture. Sometimes, I am a solo chair, wooden beneath with peeling upholstery. Crooked, with one leg shorter than another. Sometimes, I am a couch with far too many bodies placed on top of me and I cannot breathe and there is far more suffocation than rest happening. Sometimes I am a table or ottoman or sometimes I am just a sconce on a wall with peeling paper covering the spackle.

Somedays I am ok in this body. I dig it. I want to be nude and reveal its stunning imperfections.

Somedays I am confused by it. Don’t want to be penetrated or touched or imagined or labeled.

This tends to lead me toward the slash.

Perhaps that butterfly continued to struggle and I didn’t really save its life. Maybe it wanted to be in the middle of the road, tempting its fate to fast moving cars.

I biked away feeling the warmth of a good deed that somehow loses its power once it is spoken about.

That day I was a coffee table.

Today, I hope to build myself into a desk similar to my own……hand-painted and stained on wood that was just a scrap of something larger. A desk where poems are built. A desk where ideas are consumed and gathered.

how eloquent is beautiful

I find myself swollen from thoughts of beauty:
what is beautiful/ how to define the identity of this world and its stain on bodies.

Sunburnt man on Flatbush and Fulton does sit-ups on a folded blanket and I watch his abdomen form into six-pack containers.

The need for flattened stomach goes beyond gender and home consumption.

As I wait for 3 train at Nostrand station, notice a young woman with pulled back hair rising from either side of her head like brunette fireworks. She is covering up her face with cover-up. 3 train arrives; we sit diagonally from each other and I watch. Several shades of grey eye shadow layering onto eyelids and thick swabs of ink called mascara to lashes and more shadow to eyes, a liner now. Lipstick, three layers and colors and notice that they shine now.

What hides beneath all these sheets of wax and powders and glitter?

Are we actually hiding out beauty or just coloring it in?

This morning, I close my eyes and find my body. Music pours out of cylinder-shaped speaker box and I think about bursting bubbles with my body. There is a Dancer beside me, far enough to hear but not feel. She tells me to choose a part of the body to notice. Eyes closed, I lift my right arm. It pretends it is in water. It pretends it is newly born. It pretends it is smooth.

I turn and turn and turn and turn and turn and turn and fall. I wash the black padded floor with my skin.

Notice your ribs, she says.

I finger them. They start to shift toward the left, then right. My hips grow jealous; they get involved too. Perhaps there is a kick and another turn. A collapse, then rise.

(I think) I am dancing.

She wants to see my text; this is far more comfortable than my body.

We talk about beautiful.
I tell her I used to live in a city where bodies were like robots, hard and mechanical. Thin. Uniformed.

I want to become fluent in the language of my body, so I can speak faster and fondle the eroticism of articulation.

(this is a process/ beyond single night performance/ this is a movement)

speak your voice, pirate

I could be on the top of this earth, testing the width of my thigh span. Perhaps my right leg grazes Colorado and left leans against Missouri. When a body sits on an airplane, pressed between window’d seat and neurotic woman studying the “idiot’s guide to buying a home”, one may notice how square everything is down below.

There are perfect right angles and circles and everything is fifty shades of brown.

In this moment, I am so close to first class I can touch the curtain separating our economic differences and breathe in their high-thread-count-upholstered seats.

How many times have I fallen in love this past week? Safe love. The kind of love that needs no explanation or physical representation. The kind of love that remains in silence.

1. miso ground into a dressing over arugula salad with edamame and beets.

2. the lizard doing push-ups on Anne U White trail in Boulder. Even this tiny creature contemplates it’s own arm strength abilities– this is simultaneously sad and charming.

3. a young boy on his way toward second year of life and all the reminders of how two moms are so much better than one.

4. an attraction between cross-genre genders/ slur of denim’d hips and mutual vests on opposite chests/ eyes greener than sun-soaked moss/ a lick of lips as though preparing them for mine/ teeth large enough to bite into my language/ a flirt/ a missed connection/

5. everyone is trying to flatten themselves away! My stomach refuses to section off into six separate packs. Instead, I channel these mountains, which are far sexier in their curves than the flat screen door pushed close to get here.

6. boy raises money to remove breasts and I am in awe of his awareness of body. What gets to stay and what impostors must go? I’m still taking inventory of this body.

7. the couple who collide due to persistent photographer with bones made of magic fairy dust, sparkling beyond manufactured flash. The ways in which love can be seen, can be pressed, can cohabitate. I want to copyright the three beautiful versions of love I got to gaze upon in order to find some of my own.

8. that deer.

9. that cafe au lait with soy milk slinking down my throat and pressing me into wide awake-ness.

10. and what if I were to mention hym again? A mouth traveling miles before the first word emerges. Engaging in topics like coffee and hormones, and stimulants like caffeine and boners. I should have asked about preferred pronoun, so I’d know the proper way to press gendered human into this poem.

11. miles. voices. lawns. gardens. drag kings. poets. and a pirate that somehow lives inside all of us because we are all just choosing our own adventure within the shapes and colors and dialects around us.

Dear Deer

It is important to look up…had I not, I’d have missed you.

Oh, how close we were…close enough to count each eyelash or each committed chew of stolen leaf off tree. Each time you turned away from me, you slowly turned back just to make sure I was still noticing.

How could I not?

I am no longer counting steps; instead, I press unblinking eye against flow of creek or engage with flowers mindfully planted between cracks of concrete sidewalk.

Nothing has changed; I have changed.

I notice a man named Wolf sitting on a bench wearing sunburn and familiar grey beard. Many years ago, we spent hours in dark pub drinking stories and pints of beer. He sold jewelry to men and women in the mountains; he called me Poet or Red; gave me cigarettes.

Years later, he still recognizes me. “Long time,” he hums.

I smile, wondering how different I am or if I am or if he is.

The walk continues. Then, I stop and sit on a chair facing shadows. Beside me, the parking garage where I used to work. I start to cry, but no one notices…just like New York. Or, maybe the sun sees because suddenly I feel it pressing into my ribs.

Today is the day I find magic because today is the day a sage rubs echoes into my wrists.
Today is the day I unstitch my cuticles and pull out the traumas for the final time.
Today is the day I fall in love with my self. Propose marriage. Decide my belly may house a baby.
Today is the day I let go of the ghosts.

All that is left now is this photograph of a deer, some poems, hair I am ready to cut and pull out, these veins like skinny oceans in my body, this creature of breathtaking insight, music, language(s), a severed rubberband, a bench, a carve-out, an appetite, lungs, and this beauty.