Me and my bitches

Mexicali Rose
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS I have long, pretty, curly hair, and there's always food in it — and often branches and leaves and stuff — because I'm a chicken farmer. I spend my days crawling around in the bushes, looking for eggs.

At the famous Womyn's Music Festival in Michigan, trans women (MTFs, women who were It's-a-Boyed at birth) are not welcome. I knew that. What I didn't know, until Bitch magazine told me, is that trans men (FTMs, men who were It's-a-Girled at birth) are welcome. To explain their quirky exclusionism, the festival heads have invented a new category of people called womyn-born-womyn.

Well, dang, that ain't me either....

It's almost enough sometimes to make a chicken farmer feel a little lonely. In the world. In the woods, I am on top of the world, and I'm working on a new song that says so. It's called "A Thousand Feet above You." Which is what I am, in a purely topographical sense, assuming you live at sea level.

I'm going to put on my own music festival for chicken farmers–born–chicken farmers. I'm going to play my great new song to an audience of none. And it's going to be sad and weird and safe and healing and ... safe ... and ...

I'm so confused!

But then the food comes, and everything makes sense again. The cheese on Lisa's enchiladas is moving! It's so hot it bubbles up. And my own plate of beef and beans and rice is so big and so heavy-looking that I could cry. It's hot too. Sizzling. You can hear it. In the kitchen, instead of an oven, they have secret access to the center of the earth, and the food is not cooked so much as volcanoed.

Our meals seem to be trying to say something to us. I bend my ear to my plate and do, indeed, learn something that goes universes beyond anything else I've ever learned. It's like a dream, untranslatably wise. Ever the poet, I lift my head, look Lisa in the eye, and begin to search for words. Exact words with precise meanings ... even as the understanding itself is retreating irretrievably into a steamy, dreamy sort of nebulousness.

"You have beans in your hair," Lisa says.

It's gone. Gone. But I have to grab onto something, or I might disappear too. "That's it! Never try and listen to your food," I say, or pronounce. In italics. Out in the air like that it seems somehow small, incomplete. "If you have long hair," I add, wiping mine off with humility and grace and a napkin.

Don't worry, dear reader, this isn't a date. (Or, if it were, it ain't no more, Ms. Beanhead.) It's more like a journalistic summit: Bitch magazine vs. Cheap Eats. Except right off the bat you can tell that, refried ends notwithstanding, we're on the same exact side!

How can this be? Bitch is a smart, cool, feministic take on pop culture. Beyond my decided preference for root beer, I don't even know what pop culture means. No TV. I don't listen to the radio. Most of the records I like are at least 60 years old. And I don't subscribe to any newspapers or magazines or spend a lot of time online. I can't remember the last movie I went to or rented. And I can't afford the opera or ballet or real restaurants. (And by real, of course, I mean unreal.)

In short: I'm a chicken farmer. When I'm not having lunch with my new friend Lisa at my new favorite restaurant, Mexicali Rose, in Oakland, I'm crawling around on my hands and knees in mud and chicken shit, looking for eggs. I have branches and leaves — and now refried beans — in my hair.

What's more, I'm trans, and that translates to misogyny, according to some feminists. Believe it or not, I've heard this. And like everything else I've heard, there's a part of me that is willing to believe it.

Fortunately, there are 40 trillion other parts of me. And 40 trillion other voices.

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