Our Clandestine Advent-ures!

Rebecca, Reina & Phoenix

There is magic in New York City.  And not just the Harry Potter, Chosen One kind.  There is everyday magic that ordinary people use.  All the time.  Magic helps find your keys when they are missing.  It ensures your neighbor has the stick of butter you need for biscuits but can’t afford to buy because its two weeks til pay day.  It encourages your barista to give you free coffee & manifests that quarter on the sidewalk everyone else just passed by.  It can cloak you invisible from police detection or support your healing when you just got stopped.  It uncovers & illuminates your many truths to all your friends.

But do you know who else uses magic?

There is a room in New York City, a room of acquirement and confinement owned by the City and run by the Department of Sanitation.  When Guiliani ordered the NYPD to evict Sylvia Rivera from her Christopher Street Pier occupation many of her belongings went there.  Quite possibly her teddy bear.  It was definitely the same room, in which Bloomberg ordered the books when the NYPD raided an occupied Zuccoti Park.

gate keeper

Between December 21st and December 25th if you looked closely you’d see our advent calendar there.  Do you remember?  That is where our advent-ure begins.

Solstice Special – Guest Post by Elizabeth Bishop

We at Trouble Waiting are blessed with an abundance of brilliant community!  Elizabeth Bishop continues our guest blogger week with her lunar eclipse recipe post: Moon Pie!

Lunar Cycle

One thing I love about this blog is how it reflects the reality of our wholeness and completeness even as we wait, and remembers the power that is held in living our lives through so many things not being what we need them to be. An important way for me to trouble and honor waiting is to remember that everything that I do and am is a part of something larger, so big it can hold us all, something beautiful and often unknown to me. In rare moments I can feel it–at times when people take pleasure in the necessity of connection and we feel how far this can take us, in moments when collective remembrance of our power makes us all deep and amazing, in times when I feel that the work I’m doing is valued and that I am loved for being in this moment of my process. These moments don’t make up most of my life. Most of my life is spent doing the best that I can and questioning the value of my everyday, doubting my wholeness and beauty.

Waxing Gibbous

On the lunar eclipse, I made space to honor both the process that we are all in as we live through our histories and create our present (and create our histories and live through our present), and the brilliance of our very real wholeness and the perfect completion that we show even when we feel we are dissolving. The moon has been a stabilizing and illuminating presence for me through so much pain, aloneness, eviction, and heartbreak in my life–even when I was a kid, I remember looking up at the moon and feeling held–but I’ve only recently begun to learn to see myself in the moon. I used to only remember to see the moon when it got all big, vibrant and illuminated, when it looked and felt particularly distinct, or when it happened to fit into my line of vision and complement my experience.
Now I want to see it always, see it when it’s not a shining sliver or luminous disc but when it appears as in-between shapes, faded by the atmosphere and lights of the city that represent my daily reality. I want know the completion of the moon when it shows me a fraction. I want to honor in myself and in everyone the brilliance and completion that we are always, and actively hold that truth especially when we are looking and feeling like pieces of ourselves, in pieces, overwhelmed and extinguished by all the trauma, pain, grief and violence that makes up so much of our experience.
So I made this pie–a way to internalize of the power of a lunar eclipse–a whole moon cycle at once! and a celebration of all the completion, at once-ness, and timelessness of who I am, who we all are, what we mean together.

moon cycle pie

to read the accompanying recipe click here

Billie Jean Grey Assembles


Love REVOLUTION not State COLLUSION – guest post

Love REVOLUTION not State COLLUSION: AIDS Activist Political Inquiries and Imaginings in the End Times – guest post by Che Gossett

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the limits of “safe sex” discourse and the radical potentiality of mobilizations for HIV prevention justice.  What does “safe sex” mean in a context in which street sex workers are prosecuted for carrying condoms?  We’ve already witnessed the traumatic violence of the HIV/AIDS intensifying War on Drugs and the needle exchange ban (just renewed!).  How can we create more HIV/AIDS awareness and resources in less oppressive and stigmatizing ways?  How can we occupy/decolonize AIDS activism and prison abolitionist politic(s)?  In terms of critical genealogy: how is it that certain types of AIDS activism – philanthropy especially — have become normalized and institutionalized while other forms of AIDS activism have become marginalized or worse, monumentalized as a frozen remnant of a seemingly now transcended past of radical performance?

On the wider horizon of decoloniality and diaspora, optics through which scholar Adriana Garriga-Lopez has critically analyzed the sociology and anthropology of AIDS in relation to genealogies of Puerto Rican AIDS activism,  South African AIDS and sex work activist groups like SWEAT and Treatment Action Campaign – carrying on the legacy of Simon Nkoli and other queer black liberationists involved in anti-apartheid, black radicalism and queer resistance — have been doing mass mobilization for decriminalization of both.   Like so many other queer and/or trans people of color who are poor, I’ve been thinking about everyday criminalization of survival and state violence – be it HIV and/or sex work criminalization and stigmatization and discrimination — that renders the catastrophic routine and the outrageous acceptable.  Through the new and powerful work of Alondra Nelson, I’ve been having inquires and imaginings about the enduring legacies and politics of radical health activism — be it the radical acupuncture at Lincoln Memorial Hospital in NYC, or through the clinics and sickle cell campaign that the Panthers led, or Che Guevara conceptualization of revolutionary medicine and Fanon’s work on decolonalization of the black psyche – about liberating body and soul – amidst the COINTELPRO war on and infiltration of the black liberationist and FBI surveillance of queer and trans liberationist movements.  ACT UP was also monitored by the FBI.
I’ve been wondering about AIDS activism in our neoliberal era of mass incarceration and mass deportation.  I recently read a report by the Human Rights Watch that spoke to suffering endured and courageous resistance manifested by incarcerated undocumented queer and/or trans folks living with HIV/AIDS.  The harrowing story of malign neglect and institutional violence that Victoria Arellano struggled to survive, the inspiring moment of solidarity where non trans incarcerated men took collective action to get her medical care and their disappearance and forced relocation to other detention centers after her death, made me think about incarceration as an instrument of social control and political repression, the history of the prison being used as a violent and destabilizing means to disrupt social movements, to rip apart loved ones and social networks on the large scale of communities and at the micro level of collectives and organizations dubbed “gangs” by the penal system and the ways in which supermax sites that hold “political prisoners” (i.e. political organizers) in isolation from loved ones and deprive people of human contact – aiming for any and all forms of death, destruction, despair, destitution and depoliticization.  I recently went to a historic Mumia rally and support gathering.  Mumia’s children and family have not been allowed to physically touch him for the past twenty-three years.  It was inspiring to hear Mumia’s voice from prison.  Hearing his voice reminded me of the phone calls I had as a child with my own father.  “Daddy George” was raised and radicalized in Memphis – home of the Invaders and site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

George Gossett Jr.

Dad was a Vietnam Vet and led anti-military recruitment teach ins in Boston Public High Schools.  I’ve been thinking about dreams for my father, about Dubois’s The Sorrow Songs, about grief, memorialization, joy and  “scattered pictures.”  The Mumia rally which was in many ways symbolic of our current crystallizing and ever changing sociopolitical time, feeling the surge of outrage and energy coursing through the crowd, the power of collective action, of what Angela Davis called the “complex unity” of the Occupy movement, (you gotta feel it!) the mass outcry against imperialism and layers of unfreedom under the guise of democracy, the violence of capitalism and yearnings for horizontalism and the connections being made by Mumia, hopes for cross cutting coalition building, for sustainable radicalism and ultimately revolution.  “Love revolution not state delusion.”

Che Gossett has been involved in political activism for prison abolitionism and gender self determination, campaigns to end “prositution free zones” in Washington DC and currently is a steering committee member of the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance.  Che is a contributor to the anthology Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press) and has a chapter in the seond volume of the Transgender Studies Reader (forthcoming from Routledge Press in 2013).  They also have a chapter in the anthology Stand Up: The Politics of Racial Uplift (South End Press) about the criminalization of HIV and abolition as an HIV/AIDS issue, forthcoming this spring.