Monday, January 7, 2013


for Jen Benka & Carol Mirakove 

I rode several of my favorite escalators in Philadelphia, taking notes up and down the vantages. At the top and bottom of the ride I would show photographs of myself to strangers and ask, “EXCUSE ME, have you seen this person?” Sometimes there was confusion, “ISN’T THAT YOU?” I would reply, “No, many people think I look like HER, but have you seen HER?” I feel very fortunate to have been born BEFORE the ultrasound machine. My generation was the last generation to have a male and female name waiting at the other end of the birth canal. My generation is the last to have our mothers touch their bellies talking to us as male and female. Pink or blue?

photo by Andrew Durbin
Both pink and blue, “Have you seen this person?” I enjoyed my conversations with strangers and made at least one new friend, a handsome man who knew I was the person in the photograph. That person, I am that person and agreed. The ultrasound machine gives the parents the ability to talk to the unborn by their gender, taking the intersexed nine-month conversation away from the child. The opportunities limit us in our new world. Encourage parents to not know, encourage parents to allow anticipation on either end. Escalators are a nice ride, slowly rising and falling, writing while riding, notes for the poem, meeting new people at either end, “Excuse me, EXCUSE ME….” My escalator notes became a poem.