OUT/RAGE # 1: how to make a good garden

Artwork by Kitty Chrystal
Artwork by Kitty Chrystal
What does it mean to make the onus of liberation on the individual (you! come out!) versus the system (you! eradicate the closet!)?

What does it mean to compel people to come out when we do not have the infrastructure to support them (homeless shelters, radical foster care, finances, emotional support, jobs, etc.)?

What does it mean for coming out to be the only way many LGBT people get involved with movement struggle by proudly announcing themselves and then subsequently participating in economies, politics, and logics that further oppress the most vulnerable members of their communities?

—NYC based performance duo, Darkmatter



my mum comes over, she says we’re making a really good compost.


it’s mostly been hell dry since i came back from montreal.


my backyard sizzles/drizzles.


we go to Ceres, this environmental park/self-sustainable cultural centre/nursery.


the dog isn’t allowed in.


she tells me she’s not going be able to afford a christmas tree. i say that’s fine.


we both sip.


hessian bags. potting mix. chicken poo. coffee grinds. newspaper.


4×6 wooden fruit crate.


put it all in there, layer, layer, layer, layer, layer, layer. we turn on the hose.


pull it over over-grown thistles.


i really like seeing my mother’s hands covered in soil, i go to put my hands in.


she holds them, says get gloves.


there is a little drop of sweat and it slips off her chin.


by the window we both alternate in stirring soup.


say, don’t you think it’s kind of strange no one in our family is queer.


i am admiring the compost work. i soak all the stuff.


i just don’t know what to do with me—two steps on the water.


nah, not really, my mother says, adding parsley, they’re not that common.
we eat we eat we eat.


somewhere along the line she drops me off for the train.


months later, the spinach we planted, scrambled up tumbled about by pigeons.


tell mum:


those rodents, she says. can feel her shaking her head, slow slow.


she also clicks her tongue and i know she loves me.


our landlord turns soil 7 metres from the failed thing.


described as a compost, a garden bed the kale couldn’t grow in it.


i imagine less problems in the country, my mother living, even tho the christmas tree thing.


our landlord takes a shovel, he’s wearing this yellow disney cap maybe with donald duck on it.


months later there are piles, piles, piles tomatoes all about our table.


out the front chives are many, this huge fanning plant from up north, potted.


my housemate comes bundled with tomatoes, they’re gorgeous they’re so beautiful.


the landlord visits and waters, hardly says hi.


leaving all these things for us that we pick up, chuck right into our mouths.


queer, queer, how the mother is joined and apart.






Two Steps on the Water: