I am so glad that this trip is where I finally had the time and inclination to begin posting again, especially in light of the Orientalist discussion. Why? Several years ago I went to India with Prageeta for her cousin's wedding. There my mother and I acquired the appropriate Indian garb for the affair. I could wear the Indian dress and not feel like a New-Ager. It was like being a "culturally sensitive" CNN reporter. But since I am such a lesbo, I really hate weddings because either I wear pants and look like an airline stewardess or I wear a dress and feel like a drag queen who can't walk in her shoes. So I decided for Prageeta's wedding, which is a traditional Indian wedding, that I'll wear my Indian garb. It's a dress that feels like my pajamas and removes all the awkwardness of formal feminine attire for me. Yet I risk being questioned the same way I've been questioning this one Magee Flarf poem. I'll take pictures, to be sure. I hope I look more like Marianne Faithful in 1967 than a California Yoga instructor. But I guess the beholders will be the jury and put out the verdict on my Orientalism.
Mike was kind enough to post the following in the comments area. Obvious from his response the poem is much more complicated than I made out in one public hearing. My two-cents will have to wait a few days, as my parents and I are about to get on the road to Boston for the wedding. But here are Mike's comments, which give us all more ways to think about the work. Thanks Mike for not taking this discussion as a judgment or attack.
From Mike Magee:
Hi Maggie, it was great to see you at David's. I think the questions you raise about my poem are good ones. Perhaps they are better answered by the book MAINSTREAM as a whole. It's now available for purchase at
and soon at SPD as well. The poem. "Their Guys,Their Asian Glittering Guys, Are Gay," is now up on the Mainstream Poetry website:
It may be helpful to your readers to know that the title is a pun on the famous line from Yeats' "Lapis Lazuli" and directly engages with the Orientalism at work in that poem; and that in addition to the "Asian chick" as you say, there are many "characters" (if we can even call them that) in the poem.
Thanks, if this generates any conversation at all I'll be thrilled.