Max Wolf Valerio

OK I admit it. I was Greta Garbo, or was that–Shulamith Firestone?

humanity has begun to outgrow nature.
the pendulum, a dark stone, a discretion. restless inside limitation—a remote intelligence latent—residing throughout a row of gender-neutral wombs. spectral under glass domes, one incubated awareness after another is awakened and separated, each from the other. their eyes open

to assure the elimination of the sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and the seizure of the control of reproduction: not only the full restoration to women of ownership of their own bodies, but also their (temporary) seizure of control of human fertility—the new population biology as well as all the social institutions of childbearing and child-rearing.
infants are exchanged in the marketplace by people wearing sigils. a woman walks near the bridge and peers into the water. sexual reproduction is abandoned for cloning in some parts of the nation. a communal nursery surges with rising music—thunder as a line of boys begins a march to a citadel of large domes in the flat desert. the boys are singing but no one is able to hear them outside of the Holy City

and just as the end goal of socialist revolution was not only the elimination of the economic class privilege but of the economic class distinction itself, so the end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself:
voices of boys and girls morph to reveal the deep vibrato of dreaming lungs in water. a trans man holds his belly in prayer walking over the expanding stairs. whales and dolphins give birth inside the encapsulated water bubble. fertility songs are tattooed on the backs of trans men near our shoulder blades where our wings will appear

the division of labour would be ended by the elimination of labour altogether (through cybernetics). The tyranny of the biological family would be broken.
driving over freeways the entire family evaporates watching an expanding landscape. car headlights blur in rain. radio stations stretch into static interludes. blue skies from Wyoming to the outskirts, a random accompaniment of staccato gas stations, ghostly buildings, and deserted storefronts—the no-family listens, occluded from view by stinging insects

genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally. (A reversion to an unobstructed pansexuality Freud’s ‘polymorphous perversity’ — would probably supersede hetero/homo-bi-sexuality.)
sexual dimorphism vamps on the cross country road trip. An antagonism of sexual perversity pulled apart like meat by wild dogs. the crowd watches in anticipation of a viral hunger. an amphetamine Abraxis escalates longing—fire and ice cubes in the mouth of the demon. long-legged motorcycle trans women flap their bat wings and open the portal doors while male dancers bask in the yellow lights flaring from cactus lamps. elbows and dialectic fists storm the threshold where sex distinctions are muted by alcohol and razor wire

The reproduction of the species by one sex for the benefit of both would be replaced by (at least the option of) artificial reproduction: children would be born to both sexes equally, or independently of either, however one chooses to look at it; the dependence of the child on the mother (and vice versa) would give way to a greatly shortened dependence on a small group of others in general, and any remaining inferiority to adults in physical strength would be compensated for culturally.
Eden: the garden viewed from a distance as if under sedation or through a translucent film. all non-native species have been pruned and then, prepared for removal. a display of multicolored plastic flowers with brutish leaves, tiger faces in the maw of coral blooms. the pristine and artificial character of the garden is lucid, even in its simulation of a rapidly decaying vestigial wound. nature yearning toward completion, and above—a rotating camera—a propensity to monitor. the tedious crawlback to awareness. childlike objects loose at the supermarket, gray duffel bags are lowered over heads as the senses are abandoned. one by one and nearby the hall monitors anticipate the wavering and wobbling subaltern rush—childhood. drunk on spheroid fruit dangling from thin, intelligent trees. male and female walk—zigzag. laughing at a distance, looping inside an intoxication— a haphazard yet precise inertia—the only man and woman in paradise stagger to a vehicle waiting at the periphery of consciousness. driving the distance to a mild euphoria. even after hope, after recovery, metal fences and black rubber hoses confine them—to an always expanding yet interior view. inside looking out they begin the procedures that will compel the garden to bloom. childhood virtualization of mimetic birds. laughter and an orgy of cybernetic organs. without shame or virtue, an eclipse of dark stars. calliope menagerie in paradise, children are invisible when you answer the riddle

Note: A prose poem in dialogue with Shulamith Firestone’s monumental and early feminist work The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution. Firestone’s words are in italic bold and my own follow in plain text. Thanks to Margaux Ayn Schaffer for the inspiration for the title. Garbo is incidental and is named in the spirit of stealth, Firestone is a blazing Fury who gives birth only through an application of transhumanist and radical feminist visioning.


Max Wolf Valerio is an iconoclastic poet and writer. His chapbook Animal Magnetism (eg press) appeared in 1984. Recent poetry includes: “Exile: Vision Quest at the Edge of Identity” – a long poem set to ambient music and excerpted in Yellow Medicine Review and made possible by a Native American Arts and Cultural Traditions Grants (NAACT) from the San Francisco Arts Commission; a collaboration with photographer Dana Smith, Mission Mile Trilogy +1; poems in the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books, 2013). Essays are included in the anthologies: This Bridge Called My Back (4th Ed. SUNY Press, 2015); This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation (Routledge, 2002); The Right Side of History:100 Years of LGBTQI Activism (Cleis Press, 2015); Trans/Love (Manic D Press, 2011). His memoir, The Testosterone Files (Seal Press, 2006) was a Lambda Finalist for 2006. A book of poems, The Criminal: The Invisibility of Parallel Forces is forthcoming in 2018 from EOAGH Books.

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