#1995

[The scene opens on the interior of a dim tavern, the name of which – Dragoneye Charlie’s – is painted above the bar in passably readable script. Judging by the dark windows and sparse remaining crowd, it’s nearly closing time. Only the regulars linger still, scattered among the bare wood tables and ill-lit corners, and even most of them have stopped ordering refills. Dragoneye Charlie himself stands behind the counter, idly polishing shot glasses as he keeps an eye on the two patrons still drinking at the bar. Despite their size, the tiefling and half-orc seem considerably tipsy. The tiefling, Remr, leans her elbows on the counter as Brutus, the half-orc, fights to keep his tears to a manly, albeit heartbroken, minimum. It is clear they have been here for a while.]

Brutus: I thought he was the one, okay? Like, deep down I knew he didn’t want anything serious, but I guess I thought it would be different with me, you know?

Remr [grimacing]: Oh, I know. And it’s never different. They’ll always leave you high and dry like a fuckin’… [she snaps her fingers] a fuckin’…

Brutus: Desert?

Remr: YEAH. Like a fuckin’ desert. Speaking of deserts, [she turns to Charlie and indicates their empty glasses] can I get another round over here?

[Dragoneye Charlie fills their glasses without comment.]

Brutus [staring into his glass]: I still have his yoga mat. Do you think I should let him know so he can come pick it up? It’s a nice mat. He probably wonders where it is. I should tell him.

Remr: No! Throw that thing away, man, like, just toss it. Make a clean break. It’s the only way you can move on. There are other fish in the sea. Other gay orc… fish. Like, so many, and you [she jabs Brutus’ chest with one finger to emphasize her point] could have any of them, because you are FABULOUS. No, wait, no, you know what? Forget about all those stupid fish. Dating’s for losers anyway. Who wants a person who’s, like, always around and supporting you and stuff? More time to discover miral… mircul… mir-AK-ulous scientific breakthroughs when you’re alone. [she chugs the remainder of her drink]

Brutus [confused]: I’m a baker.

Remr: Then more time to… I don’t know, invent better… pie. Hand pies. More time to invent better hand pies. [She holds out her empty glass to Charlie with a smile] More drink please!

Dragoneye Charlie [shaking his head]: I’m cutting you off.

Remr: But I’ve only had three!

Dragoneye Charlie: You’ve had six.

Remr [with much indignation]: …yeah, well… whatever, I’m a biologist, not a math-eh-muh-tician. Speaking of science, though, the process by which alcohol is fermented is fascinating on the molecular level, it really is. [she pulls a scrap of parchment and a piece of charcoal out of her pocket and starts drawing] You start with–

Brutus: Oookay. [he pats Remr’s shoulder with a giant hand] Let’s get you home.

Remr [blinking sleepily]: Oh. Okey doke. [she deposits a handful of coins on the bar and stands, or at least gets herself into a vertical position, albeit with a definite sway. Brutus, having weathered worse binges, hooks an arm around his companion and leads her out to the street with a minimal amount of wobbling. He deposits her at the door to her inn, where she revives a bit and slaps him on the shoulder in what she clearly intends to be a gesture of commiseration.]

Remr: Friendship’s all you need in life, buddy. Fuck that guy. Just you an’ me, it’s just you an’ me against the world. And science.

Brutus: Uh… thanks. [he pushes her toward the door] Get some sleep. And stop calling me in the middle of the night, okay?

Remr [attempting a combination of thumbs up and finger guns at the same time]: Call you in the middle of the night. Got it.

[She disappears through the door, just managing not to shut it on her tail. Brutus stares at the closed door for a second, contemplating how he got to this point in his life, then sighs and heads for his own home.]

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#1989

beneath a flat gray ceiling, no sun no sky
I think we live in a fucking parking garage
breathing in exhaust and someone else’s ash

keep your head down, write your shitty poetry
avoid the puddles and the bodies
eh, we’re all gonna die anyway

#1976

Depression in the Time of Hannibal: On Queerness and the End of the World (I Guess)

These days I’m either apathetic resignation or heart-crushing sorrow, wondering how old I’ll be when we finally destroy the world and what will get me in the end – the megaquake, the atomic bomb, the weaponized smallpox, the white guy with a gun and a grudge. To protect myself, I practice accepting the inevitable – the mass extinctions, the strip mining and poisoned oceans, the death of democracy and the third world war just around the corner. It’s easier than caring, I find, and gets me at least to minimal functionality day by day.

I don’t have a lot of faith left in humanity, is what I’m saying. I’m a realist, and I really think we’ve gone past the point of no return for our species, and possibly for our world as a whole. I’m trying to not think about all the awful things we’ve created because then it feels like our whole existence, past and present and future, is pointless. If I can cling to the few good things we’ve done, the future seems less bleak. At least we managed to not fuck this particular thing up, I think. At least we invented this and that before we killed every living creature on the planet.

If you suspected that the last two paragraphs were simply an elaborate means of getting to my true topic, NBC’s Hannibal, then you were right. And you know me too well.

If you suspected none of this, and possibly thought I was going to write something insightful and timely, then wait! Don’t click away just yet. I’m semi-serious here.

You see, Hannibal is one of those things I look at and think, Maybe we’re not a totally worthless species. If a team of us could create something so dark, so beautiful, so heartbreaking and poignant and atmospheric, I guess I have to give credit where credit’s due. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still in utter despair. But I’m in utter despair while watching Hannibal fanvids on Youtube, which is honestly better than any therapy or medication. I dare you to watch this video and not feel a little better about the world.

Cause here’s the thing – can we talk about Hannibal? Is that okay? Cause, okay, here goes…

[SPOILER ALERT]

Hannibal is motherfucking perfect. Its three seasons contain a single gut-wrenching story arc that makes you question what you think you know and believe about love, right and wrong, queerness, fate, and beauty. This isn’t just a show that makes you root for the bad guy – it forces you to confront the very concept of love and the myriad ways it manifests, both in good ways and bad, and decide for yourself where you draw the line. It makes you admit that beauty is truly subjective and question whether, and when, a person’s honest perceptions and love language can be labeled as deviant.

Cause here’s the thing, friends. Here’s the thing: we have never, and may never again, see a relationship like Hannibal and Will’s on network TV. It’s honestly astonishing that NBC even aired the third season, given how it’s still revolutionary to show a gay kiss. See, what’s so different about the relationship/connection between Hannibal and Will is that it defies not only labels but also any recognizable relationship structure taught by society. Contextually, we’re lead to assume both Hannibal and Will are straight. Yet by the end of the second season, we see that Hannibal has been working toward a life in which he, Will, and Abigail are some sort of (admittedly dysfunctional) family. He wants this future so badly that when he is betrayed by Will, he takes Abigail away as punishment and leaves Will alive with the burden of his choices. Hannibal’s response, while admittedly drastic, is the response of someone who has had their heart broken. This isn’t the fallout from a bad friendship – if it was, Hannibal would probably have killed Will and moved on. His actions show their relationship is much more complicated.

Will Graham: Is Hannibal in love with me?
Bedelia Du Maurier: Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for you, and find nourishment at the very sight of you? Yes. But do you ache for him?

 

By the end of the third season, Will has come to understand the life Hannibal wanted for them – and to desire it himself, even as he knows it’s impossible. In this season these two men, who have been both friends and enemies, consciously and purposefully become something more. We never know what that something is, though, because that’s the point – their connection defies labels. Hannibal and Will love, or are in love with, each other in a way we simply don’t see in most media. Are they friends? Frienemies? Lovers? Romantic partners? Queerplatonic partners? Partners in crime? Can they be more than one of these options? We just don’t know. We are left to decide that on our own.

Hannibal takes three seasons to tell us the story of two people in love. That this story is nothing like we’ve ever quite seen, that this love is so impossible to label even as our characters embrace its existence, is what makes this show so captivating. You just don’t see this kind of storytelling on television. Hell, you can hardly find it anywhere besides obscure indie literature and, well, my blog. This just isn’t a story major media would ever take a chance on. That Bryan Fuller was able to so explicitly confirm Hannibal and Will’s relationship is probably in great part thanks to Hannibal’s mid-season cancellation. Season 3 pulls no punches and reveals all subtext because the team wasn’t constrained by the need to earn a fourth season. The last half of season 3 is everything the show is and could be, and its greatest triumph is this captivating relationship and the fact that it is glorified in the final episode, not vilified.

I’ve never understood how the queer community seemed to totally miss Hannibal, despite its two canon queer relationships. When we talk about queer representation and the need for it to go beyond the L and G, beyond monogamy and labels and boxes, this is what we’re talking about. Attraction and love both exist on vast spectrums; to insinuate that romantic love and sexual attraction always fit the same two or three models is both incorrect and, frankly, boring storytelling. Hannibal shows us that love is strange and unpredictable and cannot be constrained by gender, sex, or any other label society tries to impose. And that’s fucking awesome. Like, seriously, why aren’t more people freaking out about this? This show was on NBC, for fuck’s sake! It had a minimum of four queer characters and a lesbian couple that didn’t die!

So, to summarize:
Hannibal is queer as shit and you need to watch it.
Its existence is keeping me from sliding into utter depression.
The world can end now because nothing humanity creates will ever be better than this motherfucking show.

#1973

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
we fight over everything
and you cry so fucking much
can you please get a hold of yourself?

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
you’re cold and breakable as porcelain
and anxiety riddles you like hairline fractures
do you even have a backbone?

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
you can’t do anything totally right
and mostly you just fuck things up
would it kill you to accomplish something?

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
you are flawed through and through
and have been from the start
must you always disappoint me?

I want to love you
but you make it so hard
I’m tired of giving excuses for you
and accommodating your whims
don’t you think you owe me by now?

I want to love you
but you make it so fucking hard
I want to find freedom in acceptance
and yet I slip back twice for every inch I gain
are you as tired as I am?