June 13, 2005

Affirming the I

Affirming the I

A few days ago, dear reader, a diligent correspondent from our Chapel Hill (NC) office sent us the April/Summer 2005 number of Lambda, which calls itself “UNC-Chapel Hill’s LBGTIQ-Affirming Magazine Since 1976.” Upon taking a gander at this journal, one of the senior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—found this self-description a bit puzzling.

In fact, “Chip” was a bit mystified by all the letters that this college rag aimed on "affirming." We mean, come on: LGBTIQ? Sure, we can figure out what most of the letters stand for; but what the heck was “I” doing there? Inverts? Illegitimate children? Insane?

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” firmly believe that, if you’re going to "affirm" a ridiculously long assortment of letters, you might as well go all out and "affirm" the whole darn alphabet. Wouldn’t they "affirm" kids named Ricky and Michelle? We certainly hope so.

As far as we’re concerned, until Lambda becomes “UNC-Chapel-Hill’s ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ-Affirming Magazine Since 1976,” it’s a sexist, homophobic receptacle of garbage. As our old hero Stokley Carmichael would say, Lambda is not part of the solution, but part of the problem.

But we collectively digress. On page 14 of said publication, we came upon one of the most delightfully wretched examples of student poetry that we have found in some time. As regular readers of this humble “weblog” undoubtedly recognize, our position as one of the key “websites” partly devoted to abysmal collegiate balladry makes this a rather impressive claim.

The poem in question was penned by one Tommy Rimbach. Lambda's helpful contributors page informs us that “Tommy Rimbach was born in the ghettos of northern California but raised in cul-de-sac subdivisions in suburbs up and down the East Coast. He is a queer activist, enjoys Asian-American literary and race theory, and studies public policy and international studies at the University.”

Well, well, well: Mr. Rimbach is a graduate of the tough streets of northern California. This is surely one undergraduate we don’t hope to meet in a dark alley. Which is too bad, because we’re also huge fans of “Asian-American literary and race theory.” We just can’t get enough of the stuff.

Speaking of stuff we can’t get enough of, let us turn to Mr. Rimbach’s masterful poem. It’s called “Boom,” and it goes a little something like this:

Boom by Tommy Rimbach, Inveterate Lover of Asian-American Literary and Race Theory

Vibrations of our railway sex fill up
echoes of lung sighs convulse against your
metal surfride on the 5 train plunges toward my
(made/unmade) soul dodges a hand held smoked in your
stomach of hardened metropolitan tracks that can not escape my
reddened lips against the tanned tread scrapes of your
stubble of numbered one-two-nine red lines stare through my
atlantic avenue window smears from six or seven inches above your
balcony across the apartment rent-controlled screams heard along my
(drawn/redrawn) dreams destroy my thrashing your shooting my soaring your
speeding parallel to the jersey turnpike rolling off my tongue (fits yours) to my


i guess we are headed to our


Pretty great, is it not? Clearly, Mr. Rimbach is a follower of the It’s-Poetry-If-You-Write-Oddly-and-Hit-the-Return-Key-a-Lot school. As far as we can tell, this is a far more important School of Poetry among college kids than, say, Southern Agrarianism.

Seldom, however, do undergraduate bards express the torture of the “cul-de-sac subdivisions in suburbs up and down the East Coast” as acerbically and poignantly as Mr. Rimbach. Perhaps he can now move on to write some verses about his dormitory; we’re sure that it would prove a perfect target of his angst.

Posted at June 13, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack