Monday, October 06, 2008

True Political Story: from Eileen Myles 


On Oct. 2, poet and novelist Eileen Myles (Chelsea Girls, Cool for You, Sorry, Tree) went online to check her balance and it was nil. "I had just deposited a few K to pay my bills," piped Myles. She called Bank of America who informed her the IRS had put a lien on her account. Turns out the IRS has been harassing Myles, 58, a poet and former presidential candidate for more than a year and a half. They informed her by mail in 2006 that she owed the IRS $10,000. Any explanation, we asked the gay politico. Nope, said Myles. I had been anticipating one of those horrible days in court with my accountant and my receipts. Friends told me about theirs. What happened then? Six months later another letter arrived claiming her debt to the IRS was now $6,000. When asked if the gay bard had been responding to these communications she shot Yes. I have an accountant, Sam Nole in the Empire State Building and he wrote them every time. Then what.

Out of the blue last spring they seized my tax returns. About 5K! she exclaimed. And you wrote the IRS again, we confirmed. Sam did Myles replied. And then. Well I was going out to a poetry reading. Myles has lived in Manhattan's East Village for more than 30 years and has been referred to in gay guides to New York as "a fixture." Are you a fixture we asked. No, no not at all. I travel a lot. I even taught in California for a time but of course I slept here half the nights in order to maintain my rent stabilized apt. Of course we nodded.

And finally. Well they took it all. All my money without even so much as a note. I put two and two together and realized that the government had to begin their uphill climb somewhere. It's kind of amazing that they began with me. That I would be how they would be repairing the economy is simply astonishing. I guess I really am a fixture, Myles grinned in a manner familiar to all who voted for her in the 1992 campaign. I'm putting this out because I'm wondering if this has happened to other gay people.

What are your thoughts about the current presidential campaign. Well, a couple of things. When Biden and Palin agreed on a single point which was their unambivalent opposition to gay marriage I felt like I was finally seeing the writing on the wall. I mean it's why they took my money. Nobody cared. Ironically Myles has been single for a couple of years she reports. So no marriage in sight we teased. Probably never, she replied. Marriage has always been an abstraction to me. But I saw pretty clearly on Thursday night the confluence of the two things - I mean the cozy hate speech and the appropriation of my funds as opposed to some fat cat banker's - that this was a civil rights issue. Queers are the only ones the mainstream can still safely tromp on (and then laugh about on National television) without hurting their base. But they hurt me. I'm thinking I won't vote. Let me put it this way. I'm part of their financial solution and yet I have no rights here. Taxation without representation is tyranny. True? This is the end of something as far as I'm concerned.

Have you written anything lately, we asked Myles in parting.

Well sure I've got this one tiny poem, it's kind of an aside but it's related. Just know that I have little respect for Biden either. Not after Thursday night. It's not like I'm intentionally coming down on the female candidate in any meaningful way. Frankly I think Palin's hot. I do. I mean I wouldn't vote for her but it's just a fact.

Poems come to me. This one I was on the stairmaster at the gym.

Where do you go?
Dolphin. East 4th St. Machines are kind of funky, but it's cheap.
Which would be a plus right now. You bet laughed Myles.

campaign poem

I see Alaska

                      Ice -
                      Ice -
                      Ice -

                      I, Sarah.

Oh that is funny.
You have to say it out loud.
Right, right. Got it.

(written by Eileen Myles posted to PhillySound by CAConrad)

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