Old Maybe Piggity Pink

[Ramp Local; 2017]

Styles: no wave, slimy, prog, punk, warts, snorts
Others: Palberta, Mars, Yowie, Odwalla88, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Slugs, Macula Dog, Gem Jones,

Piggity Pink spurts, stews, bumps, boils, and gleeks. Its breath is a falling apart, a rash on the skin of a creature rock-hard and warted. The monster retorts, “I never asked to be born like this.” The advocate suggests they might try, “I never asked to be born into this,” because we can all (mostly all) understand the pains of a world of contradiction. Yes, acute daily pangs provide a mirror, and although it is warped, it serves a function. Mostly, the monster feels fine. The monster sleeps, eats, shits, and thinks. On good days, the monster forgets it’s a monster at all. On bad days, the monster meets our stringent (albeit uncultivated) judgement. Knowing the script is easy, much harder to get the prod, stumble onstage and orient oneself just long enough to fake the rest and pass it off. Many of us are lucky to find our roles and normalize. It’s not easy being a monster.

The monster’s first words are a bitter, tormented quote of a call to confession. The interrogation (“Say/ What are your crimes?”) and its consequent (“We’ve been over this a thousand times”) are the quoted corpses of embodied policing (the detective’s demand under the light, the priest in the confessional). Now disembodied, fluid, and unfixed, the words rehearse daily corrections, aggressions, questions, fear, and their responses. A Foucauldian conception of the police (i.e., enforcement of — and adherence to — the norm) is reified into a quite-large body, which is accused of such omniscience that it might understand the monster’s response when it bemoans, “We’ve been over this a thousand times.” Every time this happens, the xenophobe, racist, prude, cat-caller, bully, assaulter, homophobe, and nazi are all cartoonishly perplexed by the nonchalance of the monster gurgling these words. He scratches his head and his truly putrid thought bubble reads, “Who does this thing think I am?!” By this time, the monster has already lugged its body away, which leaves the bully slip and sliding on its slime trail as he wanders off in a daze of perplexity.

Beyond this scene — in her room, in their private space, his diary — is heartbreak, the kind we all feel. Trying, crying, pigging, and query all make appearances as regular activities for the monster. Yes, the monster is fragile (“Ugly love me/ Never love me/ You will make me cry”). Yes, the monster thinks about fragility, too (“Bleed me like a pig/ My dream is short-lived”). The monster thinks about fragility as it relates to preciousness, a question of aesthetic concern. Aesthetic instability relies on preciousness; it feeds on the threat that the object might overturn itself and topple over. But the monster is not unstable. It is ugly. Ugliness is impervious. There’s no puncturing, shattering, dis-unifying, lessening, or recontextualizing the spattering of puke. One could only smear it, spread it, or wipe it away. Likewise, that which is festered, cracked, freakish, muddy, and sad carries an aesthetic horror that cannot be threatened. A performance of manhood is, of course, fragile. It is precariously balanced atop a long stack of volume-ordered books that presents the code. And yes, so it goes for all our roles. But occasionally, of this, the monster, flaunting her mis-fits, is lucky. The monster is defiantly adept, improvising roles.

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