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Arthur Russell

August 25, 2013

arthur russell by danteB E T W E E N    D I S C O    A N D    S C A R E C R O W S
A R T H U R   R U S S E L L
last night i had the craziest dream that arthur russell was fucking me and that i came without touching my cock even once. this morning i wake up and stumble into my kitchen in my underwear – the window was left open and the cats have been coming and going all night. one of them is sleeping atop the stereo and i try and turn it on without waking her.
arthur russell, in all of your recordings after 1989, yr voice sounds a little different because you were being treated for throat cancer, yr first opportunistic infection. you sounded like a 13 year old boy, the age you were when you first left rural iowa and yr farm and the cornfields with all those scarecrows. like all us other rural faggots, you fled as soon as you could.
an ex-boyfriend of yours said something that i read that you were afraid of scarecrows. but in new york where you lived, there aren’t any scarecrows to be scared of. in iowa, scarecrows scattered the landscape – fake bodies strung up, left for dead, to ward off crows and other living things.
the time and place where you lived in new york similar bodies scattered the landscape. scattered in fields, quarantined, also left for dead. where you lived on the coast, those bodies weren’t filled with straw but with guts and bones and blood. scarecrows, barely breathing, roving the streets thirsty for young blood, ready to infect the living. warding off crows and other living things.
i’m writing this between 5 and 6am and then i read somewhere on the internet that this is the time of day you were both born and died at, and how anchored you are in time just as I am anchored in mine writing this about you fifteen+ yeas later.
i try and remember what it was like getting fucked by you last night, try and remember your sweet gay disco breakdowns, try and tell the difference between the crazy desire i felt last night, and all of the queer histories that came before us. we piece together yr life from the smallest of details that exist of you on the internet and in libraries though we know that archives of you exist in all the bodies of yr lovers and every 8track buried in some box. and we assemble these pieces much how i try and assemble this vague dream.
your body was shipped back to iowa when you died. in the end, this was the place that become your home, again. like the home that these smallest of archives – queer histories written on our skin and in our bones and blood – have become for me.

illustration by Kerri Flannigan
text by LM
coloration by Khia and Dante
arthur russell by khia

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