“And I am your President,” goes the last line of Eileen Myles’s clipped little river of a poem “The American Dream.” In the poem she describes coming out as “stepping off the flag,” and then she steps back on it, wryly assuming the mantle of greatness:
Yes, I am,
I am a Kennedy.
My attempts to remain
obscure have not served
me well. Starting as
a humble poet I
quickly climbed to the
top of my profession
assuming a position of
leadership and honor.
“I await your orders,” Myles writes.
That poem is from 1991, and today, the New York Times Magazine has an interview up with her that has convinced me that Eileen Myles—now romantically attached to Jill Soloway, incidentally—is the only person I am interested in reading on politics anymore.
Ana Marie Cox does the interview:
You ran for president in 1992, as an ‘‘openly female’’ candidate. You’ve described your campaign both as a joke and as an endurance performance piece. How is Donald Trump’s campaign any different? His is a lot better funded and a lot more paid-attention-to.
You encouraged people to think of voting for you as an almost sexual act: ‘‘You’ll be alone in that booth, and it’s so dirty, like a peephole or a dressing room or a confession. … You spread the metal wings above the title ‘President,’ and an empty white space appears, empty as poetry, and this is your freedom of speech.’’ I can’t believe I wrote that, that’s fantastic. Exactly, yeah: a dirty, ecstatic, alone moment, which is what every American deserves. A vote should be generative, not like business as usual, which is what voting feels like for most of us.
Would you consider running again? I mean, if the voters rose up with a write-in campaign, then of course I would serve.
What do you think of Trump’s slogan: ‘‘Make America Great Again’’? I hadn’t even heard it until now. It is so forgettable. Nothing I said was forgettable. It was all designed to be remembered.
Myles describes Hillary Clinton’s facility with politicking as a “twisted beauty,” and says she wants a “she” in the White House now.
There’s always Carly Fiorina. She is sort of a joke candidate.
Do you think Fiorina is running as openly female, or is she closeted? She’s probably as openly female as a Republican can be. That party does not support the reality of a female in any way, so what does it mean to be a woman running under the banner of that party? It’s total erasure.
Myles also notes that there is not enough work for everyone, and that it’s time for men to go on a 50 to 100-year vacation. Some of my best friends are men, but I agree!
Here’s the rest of this great interview.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via Eileen Myles/Libby Lewis