Dream as Stephen Varble

Artefact: Article, ‘Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble’, written by David J. Getsy, in advance of the exhibition that ran 30 September 2018 — 20 January 2019, published in The Journal of the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation, 2018. 
Stephen’s at the gallery on Wooster Street
Or, part of him is
Second-life, multifarious self
Accustomed to their advanced ability
To be in multiple locations at once
Looking out of bright, jewel-pink
Onto all these simultaneous views
Always the sinking planet
Crashing, burning
From every angle
Deadset on its collapse through space
Matters not improving in these last thirty-four years
Grand understatement
Much, much worse than his first set of life years
Deteriorating rapidly

Stephen is ink
Squeezing and slipping through forms
Escaping from frames
Sharp pools of halogen light
Finds the storage room
Calm, mounts stacked
Finds a pile of crates in the rear of the gallery café
In the kitchen, a dozen-egg box to nestle inside
Enjoys the back of the refrigerator
The tubes curling
The heat and chill mixing strangely
Producing a tingling
Lays in the top desk drawer in the curator’s office
Wetness seeping into soft contracts, expensive paper
Spins on the plush leather chair
Door locked
Illicit masturbation spot
Multiple eyes see everything
All at once
A beautiful posthuman incarnation of CCTV
This is Stephen
Not the men who summoned up the notion of CCTV
He’s not checking on you like that
Doesn’t want to know your spending habits
What to sell you next
Sparkling pupils
Deep swirling voids
Happier seeing the curator twist the blinds
Overcome by their urges
Even as chatty attendants arrive outside
Hanging up coats and scarves
Jokes bouncing around the pristine walls

Stephen is liquid
Is milk
Is cow’s blood
Is the suds-and-water swill of the gutter
Is the wet melt of the sun
Is blue ink
Purple, red, jade green
Is Xerox toner
Deep and sticky
A magnet to curious fingers
Whorled prints springing to every clean surface
White gleam
White no longer

Blush, coral, rosé many-eyes
See the visitors
Of course, see everything
This too
The money
The polite air
The care
The going to touch, and the stopping oneself
The heels, high on the polished concrete
Pivoting, grinding
The perfume
Someone with a fucking Tiffany’s bracelet
Encircling their wrist
Fingers raised up to Greg’s print
Buffed nail pointing at a detail
The seeing everything is a curse too
Eyes, eyes everywhere
No voice to sing or whisper vengeance
No old human form to tower up
Ribs high
Crack the rules
Quake the place
Still, old tactics die hard
Stephen, slips up expensive tights and into the dawdling Hermès bag
Becomes awash
Becomes a residue
An incarnation of damp memories
Sloppy portent of doom
Drowning precious things
Acidifying this one's Amex card
Melting their lip colour
Into a puddle of grease
A reminder from the deep
Future-past and pain
Damn you, lady
Says all that wet
That ruined gank swooshing around in expensive leather
Damn you