An Old Tradition

An Old Tradition

by Juli Saragosa

with illustrations by Lena Dirscherl

our last kiss
fumbling and strange
in a spanish airport bathroom
headed home to a new career
onto anarcho-queer berlin
don’t know each other anymore

on my return
all i find are empty shells

in an old place, seeking newness
with old friends
who don’t wanna touch
who don’t wanna go there
who disappear
when emotions are rough

not that fun anymore
lonely work, bored, lonely love
lost, lonely friends

so i leave
not time to stand still

a spiritual quest
a time to invest
in me, my own love

i hit the western hotspots
of queer community
fame and glory
so removed from all of that

whales’ tails
tumbling salt waves
my body, ancient rocks
satya beats my shelled heart
desert sun, full moon
rising from my muladhara
light comes

the frustration
in the open love
mixed with lack of understanding
of who i am

how many times do i have to explain
what ‘queer’ means

the guru asks a room of young yoginis (a word
i refuse, it belittles me) to imagine
what the world would be like if
everyone was open and loving
without judgement, and cause i can’t
resist, i grin and say
‘then everyone would be gay!’
a laugh skitters across the room
later, he tells me perhaps
that could be true
for women, but
not for men
meaning, he can’t
imagine himself
being gay. ‘then that’s not
completely open’ i say. no
response, just an incredulous stare

opening to saraswati
accepting a different kind of love
reveals my commitment to initiating
change in an old tradition

so i move on
not time to stand still

to a small city by the sea
the catholics here just don’t get my
solo travel “¿por qué no tiene novio?”
with open arms they offer everything
but have nothing
except unconditional substances
and illicit love

i remain myself, hidden
not time to stand still

in the big city built on sewage
i find a people still
with its catholicism strong

an affinity found, we
talk about community, family
but mostly, we work sewing
like the locals, vinyl roofs
for a gathering of those who fight
for freedom and justice

for the locals, who cannot
go home, like we can,
who do not
have leisure
of their own

the world economy is broken, but here
pesos are worth more
than the currency they’re given

after a day of work
and a cerveza together
we traverse a rumour, around zapata station is
the biggest city in the world’s
solo haven of queer feminism

it remains lost
as we do, amongst the catholics a fear
to reveal ourselves

yearning for home
i pleasantly discover
it is always here
my body

i relocate
to the bible-belt of Canada

a spiritual quest
a time to invest
in me, my own love

owls’ ears
stiffen biting air
my body, parched darkness
satya boils my urgency
desert sun, full moon
rising from my muladhara
light comes

the frustration
in the open love
mixed with lack of understanding
of who i am

how many times do i have to explain
what ‘queer’ means

i respond to unwanted touching from
a strange man with ‘you,
stay over there,’ someone
asks ‘so he’s your dog?’
‘no’ i say, ‘i like to pet
dogs, cuz they’re cute and
they don’t say stupid things’
the same incredulous stare

as if she’s never seen
a feminist

when you patronize me with a smile and say
‘you’re entitled to your own opinion’
i wonder if you have forgotten

at a women’s day event
you say to me ‘i’m not a feminist,
but i believe in women and men having
equal opportunities’

geri halliwell, after a decade of promoting
equality, now believes it
demasculates men

i think you see me
as a bra-burning lesbian,

i don’t even own a bra
and i’m not a lesbian

opening to saraswati
accepting a different kind of love
reveals my commitment to initiating
change in an old tradition

Lena Dirscherl has been working as professional freelance illustrator and comic artist since 2014. She loves body positivity and Steven Universe. Her passions are video games and queer feminism. She is a founding member of KATENA Studios for vector illustration and information design.
Currently Lena is using Adobe Creative Cloud to realize her projects but she is always looking for good alternatives and new working tools.
Lena is against racism of any form and supports gender equality and net neutrality. She is very interested in working with clients who share the same values and want to make the world a better place.

Having grown up in an immigrant family with positive encouragement to try everything and with the economic necessity to use whatever is at hand (including a home photography darkroom), Juli Saragosa was determined to become an artist from an early age. Moving-images became a suitable passion for this eternally curious DIY experimenter. Juli’s short films have been shown at festivals in Milan, London, L.A., Chicago, Berlin, Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Tunis, and Irkutsk. In 2005, Amoré won the Best Canadian Film award at Toronto’s International One-minute Film Festival and in 2011, it won the Jury Prize for Experimental Film at the Toronto Underground Film Festival. Juli enjoys collaboration and interdisciplinary practice, extending the practice to the curatorial and educational, as a grassroots organizer, curator and workshop leader (Vancouver super8 festival Project8, entzaubert queer DIY film festival in Berlin), as a film and media arts instructor (Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia Okanagan, dBs Film Berlin), and as an active community organizer, mentor, workshop leader (LIFT in Toronto, VIVO Media Arts, Inside Out Film Festival, CFC’s Venus Video, and independent events).

Shifting Traditions

Call for Submissions

DEADLINE: 30.12.2019

You do not live in the same environment that you were born into. Your surroundings have changed, your body has changed, the way you are perceived, the way you are treated, the way you perceive and treat yourself is subject to constant change.

Whether you’ve stayed in the same place, but the political system, and family relations, or the climate changed around you, or whether you live with the memory of a place or situation you have left a long time ago or just yesterday – there are certain aspects of past and present within you or shared with the people around you that come together in harmony, struggle, or somehow don’t come together at all. They are traditions in transition.



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