"AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz's Close To The Knives was brought to my attention a decade after its release by the queer writer Lisa King, who I met the sweaty, queer summer I spent in New York between my freshman and sophomore years in college. This was back before 9/11, before W., before Trump, before Lisa died in 2006, the first of many queer friends lost too young in a world inhospitable to queerness.
I think of Lisa every time I re-read Close To The Knives, the stunning, lyrical third book by the then-established political artist. Wojnarowicz's memoir is gorgeous and experimental and fierce, a painting with words, and mostly a snapshot of the wild beauty of queer outsiderness, despite the brutal power structures that punish us for being ourselves. It is the book that allows me my grief and my joy in this trans body, and I re-read it whenever I need to be reminded that in order to remember that the world belongs to me as much as it does anyone, I can honor a queer history of fight and feeling, of loss and the transcendent power of what can never be lost: Our truth."
Get it from Amazon for $12.76, Barnes & Noble for $14.15, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.