Bills: before and after

 I have worked in food service for about 10 years: kitchens, coffeeshops, restaurants, bars. After a shift, I often had cash tips that I would sit at the bar with. My face would stare down at their faces: George, or Abraham, whoever… I’d glaze over as I added lip liner, rouge, a cat eye. This remains an ongoing practice of femme’ing up American currency that passes through me. I began documenting my dollar bill makeover series with a working concept and title Budget Poems | Bills: before and after. I’ve been doing this for about 8 years now. There has not yet been a woman elected as the President of the United States. These makeovers hold some fantasy and futurity for me. My being something of a woman made this work: my older sister Autumn and my mom Priscilla taught me how to put on make-up at age 13. I don’t really wear makeup as I’m a bit of a long-haired butch but I’m damn good at putting it on thanks to them. Being gay made this work: I disavow misogyny and femme-phobia. I celebrate femmes and their labor of beauty. I see glam and it gives me life. These presidents are also my means to pay my train fare, pay my shift meal (20% off), tip my friend who pours my beer: so they re-enter circulation femme.