Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine


Michal Witkowski’s Lubiewo (2005) – though much concerned with the passage of time, especially from communist Poland to the present, glorious, third republic – probably fits the description of “queer literature.” The Lubiewo of the title is a beach he goes to where he meets, among many others, a group of complex-free, open, right-on, emancipated gays – one with peroxide dreads, another with a tatoo – playing ball and speaking in the language of current affairs magazines. Recognising him as a writer, one of them says:

“You’ve got to write about us, about us Gays… It has to be about two middle class gays, university educated, doctoral students in management and finances*, bespectacled, wearing jumpers… So they’ve created a lasting relationship and want to adopt a child but they keep running into problems. Society – get me? – won’t accept them even though they’re cultured and peaceful, as the reader sees. To make the contrast greater let their neighbours have a horribly dysfunctional relationship. They drink and beat their children but they’re the ones the state lets adopt children where it refuses our couple the right, even though a boy (a boy!) would be on the pig’s back with them. […]”

“Umm. A great idea for a book, an excellent Valentine’s day present: gay couples would buy it in the shopping centres. I’ll run along now and write it. Gotta dash – I might make some money off it.”

Perhaps he would have made some money too but that is most emphatically not the book Witkowski wrote. This is what he wrote (using feminine grammatical forms – the right-on gays use masculine forms): “And I’m an intolerant old unfit, bad over the top faggot as closed to all your discourses as a communist era butcher’s after six. I am Alexis Carrington!” Elsewhere, with reference to the right-on gays’ meaningful relationships he writes “Ja chcę nieznajomego, co mnie wyrżnie jak burą sukę…” This one is not easy to translate, so I’ll just settle for “I want a stranger that’ll ride me like an old bike…” This time the pronoun is no longer masculine or feminine but “co,” which applies to objects…. Lubiewo is rough trading, no-holds barred stuff. An English translation is apparently in the works and I would recommend it.

* They’re a step up from the aspirations of Ala in Masłowska’s Wojna polsko-ruska pod flagą bialo-czerwoną (White and Red), who suggests that the narrator must be studying “administration and management” – finances are always better that admin – but it’s good to see that not everyone in Poland has fully bought into chimera economics. Come to think of it, there’s a well-known line from a communist era film in which a character’s profession is described as “director” – of what, of course, it didn’t matter, as he was a made (party) man. Plus ca change!

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