Hedwig and the Angry Inch has crippled me poetically.

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Today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo is writing an origin story, and I’ve been intimidated all day. Also sick, cut out caffeine yesterday, because I was drinking upwards of a pot a day for the past couple weeks and losing my ability to sleep for longer than an hour at a time, so I’ve been sleepy, grouchy, and had a headache and nosebleed all day.

So before I post I post a poem , here’s a song on the origin of love from Hedwig and the Angry Inch*. It’s a slightly more multi-cultural version of the one found in Plato’s Symposium, and I’ve been in love with it since high school.
Short explanation of Hedwig and the Angry Inch:
Through musical performances and backstory, we learn that Hedwig was born in east Berlin as Hansel, and fell in love with a US army man. In order to escape east Berlin and marry said man, Hansel became Hedwig; a botched sex change operation essentially leaves her neutered. Hedwig is eventually deserted for a younger, fresher model; years later she falls in love with a younger man, who she inspires to become a musician…he steals her songs and becomes famous. Eventually Hedwig learns that sacrificing yourself for others leaves you with nothing.

Last time I saw you
We had just split in two
You were looking at me
I was looking at you
You had a way so familiar
But I could not recognize
Cause you had blood on your face
I had blood in my eyes
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine

This song is one of those things I consider flawless and holy, so you say “create art related to the origin of something” and I think “Oh god, I will never be able to top ‘Origin of Love’, and frankly I just want to listen to it now.”

I might be the one person to consider Hedwig ultimately a he rather than she. He doesn’t seem unhappy with his gender (they could have easily slipped some sign into the film or play, but these signals are completely absent) until he’s pushed into a sex change because of his partner’s desire and sociopolitical norms, a marriage between two men wouldn’t have been recognized at the time. Also at the end he takes off his wig, and is shown dressed in men’s clothes…he’s a person who has sacrificed the integrity of his identity, body, and spirit for the desires of others, not a person who was misgendered at birth.
To further my point and just basically post something I over-identify with:

I was born on the other side
of a town ripped in two
And no matter how hard I’ve tried
I end up black and blue
I rose from off of the doctor’s slab
I lost a piece of my heart
Now everyone gets to take a stab
They cut me up into parts
I gave a piece to my mother
I gave a piece to my man
I gave a piece to the rock star
He took the good stuff and ran

One thought on “Hedwig and the Angry Inch has crippled me poetically.

  1. I really love the symmetry that you pointed out between the songs, and the themes of finding symmetry inside yourself instead of with some ‘cosmic lover preassigned.’ Overall, I love this musical/movie, and your origin story was really well written and interesting.


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