you are beautiful, like a double windsor

I want to notice the ones who go unnoticed.

Three days ago, a human, with lips like Saturn’s rings, taught me how to tie a perfectly eloquent double windsor knot on a necktie. The following day, I sunk my legs inside black pants; covered my torso in button-down striped shirt; put on my favorite vest; then, grabbed hold of striped red tie and began my first solo attempt.

For me, neckties replace necklaces. (The Payless version of) combat boots or converse replace high heels or fancy female shoes that make a clicking sound when making contact with the ground.

As I huddle onto the 2 or 5 train for an hour in the morning, I am able to notice the various creatures sharing my morning commute.

I am confident in this moment of tie-bearing. And I wonder how many of us with disorganized scowls so early in the morning feel like we are dressing in the way we truly want to be….

* * *

At a poetry reading featuring transfeminists, the room is full with blurred genders. I hone my mathematics skills as I count the partially-shaved heads, three-month-old buzz cuts, faux hawks (not as many as once before), and one redhead with wide-angled ears, small lips and a remarkable double-windsor.

There are also humans with long hair, some in dresses, and I wonder if they feel as noticed as the others. Or, are we really noticing each other or just comparing our levels of queerness in competitive glances.

My queer rhetoric is spotty, full of several holes, still being stitched and fondled into something more substantial or visible. It is often during these days when my body feels like a warzone (translation: menstruation) that I am angered by my parts. I want to rebel against the hushed red discharge.

Maybe I want someone to call me sir during this time to combat the flagrant fragrant woman in me.

Maybe I just want someone to go up to me and tell me how remarkable my tie is and follow that up by saying:

You are handsome…like a double windsor.

“my uterus is in love with yours”

how to love bloat/ pink creased stain/ rorschach
interpretation of womanhood/ mash
pain against sex act/ what it means to bleed art/
her body is a museum
of modern expressionism

On a Sunday evening when Autumn arrives in leaf exhales and wind-blown winces, a uterus discharges an outburst. There is pain far deeper than knuckle crack or papercut or chosen bout of starvation. There is a shift of weight as stained sheet gathers beneath distended body. “How about some hot cocoa? Shortbread?” There is a monster of pain pulling ribs away from each other. An invisible hammer lunges toward each vertebrae. Hair is no longer curled or red; it is gathered by ghosts and torn away from rooted home. Boil water and funnel into bottle in the shape of plastic kidney. Press against belly. Burn away the waft of agony. There is wisdom in blood dripping into silicone menstrual cup suctioned between legs. There is a bully hidden inside the drips which drop onto grey lace underwear staining away its sex quotient.

dear organ of offspring and gesticulation


Last night, you inserted a dream inside my head. You stole the how, but I received news from another that I had impregnated her. She was angry and I didn’t know how to soothe her. I felt excited by my body’s ability to shoot magic dust into her, allowing cells to form into another human.

Outside of my dream, I don’t want to think of my body having/producing sperm. I want to think of it as glittery blood/cum/gender-empowered ejaculate that has no other name to compare it to. When I awoke, my body felt as though it was a giant hemorrhage. I dipped my fingers into my cunt, thinking they’d be dyed red. I prepared myself for a bed covered in blood, covered in menstruation. However, there was nothing.

For the past three days, uterus, you have been kicking me, bullying my insides and I want to know why.

I press heated towel against you.
I drink enough water to drown you.
I finger myself until orgasms distract you.
I even exercise in order to sweat you away.

Dear Uterus,

You are persistent like love
like my appetite
like my addictions.

All i want to do is poem and you press me further into bed and steal away my motivation for words.

excerpts from a window peering through a life

In what year did they begin fire drills? Heads and knees tucked to chest to prep for bombs. I am not united in this front of skin and veins. I think back to those years where we were forced out of class due to called-in bomb threat or preparation for an inferno of flames to melt away the school. Why don’t families have drills like this? Or bodies? Before the cancer or depression or heart attack or mini-stroke, how about a drill?

Andy Flemming throws a three-piece dissected bee at me in science class. I am twelve. He calls me a screen door and I watch the severed insect slide down my paved chest. My three best friends at the time have elevated breasts, regular periods and body hair. They prefer tampons to pads and waxing to razors. Two out of three have already been menstruating for two years. There are no bras in my wardrobe; I wear undershirts. If it weren’t for my nipples, I’d have no idea where my breasts are.

My belly lies against red cotton sheets with limited thread count. I am crying. My fingers smell like my insides. A salt and vinegar soak. I am desperate for an orgasm, instead, my brain channels memories inappropriate for masturbation. How sad to be inside a body that can never be clean enough.

photo by June Liu