what to call this: gender.

Imagine body as a tree. It begins as a shape that never remains just that. It hardens and expands. It changes color and thickness. It lets go; it disrobes; it houses other living things inside it; it mourns like a weeping willow; it has many names and occupations.

This treebody drips its sap into mouths and palms. This treebody exists in various ways all over the world. This treebody has no gender and it has many genders and it loves through shots of slurped up sun and rain and is rooted through the rings which wrangle it open.

We’ve got all of these options now of what one can be called and ways to bend and love and present. What happens when we exchange our customary outfit from masculine or feminine garb to something else.

How to harvest the hybrid of genders within us.

It is a Monday. I am suited in tie and vest and button-down shirt. My pants are tight, but could be worn by any human in search of warmth down there. I’ve got boots on with unnecessary laces and a zipper on one side. My hair is messy and unbrushed. It houses several yells inside each knot that are stored up from the ones who cannot seem to understand why I have decided to wash my hair less. I wear no make-up, nor does my skin glow. I might feel comfortable if you called me androgynous or even boundless.

I present a vocabulary of stereo-types in front of a room full of learners. We disrobe what we expect boxes to look like. I ask them to remove their swiss army knives from pockets (for those who carry them). I ask them to cut open the ninety-degree angle squares that force us to choose. I tell them that suddenly, we are no longer expected to choose from just two options or [gasp] other. I said that now we have options that represent the spectrum in which humans have always been but never had the opportunity to announce.

I want to out myself as the type of human some people have a difficult time understanding. I try to explain to my mother later on that day that gender is not something we should wait for people to learn. In order to remove the hate from speech, we must educate each other as to the impact of understanding one another.

As humans we come out many times in our lives. Sometimes it is just our names we change. For some, it is more bodily. Shapes and voices and language of parts change. Some of us change our sexual orientations.

There is not just one closet that we come out from and then IT is over.

I have been closeted by lovers; I have been closeted by myself. I understand the impact and necessity to be as loud as I can in order to pave the roads beside me for others to come out and make noise.

I have intentionally surrounded myself with humans who are gender construction workers. Smart, sexy humans who have taken these boxes into their hands, crumpled them up and turned them into other shapes. I have fallen in love with the ones who celebrate hybridity.

This earth may be over-populated, though it is big enough to hide. But who would want to do that when there are so many ways to seek out the truths and translations of our selves.



blur |blər| verb ( blurs, blurring, blurred ) make or become unclear or less distinct

The one who drips toes beneath cold Colorado reservoir tells me to be in blur.

I want to locate it. I want to disrobe it into translation.

What is our rush. How do we want to be approached.

I do not want to be ma’am’d or miss’d or lady’d or woman’d. When my chest is dressed, I want it to be paved road or the way I remember New Jersey to be: concrete. flat. unmentionable.

But I’ve got all this hair and you spent over twelve years comprehending humans due to their predilection to pink or blue. I am neither.

How can we greet another. [how about: hello.]

On this side of the earth, it is necessary to ask questions like: what pronoun do you prefer or what part(s) on your body are not permitted to be fingered or gathered and what is your relationship to your gender today?

This does not have to be academic or disrobed. I just want to take teeth-bitten fingernails and scratch my way out of this space. I just want to (im)properly footnote my way into a way of surviving this. Apparently, ace bandages are dangerous and can cause dislocation. I have purchased something more formal and I wait for its presence in my mailbox. I am going to attempt to hold off on the scissors and see if I can [dis]member my gender without scheduling a buzz cut. My shoulders have been called small. My hips have been titled sexy and curved. What do I want to hear. My wrists are strong and have fought wars. My feet are cut up and callused from walking through state lines just to run from this body. My collarbone is clumsy, but also chatty. Ask it any question and it will respond in sliced up poems from Lorca or Bukowski.

What to call all of this.

I keep reading books on gender in order to find mine. We’ve gathered up so many acronyms and delineations. What hasn’t been mentioned. What is left to claim.

You are taking shots of  T to claim the body that has been hiding inside you;  I wonder what stimulated sap exists to get me closer to what I am. All these ledges I’ve been dangling on and I am trying to find a reason why I’ve done things. I am trying to translate the trauma of my bones.

For now, see me as a window with raindrops. Obscure and faint[ed]. Keep asking what I call myself. And pause before each touch so I can force my reasons out. Tell me I am handsome and comment on the sparks of language on my brain, rather than the red in my hair. See me as human…that is all I can claim so far.

“the truth is romantic”

for M.M.

I prefer dandelions to roses

I stole a tube of lipstick once and pants and

When I am nervous, I bite the flaps of length on my fingernails, I drink coffee, I pretend I am a boy, I pretend I am ok, I write hate letters into my body, I write a poem, I speak a poem, I fall in love.

I want to carve trees like my body and ask them to be my mirror

I’m afraid if I bring my hair back to its original colour I will be invisible again

The truth is I am having an affair with the tree outside my window. My apartment is too small for its branches and bark to squeeze in and find warmth in my bed at night. I watch snow slap against its leaves. I study the branches, fallen yet still attached. Phantom limbs still haunting. I feel like maybe it loves me back. I feel like maybe it can love me unlike anyone has (or can). I will call it Arbutus. I will call it Sapped. I will call it Rings of Future Parchment. I will call it when I am lonesome. I will ask it it’s preferred pronoun. I will ask it if it prefers green tea to earl. I will ask if it is hungry. I will ask it to climb out of the earth and run away with me.

I cannot forgive my mother

I never loved you

I never stopped

The truth is I am sensing decay on my hip. The truth is my hair is falling out because of the red because of the pull because of the knots because of that time I decided the dirt needed to remain to remind me who I am.

I want to get rid of these things. Haul them toward the corner and allow passersby to rummage, jump into, steal my life

I’m planning a run-a-way

I am addicted to photographs of (other people’s) homes because I still haven’t found one yet

The truth is when I learned of their upcoming divorce, I weeped. A silent, dry weep because I was surrounded by bad lighting and the aroma of punch cards and workday. Through (their) divorce, comes confession of real love, the kind of love that surpasses jewelry stolen from the earth and ceremonies and wedding cake and registries and 2.5 statistical children. The kind of love that acknowledges the inequality of queer love surrounding them. So a piece of paper is turned to confetti and (their) love still screams just as loud. No, LOUDER.

I am not sure I am entirely comfortable with “she” but I do not want “he”. I want to be called slash/ or inbetween/ or undecided/ or animal

The truth is my body used to be shaped as a mailbox on corners without the blue without the metal. And now my body is shaped as a form letter and now my body is an unexpressed apology and my body is a collision of accidents and my body is in need of a bath where water comes from ocean not faucet and tub is really just another body engulfing me.