Dancing in the Dark

I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin

Like the softness of your touch.

 

You said you love how everything is more beautiful

When the clouds part and the sun,

Amongst clear skies, shines through.

I love how you believe that the world can be beautiful

You make it more beautiful

Make me want to believe

It can be beautiful

Make me want to write

Of warmth and light

Rather than simply storms and tides.

 

I love how you want to read these poems

Whether I write of either,

That you ask me what they mean

And honestly listen

When I speak about why I write so often of grief.

 

Because persisting through all the maelstroms in the world

Would be worthwhile

To finally be here to breathe with you

To cry and smile and fight alongside you

To savour the scent of flowers with you

To hear the the melody of your laughter beyond the chaos

To explore and dream of visions of the shore with you

To witness pain reforged into glorious tapestries

To feel, to breathe, to be here with you.

 

The clouds have settled again today

But I’m still thinking of the sun

And of what it would be like

To dance in the dark with you

Until the sky is fractured

And the warmth of our bodies kindles wonders anew.

 

I remember the night

When the wind was so ferocious

I thought it might tear the window off its frame.

As we rested under the fairy lights

I swear I’ve never felt so warm or so safe

As I did in your embrace.

 

Advertisements

True Trans Soul Rebel

My untaught hand still shakes a little

As I lace the liner across my eyelids

And smudge it under my eyes

Patching and straightening it out as doubt creeps in

Deriding the lack of uniformity

Like flaws in an unconvincing costume

Like I can still see monsters hiding in the shadows

Of this lipstick’s hues

Like I can see them haunting my reflection

Mocking me, conjuring some ghoulish pageantry

Jeering like an audience baying for blood

Demanding that I be both less and more

As if I’m a caricature of everything I want to be

And I’m just trying to conceal the fear

The fatigue and anxiety

With stains and shades, a masquerade

Of femininity

That feels more like negation

Than bravery

Not resistance, but concession

To the violence of society

Not a divergence from the performance

But abiding it all too cautiously –

This bleak evaluation

Of how much I want to be taunted or hurt today

Balancing a desire for ‘authenticity’

Against fear of punishment and sanction

A tightrope the dispossessed all tread,

A disguise we all in some form don,

As directors backstage

Instruct us exactly how to perform:

We are both judge and judged,

Ever both performer

And audience member

Whilst never interrogating who dictates

This grotesque show

 

By the end of the night I look in the mirror

And feel like I have been wrenched through a trial

My lipstick no longer gleaming

But etched more like some ghastly bruise

Some ghost of withered dreams

As I grapple with the memory

Of looks of disgust, intimidation and heckles

That I screen out with Against Me!

 

And I know the demons have compelled me

To want to rub it off all night

But I curl my lips into a smile

Because despite this fearful trial

I still believe we can be saboteurs rather than actors

And that we can tear down this theatre together:

And each time I apply this liner

My hand gets a little steadier

I feel a little safer

A little stronger.

 

I can’t and won’t wear this binary:

These choreographed steps and expectations of me

Aren’t my reality

And I don’t need any embellishment

To instill me with coherency

As I feel this punk symphony

Seize the spotlight and occupy the stage

 

Even if I can’t quite see myself as beautiful

I’m trying to be myself

And that’s something

I want to believe that’s enough.

An Ocean Between Us

Almost a year ago you called me up

And told me your friend had committed suicide.

 

I remember how the rain struck the windows

As if demanding entry, as if storms

Surged in dirge and bitter salute,

Railed and seethed and raged as if in unbecoming

As if only floods could wash away this anguish

And the devastation craved more victims.

 

I remember how the room was cold, dark,

Shattered, like it could never be whole again,

Like we were clinging to the debris of a shipwreck

Flailing and thrashing amidst the crash of the waves

And all I could hear was your breaking voice

Desperately searching for him amongst the wreckage

As you struggled to breathe, to hold on,

Struggled to resist the overpowering might of the tides

Struggled to overcome the impulse to just surrender

As if you could hear his voice in the storm

Feel his phantom seep through your skin

As the glacial waters and winds numbed your flesh

As nothingness beckoned, crushed and submerged your senses,

And the tempest erupted like a crescendo inside your frame

Like a spectral choir of everything you had lost

Currents hauling in the ruins of distant shores

Every gust of pain incited into whirlwinds

Wresting at your grip

Bludgeoning your resolve

Withering your spirit

 

I tried to reach you, to call out

Pleaded with you to not let go

Cried that I loved you and it was not your fault

But the words were lost in the clamour

And no words could conciliate it

And it felt like there was an ocean between us.

 

They called it an accident

But we knew that wasn’t true

What hurts the most is knowing

It could have been you

That so many cast themselves overboard each day

And we mourn, grieve, but never speak

Of the vessel, the cruelty of captains toward their crew

Or the storms we are consigned to sail through.

 

I remember everything of that night

And nothing at all.