Several Ways of Seeing Gender – New Poem

A work in progress. Feel free to make suggestions (it’s clear to me; not sure it is to anyone else). As always, this post could self-destruct at any time if the poet suffers a severe self-doubt meltdown.

Several Ways of Seeing Gender

A bra strap
with the shoulders
of her sundress, the band
black & frayed.

Strained as a noose
fastened to steel girders
on a bridge. In the pew
behind her he thinks
this is the best
she could do?

Oh what he
could do with the dress

freshly pressed
the stockings & shoes
the stance the sass
in the step well-practiced
and kept
in the closet.

does not want
to be she

although it would be
easier, although
the H, glottal
of escape, indicates
on context, on

& while the sh
of her gender
is also
voiceless, it requires

tension, hints
at secret or shame.
But also

softness. Like silk
slipped past the cleft
of an open drawer.

It’s only
a dress. It’s only
a letter. Cosmetic.
This isn’t hard
to understand.

My son is home from school
& I have to play
by the rules, my fingertips
dry & stubby as the butt
of an old cigar, the red tips
hidden & stored like the bodies
of beetles on display. Clicky
as summer cicadas.

The feminine
for now
only comes out
in pictures, too glamorous
for church
on Sunday.

It isn’t just gender
that gets in the way,
it’s preference. Taste.

who desires elegance nowadays

I am
this dress
& those

that pose
in that photo
the lighting
just so
the drape & slit
of skirt against thigh –

she says it isn’t fair
when a man
has better legs
than a woman

& oh what he
could do if he
were she. He does not want
to be she

but he would do
the best she/he could do
if he could wear that dress
to church one Sunday.

Consumed – New VideoPoem


I am a sweater
in the head
a sock
in the jaw
my torso

a narrow corridor
of clothes,
stuffed from either side
somewhat unorganized

& slightly musty
from the hung-up
of perfection,
my chest

by costume jewelry
mangled in a mass
& faintly tarnished,

my arms wooden rods
bowed and over-
extended with the want
they prop,

my legs shallow
skins that drag
against the boxtops
storing the means

of my protection
from ever connecting
with the earth
that gave birth

to me, this glutting
needing thing
stuffing its gut
& pitching the bones,

the scraps of plastic
& styrofoam,
into a gaping bin
consigned to the corner.

Notes: The first phrase in this poem (“I am a sweater in the head”) originally came from a woman I overheard describing to her friend why she never wears hats. The video was run through Movie Maker, and I recorded my voice using Voice Changer Plus on my iPhone. Told you I was bargain-basement over here. The primary video appears to have been test shots for a dollar store commercial – I did not copy and repeat those zoom-out shots of the fishing lures, they were actually all filmed and strung together one after another in the original film, as were the numerous shots of the woman looking at – and this part made me fantastically happy – the exact same dress over & over. The party shots were worked in mostly to utilize the transitions provided by the movie clapboards, quite honestly; the incredibly phallic balloon-blowing contest was a bonus. But maybe that’s sharing too much.

Native Tongue – New Poem

This is a new one. If I decide I don’t like it I’ll take it down, so read it quickly, ’cause I do that a LOT. And if you like it let me know – it motivates me to leave it up.

Native Tongue

The blood I can feel
each morning, slow as sap
through the skin & tissue.

Untapped. Maybe I need
medication, it’s probably hormones
someone will say.

It’s some-odd years
of the same. Not the ones
already lived, it’s what is

to come. I regret
what is left. No man ever learned

his lesson from me. My lips
were never red. My native tongue not
his first language. His blood

so blue it showed through
on his face & fingers.