They Beast

Last night, I had just returned home from a huge personal moment. I had regained the joy in singing before and with other people. I had sat in a room full of my trans and gender non conforming siblings and sung songs of unity, pride and defiance. So when I got home, after a joyful cry, I made a pizza and settled in to watch a documentary on the history of rock climbing in Yosemite. I love adventure sports. I have always found them enticing and inspiring. I got to thinking about my love of urban bicycling, of riding like a maniac and doing the things most people are afraid to do with a self assured ease. I began to think about penning a piece on the topic. I had in the past. Even had a blog on the subject. But then I turned to social media. I was reminded of the real struggle of my life. That of the drive to authenticity that has left me and so many like me vulnerable to a very real hate. This poem is a result of that tiny moment in my small life.

They Beast

 

I wanted to write about urban biking

I wanted to write about the thrill of traffic

From my perch on two spinning pedals

About adrenaline and danger

Taking massive risks

Pitting myself against one ton behemoths

And the petty laws of cis men put in place for my “safety”

About how I know better because

I measure heavy traffic’s motion in milliseconds

I, the they queen of derring-do

 

But then I woke up to the world around me

To my trans sisters who can’t ride a subway

Without being assaulted

Who can’t walk down the street

Without death threats

Hurled at their faces

 

I woke up to the days

When strangers tell me

That they hope I get raped

 

I woke up to the rage that boils in the world

And calls out for my enby sibling’s blood

The very real fact that there is no rest for their weary hearts

No port or potty in a storm

That they can call a safe haven

 

I woke up too to the fire that we are all filled with

That raises us up

And tells us we are good

 

Before I transitioned

I learned to ride my bike like a pro

Because I wanted to be killed in traffic

But I awoke to the reality

That I was letting the cis lords win

That I was throwing away

Every part of me

That my loved ones said was so special

 

I had to face the people

Who would try to kill me

Try to run me off the road

Who would curse my soul

And tell me it was their God’s will

That I burn for eternity

The very same God

Who had supposedly

Put me here

In this trans body

In this world

Where I don’t fit

Where my trans brothers

Are called “faggot” and “it”

 

What have we done but let our little lights shine?

 

When do I get to write about

The joy in just following a line

Through heavy traffic

Totally aware of my immediate world

At peace and pumping hard

On my tube steel steed

Where is my opus

On the power in me?

 

Damn it all if it isn’t in just living the risk

That is my bare existence

Knowing full well

That the next time I go to the store

And some cis lord sees a hint of

My symphony of genderless defiance

proof of my lie

My trick aimed at him

And his sexual interest

And decides it is my time to die

 

I do not need to race through traffic

I do not need to surf big waves

Or to climb huge walls untethered

Or to jump from those self same walls

 

For I am an abomination

A monster

That makes the cis lords crumble in fear

Because they are not strong enough

To face their own truths

For fear

Of the truth

That they,

Made in the image

Of the same deity as me,

Are my mirror

 

I still ride

Because I want to

I still make young cis men

Feel weak and unskilled

Because they know they can’t pass me

Or pass as me

And I revel in it

Because I am a they beast

An enby trans woman

 

I am too much an angel

To be dragged down to their earthly domain

They Beast

Danny

Oh Danny

You called me “she” when my back was turned

When I was trying

So very hard

To be the young man I thought I had to be

 

That day at work

When I saw you in your dress

And cute brown wig

That you usually only wore for your drag act

I thought you were so gorgeous

So very elegant, long and slender

Like a six three goddess crane, oozing femininity

I just had to tell you

And when I asked you why you didn’t dress that way

All the time

And you said

It was because you would get your ass kicked

I knew it was true

I knew it was true too

That if

I let myself free

They would try to kill me too

 

Oh Danny

I have often wondered

What became of you?

Are you still trapped in your man skin?

Or have you shed yours too?

Did they kill you Danny?

Did they beat the life from you?

Or did you survive?

Scars and all

To become the long

And elegant bird of grace

That you were always meant to be

 

If you made it, perhaps I will see you again

All these years later

You saw the girl in me when no one else could

You saw right through my mask of fears

You called me “she” when my back was turned

Our coworkers didn’t know why

You knew though

You knew too

Not to say it to me directly

That I was still too scared

You called me “she”

To my best guy friend though

And he told me Danny

All these years later

Now that I have let myself be

The trans woman that I am

 

Oh Danny

I hope I run into you someday

And we can talk about the bad old days

When girls like us

Had to hide in man costumes

Just to survive

And we can look ourselves over Danny

And remark on what beauties we have both become

 

Oh Danny

I hope life hasn’t been too hard on you

That it hasn’t left you sick and scarred

It nearly killed me Danny

I hid so damn long

I had always held out hope for you

The strength you showed

In being you

If only part time

I looked up to you Danny

 

Oh Danny

I know

I just know you can hear me

You called me “she”

You were the first person ever

To get my gender right

And I never had to ask you

We are girls of a special kind

And you knew your sister

As soon as I spoke

I can’t believe it has taken me so long

To say “thank you Danny”

 

Oh Danny

Do you remember?

Back then

The two of us

In our baggy men’s jeans and shirts

And big army boots

With our shaved heads

Our ridiculous man costumes

What fools we both looked

And damnit, if we didn’t both know it

Danny