don’t wanna be

a good girl anymore

don’t wanna

wake up early for work, put on nice slacks clean

button down shirt–as andro as I dare

to dress at this job where I

already have to explain words

like ‘transgender’

to co-workers.  I’m

tired of being the spokesperson

the acceptable,

approachable kind of gay

the girl next door

the one who can pass just under

your straight-line radar

Some days I wanna be the one you

wonder about on the train

Is she…? A…?

Or just a hipster? I can’t tell


I can’t tell sometimes whether

I wanna be a downright bitch or just

an outlaw

want to yank words like ‘sorry’ and ‘thanks’

right out of my vocabulary like weeds

from the ground

retune my socialized vocal cords to

sound tougher

sling ‘cunt’ and ‘fucker’

casual as throwing seeds

to the ground

whatever it takes

I just don’t want to be the same

as them



…speaking with conviction.  It should not matter

what my gender is

the color of my hair, skin, accent

or whether I’m wearing the right kind of

flag lapel pin.  I could shout into

a bullhorn mic or whisper

quiet as the night when the wind is low

but you would still hear me

absorb every syllable, and know that

I mean it.  I will no longer be afraid

to use academic vocabulary–I refuse

to pretend I don’t remember

or understand, when I’ve actually known these words

by heart for years

I just lacked the conviction to

make them clear.


My back aches right in the middle

beneath my bra clasp

It’s been hurting since

I was about thirteen and then

BOOM! I had boobs bigger

than my older sister’s.  Nowadays

I have to spend at least half an hour

stretching and contorting in

yoga positions like the Downward Dog

and Pissed-Off Cat, just to sleep

without aching.  Maybe I oughta just

chop them off and have done with it

like the Amazons in Greek mythology

who did amateur masectomies

so they could draw bows

and kick ass better.  But then again

that would probably create

another ache in a different place.


There’s a hollow feeling sometimes


I am not tough enough

my skin’s edges are not rough enough

to convince you that I will

fuck you up

if you try to mess with me. I still

put on the get-up

of a real normal girl,

I wear makeup (sometimes)

and dresses (twice a year)

and I won’t cut my hair super-short because frankly

I’d look ridiculous

but this

isn’t a beauty pageant, this is a knock-down, drag-out (drag queen drama)

brawling in the basement bar

kind of city and I’m not sure I’m rough

and ready enough to live here.

I’m not that cool kid

who’d already done the things you still wish

you were brave enough to commit

by age sixteen,

I don’t smoke or wear black-framed glasses to match

my hipster sneakers, I don’t have

a tragic past or a decent reason to be sad

anger rarely bubbles up in me

and when it does, I rage


against grinning bigots and blithe ignorance

I can’t even make a fist without my fingers shaking

like they always do, betraying

my inner cowardice.

Guess I’m just not sufficiently brave to make a fuss

not tough enough for this rough-and-tumble

Sinclair’s urban jungle, world about to


so instead of packing a gun

and fighting back, think I’ll

pick up a mic

and straighten my back

speak my shaking words into the black abyss

of this old silent gangster movie, make you (hear me)

sit still to listen

to the scratched record pop and hiss

as it plays back (skips and)

plays back

the history of how all this

came to be, my twitching fingers and glossed lips,

and those memories you’d prefer to forget.

Listen now, this is it…I won’t tell you again