Gone

She drove away into the darkness of the night
We did not say goodbye
She departed, not without warning and left me wanting
Dearly departed I am drowning in my own life
Wanting to have refrained from the last last straw
Wanting to be near her to smell her hair
Wanting to be close and hold her close to me
All night long

Waiting in the darkness is the loneliest place
Waiting alone and hoping
The next headlamp is hers, passing fast by our house
Past caring if I die
Leaving you trembling with fear and apprehension
Leaving you alternately angry and tearful
Leaving you afraid she won’t come home
All night long

It never really matters how I broke her heart
People do what they have to do
I took from her ever other option she had, other than leaving
While I wait here breathlessly holding my broken promises bleeding
Holding on to the memory of her last words to me
Holding on to the love deep within me
Holding her pain inside me like praying
All night long

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Gender Outlaw

I wanna be a gender outlaw
I wanna wear a big ass pink Stetson hat
But I ain’t gonna chew no tobacco, bub
Perched up there on that great big ‘ol white horse
Riding into town with a big grin
When people stare I won’t mind

I wanna be a gender outlaw
I want people to smile back when I smile at them
But I ain’t gonna join no ladies auxiliary, ma’am
When our eyes meet they won’t look away
I want to get the joke, not be the joke
I’ll shoot down ever prejudice and superstition
I’ll be the hero of everyone in town

I wanna be a gender outlaw
I want the bad guys to be afraid of me for a change
But I won’t jump them in some back alley, mate
And when it’s time to go, I won’t go quietly
I want to leave in my own time and in my own way
I won’t be afraid of no one
I’ll gallop me into the sunset

Yippe Ki Yay!

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Safe

Safety
      is hypothetical
      is assumed by many men
      is doubted by many women
      is the destination of choice
      is deemed worth a ton of grief.

Safety
      fashions who we are
      defines what we do
      bounds where we are and where we go
      justifies our choices and validates our goals
      quantifies our assessments of who we are.

Safety is over-rated
      Risk is over-estimated
The safest life
      Is no life at all

Reality
      is a dangerous place
      requires challenge and risk
      provides equal opportunities for success or failure
      is arbitrary and beyond our control
      leaves me breathless and alive

Alive
      I take chances
      I am often scared
      I feel the danger of every hour
      I beat the odds and master the moment
      is a difficult thing to be, is the only thing I really am.

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Unlovely

You know I have always been unlovely
This body of mine that I acquired
From the tangle of leaves and brambles in an ancient adolescence
This body that was an unruly and uncomely accident
Useful to be sure, but merely a kind of temporary residence
A place to be when none other was available

Yet it is only now, when I am become, to use your words, deformed
When my shape embraces an unconventional aspect and
Encompasses both the woman and the man of my humanity
That I begin to find within myself a shy pride
Sneaking glances at this odd body never glimpsed before
A gentle satisfaction unique to me in my experience

Here am I come to my beginning, my transformation
From an unlovely artifact of indiscriminate articulation
To a form of unconventional intensity and contemplation
For I am seeing in this new and different way of being
A new and different way of becoming who I am
A utopian echo escaping my dystopic past.

There is a freedom of difference that is conferred
By being oneself different and not for any reason particularly
But embracing change and being the substance of change
Expanding the mind and the heart may have this side effect
Discarding the old, the familiar, the regular
And becoming something new, distinct and singular

I wish I had a way to share this feeling of disappearing limitation
For I was trapped for so long in my secular self
Unmoved by a moving world – untouched and uninvolved
A separate entity alone in my own grandiose fantasies
An aggregate of everybody else’s dreams
Traveling at great speed in a circle to nowhere

It is when we get free of the haunted past
We see the present not in the context of the past
But in the interconnectedness of the present
As if I were sighted for the first time
I see the waste and pain that were the gifts I brought
To the train wreck of my life

It is this new sight with which I see my body now
And in this sight I am become almost beautiful
Not because of the line or the angle or shape of this or that
But because the outer change reflects the inner
And in this mirror I see now not some random alien form
But myself for the first time beside you.

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Gravestone

She was all alone
I was not with her
She was with me
We walked and did not talk
It was evening
Then morning

I reached out to her and she was gone
When they found her, she was two days dead
Just another John Doe in the morgue
They wouldn’t let me see her
I never got to say goodbye

I wasn’t angry
It wasn’t about me

It took me days to find the grave stone
Lying there quiet and anonymous with that name
The name she hated and left behind
Now she lay under it
Silent

When I am alone I wonder
Looking at the sky makes me want to fly away
I could be next
You could, too

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Nice

It would have been nice to have been attractive
To be observed as interesting, to have been pursued, to have been desired
And I don’t mean for myself, for who I am, which is not immediately apparent
Apparently
But to have been lovely, as opposed to loved
To have been, however briefly, a person with a wow factor

I suppose I didn’t need that kind of hit for my ego
Which is big enough for any two any other folks without that reason to expand
Of course mine was the overcompensated inferiority thing I had going on
My defining feature
Deep people always wish they were shallow
Do the shallow ones wonder, I wonder, what it would be like to be deep?

To walk into a room and fail to catch the gaze of people
You do not know, do not care about, don’t care to know in the main
Seems a really silly regret in retrospect in context of a life full of real regrets
We all long for what we don’t have
We fail to value what we have until it is gone and we want it back
Perhaps it is just young and not just beauty that I miss,  mother.

My mother didn’t raise any stupid children
We were never given over to fashion or to the obedience to the whims of others
We made our own way, we read deeply and felt deeply, loved and lost deeply
She tossed us in at the deep end
Where we each found out own level and chose our own destinations
Which is never where you end up, but that’s just how life works.

What if her mother had dressed her in frilly frocks and Easter hats?
Could my mother have turned out to be such a different human being as all that
Would I have been brought to see convention as a helpful resource instead of
An intolerable barrier
Would I have fought less and accepted more, like so many others no better than I
Perhaps my current state of serene regret and grateful confusion is just an accident.

Nice.

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Hearsay

You know what they told me? A pack of lies and cheats mostly
About how it was going to be when I grew up and became a real person
Who I would be, what I would do, what I would know, it was all bunk
And the worst part of all this, worse than anything they told me
Was that I believed it, hook, line and sinker, what a fool

It was going to get easier, things were going to be better
The problems of an uncertain and difficult world would be solved
We were making progress and the results were going to be better
For me, for strangers, for the people I knew, for everybody
All our lives were going to flower and blossom like magic

And I believed in magic, too, I had to, in my way
Because I always felt I was owed something, like the world was mine
Like there was some great debt to which I held the title deed
It didn’t matter what I did, nor what I failed to do, that didn’t really matter
Everything would come out in the destiny I was destined to have

I can see you there shaking your head at me, because you understand
What a child I have been to believe in good fairies and spirits
In the good getting the best and the bad getting the rest
In a life written by screen writers with plenty of twists and turns
But I always rode off into the sunset with the horse and the girl

I was never the girl who got rode away with, nor the horse for that matter
It was never my fault, the pain I gave to others, it was just an effect
Bad things happened but not because I did not prevent them and
Most certainly not because I selfishly made them happen to you
In my life I was the star and the epic was all about me.

Now I have to lie silent and still in the silence of the darkness
Listening to my own heartbeat, feeling the tears down my face
With no one to hold me and tell me it’s alright
Arrived here one foot before the other by my own choice
Just another lost little girl afraid of the dark

There’s nobody left to blame but me.

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Cages

When she was younger, they put her in a cage
They never let her out, not even on weekends
It didn’t matter what she wanted or how she felt
It was a rite of passage, after all
It was all part of becoming that woman
Free to be a woman just like them
It was her heresy to dream of a different way
To be the person she dreamed she could be

But you get used to it, daughter
Your pain is your own fault, not ours.

When he was younger, they taught him to be in charge
It was no one’s expectation, the world required it
His fears did not matter for he was not allowed to care
It was how real men behaved, of course
It was how a man proved his worth
Free to be strong and needless like they were
If he ever wondered if there might be another way
He could never admit it to anyone, least of all himself

We’re all like this, don’t you know that
Even to conceive of difference, this is weakness

And now that I am older and I embrace the cage
When my tears fall like rain and I don’t care who sees
I’m not a performance piece for your amusement
I don’t care if you think me less of a woman
It doesn’t matter if you think me an insufficient male
This is what I need today for and of and by myself
I’m not even sorry that your confusion does not trouble me
I don’t need your permission or approval anymore

Just leave me to it, can you do that
Neither the woman nor the man in me is broken

I am no longer content to choose between your binaries
And do not call me unhappy or discontented
I’m disenchanted since I lack your enchantment
If I fail, I fail in my mediocrity, fail in my complacency
I’ve never failed you, it’s your labels that have failed me
And now and tomorrow, I leave you to them
May they do you every good that they never did me

I feel so light now, so prone to dance, so prepared
To greet myself each day, as if for the first time.

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Alone

When I am alone
I can be dealt with
I can be awed, frightened, bullied
I am vulnerable

This is a known fact about me
It’s on file in DC
in Brussels
In Moscow
In Rome
It’s a well known fact

And I’m not alone either
You’re right there with me
The same reality constrains us all
And yet it’s facts they use to separate us
To atomize our unity
Moving us from a position of strength
To one of weakness

They’re so good at manipulation
It’s what they do best
It’s the secret of their success
And our failure

Drive the wedge between people who share
Turn brother against brother and sister against sister
Divide and conquer
White man, black man, lesbian, trans
Round and round it goes
Hurt on hurt again and again

Jackpot
Somebody dies. Nobody I know
Another grave – inevitable result
In confusion there is profit
In harm there is gain
The prophesy of power is complete

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Voice

Who do I sound like when I am being myself
Not one of my characters, not the people that people expect me to be
Is my voice too high or too low, does it express who I am
Does your voice or his voice or her voice make them who we are?
I sound like my mother, he says, like an apology
My voice sounds so strange when it is recorded and played back
Do I really sound like that when I am live?

I do not remember my father’s voice, not at all
Sometimes my mother’s voice will play in my head
So strange that I can so easily bring forth a thousand voices
Of people long dead that I have never met from films and TV
So memorable and so individual, even more than faces
People say the eyes are the windows to the soul
What then is the voice, the music of the heart?

She says sometimes I talk too femme, oops I forgot
Who am I supposed to talk like today and why does it matter
When my voice is my instrument, my melody and my harmony
Reaching out to touch the other voices I hear every day
Yes, today I will have my every day voice, I will not pretend
To be a man or be a woman, a grownup, a child, an elder, an infant
In me are all these voices crying to get out

I love to sing, but I have to admit I do not do it very well
I must teach my voice to remember the lines of harmony one by one
I sing high, I sing low, failing at both ends to reach notes
Which other folks sing with ease, a metaphor for my life
A little flat here, a trifle sharp, but not often, too this, too that
Never satisfied with sounding just like everyone else
It doesn’t matter I guess just who I please but myself.

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