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This morning, I posted this link which spells out a case which seems to overlap with many of the worst nightmares of the trans people I know. Luckily - and I use the term a bit sardonically - it seems that some of the worst fears expressed in the original post may not be, in fact, quite as justified in this particular case as we had believed.

In other cases I know of, they probably were, and the possibility always remains, just as long term gay and lesbian lovers are torn from deathbeds and women are murdered for short skirts or looking at the wrong boy, or any girl.

If it did not happen this time, it will some other.

Poem behind cut tags, because a bit on the intense side.

They want to erase us, to pretend that we never were. )

Requiem

Dec. 30th, 2009 10:53 am
rozk: (Default)
This is a clip, filmed by Mx Squiggle, of me performing my poem 'Requiem' at the London Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony last month.

THAT DAY

Nov. 20th, 2009 12:18 am
rozk: (Trans day of remembrance)
The figures speak for themselves.

Every two days, at least, somewhere in the world, a trans woman is killed, for being trans. It doesn't happen that often in the United Kingdom - though we know of two in the last month or so, that's unusually frequent.

But it should not happen at all.

I don't even care why - whether it is religion, or machismo or one of the other stupid excuses men - because it almost always is men - make up to justify strangling us, shooting us, cutting our arms off, setting fire to us and the rest.

It shouldn't happen to anyone. There is no reason for it.

So, right now, I am not in the best of moods.

Saturday, I will go to the Day of Remembrance meeting in Gower Street, and I will read my new poem, and I will probably cry quite a lot.

******

And here is the new poem:

REQUIEM

1. FREE ME

Choose
fold into darkness
self-woven shroud.
Melt away and mould.
Burst into sudden light
fragile, moist, true.

Choose
never to swim again or know the tides
breath harsh bright air
burning dried salt-flaked gills
throat married to new songs
walk, knife-feet stab each step.

Choose
not to be dark veins or light.
Chiselled wings burst free:
the folds of robe
carved, fixed in flight,
single trumpet note
piercing.

Choose
new
kitten-blind
foal-totter,
moth-flutter
boy-strut
girl-smile
angel-song.
Dance.

Choose
to forge yourself
from ice and steel
from marble and from gut
from blood and bone.
true name, true face, true song, true dance
innocence, danger and delight

Choose
The life you would repeat a thousand times
However short, however long
Your dance.

Cut short.


2 DAY OF TEARS

Some of them
walked streets I've walked
under grey clouds
had friends I have
listened to songs I love
or drank in bars where I
would drink (if I still drank)

Some of them
knew other skies that have no clouds
sang other songs
and never drank at all.

Still,
my sisters, my brothers, our kin, our kind
singers, dancers
flesh and bone
made choices that I made,
and died for it,
lived lives we walk
and died for it,
and so I mourn for them.
We mourn for them
Here, now.
Duwanna, Andrea and all the rest.
Destiny
Cut short


3 WRATH

Walls curled
Around walls.
Spirals, grid, broken.
Door leads in darkness
To other doors
Or to blank walls
that curl
around.

Blood reek,
blood spatter,
old stains
layer on layer.
Scrap of gut
Shard of bone.
Blood, shit and fresh dung.

They put you in the rooms
The dark rooms curled around
The dark rooms open to the sky
Where the monster got you
where the monster ate you.
Dumb savage twisted
Whose horns scrape on close walls
whose hooves slide in the blood
Whose tail, whose prick
juts, swishes, swings
Menace and rage.

You, tribute, offering
Sent to dark rooms
Walking dark streets.
Heavy breath steam behind you
Hoof-clip, horn-scrape.
If not you
Someone who
Matters
Mother, brother, lover, child.
Yet you are all those things?
Not in the way that counts
And not to them
The ordinary decent folk
Who'd never kill, but close their eyes
And do not watch.

It's closer now.
Time that you turn
Fight, kiss, pray, scream
Or maybe leap the horns
Choose.

Cut short


4 ETERNAL LIGHT

Joy is a choice whose absence is despair.
We learn to walk, to dance, to fly.
Freed into light
free into brilliant air.

The beast learns nothing. Its own misery
traps it among curled walls
in darkened streets
where it strikes out
with hooves and horns at joy
And it would steal joy if it could
It never can.

The blood upon its floor
The blood in which it slips
Its victims'
Its own tears as well
Despair's blood tears.

We weep our dead
In different tears
that mourn and yet are joy
bright as the chisel-strokes that gave us wings
piercing as trumpet note.
They loved and danced
for moments of that joy
in brilliant air
and if they were cut short,
dance still
bright
in tear-stained memory.
rozk: (Default)
I read at the Stonewall Riot Fortieth Anniversary concert this afternoon and I am told that it went quite well - I need to get used to working with a microphone though, because I am too used to small audiences in bookshops...I'll talk about the rest of the day in another post, and the rest of the concert come to that, but this bit is all about me and my stuff. So there.

Except to say that one of the origins of this post was a response to a whole string of memorial pieces which try to write trans people out of the riot (like this one here by redefining various people who were in fact trans as cis because at the time they were not necessarily wearing full drag. That piece is particularly egregious, in that it misgenders both Sylvia Riveira and Marsha P. Johnson; oh! and also by lying about various other people...

Anyway, I got into an exchange of letters with Susan Stryker, eminent trans historian, and ended up not with the polemical piece I had planned but with something else instead...

Stonewall - a poem )

Of course, I got people to shout out Present in the right place - old Italian partisan memorial thing, is apparently where I got it from, who knew? - and I actually sang the Stonewall song first time, which I did not know I was going to until I did it. And the chant at the end goes on as long as you can get it to, not very long this afternoon, miserable bunch...

Anyone, everyone seems to like it - various friends have read various drafts and one friend told me to trim down the first section, and was right. My thanks to everyone who helped because it takes more than one person to write a final draft of a poem.

And I may even get to do it again, possibly at Wotever.

I amended the original version to include the story of Baby Val
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