A Love Poem

I wish I could take your scent
The warm aroma of cinnamon and cocoa
Bottle it.
Spritz some on my pillow when I feel alone
Dab it on my thighs, between my breasts, the nape of my neck.
An echo of your touch.

I miss your black liquid eyes,
Sweeping across my body.
I want your delicate hands, with your olive oil skin
To caress every crevice of my body
To feel your breath on my cheek
To hear the soft lilt of your voice in my ear.

You are beautiful to me, my love.
An exotic creature,
Flying in a blaze of colour and spice to share my bed.
Stay with me here, beneath the sun-dappled sheets twisted around our bodies.
Do not let me tame you
Keep your black liquid eyes and sun-drenched scent
Just leave a drop for me.

Morning

In the morning I’ll be better

The pain deep in my chest will be gone

I’ll take a long breath of the cold autumn air

And start anew.

Finally Remembering the T

Last year, the wonderful Natacha Kennedy wrote an excellent piece for Comment is Free, highlighting the invisibility of trans people in media coverage of LGBT issues. The comments were typically trollish, but it highlighted the absence – even in the left-leaning press – of intelligent, respectful treatment of trans people. When a trans individual does get a mention in the media, it’s usually along the ‘Woman is actually a MAN‘ route, not to mention the tired (although arguably more sympathetic) ‘She was a girl trapped in a boy\’s body‘ cliche and the ridiculously inaccurate use of pronouns.

It was with some trepidation then that this Guardian piece was digested this morning. It addresses the discrimination and transphobia suffered by trans people in Indonesia, addressing how a combination of sociocultural conservatism, emphasis on medicalisation and legally-enshrined bigotry has made life increasingly difficult for those on the trans spectrum. Although it can be argued that the article places too much emphasis on surgical options, on the whole it is a well-researched, well-written and important piece, depicting the lives of trans people realistically yet respectfully.

Obviously I understand that I am not in the best position to reflect on the accuracy of the article; I am a white, middle-class, western woman. However, I do see myself as a part of the queer community, and being the partner of a non-British trans person, I understand the sociocultural issues at stake and the importance of being represented – or at least mentioned in a pronoun-correct capacity – within popular culture.

Yes, the article is not perfect, and it is only one piece amongst a wave of inaccurate and disrespectful reporting, but it’s start, and proof that the mainstream can engage with our community without resorting to the cliches and bigotry.

Tube Station, September

The platform was dusty and humid

Filled with besuited commuters, filling the air with sweat and strain and stress.

 

A white-winged butterfly fluttered into view.

Rested on the concrete floor

Heaved itself up

Once, twice, again and again and again, finding space between feet, bags, fast food wrappers.

 

Streams of bodies continue to fill the concrete pipe

No-one notices but I.

 

Wings tinged with a greenish hue

Tainted by the hot grey air around.

 

Closer you leap

I urge you to come rest at my feet

I’ll protect you, keep you safe

Shield you from impurity and corruption.

 

A sudden shrieking wind picks up

Launching a cool breeze against ties, coats, hair

Providing welcome respite from the stifling suffocation.

 

In it comes

Pushing, screaming, demanding attention

A red and white stampeding monolith.

 

Heads turn, elbows jostle

Toes step upon each other in the rush to assert personal space.

 

And as the stinking, screeching serpent shoots along the tracks

Your wings lift you up

By your own effort or the force of the carriages, I cannot tell

You veer towards its path

And the last I see of you is one tiny, delicate wing, as you are swallowed by the darkness.

Commuter Love

I’d forgotten my book that day

Some heavy fantastical tome or anti-consumerist treatise most like.

I squeezed myself into the tube, planning to do something wholesome with my evening

Do some exercise

Clean the kitchen

Phone my mother.

 

A pale slender wrist was the first I saw of you

Turning the pages of some free commuter rag.

A sweaty besuited businessman moved his enormous rump out of the way, revealing a delicate neck, covered by soft peachy fuzz.

Hair fair and cropped short like a boy’s

Fine and golden in the usually unforgiving strip lights.

 

Crisp white shirt, buttoned all the way up

Blue chinos and brogues.

 

Your chin was plump and wrinkled as you chewed your bottom lip.

A small beige bruise on your forearm.

 

I wanted to lean into your scent, kiss your bare neck.

Feed you, undress you, laugh with you.

 

We got off at the same stop, as I had hoped we would.

You stepped in front of me, my eyes right behind that perfect neck.

I followed you up the escalator, aching for you to turn around and acknowledge me.

Perhaps we could know each other

We could smile and say hello every evening

Become the start of some beautiful commuter romance.

 

But as we both strode through the barriers, out into the great art deco hall, you turned towards the other exit

My body cried out to follow, to catch the smell of you just one more time

But I had to turn the other way

And merely hope to see you tomorrow.

I Want to be a Femme Bitch

I want to be a Femme Bitch

I want the smoke from Vogue cigarettes to fill my lungs

Leaving scarlet lipstick stains on the filter.

I want to be something between Nick Cave and Liz Taylor.

I want to seduce bois with rollers in my hair and satin underwear, the black bullet bras and girdles I keep folded in white tissue paper.

I want to dance and undress onstage, revealing the layers of armour, peach suspenders beneath my black petticoats, seamed stockings and suede heels.

I want to run a perfectly polished fingernail across the buttons of your shirt, a gentle smile forming across my lips, painted to match. Red, naturally.

I want to look across the room at them, with a glance that says fuck you.

I want to be a Femme Bitch.

Gaga: An Outsider’s Best Friend?

This article originally appeared here.

But, she’s not even fit’ says a certain straight male friend, ‘I don’t get all the nudity and stuff if she’s not fit.’ And so it is that the debate of Lady Gaga and her appeal to the queers and weirdos of the world rises again.

To those of us looking in from the outside of the sugary, fluffy world of mainstream pop culture, Gaga’s appeal is exactly that; although she’s still a skinny, middle-class white girl like the rest of the pop tart army, she’s not ‘conventionally’ attractive.Body snarkers find great delight in pointing out her voluptuous derriere and Roman nose, and the cheaper glossies frequently mock her small but beautifully formed breasts in their gossip pages, using the notoriously vile Red Circle to point out her physical imperfections. All this is indicative of what these Gaga-haters revile most about her; the way she bares herself in all her glory, shoving her body – and therefore her sexuality – in your face, daring you to question her. She embraces the dirty, gritty side of herself; indeed, she commodifies it, selling it back to the corporate world for multi-million dollar endorsement deals.

Gaga marching for gays in Washington

Her obsession with commercialisation doesn’t simply take the form of laughably obvious product placements; she presents herself as an object, therefore satirizing the very nature of western capitalism and its focus on young, nubile bodies and their market value. She takes ‘sex sells’ to the extreme, revealing the raw, even deviant side of sexual desire whilst simultaneously demonstrating that it can’t simply be bottled and sold back to the consumer.

Watch the Alejandro video – mind you, seeing as its had over 16 million views, and you’re probably a lady of the gay persuasion, chances are you already have. It’s essentially a glorious, nine-minute celebration of hot, sweaty, leather-bound BDSM queerness, filled with enough blatant homoeroticism to keep the message boards on Gaydar buzzing for at least another six months. She proudly proclaims her bisexuality in a way far more genuine and sincere than the Katy Perrys and Britneys of this world could ever achieve. Sure, it may be all for show, but Gaga demonstrates such true and endearing support for the LGBT community that it’s hard not to feel at least some affection towards her.

Out in the yard in the Telephone video

She revels in her raw, slutty, dominatrix image, proclaiming her desire to ride your disco stick whilst posing on the cover of Q with a rather alluring strap-on (a brilliant, fuck-you response to the ridiculousness that is the media rumour mill). It might be OTT, in might be in your face, but at least it’s honest. She has sex, lots of it, she enjoys it, and she likes to sing about it, an approach far more empowering than the airbrushed, vanilla, incredibly straight sexuality of the Mileys and Taylor Swiftsof this world, whose declarations of ‘purity’ and virginity merely reinforce their status as sexual objects and the belief that female sexuality is inherently sinful, nothing more than a commodity to be given to The One in return for eternal love and respect – ‘cos that’s totally how it works. Those who push away from such an image in an attempt to rebel against their early incarnations – Britney, Christina – feign bi-curiosity to appeal to the ever-present male gaze. It’s arguable that Gaga is also adhering to this model, but surely the filthy, visceral nature of her act, the way she highlights the performitivity of sexuality in a way that would make Judith Butler proud, suggests otherwise?

GaGa straps it on for Q Magazine

In a world of Silver Ring pledges, Ex-Gay movements and Madonna-Whore complexes, Gaga is a refreshing antidote to the impossibly beautiful, completely contradictory, sexy-but-sweet model every ‘good girl’ is expected to fulfill. She epitomizes everything and everyone outside the mainstream, whilst simultaneously working within it for her own advantage. You’ve got to give the girl some credit: who else can make a video out of every gay girl’s fantasy – hot androgynous butches and bitch-fights in the middle of a prison that dresses its inhabitants in S&M gear and fuck-me boots? I’ll take that over your standard writhing, warbling, and boringly hetero starlet any day.