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What’s dis for ’ere?

  • Posted on April 6, 2012 at 9:32 am
Even early on in realising that being trans was just the way things were, I never had a problem telling people and trying to explain. For all the rudeness it will never get better unless we also inform.

He wasn’t stupid.
He just misheard in innocence.
I tried to explain my skirt but he stared
at my handbag beside his beer.
What’s dis for, ’ere?
That’s my handbag, I said.
It goes with my gender.
But you’re a bloke, yeah?
Well, yes and no.
(Do I look like one, I mean, really?)
It’s just that when you say man or woman
you leave no space in between.
And that’s where I am.
Yeah, but I could tell,
so why do you do it?

Because it just feels right.
Do you like that t-shirt?
I pointed to the alcoholic brand.
He laughed.
Yeah, that’s why I’m ’ere!
Why am I here?
I sat with him because he jeered.
He wanted friends to know
he was the quick and clever
spotter of trannies on the street.
I could never wear a shirt like that.
Would your girlfriend?
Nah, it’s all flowers and stuff for ’er.
But you wouldn’t mind?
S’pose it would be cool.
And go with her jeans?
Well, yeah, but that’s dif’rent innit?
So we’re all a bit different really
and girls can be boys?
Yeah, but not the other way round,
I mean, it’s, well, girly.

And I don’t feel laddish;
it’s not what’s inside me, so
this is what you see.
Like I said, it’s ‘dys-phor-ia’,
gender dysphoria:
I’m just uncomfortable as a man.
Still don’t understand, mate.
No, he never will.
I take my bag and smile.
Maybe I should have given him a miss.

2011©Andie Davidson

This and other poems on transgender are in my collection from Bramley Press: Realisations

Jerusalem

  • Posted on February 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm
This one is about living a dual-gender life, where you can’t always live in your authentic gender, but out of love and compassion revert to what is comfortable for another for a while. This is what it can feel like to take yourself apart.

Peace and Jerusalem come to mind –
the hair a bowl in my hands
cooling, and laying to rest while
still filled with my thoughts – my
heart sinking to the floor with my
skirts and the rose-framed spectacles
on the bed now framing down-cast earrings,
bracelets, beads, small-time watch.

Cotton pads become my face, but
all smudged, blurred and blended,
all lips and eyes, the foundation
of an abstract, discarded and limp –
while a man’s face examines me
from the bathroom mirror, tells me
the bra must go with its silicone
bounty for a plain, striped shirt.

The unheard ticking under the
pink face behind the rose-framed
lenses the shape of eyes, oversees the
truce of the refugee woman who does not
exist outside her timeframe, placed
as she is in a holy time that is not
Jerusalem except that it is contested behind
a wailing wall with prayers for peace.

And for the sake of peace she is in
retreat, falling to pieces, shedding to
lighten the burden as she flees away
to secrets, first spread in colours on the
bed where she cannot rest, then folded
gathered, rolled and ark-ived wholly
without covenant or promise except my
benediction: you shall never be denied.

2011 © Andie Davidson

From the new collection Realisations published by Bramley Press.