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I received a challenge on Thursday to write an artistic piece in honor of International Women’s Day. I decided to write a poem from the perspective of a trans woman focused on the conflicting advice she received. The form for my poem was inspired by the villanelle. I found myself composing a series of poems instead of just one and included tetrameter and pentameter forms.

Do not do any thing to get you dead
Long hair will keep you from career
That is what my family had said

Then never will you ever wed
A cutesy name will trap you here
Do not do anything to get you dead

Eschew that pink exchange for red
Fashion regulation adhere
That is what my family had said

Don’t be sad/get up/smile they pled
Wait later then there’s naught to fear
Do not do anything to get you dead

Stamp out those gestures
How will it make us all appear
That is what my family had said

Look at you now all your loves fled
There will be no job had that’s clear
Do not do anything to get you dead
That is what my family had said

Back then I was so strong weak now
I told them/my quiet name shared
So brave and very free but how

A skirt I wore to reveal wow
Some tights complete this clothing, thread
Back then I was so strong/weak now

Almost too confident allow
Warning rang throughout my whole head
So brave and very free but how

Return to safety I go now
I will reverse to shirts coll’red
Back then I was so strong/weak now

Let them forget why disavow
New group their understanding fled
So brave and very free but how

Come back my strength be here right now
Feminine spirit hence retread
Back then I was so strong/weak now
So brave and very free/but how

I am afraid because I have been warned
Don’t do anything that will get yourself killed
I pray to God yet am not transformed

What you really need is a pair of high heels
Call yourself that and you won’t get a job
I am afraid because I have been warned

Wear a dress then they’ll know you’re a woman
Cut your hair short/let them get used to you
I pray to God yet am not transformed

I cannot tell your story you tell them
Stay this way and you will never find love
I am afraid because I have been warned

Masculine traits must all be banished
Problematic pronouns get in the way
I pray to God yet am not transformed

Be true to yourself whatever the cost
Change cause I love you want your happiness
I am afraid because I have been warned
I pray to God yet am not transformed

Do that and then they will hurt you
Fear fashion never mini skirt
They don’t see her not true

Makeup is lying through and through
False arouse truth divert
Do that and then they will hurt you

Remove that hair do not let through
Masculine attributes avert
They don’t see her/not true

Hold back not now not here to view
Embarrass/please do not/alert
Do that and then they will hurt you

Express yourself other way do
Watch out avoid the quirt
They don’t see her/not true

Reverse to your own self be true
Feminism to you, choice revert
Do that and then they will hurt you
They don’t see her not true

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