It’s Pride Month! And that’s a lot. So here’s a poem about performance.
By Talia Franks
I used to treat gender like any other assignment
and like all the others I did my godsdamned best to get that perfect A
my entire life a performance
I studied hard, I played my part
I stumbled through it the best I could
and yet the prescribed melodies just weren’t for me
I was cast for the wrong roles in all the scenes
but now I’m mixing metaphors
admitting to queerness
is what opened doors
I think certain people knew I was trans
before I did
offering me sanctuary where (I thought) I didn’t belong
turns out I was home all along
I was just a kid
still feel like one
even though I worry my stories
that I’ve used up all my energy
my body turning to dust
aging 20 days for every 10
wondering what it’s like to feel alive again
sometimes now I still have to perform
still stuck in a reversal of my old cycle
stuck trying to prove how queer I am to the masses
it’s all about image
about blending in with the right classes
I rank my outfits one to 10
how queer is this again?
this one too masc/ this one too femme?
what does it mean to use they/them?
do I want can I afford to be visible today?
if I wear these clothes will I feel/be okay?
is it for me or them or you or us?
when can I be soft and rest?
why must I always be at my best?
maybe I’ll never figure it out
but I’m on my way to finding an equilibrium now