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Category Archives: Poems

The Gender Recognition Lie

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In 2004, the UK passed some pretty exciting and world-leading legislation that allowed transgender people living in this country the right to live legally in their chosen gender without being coercively sterilised.

It requires that the individual live for two years in the gender (male or female) that they wish to go by from now on, that they wish to live as that gender until death, that they have received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and that they present a body of evidence to a panel of strangers, all for the low price of £140.

For all that, you might, if you’re lucky, get something that looks a bit like a birth certificate.

I have friends who were refused on grounds such as not yet having had top surgery. Which, considering the legislation supposedly covers those of us who don’t want to be forcibly escorted out of the gene pool, seems a little… backwards.

The whole process is riddled with flaws. In fact, our close neighbours Ireland recently implemented a self-determination process. If you say you’re male, you are. Which makes sense if you think about it- being trans isn’t exactly a walk in the park. It’s the medical stuff (that we’re being bottlenecked into) that has serious and irreversible consequences, not the legal bit.

In any case, it turns out that “gender recognition” is a lie.

If a man gives birth to a child, he will be listed as the mother of that child, despite the fact that he is a man.

See, for a piece of legislation that supposedly granted us the rights to be ourselves without suffering sterilisation, it seems to really suggest that they’d rather we didn’t reproduce. Because, if we do, suddenly that legal status we thought we had is suddenly revoked.

I didn’t think this could be true. But I asked, and there are trans men who supposedly had gender recognition for years… until they made the mistake of using their uterus.

The Gender Recognition Act, 2004

In the civilised world they practice eugenics
Make you run the gender identity gauntlet
Three years on the list at Leeds to be told
“We don’t do that here anymore
(but we used to
if that’s any consolation)”
-which it’s not

Ask you why you don’t want to be a real man
With scars on your chest
Injections at regular intervals
Over and over
-until heart disease gets you?
They’ll freeze your eggs
-at a fee, of course-
let you have your recommendation, then,
if it means so bloody much to you-
two years living in role
playing the part
football, beer, casual misogyny.

1970s stereotype
(so as not to confuse the panel)
and then find out it was all a lie
you’re not the man you thought you were
complete strangers know otherwise
better luck next time (if you can stand it)
next time, leave your womb at home-
the Act demands it.


Let me shelter in the warmth of your heart
and let me stay there all my life
Clear me out a space among your dreams,
I, who can never be called “wife”.
Let me shelter in the warmth of your heart
as I have rested in your bed,
satisfied with just our tangled limbs,
and clothes still waiting to be shed.
Let me shelter in the warmth of your heart
-In mine you settled long ago,
made room for yourself among my dreams,
and though I urged, you would not go.
Let me shelter in the warmth of your heart
and let me stay there all your life.

November 20th, 2015

November 20th, 2015

I will find myself some
Garage-forecourt flowers
Lay them down at some
Arbitrary wayside shrine.
Much easier than
Bringing myself to dwell on
The murder and suicide and
Burying under a false name.

And Rosa, just as sweet,
Lies six feet short of
Being treated like a human,
Wig askew on a caved-in skull.

To His Lover, In Bed

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Jesus H. Christ, John-
How come your feet are so soft?
They’re feet for fuck’s sake.


A perfect moment-
Watching the death of summer
From beneath an oak

Ripe Fruit

Let’s pretend this poem
is about ripe fruit
rather than your arse.
No matter how good it feels
under my hand I know
it would be better
between my jaws.

The flesh tenses at that.
Good; I know it’s wrong
to play with my food-
But why should I
even try to hold back when
I know that bruised fruit
is all the sweeter?

Poem: This is my gun

In the playground,
I learnt how to make a gun
with two fingers:
Bang! Shoot ‘em dead,
running round like any other boy
like a boy



I was blooded; boyhood shifted,
left me behind. Just
a girl, they thought
in boys’ trousers
-not boys’, mine!-
just a girl



I made a great fuck
Loved men with my body
This woman’s body
-not woman’s, mine!-
Side-by-side compared:
still no man



I may not have a rifle
But these two fingers
Still make a gun
Try telling me otherwise
When they’re in-
And I beckon-


First Date Nerves

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She is beautiful.
…And I am a potato
Wearing a nice shirt.

Another Cricket Haiku Partnership: Bowled

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Little red martyr
Bouncing awkwardly and then-
Bails fall, shouts of joy.

Devil-red missile
Bounces, instincts failing him-
Long walk; head kept down.

The Soldier

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The soldier starts his day,
pulls on his armour.
Testing out his lungs he finds
the constriction has become comfort.
Fills out his underwear with
a little something extra:
he is the man who wears 
three socks a day!
One for the left foot,
one for the right and
one to cushion the blow
when he tries to scratch his balls.

Clothes are his camouflage:
legs not shapely, no,
but, having shape, hide within 
shapeless jeans and
the belt loops tight around 
his narrow waist.
Shoes are clunky, add height,
while layers bulk him out.

No war paint for this soldier,
nor weapon neither:
he turns his key in the lock 
and faces the battlefield.