Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up

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Another enjoyable poetry performance

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this, and instead of going to the gym or running errands as I usually do on a Sunday, I’m just relaxing and doing an odd job or two around the house.  And, of course, writing this blog entry.  The reason I’m relaxing is because the past 48 hours or so have been pretty busy for my feminine side.  The CD/trans support group I’m a part of had a Saturday afternoon meeting.  And Friday night, I took part in what I want to talk up here — another open-mic poetry reading Friday night at Mother Fool’s coffee house on Williamson Street.

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A poem: “Show Me”

The other day, I heard a great quote uttered during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration here in Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, I don’t recall the speaker or the full quote.  However, I do recall it being a “show me this and I’ll show you that” kind of quote, one where two people see the same thing but see it very different… like, say, one person seeing the glass as half-empty and the other seeing it as half-full.

The “show me… and I’ll show you…” portion of that quote stuck with me the rest of the holiday, and it inspired me to write… and rewrite… and rewrite (as I usually do) the following poem.  As you’ll read (and especially notice in the last stanza), I’m not afraid to call out someone who is dismissive of those who do not live the same “pure” life they profess to live.  What’s for sure, the holier-than-thou set aren’t saints themselves, no matter how much they proselytize with their “holy book” of choice.

“Show Me”

Show me fields that have long been fallow
Overgrown with unsightly weeds
I’ll show you land that can spring to life
With someone’s ideas and dreams

Show me an artist’s canvas or a poet’s notebook
That are still blank and untouched
I’ll show you space that can be
The ground spring of a masterpiece

Show me someone immature and unruly
And I’ll show you a bright mind
That, if molded the right way
Will grow the fruits of their full potential

Show me someone not following the rules
And I’ll show you someone living free
Show me someone who doesn’t respect others
And I’ll show you someone who lets others be

Show me who should stay in a gilded cage
That with iron and lock and key you construct
And I’ll show you someone yearning to soar
To heights that will leave you awestruck

Show me someone who you prefer to stay quiet
And I’ll show you a person ready to roar
I’ll also show you someone ready to rebuild
If you only see someone you have no hope for

Show me someone who’s immoral
And I’ll show you someone on the straight and narrow
Show me someone that should conform
And I’ll show you someone who’s blazing their own trail

Show me someone whose existence you deny
And I’ll show you someone who needs to thrive
Even though caring for them is what you’re sworn to do
Would your “conscience” be quick to shun them…
And not care for them…
And seal their doom…
Just because they’re not like you?

Show me someone who’s only a gender
Or a skin color
Or a religion
Or an age
Or a behavior
Or “less” than you
And I’ll show you someone more than a label
For they’re much more than your closed mind
Forbids your open eyes to see

You think you see the scourges of the earth
But I see someone who can clear those fields
And plow those lands
And construct those buildings
And write those sonnets
And paint those masterpieces
And mold those minds
And help build a future
That will benefit the whole world

Show me all that you claim is ugly
And I’ll show you a mirror
So that you can look into it
And see true ugliness
Staring right back at you


A poem: “Makeup”

Show of hands:  How many of you are familiar with haikus?  Okay, quite a lot of you.  For the very few uninitiated of you, a haiku is a short form of poetry that originated in Japan and usually has 3 lines of 17 syllables —5 syllables in the first and third lines, 7 in the middle line.

When written well, the simplicity of a haiku can potently communicate subject, setting, and feeling.  Fitting all that into the 5-7-5 rule can be a challenge to a relative poetry novice such as myself.  But the nature of haikus inspired me to write what you’re about to read.  What also inspired me was a support group meeting I attended Saturday, during which was presented makeup tips for those presenting as male-to-female.  It was a pretty nice presentation, and I gained (and wrote down) tips that will help accentuate my feminine presentation, including tips on contouring your cheekbones and how not apply foundation as if you’re painting a wall.  (Memo to self:  It’s makeup, not spackle.)

The thoughts about those tips led me to write a few lines of prose… and for some reason, it also tempted me to write in haiku form.  But this won’t be a haiku per se.  For one, there are considerably more than three lines, although each stanza has three lines.  And two, not all of the stanzas fit the 5-7-5 rule.  Still, I consider this a nice way to keep my writing and poetry juices flowing.  Enjoy.


Moisturized skin glows
Ready to become a canvas
With makeup for paint

Primer and powder
Hides evident imperfections
Of this imperfect skin

Concealed under eyes
Are the weight of stress from life
I want to shed tonight

Full, luscious, lovely lips
Sit pouting, waiting to be kissed
By the right person

Contours along cheeks
And nose and foreheads and chin
Helps present a different gender

Makeup on my face
Converts me from the man I usually am
Into a pretty woman

My makeup hides lines
That show the toll of work and life and strife
As well as gender

Makeup helps to ease
My male mode tribulations for a while
And lets Allison come out to play

Makeup can be my shield
That helps stave off disapproving stares
From an evil world

Yes, I know it can’t stop
Their words of anger and vitriol
Or their name-calling

And I know it can’t cure all
Of my everyday fears and worries
It’s just a temporary salve

But just for a while
A day, or a night, or whenever
Makeup boosts my confidence

It helps present me
As the well-polished woman… and kind person
I’d love the world to see

And if someone I see
Says to me, “You’re quite beautiful”
Oh, how happy I would be

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Allison on video performing (part of) “Store-bought”

It’s Christmas Eve as I write this, and I hadn’t been planning to write anything on here, just wanting to give my keyboard and my writing skills a breather.  But then I remembered I had performed at Mother Fool’s earlier this month.  And I had previously mentioned in passing that someone recorded part of my performance.  When my name was called to perform, I kindly asked someone at the table next to me to snap some pictures of yours truly performing.  She kindly obliged.  But not only did she take a couple of still shots… by chance or whatever, she hit the “video record” button of my camera while I was performing the first of the three poems I read that Friday night, “Store-bought.”

Three things that I must make note of here:  The kind person who caught this didn’t capture my entire performance, just a little bit of the first two stanzas of “Store-bought” (itchy fingers, I presume.  Also, the video is not the greatest in audio or visual quality (it was shot from a distance after all).  And while I am comfortable with writing poetry, my actual performing skills are still not up to snuff.  Hopefully, with more practice and more performing, I’ll improve the second part of that equation.  So, enjoy this rather impromptu gift from me to you, and Happy Christmas or whatever you may be celebrating!

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A poem: “Masks of Honesty”

Time to get back into prose with a little something that popped into my head this afternoon.  I admit it feels similar in theme to this one, yet it has a clear theme of the vulnerability we all try to hide… but, ultimately, cannot keep masked forever.

“Masks of Honesty”

To the rest of the world
I appear carefree and witty
In a short skirt
Soft sweater
Gorgeous hair
Stunning makeup
And a smile

With the rest of the world
I converse merrily
Saying, “How do you do?”
Or “How have you been?”
Listening attentively to stories
And agreeing with opinions
With a nod
And a smile

When I tell them my stories
I do so candidly
Voicing words of wit
Thoughts from wisdom
And whispers of melancholy
With a nod of, “Yeah, it’s true”
And an occasional smile

With these true tales I tell
I begin to transmogrify
The makeup starts to fade
And the smile peels away
Slowly but surely
As if it were a mask
Until what once was a smile
Disappears for a while

And with that, the world sees
What is the real me
Not hidden maliciously
But revealed honestly
Bit by bit
So that others know
I’m more than a mask of beauty
And a smile

Oh… the others I see
Also express honestly
And bit by bit
Their own masks come off
Slowly but surely
Until we can all see
Our own peaks and valleys
And understand each other with empathy
And smile


Random stuff (12/2/2017 edition)

12-1-2017 944-02pmA quick post to reflect on a couple of things from the world of performing arts, one featuring yours truly and one not.  The former of the two goes first:  I dolled myself up last night (Friday) and returned to Mother Fool’s for the open-mic poetry event it hosts every month.  I hadn’t been to Mother Fool’s in a while, and the good feeling I had performing there, combined with the equally good feelings lingering from my performance at Trans Monologues last month, drove me to perform at Mother Fool’s again.

As is usually the procedure with the Mother Fool’s poetry and freeform events, those who wanted to perform added their name to a basket, from which the host (more on him in a moment) pulled out names to determine the order of performances.  I was the penultimate name pulled, taking the mic at around a quarter to 10PM.  By chance, I had a literal front row seat to the entire show; the table you see in the foreground of this photo is where I sat, with a lady sitting at the next table obliging to take photos while I was at the mic.  By chance or error, she hit the “video record” button on my phone’s camera a couple of times; they were brief and incomplete, but I’m tempted to edit and post them to show… well, audio proof that I perform my poetry.  (If I do, a bit of a spoiler alert:  I still not the most confident performer.)

Two spots after my 5-minute slot, which included 3 of my poems (including the holiday-themed first poem I ever posted here), the host took to the mic to finish off the event with a morose and rather morbid listing of the mass shootings in the United States over the past 5 years, including date and incident (his last entry was, “Next date: To be announced”).  The host was Ron Czerwein, who owns the Avol’s Books consignment business that operates out of A Room of One’s Own downtown.  For reasons left undisclosed, Friday was Ron’s last night hosting poetry open mic at Mother Fool’s.  The plan is for him to cede host duties to a rotation of four hosts, with one of the quartet caring for the hosting duties each month (including, presumably, making arrangements for the guest performers who open each event).  Two of those four hosting slots were still open, according to Ron, and being the type of person who wants to help out any way I can, I was tempted to inquire about the host slots.  I didn’t, however, because for one, I don’t have any real skills at arranging event logistics.  Also, I’m still relatively new at poetry writing and presenting.  Perhaps if I had more of those logistical and performing skills, I would have stepped up and asked, “Hey, do you need a fourth host?”  Maybe that will change in the future.

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Allison’s night at Trans Monologues

Okay, okay, okay!  I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath for me to tell all about my night at the Trans Monologues event.  You haven’t?  Well, even if you haven’t, here’s where I finally talk about it.


As I mentioned previously on here, Trans Monologues is an annual event put on by the University of Wisconsin—Madison’s LGBT Campus Center.  The event, which coincides with Transgender Awareness Week, aims to be a “night of honest expression about the joys and trials of being anywhere on or off the gender-variant spectrum” (direct quote from the event’s Facebook page, where the above image appears).

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A poem: “Who…”

Before I (finally) recount my performance last Friday at Trans Monologues, I want to first present to you, for the first time on this blog, the poem I performed at the event.  The reason for this is to have a preface to my post about my performance at the event, which will include how I presented the poem.  (Spoiler alert: It involved emphasizing some lines with hand gestures.  No, not those kinds of hand gestures.)

As for the poem itself?  This was one of two poems I wanted to refrain from publishing on here until after presenting them live.  Back in August, I submitted this and a few others for consideration at another trans-related performance event.  And as I mentioned here, I was turned down.  That did to not only a bit of soul searching but also editing and re-editing the two new poems.  (For the record, I’ve already published the other poem, and it’s found here.)  The re-editing process included some re-re-editing after I read it aloud for folks in a trans support group I regularly attend.  They were more supportive, were not one to readily scrutinize so harshly, and are part of a community that is this poem’s inspiration.  They did offer some praise, but also some constructive advice I heeded, and the final result is what you are about to read.

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Allison’s second… er, uh, third live performance

It’s Wednesday as I finish this post, and while I try to process my long weekend out of town and my return from work afterwards (a topic for a forthcoming post, I promise), let’s devote this post to the big weekend I had exactly one weekend previous — Saturday the 23rd of September, to be exact.  As you can tell from this post’s title, I did indeed perform poetry as Allison once again.  But was it my second performance or my third?  Well, I guess some clarification is in order:  The first time I performed in front of a mic was during a poetry event at Mother Fool’s back in early July.  A few weeks after that, on the last Saturday night of July to be exact, I was actually back at Mother Fool’s, though not to read poetry.  Instead, since it wasn’t exclusively a night of poetry, I did a little bit of freeform spoken word storytelling about how I first found that sack of women’s clothing.

Saturday the 23rd, however, was all about the poetry.  And instead of Mother Fool’s, we did our thing at another coffee house in town.  (I’ll get to the significance of the “we” later.)  The business in question is Cargo Coffee, a locally- and family-owned coffee shop that has two locations here in Madison, one on the south side and the one we performed at on East Washington Avenue, a few blocks northeast of the State Capitol.  Cargo Coffee’s East Wash location is part of a major redevelopment that’s been occurring on the avenue the past several years (well, it’s happening throughout Madison but it definitely applies to East Wash):  Older, smaller, and generally decrepit buildings, ones that housed businesses ranging from repair shops to an automobile dealership, have been replaced by more modern buildings and shops (including restaurants, a swank hotel, and a supermarket) and condominiums and luxury apartments that cost a pretty penny.  And the redevelopment isn’t done yet:  A new music venue is under construction just kitty corner from Cargo Coffee; further up the avenue, a separate redevelopment is turning a long-empty and neglected plot of land into a mix of apartments, shops, and a UW Health clinic.

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A poem: “Store-bought”

A little bit of self-admission, folks:  Not only have I been very busy this week at work (two words: mandatory overtime), I have a very busy weekend out of town ahead of me.  As a result, I haven’t had too much time to write a new blog post about my latest excursion behind the microphone at a poetry reading.  It’s not as if I haven’t tried writing, but let’s just say the combination of writing, photo editing, and, uh, “cat video watching” (more of the former than the latter) have led to an incomplete self-grade.  I do promise, however, that a formal recount of my performance will be forthcoming.

But, still, I want to show evidence that the cobwebs haven’t settled in to my little corner of WordPress.  And so, I will now post a new poem I have had percolating in the draft section that I had wanted to first get some personal one-on-one feedback.  But I’ll say to heck with that and just give it to you straight:

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