Allison M.

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


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A poem: “Live Your Light”

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As recounted in this post, Madison will be losing a prominent spot for the LGBT+ community.  The dance club Prism, located at 924 Williamson Street, will have a “Last Call” party this evening, complete with a happy hour, performances, dancing, and lots of pulsating lights and music.  It’s a safe bet that it will be a big blowout of a party before the bar lights come up and the doors are shuttered for the final time at 2AM.

Unfortunately, I won’t be among the revelers that will be there to send Prism off to the great beyond.  It’s not just because I’ve never been a have-a-drink, dance-the-night-away, or party-until-the-wee-small-hours kind of girl.  Yes, I do have other matters this evening that I won’t divulge.  But I’m never one to deny any revelers a night of fun.

As noted by the above banner promoting Prism’s “Last Call” party, the club has used the tag line “Live Your Light” on social media and other promotions.  As Prism described it on their Facebook page, “We all seek out places that accept us and refracts the true colors of the inner light that permeates through us all.”

The phrase “Live Your Light” and the above description inspired me to write this quick bit of prose.  Here’s hoping that it’ll be one heck of a final party tonight, and that those who have spent even a little bit of time at Prism or its predecessor, Plan B, will cherish the memories they made there and never be afraid to, well…

Live Your Light

There’s a beacon emitting from 9-2-4
Inviting everyone to come on in
Be welcomed and comfortable
In your very own skin
It’s red and orange
Yellow and green
And blue and purple
Colors so very bright
It’s letting everyone know
Don’t worry
Be yourselves here
And live your light

Indeed, people are coming to 9-2-4
People who aren’t afraid
To party hearty
Drink and dance
And meet that someone new
They dare to be proud and free
And to their own selves be true
In red and orange
Yellow and green
And blue and purple
(And, yes, pink and turquoise)
They’re bathed in colors so very bright
They revel in an atmosphere
Of acceptance and respect
Unafraid to live their light

But there’s now darkness from 9-2-4
Not of hate or anger
Just a fading light
And a sign telling the world
“Sorry, we won’t be here any longer”
[*sigh*]

But wait…
There’s a coda from 9-2-4
It’s a Prism giving direction
And telling our community
Go on!  Go forward!
Live your lives with conviction!
Take the memories from this place
And the confidence you’ve gained
To be proud, free, and unafraid
Whether you’re red or orange
Yellow or green
Or blue or purple
(Or, yes, pink and turquoise)
Show the world your inner beauty
One that’s proud and bright
And to anyone afraid to do so
Tell them to have no fear
Be strong, be you
And live your light


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A poem: “Birthday Wishes”

As you may have surmised from the above banner, today (August 3) is indeed my birthday.  It’s my 50th birthday, as a matter of fact.  Yeah, that’s a big number for anyone in their life.  But it’s also a point in my life where I’m very modest about dealing with it.  Matter of fact, I’ve been at my current work assignment for a full year now (my 52nd week ended yesterday), and I’ve never revealed to anyone there that today is my birthday.  (Truth be told, though, nobody in that office has appeared to clue anyone in on the day of their births.  I guess birthdays aren’t a big deal there.)

But still, the big 5-0 is something to celebrate, as I did in my own way last night.

Yes, that’s yours truly taking a selfie at Mother Fools on Friday night, where I performed poetry en femme once again.  Yes, I alluded to my birthday while on the stage, receiving a polite round of applause from the small audience and a couple of well wishes afterwards.

One of the poems I performed last night is shown below.  To keep my poetry skills sharp, I wanted to write some whimsical prose for my birthday.  But while I thought of a couple funny lines for the middle stanza, my mind kept coming up with blanks for the rest.  So I reversed course and took the introspective route.

I must caution that the below words are not the most perfect, especially since they were typed up in a bit of a rush (I really wanted to present it that night).  But these words are a reflection of the eager birthday celebrator I once was, the more modest birthday girl I am today… and the birthday wishes I still harbor now that I’m entering my second half-century, including one that I kind of wish wasn’t impossible (move over, Erica Strange).

Birthday Wishes

When I was in a younger soul’s shoes
My birthday wishes were simple:
A big party
With bigger presents
Or at least a bigger cake
And a round of “Happy Birthday to You”
Oh, was I a different person then

Now that I’m in an older soul’s shoes
My birthday wishes are more simple:
A happy, healthy life
With a steady job
A loving family
And good friends
Who might sing a round of “Happy Birthday to You”
(That is, if they remember my birthday)
Yeah, I’m a more mature person now

But as I enter a 50-year-old soul’s shoes
I do have one birthday wish that’s fantastical:
A time machine
Where I could vividly relieve
My greatest days
The saddest moments
And biggest regrets
And perhaps turn them into something positive
And by the time I next would hear “Happy Birthday to You”
Oh, what a different person I could be now

But, yeah, I know… that’s impossible
At least until someone knows how to alter space and time

So, as I slip on a 50-year-old soul’s shoes
I’ll keep my birthday wishes realistic
The friends and family
The job (or maybe a million dollars instead)
But also a sharp memory
That remembers the years behind me
And a healthy life
That lets me enjoy the years ahead


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A poem: “Staring Back At You”

Earlier this month, yours truly reviewed Queer Shorts: Spirit of Stonewall, which had its very last performance at the Bartell Theatre this afternoon.  In that review, I mentioned the backdrop Stage Q employed for this Queer Shorts edition.  It a basic setup of a black curtain bathed by projected lights from overhead.  The lights can change colors with the flip of a board switch, including the 6 colors of the LGBT rainbow.

More than the color of the curtain or the lights, there is something else about the backdrop that I found absolutely striking:  To match the “Spirit of Stonewall” theme of this last Queer Shorts, Stage Q included photos, mostly 8x10s, of various images from local and national LGBT history.  The photos were strung together in vertical arrays along the curtain, each pic about a foot apart.  You can see what I mean in the below image of the Queer Shorts cast Stage Q posted on Facebook prior to their second to last performance.

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A poem: “Road Map”

There are a couple of inspirations for this poem, the first being the sad anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which occurred 51 years ago this week.  The night before he died, Dr. King gave a famous speech that, while it seemed to foreshadow his untimely passing, encouraged his listeners to stay on the road to freedom and fairness, no matter how long it takes.  I saw a tweet this week by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that highlighted the anniversary of Dr. King’s death but also encouraged younger audiences to listen to that speech, saying that “King may have been taken, but he left instructions.”

The other inspiration is this week’s spring general election in Madison.  For sure, just as Dr. King promoted the rights and fairness of all people over half a century ago, it’s good that our progressive-leaning new leaders will do the same.  They learned from past generations after all, including the gentleman Satya Rhodes-Conway unseated as our mayor.  While he did seem to be well past his freshness date, public service wise (he did serve as our mayor over parts of 5 decades after all), he did have a reputation as a “progressive warrior” even before he first became mayor, not unlike a certain U.S. Senator from Vermont.

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A poem: “Stand”

Today (March 31) is the International Transgender Day of Visibility.  This is the tenth anniversary of this day, which is intended to highlight trans people of all stripes worldwide, as well as the accomplishments we’ve made and the difficulties we still face.

For sure, it’s good that in recent years the trans community has made so many positive advancements.  As well, it’s great to see positive representations of our community (the TV series Pose, for one).  These have helped foster a much-needed acceptance of us by those in the cis-gender community.

But for all our personal and collective gains, modest or otherwise, there have been equal amounts of disgust backlash toward us, especially from the extreme portions of the politically and culturally conservative corners.  Just one example is the “mission” of You Know Who and his cronies to prevent trans service members from serving openly in the United States Armed Forces.

It’s anti-trans attitudes like these that still makes the need for cis-gender allies all the more greater.  The activist Miss Major said it best in a Twitter video that went viral this week, stating that those who care for our community are “the people who need to become more visible.”  In other words, we need allies to stand up and tell the dismissive world that we’re not the pariahs the closed-minded think we are.

The following poem is inspired by TDOV; the anti-trans attitudes that sadly still linger; the need for cis-gender allies to come out from their closets, so to speak, and stand up for us; and to a lesser extent, the news this week that there will be no LGBT+ pride parade here in Madison this summer.  Again, we’re not evil or deviant.  It’s just that the rest of the world still needs to recognize that and stand to our defense.

Stand

I still need to take this stand
And remind you of who I am
I’m not what that certificate says I am
But I am still more than that

I can do so many things
Build buildings, fly planes
Or put out flames
Even run a mile in 10 minutes flat

I can be a pilot or a poet
For too long, I’ve been flat on my face
But I getting back into the race
With the help of allies who’ll be my friends

I can stand and deliver
I can serve and protect
I can fight to defend your freedoms
But Lord knows that I’m in need of them

We are one nation, indivisible
But I can’t be invisible
I’m human, can’t you see?
Why can’t you and others get get past my identity?

You only want an explanation
As to my gender identification
Why such the rush?
Does it matter to you where I flush?

I may be a guy or girl
Or somewhere in the middle
My identity shouldn’t be a riddle
Really, why can’t you see that?

I don’t blame the doctors who had to write down
That I was only one gender
The day into this world I entered
But since then, I know I don’t define as that

There’s no need for examination
I live my life not as a fabrication
I don’t need your interrogation
So put away your spotlight

Help me make this stand
Please take my hand
And let’s tell this land
That for trans rights, we must fight

Don’t wish us into a cornfield
Or put barricades before us
Be our allies, and forward let’s thrust
Across this great, yet still terrifying, land

Let’s have vision of persistence
Against those who still deny and resist us
Remind them that we’re not just trans, but also human
And always and forever part of our Maker’s plan

So, please take my hand
And together, you and I
We’ll make this stand


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A poem: “Saturday and Sunday”

It’s rather apropos that this poem is being presented on the weekend that the United States and Canada “spring ahead” and set their clocks forward one hour.  The good thing about daylight saving time is that it’s a heralding of warmer and brighter months.  The bad news is that you lose an hour of sleep… and as a result, you’re one hour closer to (*ugh!*) Monday and the start of another long, grueling work week (which I’ve known a lot of recently).

I’ve always thought that Saturday morning is the best part of any weekend.  It’s a time to sleep in, of course, but also a time where you think to yourself two things:  Thank goodness that work week is over and Oh, boy!  I’ve got the next two days to do what I want!  Gee, and to think that once upon a time, all Saturday morning was known for was watching cartoons on TV.

As suggested in the first paragraph, my least favorite part of the weekend is Sunday.  No, it doesn’t have to do with religious connotations.  Rather, it’s the realization that, oh my gosh, this weekend is already half over, and Monday is tomorrow.  Yeah, knowing that a new work week is ahead can dampen one’s enthusiasm for their desired Sunday activities.

“Saturday and Sunday”

Saturday morning
Sleep right in
Only to be awakened
By the bright light of dawn
And with that you arise
Take a deep, happy breath in
And realize the week is done
And it’s a day to relax
To be yourself
And have some fun

Saturday afternoon
All dressed up
Or dressed down, if you want to
You get to do the things you like to do
And all the things you couldn’t do
During that work week now through
So shop or play
Or at home you can stay
Either way, it’s your day
To be yourself
And have some fun

Saturday night
Dressed to the nines
Or not, if you don’t want to
This is your evening
To enjoy yourself as you’ve been meaning
Well, really, desiring
So however you want
It’s your night to rock
Dine in first class
Dance to a beat that’s hot
See a show that’s sterling
Or… maybe just stay home
On your couch a curling
And watch a movie again
Which is fine
Because it’s your way
To be yourself
And have some fun

Sunday morning
Sleep right in
Only to be awakened
By the oh-too-early light of dawn
And with that you arise
Take a deep breath in
And realize something that’s not fun:
Your weekend is half done
You better go ahead
And do those things that need to be done
Take that time to still have some fun
Better hurry, though
For Monday’s about to come
Which starts another five days
That are not all to yourself
Yeah, that’s so not fun

It seems to me
I really must say
As if there are too few Saturdays
And too many Sundays


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A poem: “Drive”

Many, many, many moons ago, when WordPress was still keeping active their site of daily writing prompts, I came across one of their one-words prompts:  Drive.”  That’s all it was, just the word “drive.”

I started to write a poem as a response to that one word.  Emphasis on the word “started,” as I had a hard time finishing it.  I wanted it to be longer and more direct than what you’ll read below.  But at least the theme is still what I originally had in mind — the fact that the word “drive” has more than one meaning, and isn’t just about taking your car somewhere.

Drive

Okay, so you have a car
It can get you from “Point A” to “Point B”
From this old town you’ve been in forever
To somewhere where you’ve never been before

Why are you in your car?
Why are you going from “Point A” to “Point B”?
Are you sure you need a car to get there?
Perhaps your life is in need of repair?

Maybe you need some gas in your tank
No, not the tank in your car
But the one in your soul
Or at least a better map
That doesn’t show the road
You’ve driven into a deep, deep groove

Yeah, keep going from “Point A” to “Point B”
But don’t forget the other routes
That may take you to “Point C”


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A poem: “Character”

One word that kept running through my mind when writing my last post was the thought of one’s character.  Three definitions of the word “character” stood out to me:

  • The total features or traits that form an individual’s being
  • One’s integrity or moral & ethical quality
  • One’s reputation

In this era where those who want to wish the LGBT+ community out of existence, or at least push us back into a dark corner, we need to construct our positive character to the world.  In other words, put on display the good things that make us who we are and form our well being, and that will make a positive impression on the rest of the world.  But that shouldn’t stop there, for we still need to call out those whose own dark character forms the broad brush that paints us in unflattering colors.

To borrow a line from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”  I’m embarrassed that I don’t always heed those words, sometimes going as dark and spiteful as those who hate our community.  But when I take a stand against those who disdain us with scorn, it feels empowering.

Character

Character
Definition:
Who I am everyday
I am someone normally button down
Ending workdays with a tired frown
Every now and again, I step right in
A garment and gender I’m not normally seen in
Yet they feel like a brand new skin
And brings out a new attitude from within

Character
Definition:
Why I do the things I do
Well, for one, I love to work
And with it, the earned financial perks
That keep me fed and sheltered
And, yes, clothed
But why two sets of clothes?
Well, to have you know
Dressing up, I feel an empowered aesthetic
Dressing up lets me become empathetic
And forms in me a positive ethic
That helps build a better world
That’s why I’m a guy… who’s also a girl

Character
Definition:
Well… who are you everyday?
I don’t need to ask it
Rather, I can see it:
You have your own jobs you go to
And your own homes to come to
There, you’re lord and master
Of your own personal castle
In a kingdom you want to expand
To points beyond everything you can see

Character
Definition:
Why do you do the things you do?
I don’t need to ask
For I can accurately guess:
The world doesn’t fit your narrow definition
Of the world sharing your morality
You’re mad that that number’s less than a plurality
And for that… you retaliate against all humanity?!

Character
Definition:
What makes us, us… and not like you
Yes, I know this will add to your petulance
But the whole world doesn’t share your stance
We admire others, near and far
And let them live freely
No matter who they love or what they are
We treat people with respect
And not try to mold them into an object
That came from an assembly line

Character
Definition:
What makes us all human beings
We’re born, we’ll die
And in between
We’ll live and breathe
And do our own things
If it’s not the same as your life
It doesn’t give you any right
To mold us into something you desire us to be

So don’t shun us, harm us, or taunt us
And with whitewash, don’t paint us
Your principles don’t make you our principal
So please let us live free
Because we’re all independent
Living with good intent
And if you take time to know us
You’ll recognize something in us
We are not strange and peculiar
Our character is what build our character
It’s not just who we are
It’s also how we live to be


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A poem: “Drawing a Line”

Tuesday, the 6th day of November, will be the 2018 “mid-term” general election here in the United States.  Just as it was two years ago, it’s preceded by a lot of anger and vitriol.  Well, let me correct myself there:  There’s a lot more anger and vitriol now than there was two years ago.

There’s a lot more worry, too:  Worry that this will be the only way to once and for all put checks and balances on the administration of You Know Who.  Worry that if progressive-minded people don’t come out to vote this election season, virtually all the progress we’ve gained during the previous administration’s tenure will be lost forever.  Worry that the proclivity of You Know Who to demean whole groups of citizens, and the uncivil mainstreaming of those vile words by his supporters springing from the darkest corners of the internet, will turn into legal discrimination.

But there is a very important way to start countering all of that fear.  It’s what canvassers and volunteers have been reminding you to do.  It’s what the celebrities you follow on social media are reminding you to do.  It’s what the millions of women and men who’ve marched in the streets 22 months ago know what needs to be done when all is said and done.  It’s called voting in the general election on Tuesday.

Here in Madison, or at least in the polling station where I vote, the ballots we fill out are the type where you take a black Sharpie marker and complete the arrow next to the candidate you’re voting for.  It seems like a perfect metaphor for taking a stand against the demagogue who has made our lives a living nightmare the past 24 months.  May this poem, even as it sounds more playful than it should be, serve as a provocation for you to exercise your right to vote… that is, unless you’ve voted already in this election.  If you have voted, then good for you… but encourage everyone else you know to vote.  If they don’t think their vote will make any difference, tell them it’s something that needs to be done, come rain or shine.  It’s the way to make a formal delineation between the good and evil in our country.

Drawing a Line

A flag says “Vote Here!”
Signs say “register here”
And the registrar says, “write your name on the line”
With ballot in hand
I wait and stand
For a spot where I can draw my lines

Hey!  Look up!
A spot has opened up
I can step apart from this very long line
With marker in hand
I take my stand
And draw some very important lines

Looking down
I must stare and frown
At names that are frightening and unkind
But I do know
That there are those I can show
My support by drawing some lines

To the one who says
That only one race, religion, or gender is best
You don’t deserve anyone’s time
Especially from me
Whose mind can clearly see
Hatred and his name, connected by a line

But there’s one who says
“Have faith, don’t fret…
“No matter who you are, I don’t mind.
“If you’re man or woman,
“gay, straight, or bi,
“You should have pride.”
Thanks.  You deserve, next to your name, my line

To those who are bitchin’
That a woman’s place is in the kitchen
Begone!  You are out of your pitiful minds
Put up or shut up!
Great women are standing up
For the chance to have next to their names a line

I panic at the sight
Of one name who makes frights
Out of those disadvantaged or without a dime
But there are those who say
“You deserve a step up today”
By their names, I will happily draw a line

My trans siblings
Have heard dark things
Making them think their wonderful lights shouldn’t shine
But hatred is opposed
By many others at the polls
And by those whose names we will be drawing lines

We stand as one nation
Against hatred’s provocations
We say to those currently in charge, it’s time…
Time to end the hate
That you clearly seek to stimulate…
Between your wickedness and civility,
We stand as one to draw a big, thick line!

To the forward-thinking people
Who will stand up to hatred and evil
We support you and back you.  Now it’s time…
To give you the chance
To lead our nation with class
Yes, for you, we’re happily drawing our lines

I’m just one person
That is for certain
But it’s well spent, these few minutes of my time
To have my say
On this very important day
For the best candidates, I’m drawing a line

There!  My civic duty is done!
Through the machine, my ballot runs
But many others like me are taking their own time
To make their selections
In this important election
Together, we will contently say,
“For the best candidates, we’re drawing a line”


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A poem: “Big Sale”

This poem is inspired by the topic I addressed in my previous post, which talked up the closing of a couple of anchor stores at West Towne Mall here in Madison.  As I mentioned in that post, the eventual closing of the Boston Store chain, including its West Towne location, first made news back in April (it’s slated to close for good this week).  Sometime after that, this poem started percolating in my mind.  And in all truth, I finished it pretty quick, or at least quick enough to perform it in an open mic performance the last day of June at Mother Fool’s.  (Yes, it was a few days after I lost my job.  Yes, performing helped take my mind off my job search a little bit.)

In prefacing this poem at that performance, I asked a show of hands from the audience of about 20 or so, inquiring as to how many of them had the chance to check out the Boston Store closing sale at that point.  The response wasn’t 100 percent, but more than a few (60 percent was my guess) put their hands up in the affirmative.  The rest of the audience?  Well, I think they spend too much time on their computers.  (Dang you, Amazon!)

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