Trace Peterson

This poem emerged from my documentation of the process of transitioning (changing my sex from male to female) via constant strategically provocative oversharing on facebook during the past year. A listing of drugs and their corresponding symptoms led to a moment in which I realized I didn’t have to work so hard to convince a reader about the reality of my subjectivity or my existence as an author. There could instead be a certain authority in the mere act of assuming readers who agreed sympathetically that trans people are human beings rather than symptoms of babel, capitalism, decadence, or society going to hell in a handbasket. These readers at the same time would be able to enjoy linguistic play, and be capable of participating as allies alongside my experience of the frustrations and joys of what it means to be approaching oneself while bubbling as long as possible on the improvisational stove.

 

 

***

 

THE VALLEYS ARE SO LUSH AND STEEP

I have not been having an easy HRT experience for a trans gal, especially when it comes to blocking testosterone so my body can develop properly in relation to estrogen.

*

Spironolactone gave me brain fog, so to block T, I switched to Finasteride.

*

The blocker dose of Finasteride made me too sleepy to function, so I switched to Progesterone.

 *

Progesterone had some nice effects but it made me loopy and had a kind of thought-freezing effect, so I switched to Dutasteride.

*

Dutasteride made me too sleepy to function and caused me to phase shift into a fourth dimension at unexpected moments, so I switched to Walzanone.

*

Walzanone helped ease off my body hair, but it gave me unanticipated telekinetic powers which would cause a table to fly crashing across the room when I got upset with someone, so I switched to Benefiontin.

*

Benefiontin seemed to be working for a while and I could genuinely concentrate, until I slowly became aware that it was making my skin fluorescent green and stretchable over any nearby hardwood surfaces. Punk rock anamorphosis had ended long ago, so I switched to Penalzombion.

*

While I enjoyed the ultra-feminine high that Penalzombion enfaulked from my kinesthetic being, it had the unfortunate side effect of causing me to hate most poetry I hear, or maybe that was just poetry. In any case, the constant sore throat or what they call the "Penalzombion engorgement" became highly inconvenient when I needed to sing impromptu arias for job talks on composition theory. So I switched to Rubicon.

*

Though not technically a blocker, Rubicon had several advantages in terms of how it personified and mirrored my t-levels internally. A short-range tactical missile flew by in search of its drone-targeted recipient. Testosterone self-reflectiveness on Rubicon invaded my being on a coding level of intensity to the point where rows of shark teeth swallowed every time management skill I ever learned. There was no going back. I decided that Rubicon was too much of a simultaneously alienated and intimately ski mask experience. So I switched to Novascotia.

*

The best side effect of Novascotia was its remoteness. Though it made me feel slightly alienated around other poets, I did manage to get a lot of writing done. However, in the process I lost all sense of reality and missed my grant deadlines for the fourth time. A mouse ear grew out of my hand. Peach cobbler. So I switched to Nepotismapolitan.

*

With Nepotismapolitan I definitely engrotted some anti-testosterone connections in the entertainment world, which had me at an advantage when passing as entertainmentally female, but my pores became enormous. When I think back I wonder if Nepotismapolitan was taunting me the whole time. Gam tumescent wing growth polited out of the sinking vessel. Due to interaction warnings I couldn't eat too much processed food anymore and my T levels were still too high, so I switched to Wellmasteride.

*

I liked the feeling of cosmic omnipotence corresponding with complete and utter abjection that Wellmasteride gave me, being at once a unique delicate flower/snowflake and a humanistic reproconfection seeking air time like every other platelet in the bloodstream, but it made me inconveniently leery of discussions about trigger warnings and delaying puberty in children. Pang of detained weekend fixture turned permanent yawp. I stopped thugging around in my endocrine blotter with Wellmasteride, and instead turned to Jaimeleecuritsol.

*

Jaimeleecurtisol made me witty and urbane. Being around me was like an episode of female Frasier slightly sped up. But soon the crash happened and we were in a recession. Jaimeleecurtisol caused me to scream and scream at the horrible truth coming at me about how people really perceived my gender suddenly rushing at me around street corners. So I switched to Smallpondilaxone.

*

Smallpondilaxone made me feel big.
For a minute I contemplated calling an agent
to discuss my enormous very specialized coupon stash, but I
couldn't get out of bed. So next I tried Crepusculane.

*

Now the great thing about Crepusculane was that on this one I really felt like myself on five cups of coffee for a few minutes lugging a trampoline up the capital steps past the stone lions that guarded the secret to what's inside increasingly smaller panties I never held any responsibility for, a good place to do research. I made all kinds of appointments to publish poet things and attend everybody's readings in a stacker, almost steroid-like configuration demented with charm. But the hyper-concentration that Crepusculane offers caused me instead to stare at a Grecian Urn for days on end, transfixed by thoughts of lighting up and smoking the latest national or statewide poet laureate or at least getting a medical prescription for him/her to become culturally all over me. Crepusculane rendered my t-levels nearly invisible as I lay swooning across a Chatterton velvet couch in my garret, but there was no one around but me to serenade, so I switched to Lesbiamine.

*

Lesbiamine caused .................................................. in peace talks.................……………………………………………………………………………….
.............................................. rankled tall girl spat juicer ......................... but
……………………………………………………………………………….
................... looks at your spork .......................... like a gorgon, tufts of .......……………………………………………………………………………….
kissing us in the museum ..............................................................................
.................................... making me.................... attachment weekend blocker
………………………………………………………………………………
my leg around your .......................................................................................
............................................ wetter, a death ....................... bank holiday itch
..........................................................................................................................
clasped…………………………………………… in a restaurant booth........
..... or vamp stamped .................. something chocolate ...................................
………………………………………………………………………………..
.........................................anxiety being unsexy……………………………...
...................................and you need lateness…………………………………
..........................................................................................................................
destorying me ..................................................................................................
.......................................................................................too intense.................
like the crushed flower. I couldn't take all the ellipses anymore and they were intruding into my dissertation writing time, so I switched to Pastoralwenchtrin.

 *

I think I am going to stick with Pastoralwenchtrin for awhile and see where this goes. It's quiet here and there are sheep and no wolves masquerading as bears climbing the hillside of an apple danish I bought from my student loan debt ceiling. As long as I pay the credit card bills by end of the month and get my name changed in time for the church basement sale, maybe I can find a way to live. As my body reaches a kind of equilibrium, I am trying to have as small a percentage of me as possible be fabricated as method acting and as great a possibility as a pink skull half-shaven skyline be real. The valleys are so lush and steep. How to end not wanting to be myself being not quite myself.

***

Trace Peterson is a trans woman poet critic. Author of the poetry book Since I Moved In (Chax Press, 2007) and numerous chapbooks. She is editor/publisher of EOAGH, and coeditor of the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books, 2013), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. She also wrote the first article about trans poets to appear in a peer-reviewed academic journal; it can be found in the current issue of TSQ. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at CUNY Graduate Center, and also serves on the Board of Directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.