Wake Me Up When My Gender Ends

March 12, 2018

|Cultura Colectiva

Poet Joshua Jennifer Espinoza believes language can be both a medium for transformation as well as a way for us to find our own identity. In her own words, Espinoza writes poetry to better understand herself and her position, but she also writes to honor the history that she's part of. In the poem "Wake Me Up When My Gender Ends", the young poet questions the preconceived ideas about gender and identity.


I am here to tell you I have failed to perform gender once again

     spending another day indoors hiding from the world

choked up over the television show where the audience guesses

                  if subjects are men in disguise or real women.

I suppose I mean to say the word tranny, innocuous in its execution

           bloodless until you read the news or live inside it

always-forever at the tip of everything’s tongue, too messy to retreat

               into its bed to slumber and let us be.

My mistress is silence herself. I think she might be a god or at least

                               godlike in the wonder she possesses

unlike static, unlike breathing, unlike thoughts that race with the urgency

                                           of living in a lawless body.

Who is real? Who is allowed to be real? Who speaks themselves into

                 existence? Who dreams? Who has words

that froth and boil over with meaning? To fail at this is to soar

                         twice, three times as high as any manmade structure.

So why talk shit. Why make the light hide from itself. Here I am on

          the couch with my legs crossed, being alive.

Here I am absorbing the words you have for me, epoch of panic

                     future of a disappearing woman.


Originally published by Hyperallergic.

TAGS: Poetry Writing
Cultura Colectiva

Cultura Colectiva