Loudspeaker:: dyke boots by Maddie Fay

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WUSSY is proud to present two poems by ATL artist, Maddie Fay. 
If you would like to send in a writing submission, please contact Nicholas Goodly

 

dyke boots

i have never found myself in any situation thinking,
"i wish i had worn less comfortable shoes."

see, i am a big fat bulldyke,
see,
comfort is my favorite word.
i cultivate comfort like the most
precious of resources,
a luxury afforded all-too-rarely
to a body you wanna insist is wrong,
too big and too strong,
too womanly and too not.

i never liked dressing up
until i started dressing for women.
i thought i hated all comments
on my appearance
until a woman called me handsome.
pretty is a target on my back,
but handsome is,
"yeah baby, i DO wanna dance,"
like butch is fucking freedom.

butch is my hands the hammers
and my elbows the knives,
and butch is the medical training i got
so i could patch up my friends.
butch is picking you up at three in the morning because you called me crying
and butch is never making you tell me what happened.
butch is the way i fucking melt when she smiles at me,
the way i am physically incapable of watching her shiver without handing over my jacket,
butch is all the softest parts of me.

and i am soft,
i am so fucking soft
because of course i am,
like a black bear is soft
when it isn't afraid.
they call it "bear hug" for a reason.

to the first girl who was brave enough to hold my hand
in public where people could see,
fucking thank you.
you,
middle school mall queen,
and me,
sixth grade emo tomboy.
i liked you so much i thought i wanted to be like you.
but i was never any good at being like you.
i wore my hair long and shiny the way you did,
but when boys in my school wound their fingers in it,
i felt like i was dying.
you would wear dresses that showed every part of you and they made you feel so free,
and i loved that for you,
and i loved that about you,
but when you got me to try one on,
it was just a reminder
that down to the bone,
i was wearing things that did not belong to me.

you and i, we never claimed to belong to one another,
we just liked each other,
and that was enough.
i didn't tell my friends,
and i didn't tell my boyfriend,
and i definitely didn't tell my parents,
but you kissed me on the mouth
in the mall parking lot,
and people could see,
and i was glowing from the inside
and forgot to be afraid.

i learned,
the way that we learn,
through kisses and closed fists,
things given and taken,
to admire women
and to fear men.
i wanted to be like the girls who held my hand and kissed me at sleepovers
and not like the men who grabbed my hips when i was trying to dance with my friends.
so i put on bows and dresses and makeup and heels,
an elaborate costume that made all my skin hurt,
and every time someone told me
i was pretty,
i wanted to fucking cry and i didn't know why.
my face in the mirror was a stranger's,
and my body fit me wrong.
so i stopped wearing shoes i couldn't run away in,
i stopped wearing makeup,
i cut all my hair off,
and suddenly i could breathe for the first time since the reality of womanhood had originally been thrust upon my muddy little-kid body.

and now people wanna compare my masculinity
to that of the men who follow me on the street shouting slurs,
act like butches have the social power of cis men,
as if we are not in danger all the time
for being what we are.
like, fake-progressive straight white dudes feel justified calling me fuckboy,
do not understand the ways in which their man-ness has always protected them at my expense.

i am not woman enough to be worthy of protection,
but i am woman enough to be conquest,
i am woman enough to not be believed,
i am woman enough to never be taken seriously.
to the kinds of men i am still afraid of,
i am not woman as in daughter or sister or wife,
but i am not man as in equal,
either.
i am still woman enough to be institutionalized on the suggestion of a guy i know,
in church they call that dominion.

it used to be my dream to be a wild thing,
all glitter and six inch heels,
but now all i want is a body that doesn't feel like a goddamn punishment.

so i will wear baggy pants tank top sports bra,
i will set my feet too far apart and slouch to soothe my spine,
lace up my fucking dyke boots
and hold stadfast to the fact that
my shoes,
at least,
are comfortable.
 

Maddie Fay is a storyteller and writer and a designer and technician for theatre and other live events. Her favorite band is the Mountain Goats and her favorite Spice Girl is Scary. She is passionate about communism, lesbian stuff, and her pit bull Myrtle.