poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

occasions

About this poet

Trace Peterson is the author of Since I Moved In (Chax Press, 2007), winner of the Gil Ott Award, as well as numerous chapbooks. Known for her efforts to increase transgender representation in poetry, Peterson is also the editor and publisher of the journal EOAGH and coeditor of the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books, 2013), which was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in 2014. A member of the Board of Directors of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Peterson is currently pursuing a PhD at CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter College, where she has designed a pioneering course in transgender poetry.

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 response 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 telekenetic powers which would cause a table to fly crashing acrosss 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 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.

Originally appeared in EK * PRHAS * SIS, the Home School gallery. Copyright © 2016 Trace Peterson. Used with permission of the author.

Originally appeared in EK * PRHAS * SIS, the Home School gallery. Copyright © 2016 Trace Peterson. Used with permission of the author.

Trace Peterson

Trace Peterson

Trace Peterson is the author of Since I Moved In (Chax Press, 2007), winner of the Gil Ott Award, as well as numerous chapbooks.

by this poet

poem

Roses are red / violets are transsexual / welcome to womanhood / now get to work honey

Roses are performative / violets are biological / I have very sensitive breasts / and so do your breasts

Roses are biological / you have the nicest skin / I can't stop kissing you / let's read more nondualistic queer

poem

This bag of crunchy Cheetos is making me thirsty. Good thing I picked up a Fanta orange soda on the way home just in case. Walking back, I couldn't help noticing how most of the neighborhood has been replaced by strange towering steel and plate glass structures. A man was lying across the sidewalk in front of one