When I help a woman on with her jacket,
my sexuality grabs my gender identity
and waltzes it around the room.
I’m a woman, but there’s a man in me.
He’s a bit of a fop, sort of a pansy.
He might be a fag.
Why shouldn’t everything about me be fluid?
I’m a squishy skin-bag of water and salt,
ocean inside and out.
As a child, I was sure I was a boy.
The heroes of all the best books were boys.
I pretty much lived in my head, what I read.
Now I feel more like a woman –
except around straight women.
Then I feel like a butch lunk.
My husband thinks I’m a femme
because I wear lavender, (color and scent),
and ask him to open jars.
All roads meet in me:
butch when I wake up,
femme at lunch.
Androgynous at dinner,
totally trans all night .
Can I get that door for you?
Jan Steckel, 2010
Jan writes "My story Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) won the Gertrude Press fiction chapbook award for LGBT writers. My chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) won a Rainbow Award for lesbian and bisexual poetry. My writing has appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Yale Medicine, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere." Jan's website is here.
I was really happy when Jan shared this poem with me and agreed to let me share it with all of you. I thought this poem was a great match with our exploration of Gender in the new video series GENDER 101!
Be sure to check out these great kid lit celebrations of poetry, (My thanks to Irene Latham for spreading word about them):
Greg Pincus' amazing 30 poets 30 days (An annual event feature poetry by some AMAZING poets!)
Susan Taylor Brown will post Lessons Learned (Mostly About Me) in a Poem-a-Day at http://susanwrites.livejournal.com
April Halprin Wayland will be writing and posting an original poem a day during April.
Liz Garton Scanlon will give us her third year of a Haiku-a-Day every day in April!
Jone MacCulloch will post 30 Days-30 Students: A poem a day from students http://maclibrary.wordpress.com
A Poem A Day: A Personal Journey http://doewriter.wordpress.com
Poetry Postcard Project: Have a student written and decorated poem sent to your
home. Email her at macrush53 @yahoo. com.
Jama Rattigan will present her 2nd Annual Poetry Potluck (original poem and favorite recipe by guest bloggers) at http://jamarattigan.livejournal.com
Irene Latham will host a month-long Poetry Party: poetry quotes, trivia, craft tips, publishing resources & free books! http://irenelatham.blogspot.com
Andromeda Jazmon will be doing her fourth year in a row of haiga (original haiku + my photos) at A Wrung Sponge http://awrungsponge.blogspot.com.
Janelle at Brimful Curiosities will host a National Poetry Month Kids Poetry Challenge in which kids are invited to create pictures for the poems she posts each Friday. For details: http://www.brimfulcuriosities.com/2011/03/kids-poetry-challenge-national-poetry.html
Biblio File will be featuring a poem or review of a novel-in-verse every day in
Anastasia Suen has set up a blog and a Twitter account for students (of all ages) to write
Haiku (about what they leaned at school that day).
Tricia Stohr-Hunt will host a Poetry in the Classroom series, which will highlight a topic, theme, poet, or book and talk about uses in the classroom. http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com
Stasia Kehoe will be including poetry links, a giveaway of signed arc of debut YA verse novel AUDITION and reviews every Thursday of verse novels. www.swardkehoe.blogspot.com
The Poem Farm will introduce a different poem idea-strategy or poetic technique for children and teachers every day. Each idea-strategy/technique will be followed by links to a few poems from this past year. The blog will also feature poem sharing ideas through "Poetry Peeks" into classrooms. http://poemfarm.blogspot.com/
Mary Lee Hahn will be writing a poem a day again this year, and posting them at A Year of Reading. http://readingyear.blogspot.com/
If you're doing a celebration of kid lit and poetry at your blog/website, feel free to add it here in comments!
You should also check out the weekly Poetry Friday celebrations here:
National Poetry Month Poetry Friday schedule:
April 8 http://www.madiganreads.com/
April 15 http://randomnoodling.blogspot.com/
April 22 http://bookaunt.blogspot.com/
April 29 http://www.tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/
Namaste, and enjoy!