Monday, July 31, 2017
For Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
"If I'd've seen you someplace, I'd've thought you were a straight girl" was the day I went home and shaved half my head
"Femme Visibility Cut"
7 months later for my birthday, I got the word, "Femme" tattooed in black above my cleavage.
When I met you at Bluestockings, we had the same haircut
Proud gray roots
But yours was dyed pink at the ends, and on your chest,
Where mine said "Femme" was the word "home"
I'm sitting at a table in the Met Life building in Midtown Manhattan, waiting for the charger port on my phone to be fixed. My overwhelmed autistic ears are stuffed with rolled up halves of a paper napkin, an insufficient measure to block out the large wall mounted TV tuned to CNN, and the men around me taking up too much space with their voices.
I've been re-reading "Love Cake", and I'm writing this longhand on a piece of stenographer's paper with a pen I borrowed from the front desk on top of its cover.
In the picture inside, you have a full head of hair, and I wonder if someone once made you feel invisible. I want to tell you, that even without the undercut, the tattoos or the "switchblade hip switch"
If I had seen you in the wild
I would have seen you right away
Queer, Brown, Hard Femme
Because we are not invisible
We take up more space than these chattering men, CNN and Midtown put together
Just by being the
Unbreakable bitches we are
But until I picked up your books,
Found your words when I lacked my own
I might never have discovered this Femme/home.