Volume 30, Number 3

The Transgender Moment

The question has been asked,
why are we always the same?
When finally do we see the Renaissance Woman
no longer shielded from the Prime Mover’s
gorgeous movements
pouring from the windows
onto the street?

Why are we so afraid to change form? Why am I so afraid?
A measure that changes is a measure immeasurable,
but the measure taps itself out nevertheless.
We can see in the beautiful amoeba
a trance of genders, alternation of form.
The dancer should be worrying about the music,
not the other way around.
Timid music shackles the dancer,
but humble music doesn’t tell us to Madison or twist.
Humble music plays itself
and we dance ourselves.
We dance from the music, not to it.

This is the fearless moment, wilderness moment,
playing cards motion blurred in black and white,
the suitless moment, untrumped, following no lead.

Michelangelo’s women, and Shakespeare’s women,
were boys. Sybil on the ceiling, Ophelia offstage drowning,
woman was the costume full of river that pulled her down.
These are the prefigurings of postmodern victory.

Alan Turing was not very good at chess, but eventually he beat Kasparov,
once he gathered up enough pawns, white and black,
to scout the brambled forest of the board.

If I can convince Garry that I beat him, then I beat him.
It’s a flood of affirmation, like giving estrogen to a gay man.
If I can convince you that I’m a woman, then I’m not gay,
and you’re not gay if I can convince you to kiss me.

He gets on his bicycle and becomes
my Laura Virgil Beatrice Joel Grey Earhart Scarecrow.
I follow him into his Machine.
This moment was always here.

—Donald Zirilli