Monday, February 28, 2011

How To Make Love to a Trans Person

by Gabe Moses

Forget the images you've learned to attach
To words like cock and clit,
Chest and breasts.
Break those words open
Like a paramedic cracking ribs
To pump blood through a failing heart.
Push your hands inside.
Get them messy.
Scratch new definitions on the bones.

Get rid of the old words altogether.
Make up new words.
Call it a click or a ditto.
Call it the sound he makes
When you brush your hand against it through his jeans,
When you can hear his heart knocking on the back of his teeth
And every cell in his body is breathing.
Make the arch of her back a language
Name the hollows of each of her vertebrae
When they catch pools of sweat
Like rainwater in a row of paper cups
Align your teeth with this alphabet of her spine
So every word is weighted with the salt of her.

When you peel layers of clothing from his skin
Do not act as though you are changing dressings on a trauma patient
Even though it's highly likely that you are.
Do not ask if she's "had the surgery."
Do not tell him that the needlepoint bruises on his thighs look like they hurt
If you are being offered a body
That has already been laid upon an altar of surgical steel
A sacrifice to whatever gods govern bodies
That come with some assembly required
Whatever you do,
Do not say that the carefully sculpted landscape
Bordered by rocky ridges of scar tissue
Looks almost natural.

If she offers you breastbone
Aching to carve soft fruit from its branches
Though there may be more tissue in the lining of her bra
Than the flesh that rises to meet itLet her ripen in your hands.
Imagine if she'd lost those swells to cancer,
Diabetes,
A car accident instead of an accident of genetics
Would you think of her as less a woman then?
Then think of her as no less one now.

If he offers you a thumb-sized sprout of muscle
Reaching toward you when you kiss him
Like it wants to go deep enough inside you
To scratch his name on the bottom of your heart
Hold it as if it can-
In your hand, in your mouth
Inside the nest of your pelvic bones.
Though his skin may hardly do more than brush yours,
You will feel him deeper than you think.

Realize that bodies are only a fraction of who we are
They're just oddly-shaped vessels for hearts
And honestly, they can barely contain us
We strain at their seams with every breath we take
We are all pulse and sweat,
Tissue and nerve ending
We are programmed to grope and fumble until we get it right.
Bodies have been learning each other forever.
It's what bodies do.
They are grab bags of parts
And half the fun is figuring out
All the different ways we can fit them together;
All the different uses for hipbones and hands,
Tongues and teeth;
All the ways to car-crash our bodies beautiful.
But we could never forget how to use our hearts
Even if we tried.
That's the important part.
Don't worry about the bodies.
They've got this.

109 comments:

  1. This is incredibly powerful, and extremely well said. Thank you.

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  2. I really like this! :)

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  3. wow..
    quite beautiful

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  4. Oh my goodness. This is so beautiful! This is one of my favorite things I have read on this blog ever! More, please!

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  5. Oh my goodness.

    This poem is a masterpiece.

    Brave, un-stoppable and thick with beauty.

    I'm kinda stunned.

    Thank you for writing, and for sharing it.

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  6. This is absolutely beautiful.
    I am not trans myself, but simply as a human being this is just so amazing. I can't express the way that this poem made me feel, the amount of hope for equality, acceptance and love that I felt reading this.

    Just simply beautiful.

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  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  8. This is truly amazing. It is groundbreaking. And I hope it will inspire many more of our poets to "go there" and dare.

    Well done!
    Beau

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  9. I am breathless and stunned after reading this. It's just... wow. Thank you for this.

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  10. Before being Asian, Filipino, Woman, Man, African American, Gay, Lesbian, Trans, Queer, GenderQueer...everyone IS human. To piggyback off of what Katie has already mentioned, "as a human being", love should transcend all. In this chaotic world, it's hard to see how love can do that BUT it can with beautiful expressions such as this. Thank you for giving this to the world. :)

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  11. I love this. You are blessed forever for having written it. Thank you.

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  12. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

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  13. Thank you for this!

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  14. this is so beautiful! however it leaves out the part about the courage it takes to be true to self!!! that is so admirable.

    many blessings.

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  15. Reposted on FetLife in An Impenetrable Queer And Trans Fortress On FetLife (http://fetlife.com/groups/19953/group_posts/1241029)

    Loved it. Thanks for posting it.

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  16. Yes, yes. yes.YES,YESS,YYYEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!

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  17. Thank you this is beautiful

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  18. One of my friends "Liked" this on Facebook. I wanted to let you know I thought it was absolutely amazing - it broke my heart a little. Thank you for sharing.

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  19. This made me tear up a little bit. This line hit really close to home.

    "Though his skin may hardly do more than brush yours,
    You will feel him deeper than you think."

    I remember the first time this happened with my partner. The memory of how that felt and our energies combining is something I will never forget.

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  20. He, I just re-posted it with credits of course on my own blog at www.vreer.net. Love it!

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  21. Not often does a man like me get a little stinging in his eyes from tears threatening to burst out, but this ... amazing.

    Thank you for writing this. I have so often gotten the question "how do someone have sex with a trans person?", and I've just never known what to reply. The next time I get the question online, I shall link this.

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  22. Interesting... well said. I think this could be very useful. Do you work in the medical field at all? A lot of what you said made me wonder.

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  23. Wow! What a gorgeous poem about gorgeous people! Thanks for writing and sharing this, it's one of the most beautiful poems I've ever heard!

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  24. Tears started flowing from my eyes while I was reading this.

    Thank you so much.

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  25. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so very much.

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  26. powerful! gorgeous! beautiful!
    making me cry....and love!
    thank you!

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  27. Was this written by a transperson? "Call it a click or a ditto." As a transman, some parts of this poem make me cringe (call "it," basically, whatever....) hm....

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    Replies
    1. Dude, the writer was referring to their genitalia, not the trans* person themselves. You fail.

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  28. Not since reading Riki Anne Wilchins 15 years ago have I read such moving poetry.

    Well done -- more, please!

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  29. that was just like how I remembered it, strong beautiful, and sorrowful

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  30. Perfect. Just wonderful. :) Love this more than I can express.

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  31. ditto. amazing. thank you for sharing this.

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  32. Really amazing. Great work, with interesting voice.

    "All the ways to car-crash our bodies beautiful."

    Love this line especially.

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  33. Is there a way to contact the author?

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  34. That's some quantum shit, you just made a fact.

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  35. Amazing. Reposted as a favorite on my facebook profile! (With credit of course)

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  36. Gabe: You're words are inspirational, wise, true. Full of passion, intensity, for the mind and soul. Pleasurable for any person, meant for all. You've truly impacted us all. With this I thank you, for writing such a beautiful masterpiece, please do not stop! (:

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  37. Breathtakilnly beautiful. stunning, heartfelt, powerful, incredibly written, and so very true.

    Thank you so much for this awesome poem.

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  38. Erotic. Powerful. Liberating. SEXY! There are so many ways to love and to make love with this poem. Thank you for writing and sharing it!

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  39. I read this on Coilhouse and wanted to come over to comment here too. Holy crap this is wonderful. Thank you.

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  40. beautifully written!!!
    it definitely deserve more readers..

    gonna repost it at my site (with credit of course)

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  41. this may be the most beautiful statement about physical love I have read in years.

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  42. Thank you so much. I have been asked The Question before and I said, somewhat unpoetically, "Similarly to making love to a non-transperson...but better." You said it very beautifully, and I will never forget it.

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  43. This has something to offer even to "straight" people: Ignore the body, and see/feel the person you love, no matter what their shape or color. "Realize that bodies are only a fraction of who we are..."

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  44. Holy hell...I needed that this morning. THANK YOU!

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  45. This stunning poem of very advanced understanding and acceptance made me cry. If you were female identified and Philly-based, I'd invite you to feature at the Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series (www.WomensWritingSeries.org). Many thanks for the love via words.

    Cassendre

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  46. This is one of the most beautiful poems I've ever read.
    Really powerful!

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  47. That was heartbreakingly beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for writing. Thanks for being.

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  48. I understand what the other t.man said, but as the poem tries to impart, we, as humans, just need to look at each other as human, not attach 'labels' to things. I try to apply this to my life every day, and I really enjoyed this.

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  49. A beautiful poem. A philosophy. Transcendence through flesh, with flesh, beyond flesh. Poetry often intimidates me but his was so lovely. Make love to the soul. Make music out of it all. Exquisite.

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  50. fantastic. articulate. hot. thank you for expressing what i often feel is hard to put into words (as a partner of a beautiful transman).

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  51. Great poem!!! That is a fresh perspective, definitely art!

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  52. WOW, got led here by a friend.. But that is beautiful...

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  53. thank you thank you thank you beautiful amazing deep and just what I needed
    Carrie Lynn

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  54. I thought I had lost libido until I read this poem, not only does it make a sensual smile come to my lips, it lifts my spirit, cries out that I declare "I am woman, and I am a Goddess of Sultriness"....it brings a part of me back to myself. Thank you Genderqueer Chicago!!

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  55. Thank you. That's all. Thank you.
    Trans in Victoria

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  56. Wow. <3 (That's all there is to say)

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  57. Step by step I walked with my Love of 18 yrs.(now also my husband)through this exciting time in our lives. Thank You for tender words. Misha

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  58. Worst thing I have ever read. This is both an insult to me and to every transsexual I know. I would NEVER refer to a trans man's dick as a "click" or anything else. Also? Their body is NOT a fraction of who they are. You are completely erasing them. They spend YEARS, DECADES SOMETIMES, to become the person they really are on the outside, so that it reflects the inside, and you erase it in one purple prosey poem. Also men and women are so barely sexually dimorphic, there is little difference in a cis woman's chest and a no-op/HRT trans woman's chest other than nipple height. Women can be absolutely entirely FLAT as a BOARD. Cis OR trans. You are doing nothing but invalidating trans people and it honestly makes me sick and want to vomit. Also there is nothing wrong with pointing out needle marks that may have hurt, to show that person is brave for all they've went through. And there is nothing wrong with asking about if they've had surgery or not, in a few seconds you'll be seeing them naked anyway. Some people are curious and want to know. We aren't BORN knowing what various sex reassingment surgery and hormone replacement therapy processes look like from start to finish. Can you please realize how disgustingly invalidating this is? How you basically refer to trans people's genitalia as some sort of morphed hermaphroditic organ? They did not transition for you to call their clits "clicks" and their dicks "ditto". All the trans men I know have the most glorious cocks in the world, and all the trans women I hope to know have the most beautiful clits. NONE OF THEM have a "click" and NONE OF THEM have a "ditto". You know why?

    Because trans men are MEN. And trans women are WOMEN.

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    1. I found this poem to be a beautiful expression of human sexual diversity. I'm a gender queer transmale and I use the word dick to describe my dick and cunt for my cunt. I know a trans woman who uses the word "girl-cock". I think that you have a very narrow view of how people may chose to relate to their own bodies.

      I don't really want to talk about my needle stick injuries when I'm about to have sex, I don't think that what surgery I've had is very relevant either because by the time I come to having sex with a person we will have talked about that already.

      The things talked about in this poem are very real for many people. I find your post rude and defensive.

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  59. The anon who said "straight" is being rude! I am a straight male dating a trans woman! Straight people come in ALL flavors.

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  60. this is so amazing..... i ve been with a trans person for 3 years, and i really feel like that whenever i make love with him..... congratulations to you Gabe Moses... i really cried when i read it... and i dedicated it to him with all my heart.... im from greece btw... just to know your poem travels a lot! ;)
    kisses...

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  61. @10:50 - Not all trans* people fit within the binary and some may like the idea of playing around with how they refer to their bodies. Not all trans* people's experiences are the same as yours or of those you know. Some may feel that their body IS just a fraction of their selves or may feel that their body is a canvas but one that does not strive to be "natural." Some trans* people don't have surgery at all or take hormones and they are beautiful just the same.

    I think you may have missed the beauty and the possibility of this wonderful poem. The beauty WAS that a women need not have breasts to be called a woman, that there is pressure too comply with rigid categories like that and judge people by the standards of objects. Some might want to redefine how we relate to our bodies outside of such norms. This is about the freedom that people of all gender expressions and identities or non-identities can have. The freedom to call my parts a click, or to say I am not normal (whatever that means) and that I like it just fine that way.

    I urge you to read the poem again with an open mind to those who are not binary identified, or don't relate to their body in the same way you might.

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  62. This is wonderful. Thank you for this.
    This is my favourite part:

    "Realize that bodies are only a fraction of who we are
    They're just oddly-shaped vessels for hearts
    And honestly, they can barely contain us
    We strain at their seams with every breath we take
    We are all pulse and sweat,
    Tissue and nerve ending
    We are programmed to grope and fumble until we get it right."

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  63. How beautiful! My 25-year long relationship/marriage has shifted in the last 30 days and while I've been L in the GLBTQ all these years, I am now learning about the T & Q parts. What a wild ride my man and I are on!

    Re: the transfolk who are offended or angry at the poem, that's the wonderful thing about art; we ALL get to translate it the way we see it. But, it's important to remember that just because *I* might see it one way, does not mean *everyone* will... or (worse) *should* see it. each of our interpretations are 100% valid and true.

    That said, even though I'm new to the TransWorld, my man and I have had dozens of discussions about labels, naming body parts and all the other aspects brought up in this great piece. I *love* how the poem takes a look at so many aspects of our sexuality, tossing in gender for our own defining. ;)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. I'm going to put it on our blog and website (with attribution, of course!) and I look forward to reading this to my lover this evening... as we toast to his being prescribed T today... the next step towards his physical/spiritual/mental/emotional shift towards body-truth. This poem is the perfect affirmation to his forward movement.

    Thank you. So very much.

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  64. Wow. Absolutely stunning. As someone who has very recently entered a relationship with a transperson, this has managed to sum up everything I have tried to explain to people when I am asked , "How could you___?'
    (Fill in the blank with whatever innapropriate question people ask in these situations). Thank you for writing and sharing this.

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  65. This is so beautifully brilliant. I am actually tearing up right now!

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  66. Just so you're aware. You're poem is basically famous.

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  67. This poem moved me to tears when my lover sent it to me recently. Thank you.

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  68. Thank you so much, this poem made me cry and is exactly what I've needed for years. There are so many lines in here that reached the core of me. I'm definitely going to share this with as many people as I can, for all the innocent or critical faces who have ever stared at me and asked bluntly, "so how does that *work*?"

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  69. Here's the author performing it as spoken word: http://youtu.be/ui6HUY3Zp38

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  70. wow! This has really given me a point of view. Just, wow!

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  71. Wonderful, spiritual, revitalizing. I had to send this on to many friends.

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  72. Shivers all over. Thank you thank you.

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  73. I saw this poem because my trans daughter expressed on a page, that it was one of the most beautiful poems she has ever read. Curious, I clicked the link to read it. It did really move me. Very beautiful.

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  74. very very beautiful..."oddly shaped vessels for hearts"...i totally identify..rings true, and not necessarily in the trans context. dang how i wish i'd written this myself!..how i almost feel i have, because it says all that i'd want to. thank you for writing this..and for sharing it too. many hugs :))

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  75. The first time I stumbled upon this amazing poem I was sitting on my best friend's floor tossing myself a huge pity party. I thought my life was at it's worst possible moment. I was trying to get my mind off of what was wrong, so we were looking at Wipeout Homophobia's facebook page. I found the poem and read it aloud to my friend who happens to be a transgendered person. (Keyword PERSON) His tears made me realize that my life may be rocky, but it's not coupled with the burden of the outside world's ignorance and bigotry against who and what I am. (I happen to be straight.) As he basically fell off of his bed and into my lap I caught a glimpse of the pain that he hides from everyone. Our schoolmates, some of our friends, even his parents aren't willing to accept him as a man because he wasn't born with a penis. One day, for his sake as well as everyone else struggling with his problems, I hope that the world will recognize trans, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and pansexuals as equals to the hetero society that the world has created. The idea that because someone is not inclined to be sexually attracted to the opposite sex 100% of the time makes them abnormal or less of a person is ludicrous. No one can be placed in a 'one label explains all' box. No one should have to try.

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  76. First time I've ever read it. Oh my holy god. Thank you. Thank you.

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  77. This is absolutely and unbelievably beautiful.

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  78. I'm seeing a transguy at the moment, and he sent this to me. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever read. Now, when I'm with him, I think of this poem.

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  79. i periodically come back here to re-read...

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  80. I am a fairly straight, cis woman. This is one of the most erotic things I have ever read. if I'm lucky, one day I will experience some of what it speaks about. If not, I think it will stay in my head during any sex I have in the future. Thank you.

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  81. Just re-read this. Again. Crying. Again.

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  82. So genderlessly beautiful and real,"true" to many here ... certainly moving to me ... now that I read it again ... still ... almost in tears ... Read all of the above comments, so many differently expressed resonances within me with them ...

    Just sent it to my new gf, wondering how she'll react, i'm an older translesbian in the honeymoon stage ... I called it "an instruction manual" ... indeed, hearts and humanity first ...

    Infinite thanks,

    Lea

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  83. This resonated deeply with me.... thank you so much for writing such a relatable and utterly beautiful piece.

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  84. Stunningly beautiful! You are brilliant and gifted.

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  85. wow..tears...achingly beautiful...bravo

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  86. brilliant and beautiful

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  87. This is so beautiful and has come at a time in my life where I really needed to read those words. Your poem is exactly what I want to tell a lover, the words express the feelings that I could never find a way to say. Thank you for writing this. <3
    I made sure to share this with all my followers on
    http://facebook.com/BoxersAndBindersAnFtmStory

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  88. its beautiful ! its so touching and heartfelt and oddly sensuous.

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  89. Beautiful Beautiful!!!! As a poet I thank you for opening up new ways to discribe my experience...

    Applauding the closing:
    `Don't worry about the bodies.
    They've got this.`

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  90. Just wanted to let the author know that I'm reading parts of this poem at my church, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Salisbury (MD) for a service about violence against Transgender people presented by members of our congregation. :D

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