I have this very bad habit of
Falling in love with women
I’m sexually attracted to.
If I could just rid myself of this vice,
I’m sure happiness would be
Just around the corner.
All of you
Are so damned expensive—
Oh, not in terms of money.
I don’t mind the money.
If I minded it,
I’d have some.
But you cost me time.
The kind of time spent in tears
By the telephone,
Knowing if you don’t call
I’m worth nothing.
That’s something I never did
In high school, for chris’ sake,
I’m a sucker for all of you:
Little boys who need their mother
(A sinister, seductive, strict older woman).
Tough street fighters who need somebody
To keep them from getting their noses broken again
(I hang on to your belt, saying fiercely,
"Don’t you dare, it’s not worth your spit!").
Cocksmen with dicks too big
For most women to take
(And I can, and I love it).
Broad-shouldered women who need somebody
To lean on them
(So take care of me).
And women who can never have what they want
Because the world will not allow them
To be complete human beings — that is, men.
(So shout at me, frighten me, blame me, humiliate me.
I’ll shout back, but I won’t break you.
The next day, you’ll wear me on your arm
And every man who makes more money than you do
Will see me and be jealous of you.)
Being a successful femme
Means making a butch desire you
And then enduring when that lust
Turns into suspicion.
"If you want me," she sneers,
"You must really want a man."
Nobody knows how much it hurts
When you go out on the street
And straight men tell you
The same damned thing.
But what I want is you, a woman.
The muscles in your forearms and thighs
When you hold yourself over me,
Between my legs,
The accurate and vulgar terms
With which you dissect and label me.
The smell of your cologne,
Your suits in my closet,
Your boots and ties and hats and uniforms
And men’s handkerchief’s and men’s underwear
Your dangerous jobs and all that endless
And the way you buck under my mouth
Or around my hand
Or inside my ropes
When I make love to you.
I want that to.
I know how to make love to
Your woman’s body
Without taking your masculinity away.
It’s just our secret.
Nobody else needs to know
How it’s done
Or even that I do it at all.
The lipstick, the perfume, the garter belts,
The high heels, the dresses, the long hair.
The sidelong looks, the requests for a chair,
What do you think I should do?
Why don’t you order, dear?
Honey, would you drive?
Zip me up, please.
Unzip me now, now, hurry,
What I really need is a good, hard fuck
And a strong shoulder to sleep on—
All that’s for you.
Not for my father or my husband or my boss.
Because you know what it means
On your good days,
When you don’t hate yourself or me
And you aren’t out of work or sick or drunk.
Because with you it’s finally safe
To be a woman.
The feminine qualities
That win me the world’s contempt
Put a light in your eyes,
Make you feel like you’re finally
Getting a little of what you deserve.
That’s why I keep coming back.
To all of you, dammit,
No matter how many times you try to
Take my fights away from me
And take my power tools away from me
And take my job away from me
And take my Levis and boots away from me
And even take my cock away from me.
Because in your arms
I am valuable.
You aren’t sorry I wasn’t born a boy.
I’m your gift, your prize, your treasure,
Not a disappointment,
A voracious black hole in lesbian space.
Because I know what you want
Without even thinking,
Even when I’m mad at you
Just to deny some aid and comfort
To the man.
So treat me like a lady
The woman who loves you
Who could not love you
If you were not a woman,
Who could not love you
If you weren’t virile.
Tell me it will be different this time.
No broken windows, no black eyes,
No jealous rages, no dirty dishes.
You don’t even have to make it be different.
Just tell me it will be and I’ll stay
As long as your kisses
Can make me hope.