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  Trish Salah
Trish Salah
Trish Salah is Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg. Her current research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada's Insight Grant, investigates the emergence of Transgender and Transsexual Minority Literatures. In 2014 she co-organized and hosted, Writing Trans Genres: Emergent Literatures and Criticism, a 3-day conference on Trans and Two Spirit Literatures and co-edited the fourth issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, focused on Trans Cultural Production. She is the author of the Lambda award winning poetry book, Wanting In Arabic (TSAR 2002, 2nd edition 2013) and of Lyric Sexology: Volume I (Roof Books 2014). Currently she is working on a book of essays on trans literatures, and a novel.

What is a poem for Mahmud Darwish, what poem could be?

Trish Salah
from: If a child is a land you may not own. (flat singles 2013)

If it were—here
could it be—here?
when water seeps into a poem
for a broken into map

a map seeping into

How you are a person
written with water

as land goes as far as lands are concerned, away

or the earth, under a field of stones,
do you know fig trees?

Ask a journalist
where does your dress hang?

For whom has the fold turned up?
Fire turned into a frayed edge?

How you are one person is unwritten.
And you in your best dress

Smile as if indulging in traveller's tales

With big mouths
their a rippling

at you in tears frays
(from behind a word
for fabric
hides the word for sesame bread)

Light your lights
Lips curving under and into

A sun yellow taxi, stopped
there, there how long
Inky curls like a girlshanging on
by fiat plunder

greeting, as if
off to
lover away layers of world

Is it then you call out and eye the sky? Down.

Sky like people resists and sky like sky does not know
Does not wish, ground down.

If water seeks somewhere it does not know sky like
sky will not be pulled low

Though they raise earth
& boil air
Drop fire
& turn all to stone.

Stone where sky was meant

to be

Light culled people under and into
Inky curls luring peopleweepinginto a poem

where thought might rest,
might you
still resist?

Tiresias, impersonated.

From Lyric Sexology

Impersonation doesn't mean what you think. This is the introduction to this book, my introduction, my lyrical sexology. Lyric Sexology. This is one of the things you need to get straight. This is another, you there in your later age, your so-called 21st century:
I am not a transsexual. Or an intersexual, or a hermaphrodite. (Hermaphroditus can write her own damn book.) I am not any of those things you have words for now. You don't have words for what I am. What I was was this:
I was a dude.
Then I was a chick.
Then I was a dude again.
Hah. You didn't think we said "dude" or "chick" in what you call ancient Greece, Hellenes, etc. Think again.
Here is what you don't have words for: What is a seer? What is beyond knowing? How can I write you now, a now impossibly out of joint with your own, knowing you will read this? Knowing you? Or what is a sex in time? Without?
You do not have a word for snakes or gods or sexes. You only think you do.
You do not have a word for the meeting of snake sex god in one word's divided knowing, a knowing one divided word.
Seven years is what I was as beyond, a beyond, and inside too. So, impersonation doesn't begin to describe it, but suppose it did. Suppose I began to describe you.

Chapter 1 Lyric Sexology

From The Adventures of Julian Robinson AKA Miss High Heels

An episode occurred which is difficult to write that,
Glad Feet shod in glittering Steel
I was, as I have confessed, girlish to look at
Winged with confusion and pretty heels.

Often I lay alone in Bed, creating Pictures of Delight.
Picture fancies of luxurious gowns, all accoutrements of femininity

The boys, the boys, the boys, they torment from dawn to midnight
While Miss H. and Miss P. titter— oh! This Solitude demoralizes me.

Though I had grown to mistrust Miss H. and Miss P.
I protested it was not my place or in my nature.
I so severely missed their gentle company,
their conversation, so very civilized and mature.

Being stolen once more into this feminine realm—
I was discovered. Even as I implored, I felt my chances dim.
"You've strayed young Sir, now must Woman take the helm...
I will lock tight fetters on your gossamer clad limbs."

I trembled a little as I felt Phoebe's eyes devouring my form
The skirt clung so tight and close, but the corset stays...
I was enveloped in white lace, pink and blue satins, bustles and bows...
I continued to fondle and pinch her breasts.

And so on, until...

My tears broke out afresh, we had been so close...
Betrayed in heels, begowned, with my Manhood maidenhead on offer,
I was at last eighteen and would be owner of this house....
What strange paradoxes does life proffer.

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