Always the Day After

The high I felt yesterday has settled into melancholy.
That’s how it is with me.
So much joy one day.
So much I’ll-stay-in-this-place-all-night.
Then the next morning
eyes like sandstone
the little voices come again
to remind me
I will die.
Everything dies. We live like flies
for a few days before dying
inside the narrow space where windows slide open.

Sonnet for a Woman at Sugar House Coffee

She appoches me while I’m in line.
“I don’t want to cross any personal boundaries,”
she begins, making me a little nervous,
“but you look beautiful” and I forget what I was ever

afraid of. I forget everything I once thought was important.
I’ve been floating around like half a sad raft
all my life only to find the missing half
surrounds me at all times and every place. I thought

I’d been drifting without a port to aim for. But I think now
we are each other’s port. We are eachother’s direction
and when we dare to cross into international waters,
when we acknowlege our boundaries exist and, bowing

in reverence to eachother, we cross them, only then
will any good to come of ourselves.

Free-thinking About Wisdom and Modern Communication Technology

Okay, parents probably are going to roll their eyes at me, but I’ve been thinking about kids and social media. This includes texting, facebook, Twitter, email, and whatever other social platforms out there. People tend to complain about how this generation is glued to their phone, tablet, computer. And it is excessive. But it’s east to forget how new this all is. I’m 40 years old and I remember being exposed to email when I was 19. I communicated by letter when I was in Germany at 19, and less than twenty years later, using skype to make live video calls from China. From China, ladies and gentlemen and in-betweeners.

In the last 20 years we have gone from virtually no real time global connection (on an individual consumer level, even nationally) to autually teaching students live from across the globe. But what really have we done with it? National boarders are as strong as ever. War seems to have gotten easier. And, as a nation, Americans don’t appear to have any better understanding of other nations. It would be interesting to make a graph that outlines the progression of communications technology along side the progression of geographic knowledge, average number of bilingual people and a basic measurement of compassion for other peoples.

On an individual level, I’m sure many people are much more informed and cultured. On a macro scale, however, the American sense of human decency and rights hasn’t really changed. It may be possible to argue that our access to eachother has simply reinforced our predjudices and hatred. I don’t this is this case. I think it’s more likely that we’ve gotten lazy. Information comes so quick that we’re content with to little partial mini-stories. Headlines more or less. Connecting to other parts of the country and the world may have gotten faster, but we’ve managed to come to our assumptions even faster.

As far as I’m concerned, the answer isn’t to spend less time or more time using social media. The answerer is to use it better. With more reading and less responding. Or, probably even more true, why not examine ourselves as the problem and not our tools. A fool with a Twitter account is still a fool. Trump has made this painfully obvious.

This is where parents might roll there eyes at me. If I had kids I wouldn’t sweat over how much time they spend on the internet, oh their phones, tablets, whatever. I would be more concerned about how that time is spent. Yeah, I know I’ve never had kids so what do I know. Well, squat, that’s about all I know. I’m just exercizing a bit of free-wheeled thinking. I think the oportunities kids have at their fingertips is astounding. The opportunity for learning, understanding, wisdom, all depends, on our ability to communicate well with a wide variety of people. Technology has given us on opportunity to expand our wisdom more than any other time in human history. We should be magnitudes wiser than we are.

The fact that we aren’t any wiser as a human, “intelligent,” species, is not a result of technology. We’re young. Our kids may be more adept at using the apps and the hardware than their parents, but the parents should be better at teaching good communication. The older generations my not understand what LOL means or how to label files or reset a frozen iPad, but they should know what communication is for and how technology should have improved it by now. Old and young need to start listening to each other and learning from eachother. The young know how to use technology, but the elders should be teaching them why to use it, and quit treating it like a distraction, a babysitter. We know better than that. We should be frustrated with how much wiser we should be by now, and we should instill that frustration in each younger generation.

A Proclamation to My Father

I proclaim to you today
to you who stayed late every day at work
because the house was new
and the car was new.
Because five kids eat a ton of food
and what about college or retirement
weddings, graduations….
I proclaim to you today, you who came home
twenty years later
having sacrificed everything for your son. I proclaim
that I am a trans woman.
I’m sorry.
it’s not my choice. But I proclaim
to the entire Salt Lake Valley and every other valley
and grassland and city, state, every home
every father who has one son,
that you are not required to call me daughter.
You are not required to wonder
or ask questions or believe anything
other than what you believe,
other than what you know.
Because we are lucky, the two of us.
We are still alive and you have retired and I
will move in with you for the second time.
I proclaim that we can talk for the first time in our lives.
Even though I wear skirts sometimes
and my hair is pretty and my face and body
have feminized and I am happier this way.
Even though I’ve changed my name to Ellee
and it seems my whole being
is like an iron curtain drawn between us,
we still have time.
We’re still alive.
We can choose. We can choose
to be what we’ve always wanted to be to each other.
Father and son.
You can introduce to your bishop as your only boy.
A boy with breasts, but who cares.
A boy who wears high heeled sandals.
I’m sorry, I can’t choose to not be a woman.
But I can choose to be your son.
I can still choose to be Ryan Lee Adams.
To you.
The young man who once looked exactly like you
when you graduated High School and left for Sacramento
where you served a mission for the church
that was once our church, the God once our god,
and the dedication to salvation we still share.
I proclaim with laughing relief that I am your son.
Your son.
Because you never gave up on me.
You never left.
And if you ever call me Ellee I will laugh
and give you a hug and kiss and cry with gratitude
and look you straight in the face
to make sure you had just slipped up,
that it was an honest mistake and you know better.
Next time you’ll get the name right.
But just in case you were serious, I’ll remind you
who we are to each other.
Man and little man.
The boy who still carries your middle name.

Lines

I’ve never wanted to be anything other than what I am.  Trouble was, I never knew what I was until now.

I suppose there is always an element of the unknown in everyone’s identity.  From birth to death, I imagine we never completely realize our potential to be whatever it is we can be.

But there comes a point in one’s life where all of the big pieces come together and a person feels whole, unpolished perhaps, but at least all together as an entire individual.

I’m coming to the end of my 40th year and I think I may have reached that point at last.  The basic pieces are in place.  I’ve found the strongest blocks of my identity and arranged them to make a rough outline of myself.

Poet.  Trans Woman.  Empath.  Maker of Stuff.  Imaginator (person who imagines).  I touch everything and taste everything.

I’m not as afraid of myself anymore.  I don’t wish much anymore.  I hope for things.  I don’t wish I were a woman without the “trans.”  I don’t wish to have had a girlhood.  I hope the line between woman and trans woman become more and more blurry, but I don’t wish the line to go away anymore.

I embrace it.

I embrace more now.  I have felt enough aching, enough body-balled-up tension on the floor.  Of course the ache doesn’t leave.  But I won’t be the ache anymore.  I’ll embrace it.  And of course tension won’t leave.  But it will not consume me as it did.  It will be like a hardened lump of gum in the gut.  It will dissolve slowly and pass through to make room for new anxieties and new fears.  But they will not be me anymore.  They will be in me and around me.  Objects to embrace and lull to sleep like fussy puppies.

And as for the monsters I’ve known, the behemoths, the krakens: I think maybe they never really existed except in mirrors and reflective pools and dreams.  But if such horrors do find me and take my strength from me and the drowning begins again, then, maybe, knowing what I know now of demons and drowning, I think I will not fight them.

I will let them do to me what they do to everyone.  Because I’m complete now.  Because they are not death.  Death is neither friend nor enemy.  Death sleeps everywhere and wakes up at times and in places we can’t predict.  It has very little to say.  Sometimes it doesn’t even tell us goodbye.

Two Poems for a Good Day

What Joy Does

I matter I am
matter you are
matter we matter
improbable
electric
particulate matter we
matter together conglomerate
matter
I am you
matter we are
matter

How it Feels to Exist Without Trying

socks don’t match
pink slip-ons don’t match
black skinny jeans
blue over-sized T-shirt don’t match
nothing is in its proper place
nothing fits
I drew one eyebrow arching up then down
and the other eyebrow down then up
I didn’t put up my hair
I didn’t shave
I sat at the desk in the apartment for twenty minutes
and thought I couldn’t leave without shaving
but I didn’t shave and here I am
in my favorite chair at Sugar House Coffee
with a woman sitting beside me who likes my shoes
she looks into my eyes
she can’t see any shadows along the chin
and I think it is safe now
I will drop the black curtain
I will set down the iron shields
and exist as I am
a lover
and beloved lover of lovers

How I live

I tried to live in the present,
but the present was always passing.
I tried to focus on the living,
but like the present, the living
kept passing away.

So I pet the cats at the shelter.
I drink iced tea at Tea Zanti,
and I let myself write badly, because
I’ve already tried to write well
and that’s like trying to live right now.