The Hero of the Gender Circus (video)
Each day, I lather myself
in the man that I never asked to be.
I rub into my skin until it’s sore
with the pheromone that only those who
don’t “naturally” produce testosterone
(and who lust after those who do)
I douse myself in the overwhelming scent
to rid me of the menstrual cycle
that I also
never asked for.
Every day I pray
rid me of the pain of bloodstains
trom battles that I gave up fighting
A body doesn't know
to stop kicking itself
when it is already down.
The body doesn't know
when you are shutting down your liver
or, opening your skin
using pain to relieve
I remember the faces of women
who cross the street to get away
from the image of the man
that I am trapped in.
I would cross out of my way, too.
With each day that passes
and I develop my father’s jawline
because no one ever taught me how to shave.
I learned quick to brave the waves
that each storm gave.
A storm of razor blades
death by a million little cuts
across my cheeks and throat
drawing the blood of the covenant
the one I made to myself
which runs thicker than the water
of the womb.
When I made the deal to disappear
and run away from home
my body died.
That’s why they call it a
That person never began to exist
and I still don’t; that’s the sick twist.
That’s another drop of blood running down my wrist/
my beating heart in my closed fist.
And if you thought you shot me down, well,
Cease and desist
I paid men to chop me up and sew me back together.
What are a few scars across my chest
but a few days of bad weather?
Just need some stitches to sew me back together
and make me good as new.
At least, from the bird’s eye view?
The stars cannot see me down here.
Floundering in an ocean of deities
that we are all carved out of;
time and space,
thinly veiled realities.
The tallest mountain
has no idea about my old name
or from whence I became.
The canyons don’t care
if I have facial hair.
The wind doesn’t prick her hand
as she washes over my face
the stubble on my cheeks
that grows unruly each year
the wild untamable beast
that seeps out of me
Because someone said once
That the man that turns himself into a beast
Is relieved from the pain of being man
But all my pain came from men
so i hid myself in one of them
but now, no one can find me here.
The pain inflicted by other men
now shrouds me
an opaque shadow that i cannot shake
The pain i tried so desperately to escape
now grows out of my face.
But in my dreams, I am alive.
I am tucked snugly in the blanket of moonlight
when all shadows quietly stand guard.
When I open my eyes, I have
pieces of paper in exchange
for “safely” crossing imaginary lines:
borders, airport security, etc.
and all my passages away from here.
Now can I use a public bathroom without fear?
I still don’t steer near police
in case they release
the weapons in their pants that
I will never wield.
My smooth talk is my only shield
in protecting the scars that haven’t healed
all the blood that’s still congealed
like a fruit that’s been peeled.
But in my heart I’m
forever running through an open field.
I’ve been out gunned since
my mother’s womb came undone around me.
I’m bound to be undoubtedly
a crowned thief
drowned in my
diaspora brown grief.
Ground up in some green kief
to put me down, sound asleep.
I mean, that was my first relief.
Or, it was, before
the earth opened up from
Most nights, I
can’t see through this mask
the one the world fastened to me.
My past is still new to me
black and blue, bleeding free
and smoke feeding me.
i can watch from above
as my hands remove gloves.
While one eye watches
as another one remains unloved.
There is a subtle ghost of memory
hidden down beneath my feet
where everything melts between
the molten rock and
velvet grass of green.
I happen to feel the shifting tectonic plates
in both directions of time and space
and all but one draw lines on my face
and that is the iridescent hand of grace.
Maysam “Mayhem” Seraji (they/them pronouns) is a up-and-coming poet making their way into the Syracuse, NY slam scene. Never having taken a formal poetry writing class, they consider themself “self taught”, and has been writing for as long as they can remember being able to hold pen to paper. Friends have playfully dubbed them “Mayhem” due to their chaotic energy and brimming passion. Mayhem is nonbinary, transgender, and Iranian-American who hopes to carry the legacy of Persian poetry into the present, to imagine a new future.