Excerpt: A Stone'S THROW

Don't Tone It Down
 

Countless times over the years
You have chosen to wear
Something less
Hard
Something less
Specific
Something less
Male


You’ve been told by
Trusted lovers
Frightened mothers
Concerned fathers
And even your closest friends
To dress
Less obvious
Less overt
Less masculine

 

Even without thinking
You’ve
Searched your closet
Questioning
Will this be
Too much
Too noticeable
Too butch

 

Are you crazy?
 

Did you know I scan
Grocery isles
Theaters
Parking lots
Government lines
For someone like you

 

Each day is a new conflict waiting to face
 

How many will mistake my feminine for weakness
How many will reach out to touch what isn’t theirs
How many will count me with the moral majority just because of how I look
Seeing you in a crowd of strangers makes all the difference in the world

 

Finally
Heart racing
Blush creeping
Breathing deepened

 

I’m
Alive
Sexier
More powerful

 

Less
Invisible
Less
Straight-seeming
Less
Wasted

 

Being able to see you means
I’m not alone
It’s my proof
That I’m not one of them
Not
Made for a man
But rather
Made
For a butch

 

Please don’t tone it down
 

Maybe we’ll never meet and
I won’t get you into my warm bed
Maybe we’ll never be friends
Co-conspirators
Or confidants
But even so
You’ll still be
My champion
Hero
Brave knight
My renegade pirate

 

In my dreams
And on the street
You make it worth
Being femme

 

So square your shoulders
Pull out your bad-boy-rough-trade self
Be that Dapper Dan you’ve kept hidden
Don your “obviously male”
And let the butchest part of you move up to
Start riding in the front seat

 

Don’t tone it down –
 

So that I
And others like me
Can
Find you
Love you
Sex you
Drink from you
Whether you know
We’re watching
Or not

 

No matter what you do
 

Don’t, don’t, don’t
Tone it down.

FAN MAIL & Appearances

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