At Splash Bar on Moulin Rouge Night,
it is easy to believe
that gender is a performance
when drag queens fight tooth and nail for the prize of $200.
Big hair, outsized breasts, cocks strapped down,
they sing and dance and make us cheer
for the acrobatic siren, the hip-hop princess, the soul diva, the mousy schoolmarm.
The school-spinster often takes the prize. The audience likes self-reflexive parodies.
But when I listen to my friend G, a transgendered activist,
play the Goldberg aria,
each note crying at the passing of the one before, and at the birth of the next,
it is hard to believe she is not a woman.
Plan for this poem-in-progress