Poems for Pride: Give Them Their Flowers by Joseph the Poet

Author’s Note:
I wrote this poem for my best friend. A Black trans woman who represents excellence in each of its purest forms, your smile is almost as bright as your future, and my love for you knows no bounds. I may not be around to physically hand you flowers, but poems last longer anyway.


Give Them Their Flowers

She walks tall
Not because she’s 6’0”
Nor because she rarely leaves her stage presence on the stage
But because she has every reason to
She’s alive
She’s alive in a world that’s been planning her funeral
Since before she was assigned a gender
In a hospital room
Since before a sonogram technician
Looked at the screen
And instead of seeing a fetus
Saw biological essentialism
Equating genitalia with gender
She walks tall because the cream rises to the top
And the world wants her to suffocate down here


Give them their flowers
Give them their flowers while they’re here
Give them their flowers while they’re here to accept them
Because as I write this
We’ve had 14 taken from us
The youngest being 17
And that’s just from violence
And by the time this is published
How many more will we have had taken from us
Just from violence?


And that number
14
Probably should be higher
Lack of access to adequate healthcare is violence
And lack of access to fair housing is violence
Lack of access to hormones is violence
And lack of access to life saving surgery is violence


Some crimes are about bullets
Some crimes are about dollar signs
Some are about ideologies
Your drunk uncle spits transphobic shit
While you sit there in silence
Well guess what?
Your complicity is violence


She walks tall because she is a sunflower
And we need to give them their flowers
Because bouquets are so beautiful
Because people should never have to guess how we feel about them
Because life is too short
To be wondering if he loves me
He loves me not
Especially when you’ve already lived
Two-thirds
Of the life you’re expected to live
Or even just over half


The other day
I saw a flower bed with a sign
“Please don’t walk on me
I’m still growing”


Someone walks on it anyway


She walks tall because she’s still growing
She walks tall because she’s being walked on anyway
But she’s still growing anyway
But still she rise
And surprises
All the fuckers rooting for her roots to wither
But rain in necessary for a rose to rise and leaves to grow
And I bet you she’s not waiting on the sunshine to glow
Because Audre taught her the master’s tools are for the master’s fools
And Maya cried so she could sing
And Toni writes so she can rhyme
And Marsha threw bricks so she can throw that ass back
So when you see a flower that’s still growing
You keep your ass on the sidewalk


Medium publishes a “hot take”
“I am a Woman.
You are a Trans Woman.
And That Is An Important Distinction.”


Cisgender men gatekeep masculinity
Cisgender women gatekeep femininity
Womanhood
And saying so don’t make me a misogynist
It makes me anti-transmisogynist
Your
Our
Casual transphobia
Is violence


We should be so lucky
To have her beauty grace our United States
But we’re too busy arguing about her right
To dress
To present
To piss
To exist in public
And while all our voices scream about her rights
Her’s is left out
While we look for a middle ground
As if humanity is a compromise
And while it wouldn’t be the first time that this country
Has compromised on the humanity of black women
Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it
Every single day


And she walks tall anyway
Even on the days she can’t hold her head up
Her petals still stretch
Through the deadnaming
The misgendering
The family that refuses to understand
Through all of the bullshit


But watch how your garden grows
When you lay a little fertilizer on top

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