Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Through the Loop"

This poem came out of the February 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] chanter_greenie, [personal profile] mama_kestrel, [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon, and LJ user My_partner_doug. It also fills the "Feb. 15 cheap chocolates day" square in my 1-31-15 card for the Valentines Day Bingo fest, and the "Asked to sign intimate body part on a fan" square in my Superhero Bingo card. This poem has been sponsored by LJ user Ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the Calvin/Calliope thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Through the Loop"

As much as Calliope loved being a woman,
sometimes it was difficult to adjust.

She had a date for Valentine's Day,
but he stood her up.

So Calliope made arrangements
to meet with Hyperspaceman
on Half-Price Chocolate Day
and drown their sorrows in cocoa.

Together they grumbled about
other people's attempts to
hem in their gender expression.

"I keep hearing all these bullshit rules,"
said Calliope. "Girls can't use
power tools. Or fix the plumbing.
Boys are bad listeners."

Hyperspaceman snorted. "When I was little,
it was Girls don't climb trees, and now it's
Only sissies play with dolls."

"You can't change your chromosomes,
so you can't be a girl,"
Calliope added,
digging into the box with a rustle of cellophane.

"Didn't even check if that changed, did they,"
Hyperspaceman said.

"Nope," Calliope did. Then she smirked.
"Healer says XX all the way down."

They bumped fists.

"You bore a child and nursed her;
you can't make yourself a man,"

Hyperspaceman said.
"You're my child and I love you,
but you can't make me call you Dennis."

"In a pig's ear they love you,"
Calliope said. "If they really loved you,
they'd use the name you've chosen yourself."
Then she sighed. "How's the hero business?"

"I'm still working off the service charge,
so mostly I'm hauling healers from here to there,"
said Hyperspaceman. "Got bingoed again yesterday."

"What happened?" asked Calliope,
pushing the chocolates toward him.

He grabbed a handful, then said,
"This newslady went into a rant about
how the suffix -man in my superhero name
is somehow degrading to women."

"Doesn't know you at all, does she?"
Calliope said with a chuckle.

"Not a bit," Hyperspaceman replied.

"I got bingoed too," Calliope said.
"Guy asked me to sign his dick."

Hyperspaceman winced.
"So what did you do?"

"Gave him a paper autograph
and told him if he was really
determined, a good inker
could forge it from that."

"Good one!" Hyperspaceman said,
laughing long and loud. "I'll have to
remember that one the next time
somebody flashes her boobs
with the same request."

"I don't want to give up fixing things,"
Calliope said around a mouthful
of raspberry truffle. "I like power tools.
They make me feel powerful!
Like I can fix anything, you know?"

"Yeah," said Hyperspaceman.
"I don't want to sell my doll collection.
I mean, I've had some of them since
I was a little girl! I always wanted kids."

"Still want more kids?" Calliope said gently.

"Yeah, if I could find anyone
worth sharing them with,"
Hyperspaceman said,
one hand rubbing over
his hidden tiger stripes.

"Maybe one day you will," said Calliope.
"Why does everyone have to make
such a big deal about us changing
the operating system of our brains?
We're still the same us at heart."

"Only now the outsides match
the insides," said Hyperspaceman.

"We shouldn't have to give up doing
what we love just to be ourselves," Calliope said.

Hyperspaceman picked up an orange jellie stick
coated with dark chocolate and idly drew
a circle with it in midair.

The air shimmered,
then opened itself to show
the meadow on the far side
of the park where they were sitting.

"People keep defining gender
by what it isn't instead of
by what it is," said Hyperspaceman.
"Imagine if we could just turn that zero
on its edge and step through it."

"Define ourselves by the positives
instead of the negatives," Calliope said,
scooping up the empty box and wrappers
to drop in a nearby garbage can.

It wasn't clinical grade chocolate,
but Calliope definitely felt better
after eating nearly half a pound of it.

"Be whatever our gender means to us,"
Hyperspaceman agreed.

"Let's do that," Calliope said, holding out a hand.

Then they stepped through the loop
and pulled it softly closed behind them.

* * *


Calliope (Calvin Sanna) -- Calliope comes from Oklahoma; the father's family is Greek-American, while the mother's family is American. Calliope has light olive skin with gray eyes and short hair in shades of lighter and darker blond. Cal is demiromantic demisexual.
Origin: Sucked into a tornado.
Uniform: Feminine-styled costume of dexflan and capery in dusty shades of pink, blue, lavender, and cream.
Qualities: Good (+2) Consideration, Good (+2) Flexible, Good (+2) Handiwork, Good (+2) Listener, Good (+2) Word Puzzles
Poor (-2) Distractible
Powers: Expert (+4) Air Powers (meta-power including Flight, Phasing, Sonic Blast, Tornado Straws, Whirlwind, Windtalking), Average (0) Empathy, Average (0) Shapeshifting
Vulnerability: Air Powers are opposed by Earth Powers. Some Air abilities do not work on an Earth-powered opponent, and vice versa, typically those meant to affect a person directly. Others gain an upshift on damage, typically attacks.
Limitation: So far the Shapeshifting only works to switch between Calvin and Calliope. As the power improves, additional shapes may be gained.
Motivation: Self-discovery.

Hyperspaceman "Hype" (Dennis Després) -- He has fair skin, gray-green eyes, and short wavy brown hair. Hexagonal dot-matrix tattoos cover most of his left shoulder. Dennis was born female (and named Denise), but eventually he became uncomfortable and sought the help of a healer for sexual realignment service. He has a daughter, who was born during his female years. He still has the "tiger stripes" from that pregnancy and refuses to give them up.
Hyperspaceman's superpower allows him to bend time and space, so it can act as Super-Speed, Teleportation, etc. He can even route a vehicle around obstacles by morphing the route. He is often called "Hype" for short. Between the superhero work and the sex change, his family life is a mess; only his daughter really loves him for who he is instead of resenting him for abandoning the expected motherly role. Also, Hyperspaceman is struggling to adapt his work at SPOON to accommodate the new abilities, but hasn't yet developed a new specialty based on transit.
Origin: Dennis used to volunteer as a dispatcher for SPOON at a small office. One day a supervillain bombed the office. He woke up clear across the country without a scratch on him, no memory of exactly what happened, and superpowers.
Uniform: His work uniform consists of navy blue dexflan thickened with leathery krevel armor at knees and elbows, piped with silver and with silver threads through the main fabric. Off-duty he wears men's clothes and likes to leave his shoulders bare.
Qualities: Good (+2) Climbing, Good (+2) De-Escalation, Good (+2) Dispatcher, Good (+2) Doll Collector, Good (+2) Existential Intelligence
Poor (-2) Family Dynamics
Powers: Master (+6) Timespace Warp
Limitation: The consensus timespace continuum has a very weak grip on Hyperspaceman. This means he has a poor sense of navigation, so he needs adaptive equipment with a compass, GPS, and map functions. It also means that if he's distracted, sometimes he bends spacetime without meaning to do so, making it easy for other people to lose track of where he is, or even where they are.
Motivation: To gain acceptance.

* * *

Transfolk experience challenges related to sex and gender whether they are male-to-female or female-to-male.

Many people uninterested in Valentine's Day instead celebrate Half-Price Chocolate Day on February 15.

Gender stereotypes harm everyone, but especially genderqueer folks.

Acceptance of yourself and others is the highest form of love. Learn how to embrace yourself and tolerate others.

Jellie sticks really are spelled that way, and are tasty stuff.

"Getting bingoed" refers to the repetition of annoying stereotypes. Here are cards for external and internal experiences of transfolk.

Understanding your sex/gender identity and expressing its complexity are necessary steps in self-knowledge. Shape your own identity so that the expectations of others do not overshadow you.
Tags: activism, cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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