Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2017  Vol. 16 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The Troubles of Men: Holometaboly

One restroom at Club Taboo, Asbury Park is gender free,
though it was once the ladies’ room and so has stalls with doors,
no urinals, and enough sink room for lots of us to preen
against the mirror. Everyone leans to pluck hair up or over,
pull eyelashes that are clumped, pucker mouths and frown.
Someone says, Honey, I just have to have that lipstick,
and reaches for it. She’s right; when she slides it across
her lower lip, then blows a kiss at the mirror, it is as if her mouth
was meant to be this color, do that thing. Someone recorded sounds
inside a chrysalis; magnified, they are wrenching, not unlike wood
being chipped, a disintegrating tree trunk, a chain saw to a door, rain
on a metal roof. A micro-CT rendered in 3-D reveals the pupa dissolves
from what it was into a protein soup, then slowly reconstitutes into
what it will become. Outside this room the music is a cocoon we all
will writhe inside, but I linger at this mirror watching faces come
and go. Sometimes a cis-male comes in thrilled because he can,
because no one tells him to leave. He looks at everyone. We
share that, this looking. Sometimes he even looks at himself.  

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