sid branca

December 2, 2016 (written for [Trans]formation)

whenever I am taking up space in a space made officially queer
not just in practice but in title, in queers only
I am seized by the panicked certainty
that I’m not queer enough to be there
in any of the relevant ways

because I don’t feel like a woman
but I sometimes feel like a femme
or like a permanent drag
or like a circus clown

and so people look at me and see long hair and lipstick
and the stubble on my partner’s cheeks
the broad shoulders on his tall frame
they recall the man before that
they forget the one before

they do not hear my thoughts
they do not know that no woman I have ever fucked or loved
has deigned to date me
to make me hers
despite my best efforts

they do not know that when I picture my body
it is exactly the same except
not defined by illness, or by anyone else
and maybe I have abs
and my hair is ten inches longer
and my dick six

and I say I changed my name to be more easily googled
and I guess that’s true
but as time goes on it gets less so

and as I get older I get less butch but more masculine
whatever that means
like I want to put on a skirt and interrupt you in a meeting
I don’t know

I am feeling not only a little adrift
but like my writing is truly suffering from being this direct
like I’m embarrassed, like it’s crass
like I don’t have the right to get up and say
hello my name is Sid Branca and I’m genderqueer
and you can use they and their when you talk about me
because you and I and anyone with eyes most days
we all know I’m femme as fuck

and while we say presentation and identity are not the same
if you’ve been around for a minute you may have noticed
that if you were born with a vagina and you like to wear dresses and kiss boys
it doesn’t matter how much hair you grow out
or how many girls or how many more complicated constructions you are kissing
or how many more complicated constructions you build yourself into
and destroy and build again
you will be seen over and over again as straight and as a woman

even if in your mind you’re not even human
but more like something that fell like a meteor in a field
or crawled out of a tree, all sticky with sap

I picture myself a thing made out of mud and whispered over
bits of sapling trees and string
or the workings of igneous rock
or a robot built out of spare parts in a desolate future
where we don’t have time to give a shit about gender
because we are busy scouring the desert for water

or I come from an alien planet where all sex is telepathic
and genitals are things that morph with thought
and not a fixed item to be compared with your fashion sense
to determine which diversity grants you can apply for
or who yells at you in the street
but when I look to the oracle of the internet
to show me a reflection of myself
to see what I should call me
I google genderqueer and I do not see an ocean the size of a body
or a person carved from wood and given life through sheer will

I scroll through masculine people, whatever that means,
who have vaginas and short haircuts like I used to
and I see beards paired with lipstick
and truly they are all so beautiful and handsome and good

but I’m not genderqueer enough to be here
because the bodies that I see the most of myself in
are those of certain trans women
which is surely some kind of offense
some kind of thing I should not say
when you consider that when I was born they said it’s a girl

even though in my fantasies they say
dear god what is that thing
it must have come from the crash site
or they say, look what I made at school today
or they gasp quietly into the laptop night
because finally, after all these years,
they found the extremely specific porn they were looking for
and they wept


April 12, 2016 - sid branca

In Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
                                       (spoiler alert)
we learn about a man, his wife, and his mistress
(Dick, Nicole, and Rosemary)
and when I first read it, years ago
infatuated with a taken actor
who named this as his favorite novel
I thought I liked it because our phallic leading man
was the type I am often drawn to:
floating through life on a cloud of charisma
receiving accolades but still forever restless
a tendency to get too drunk and a little mean
that a portion of that savory attention could somehow fix
because we all felt anointed under that gaze
but now, oh, what, perhaps six years on?
I know that these two women are the book’s true heart

Rosemary: an actress, young, beautiful, unsure
watching him watching her on the screen
projector light catching in his hair
a perfect carrier for lust by virtue of his distance
a perfect excuse to blossom into some form of agency
no longer the star of Daddy’s Girl
but a different sort of daddy’s girl entirely

Tender is the Night is a novel about transference
and of women realizing that their imaginings are often stronger
than the men they project them upon

Nicole: an invalid of sorts
who learns to reign her mania in
because when your family buys you a nice young doctor
you graciously accept
you do not weep on the bathroom floor
you do not climb hay bales in thunderstorms
you do not run off with tempestuous soldiers
you do not let the sob wrench its way out of you
the one that has been growing up with you since childhood
(a different sort of daddy’s girl entirely)
you do not let the high clear laugh ring up from your ribcage to frighten all the boys
because oh, poor men, they are so afraid of you
so they had to call you sick.

(a poem I wrote that is mostly a series of notes for a non-existent essay on a Fitzgerald novel)


instead of writing a poem, on April 11th I recorded a song that goes like this:

hey about last night
you won’t talk about it
it’s like it never happened
it’s like it never happened

hey about last night
I must have misunderstood
I must have left it somewhere else
I must have just forgotten

it’s like it never happened
it’s like it never happened

all the things you said
you said you never said
all the things I saw
that were never there

now I believe my eyes
now I believe my eyes
now I believe my eyes

I know my memory
it can play tricks on me
sometimes I misremember
yeah I can be like that

hey about that call
maybe I misread your tone
I have a tendency
for projecting my misery

it might be my imagination
I’m so sensitive
prone to exaggeration

it’s like it never happened

all the things you said
you said you never said
all the things I saw
that were never there

now I believe my eyes
now I believe my eyes
now I believe my eyes

now I believe my eyes
now I believe my eyes
now I believe my eyes