Charlie Petch

Trans March

I march with my newfound sister
we were once in a cowboy band together
now we hand over our old drag to each other
I joke that the band will now listen to me
but not to her

the newly out pandemic trans are here
puppy energy is everywhere
their first time in community
I keep my mask on and search for
faces who might remember who
we lost I search for those of us
who survived

I can’t leave the park where we gather
until the last trans is gone I feel the vertigo
of 2.5 years of being alone in ways
that sapped this joy of feeling normal
it can only be found in our company
I am so afraid of leaving
I forget my safety
men slump around me as I exit

I walk back towards the village
take off my pride beads
keep my head down like usual
attempt to disappear
so that I don’t

no one marching with me
who is alive anymore
to call this feeling lonely
can never express it correctly
more like being an alien abandoned
on earth

the trans march is over


Charlie Petch (they/them, he/him) is a disabled/queer/transmasculine multidisciplinary artist who resides in Tkaronto/Toronto. A poet, playwright, librettist, musician, lighting designer, and host, Petch was the 2017 Poet of Honour for the speakNORTH national festival, winner of the Golden Beret lifetime achievement in spoken word with The League of Canadian Poets (2020), and founder of Hot Damn it’s a Queer Slam. Petch is a touring performer, as well as a mentor and workshop facilitator. Their debut poetry collection, Why I Was Late (Brick Books), won the 2022 ReLit Award, and was named “Best of 2021” by The Walrus. Their film with Opera QTO, Medusa’s Children, is launching in June 2022.  They have been featured on the CBC’s Q, the Toronto International Festival of Authors, and were longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2021. [provided for the Arc Award of Awesomeness – June 2022]

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