FTM slam poet: Miles
This piece “Lillian”, by an FTM poet called Miles, blew my mind so hard that it forced me out of the lull in my blogging.
Miles was given the name Lillian by his parents, but in this poem he tells the story of guarding that name for his future daughter. Given the distress that so many trans people –myself included– associate with our birth names, it’s so liberating to see someone rebuild that pain into an idea this sweet and beautiful.
Here’s the video and –after the jump– the transcription I typed up. If anyone knows anything about Miles, please let me know — I’d love to hear more of his work, but the video doesn’t have enough information to go on. Edit: commenter Andy let us know about Miles’s blog.
“Lillian” by Miles
I will name you Lillian
because to me it sounds like running through a garden
and with every step you take in life I want you to feel as beautiful as the flower I’ll call you.
And don’t worry about your mother:
whenever I meet her, I’ll convince her I deserve naming rights.
But more importantly, Lillian, you will inherit from me the one thing
the world will let me give you.
I can’t hand you my curly hair or blue eyes,
so you will have the name that has followed me
from birth certificate to driver’s license to passport,
all the while knowing it was never really mine.
Your middle name will be Olivia.
For years I hated the name;
it burned through the paper of any official document I filled out,
seared my ears when it escaped the tongue of a stranger,
and annihilated my entire body anytime I had to incorrectly introduce myself.
But Lillian, I understand what happened now.
See, I am just the middleman; the accidental address on the package.
The name was given to me, to hold onto for you,
my future daughter.
For you I keep it safe, protected from people who gawk at me,
not understanding why my short hair and masculine appearance
can’t match the sweet femininity in the name.
Or people who do understand and hate me for it,
attacking the way I bypass the barrier of biological sex
because I know that what I feel is more important than what I see in the mirror.
And people who think I should conform to the name I was given,
ignoring everything I know about myself,
the same people who will someday hate our family because of me.
But through it all, Lillian, always remember that I love you.
I’ve never met you,
but I love you.
My future daughter.
So I hold the name under my shirt, against my chest,
and with every heartbeat the syllables provide me a new sense of rhythmic direction.
Because I know I’m moving towards you.
The name Olivia no longer hides in the back of my throat but floats off my tongue.
A promise of beauty; a promise of purpose. A promise of you,
my future daughter.
Someday, Lillian Olivia, after you’ve mastered the art of the two-wheeled bike,
I’ll take you to the top of the tallest hill in town and we’ll soar down,
secretly wishing we could take off into the rushing wind and at the bottom I’ll tell you that
that feeling was how your father felt,
knowing someday, you’d be in his world.
And he’d finally get to give you your name.