Dear Allies, Mackleless (A Poem)

Spoken word poem edited for print. Original version first published in the 2014 Wom*n’s edition of Honi Soit.


Dear Allies,

I’m writing this open letter to you because every time we speak directly I come away having been made to feel like a bad queer—an irony which I’m sure you will not appreciate at all, so from here on in I’m going to be as clear as I possibly can be.

Dear Allies,

Could you please just stop?

The more I experience of you the more I’m beginning to realise that an Ally is a lot like an umbrella: everyone’s always telling you how good they are at protecting you but whenever you use one you always end up getting more drenched than you would have in the first place and are left carrying around a cumbersome addendum which gets in everyone else’s way. I’ve never met an umbrella which didn’t turn inside out and give up at a good gust of wind—but I’ve also never seen an umbrella ask to be rewarded because it stood against something it was impervious to.

Dear Allies,

You get raincoat skin. You get a car to drive you home, and a roof with no holes, and a heart free of mildew, and a thousand safe dry places where you can wait out the storm that we can’t, walking to not-homes in drenched and hole-ridden shoes.

You can’t stand under my umbrella (ella, ella) because we only got given the one to share between us made of letters and labels that leave no room to breathe (eh, eh, eh). And while we’re on the subject, who let you believe that the “A” in LGBTQIA+ stands for “Ally”? You don’t need a letter in an acronym when you’re the universal fucking human norm.

Dear Allies,

This shit doesn’t work like it did for Mary Poppins, the only energy I have goes in bags that are not infinite, and if being a queer doesn’t mean I can fly then you don’t get a spoonful of sugar with this medicine.

I’ve never found an umbrella useful for anything but self defense. A metal pole and a sheet of nylon isn’t enough to keep out the hatred and the snide comments and the sideways glances unless it’s something I’m using to hit you.

Dear Allies,

How about we stop giving a shit about the umbrellas and start doing something about all this rain?

Dear cis men,

I don’t know if you realise this, but when you say “not all men are the same”, you are saying the exact same thing as every other cis man.

Dear Allies,

If you’re not “like that”, then obviously I’m not talking to you. If you need to say you’re not “all like that”, then you are exactly like that.

Dear Allies,

You are like that.

Dear Allies,

You are like that.

Dear Allies,

People are dying. As long as you care more about affirming your status as a decent fucking human person, more people are going to die.

Dear Jared Leto,

Shut the entire fuck up.

Dear Macklemore,

I’m starting to think that maybe you’re the one who can’t change, even if you tried, even if you wanted to, because when I’m problematic? I learn from it, and I don’t fucking do it again. If you honestly think that your over-simplifying, no homo-ing, heteronormative, shops-at-a-thrift-shop-like-I’m-not-rich-enough-to-not-need-second-hand-clothes-to-survive, racist ass is an appropriate spokesperson for anything, then maybe you never will.

Dear Allies,

I’ve had enough of this cognitive Cissonance, this Str8 out ignorance, these conversations that go nowhere and make me feel like nobody because I’m too busy trying to explain to you why I should be “allowed” to hate the people who have made their power out of hating me.

I’ve had enough of “not all cis men”, I’ve had enough of “str8 is a sexuality too”, I’ve had enough of Feminist Ryan Gosling, I’ve had enough of Queer Theorist Jared Leto, I’ve had enough of Andrew Garfield looking sad in the mirror, I’ve had enough of editing myself out of my own life, of not being a part of my own stories, and I’ve had enough of being edited out of everyone else’s.

Dear Allies,

If I hear one more word about how brave Macklemore is, I’m gonna get mad.

Dear Allies,

I’m already mad. See, I’ve got a lot to be mad about. I’ve got 19 years in this body, and only 2 of knowing why I felt like a visitor to my own life. I’ve got 15 years knowing what I’m supposed to want and 6 as an alien in my living room. I’ve edited myself out of stories for so long and I’m tired. I’ve got just six months of knowing exactly who I am, and you get lifetimes, so now I’m taking some the fuck back. You’ve got your history. You’ve got books of it, stop scribbling your name all over the stories of the people who were only ever margin additions and footnotes. Everyone knows your name, it’s time for you to learn ours.

Dear Allies,

I ate your fucking cookies.

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