Callan Williams, Poems C

Pick A Gender  
Tranny Breakdown, 1998  
spun thought  
wax ears  
Becoming Fearless  
What The Hell Do I Do With A Penis?  
Time Disco  
Broken Cock  
hoochie mama  


Back To Home Back To Poems

Pick A Gender
Callan Williams, 1997

A little fist thumping on a car window
"Mommy, mommy, that's a man!"

I finish pumping my gas and drive off,
conscious of the stares at my broad back.

Have they penetrated a deception
declared an essential truth to the world?

Or have they ignored an essential truth
right in front of them,
have they missed the point entirely?

I am what I am.
Woman and male, both truths together.

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

She joked
"My mother used to lean out the car window
and yell at boys with long hair:

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

Don't look at them, Tommy
Don't ask questions
Turn your head away
No staring!
Or you'll get it when you get home.

In polite society, we stay away from things like that.

Look at them Tommy!
Aren't they funny?
A man in a costume!
Lets throw some nickels
and watch him dance for us!

In our family, we watch clowns perform!

Look at the faggot Tommy
An abomination to the Lord
doesn't it turn your stomach?
Let's taunt him until it gets dark
And then we can help him out.

In our faith, we follow the Bible.

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

Is it too much to ask
that you simply fit in?

We sacrificed to be gendered
learned how to be tough men
to be willing women
You can too!

Your transgression makes a mockery
of the price we paid
to be good men, good women
at the cost of human hearts.

And if the kids see it
they might figure out
being gendered is a choice
and might choose not to make it.

We can't have that happen.

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

"Have you ever thought about changing your body?
Less bulk, beard gone, hormones, surgery?"

"Wouldn't it be easier if you passed well
looked like you were born the sex
typical for your gender?"

The choice of a woman is to be female
so choose a female body,
--or as much as you can manage
in that slab of beef that
turned male at puberty.

Maybe people will see your neutered body
without muscles
without penis
without the threat assigned
to every male.

Maybe giving up your sex
will stop people from being afraid.

Or maybe not.

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

Not passing
as something you aren't
is a political act.

Open the space for humanity,
announce we are not our bodies
reproductive organs don't define humans
human possibilities transcend stereotypes

See my heart
not just my cock
see my soul
encased in meat.

I know who I am.

Why do you want to decide that I lie
I make you uncomfortable
I am dangerous and dissociative
that somehow gender
is an end it itself

Biology is not destiny.
Our history does not define our future.

Denying the truth of our lives
severing parts of ourselves
doesn't make us fit in
only makes us smaller

But the truth of a penis
keeps the heart away
from sight.

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

It's all attitude, you know.
all energy and belief.

Just feel confident in yourself
secure in your truths
committ to your beliefs
and the world will respond

The reality lies below the flesh
we are spirit living a human life.

Why should it matter
what body you are?

Glow bright, stay focused and
your life will be light!

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

Women are oppressed and hurt
by people like you

People born with penises
who have what we want
keep us down
keep us out

You will never be a woman
never know how society raised us
never know the vulnerability of a female body
never know the feeling of being prey
for tesotereone laden males like you.

Prove your femininity:
cede to the women!

Lose your voice,
let us speak for you.

We know the truths
you can never know
and if you see things differently than we do
you are wrong
and we are right

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

There is no rest in the crossroads
no peace in the doorway.

Living in no-mans, no-woman's land
is to be in a war zone
smack on the rupture between the sexes
behind no-one's lines

No place of safety
beyond the enclaves of gender
beyond simple binaries
beyond pressure to conform
beyond the acceptance of dueling armies
women and men, two of a kind

To be in the doorway is to be in the fire
Getting out of the fire requires a choice
us or them -- who will it be?

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

Switching back and forth
may mean you never find the center.

Too much sliding loses
focus and power.

The cost of context switching
is the cost of losing your way
being washed away in every tide.

The only way to make your mark
find your center
is to committ
deeply, intensely, now.

Embrace the death
To be reborn
let old truths pass
to fully embrace the new

Sing your note boldly
take your part
in the global harmony
of humanity.

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

"You have chosen a hard path," she said

Do we choose the hand we are dealt
or only how we play it?

For me the choice was to live inauthentically
hide in the closet
kill myself

Or follow my heart
come into the light of culture
and let others do it for me.

My choice is simple:
Follow my heart and be killed
or deny it and die.

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

You must be like me,
said the crossdresser
pretending to be a woman
really a man, have no doubt.

You must be like me,
said the transsexual
but still in deep denial
about your dysphoria

Just tell me you have always been a woman
said the doctor
and then we can cure you
simulated female, simulated life
change all your stories
change he to she
we will claim victory
another birth defect repaired
normativity reclaimed

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

Look over there
said the lesbian
a man in a dress
must be a gay guy.

Look over there
said the gay man
such sensible shoes
must be a lesbian

Falling out of the system of desire
not straight, not gay
not sexual


Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

How do I treat you?
Are you one of us or
one of them?
Am I competing with you or
am I competing for you?

Which face do I show you
Which walls do I maintain, and which do I let drop?

Don't confuse us!
Choose a side
Shit or get off the pot

People we can not define
are people who make us feel
uncomfortable, angry, funny

Be a threat, be a clown, or be a neutered.
Decide, or we will decide for you
and we might do that anyway, sir.

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

Does transformation work?

Does a commitment to transform the body
transform the soul?

Maybe I should ask at the gym --
perfect bodies
does heart, mind & spirit come along?

To enter into my body is
to enter into maleness

To enter into my heart is
to enter into femininity

I do disconnect from my body
to trust my heart
after years of seaching for a place
that accepts women with penises
I find I have to make one.

Comfortable in my body?
Maybe modifying it would be good
or maybe it just leaves me
and neutralized.

Pick A Gender, Stick To It!

pick a gender and stick to it. . .

I thought
knowing my own heart
was choice enough.

Tranny Breakdown, 1998
copyright Callan Williams <>

Tranny Breakdown

Callan Williams
Copyright 1998

Pull off the highway in Knoxville
Man with a limp says
look what a mess
we got here.
to fix my car
tranny breakdown

Burnt out climbing the mountain
limping along
ready to break down
ready to break though
but maybe not yet
No safe space for
tranny breakdown

As a kid
I hated to upchuck
to let it all out
to lose control
to get yelled at by my mother
who never held my head.
I learned how to keep it down
swallow it back
use youthful energy to ensure
there never was a
tranny breakdown

In younger days
girls were impressed by
pedal to the floor,
big metal phallus
leaping at the green light.
Even then I knew
my stick shift never had
quite that response.
It craved to be caressed
needed to be nurtured
shifting smoothly
without the bursts of T power.
Certain signals of impending
tranny breakdown

Running ragged
feel the slip
when someone else
sits next to you.
Afraid she notices
up the hill in the dark,
Afraid that she can sense
tranny breakdown

Shift into neutral
cruise down the hill.
Such stress on the tranny
when jammed into drive
to overcome the forces of nature.
Pulling you back to
the base level.
Pulling you to
tranny breakdown

Every tranny gets old
linkages get loose
molecular bonds break down
bills come due
abuse takes its toll
nature takes its course
on the road to
tranny breakdown

You can feel it coming
the shifting gets soft
the determined drive of younger days
becomes a bit idiosyncratic.
You become tender with your foot
start to nurse it though
all the while worrying about
tranny breakdown

Feel the balk at the slope
slip and slide
buck and ride
telling you clearly
this is an impossible task
telling you it's time for
tranny breakdown

Grinding gears
not quite meshing
Wasting inner power
Burning it off in friction
Losing it all in heat
Mechanical inefficiency.
Leading inevitably to
tranny breakdown

The released energy
shuddering movements
shivering fits
wailing moans
screaming out
tranny slip
mark the need for
tranny breakdown

Be a man, my son
replace that tranny yourself
slide under the wagon
bolt the torqueflite to
the 318 V8.
Covered with tranny fluid
glistening cherry syrup
puddled at my feet
amniotic oil
trying to seal in
tranny breakdown

Smell the auto parts store
rubber and chemicals
adjust your shorts
lope down the aisles
searching for magic potions
to prevent
tranny breakdown.

Keep the grease rag wet
A quart of Marvel Mystery Oil
stops tranny leakage.
Keep the filter clean
with regular maintenance
unless you want to crash
unless you need to let loose.
Fill her up.
Never have to worry about
tranny breakdown

Avoid facing the mechanic
who gives you the chemicals
does the re-manufacturing
technological solutions
allowing new power connections.
Never the same as
original equipment.
A Turbohydromatic
in a chassis designed for
a Powerglide
Check under the hood
makeshift power train
just asking for
tranny breakdown

Tension comes over you
when you know it's busted.
Neck tightens up.
Traffic jams are terror.
So many people around
What if it fails now?
To be at the mercy
of emergency trucks
at the hands of strangers
and you are in the middle of a
tranny breakdown

Don't stop moving
things might seize up.
Keep it going.
Taking it apart will
just reveal the problem,
forcing you to deal with it,
forcing everyone to deal with it.
Bringing out the reality of'
tranny breakdown

Cars are required
Gender is required
for status
for movement
for playing a part in society.
Car breaks down
Gender breaks down
Identity breaks down.
Dependent on others
who look down on you
tranny breakdown

I have never depended on
the kindness of others
for my independence.
Don't tell them I need help
Don't ask for their indulgence
Don't be seen as a taker
But I have to trust them
to go into
tranny breakdown

Pull into the garage,
just let us see it.
We can talk you though it
We can patch you up.
We can keep you rolling.
Or maybe not.
If I can't crash
where can I blow up?
Where is it safe
to have a
tranny breakdown?

Stuck in the birth canal again
ready to deliver
into the world
a bouncing baby girl
who has been hiding for so long
she has grown to an eighth of a ton
false labor again
or time for breakout
time for inevitable
tranny breakdown?

Why do things by halves?
It's only the impossible worth attempting
Be big or be gone
unless you avoid
unless you embrace
tranny breakdown

Time and time again
on the edge
tranny breakdown
no thanks

Filthy fluid
clotted with waste
clogging the screens
wearing the synchros
can't process the load.
Too much danger
of crashing into static objects,
of hurting people you love.
Even blasting the radio
doesn't cover the signs.
No more room for denial of
tranny breakdown

Millions of
busted trannys
consigned to the scrap heap
along with their treasures.
Thrown out.
sent to the margins
pushed to the edge
result of
tranny breakdown

Pay the piper
lay the groundwork
face the music
shut up and dance
the inevitable occurs
the dreaded happens
the impossible is expected
and you will be blamed for
tranny breakdown

Be ashamed of not holding it together
Be ashamed of not keeping it hidden
Be ashamed of not buying the newest
Be ashamed of letting people down
Be ashamed of putting others at risk
at least the risk of losing
their comfortable illusions
because of your own
tranny breakdown

Pull of the highway in Knoxville
a man with a limp says
look what a mess
we got here.
tranny breakdown



wax ears
copyright Callan Williams <>1998

a schooling designed
to fill ears with wax
poured by parents
tamped by teachers
ear plugs of wax
filtering out distractions
that might lead to revelation.

wax to seal in
the tapes they put inside
tapes triggered by cues
dimly heard and
more dimly understood.

tapes of fear
stored conclusions
of hate and emotion
just looking for reasons
to justify their playing.

the new and challenging
is filtered out
by layers of wax
that cover the wounds
the hurt and sadness
we choose not to hear.

clean the desk
remove the clutter
erase the memory
of hearing tapes
over and over
when you should hear

a still, small voice
muffled by wax
a clear, reflective world
muffled by wax
an echo of the effects of our actions
muffled by wax
a new way to be happy
muffled by wax
overwhelmed by tapes

remove the wax
hear the beat
of your own heart
hear the song
of your own spirit
jumbled with the tapes.

pay attention.
log the noises
become discriminating
hear the noises
that play again
silence the cacophony
to hear the sweet sound
symphony of life
beyond fear

hot needle of truth
melts the wax
letting the noise flow out
and letting the real sounds
of the world we live in
new every moment
let the roaring rush of
our own life
fill our ears
with joy

Becoming Fearless
copyright Callan Williams <> 11/10/98

Aren't the fearless fascinating?
Artists and performers
Sages and pundits
We love the fearless
who go beyond the bounds of expectation
to the surprising and innovative

Aren't the fearless terrifying?
Beyond social control
They flaunt convention
capable of anything
breaking every rule
every expectation
of people we can handle.

The only choice to move forward
is to become fearless
take on a new persona
who speaks from moral authority
trusts their connection with creator
moves past the fear that keeps us small
fearless, fascinating and feared.

Four ways to handle shaming

I know where the voice is
drag and funny
camp and cutting
wise and authoritative
a voice that is compelling
and one that people will seek to silence
because it calls out their own hidden truths.

Fearless is fearful
it makes me afraid
because fearless cuts connections loose
refusing to buy into the fear
and the fearmongering
of those around us
who would prefer we play small.

Fearless is beyond
the everyday sniping
the crabs in the barrel
pulling us back into medioctity
from fear that somehow
standing out is standing dead
the fear of being

Separation is the only fear.

Connection is the power
Connection to more than humans
Connection beyond human denial
that makes us fearless
and feared
when we move past
being fearful
of the bold song
God put in our heart.

Fearful in the past
Time to become fearless
Time to become feared
Time to take the ressurection
and the crucifixion
that comes when we
claim the truth of our creator
over the truth of social fear
of people beyond fear


spun thought
copyright Callan Williams <> 4/7/99

every new thing
starts in the mind
fragile and ephemeral
spun thought
too thin to stand
against the assault
of normalcy

list the reasons why
dreams can't come true
change is impossible
transformation is heretical
re-creation is a lie
transcendence is beyond us
life is stuck
mired in history and biology

and still
humans dream
learning to hide
possibilities and hopes
until they can stand against
status quo
expectations of entropy
assumptions of decay
that all things human
are bound to crumble and die
nothing new can change
a life a culture
so let dreams die

"it's a great big beautiful tomorrow
shining at the end of everyday
man has a dream
and that's the start
he follows his dream with mind and heart
and when it becomes a reality
it's a great new world for you and me"
        theme from ge carousel of progress, ny world's fair 1964-65
        written by the sherman brothers for disney

the power of dreams
is the power of possibility
only coming to bloom
though the power of persistence
against the assault
of normalcy
bursting from rehearsal
to a better world
where hope lives and
transformation is possible.


What The Hell Do I Do With A Penis?
copyright Callan Williams <>

Sex confuses me
I end up getting cast
as the one with the penis
even when my partner
sees me as a woman.

Or maybe
I'm just cast
as the old one,
the smart one
the healer
even for people
who are the healers
in other places.

My strength
My mind
My penis

I provide safe space
for others to find themselves
but where do I find safe space
to just relax?

I know what she wants
healing of a healer
by being enveloped
surrounded in a womb
and I give her that
but not with my body
which cries for the loss
dreams of femaleness
scratching within my skin

yet this is the way of my body
this is the life I was dealt
the cards I was supposed to play
rather than trying to reconstruct
a neo-female body

I know I can wear whatever I want
and go wherever I want
but I also know
that is a lonely life
however you cut it
hiding my history in a reconstructed body
hiding my body in a reconstucted image
always hiding
always hiding
always lonely.

This is the challenge
even in bed
when the roles are assigned
and I feel erased
always lonely

I am not
a guru
a healer
a radical
a nutcase
a bomb thrower
I am
a human
with the power of story
and the weakness of flesh.

My penis works
but I never had
the cockiness
to work it.
Yet, it is the part
that ends up defining me
in bed
and wherever
the line between female and male
slices me apart


Women wish to be loved not because
they are pretty,
or good,
or well bred,
or graceful,
or intelligent,
but because they are themselves.
        Henri Frederic Amiel

copyright Callan Williams <>

"No, Really,"
she said
"Who are you,

"I have a real eye for people.
I know
you are not really
what you seem."

you cant be real
that would really strain

"Tell me for real
who you are.
Why are you really
dressed like that?"

Who am I really?
I showed you
the real me.
You called it
a real lie.


Time Disco
copyright Callan Williams callanw@crosswinds.net07/18/98

Hot summer night
Driving away from the bar

Stop the car
And get out
Pounding on the door
Of Uncle Fred's Pet Supplies

Jeremy's Disco and Lounge
Where is Jeremy's Disco and Lounge?
Damn it was right here
minutes ago in 1980
Spin the tunes
dance real sexy
feel my partner
move with me

Where is Jeremy's?
Open up now!
I miss those times
when sex was possible
and life was simple
at least when seen
from this end of the telescope.

shooop shoop
hip swing
another date

too many drinks
at a genitorturers club date
where the sex on stage
reminds me of how hollow my life is
how complex sex is
in this age of AIDS and age
at least for me

Just open the door
let me buy a rum and coke
spin some Donna Summer
and watch the girls
in jewel-tone silky nylon wrap skirts.

But Jeremy's is gone.
I got the sign one Christmas
and left it on the garage
of the woman who danced with me there
and her lover
a sculptress whose full size image
of a dance created for me
hangs in the community college.

So long ago
Right now it's only a moment
open up
and let me reclaim a life
where human touch was possible
where people looked at me with desire

and someone actually seemed to care.

Who's that tranny in the red hair and tiny black dress
pounding on the door of the pet shop
and hearing the beat
of disco in her heart?

Broken Cock
copyright Callan Williams callanw@crosswinds.net07/18/98

broken cock

just like the last time
you haven't changed
the same energy
the same sadness
the same softness
as she climbed off my pelvis
hem dropping

in the kitchen she lights a cigarette
paces a bit
looking at me with sad betrayal
misled and deceived
when i said i was different.

its still broken
not cocky at all
just the meat
without the feelings
a trick to satisfy you
without satisfying your partner.
yet even then it fails

its not so much anger I feel
just disappointment
you lied to me
your cock is still broken
unable to cut a swath
unable to impale my heart
unable to cut the bonds of control
with cocky swagger

i'll smoke
then i'll go
nothing to talk about
talk doesn't cut it
you know what i need
you know what i demand
and you cant provide it
as i knew the moment
you put it in my hole.

you can't lie to me
plugged into my polytwat
all the truth is in my juices
going directly to my brain
fool me once shame in you
fool me twice shame on me
your cock is broken
only meat
not a psychic sword

if you want to own a cock
you have to go find one
attached to a man
and make that cock yours
feel the zap inside you
impaled on the stake
wiggle and writhe
moan and scream
freeing the passion
while enslaving the body
to his enormous dick
slicing open my heart
slicing into my heat

she goes out the front door
smoking on the landing
i follow her
pleading hangdog in my eyes
she looks in disgust
at the boxes piled in the stairway
obstacles installed
to stop her retreat

i hear the sigh in her voice
as she lectures me like a mother

nothing can keep me
with a man who has
a broken cock

hoochie mama
copyright Callan Williams <> 07/18/98

Show me that poontang
hoochie mama
Throw my dick into overdrive
pointing out at the sweet pussy
it strains to dive into

Show me that poontang
hooochie mama
let me sniff the juices
see the smooth skin
over sleek sexy curves
that throw my hormones
into primal rage

Oh, my hoochie mama
I am a man
and if you want my missile
you gotta provide the fuel
sweet juices that enflame the organ
chemical reactions
igniting the flame

fire me up
flame me out
ground crew for my rocket
explodes inside
your target
Be my woman
hoochie mama
so I can be your man
be your throwback animal
unleashing the beast in you

show me you can
melt my butter
in your silky honey
hoochie mama
and my hard pulsing rod
will be your own ticket
to ecstasy
deep inside
your hoochie papa's home