My Lungs by Jay Hulme

I do not have the space in my lungs
To combat these words you have said,
My lung tissue is probably dead
But I keep on breathing.


My chest capacity
Is somehow smaller
Than the grave that’s
Already been dug for me,
This symmetry,
Between the giver of life
And my ending,
Is bending time
And leading me back

To where it all began.

I’d say I ran,
But lately
I’ve no capacity
For breathing heavily,
So honestly,
I just walked a little quickly
But he followed me,
And the words that rolled off his tongue
Were an opposing symphony,
An amalgam of “Lesbo!”
And “Gayboy!” and “Tranny!”
I think he was unsure
Of which type of bigotry
Would be fitting to shout at me,
So he just used a bit of L, G, B, and T
And hoped that it would offend me,
But seriously, mate,
I’ve heard it all before,
And seeing as my body is at war
With itself
I can’t be arsed to indulge you –

You dick head.

My lungs bleed red,
More than lungs really should.
I cough up blood sometimes
But I see it as worth it,
The chest that I have
Not given from birth it’s
Bound once around
With a shirt of elastic,
I’m flat, it’s fantastic!
And I’m proud to say
I chose the safest option,

But it’s still fucking killing me.

I can’t imagine a world
Without bigotry,
Cuz this world’s built on prejudice
So engrained
It’s pretended that Trans
Is something feigned,
Like anyone would choose this
I would willingly lose this,
Brothers, Sisters,
People for whom this
Binary system
Just doesn’t fit,
People who fear
And revel in it,

Walk with me.

Down that silent street,
Down every silent street.
Walk with me
Through graveyards filled
With incorrect names,
Walk with me
Though hateful words
With hateful aims,
Walk with me
Through every violent act
Enacted in hate,
Walk with me
Through every day,
Through every fate,
Walk with me
Through those words,
That came from his mouth,
On that street,
My feet,
Chasing the rivers flow

Away from here.

My lungs
Are too small these days
To shout these words
Loud enough
That others can hear them,
My lungs
Cannot contain these words
Beside all the others
They need to say,
My lungs
Are beat into submission,
My lungs
Are as shallow
As the graves that await
The victims of violence
Every day,
My lungs
Are tattered flags
On bone masts,
Calling on armies
That are not yet recruited
To save people
Who are already dead.
My lungs,
Need your lungs,
Need your hearts,
Need your words,
My lungs
Need you,
To tell men,
Like him,
That his words,
His prejudice,
His hate,

Are not welcome here.

My lungs,
Need you,
To speak up,
For people,
Like us.