The figures speak for themselves.

Every two days, at least, somewhere in the world, a trans woman is killed, for being trans. It doesn’t happen that often in the United Kingdom – though we know of two in the last month or so, that’s unusually frequent.

But it should not happen at all.

I don’t even care why – whether it is religion, or machismo or one of the other stupid excuses men – because it almost always is men – make up to justify strangling us, shooting us, cutting our arms off, setting fire to us and the rest.

It shouldn’t happen to anyone. There is no reason for it.

So, right now, I am not in the best of moods.

Saturday, I will go to the Day of Remembrance meeting in Gower Street, and I will read my new poem, and I will probably cry quite a lot.


And here is the new poem:



fold into darkness
self-woven shroud.
Melt away and mould.
Burst into sudden light
fragile, moist, true.

never to swim again or know the tides
breath harsh bright air
burning dried salt-flaked gills
throat married to new songs
walk, knife-feet stab each step.

not to be dark veins or light.
Chiselled wings burst free:
the folds of robe
carved, fixed in flight,
single trumpet note


to forge yourself
from ice and steel
from marble and from gut
from blood and bone.
true name, true face, true song, true dance
innocence, danger and delight

The life you would repeat a thousand times
However short, however long
Your dance.

Cut short.


Some of them
walked streets I’ve walked
under grey clouds
had friends I have
listened to songs I love
or drank in bars where I
would drink (if I still drank)

Some of them
knew other skies that have no clouds
sang other songs
and never drank at all.

my sisters, my brothers, our kin, our kind
singers, dancers
flesh and bone
made choices that I made,
and died for it,
lived lives we walk
and died for it,
and so I mourn for them.
We mourn for them
Here, now.
Duwanna, Andrea and all the rest.
Cut short


Walls curled
Around walls.
Spirals, grid, broken.
Door leads in darkness
To other doors
Or to blank walls
that curl

Blood reek,
blood spatter,
old stains
layer on layer.
Scrap of gut
Shard of bone.
Blood, shit and fresh dung.

They put you in the rooms
The dark rooms curled around
The dark rooms open to the sky
Where the monster got you
where the monster ate you.
Dumb savage twisted
Whose horns scrape on close walls
whose hooves slide in the blood
Whose tail, whose prick
juts, swishes, swings
Menace and rage.

You, tribute, offering
Sent to dark rooms
Walking dark streets.
Heavy breath steam behind you
Hoof-clip, horn-scrape.
If not you
Someone who
Mother, brother, lover, child.
Yet you are all those things?
Not in the way that counts
And not to them
The ordinary decent folk
Who’d never kill, but close their eyes
And do not watch.

It’s closer now.
Time that you turn
Fight, kiss, pray, scream
Or maybe leap the horns

Cut short


Joy is a choice whose absence is despair.
We learn to walk, to dance, to fly.
Freed into light
free into brilliant air.

The beast learns nothing. Its own misery
traps it among curled walls
in darkened streets
where it strikes out
with hooves and horns at joy
And it would steal joy if it could
It never can.

The blood upon its floor
The blood in which it slips
Its victims’
Its own tears as well
Despair’s blood tears.

We weep our dead
In different tears
that mourn and yet are joy
bright as the chisel-strokes that gave us wings
piercing as trumpet note.
They loved and danced
for moments of that joy
in brilliant air
and if they were cut short,
dance still
in tear-stained memory.

About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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17 Responses to THAT DAY

  1. martyn44 says:

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let’s hope so, for all of us and not just those the bigots see when they look in the mirror.

  2. That’s a beautiful poem. It deserves a musical setting, IMHO.

  3. May I link to this? I don’t think anyone on my flist is aware of the day but I don’t want to use your words without permission.

    • rozkaveney says:

      Oh by all means.

      This is poetry in the service of a cause rather than a piece of art I clutch preciously to myself.

      And BTW how the hell are you? Seema ages since we had dinner with and the rest.

      • I have linked. It’s a powerful poem and I hope everyone on my flist will read it.

        I’m okay! Currently winding myself up about a man (as per) and dealing with depression/mental issues, but feeling positive. It does seem like ages ago, especially now Gio is married…I swear this year has vanished in the blink of an eye.

      • rozkaveney says:

        We should have coffee some time.

  4. sciamanna says:

    The poem is beautiful, and I’ve taken your previous answer to another commenter as a general permission, and linked to it on my own LJ.

    I also have a question for you, if you want to answer.

    Transgender is something that I’m only tring to educate myself about now, so there is a lot I’m ignorant of. I’ve seen your tweet — “It’s the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and we don’t want it appropriated – it would be kind of nice if the rest of you didn’t ignore it.” A tweet would have been too short for my question (and context), so I came here with it… What are you thinking about when you say “appropriated”? By whom/how? (Not by cis people taking part, evidently, since you encourage us to do so. So I’m confused.)

    My thanks if you want to answer — and even if you don’t, my thanks for poking me.

    • rozkaveney says:

      Oh, the appropriation thing has mostly to do with cis LGBT people, especially in the US, trying to tell us how we should be feeling and what we should be doing.

      There’s specifically been a whole thing of people telling us we should lighten up and celebrate our lives and not look at the dark side.

      It’s our day, and we set the agenda…

      What cis people can do is acknowledge it’s our mourning day, and spread the information, and be aware that trash talking trans people is part of the same continuum that lets people treat our lives as of no account.

      • cmcmck says:

        Absolutely right on the nail. Poetry also happened to me this morning. Strange as it has never done so in the past on this day- I’m usually unable to write much of any sort due to thoughtfulness, writing of a work related sort has been slow to come, but poetry wise today was…….different.

      • dsmoen says:

        I agree about the no appropriation, which is why I didn’t derail the focus on the issue of violence by mentioning a trans friend of mine for whom health care failed miserably and may have contributed to her death. I’ll post about that on the anniversary of her death, probably.

        I’ve not been feeling well, and haven’t posted about the day of remembrance, but I did remember my trans friends and how I’m lucky to have them.

  5. book_crash says:

    I love how the poem is good versus evil. That’s how I interpret it.

  6. metanoiac says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us, with the rest of the world.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Poem response

    Thank you so much for this powerful powerful poem. Why this was interpreted as “adult” content is beyond me.

  8. dsmoen says:

    Beautiful, and thank you for sharing.

  9. natalie_456 says:

    (apologies for the slow response). It really is a powerful piece Roz, and the first section is particularly wonderful… Thank you xx

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