Paradise Mislaid

To Claudia (a French girl who had once been a boy – I met her when she was dancing professionally at a bar in Casablanca back in the 70s)

I had known and loved him when I was a man –
not macho-hairy, no, (and I had lovely eyes)
but the testosterone
still flirted with my bonny cheeks and chin –
and for him, for love of him, jumped ship on Paradise,
this ½G heaven for connoisseurs of the erotic,
of moulded flesh, and laughter, passion and pain;
and xillionaires.

At Immigration, I was tried and not found wanting –
there’s a certain something
only the soon-to-be-ex-male can bring to musilove –
and sent on through with a list of specialist clinics,
all on the house – SUN BANK Glinc (Solar United) –
and in thirty-one hours (our day here)
was out and wandering, crotch no longer cluttered,
and no-longer-wistfully wondering what outfits to buy,
what angel-hair, sundals, lotions and lucians,
atomic cosmetics and nuclear luminants,
mascellulages and …

Later,
with golden hair and lowered melanin
(I’d nearly gone for a silver aphro and dark blue
eyes and raised my melanin – would tomorrow – WOW!)
I floated and flowed on a cloud of Spartan Miss
with astrophire toe-rings and spinning-gold anklets
into a floating – gravitfree – palace
that caught my eye in second sunset.

Musilove’s fun
and I like it all, singing and dancing, laughing,
entrancing, regaling and loving them, some in the gardens,
some in the sun, some at night in the cool and the dark,
some
grok the silence of rooms
with their own pools and bars
and rollers and beds, some
the black stabbing light-beams and sound-beams and crowds
of the musilove caverns midday and midnight …

Liked it all.
Till he came. On leave from the ship.
He couldn’t afford very much – not ten minutes of me –
but he didn’t know it was me and after an hour or two
he didn’t know it was him any more, either,
or that I was doing the paying as well. He’s so old-fashioned
he’s earthly.

The only way I could get his attention –
back on the ship, that is, in the good old days –
was to sing – but not just for him! – to sob out
the old polite-ical songs of my home planet,
La Dorada, the songs of the mine-men,
little white mine-men (“voters” they called themselves),
all Sky and Sigh and Fly,
and Die,
and Sky again,
and if they were brought up and saw the sky, these voters,
they cowered and hid their faces and eyes, and it wasn’t
the sun they feared, it was night sky, feared it
and loved it, it comes up in all their songs … and so
do I, but the fear is awe, and I sing in the night
with my skin softly lit and the tips of my nails
aglow as I dance. Now. Then
I sat and sang with my guitar for him alone …

But.
Most men, all the Bosses, the clients, all
the Besses that go for girls too, all the connoisseurs,
they all like the idea that we used to be boys, say boys
make the best girls, and the Besses
get the besst of both worlds as always (there is
no more conquered, broken male than one of us, ha ha)
though I’m so feminine they say they don’t believe me:
my voice – I mean it’s still hardly soprano – these big
fat Bosses say “Hi there” in piping electro-bird tones
and I say “Hi-eye” like an intergalactic cruiser’s
hydrogen-fog horn and they say they’ve had wives
with deeper voices than that, and it’s true, but … not him.
He thinks we’re all women, and that I especially am
all woman, and I wasn’t about to disillusion him.
No.

He said that after me
he’d never be able to look at another woman.
And I heard later he’d meant it, palled up with
a ship-mate, sharing – his-and-his, not hers –
the same tiny cabin we had shared, but sharing it –
sharing and daring and caring at last. Ah well,
if I get too sick of love I can always have another op,
and join the mers.

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