My Gender is the Trees


I’ve spent what feels like a lifetime shifting back and forth between identities, trying to find some kind of gender outlook that matches how I know I feel about myself Our language is limited and when your sense of self doesn’t match up with what’s presented to you as options, it’s so easy to feel trapped inside your own body! Sometimes, when I’m having particularly...

Time Dilation, or Time is a Fuck


Time is valuable  A commodity that can be Has been And continues to be exploited It’s only when it’s against us that time seems to move too fast or too slow Time is not on your side When we talk about queer and trans time, it’s only a joke because we know that sometimes our lives don’t start before 20, or 30, or 40 The rest is shameful Time has been weaponized by...



When I say I want to lose gracefully, I don’t mean that in terms of having a nice concession speech. (When I do concede in love, in life, I prefer to go kicking and screaming because I don’t want to go.) So when I say I want to lose gracefully, I want to find the perfect place to end up where I don’t have to keep getting hurt by all the loss in my life Find the only piece of...

This Is Not Normal


  “When you wear clothes like that, you look like a cheap girl.” The words you’re trying to use are “You look like a sex worker, which bothers my misogynistic heart to no end” I’m not even a girl, but I don’t have the words To tell you that femininity is just a small part of what you can’t understand. I’ve been told that I should dress...



Gender is never neutral, To assume that someone’s gender is neutral or non-existent because it doesn’t exist between two rigid poles Of a gender binary is arrogant and selfish Even with those of us that do not have a gender, Our identities and how we show them Are a deliberate choice. And we’re fucking proud of it. Many of us don’t exactly know what our gender is And our...

Dinner for One


Dinner for one in a rusty old diner Is there anything more American? Or more Americana when you throw in seemingly bottomless bowls of soup and glaring eyes that will make sure you have a good grip on the pepper spray you carry in your handbag. Even if you’re not prepared to use it. But dinner for one in an old diner can be comforting Conjuring images of the neoliberal American dream At a...



Need to breathe Sometimes I feel like I need to tell myself that so I can have a little bit of control over my body I don’t know if that’s true But I’ve told myself that enough times that I can believe it Need to breathe I used to hear that it was okay to tell people small lies If it was to protect their feelings It took me 15 years to realize that when it came to protecting my...

A Family Affair


Dad’s face is in the newspaper The newspaper was in the basement that I moved into after 20 years Complete with a layer of dust that complimented everything else that was abandoned there I’m in the newspaper I can only barely read it but I recognize a photo of me kicking through a board and looking like I’m about to hit someone in the face with my bare foot I guess I’m...

Saturday in January


I want to feel the wind against my face I want to feel the wind blowing against me, strong and unyielding I want to feel the wind as it pushes itself through my fingertips as I walk With the wind blowing so forcefully through my hands that it feels like I could clench my fist and hold it there And save it for a summer day When I feel like I need that strength I want to feel my boots crunch...

Truth as Ive Lived It


I dont always look at myself before I leave in the morning. Mostly because She saw something in the mirror that terrified her: her fathers face. Some days, Im in front of the mirror And I stare and I stare and I stare And I am an astronaut floating farther and farther away While my body is in a place that I dont quite understand Yet You have to fight for yourself But I don’t know if I can...

Joan Zahra Dark

Hi! I'm Joan Zahra Dark, currently one of the worker-owners of Bluestockings Cooperative, a bookstore and community space based in the Lower East Side of NYC. I'm a writer and public speaker for my job and in my free time as well as a critic on various websites alongside this one! I love talking about queer comics, trans speculative fiction and why we all want to bang and/or be robots!

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You can reach me for writing jobs, speaking engagements, consulting work and anything else at!