Anne Shaw

Drag King Manifesto

That woman is an engine, I refuse. To generate. To be chambered. To combust.
Let her who would acquire don the masculine article. The necktie and the
wingtip and the the.
The leather chair, its kingdom. As wispy shadow tidies in the wake.
I too unhitch my notice. I touch what I will touch. I wear
roulette-wheel cufflinks
and filch the jack of diamonds from the deck.
I’ll show you how to razor: Take off your gown of ghosts. Untie
your solaces, unzip your name.
Let her who would be pirate begin in piracy. The double-breasted suit.
The clamp.
Adam’s apple pendant in the throat.
Let her who would go veiled take up her wrench, her drill. Up her sleeve
the jackal of hearts, the jack of jills.
Let her in frilled distress begin. To study the mallet, the screw.
And therefore tinker. Therefore crux. How treason wears the pants.
Let her who would go naked smith her tool.

Anne Shaw
“Drag King Manifesto” is from Undertow (Persea Books, 2007), and first appeared in Phoebe, Vol. 28, Spring 1999.