Prism & Pen
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Prism & Pen

Marabou Barbie: The Girldick Monologues.

Morning Coffee with myself, gilding the willy.

How would they react if you could show them your true self? Answers on a postcard. Bardot on a beach 1965, image borrowed from Tumblr.

grasping wildly in the severed blur of the moment, trying to locate my fabulosity. I must have left it on the bathroom sink in my rush to catch a sunny spell on this morning of guerrilla snow showers. Boy George sauntered into my head just as Karma Chameleon put a colorful filter on the dull murmuring of the café.

“I’m a man without conviction”. So pretty, so exotic and he confident in the fact that he was a He. And I like a tigress trying to get out of a pit, paying the boss of the joint for my Americano, a fan of mine, as his eyes gleamed from above his black facemask.

Why do I bother to leave my pit at all? Echoes of Norman Wisdom at his most dyspraxic as I gingerly placed the lid on my coffee with a slight shake in my hands. The new morning is overwhelming me and I’m unprepared for civilian life.

Some days I feel the sheer absurdity of being me and trying to be me in this small Irish town. My skin tingles with embarrassment. I’m forced to conclude my discomfort is wholly mine. I’m little more than a marionette to insecurities so deep, they masquerade as fact. The yoke I’ve placed on my shoulders is made of granite and it’s uninformed and ignorant. There’s the timbre of my father to them, blunt, dismissive and jeering. I’d been marinated in his displeasure for decades.

The Mona Lisa being readied for exhibition after WW2.

It surprises me I don’t get more abuse. I put that down to my being backward in coming forward, to myself as well as my environment. But there I sit outside the café in a leopard skin print top, black woolen coat, sunglasses visoring my sparkling eyelinered eyes, smoking a cig like I got a lesson in deportment from Bette Davis. I’m as strange a sight as a flamingo escaped from the local bird sanctuary yet sitting there feeling like a marabou stork.

I’m Marabou Barbie.

I have a taste for flamingo flesh and I’ll thrive anywhere you put me, be it wet or arid. My accessories include knee high, black patent leather wading boots, an Adam’s Apple that at times seems as big as a pink inflatable sac and a wardrobe that would make an undertaker proud with its variations on the color black.

French Kissing in the USA. La Harry, Rockbird 1986

I’m aiming for the look Debbie Harry sported on the cover of her 1986 LP Rockbird and yet my innards are in the throes of aeolian sound, a high pitched and piercingly cold whistle as I stand in the gales of my own tundra. I’m an undeveloped fictional character in a story written by a God with writer’s block. He doesn’t know what to do with me so join the club, oh Supreme Creator.

I want attention yet I don’t want it. I want to celebrate my femininity but I’m thoroughly ashamed of it. Wearing my new top is like putting a Kleig light on casters and dragging the bloody thing around town behind me. It’s not going to see me tried at the Geneva Convention, but it feels like it. I was born to molest physics.

Would I feel any different in another part of the world? I doubt it as I launch a stylized fumerole of cigarette smoke at the conservative air of the street. A few morning drinkers hawked and took mean drags of their cigarettes as they formed little scabby groups outside the bar over by the square.

I’d feel like this no matter where you planted me. I’d gone to great lengths to blot out my misgivings in Beijing, my official place of birth, with my favorite tipples. If you can’t naturally produce dopamine find another way to get your kicks. You’ll shine for an eye blink but the atrophy of the brain is forever.

The problem is mine and mine alone. No-one else would want it.

Never a dull moment I suppose. Little moments glister in my head when the muggles use their instincts and cotton on to the fact all is not what it seems with this sphinx in their midst. Other times they coast by me like clouds in a wind, indifferent, disconnected.

Christ, I hate them when they do that and by extension, myself. It stains my perceptions of everything this uninspired hatred. I’m aware that I must lay claim to my basic human rights as I cultivate my Poshitis on the myopic streets. To be who I am. At all costs. A new spin on an old impasse. And as I sizzle with nerves, holding my breath as people pass by, all I can think is “What would you be like if I appeared as my true self?”.

Looking for my Fabulosity. Beijing 2018. Note the Tiara.

Cars would crash. Plebs would pass comment. Guys would roil with disgust at the sight of your willowy frame and try to give another crack on your porcelain arse.

So why put yourself through it? Stay in the convent then.

Because I want to be de-programmed. To slowly drive out the ideas that have made my life a struggle since day one. Ideas that have no more currency in this newly enlightened land and only contribute to my enthusiastic bouts of self-sabotage.

I am a woman with a girldick. How about them apples?

Speaking of, I have tits now. Who made me think I was Jean Claude van Damme? I was never the most masculine of people. If you are going to wage war on yourself, get a better notion of your enemy. My self-perception changes with the wind that arias in from the sea. Curls flapping and no-one is at home.

I am a Guinevere with gonads.

I have something extra to bring to the table. I don’t think I’ll be getting the op. It’s a continent outside my price and emotional range. I don’t hate my junk; I’m just not connected to it. A frivolously ugly dollop of glands and skin hanging between my pins like butcher’s leftovers. The estrogen is feminizing them too it occurred to me yesterday.

Talk about gilding the willy. Hence my declaration of having an outie.

Fashion is my flaming sword. Couture for the cute hoor. Define yourself through your sense of style. Cultivate your sense of self that way. Make yourself see it. If in doubt, make with the pout.

Pressure makes diamonds but too much just smashes the coal to dust. I’m not walking in circles around the billabong of myself anymore. I’m going to put my head above the parapet and on to the next level. The air up there is a punch to the face and your nerves will squeal for cover but sure what of that? It’ll be bracing and good for you like a friendly bout in the ring.

Also, would you mind studying the ingredients you are bringing to the pot? You fling them in without looking, unaware of their value. A pretty face, a great head of hair, a nice figure. I didn’t get those on offer. I should deem myself lucky to have such a fine trellis to work with. But no, I keen and moan and stew for things I don’t have. Appreciate the basics and build on that.

It isn’t bleeding rocket science.

Lana sent a little video on Whatsapp last night.

Wow. Isn’t she rocking her tattersall poplin dickey? At time of writing I still don’t know what that is.

I had me a small intake of breath at what looked like me in the form of Saline Dion, rocking up a storm in a Michael Kors barley guncheck wool coat dress and tattersall poplin dickey.

Now, I don’t know what that is, but she wore it like I would given half the chance. Her newly long and blond mane and general attitude screamed ME. Even down to the angle she wore her coordinated hat.

That is me. That’s my schtick. I’m onto something here.

Who’d have thought Saline Dion would, in that New York Minute back in 2020 so comprehensively exhibit my slowly budding self. Her music never did that for me. Her voice made cold blood run from my ears. And she was enjoying herself, delighted with the bulbs popping and the discourse that was foaming up around her like she’d rode in on a conch shell.

№8 in the Top 10 Prettiest Girls of the Summer of 2017, Beijing

Even on my amateur level I’ve experienced that. Sunday afternoons, dressed like Artemis knows what, I’d got great pleasure from the photographers in Sanlitun, the commercial quarter in Beijing, who got Cannes fever at the sight of me and I in ruddy and drunken form giving them a theophany. A distant dream sitting here outside a café in small town Ireland and not a penny or social life to my name.

Make with the magnifying glass and tweezers and go look for a sense of delight with the fact you are alive, relatively young, armed with a second chance and the semtex of transformation at your disposal. I keep trying to appreciate all that as I tap a cigarette on its box and



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Fiona Evangeline Leigh

Fiona Evangeline Leigh


An Irish writer, transgender woman and singer currently living in the Republic. Has just completed a memoir A Changeling in Beijing.