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Malin Fox & Crow Rudd

Destroy your deadname - or don't

about the poets...

Crow Rudd (they/them) is an autistic disabled nonbinary queer internationally published punk poet, multiple slam champion, Leeds Talent 2023 winner, mentor, workshop facilitator for non-binary writing group They/Us, creator and host of poetry open mic Sad Poets Doorstep Club and founder of the UK Trans Performers Network - basically, they wear a lot of hats.

Instagram - Facebook - TikTok

Malin Fox (he/they) is a disabled, autistic, adhd, aroace, non binary transmasc poet, crafter, artist and activist based in York, where he lives with his partner, child and 2 cats. His work focuses mainly on his experience of mental illness, neurodivergence, and queerness..

Instagram - Tiktok

Art by Dorian Rose / @dori.oki

destroy your deadname

don't destroy your deadname

set fire to your past life

watch memories turn to ash 

and dust and float 

away on the wind

wrap it in tissue paper

tie it up with ribbon

put in a box to be kept under your bed

with your old photos and mementos

pack your possessions

into a solid wooden box

and forget where you bury it

because trust me

there will be days when

you'll need to remember 

not necessarily want

but deep down need 

drown your past self

do not buckle as the bubbles slow

hold his head firmly under 

until he stops moving

because you are a product

of all that you've been through

and regrets can linger for years

but all those things

brought you to this place

and that is not a thing to regret

it's better this way

you won't have to think 

about it again after this

i promise

that person was who you lived as

and that shapes who you live as

so pack it all away

to be found only after they've 

put you in the ground

and carved your true name

on your headstone

it's done

you are free

you just have to pull the trigger

enjoy your new life

try to forget how you got here

what's important 

is that however you got here

you did get here

we're proud of you


"the poem is a conversation between crow rudd (left-aligned) and malin fox (right-aligned) on the topic of deadnames, the past life of a trans person and how we process that during and/or after transitioning.

the poem originally started as 2 separate poems, the first by crow as a shotgun piece where they worked through their emotions on transitioning and the stigma around it, and how trans people are told or expected to feel about certain aspects of that journey, reflecting their feelings at the time of writing; the second a response by malin, written to highlight that everyone's journey is different, and not everyone needs to excise their past to have their future, and that there is comfort in holding on to memories and keepsakes, that the journey of realisation and discovery is as worthy of holding on to as the truth of who you are. 

the two poems were then placed side by side, and they altered them enough to fit together as one piece, eventually coming to agreement at the end (centre-aligned & italicised) that, while performing, they say together."

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