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Pass with Care

Pass with Care

by Cooper Lee Bombardier


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Pass with Care is a testament to trans resilience, queer joy, and the power of finding freedom and adventure within a community of your own creation. Transgender writer, artist, and activist Cooper Lee Bombardier shifts effortlessly between lyrical essays, poetry, and narrative nonfiction as his own landscape changes over the course of two decades. From working-class New England to the queer punk scene of early ’90s-San Francisco to New Mexico’s deserts, Bombardier documents his experiences with compassion and reverence, offering us an expansive view of gender and sexuality, masculinity and tenderness, and the difference between surviving and thriving.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781948340212
Publisher: Dottir Press
Publication date: 05/12/2020
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Cooper Lee Bombardier is an American writer and artist living in Canada. His work has been published in the Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, CutBank, NAILED Magazine, Longreads, BOMB, and The Rumpus, and the anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Speculative Fiction From Transgender Writers.

Read an Excerpt

“A Trans Body’s Path in Eight Folds”

One: right concentration
A trans body sightsees at Carlsbad Caverns. It pays admission and enters the gap-toothed maw. Eyes are open but not working at first, seeing only the green opposite of the hot, white outside. Soon, the trans eyes forget the world’s way of seeing, in favor of its own vision in the cool balm of dark. It feels a kinship with the stalactites fanging down from the dark ribbed roof, growing and changing ever so slowly, drip by drip—an inch a century, if that. The waiting and the long unfolding to become, molecule by molecule. In the yellowing glow of a miner’s headlamp, the trans body spelunks toward nature’s confirmation of the impossible made manifest, and vows to cultivate the patience of a cave.

Two: right action
A trans body visits a lover in a high desert town in the American Southwest. While running near to panting from altitude on a community center treadmill, this trans body spots another trans body on an adjacent treadmill, two machines over. A wash of warm recognition floods the one at the sight of an other. The trans body runs in place and listens to punk rock through headphones while shaping a way to connect with the other trans body. Hello, it imagines saying, me too. Or, I am your people. Too stiff? Too awkward? I am so happy you and I are here together in this place, of all places. How many more of us might be here? Slowing the treadmill down to run, tripping on the flapping, black rubber belt, the trans body knows it cannot make any reach toward the other. More likely than a welcomed connection, it could be received as an affront, a highlighting of some failure of detail—or worse, a dangerous positioning of crosshairs on the back of the other. One trans body might go undetected, but two trans bodies begin to shape an identifiable pattern. Two trans bodies dismount treadmills, sweating, alone.

Three: right speech
A trans body meets another trans body for coffee. In the span of drinking a twelve-ounce Americano, one trans body is smudged out and rendered invisible by the other. Countless people wield the power to erase a trans body, but nothing wounds to the same extent as when it happens by the hands of another trans body. A trans body rents a place with a friend. The friend leans on the trans body sometimes, as if they were spouses, or two old trees bordering a field who fell into each other in a windstorm—hard to tell who is holding the other up. The friend sometimes shakes out tired assumptions about “X” or “Y,” like wet wash about to be pinned to a line that only extends in two finite directions. One day, the friend-spouse directs the trans body to do something in a highly divided public space. When the trans body reminds the housemate-friend why this suggested action would not be ideal, how it would expose, embarrass, or worse, imperil a trans body, the spousemate says, Sometimes I forget you are trans, sharp with darts of exasperation, like the trans body’s transness is the most difficult thing in the world for the housemate (and friend) to bear, and yet the easiest thing in the world to forget.