Darling Fitch

Arising from the cesspool of Berlin’s queer party scene, Darling Fitch’s A Stranger Sound is a dark yet ultimately affirming transgender coming-of-age story. A Stranger Sound is a full length live show combining music, spoken word, and performance art to take the audience on a journey through “gender dysphoria and chemical ecstasy // chemical dysphoria and gender ecstasy… And glamour as a survival strategy.” The show examines many elements of queer space: community, self-discovery, safety… But also addiction, escapism, narcissism, abuse, and self-harm. It is an honest account of the spaces we call home.

With performances planned over the span of performer Darling Fitch’s first years of testosterone therapy, vocal drops and physical changes will be evident from performance to performance, particularly through the juxtaposition of live and pre-recorded vocals. In this way, A Stranger Sound tells an ongoing story, and physically as well as thematically reveals the ever-changing nature of life.

This is an excerpt from the album and chapbook. You can listen to the whole album on Spotify and find out more about Darling Fitch on their website. You can alsp support Darling Fitch on Patreon.

Melanie Ziggel Photography

That Trans Couple

And one day on some scaffolding outside the window of your
Fifth-floor walk up one month sublet, on a sunny day
Higher up than you could have hoped before
All these words will sound simpler, in the eyes of a stranger
And when we finally learn how to speak into the future
What will we say?
When we come to love each other through our scars
What will we say?
We’ll turn to drugs and suicide attempts for metaphors
And it will feel glorious, grandiose
Self-medicating with static shocks, shame and statistics
A proprietary witches’ brew, our open secret
Hiding amongst the gaunt, money lined Peter Pans of
Gay Berlin
And one of us will say, “we’ll never be like them, not really”
And if I hold your body just right against mine
While lying on a cum-stained couch
At five in the morning, on an elevated platform
Surrounded by those lost boys with their
Dropperfuls of G, sucking each other off to
The worst disco you’ve ever heard
My eyes closed so the spinning lights
Don’t carry me away
If I opened them now
I’d see us
Showing them a thing or two about liberatory clichés

Because we are that “…oh, you know” couple
Wearily walking home at 3pm
Our bodies silently bickering with the glances of strangers
For very different reasons
And will our spirits stiffen in the sunlight?
Stumbling through life’s eternal construction site
To find our way back to fake flowers
And unstable housing situations
But you have taught me
To find love in a comedown
With sores on my tongue from
Chewing up all the words we
Suppressed the need to say the night before
You will smell my unwashed hair in bed at 4pm
And know that this is what we’re after
After all
And it will be enough until it’s not
We will binge and purge our bitterness
And wring out gazes and
Invasive questions on each other’s bedroom floors
Because chemical dependency and self-harm
Are not just metaphors
No matter how completely we’ve romanticized them
For our own safety
Romanticized them for survival

Please lovers
We are rare birds on high horses
Tilting at the windmills of our own
Makings and undoings
Like all lovers, we’ve been
Programmed to destroy each other
With our attempts at kindness
We know and feel and have been
Too much and not enough
We will fail each other in ways that mirror how
Drugs and language and the looks of strangers have failed us
But not only
Never two sides to the same coin
Our mouths are hungry in their differences
Stomachs perpetually empty
But we can share this meal of spit
And a love language that blends with
Avoidant speech patterns and cynical code words with
Context-specific meanings
Because love is no aesthetic of indifference, or?

The half-truths of our bodies and words
Made real by an embrace
And our warm breath on each others’ faces
This is no metaphor
The strategy of static shocks will fade by midweek
And the sun will come out, or it won’t
So lovers, promise me
That you’ll remember
That we held each other and hoped
For more than this cycle of survival

Melanie Ziggel Photography

War of Attrition

Am I living on the edge, or between the cracks?
Do you know this choice —
Bind up my chest and/or become the void?
Is that funny?
What a charm
Spandex against suicide
Warding off and brushing up to
There are no mirrors here, not really
What does my monster look like
If it’s composed of traces
In someone else’s system?

Curating layers I become my own consolation prize
Hello boys

I am what I am
Is that all there is
I am what I am
Is that all there is?

I look to the surgical future
Of my crushed velvet ribcage
Potential injection deconstruction site
A pretty little danger zone of
Hormones and
The absurdity of defining reality
And legacy
Against this strobe lit death wish of a dream
I am not a symbol for the postmodern condition
I am my own war of attrition

Melanie Ziggel Photography

Up, Up, Up

I didn’t have a center then
So I went
Up, up, up
Climbing flights of stairs into a throbbing feeling
Searching for center in the ghosts of electrical impulses
(do you know this feeling?)
In the erasure of a crowd,
(do you know this feeling?)
In a feral smell,
(do you know this feeling?)
In the eyes of worn-out boys
Who want to wear you down with the certainty of their own failure,
(do you know this feeling?)
Which they deposit into you
(do you know this feeling?)

I thought perhaps their failure was my center
And I’m not sure how much of this stayed in my head
And how much I
Blurted out
Through several years
In several gardens
But someone else’s thoughts were racing
Where my center should have been

(Insert your own nagging anxieties here)

Until my constant self conscious chattering
Gave way to twitching and stunned
And everyone pretended not to notice
Pretended not to see me in themselves

Melanie Ziggel Photography

Steady Yourself

We almost believe in these artificial kinships
Because the precipice of past leads down to
Perhaps nothing
All of us here with our superhuman strength and
Exceeded tolerances for pain and
Chemical substances
Some of us searching center since… how long?
The older models, nexus sixes if you will
Exceeding their life expectancies at 45
The ones who’ve survived, and isn’t that sad
All powder and pills at five in the morning,
In a bathroom stall without a lock
Unzipping secrets five or six at a time
More bitter than dirt cheap speed in a
Baggie next to a sawed-off medicine spoon
I tried to love them at too-close range
The ones who one drunk morning apologize for
Showing you the dissatisfaction of their lopsided scars
And the next, a bit drunker,
Say “I’ve got just the surgeon for you!”
When this is the only kinship you’ve yet to find
Your whole life looks like a downward maze and you get real dizzy
But its what you’ve got so you
Steady yourself with a hard slap across the face