Why Andrea?

from by Andrea Lee



The answer to the question no one is blunt enough to ask.
Why Andrea? Such a simple change. Just a switched letter.
Down and left on the keyboard. Rolling off the tongue.
Similar enough to not confuse, easy to explain.
Andrew is now Andrea. Oh, HE’s trans? They’ll say
But my birth name is just a coincidence. Happening to lay so near
to the name of the person I was always destined to become.
Inspired by the person who has shaped so much of who I am.
Their name, Andrea, their way of expressing, poetry.
Their words, part of the reason I am even still alive.
I too was halfway through a letter to my own mother
When their lines returned to my mind
Their reminder, through poems, other people feel this too.
And their idea, that I can live as my own example
And if I can just give one person another reason to live
Then that’s enough, and my debt will be repaid
To the ones that refused to let me leave
and who I can no longer properly thank
So instead, I thank Andrea, and do it with pride
Saying yes, this, them, this is who I’m like
theoretically unrestrained by the society’s boxes
Yet still able to feel their crushing pressure
Which we can only relieve with the outlet of our poetry
I would gladly drop everything I have
If I thought that my poems could make half the difference
That theirs have to me.
But where would I start? Tumblr and open mic nights
Are a far cry from a career in poetry
There is no training in becoming a shaper of words
Adequate enough to test whether I could “make it”.
Sure, I’m a decent poet, but where is the line
between notes and a bit of applause,
and something much bigger?
Maybe I make this my passion
And hope that one day, fire catches.
Their words, truly shaping who I am
Just as they always have


from Introducing Andrea Lee, released March 1, 2016



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Andrea Lee Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Andrea Lee Plank is a spoken word poet / computer geek living in Bethlehem, PA. Andrea identifies as a nonbinary transgirl and uses they / them pronouns. They are attending Northampton Community College.

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