In this post-gender world

Some say there are sixty-three types.

Others scoff and proclaim just two

Holding tight to zebra-style binary stripes.


They mourn for a life that was simple

But the labels keep breeding, vicious as darts

So you’ve got to keep moving

Zig-zagging now the finest of arts.


They’re coming to trap you

Can you stay free of the nets?

Climb high to the rooftops,

avoiding the threats.


And shout!

Hello, I am me.


Pin the blame on Linnaeus

Primal urge being sated, to categorise all living things

Order, genera, species – surely that is enough?

Why must we go deeper – ever tightening rings.


Fragile specimens painfully studied and pinned

Yet still not understanding?

We are each one unique.

Call time, make a halt, say enough to the branding


For who needs a label?

Not me!


This poem was the result of a challenge to write on the topic of gender. This is such an emotive subject these days and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say on the subject. What emerged was a poem echoing my belief that our obsession with labels is often unhelpful.