As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Cathy Arellano – Poetry

I’m Mickey Higgins, I’m Going to Phoenix Today

(Poem is based on photos and text from San Francisco Public Library online photo archives. This photo is from October 4, 1938. Poem is from Four Slugs: Slug (Sex masquerade) Series.)

Michael Higgins

after being arrested
and revealed
to be a woman

Slug (Sex masquerade).

–Los Angeles, Calif.

Michael Higgins,

who for six years
72 months
312 weeks
2,190 days
2,189 nights

was employed as a man.

was married.

was facing trial on grand theft fraud charges.

Then ‘he’
was arrested again
as a forgery suspect.

He was taken to jail.
Jail. Click.
Jail. Tick.
Jail. Tock.
Jail. Lock.

Higgins was revealed
to be a woman.

(how is a man revealed
to be a woman?)

Police blushed.

Police Police Man Police Men
with boot
the right to…

Police blushed.

had twice


been arrested

patted down
pushed into cruiser
pulled out of cruiser



And looked up.
Looked down.
And locked up.
Locked down.

As a male.

A male.

Present at time of the arrest was
Higgin’s ‘wife,’

Pretty Betty Higgins,
see Betty
say Betty
Hi Betty
Hi Pretty Betty.

Higgins and Betty
just returned from an extended stay
in Phoenix.

Said Higgins:
‘Sure I’m Mickey Higgins,’

I’m Mickey Higgins
she allegedly declared.

‘But I’m not married,
NOT married.
NOT married.
(Don’t worry, Mickey,
we’re still not married.)

and I only wear men’s clothes
(those shoes!)
I only wear men’s clothes
(those suits!)
I only wear men’s clothes
(those shirts!)
I only wear men’s clothes
(those ties!)

when I go on a trip.

I’m Mickey Higgins
I’m Mickey Higgins
You’re Mickey Higgins
I’m Mickey Higgins
We’re Mickey Higgins

I’m Mickey Higgins.
I’m going to Phoenix today.

C ArellanoCathy Arellano is a Queer Xicana who grew up in a large, Mexican, working class family in the Center of the Universe, San Francisco’s Mission District. She was a wannabe chola who really wanted to be a cholo. Now, she just wants to be the best Butch Dyke she can be. She is thankful to all the folks who have 1) published her work, including: Feminist Formations, Huizache, The Malpaís Review, The Más Tequila Review, La Bloga, Label Me Latino, Duke City Fix, and Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About and 2) given her awards and grants, such as the Hispanic Writer Award for the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference and a Literary Arts Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. When she was living in her City, she taught poetry to youth in afterschool programs, art and cultural centers, and housing projects before becoming a regular ol’ high school English teacher. Today, she teaches high school seniors to senior citizens full-time at Central New Mexico Community College and occasionally at the University of New Mexico’s Chicana and Chicano Studies Program as well as creative writing workshops in the community. She dedicates this poem to all the Slugs, Bulldaggers, Butches, Marimachas, Maricones, He-Shes, Tortilleras, Dykes, Femmes, Drag Queens, Mariposas, Trannies, and Queers who lived/live their truths and those who were/are punished for it. Cathy lives in Albuquerque with her partner and their son and can be reached at

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