poetry

#45

he says

“your body is not your own”

though in different words

so maybe I’ll miss it

and stay silent.

he says

“your mind is not your own”

though in different words

so maybe I won’t understand

and be quiet.

he says

“your life is not your own”

though in different words

so maybe I won’t stand up

and fight.

he says that I am

broken, that I am

useless, that I am

nothing, that I am

unworthy, that I am

insignificant, that I am

stupid, that I am

annoying, that I am

nothing at all

to him.

he smothers my words

with small, sweaty hands

and spews nonsense

in its place.

he will not listen

as our world falls apart.

he will not listen

as I am denied love.

he will not listen

as children are shamed.

he will not listen

as lives are smothered.

he will not listen

to the words we scream

in the gaps between his

hatred,

and I am terrified

that so many

just

can’t

hear.

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poetry

enough

I have been lucky enough

to walk the woods.

once, twice, three times, again.

never once the same

as the time before;

a world that so many

will never see.

I have been lucky enough

to walk the mountains.

once, twice, three times, again.

every time the same

as the time before;

a world that will fall

as oceans rise.

I have been lucky enough

to walk the shores.

once, twice, three times, again,

every minute changing,

shifting under my feet;

a world that will vanish

with every fall of rain.

I have been lucky enough

to live, to breathe, to drink.

I have been lucky enough

to eat, to walk, to watch.

But I am not lucky enough

to escape melting permafrost

and the methane beneath.

I am not lucky enough

to escape 1.6 million cans

for every five minutes.

I am not lucky enough

to get by with just recycling

and turning off the lights.

It is not enough

to sit by and hope that

something will change.

I am the change.

I have to be.

Because otherwise,

nobody else will be lucky enough

to see the world

as it was.

poetry

silence

I am scared of nothing

but leaving the house each morning.

I am scared of nothing

until I remember that in the news

people like me are dying.

I am scared of nothing

but then I hear, over and over:

another woman pulled

out of a bathroom stall,

pants around her ankles,

to be beaten to death;

another couple, shot from behind

for holding hands

over the table;

another teen suicide,

brought on by bullying that was

ignored

because somehow it was okay,

so long as he was different;

another child wandering the streets,

kicked out of their home

for speaking their truth.

If I were in Russia, I would be

in a concentration camp.

My family would tell me,

over the table,

that they would kill anybody

with their bare hands

for being gay.

If I were in Indonesia,

I would be taken from my home,

detained, publicly lashed.

If I were in Egypt, in Kenya,

in Uganda, in Zambia,

I would be forced an examination

to test for homosexuality.

There are things I have never had to go through.

There are things I have never had to hear.

But I cannot leave my house

with my safety guaranteed;

I cannot hold my partner’s hand

walking down the street;

I cannot use the bathroom

whenever I need to;

I cannot live my life

the way that many people do.

I am scared of nothing

until I remember

that the world

is scared

of me.


Unfortunately, all events listed are true. Read more about hate crimes against trans women here and the story referenced in the poem here and here; LGBT teen suicide and bullying statistics here and here; the story about the young lesbian couple shot here; LGBT homeless statistics here; news about the Russian concentration camps here, here, and here; a young Russian man talking about his experiences here; news about a couple detained in Indonesia here; and the forced examinations can be read about here.