Prop 8, Original Poetry, and Coming Out
Jimmy Santiago Baca, a leading contemporary Latino poet writing in the United States, reminds us that “Poetry’s mission is to subvert, to question, to challenge, provoke, to flail one’s vulnerability and voice into the marvelous whirlwind of poetry’s awe, flagging at the horns of the raging beast that is societies gluttonous comfort, ‘bringing social justice’…affirm poetry at any cost”
I ran into this quote (written above) and it inspired me to post a poem today. In light of Prop 8 being repealed last week the poem below has been dedicated to all those who are at a point of personal stress from being marginalized that they may not be focusing on the fight for gay marrige. Or you could just say this is for the boys and girls and men and women, who are focused on their personal struggle of coming out the closet. This is a stage that most in the LGBTQ community have labored through. For the last couple days I have adorned my “Legalize Gay, repeal prop 8” T-Shirt. (For all those who have something against our media, a Judge in California repeal proposition 8 a week ago.) So as most people want to focus on systemic issues (even myself at times) this poem is about the personal individual struggles that youth and adults (for those who came out a little later in life) fight through.
“When my mother first found out I was gay she built a shrine. It stood erect and desperate with two porcelain angels holding arrows of judgment pointing towards a cute little note that said “Son, pray here for God to restore you.” Remarking this little addendum I could still see the reflection of my trepidation bounding off the marble wings of the little angels. And it flew across the synapse of my mind as it dawned on me that the sun was going down. That my mother thought, her son, had gone down. Down where she didn’t know. But no longer did the smiles brought to her face from good reports cards, or the consoling words she got when she had a bad day matter to her anymore. Cause her son had gone down. Down on other boys maybe, down in society, most assuredly down to hell. I wasn’t her son anymore. I was now just a broken shell of prospects she once had for a happy family. I was broken, shattered, disheveled, distorted, matted, dilapidated, And like an old movie or destructed building, I needed to be restored.
And those little angels, my sign that a God was always pointing the direction of my life was now pointing the end of my life at me. Bows reared and aiming to fire my mother’s first stone into my sodomized broken heart. Hoping that maybe her disgust would pull it back together into her “true” son, that one that she didn’t have to love unconditionally because I never had any conditions. Because when she cussed or beat me with the force of her depression I still loved her. Because when she threw her love in the arms of unworthy men I still loved her. Because when she said she hated me, I still loved her. I never had ANY conditions. But when she discovered my CONDITION, she let her unconditional love fall into oblivion. I had to be…restored. (Poem by Aaron Talley)”