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Pride Weekend, 2014

“Queer,” by Frank Bidart

 

Lie to yourself about this and you will

forever lie about everything.

 

Everybody already knows everything

 

so you can

lie to them. That’s what they want.

 

But lie to yourself, what you will

 

lose is yourself. Then you

turn into them.                  

 

               *

 

For each gay kid whose adolescence

 

was America in the forties or fifties

the primary, the crucial

 

scenario

 

forever is coming out—

or not. Or not. Or not. Or not. Or not.

 

                 *

 

Involuted velleities of self-erasure.

 

                   *

 

Quickly after my parents

died, I came out. Foundational narrative

 

designed to confer existence.

 

If I had managed to come out to my

mother, she would have blamed not

 

me, but herself.

 

The door through which you were shoved out

into the light

 

was self-loathing and terror.

 

                   *

 

Thank you, terror!

 

You learned early that adults’ genteel

fantasies about human life

 

were not, for you, life. You think sex

 

is a knife

driven into you to teach you that.

 

Image

Neon sculpture by Lili Lakich, “Pray the Gay Away/Way”

***

Judy Garland (from Judy At Carnegie Hall), “Over the Rainbow

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