To conclude National Poetry Month, I thought I’d post the first and only poem of mine that ever got published. It appeared in the Fall 1994/Winter 1995 edition of The Radical Chameleon, OPIRG-Ottawa’s newsletter. I wrote a number of other poems over the next few years which I never tried to publish anywhere except this Web site—and then took offline for the current version because, well, I don’t think they’re all that good anymore. Except this one. Even after all this time, I still feel it’s pretty special, so I’m resurrecting it.
Wearing My Names
Call me Hesitant To Write This.
Spilling my guts isn’t easy for me
Coming out is hard to do.
Call me Shy, and A Private Kind Of Guy.
A piece of paper’s a pretty vulnerable place
For a heart to be.
So call me Forging Ahead Anyways.
What’s the worst that could happen?
First call me In Denial, and I mean seriously.
Had the desires, the fantasies, but
Never connected them with myself.
How’s that for doublethink?
And who was there to talk to me,
In this shell, in this shell,
And who was there to listen?
The dam broke, the truth came out.
I am homosexual. I am gay.
Call me Alone With My Secret.
Alone at least for a while.
And still afraid to speak out, speak about.
Not strong enough. Yet.
Call me Surprising Myself.
Edging my way out of the closet,
Every time a thrill.
My brothers, my parents.
«Je suis homosexuel.» «Est-ce que t’es sûr?»
“It’s a symbol of gay pride.” Loud and clear.
(Me: nervous, dozens of people around.)
Don’t want to look at pictures of naked women.
“Why?” “Because I’m gay, that’s why.”
Now call me Sick Of Apologizing
For who I am. (Who the hell are you to judge?)
Call me Sick Of Hiding.
Even sicker knowing I still do it sometimes.
Old habits die hard, I guess,
And the closet loves me.
Now call me Full Of Hope For The Future.
I’ve come so far in a few years, and
Who knows where I’ll go next?
Call me Optimist Full Of Fear
I believe things are improving, but
Can’t help doubting wondering sometimes.
What can I do?
Stop giving in to fear,
It’s a question of survival.
So call me Trying To Do My Part.
And as we reach the end
Call me just one last thing:
I am Wearing My Names With Pride.