1. British poet Keith Jarrett was once asked at a gig if he had a “gay poem”. He didn’t, so he wrote this one.
“Excuse me, poem, are you gay?
Have you grown up contrarily to what I wanted you to say?
I most certainly didn’t write you that way
Was it something I said, something I did that turned you?
Maybe I should have peppered your verses
With sport, girls and beer
Maybe as your author I deserted you…
Or did another writer turn you queer?”
A history lesson: A faggot is a bundle of sticks
Originally used as kindling for fires that engulfed gays
When they were burned at the stake, people were firewood
But Moses came across wood on fire and saw God in it,
What is a burning bush but bundles of branches
On fire, isn’t it funny how faggots and God can look the same sometimes?
3. 14-year-old Christine Vela, brave beyond her years, reflects on the anxiety of coming out in her poetry.
I stay here out of fear
Fear of judgement, fear of ridicule
But most of all, fear of abandonment.
I’m afraid that if I come out of this lonely little closet
What waits beyond will be a much greater peril
Or perhaps it will be the release I’ve been looking for
So I’ll take a chance.
4. Nicole Masangkay performs an emotional and personal piece about the relationship with her mother in “My Gender Is For Mothers.”
My mother was born in a U.S. Naval base in the Philippines
She has grown up with
Little wars and defeats that cannot be drowned across oceans,
I understand that to survive
She cannot keep losing
So everyday, I let my mother refuse my beauty in
Two different languages
And I understand both
Watch the full performance:
5. Joanna Hoffman describes her personal journey to self-acceptance with humor and honesty in “Pride”:
The summer I turned fourteen
My grandmother got me smashed at a wedding in Jersey
Somewhere in between the 3rd glass of champagne and the 4th ABBA song
She turned to me and said,
“Joanna, someday you’re going to have a wedding just like this
And when you do, don’t let them play any disco.”
6. Sibel Sayiner and Violet Trachtenberg strip away the glamour of San Francisco pride in this high-energy duet.
There is more to celebrate than a parade.
There are voices to be heard
That cannot make their way to these limousines.
Queer people don’t need sponsors
Don’t need spectators
7. Karen Grace tackles her own inner-struggle between religion and sexuality in “Push: On Holy Thursday”.
8. The 2013 Women of the World Poetry Champion, Denice Frohman, asks straight people, “Who do you think you are?”
Dear Straight People,
Who do you think you are?
Do you have to make it so obvious that I make you uncomfortable?
Why do I make you uncomfortable?
Do you know that makes me uncomfortable?
Now we’re both uncomfortable.