Monday, 17 April 2017

Differences - Joanne C. Hillhouse

“Is his choice”
He says
Matter of fact
Like the boy deserved to die
For this
Accident of biology
He has that
Implacability
Men of a certain age
(or stubbornness)
Do

Is this what it feels like when your blood boils?

The words want to push out of me
And burn his soul
The boy is dead
I want to scream
If he had kissed
A pretty girl
Instead of another
Randy guy
Would he then
Deserve to live?

“You’re not going to convince me”
He says
So just stop
And I find that I can’t
Suddenly it’s important
To me
That he
Not be like this
Closed off
Judgmental
Hard headed
(like I’m being now, toward him)
I have to find an opening

They betrayed him
I scream

“He chose it”
He insists

To love
I press
To love

Not to be stoned for it
Or have barbed wire
Pulled through his flesh
Or worse yet
Have prying eyes download and dissect
What should have been private

“He chose it”
He insists
Like God willed it
(Not the God I choose to worship; She hugs us all to her bosom)

I tell myself there’s more
More than the science
Of fire and brimstone
If I could just decipher it
Read between his lines

His philosophy is simple after all
Accept life as it is
Don’t weep over it
And don’t let people in your head

And maybe that’s it
That he finds the boy weak

For not stiffening his back
And pushing through

Because to him
Giving in
Is the only real sin

But I look at him
As he sits
Reading the paper
Brow furrowed at politicians
And their antics

While I stand in an island
Blowing smoke
Desperate to have him see that
Death may be life
But it still hurts
That trusting may be stupid
But it is still given in
Hope
Of making a connection
That a boy (or girl) who is different
Is not to be savaged

That our differences are to be cherished
Even in how we stand up to this –
Hurricane or shame

That the shame is not in his choice
To give in
But in their decision to ridicule him
And in our decision to judge him
(and give them a bye!)
And to find each other wanting
For being who we are
Me, him
And the boy

Neither of us knows
Joanne C. Hillhouse (born 1973) Antigua and Barbuda
Source: Theorizing Homophobias in the Caribbean

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