Monday, 25 January 2021

Before the Melbourne Reading - Norman Erikson Pasaribu

​You spent
the entire morning
digging
out the online dictionaries
fishing
for how to utter
things
it’s fascinating
after years and years

(a)   of living            (b)  of living            (c)  of living           (d)  of living     
       with this name         in this name             for this name          through this name  
(e)  of living             (f) of living              (g)  of living           (h)  of outliving
       by this name           down this name        out this name          this name

of troubling your lips
to sound
like a native (speaker)
you still distrust
the tongue
to appropriately
say ‘heterosexual’
or ‘vegetable’
or ‘loved.’

Heterosexual
you muttered
to the mirror
wondering
how this face
would react
Hetero sexual
wondering
what creature
this so-called
most honest thing
would give back
Het ero sex ual
He te ro se xu al
Heterosexual
It’s such a hard word to say, is it?
You kept going                       and going

As gay people, on the other hand, we grow up alone; there is no history. There are no ballads about the wrongs of the gay past, the gay martyrs are mostly forgotten. It is as though, in Adrienne Rich’s phrase, if you were gay, ‘you looked into the mirror and saw nothing’. – Colm Tóibín

Norman Erikson Pasaribu (born 1990) Indonesia

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