In honor of June being LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) Pride Month I share this poem from the Academy of American Poets collection of LGBTQ Poetry:
“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
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.
Frank Bidart who was born in California in 1939, was educated at the University of California at Riverside, and at Harvard University, and has taught at Wellesley College in Massachusetts since 1972.
For the past nine years he’s been a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets .
Bidart’s poetry collections:
- Golden State, Braziller (New York, NY), 1973.
- The Book of the Body, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1977.
- The Sacrifice, Random House (New York, NY), 1983.
- In the Western Night: Collected Poems, 1965-90, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1990.
- Desire, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1997.
- Music Like Dirt, Sarabande Books (Louisville, KY), 2002.
- Star Dust (poems), Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.
- Watching the Spring Festival, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2008