Poetry Friday: “Coming to Terms” (LGBT Pride Month)

trigger-warningThe following poem was first published in the anthology Trigger Warning: Poetry Saved My Life (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014), and following its publication I shared it here on this blog. Even though I rarely re-post poems, I felt this would be appropriate in this case, in recognition of President Obama’s recent proclamation of June being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

You see, about 25 years ago, a very close friend of mine went through an extremely difficult time in his life…and it nearly destroyed him. Fortunately, he found support from his friends and therapy from writing poetry:

Coming to Terms

He had to keep quiet.

No one could know of his love, no –
infatuation – for the tall, dark beauty
with whom he shared daily smiles. His thoughts
were his, yet quickly
he became their slave; not uncommon,
of course, as we all succumb
to that numbness, once, at least,
but for his own sake

he had to keep quiet.
None could know, not even
Dark Beauty, who
had no inkling of an unthinkable
courtship, but simply smiled back
as acquaintances do
until one day, in a burst of emotion and discovery,
every passionate detail of his desire
came pouring forth from every pore
in an unintended self-
immolation of love and pain.

The revelation
and cloud of rejection suffocated
and he wished it would
deaden the nerves that allowed him to feel
every word hurled
from Dark Beauty, friends,
parents, the world.
Endless days spent scared and crying
bled into pill-filled nights
that led not to quiet slumber but to weeks
and months
in the ward, safe and distressed. Alone

in his room, with pen
firm between heart and forefinger, line
by line he began to sort through love,
loss, dejection,
and the realization
he had been lying to himself, thinking

he had to keep quiet.

© 2014 Matt Forrest Esenwine, from Trigger Warning: Poetry Saved My Life (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014), all rights reserved


Jone MacCulloch is hosting Poetry Friday today at Check it Out, so for all of today’s links and fun, be sure to…check it out!


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18 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Coming to Terms” (LGBT Pride Month)

  1. dmayr

    I look forward to the day when people can accept all others, and individuals can accept themselves. Thanks for sharing, Matt.


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