Friday, 03 October 2008
Attended a poetry slam a couple of weeks ago at UCL (University of College London). This poem by Mark Walton blew me away. More of his poetry on www.myspace.com/go_between
Back slaps and head rubs,
Sweaty hugs and play punches.
His arm slips around my shoulder,
As we chat like long lost brothers
About nothing in particular.
In fact we’ve never met before.
It’s the instant friendship of the dancefloor.
The camaraderie of tattoos and haircuts,
Shared drinks and loved up back rubs.
And this geezer’s gorgeous.
Straight of course.
Thick set and rugged,
With dancing eyes
(The drugs perhaps
But never mind).
A body builder’s arms and thighs.
We chat a while
Then say goodbye,
And as we part
I catch his eye,
And tell him that it it’s not a come on,
But I like to tell a man he’s handsome.
And for a moment I feel the fear,
That stretches back
Across the years,
And wonder if he’ll punch me out,
But he just turns
‘Not bad yourself mate’,
And disappears into the crowd.
And in my heart a swelling pride,
(The drugs again perhaps
But never mind),
Not in myself,
Or even in my new found brother,
But in the
Who faced down ignorance and fear
Across the unforgiving years.
The camp queens,
The has beens,
The girls in drag,
The old gay men
Who never had,
The chance to feel
Just a furtive fumble,
A smack across the face,
‘You fuckin queer’
‘You filthy prick’.
The one’s who couldn’t pass for straight.
The one’s who been the bashers bait,
Since they were
The ones that let the bruises heal,
Who re-emerged as strong as steel.
Clad in sequins,
Armed with wit,
A clutch-bag sized survival kit,
With lippy, blusher and 20 Bensons,
A miniature of mother’s medicine.
The one’s who built a scene together
A clan that hold’s you like a lover.
A bitchy roller coaster ride
That can spit you out the other side.
A glorious sparkling seedy creature
That’s withstood the insults piled upon her.
That’s lost some to madness,
And many more to fear and violence.
Til now I stand
Amongst my peers,
The gays and straights and in-betweeners.
A time and place where I can be
Whatever I may choose to be.
So as the Geezer disappears
I feel the ghosts of all those faggots,
And those marys,
And those queers,
A roll-call down the unforgiving years,
And give thanks to
Those who brought me here.
Copyright Mark Walton 2004
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