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Gay

by Tuckster


When my grandparents saw the two men who lived next door step out into their yard for a second, they freeze. They don't return the waves our neighbors offer them. As soon as they are out of earshot, they whisper to my parents "Are they...you know..." and trail off.

Even at 11, I know the word they will not say.

My parents are quick to dismiss this. "We don't think so," they say.

God forbid someone so close to us could be gay.

~~~

I am 12. Some boys at school talk about their friend who likes flowers. "He's probably gay or something," one jokes. There is silence for a second, then explosive laughter as the others repeat the joke.

I wonder, "What's so bad about a boy liking flowers?"

~~~

I am 13. I read about a man in the news who was beaten in an alley and left for dead because he held hands with his husband. My parents remind me that God says homosexuality is a sin. I wonder why we've decided it's the worst sin.

~~~

I am 14. At a church service, the pastor preaches on homosexuality. "We must love them," he begins, "but we must condemn their sin. Homosexuality is an abomination before God."

I squirm in my pew as I think about the girl in math class who gives me butterflies. I think about the way I want to hold her, make her feel safe, and wonder how that feeling could be an abomination.

~~~

I am 15 when my math teacher is asked about the issue in class. "They chose that lifestyle. The Bible clearly says it's wrong. They're destroying America," he says matter-of-factly. I look over at the girl I'm still in love with and see her head bobbing in agreement. I push my pencil into my arm to distract myself from the way she makes my heart flutter.

~~~

I am 16. I text my best friend, "I'm gay."

She texts me back, "I still love you."

For the first time, I consider the possibility that I am not broken.

~~~

I am 17. I look at myself in the mirror. "I'm gay," I say aloud.

For the first time in my life, I am at peace with this fact.

I am gay. This is me.


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Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:43 pm
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Rosewood says...



I'm late to this, but I just HAD to comment!

I'm not gay and I go to a Christian school... but I completely disagree with my friends' and teachers' beliefs. I hear their snide comments and even my quiet friend's, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." and it makes me so sad. Even the nun, who's our teacher, will join in. I just silently block them out, feel badly for my gay friends, and stand up for them when the teasing becomes cruel.

Thank you for posting this!




Tuckster says...


Thanks for the comment! I'm glad that you're standing up to the cruelty that you see. Keep on fighting hatred!



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Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:04 pm
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ThreeBeanzInATux wrote a review...



I've read some of the reviews below me and I don't want to repeat what anyone has said because really, there's not much more to add to what they've said...

However I'd like to add my own two cents because this is really beautiful! It really resonated with me because I myself am bisexual and a Christian so I felt like this really spoke to me. The confusion, pain, anger...even the questioning of whether or not something is wrong with me and finally coming to terms with the fact that this is who I am and there's nothing wrong with being different. I love the innocence that's depicted in the earlier stages, when the child asks "What's so bad about a boy liking flowers."
It's a world view I wish more people had because the stigma around people liking things outside of societal norms is still way too strong. Hopefully we'll have a world where everyone can do what they want without being judged harshly or unnecessarily for it.
Thank you so much for putting effort into making this, it's really well done and I really have no complaints...




Tuckster says...


Thanks so much for your kind words! I'm glad this was meaningful to you!



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Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:35 am
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Morrigan wrote a review...



Hi Tuckster! Morri here for to review your piece.

Yay! I love coming out stories! I'm not sure if this is a personal piece or written from a different perspective, but either way, it's so nice to see a narrator comfortable with themselves enough to reject the rules made around them.

This has a good build. The subject of gayness is introduced right off the bat, and it progresses chronologically with the life of the narrator until the end.

That being said, this has the unfortunate feeling of a Facebook post. You have the build and you have the strong subject, but the execution needs work. While prose poetry is difficult for me to grasp, this does not fall under that umbrella. To usher this piece into the world of poetry, whether prose poetry or otherwise, try adding more poetic elements. Try adding metaphor/simile, synecdoche/metonymy, even maybe some repetition (more than the age of the narrator in the poem) or rhyme. Bring the reader into the world of the poem, don't be as straightforward. As Emily Dickinson said, "Tell all the truth but tell it slant—"

While this does have a good build, I want to explore the space in between the last two stanzas. We have the narrator considering for "the first time" that their identity is not wrong, and then we have peace in the very next stanza. Have you considered mixing up this piece? Try placing that concept first. The text in the first stanza, and then the grandparents, the boys, etc. These past experiences are illustrative of conflict in the narrator's mind, and this is about coming to terms with that. Place the conflict first, then the evidence of conflict, then the resolution. See how that pans out, of course, rewriting for imagery as you go.

I push my pencil into my arm to distract myself from the way she makes my heart flutter.
This is the best part of the poem because you show us a physical action that brings us into the world. I can feel that cold graphite now! You explain the why of the action right after, though. Take out that explanation. Let the reader do some interpreting.
Now that I'm thinking about it, that's a theme throughout the poem. You have some strong statements, but if you explain them too much, it actually weakens them by being too wordy. Show us an image and let us look, don't tell us how to feel about it.

I was talking about prose poetry earlier, and I grabbed this lovely example of it from the Poetry Foundation. Take a read! This is of course, not the end all be all of prose poems, but I feel like it's a good illustration of what that looks like. "Bath" by Amy Lowell

Good job with the power of the feeling here, and with the logical build, but it's time to work on what makes a poem a poem! I hope that this review proves useful to you. Have a wonderful day, and keep writing!




Tuckster says...


Thanks so much for the review! I was really on-the-fence about whether to classify this as a poem -- it didn't really fit my definition of prose or poetry, so I appreciate all the comments about how I could take it in a more poetic direction. Thanks again!



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Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:57 am



lol




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Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:11 pm
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GirlWithATypewriter wrote a review...



Hey there!
Honestly, this made me feel so warm in the heart. I don't know why but as I was reading it I just felt cozier, and it made me smile. So, thank you for that.
I remember when my best friend told me she was gay. She didn't use those exact words but she said, "I think I like Kim(she was a girl from our class)".
And I just knew. I hugged her back and stayed like that for a few minutes because somehow this made her cry. I remember that entire summer when I spent surfing the internet typing, "Why can't a girl like a girl?" And there'd be these big debates, pros, and cons, for and against and still at the end of the day I didn't understand the point.
I was a kid back then.
The thing I like most about this piece is it breaks down the entire system, brings it crashing down with such little but powerful questions/assertions.
The line,
I wonder, "What's so bad about a boy liking flowers?"
Is so innocent and simple and so raw and it's just putting it out there plainly.

My most favorite line was,
I wonder why we've decided it's the worst sin.

Anything I say will not do justice to how powerful and intense the feelings behind this line is.

Then the way the narrator wonders how that feeling of love could be an abomination is so good and it just makes you question all the tedious directives by just breaking it down to such a simple statement.
I love how you ended it with the narrator finally being in peace with herself and just states the simple fact. She's gay and that's just her. There's nothing else to be added to it.

Oh gosh, I wanna say more about this piece but I don't think you'd be able to understand me waving my hands in the air and my mouth opening and closing trying to figure out how to put what I'm feeling in words.

But, this is a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful piece. (Forgive the redundancy)
You are a very good writer and this piece has made my day and I can safely say this is on my list of favorite pieces on YWS.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this.

XOXO




Tuckster says...


Thank you so so much for this review! I'm so glad it touched you & really appreciate your kind words.



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Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:20 pm
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Lia5Giba says...



I have seen the reviews and comments below me, and I don't think I can add anything else to them. But I still wanted to comment, I guess, because this is such a good piece. It's truthful and poetic, and... I dunno, I guess I'm just thankful for this. Thank you for this.




Tuckster says...


Thank you so much!



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Tanishka says...



I don't have words to say what I felt . Even if I want to review it, I won't be able to do justice to it. Love yourself and own yourself, I have always been troubled by the fact that I am more than a tomboy ( I don't know the word for it). I will never change and neither should you. :)




Tuckster says...


Thank you so much!



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Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:07 pm
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KahleneTenorio wrote a review...



Hi, this is Kahlene, your poem caught my eye so I wanted to read it.

This is a truly beautiful poem. I love how you expressed yourself in this, each word full of emotion. I almost cried reading this, no lie. Don't let anyone bring you you down, keep your head high.
My sexuality has bugged me for years, my family is not big lovers of my sexuality. I have been pushing my true self since I was little. I never told my parents fearing they would disown me.I finally stood up to my parents and found out that they don't care about my "problem" as they called it, but they still love me and tried to understand me. It was very hard to come out but once I did I never felt better.

I really related to your poem. I am glad you wrote this. Keep writing more, I would love to read more from you!




Tuckster says...


Even though your parents certainly didn't handle it the best way, I'm glad they still love you and that you felt it was an overall positive experience. Thank you for all your kind words!





Your welcome!



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Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:52 pm
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LittleLee says...



This is a great poem. I'll admit it emotionally destabilized me for a second because I remembered denying my sexuality for several years.
I really can't put into words how much this poem has touched me. I just can't. Thank you for making me feel so good. :D




Tuckster says...


Aww I am so glad this touched you! Thank you again for your kind words!



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Plume wrote a review...



Wow. This is such an important piece, and one I think a lot of people can relate to. The way your first paragraph played out was incredibly similar to certain conversations in my own life. It's strange, isn't it, how people treat 'gay' as this sort of curse word or scandalous phrase? You wouldn't whisper about people being straight. That's something that's always bothered me, so thank you for showing it.

I don't come from a religious background, but can only imagine how hard it is to be told that being gay is a sin or that God will hate you for it. I think you did a beautiful job displaying the growth of the narrator, and putting in her experiences to show how they have shaped her.

This is a very poignant and realistic piece. I found myself nodding along because of how much I agreed with it :).

About the overall stylistic choices: your flow is impressive. It manages to be balanced and shows-not-tells extremely well.

This sounds like a personal piece. Know that you are supported and loved.

Have a great Pride month and keep writing with your amazing skills!




Tuckster says...


Thank you so much for your kind words!



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Em16 wrote a review...



I love this piece. It’s amazing. This is the perfect example of showing rather than telling. Instead of saying that a lot of people in your life are homophobic, you show it by describing a lot of instances where people espoused homophobic opinions. Each instance seems small and somewhat unimportant, but when added together, the reader can feel the collective weight, and see how big of a deal it is. It’s also interesting to see the progression over time. I really felt like, as a reader, I was experiencing everything with you.
You also do a good job building up tension, and emphasizing the contrast between the homophobia of the people around you, and your own sexuality and belief in your sexuality. As the piece goes on, I can see you become more confident and open in your assertions of your right to be gay. It starts out very subtle, with “God forbid someone so close to us be gay”. Later on the speaker says, “I think about the girl in math class… I want to hold her…and wonder how that feeling could be an abomination”. Here, you are openly questioning, and have progressed from the beginning of the story. At the end of the story, you're able to accept who you are.
I also really like that you add the detail about the “girl from math class”. It's such a small detail, but it makes the story seem even more real. Nice work with this story! I look forward to reading more of your writing :)




Tuckster says...


Thank you so much for the review! I appreciate it!




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