I was honored to run a poetry workshop at the 7th annual Rainbow Ball, held at the University of Maine, Machias, over the weekend. The event, attended by high school students throughout the region and Maine, celebrated LGBT and other gender/sexual diversities, providing entertainment and crucial information.
The theme for the Rainbow Ball was superheroes, and my workshop was titled, "Words as Wings, Spells and Other Superheroic Things!!"
Below is a poem I wrote for the workshop, in lieu of a lecture. The poem, by example, attempts to show the place of the craft in realms both personal and political. The kids I worked with were awesome, open and precocious. Many of them wrote heart-searing poems right there in the workshop!
Who Will Hear?
i want to be heard by you
more than anyone
but it seems you are less likely to hear me
and that is part of my shout
as i write this.
but i do know one thing:
someone will hear this poem--someone will.
i’m not sure who or where
but i am not the only one
who has felt the brick wall
of a shoulder turning away;
who has felt the iron gate
of family or community, locking shut.
some people close their thoughts
within layers of fear
to keep who i am from getting in.
this poem is me daring to speak.
this poem is my courage,
singing out in a world that
is often ugly in the ways it perceives.
as i write these words,
i realize there is one person
who needs to hear them
more than anyone else--and that is me.
i deserve to embrace my own voice
and my own right to shout out
and to sing and laugh--
to be proud of who i am.
it does not matter
if this poem earns someone else’s high grade.
just by writing down what I feel, what I think--
that makes this poem special,
and it reminds me that I am special,
and through all the emotions
and all experiences that i will have throughout my life;
and all the joys and hopes; the loves
and sweet memories; and also the
frustrations and fears, and
the walls of ears that just won’t hear me,
through all this,
i am beautiful --
just the way i am.