Christopher Michael, gay, gay poetry

Who Will I Be

Journey into Gaydom

I

when I was young, decades ago, lost without guidance
we were not gay, not even homos, we were just queers
we had no heroes, no guides, no mentors, those hidden
away in the safety net of silence lest they lose jobs or
families or simply arrested being homos
our mentors hidden underground
the secret Mattachine Society I found long after
I’d paid my dues in homoland
 
my parents were useless guiding a young
soon-to-be fag, it was easier to let me be
another’s responsibility, no buddy-chum dad
to show little boy lost the ropes of manhood, gay or
otherwise inclined
their solution: therapy
make him straight they told the doctor
give us a son who will be a man
give us grandchildren, make him anything
but who he is
that’s always the solution, then, even now
reparative therapy is not anything new
 
I had no one to tell me what to expect
learning sex through chance high school
furtive encounters, necessary rites of passage
dated girls, what else was there to do?
the ones other boys didn’t want
teenage dance parties swaying to Johnny Mathis
girls I did not want to touch
let alone make out with
fucking was out of the question
 
there the journey began, I was
clueless how it would proceed
there was no internet, no sources, no handbooks
there were silly fops in the movies, Franklin Pangborn,
Eric Blore, not the guideposts we needed but
Hollywood’s tribute to our existence
we were on our own, young queens trying
to be gay moving along my path
rocky road gaining knowledge
mistaking sex for love, til I became brazen
fell into lifeless hunting, drinking, drugging
that ends this chapter

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