in light of recent events

In light of recent events, and the litany of names of young adults who reach a limit of intolerant behaviour thrown at them—and then take a desperate leap against themselves—it is time for people to step up and show a stronger sense of acceptance of diversity that makes up our global culture. According to an AP article displayed on Yahoo! News today: Gay and lesbian teens are four times more likely than other teens to commit suicide, and 9 out of 10 report being bullied, according to recent studies cited by CBS News. Parental tolerance for their sexuality tends to reduce the suicide risk, one recent study suggests.

I remembered an old poem I wrote in the mid-nineties. I reworked it slightly for today; its tone is relevant to the contemporary times.


The moon was not even aware of him,
of the boy climbing the water tower,
     a figure held against the graffiti
          and a rising tempo of the moment.
The boy was suspended above time. Above
the town. And though the moon did not watch him,
     he watched the moon. The slow rowing across
          still water. At the top of the tower
he paused, opened his arms as if to take
in the silent crescent on the horizon,
     or even the town itself, as if one
          could embrace rejection. In a sense
he became the moon, a paleness spreading
his arms— or rather, he opened them
     as a memory, as my memory,
          of the time I was 17 and knew
I was different, but could not name it;
only felt the presence here, in my chest,
     a rhythm beating at night, as I tried
          to conform my thoughts to what I was told,
what I was taught. The drumming never ceased.
It grew, over the months and years, became
     a persistent hum in my ears, my throat
          breathing with the motion, until I saw
myself for what I was: a pale changeling,
my form metamorphosed to a bird,
     soft feathers covered my hands and shoulders,
          a soft down of my new self surrounding
my form like a warm coat, a strong embrace
of acceptance; the kind I wish for this boy,
     for this scene of the boy alone. He breathes
          in the moment; his blue hour tightens.
He arches his back and falls forward,
into the arms of emptiness, of night.
     Can you imagine such a falling?
          The denial of the self arching the body,
casting it into a death of scandals.
I used to stand on rooftops, on houses
     to feel the moment of it all, to try
          and abandon myself into the wind.
But I realize now, I am like Horace,
an old man chasing young girls and servants,
     all for the sensations of past flights
          of fancy, a man picturing himself
with wings, an old crow tonguing the moon
with songs of beauty in a passing face,
     the hard-hearted boys that tempted him
          with their hard bodies, their rough sports.
My wings cannot take me backwards in time,
to change events swallowed by history.
     I hover softly in the present times,
          cursing my lack of angelic powers,
wanting to will myself to the falling,
hold back the events. To re-cast the boy’s form
     into a new image, if only into the shape of a passing swallow,
          or a young swan shifting eastward—by night.


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