To mark the LGBT+ pride celebrations occurring across the UK in July, this month’s showcase explores pride, with poems submitted by a range of students. Whether inspired by current affairs or personal experience, calling out homophobia or exploring queer desire, the showcase celebrates pride and highlights the challenges faced by LGBT+ people.
For Melania and Chris
Loving a woman is not a peep show at Friday lunchtime drinks
Where men in grey suits sip mimosas and ask the waitress to invite us over
Where they ask:
If we’re sisters or
Open to an FFM
If we actually have sex
And how does scissoring work
And they want us to kiss just to see what it looks like
Their PornHub subscriptions urging them on until
The mimosas start to look like stomach bile and suddenly the bar is empty
And you wonder why in a bar of all places
On payday of all days
With Her looking so beautiful and now you can really taste bile
You can feel an arm on your waist as one of them asks if you’re okay
Like you demand to be touched by men in suits
And you remember how it felt to fall the first time you went ice-skating
When nobody on the tables next to you will watch any longer
And one of the men throws his napkin down and calls Her
A frigid bitch for politely declining
Whilst they all laugh why did you abide and come over to the table like a couple
Why are we the ones that put ourselves in such danger for love
One of them tells us to come visit him later because
He’s never had a threesome with ‘real lesbians’
And throws his business card over when all you wanted was a life jacket
To stop you sinking
Her laugh rings out and she explains that we aren’t interested
And the feet between us
Mean we could be anywhere
Where men and boys would beat us for not giving them their peep show
I am glad that I didn’t finish eating and afraid that I love another woman
And afraid for all gay women
For all women.
Rusty Door Knockers
Find me in the corner of the room
curled up in dissatisfaction
hazed from clear spirits
brainwave rings around my skull
angry proposals and midnight kisses.
3 a.m. blurry music faded faces
pulling at my bony wrists
I’m not moving away from the comfort of this grandma armchair
glass in hand whispers in the other
they’re not looking at me
they’re looking at us teenage smelly intoxicated hoax brats.
You chuck me over your shoulder like I’m a sack of prized potatoes,
kind woman, you.
We’re socialist and together and lovely and sharing and trusting and, oh!
Have I mentioned how your pretty black hair glimmers under
the 3.15 a.m. moonlight and how your blemished skin looks
so good drenched in Miss Sporty highlighter and how
when you do that little giggle thing when you’re not really
supposed to laugh because old serious bore Joe is giving you
an in-depth analysis of the Irish border problem and its implications,
that really makes me twinkle up inside.
My stomach twiddles around two gallons of Glen’s
huddle back up inside myself
you always remain curious in silence
vom down your back, not your new tweed blazer!
Sad-eyed sunset face
apologies mere rusty door knockers.
Blackout mind weaving through defiant romantic episodes
chuck me on bed like sack of mouldy potatoes
smells of urine and pornstar martini
the dirty washing piling up
the sunlight creeping on me
the shards of tobacco stuck on my left big toe
the phone call in the morning.
Don’t Expect Rainbows
I’m still searching
for elusive sunshine to lit up
my insides with pride
I’m still scared
walking down the same highstreets
where we do our Saturday shop
past the bank, museum,
buildings from childhood memories
this time I didn’t tell my parents
where I was going, that I’d be in this parade,
more like a circus to my mind it seems
like everyone is loud and proud
aside from me, trying not to meet the eyes
of pensioners and the assorted public
trying to do their Saturday shop
and stopping to let us by,
banners, whistles and Nandos’ logo flags
Don’t expect rainbows
when you’ve grown up in a closet
you get used to seeing the world
through half shut eyes, in semi-darkness.
You get used to hiding.
To be out, on the street,
every shade of the rainbow
might look like a party,
but it’s a protest, still
battling personal internalised shame
how my voice cracked
when I spoke of such shame
and no one said anything
Don’t expect rainbows
emblazoned on every material item you could profit off
sign of the times now we’ve been recognised
as your rainbow demographic
whilst homophobic, biphobic, transphobic hate crime
the protest groups at the back of pride calling
for solidarity whilst the banks and big sponsors
are proudly at the front of London parades
yet you call it a millennial trend,
berate that everyone is gay nowadays
as if sexuality is a shirt to wear once or twice,
it’s a stained shirt on a bus
where boys are baiting for blood because
two women together wouldn’t kiss
for their pleasure
we’ve always been queer
yet there’s still reason to fear
so don’t expect rainbows
until we can all marry, love, be ourselves freely
until the sun shines on us all.
Next month’s poems will explore the theme of ‘discovery’. To have your poetry featured, send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31st July.
Featured image courtesy of Georgia Butcher.