Echoes of Hayden

I wanted to write a poem about being a feminist
and I did, but I can’t read that one;
that landscape belongs to women
who have experienced oppression in their bodies.

I wanted to write a poem about being gender-queer
and I did, but I can’t read that one;
I might be queer but I’m pretty damn safe
in my expression and sparkle.

I wanted to write a poem about religion
and I did, but I can’t read that one;
I don’t believe anything or not believe anything,
it’s all just irrelevant to me now.

I wanted to write a love poem,
and I did, but I can’t read that one;
the lover it is about isn’t my lover at the moment
and maybe we will be together again but I don’t know.

I wanted to write a protest poem,
and I did, but I can’t read that one;
I am weary with outrage fatigue and I don’t really know
that I have any right to protest when I am so comfortable.

I wanted to write a poem to make everyone happy,
and I think I have, but I can’t read that one;
when children die by suicide how could I?
and besides, happy doesn’t sell anything.

There are lots of poems I wanted to write
and I have, but I can’t read them today;
this is the only one I can read today:
it’s where I start each day, full of possibilities
that I want to own but that aren’t my path,
browsing through joys and angers and frustrations
that aren’t legitimately mine, sorting them out
like the coins in my change jar when I get low on cash.

The poem I can write, this one
is not long, or complicated, or beautiful
but it’s real, and all I want any more
is to do whatever I have to
to start each day real, and alive;
to be faithful to who I am even when that’s not
who I wish I was in some odd fantasy;
there are so many things not right,
all you have to do is look under any bridge,
or talk to the parent of a child who has died,
or sit with someone whose cancer is overrunning
their body like the weeds in my alley,
to put the lie to “God won’t give you more
than you can handle” and other sentimental bullshit;
but I am convinced that if each one of us
tries to start each day as real as we can be, then maybe,
just maybe, together, we can heal the world.

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