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Monday, June 25, 2018


by Kim M. Baker

Written on the Occasion of Pride 2018

I had hoped to compose a new melodic poetic sonata to all my sisters and brothers
Ls and Gs and Bs and Ts
theys and hes and Qs and shes
something glistening and soulful and proud

When what I really want to do is to tell the world this:
Don't tell me, world, that you understand what it must be like to be gay
if you haven't been spat on flipped off had bottles thrown at you
when all you wanted to do was go have a beer and a dance and a hullaballoo

I knew a woman once who documented the stories of Holocaust survivors
And during the training, she was told to never say I understand
Because, of course, she can’t
No matter the depth of her empathy
No matter how many survivors she knew

I want to tell the world:
please don't say you understand because you know someone gay
or watched a show or read a book or took skating lessons with a gay
I don’t need your understanding
What I need is your love

What I need you to know is that gays are spectacular and should be celebrated
not because we are different
but because we are human

We bleed we cry we eat we die of cancer of AIDS of broken hearts
of casting out from families and jobs and housing and other necessary parts of simply living

I mean what I'm trying to say is that gay is amazing and painful
gay is rainbow and see through and black and blue
gay is grace and good embrace and mixed race just like you

Andrew Garfield was correct in his Tony award acceptance:
“Let’s just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked”
Not because we are different
but because we are human

Here, let me show you how human we are:

Who here has ever gotten up in the middle of the night to tend to a crying baby?

Who here has ever lost a loved one to cancer or had cancer yourself?

Who here was the class clown in school, ever felt like a fool, ever swam in a pool?

Who here has wished to be different to be normal to be accepted to be loved?

We ARE the world
cake bakers and techno babes
tattooed beauties and bookworms
rabbis and fly girls
families and rebel artists
one-breasted word whisperers and transgender tender hearts
chefs and gardeners
sun-screen wearing beach combers and nifty nude bathers
dog owners and horse riders
fire spinners and bicycle back packers
humble poets and foster parents

Michael Jackson was right
each gorgeous tortured struggling being

And if I want to be treated more humanely
I must practice the pride of authenticity
I must gift every person I meet with this greeting:

I see you
I see you
I see you

I am you
I am you
I am you

I’ll carry your burden
I’ll speak up for you
I’ll act on your behalf

My Muslim brothers
My prostitute sisters
My immigrant children
My world family of differently abled
struggling to be stable
unfairly labeled
with N words and C words and hate

Michael Jackson was right
And I will take my place in it
All that I am
All that I am
Just as I am

Kim M. Baker’s poems have been published online and in print and essays broadcast on NPR. Under the Influence: Musings on Poems and Paintings is her first book of poetry. Kim also edits the online poetry journal Word Soup End Hunger that donates 100% of submission fees to food banks nationwide.  A retired writing professor, Kim currently works in Administration at Cotuit Center for the Arts. Kim's play Gin and Ashes will be produced at Driftwood Players in Edmonds, Washington in July 2018.