Friday, April 10, 2009

Gay Poetry! Our GLBTQ Celebration of National Poetry Month Continues... with Steven Reigns and his heartachingly beautiful poem "100%"

Steven Reigns is a friend and one HECK of a poet. Here, to help us celebrate the GAY in National Poetry Month, is his poem, "100%"


My grandfather pulls me aside,
shows me his cardigan,
baits me for a compliment.
I’m hooked.
I comply.
He tells me it is wool,
opens the right side, shows me the tag
100% virgin wool.
He brings out his charming smile,
“You know how hard it is to find a virgin these days.”
I laugh at his joke
and keep laughing as a reward to him
because I like that he has shared this with me.
I enjoy the role of grandson,
he is the only man who can take me there.
I fear my other relationships with men could end what we have together.
A man
whose 78-year-old body carries him through his weekly routine;
3 games of golf, 2 games of bocce ball,
and dancing on the ballroom floor.

His comment only to me,
his humor was not lost on his 20-year-old gay grandson.
He must know.
I’ve never said it;
I’ve never not said it.
The joke – universal.
Is that why he told it?

He had told me of times in the army,
his valued possession a photo of the green-eyed blond beauty with thin lips.
Who would become
his wife,
the mother of his children,
my grandmother.

He had told me of when he was 13 and understood why women were to be respected.
He saw a mare giving birth.
Stood there for hours
as blood, embryonic fluid, and water
poured out of her.
Finally a foal
and my grandfather was never the same.
“Stevearino, after that I never talked back to my mom, I always held the door for the ladies, I vowed to be a good husband. You see I realized that women create miracles.”

His life has been centered around women,
this is something we do not have in common.
We laughed over virgins
but thought of different ones.

My grandfather,
a man
who pats my head,
rubs my back,
kisses my cheek,
tells me he loves me,
and hopefully
isn’t ashamed that other men do the same.

WOW. I love poetry. I love gay poetry that speaks to me and speaks to who I was and who I am... I love this poem.

Steven's said that
"Some of the most powerful poems are mined from personal experience."
and I think he's proved that with "100%"

Thanks to Steven for letting me share this with all of you, and for being part of the celebration! (You can check out his website here!)

And for any of you lucky enough to be in the Los Angeles area on April 15th, 2009, Steven's leading a free two hour "Poetry as Memoir" Workshop (for poetry enthusiasts to those who have never penned a poem before) at the West Hollywood Public Library! Here's some more info on that:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 from 6-8 p.m.
West Hollywood Library
[in West Hollywood Park]
715 N. San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Please call (310) 652-5340 for further information
It's sure to be amazing!

Keep celebrating Poetry...



Lisa Jenn said...

Thanks, Steven, and thanks, Lee. I like it, and it hits home. I remember when my beloved great-grandmother died, when I was a teen, one of my thoughts was, "Well, at least I'll never have to come out to her." The generation gap is so hard sometimes.

ReadWriteGo said...

That was lovely - thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Oh this is lovely. Thank you Steven and thank you Lee for sharing it.

A bond like that is rare for all of us.

Rita said...

This is a lovely, lovely poem. It makes me feel that much closer to the artist.


Thank you both for sharing.

Tricia said...

This poem is lovely, but by the end, a real punch in the gut. I can't imagine having to hid who you are from the ones you love. Thanks so much for sharing this.