#Hope

I prayed for death a million times,
Hoping to hear the softly whispering chimes,
Once more before crossing into the state of neverending forevers,
Safe from the bullies who saw me,
And wouldn’t let me be.

And as I began to pray for death one more time,
I felt no rhyme,
No reason for asking the Man above to honor such a request,
For I looked at the light at the end of the tunnel,
Rose from my near death slumber,
My former lumber of a walk turned to a gleeful stride,
Learning as I walked toward the light,
I had no reason to hide,
For soon I would be OUT

No longer living in a state of permanent doubt,
I could finally shout,
scream,
and sing on the side of a mountain top:

I AM NOT A FAG!
I AM A MAN WHO LOVES OTHER MEN!
I AM NOT A SIN!

I don’t have to hide,
I don’t get to cower,
I finally get to shower,
SHOWER in the knowledge that I am unique,
I am brave,
And I don’t need to change me,
Just so you can be,
Okay with what you think I should be,

For if God so loved the world,
And all His creations,
Than one must believe,
He created ME just as equally

© Gregory J. Broderick 2018

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Untitled #104

Of all the things I miss:

My first kiss,
The love of conversation and good friends,
The feeling my heart makes when singing with joy after making amends,

I miss the days when I didn’t live in fear,
That Donald Trump will drive this land,
This Land,
This Land On Which I Stand,
Into the Ground

The 35% who adore Donald,
The hopeful,
Yearning for their piece of the American Pie,
Suckered by promises of an America long passed,
Are blind to see,
That all Donald cares about,

Is DONALD

© Gregory J. Broderick 2018

Untitled #7

After pretending to be,
A God-fearing man for all to see,
I embraced the idea of being free,
To not believe in the sky-God above

Then a man spoke,
In front of a group of folks who’ll never be broke,
never knowing the pain of lacking,
of never having to rob Peter to pay Paul,
And my icy reception to the idea of a sky-God began to fall,
fall,
fall away from my heart

For if God is merely love,
and all I have to do is love as one would love me,
I think can allow this newfound journey of worshipping God to be,
A new idea and a way to see,
This world with a new set of eyes

© Gregory J. Broderick 2018

Voyage to the Center

when all was said,
and eventually done,
people seemed to ask Fred,
Michael,
anyone else but ME what’s the matter with Gregory,
instead of looking to see,
where i could be,
to ask me what’s the matter with me

Failing to see,
that amidst the mania,
loud kinetic energy,
Rattling around my surroundings,
Knowing I’d come down,
deep into the rabbit hole of depression,
I,
the great me,
myself and I,
Never left,
Remaining ever still,
Hoping to grab my fill
Of that funny little thing called life

© Gregory J. Broderick 2018

Is Discourse Disintergrating?

One of the greatest disappointments of my adult life has been the rapid disintegration of political discourse in our increasingly divisive culture. I’ve always found the concept of “agree to disagree” a fundamentally novel American idea. Over the course of my life so far I’ve been friends with Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Socialists and even a Communist once upon a time. As we grow older our political stances will either change, stay the same or evolve. I for instance have been over the course of my adult life a Democrat, an Independent and a member of the Working Families Party here in New York City.

Until the election of Donald Trump in 2016 I never thought that the political discourse we’re experiencing now would ever happen. I mean I saw the writing on the wall in 2014 with this increasingly bizarre rhetoric being spewed by Alex Jones, 4chan and Donald Trump’s insistence that Obama wasn’t born here in the US. And what scared me more about this rhetoric wasn’t the mere rhetoric itself. It was the fact that the disaffected in this country were eating this rhetoric by the spoonful and believing it. But when you live in New York City, it’s easier to see that my dismissive attitude was merely a sense of my feeling safe in my liberal bubble; that this could never believe such nonsense.

By the time Donald Trump I felt something shift that took two years to come to fruition. All of the sudden, friends and family who I would have never suspected to have voted for Donald Trump seemed to be over the moon. And by over the moon, I mean they seem to possess a sense of something I couldn’t quite fathom. That feeling I soon discovered was vindication; that finally someone running for office finally listened to them.

I had voted for Obama twice because I honestly believed his policies were changing the country. If I chose to get married, I could get married and my partner could have the same martial benefits straight couples could. The economy seemed to be improving. The scenes of those carrying boxes out of defunct financial firms like Lehman Brothers seemed like ancient history. I wasn’t as a loss for steady employment.

What I failed to see though were the scenes of those protesting Obama’s administration year after year. I failed to see the rise of Tea Party Candidates backed financially by the Koch Brothers and a mysterious New Yorker named Robert Mercer who seemed to parrot their talking points, mainly deregulation. And when you’re like me who never really seems to leave New York, I failed to see the shuttered factories in places like South Carolina, Ohio and Kentucky. The biggest thing I failed to see most of all are those from coast to coast who weren’t terribly comfortable with increasing rights for LGBT Americans and most importantly, weren’t terribly comfortable with the cultural changes brought about over the last 20 years. Their lives weren’t getting better economically either.

In a way I now see that it isn’t so much that political discourse is disintergrating. Political discourse will always be inherently part of American culture. It’s merely become one sided. The one sided response to discussions regarding Trump by those within the right-wing if I were to guess is simply a reenforcement of what I outlined. “Finally Trump is listening to US” is a common response you’ll see in comment sections across all of social media and Reddit to name a site or few.

If we stand as a collective body, a body that stands against what Donald Trump and his cronies represent, I think it’s important to remember that there isn’t a one sided need by the right to subjugate the left in this country. I think that going forward, instead of simply referring to Trump supporters as mere morons, retards and bigots let’s remember that there are 62 million that voted for Trump not to simply stick it to the man, but because there are 62 million people who honestly believed Trump would deliver on his promises. And if we can get a consensus on that, finding commonality with them that unites (jobs, government spending etc) us, maybe we have a better chance of overcoming this administration and changing the attitudes of Trump supporters. Going even further, if we can do that, maybe we can vote Trump out of office in 2020 and get a progressive into the White House.

It’s the 21st century, it’s about time we have a progressive President.

© Gregory J. Broderick 2018

Donald Trump (a summation)

Trump:

A human pile,
Spewing lies,
As thousands die,
Via bomb and bullet,
In Arab lands he promised to vacate,
As if he said “Fuck It,
The #MAGA lemmings think I’m God,
Little do they know I’m simply a greedy sod,
Hoping to fill the hole,
In that 80’s Gordon Gecko trainwreck I call a soul”

© Gregory J. Broderick 2018

Yearning

In the age of Trump,
Everytime I watch the telly,
I hear a loud thump,
Deep in the pit of my belly,
As it echoes like a drunken chump,
Wondering when the reign of the Orange One will end,
Sick of having to defend,
My positions against the righteous #MAGA army,
Who simply can’t let it be,
That #LGBT queens like me,
Have a right to exist within this shining city,
on that oh,
so RIGHTEOUS hill Reagan called America

© Gregory J. Broderick 2018

The Art of Lying

(In addition to publishing poetry on this page, I’ll also be publishing essays on this site as well. The original publish date of this essay was November 15th, 2017.)

Coming out of the closet is never an easy thing to do. Days prior to the event you go through what can only be described as an exercise in dread. You fear the absolute worst. You fear those near and close might distance themselves from you, as if you’ve been lying to them the whole time, a stranger in their midst. For me however, I did exactly that. I lied to my parents. It was a survival tactic based on the foundation and reasoning behind three lies.

I knew I didn’t like girls from a very young age (I was 8). I remembered being jealous of my Aunt Theo because she had a sense of style I wanted to emulate. I even went so far as to go into her makeup one afternoon because I thought my eye lashes needed “volume and texture”. I even got in trouble for using my mother’s lipstick and lip liner. However, as my mother proceeded to yell at me for wasting “expensive lipstick” I did manage to get a “damn that’s impressive” before being sent to my room.

I knew that I hated, absolutely HATED getting Valentine’s Cards from girls. It didn’t feel right. Sure I would (and still do) find girls pretty to look at, but I wasn’t pining for them. I’d rather gossip with girls than hold their hands. Then on one heaven sent evening, I remembered watching Beverly Hills 90210 at my grandfather’s house and I laid eyes on the man who’d help making getting Valentine’s from girls in school bearable:

Jason Priestley (yes this handsome fellow)

This would be my very first and freshly minted lie. If I pretended every girl who sent me Valentine’s in elementary school looked like Jason Priestley, it would make my interacting with girls easier. I could fake “liking them”. As long as I kept pretending I could even fake excitement when my mother would ask if any cute girls gave me Valentine’s. With the exception of one high school I went to where there were two other gay kids, my family lived in communities where there didn’t seem to be any gay people. I had no one to look towards in my community who was openly gay. So faced with that dilemma, how would I continue to fool my parents into thinking I liked girls?

On one afternoon in 1992, I remembered watching Oprah in front of the television at home. On that particular show, Oprah talked to her guests about “coming out”. As one of her guests talked about his journey, he talked about how he would tell his parents he was into girls and labeling crushes by using this code:

Girl became

Guy
I
Really
Like

And then he would describe how he would feminize the name by changing Ben into Jen, Michael into Michelle and Eric into Erika so on and so forth to avoid ridicule. Learning that became my second and most reliable lie. It was easier to talk to my parents about my being interested in girls once I learned that little trick. While it wouldn’t be until after I joined the Navy I discovered the joys of gay sex, there were indeed quite a few boys I’d have crushes on in high school, Jason Motte in particular (who’d later go on to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals).

Between those two lies, at least I was somewhat able to convince my parents I seemed interested in girls. I felt relief until my father found a poem I wrote about needing to come out of the closet and well worn “Abercrombie and Fitch” catalogs under my bed. Even after that incident I continued to lie.

Why you ask? Because my father being the blue collar guy he was would make occasional jokes about gay men around my brothers and I growing up. Even before I knew what being gay was, I remembered feeling alienated and offended. Going a step further I would even say I was afraid that if I told him the truth he would disown me, he being shocked with a hint of massive disbelief that something as effeminate as I sprung from his loins. My mother was no better. Into my 20’s she would declare that I shouldn’t act gay around her or her second husband in her house (and this was after I came out). Wanting to appease her, I obeyed, safe in knowing that as soon as I left her house and was back in New York, I can have a martini or 10 to blow off steam.

I always knew she knew. From the time I went into her closet to reorganize her boots and shoes by “prettiness” and the mini drag shows I’d exhibit by trying on her dresses, I knew by the time I was adult enough to be aware of it she was disappointed in me for not being “masculine” or “Greek” enough. The easiest way I could bury that sense of disappointment whenever she looked at me was booze and plenty of hard hard drugs.

Though I was open and out to friends, I always felt tortured to some degree when it came to my family. I wanted to be loved by them, especially my mother. I wanted her to have that look in her eye that screamed “I’m proud of you” or “I love you”. But when she would say those words I felt repulsed. For years, as I would go to see her for the holidays, I’d puke on the train ride up out of fear of being picked apart God forbid I said something that might be a bit femme.

Then earlier this year I realized the third lie I had been using. That lie, the biggest one of them all was appeasing my mother by going back into the closet by butching it up. How does one exactly “butch it up”? Butching it up firstly consisted of toning down my wardrobe by wearing a lot of greys and getting rid of clothing that appeared “flamboyant”. Secondly, I would watch clips of “The Sopranos” on YouTube so I can train myself to have something of a New York accent. I never had much of an accent, dropping the occasional O whenever I’d say “coffee” or “long”. But why would I watch clips of “The Sopranos” you ask? Because if I didn’t “sound” gay but macho, I wouldn’t have to hear my mother chastise me for “acting gay” in her house.

This charade I just described lasted 5 years. Then one day I realized something. I discovered that I didn’t need to juggle the third lie anymore around my mother to make her happy. I discovered that if I need to mold myself into someone else’s definition of what they wanted me to be then they, friend or family have no business being in my life.

Once I realized that, I felt like I had come out of the closet again. This time however, I am free to be me, never having to mold myself for anyone ever again. And it’s 2017 for Christ Sake. It’s way easier for me to be a gay man in 2017 than it was when I first came out in 2003. People, for the most part are pretty accepting.

Have I been assaulted for being gay?

Yes. (In 2003 in Omaha, Nebraska while traveling to New York)

Have I been subject to homophobic taunts on the job?

Yes (for 3 years)

Those events were horrible to say the least. But if there is anything I’ve learned throughout all of this is that homophobia is simply hate masked in a label. As time passes on, there will always be someone somewhere who hates someone because they’re different. And if you happen to be different, being the victim of homophobia can either be an excuse to hide or, it can be a reason to step out and shine anyway in spite of hate.

So today, I choose to shine and not hide. Besides I live in a small three bedroom apartment in Queens with no closet so, where would I hide?

© Gregory J. Broderick 2017, 2018

Goodbye Mother

With you haunting my psyche no more,
I feel as though I can finally soar

And though I may fuck up,
At least I can drink from the cup,
Of self discovery,
Without you insisting how I should be

© Gregory J. Broderick 2018

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