When I came out
I didn’t cut my hair
Pierce my tongue
Wear rainbows on my chest
I didn’t photograph myself for social media, kissing girls
And proclaim my OUT
I was born in quiet stealth
The hard-eyed women in bars didn’t ask me for a date
They didn’t invite me to dance
Or ask how I came to be
They thought I was straight
Because even queers have prejudice
Rotting in their aired closets.
Now, when I see you gaining attention in your swaggered hustle
Furthering traction for your one-day-inevitable-autobiography
“Chapter ten: When I was queer a while“
I say nothing, just as you think
You’ve inherited a glittering crown
You do not see the decades it took to make the gold, stick.
When you’ve married and have had your kids
Realizing it was oral sex you craved and disappointing men you needed to avoid
When you still call yourself queer 30 years after you last kissed a woman
I’ll still be living it, down in the coal mine, digging for light
Something you can’t switch off like a bulb, a life-time
I’d tell you my stories but you’re too set on your own to hear
And some of them are illegal anyway
That’s called doing what it takes to survive as a queer
They still arrest you in most parts of the world for what we are.
Try not to forget. That.
You may have come out after legalization in this country
After the years spent driving past signs proclaiming hate
After checking into hotels and being asked “don’t you want two Queens?” snicker, snicker
Checking your calendar and realizing it’s been decades of pretending
You might thought it was hard even now
And the older lesbians you scorn in clubs may have said nothing in response
Because they know too well, just as I do
The indelible ink of lost years never washes out
Sometimes it makes me wonder
Who is really the imposter? And of what?