In that three bedroom prison,
that I grew up inside,
It was the given gospel that the most fatal sin was pride–
“Less of me,
More of you”
Quoth the starch-collared idol
Who stood above the pews.
And sitting chin-to-chest,
I cried my tears and paid my dues,
To not know what I knew.
Gave up myself,
I did not fight my fight.
I let that bushel hide my light–
choke my fire,
Until one teary night I was not sleepy,
But, my God,
I was tired.
I knew that I had no recourse,
But to be who I was inside,
Though I stood sheltering a candle
Lit for those like me who’d died.
They were not afforded a gentle passage,
Like a flower slowly turns to seed.
They were broken,
Tossed out, persecuted.
A flower plucked too soon
By those so twisted and polluted,
They kill whatever dares to bloom.
But whatever neck-tied demon looms above you,
Painted in gold or white or blue,
We will join in a pride of lions,
We will hold our heads high and defiant,
Defend what we know well is true.
Side by side we join in protest–
Roll up our sleeves,
There’s work to do.
Until my privilege is your right,
We will not be compliant.
We are tired of keeping quiet.
I am here,
And I remember–
The first Pride was a riot.
Author’s Note: The art piece I made to accompany this poem is currently available printed on products at my RedBubble Store. 50% of the the profits from the sale of this design will be donated to the Human Rights Campaign to support LGBTQIA+ communities. Currently, and for as long as the funds are needed, the other 50% will be donated to the Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund to help support and protect transgender POC currently fighting on the front lines for justice and equality.