Silenced by the PTA
The first time I read All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul & Kat’s
relationship graced the pages to be met by cheeks with gushing chuckles
coming from the mocking lips of lacrosse bros who rapped about the novel
in between first period and homeroom. Mrs. Griffith tried brushing aside
questions like “Are Paul & Kat gay?”, as if they were leftover cake mix
that had leaked from the womb of its package & split onto the countertop.
Eight years later, I bought a copy of the book; it was like visiting an old friend
at a cafe neither of you have been to but heard had 4.8-star gluten-free options.
Since then, I had read openly LGBT writers like Aaron Smith, Stacey Waite,
Richard Blanco, & Lorraine Hansberry. Discovered my own bisexuality & spent
three years pining over a woman. I had taken countless gender studies classes.
I looked my old friend in the eye. I felt as though I could now ask with more understanding,
“Tell me, are Paul & Kat really gay?”
The answer is yes. It’s rather blatant how clear their feelings are; but in retrospect
how blind we were to the compacting walls Mrs. Griffith was in.
Since my ninth-grade days I had the chance to experience the other side, standing up
& talking instead of sitting down. I was told that you weren’t allowed to discuss sexuality;
Sure, you have to teach Whitman, Bishop, Tennyson, & Milton. Quiz them on their sonnets!
But don’t you dare speak of how they loved in ways that the PTA would call sinful.
Brainwash them into thinking that their hearts were not beating for another,
but were just a multiple choice question on a stapled packet of printer paper.
Another gateway to accepting oneself silenced by the PTA.
pretend to care
give me a garland of used sharp-toothed pop-tabs
and call me a poet despite my lackluster verses
shower me with lead spray-painted gold
and claim the gods are gifting me divinity
throw littered Bud Lites at my face as I walk to the gas station
and sing to me that you’re laying down palm branches at my feet
pretend to care
I’m used to your lies
The Caged Bee
twig-length legs bent,
its onyx eyes and belly facing
the partially-clouded ceiling
peering upward, wiggling
its limbs as the chains of fallen leaves
that once clothed trees
confine it to the dew-coated grass
wings that cannot flap are not wings:
they are cages
Morgan Boyer is a Carlow University alum and author of "The Serotonin Cradle". Boyer has been featured in Rue Scribe, Voices from the Attic Vol. 24, the Pittsburgh City Paper and Rune.