An Ode To The Queer Black Teen
by Matt TuckerDesign by Domenick FiniDecember 1 2023
Pick a struggle they say as you toss and turn figuring out which brand of oppression to sway
Don’t be gay, the first thing you hear in the bounds of your own head
Stumbling over your words, in time you begin to face a sort of dread
Wake in the morning and it’s code switching, mattress kicking,
solid instinct fighting just to begin to get out of your own head
fight back against the power of all the words that you would like to leave unsaid
The eyes of the enemy staring you down, reaching into your soul and
waiting for a change in pace, the gay face
Sweat bullets shooting down your back as you walk down the hallway
hoping no one can see through you and find out the true you
Locker room whispers that you made up in your head
because your secret is not well kept.
You hope your friends will have swept it under this
fictitious rug but you fear the giant tug
You watch over your shoulder as the boy you like is taking off his shirt,
you put in the extra effort not to look
You are afraid of the secret being discovered because you weren’t subtle enough
to cover your tracks and you weren’t good enough to act like nothing could go wrong
You walk to and from class with a new kind of sass.
The hidden secret of the world type of sass.
The don’t mess with me, I don’t know who I am kind of sass.
The one who is still cowering behind a mask kind of sass.
Your friends are familiar with the sass from class because they know you,
you were just the last to class kind of sass.
You end your day okay.
You fit in for now
play the sport that is adored by crowds and hordes of fifty or more.
You run and tackle,
bait and tackle,
run from the sun,
running from no one.
You are expected to shine like your bloodline.
You were wasting your time in line trying to become anything out of the line.
You never understood the way that life could twist and shake until the day you come away
knowing that things are never as okay as you would like to say.
You hold yourself higher as you cower and hide under a new blue tracksuit
you swear it makes you better at the game, but really it makes you feel like yourself
Your parents feel like they know the real you,
they gave you life and times
they feel like they own the lines of which you write your story
but the worst thing about you is the truth that you hide
Can you ever show your true self to the ones that want to know?
Will you ever be a person you love?
Will you ever be able to know more and be more and have more and see more?
To be a queer in the black community is to have unanswered questions.
It is to fight against oppression from forces that are separate.
It is to help yourself to secrets and hope that you will keep them
It is hating yourself endlessly because the world you see and live in does not show you people like you,
but people who can’t like you,
won’t like you,
can’t take you,
try to break you
want to make you more like them
The whole of you ends where they begin
so who are you if you’re just like them?