Friday, April 23, 2021

#verselove - 23: Dupont Circle

For the month of April, I am participating in 30 days of #verselove poetry writing with Dr. Sarah J. Donovan's Ethical ELA

Today's poetry inspiration is offered by Oklahoma State University preservice teachers Gavin, Noah, and Sarah, who encouraged us to silence our own voices in protest of LGBTQ+ discrimination and to write a poem that gives someone else a voice.

Dupont Circle 1984

we walked in silence

down the tight curving metal steps

into this hidden cellar of a bar

anonymous discreet invisible

pushed past

the heavy door

into pulsating music, beer and booze, 

tight jeans, muscled bodies, 

voices low, laughing, lingering

so many men, coupled, close, comfortable,

dark, intimate freedom


he clutched my hand

yes - reached and grabbed 

wove his fingers within every one of mine

locked together, needing reassurance

I squeezed back and held on

just moments before

we had sat coupled in the bright sun 

at the cafe across the street

sipping beer for fortification

hatching the plan

my dear strong friend

he wanted to live out

he wanted to venture out

he wanted to meet out 

he wanted whole

there was this gay bar downtown

please come with me, he said, just this once,

we’ll pretend we’re tourists

accidentally wandering in

would you please come with me?

he clutched my hand

we walked between the bar and tables

the length of the long narrow room, then turned

and walked back through guys, guys, guys

back through the heavy door

into the bright sunshine

where he gasped

he hadn’t anticipated the fear, 

the rush, the sheer giddy madness of being

welcomed as is

He went back by himself that Friday.

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