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A Teen Poet's Take on Orlando

A Teen Poet's Take on Orlando

"Political"

My mother says it was an act of terrorism
that Muslims like him were bound to hurt people eventually
When I say it was a gay bar, she says it's irrelevant, that it could have happened anywhere else too

The echo of a gunshot
of an automatic going off
and off and off and off and off
The echo
of a scream, of a boy over his significant other
a silence (one cannot scream from inside a burning house)

An old friend says it was an act of terrorism
that the man was allied with ISIS,
that nothing else matters
I say, it's an attack on a community
a safe place targeted—a home burnt down, with no fire left to warm our shaking hands

I say, the warmth has been taken
I say, the house is on fire
I say, the people are crying
I say, they're losing hope
and suddenly, there is nothing but ashes

A little girl gives handouts at a local subway station
handouts of cynicism
handouts of defeat
handouts that are encouraging the silence
But this community will not be erased,
there will be a voice in the dark

Today, someone asked me, "Do you really need pride?"
and I never thought I could be more upset by five words
I need pride because I do not have a safe place. Because everywhere feels like a burning house to me
I need pride because one of the safe havens of Orlando has been taken away, has been turned into nothing more than a fire, one that only breathes hate

Pride is a home for those who have lost one
Pride is a home for those who never had one
Pride is a community for the ones who never felt they belonged
Pride is a place where my love doesn't have to be political,
I don't think you understand

If you've never been scared to hold someone's hand in public then you obviously don't understand
I want to say there is more to me than my sexuality, but sometimes I feel like I'm trapped,
trapped in a burning house
and the fire continues to breathe,
and it keeps getting stronger

"Do you really need pride?" echoes like a voice in the distance getting closer and closer to me
"Do you really need pride?" breathes in the hate and grows the fire
"Do you really need pride?"
says a boy whose love has never been political

By Mae Krell, 17

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