I wrote a poem - Coming Out 2.0
I'm working on this for a poetry class I'm taking, any criticism is welcome.
Edit: Italicized some text I forgot when I copied it out of Word.
Edit 2: Fixed some phrasing.
Coming Out 2.0
When I first came out
I thought it was over.
I know myself now,
My life can finally be
worthwhile and fun.
But there was always a mess I dared
not touch. Who do I like? What gaze
makes me blush? I suspected the feminine
but held out hope – only taking up one letter
made it easier to cope.
And some people do change after starting
HRT, so patiently I hoped men would appeal
to me. I had some feelings before, it seemed reasonable
they would grow. But as time went on I realized I had
nothing to show. My feelings for men were entirely gone,
but still hopeful for a straight-passing future, I pressed on.
I had definite feelings for women before,
But at times the attraction seemed a bit more –
Did I want to be them or did I want to be with them?
The former I assumed, as it helped to distract,
focus on my work, brush my desires under the mat.
I’d think “She looks cute”, but “in that outfit”, “with that hairdo” and other qualifiers
I began to append, convincing myself what I felt was normal and, like a
Chicagoland road, no bend. When I began to notice some feelings bubbling up I said
“Female friendships are close, it’s nothing, the end.” But try as I might, they flowered
and bloomed, and soon I could not help but be all-consumed. Maybe I’m bi, I thought,
That isn’t so bad. More options for dating, how can I be mad? I told my friend my feelings, and as
expected, for me she had none. She’s still one of my best friends, so I’d neither lost nor won.
I dealt with the rejection and moved on. I could still be bi, better not
jump the gun. You can’t take back coming out, you’ve got one shot – nail it
and be done. I thought everything would be the same, but the floodgates were open,
my restraints had been broken. I could finally be honest about my feelings
for women (endless, confusing and interwoven) and for men, which were at most
an appreciative token.
A week after confessing to my crush, it was obvious
who won. The Sapphic feelings and desires made
their presence known, their intent to stay,
and more difficult than coming out
as trans was admitting
to being gay.
I like the visual contour of the poem's structure. The short lines at the beginning and end convey a certainty that contrasts with the long lines of uncertainty in the middle.
Also, if this is a lived experience for you and not just a writing in character exercise, congratulations on reaching another milestone in your identity!
Using line length was part of the prompt I chose. And yes, this is based on my actual experience of suppressing feelings to try to hide from myself that I'm a lesbian. It's been a wild ride so far.
Powerful and very clear, thank you for sharing.
I enjoyed this overall, and I like the experimentation with line length.
I’m not normally one for enjoying rhymes in poetry, but I think you do a good job at sometimes having the rhyme at the end of a line and then mixing it up by having its pair be somewhere in the middle. It kept my interest throughout the piece. The last line was very impactful in the sense that as a reader, I get to experience your/the narrator’s crisis in the body of the poem and then it resolves to a confession that both defines the speaker as gay but also leaves a lingering sense that the process of defining one’s identity isn’t ever really final or done.
My nitpick would be with “HRT”—spelling out hormone replacement therapy would let “therapy” have a nicer cadence/rhyme with “appeal to me.” But this is pretty minor.