The Power of Spoken Word

Last night I attended a workshop on spoken word led by Tish Jones, had a lovely dinner hosted by Metro State’s Lavender Bridge with new friends, and enjoyed a night of powerful spoken word from celebrated writers as well as poets just trying their first performances. Powerful stories were told and I was honored to be included in the audience.

I decided to try my hand at performing. I do presenting, leading workshops, moderating discussions but I’d never stood up to speak my poetry except at my wedding (I wrote my wife two sonnets.) The workshop had helped me focus on some important things: evoking images, making it personal. Here’s what I wrote over dinner and performed last night.

Coming Out, Coming In

“You’re a lesbian,” he said with authority and my gay friend took a small step back with a small smile. Did he expect an explosion? I took a breath to sigh on the inside. Coming out, again.

“You can have the white picket fence, and the house, and the kids,” he said, writing himself out of the idyllic photo he wished to be in. And the man in my mind morphed, became Stephanie, 2 floors up, down the tile hall of our dorm. Do I come out? As what?

Two weeks later the image changed again and was the boy next to me in French. Coming out to myself, again.

“I’ve had a crush on you longer then I knew,” I said. “I’ve been waiting for you to figure it out,” she said. Coming out, but I didn’t need to. Someone could have told me and saved me the pain of discovery.

“I have a proper appreciation for the human form,” I said. “Men? Women?” she asked. “All,” I said to the department gossip and the coming out was done for that time and place.

I wrap an organization around me and I come out every time I introduce myself.

Coming out can be strong. I have twenty-three years of coming out. But now my passion is coming in: coming into community, coming in to our own time, coming into our own power. Empowering others with community to empower them to come out, to be out, so some day we’re all out. And we’re all in.I hope everyone had a good National Coming Out Day 2014.

I hope everyone had a good National Coming Out Day, 2014

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