I was barely alive in ‘95,
as I carried myself,
down to the train tracks
to lay down
in the snow
The world was quiet around me —
scattered across a
On each side of the tracks
leafless birch trees
bent like arthritic fingers
The Ones Above,
had let me escape to that place
only because they thought I’d gone there to die.
But dying had never been my intention;
not on that day, anyway,
and not by their hands.
I just needed space to rest
Exiled for asking a question,
for saying something true that —
like all things true —
was supposed to be left unsaid.
Exiled for the crooked bones
I’d never asked to be born with
yet had spent the whole of my childhood
answering and confessing for.
Exiled for those things,
I went to the tracks to get strong.
Yes, in 1995 I was a lonely skeleton,
shouting Whitman lines at passing trains,
on the train tracks with the rest
of the Good People’s illicit trash.
(I heard somebody say I was pretentious,
“But I swear,” I said,
“I’m just trying to be happy.”
Even that was too much to ask for.)
So, once the bleeding stopped,
and the broken places mended,
I picked myself up, bruised,
but not beaten.
I walked the train tracks for a long time
beneath nighttime winter sky,
knowing I’d taken every boot those bastards had
to kick me with.
I’d taken it,
all of it, and,
still standing strong,
And guess what?
All these years later,
I’m STILL walking,