Celebrating National Poetry Month ~ Beth Gylys

The Glass Ball

Across the room, the young man,
son of our host, smokes and hums,
rocking in a chair to the slow
rise and fall of acoustic guitar,
his long hair pulled away from a face
both soft and strong. Almost man,
almost boy, he seems to balance there
to something we can’t see, a
nd from his mouth rise perfect rings,
one after another, through the open window.

We guests watch, talk quietly,
our glasses still half-full of champagne.
This is the moment before someone
rises to take a dish to the sink,
before the first moves to say goodnight.
It’s the moment you would like to keep
safe in a glass ball—the contented
faces blurred by sleep—to shake
and watch the silver bits of confetti
as they glitter dizzyingly down

published in Limp Wrist

"Don’t complain about paying for Pride"

Don’t complain about paying for Pride

by Laura Douglas-Brown

The best things in life may be free, but the same can’t be said for Atlanta’s best gay event. After more than three decades of presenting its full schedule at no cost to the public, the Atlanta Pride Committee said this week that there will be a “nominal charge” for a few indoor events at this year’s festival.

It’s another difference in a year already marked by change for the venerable event, so cue the gnashing of teeth from the bitchier queens (and kings) in our community. But the truth is that Pride has never been free. The Pride Committee just hasn’t required you to help pay.

The 2007 Pride Festival, held in Piedmont Park, had a budget of approximately $700,000. This year, organizers face much higher costs since the 2007 drought forced all major festivals out of the park. To keep the festival in Midtown, the Pride Committee chose the Atlanta Civic Center as the its new home, incurring much higher facility, security and other fees and requiring the festival to be moved to July 4-6 when the Civic Center was available.

They don’t deserve the complaints they have received from Pride attendees who want to festival to stay in the park and remain the last weekend in June. It’s not a change they wanted, and they deserve credit for trying to make the best of a bad situation.

THE SAME GOES for the decision to charge for some events at this year’s festival. The very people who routinely complain that “it’s too hot” when Pride is held outdoors will likely be the ones to gripe about paying to enter indoor, air-conditioned events, but the rest of us should drown them out.

Many also complain that Pride is “too commercial,” without acknowledging that corporate sponsors pay the vast majority of costs for the festival. Each year, a volunteer “bucket brigade” seeks donations during Pride. And each year, they manage to collect only around $30,000 — an embarrassing drop in the, well, bucket compared to the hundreds of thousands who attend the festival over its three-day run.

Certainly there are some LGBT people living in the throes of poverty, for whom the $25 Pride may charge for a big Friday night event really is a significant expense. The vast majority of Pride attendees, however, routinely pay that much and more for other entertainment like concerts and dance parties. And the $5 or less that Pride plans to charge for the Starlight Cabaret is so little that we should voluntarily contribute twice as much.

THERE’S NO doubt this year’s Pride festival will be different than any we have ever experienced. There’s no doubt that some changes will be successful, and others will leave us nostalgic for the times we picnicked on the grass in Piedmont Park while the rainbow of queer Atlanta swirled around us.

There’s also no doubt that the success of this year’s festival depends on all of us as much as the organizers, and there’s no doubt that if Pride 2008 falters, those organizers will not be the only ones to suffer.

Pride is more than an entertainment event. Just by its sheer numbers, it is also our community’s largest show of force, an annual reminder to businesses, politicians and the general public that we are still a major constituency in Atlanta. If this year’s Pride attendance drops, so will our clout.

We can’t let that happen over a mere $5 — or $25 — cover charge.

(taken from Sovo)

Celebrating National Poetry Month ~ Jeffrey Harrison


for Ellen

The cruelest thing I did to my younger sister
wasn’t shooting a homemade blowdart into her knee,
where it dangled for a breathless second

before dropping off, but telling her we had
another, older sister who’d gone away.
What my motives were I can’t recall: a whim,

or was it some need of mine to toy with loss,
to probe the ache of imaginary wounds?
But that first sentence was like a strand of DNA

that replicated itself in coiling lies
when my sister began asking her desperate questions.
I called our older sister Isabel

and gave her hazel eyes and long blonde hair.
I had her run away to California
where she took drugs and made hippie jewelry.

Before I knew it, she’d moved to Santa Fe
and opened a shop. She sent a postcard
every year or so, but she’d stopped calling.

I can still see my younger sister staring at me,
her eyes widening with desolationthen
filling with tears. I can still remember

how thrilled and horrified I wast
hat something I’d just made up
had that kind of power, and I can still feel

the blowdart of remorse stabbing me in the heart
as I rushed to tell her none of it was true.
But it was too late. Our other sister

had already taken shape, and we could no
tcall her back from her life far away
or tell her how badly we missed her.

From Feeding the Fire (Sarabande Books, 2001).