GAY COUPLE BEATEN FOR REFUSING TO KISS | Sophie Hanson’s rhythmic poem shines a sobering light on homophobia.
by Sophie Hanson
O, the pealing of the bells
on the top deck of the night bus!
liminal space of the damned
if you do, and if you don’t
they’ll come for you anyway —
(that blank stare at a bloodied hand)
O, they will not be cowed!
the news crows triumph
but they are made animal already,
finger-mouthed like livestock evaluated:
dancing bear / bristling pelt
then snarling, trapped —
(but only man could be this ugly,
the animals are above it)
O, pleasant human-like voice
reeling off the U-bahn stops!
mechanical tongue bent around
the consonants and vowels
that almost covered his —
(I didn’t understand
until she translated it for me)
O, english lesbians!
well, that’s not quite right
but sure I got the gist.
and as the doors slide closed on his
teenage assessing eyes
I wonder was he thinking of fucking it right out of me —
(kissing you in the departures lounge
shouldn’t feel like bravery)
Sophie Hanson | @radiofireworks
Sophie Hanson lives in Manchester and has published poetry, fiction, reviews and non-fiction. She works for an arts non-profit and is Editorial Assistant for writing charity For Books’ Sake. She can usually be found writing, reading or watching motorsport.