If

A poem by Merwin Brown

If I were a woman, we wouldn’t be where we are now.
I wouldn’t be standing before you barely keeping my footing.
The foundation underneath me trembling at the admission that

clawed it’s way out of my throat.
If I were a woman this wouldn’t matter.
It would just be matter of fact

Because if I were a woman, my love wouldn’t have a label.
It would be as interchangeable as a pair of socks.
But, because I am a man, my sexuality is branded onto my persona.

My own personal scarlet letter of shame.

The point of no return.

If I were a woman, this would be your dream come true.
The thought of two women embracing sensually for whatever reason
is enough to cause the course of conversation

to flow to a different ocean.

If I said I wanted you, as I just painstakingly did,
you would want to join in right?

It’s every man’s fantasy to see a woman’s sexuality open

and close like a venus fly trap.

Men are willing victims to a woman’s path to sexual identity.

Yet, here I am.

A man in love who’s declaration had it’s wings clipped by denial,

misunderstanding, and double standards.

If I were a phoenix, this fire of unrequited love would only serve to

consume me and foster my beautiful rebirth

But I am not

And, for this reason alone, closets become coffins for black gay men.

Merwin Brown

This piece can be found in the Genre: Urban Arts Second Edition

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