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Guest Rose

The Fear, Angst, and Pain Pentalogoy

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Guest Rose

This is a collection of my poetry between the latter half of this past summer until my twentieth day in college. Most of it has been published here before, namely "Transgender Boo Radley," "Purgatory (I Am Waiting)," "They Know," and "It's Done." can all be found on this site already. "Angst" however, has not been published before, and I have substantially edited "It's Done." since its last publication.

I have arranged each of the poems in chronological order starting with the first to be written and ending with the last. This way they tell the story of my summer, my being closeted, and my coming out. The title of the overall pentalogy is meant to reflect on the feeling of each poem. Each part of the title has a corresponding poem or poems. "Fear" pertains to "Transgender Boo Radley;" "Angst" to "Angst" and "Purgatory (I Am Waiting);" and "Pain" to "They Know." "It's Done." does not correspond to any particular part of the title insomuch as it announces that all three parts are over, although it is intended to be deliberately ambiguous about this.

"Transgender Boo Radley" is about being stuck at home for fear that upon leaving I will face discrimination, and functions as an analysis of how I experience the presence of the other and vise versa. "Angst" for its part is about internalized trans-phobia. "Purgatory (I Am Waiting)" with all of its basement imagery is similar to "Transgender Boo Radley" in the respect that it is likewise about being trapped in one's home, or basement to be more precise. The only major differences are that by the time of "Purgatory" I was waiting for college to free me, and that the focus of the poem is more internal than external and that it also deals with internalized trans-phobia. "They Know" is the first poem of the collection that  takes place at college. I wrote it an hour after my maternal grandparents discovered that I am transgender by reading a newspaper article about me in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. "It's Done." was written after I attended my first class presenting as a woman. I had presented as female since the end of my last class the previous Friday and the poem was written on Monday just after I had Lab. It is supposed to be an end marking my release from the closet, but at the same time ambiguous as to if my situation has improved or not. It was written less than a week after "They Know."


Fear, Angst, and Pain


Transgender Boo Radley

I live as Boo Radley.

I am the ghost

That haunts the neighborhood.

I am branded “freak,”

Made hyper-visible,

exposed to your stares

and awkward questions.


If, in a terrifying moment,

I could save your life,

I would.

If that would make you see into

My different heart,

And know it beats the same.


But we have built a wall

Between us, you and I.

Because I threatened you,

And you threatened me,

So we never talk.



that is the gulf between us,

the fear we carry

deep within our own hearts,

deadening us to each other.



You have

Two people

In your head.


Isn’t it just

A little bit weird?


Where did

All sense

of unity go?


Hasn’t it


Too far

This time?




Broken Machine–

You are exhausted,


As you were,

But repairable.


And who

Will fix





I never

Wanted to be

Sane like them.


Even if

Opa loves me

For being

Someone else.


Their world

Can just

Fade away,

Into a cliché.




The Regret

Drinking Club

Meets in my


Every other


But I.

Am not.

A member.


His great vices

Were alcohol

And Tabaco,

But my

Only crime

Was my identity.


In another life.

Where I am

Not so weird,

I rein

All powerful–

But in this world

I am the equal

Of my brothers.


Purgatory (I am Waiting)

I am waiting

For an email.


The blue nail polish

Comes off like so much


Burned in a chemical fire.


I wish, I were,

As beautiful as her.

It doesn’t matter--

Who she is.


I am waiting,

For a message,

On Facebook.


The news sites

Don’t post new articles

Fast enough.


In my neon-illuminated


I am bored of hiding

From the world above.


I am waiting

For something

to happen.


The harsh light

Renders my face ugly,

Always sneering

Ever so slightly

Into the mirror.


Can I be a real girl––



They Know.

They know.


My secrets

Are all gone,



I am exposed

To sunlight

Burning my skin

Through the crack

In my wall.


It’s falling now,

Falling down around––


Soon it will be gone.


The field is so empty,

The sun so bright,

I am visible.


I did this to myself–

Long ago, with

The cameraman

And the reporter––

They asked me questions.


I wanted this

To happen.

I made it inevitable–

But let it be forgotten.


It’s over.

This is my zero hour.

Everything begins

again from here.


It's Done.

This is the end––

the story is over,

just when most

people start it–


My scorching conflicts

are cool now,

there is no more

action for the book.


Twenty days

was all it took,

after all the waiting––

eighteen years.


The Tyranny

Of the status quo

it was all reversed,

turned on a dime.


Nothing to do

but sit and morn, now

that he's dead.

Good riddance.



The dream begins,

Or else I thought

It was a dream

Before I came here–


Except it isn’t

So lovely,

But real,

And though incredible

It is also mundane.

No, no one is

Dreaming now,


Now that it's done,

And the story is over.

I am supposed

To say

That Rose won,

So Be Happy.


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      {teary-eyed} BEAUTIFUL, Willow, just beautiful.  Thanks for sharing!
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Her head was still facing the ground with tears rolling off of her cheeks. She was no longer a girl but had become a full grown woman. "Why are you crying?" I asked her with concern. She had not responded promptly nor did it seem that she even acknowledged my presence. Before I had a chance to repeat my question, she looked up at me and her expression turned into anger. "How long?!" she barked. I was taken back by her sudden shift in disposition and nearly fell off my swing. "Why are you so angry with me?" I snapped back, not minding her words. She continued. "How long will keep stealing my life? " "Your life?" I remarked with protest, "This is my life." I was not too happy about the tone of this encounter and got up from my swing to leave in a huff. But, before I had a chance to stand on my feet, she said in a very solemn tone of voice, "Before you leave me here again, let me ask you one last question . . Are you happy?" With that she turned her face toward the ground, blocking me out of sight. "Happy?" I could not stop thinking about this simple question. "No, I have not been happy." I thought that I was happy. I should be happy. After all, I have everything that anyone would want in life -- an education, a great job, family and friends, a wife, a house, and now a newborn son. I should be on the top of the world, but alas I still felt empty inside. I could not stop thinking about Natilie, seeing her in the corner of my eye, in the dim reflection of a store window, and hearing her quiet sob in the distance. I became obsessed with Natilie. All the years of avoiding her, trying to forgot about her, rationalizing her existence, pushing her away, and for what? I could no longer fight her. She had a right to live the life that was taken from her. I knew what I had to do if I ever wanted to be happy. I had a calm in my heart that night on the evening that I eagerly sought out the desolate playground, where Natilie sat for so many years on that same swing. But, as I approached the dimly lit area where her swing usually hung, she was not there. "Am I too late?" I thought in a panic. Just then, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning around with a sudden jolt, I was greeted by a standing figure. It was Natilie and she had a smile on her face. "Is it time?" she asked. "Is it time for me to `come out and play'?" Looking into her eyes, I responded with a smile on my face and in a gentle voice, "Yes, it's time."     This is the story of my life.  This may not be the best Forum but its where my friends are.  I wrote this for all of us.   Willow
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