Tag Archives: LGBT

“There Are Dead Here”

~Esther Mitchell, 2001~

There are dead here,
As indelible as the stone which trapped them in,
As barricaded from memory in death,
As they were from freedom in life.

There are dead here,
Their restless souls crying out,
Caught in the moments of haunting tragedy,
Never released, never rescued, never acknowledged.

There are dead here,
Clinging to iron once meant to protect,
But which became their fiery prison, their grave-keeper,
Fused to the very safety that betrayed them.

There are dead here,
Unspoken of, unseen, unheard,
They cry out for justice from unmarked graves,
For honor, and tears, for the humanity they were stripped of.

There are dead here,
I can hear them in these walls,
And tears slide down my face,
As I make a pact here – a promise to never forget.

As long as I draw breath,
The dead here will be honored, and remembered,
Flowers, from my soul to theirs.

Note from Author(2004):

This poem was written a week after June 24, 2001, when research into an unrelated event turned up an utterly shocking and sickening event that took place in New Orleans in 1973. The images in the book on LGBT history regarding the Upstairs Lounge massacre shook me to the core, and after days and nights of being unable to put the images from my mind, I was compelled to write this piece, to offer some solace to the victims of this terrible massacre that went unsolved due to the prevalence of homophobia and bigotry that’s long barred the resolution of this case. It is my fervent hope that sharing this poem on the anniversary of this terrible act of hate and miscarriage of justice will one day bring justice, closure, and peace to these restless souls.

Note from Author (2013):

The above poem and note were first originally shared via e-mail with several groups to which I belonged at the time. Today, on the 40th anniversary of this tragedy, with still no resolution, it seemed fitting to share it again, and this time with a much wider audience, as I have access to such an audience, now. This is a wrong that still needs righting, and it’s time people start speaking out.

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“Against the Tide”

~Esther Mitchell, 2011~

You laugh at the jokes,
You pass them around,
You make comments,
That run others into the ground.

You ridicule as choices,
Things they had no choice about,
You fill their world with hateful thoughts,
And words that make them, about life, doubt.

You take away their freedom,
Before it’s even given,
And tell them that they’re wrong or evil,
For the way that they see living.

But what if he was your son?
What if she was your daughter?
Would you stand by,
While your own child’s soul was slaughtered?

The only way to fight the hate,
Is to take a look inside,
And with each day, every person,
Change ourselves, to change the tide.

Before you speak,
Before you harm,
Ask yourself,
If against your own child, your own self, you’ve raised the alarm.

Pride Rainbow