Poem by Anon
Illustration by Polly Bradford-Corris



My fingers push my hair across

Climbing to the swap

An introvert, a listener

You notice me at once.


I’m fined for some unusual acts,

And yet the crowd sees not

For years of it, in parties, toilets

Or empty homes and flats:


Yet all I can show for it

Is that odd glance.


The swap is done, we pair ourselves

To likely, flirty mates.

But I’m still in the in-between

As I don’t hunt in public.

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Then it begins, the secret signals

I smile along with them.

We brush our shoulders, arms and fix

That lasting eye-contact.


By morning kissing, I leave theirs,

Seeing some mates at lectures.

We’d danced and drunk then headed home

But feast is worse than hunt.



If there exists a world of papers,

Facebook, politics, celebs

Reacting to our secret hunts

They’d give an odd glance.

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‘How can an introvert come out?’

Misses the bloody point.

Life is not self-publication:

Shining that world’s gaze into parts of yourself

others lack so they can prod or respect.

Self-fulfilment needs only one person’s hope

love, however volatile, needs only two.

three’s a crowd.

the world’s a deafening, appropriating rabble.



Fearing that world

I stripped myself of empathy

For them those public queers

The tokened, labelled, cast-aside

The out or outed heroes.


I felt no movement, momentum

Or pride for mass campaigns

My only goal was dignity

‘I represent myself.’


‘Congratulations, marching crowds

You bask in definition

For sake of warming up the shade

Anonymity is razed.


‘In the ashes of the shelter

Consider now what’s lost

The versatile chance to be

Anyone to all.


‘I’d rather name it hub than closet

We welcome people in.

Rather than stepping out and calling

We share ourselves in private.


‘Pandora’s grief is locked away

In a shelter of friends.

With secret backstage craft and sleight

I live and laugh and love.’


I took each one – by the hand

We wandered to my closet

A dozen first times with different ones and

College my bordello.


Yet you I guided further in

Deep, past orientation

The more you think they will fit there

To your heart’s dreams guide them

publicity 3 when at ladt i was ready

The closer they come to your heart

The worse the exit wound

I’m still here, tidying up

Tissues, memories, marching

Introverts tell themselves:

Conceal the things that bring you pleasure

For they are who you are

Dare not exhibit those things you love

Or people will define you.


The odd glance gazes right back within

And snap, the smile says,

But love is not a ‘snap’ moment

For love builds without breaking

The way out

We could have left then, hand in hand

Stood with the public gays.

But shady sex satisfied you

When I at last was ready

to step out.

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I told my friends in preparation

Fuck! I told my dog,

We shared enough I could have posted:

This is the one I love.


Not for their gender

Not for the sex

But for this love

That dares to speak its name

That this could prove to all queer teens

Patience! It is true

There truly is, and grows in darkness

A love compatible.


I won’t, I can’t come out until

That epiphany of hope

For we love people, not their genders

And that’s what guides our march.

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