Tuesday, December 6

Breaking the Silence: Justification (Poem)

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This piece appears in the “Breaking the Silence: Queer Self, Life, and Love in Northeast Ohio” anthology. “Breaking the Silence” is a part of Literary Cleveland’s Amplify Projects series, designed to empower, uplift, and celebrate our many stories and place power into the hands of people and communities, giving them the platform to tell their own stories on their own terms.

by Barbara Marie Minney

‍I stroll alone
along serene streamers of snow
slithering toward the end of time
beneath a sapphire canopy
a diamond coated hickory tree
sturdy and majestic
standing defiant against the cold
one day sliding into another
like a base runner tumbling into home

You look so delicate
when you’re dreaming
while I feel so empty
justification is just another
word for excuse

my goblet overflows with excuses
fuck justification
and the apology it sailed in on
redemption and salvation are better left to God

All I want is to be loved
for you to understand
my body is a woman’s body
and part of it is my penis

Barbara Marie Minney writes personal and emotional poetry that describes her feelings, thoughts, and passions while struggling to live her truth as a transgender woman. She began her transition to living authentically as the woman that she now knows she was meant to be at the age of 63 after repressing her true gender identity for over 60 years. Barbara’s work has been published in the “50th Anniversary Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology,” “Women Speak: Volumes 5 and 6: Women of Appalachia Project,” “The Gasconade Review Presents: Ladies’ Night,” “Woman Scream: The International Poetry Anthology of Female Voices,” “Voices of Real 4,” “For A Better World 2020: Poems and Drawings on Peace and Justice,” “Wicked Gay Ways Summer 2020 Issue and Winter 2021 Issue,” “Pluviophile: Digital Mental Health Anthology,” and The Buckeye Flame. Barbara’s first book of poetry, If There’s No Heaven, was the winner of the 2020 Poetry Is Life Book Award and was published in May of 2020 by Poetry Is Life Publishing. It was selected by the Akron Beacon Journal as a Best Northeast Ohio Book in 2020. Barbara lives in Tallmadge, Ohio, with her wife of 40 years and a menagerie of stuffed animals. You can follow Barbara at www.barbaramarieminneypoetry.com.

About Author

"Breaking the Silence: Queer Self, Life, and Love in Northeast Ohio" is a writing project of Literary Cleveland, led by Alexander Saint Franqui. After a tragic year for our community, Breaking the Silence seeks to uplift narratives that center on the queer experience in the Greater Cleveland area, especially those written by Black/Indigenous/People of Color. The project accepted poetry, prose, essays, creative non-fiction, and flash fiction written by queer/LGBTQ2 identified people.

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