Ovillejo for Myself at Sixteen

Poem submission acceptance! My first time submitting in months; I’ll take it as a good omen. I’m going to try to get more stuff out there in the near future.

And last night, at 11:57 p.m., I finally finished the long-form poem I’ve been snarking about for a couple weeks. It’s something like 300 lines? I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s on to the next one, since I have a series of ideas lined up that I want to tackle, and my poor journal is thirsty for more ink. Not sure what to do next with this first endeavor, though… should I leave it and come back to it later? Should I pass it to well-meaning friends for their input in the meantime? Hm.

This one is just a little ditty for We Write Poems‘ prompt to give our sixteen-year-old selves some wisdom. It wasn’t that long ago for me (at least, within recent enough memory), but I do still think sometimes how life would be different if I’d come out at age sixteen (instead of age eighteen). It probably would have saved a great many people lots of trouble.

Ovillejo for Myself at Sixteen

Come out, I’d say, don’t try to hide.
Throw wide
the closet door. These secret things–
your wings,
your ways– are poison to deny.
And fly
past any Icarene reply:
you will not fall. There will be love.
I am the proof you’re dreaming of:
throw wide your wings and fly.

13 thoughts on “Ovillejo for Myself at Sixteen

  1. margo roby says:

    Ach! This is lovely, Joseph. I had a moment of instant tears while reading it.

    Congrats on the acceptance and on the 300 lines [I think]. You should look at submitting to Origami Poems, when you are in your shorter phase, although I suspect you can find six poems among your body of work.

  2. nan says:

    Joseph, this is fantastic!! I hope there are many 16-year-olds who read this poem.

  3. This is wonderful. I read it over and over and over again. The flow of the words and the wisdom are spot on.

  4. Joseph, my Riley came out at sixteen, and she was lucky to be born into an accepting (and blended) family, with lots of supportive friends at school. Your “Icarean” reference was THE. BEST. No waxy wings for you, my friend… fly high and proud! Peace, Amy

  5. Dick Jones says:

    A graceful rhyme and the kind of gentle and wise advice which, at the target time, would go unacknowledged!

  6. Sabio Lantz says:

    Wow, love the wings analogy! Very nice — quick and to the point.
    Hey, you haven’t linked to We Write Poems, have you? I just found you by accident! :-)

  7. vivinfrance says:

    Bravo -for form and content.

  8. Sabio Lantz says:

    BTW: heads up: the link you left over at “We Write Poems” does not work — you may want to post again. This is a fantastic poem.

  9. barbara_ says:

    Ah, this is fine. Good advice, and I love the sound-play.

  10. JulesPaige says:

    I think it is a great accomplishment to accept oneself, with honor and love. I grew up in a time when tolerance of difference was just beginning. While the full impact of acceptance of ability, faith and sexuality are still a bit lacking – I think the balance of the scale is tipping to the justice of love.

    My WWP verse is here:

  11. Margo: where is Origami Poems? Is it this?
    Nan: I hope so, too, given the direction things are going in parts of the country…
    Annette: muchas gracias!
    Amy: that is pretty lucky. I think I was lucky too, I just didn’t know that I would be for a long while. Tell her I said right on. ^_^
    Dick: I think that if I had just spoken to someone about it, they would have told me the same thing. But yeah, I probably wouldn’t have listened.
    Sabio: thanks for letting me know about the link! I thought “wings” felt a little forced, myself, but then “Icarene” made up for it…
    Viv: merci bcp!
    Barbara: the ovillejo is good for that, isn’t it?
    Jules: I hope it tips a little faster. There’s people killing themselves and each other in the meantime. :\

    • margo roby says:

      Joseph, yes. the editors, Jan Keough and Lynnie Gobeille are wonderful. If you explore you’ll find me and another New York poet Corey something, whom i thought I heard you mention once.

  12. Irene says:

    The comparison to Icarus is greatly effective. So sweet to say “there will be love.”

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