Sunday, September 19, 2010

Podcast 20: Seeing a Dead Lizard After Reading Mark Doty's "Turtle, Swan"

On Friday, I celebrated my 7th anniversary with my partner Dustin. We had a great weekend with friends, drinks, food, and dancing. Our anniversary is always a complicated time for me. I'm thrilled and proud of how long we've been together, but it is also a strong reminder of how little recognition we have for our relationship. Since we cannot get married, our anniversary, to some, seems unimportant. I love my parents and they are very supportive of my relationship, but they never acknowledge our anniversary, even though they've always sent my sister and her husband cards or gifts for their anniversary. This may seem silly to some, but it is still a reminder that marriage makes it legitimate to people. There are many problems with this. Even if I was straight and I chose not to get married, that doesn't mean my relationship is any less vital or important. Regardless, it is this time of the year that I'm especially reminded of what I don't have and can't have.

This leads me to introducing my new poetry podcast. This podcast is a reading of my poem "Seeing a Dead Lizard After Reading Mark Doty's 'Turtle, Swan.'" This poem is about the fears that come from not being able to get married. I've read countless horrific stories of gay couples who have not been able to say goodbye to each other because they weren't "family." Or other couples that after one dies the other gets nothing. These are sad and scary situations to think about, and I try not to focus on them, but they are always there in the back of my mind.

This poem is also a tribute to Mark Doty's poem "Turtle, Swan." This is one of my favorite Doty poems and one of his very early ones. My poem follows a very similar pattern as his. In both, the speaker sees a dead creature, both end in a movie theater, and both deal with politically charged issues, but in a very personal way that examines the internal fears gay men face. If you haven't read Doty's poem, I recommend checking it out. I've linked it in the title above. It will give you a richer experience with my poem. I hope you will enjoy listening.

-Stephen (7 years)


  1. Well, Happy Anniversary, of course. And thanks for sharing two poems - yours and Doty's.

  2. Ron: Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Riveting poems, both Doty's and yours. Best health to both of you.