Kraina Tarczy | William Thomas Leonard

Original Photo

Gmina of Kraina Tarczy,

A railway from the fifties rumbles,

With the arrival of children from far,

Southeast, border-facing buildings,

Awaiting the arrival of new tenants,

While watchful eyes ensure their chaste.

Dirty blazer, jeans and blonde hair,

The lone occupant of a car steps off,

To his shoe clings a sticker,

A black cross over rainbow stripes,

Like a tick to his leg in the tall grass,

“Strefa Wolna Od LGBT” in black ink.

Out from underground and onto the street,

Many see the ring on his finger, yet, alone,

He walks without lifting his head,

They do not ask where his spouse is,

For they know, of course, they’re at home,

And it would be rude to ask such things.

The locals still call it a “bar mleczny,”

For the food tastes like it comes from such,

The meal reminds him of when his home,

Wasn’t quite as loud as now,

While only the radio breaks the air,

The knowing eyes hate and worry for him.

Ever-present clouds, low and moist on his face,

He presses through the domain once called his,

One of the wonders of humanity, the right to hypocrisy,

To employ, use an old enemy’s tools,

Like a vulture grabbing at what’s left,

For nerves and excitement are what drives action.

Tired, tired, so very tired and done,

A straight face is all that you can use,

Counter and smile, talk and move on,

Don’t call attention and we won’t either,

Edge of town, edge of the border, and,

It’s hilarious that the world beyond is the same.

A man on the other end of the nation supports you,

And yet he won’t truly come stand next to you,

For he feels embarrassed, flushed red,

The same way he would with his traditional spouse,

On a dinner at night in some neon capital,

He gets to visit for his work.

And, truly, who can blame him?

Who would choose to be here?

Life pulled them there based on what they were,

Much in the same way you were here,

All you get to do is point and pray,

That the next stop offers some relief.

Backstep, backstep, you’ve spent enough time,

You’ll feel better pushing out here,

For the man is you, I’m sure you’ve known,

To that end, he sacrifices for you too,

You need not stand where he does,

In his shoes, you need only dream.

So make sure he need not stand here, too,

Ease and walk, push and talk,

You will, you can, you do, there’s nothing else,

For, as much as words warm the heart,

They can’t inscribe themselves on paper,

So make those who can, pick up the pen.

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