Fam

I still think about it sometimes,
the day I was fired.
The owners had just cause
or so you said.
I was a kid,
expendable,
degenerate,
truthfully
you just didn’t like me.
What was it you said
I said?
“I hate gays.”
Then I threatened you
with a scissors,
not the knife
I always carry
because I know
what it’s like
to be a hated gay.
Family.
A word I learned
as I came out of the closet.
I learned in college.
I learned at Pride.
I learned in heartbreak.
I learned with the shock waves
of Orlando.
I learned through history:
The Stonewall Inn
The Up Stairs Lounge
Matthew Shepard
Rebecca Wight
Brandon Teena,
the list,
unfortunately,
goes on.

I was working two jobs
to support my family.
I left, enraged.
Our boss,
family,
cried.
Maybe because
so many acts of ill-will
against our family
come from the outside,
she never expected one
from within.
Were those tears
for me?
The wrongly accused.
Were those tears for you?
Such claims had to believed
even when they seemed
impossible.
Were those tears for her?
Because she believed.
Because she didn’t believe.

Truthfully,
the details don’t matter.
What’s done is done
and there’s no going back.
What weighs in my mind
and in my heart
is how many others
suffered your wrath?
What led you down this path
to stab your own family
in the back?
How can we expect respect
from those who don’t understand
when we can’t even
respect each other?
There are enough people
holding us down,
quieting our voices,
telling us we are wrong.
Shouldn’t we support
those we call family?

© AUtumn Siders 2018
Fam

Can You Imagine?

Can you imagine
being evicted
by a landlord
who took your land?
Can you imagine
being welcomed
only then to have
that door slammed?
Can you imagine
leaving all you know
for a better life
on a distant shore?
Can you imagine
dreaming so big,
not just rags to riches,
but a little bit more?
Can you imagine
what is only a dream
since the color of your skin
is a little less white?
Can you imagine
a world without color
where people actually
do what is right?

© Autumn Siders 2018
Can You Imagine?

B-Side

People wonder all the time how I can dislike the area in which I live. It’s got the largest lake in New Hampshire, hiking trails, beautiful views, and some land that still remains untouched by the evil hand of development. While I personally believe that Mother Nature should remained unchanged, I tend to disagree on the matter of change as it applies to human beings.

Some 300 years ago, we burned “witches.” Just about 100 years ago, women finally won the right to vote. Just over fifty years ago, African Americans were required by law to drink from separate water fountains (“bubblahs” if you’re from Massachusetts). Just a few months ago, the world finally recognized that sexual harassment might actually be a bad thing. And today, hate, prejudice, and witch hunts are still alive and kicking.

How can we make so many strides and end up exactly where the human race was over 300 years ago? Well, let’s go back to my lovely New England community and take a look.

First, you may have heard of the wonderful community in which I reside. It has been on the news in years past. In case you missed it, here is the story of how the police commissioner felt about having a black president. While his racist sentiments do not reflect the whole of the town, there are certainly enough people around here who are the same page as this “good ol’ boy.”

Maybe you’ve heard, there is a new book out called Fire and Fury which has some inside “facts” (you never can be sure these days) about the current president. President Trump feels so strongly about this book that he tried to stop its publication…welcome to our brave new world. In the short time it has been out, this book has managed to jump to the top of the bestseller list for independent booksellers. As an independent bookstore, we carry all sides of the political spectrum and on several occasions and from both sides, have heard positive and negative feedback about books that may not match an individual’s views. This will never stop us from carrying any book. “Censorship” is almost as bad a word to say in an independent bookstore as “Amazon.”

Just the other day, we had a customer approach the counter upon seeing Fire and Fury at the top of the bestseller list. She informed us that her husband told before she left that morning that if we carried the book, she should stop patronizing our store. This is not the first ridiculous comment I have heard from this customer and most likely not the last, that is if she doesn’t tell her husband about this atrocity and actually returns to the store.

The group that she meets with is mixed on the political spectrum, but conversations overheard throughout the years have often left me fuming and not just with this group. A group of all women has failed to see discrimination as they carry on about how all women should be housewives. I’ve overheard that “Asians are only good for doing nails.” I’ve heard things said about Michelle Obama that even I won’t repeat. My all-time favorite during the holidays, “Merry Christmas, I won’t ever say Happy Holidays.” And who can forget the customer who tried to “pray my gay away?”

Don’t get me wrong, this happens everywhere; I get it. But here, this is the way of life. This is the way people think. This is they way it has been and for the foreseeable future, will always be. It is okay to be racist. It is okay to crush diversity. It is okay to hate.

Not for me. The only thing I hate, is that this is okay. It has to stop being okay.

I’ve come to realize that as long as human beings exist, so will hate. On the other side, as long as human beings exist, so will love. Let’s all try to make sure that “hate” is on the B-Side of this record.

B-Side

Take it from a Cat

The world is simple from my eyes,
I wish humans could see the same.
A nice nap and a meal will do
or maybe a cat and mouse game.

I fill my days with love for myself
so call me selfish if you will,
but I’ll never really hate you
unless you try to give me a pill.

Sure I am not loyal like a dog
but I think my pride’s enough
at least I spread no hatred
over superficial stuff.

Yes, I know I’ve killed,
but just a mouse or two
and not because of hatred
or who they prayed to.

I may not be the best judge
but at least I can see
that love will get me dinner faster
than will negativity.

© Autumn and Emilita Siders 2017
Take it from a Cat

On Being a Football Hating Midwesterner Living in New England

Your team won?

How great?

Bread and circus

sure can elate.

Take your eye

off the ball

just one second

you’ll miss the call.

What should

unite us all

can divide even more

and make us fall.

It’s only a game

so haters don’t hate

and winners remember

love is better to create.

© Autumn Siders 2017

On Being a Football Hating Midwesterner Living in New England

If I Don’t Make it Home

I am not one to preface my work with an explanation and I have never believed good poetry needs one. Today though, I feel as though this work stands stronger with the explanation of how it came to be. As I was leaving the house this morning, a day in which the 45th president of the United States will be sworn into office, I thought to myself, is there anything you should say to your loved ones before you leave today?

It shocked me that this thought entered my mind and I pictured the words rolling out of my mouth, “If I don’t make it home…” Are there any secrets that I should share? Are there any unresolved feelings? Is there something that would make my loved ones unable to feel closure after I am gone? Also, why the hell would I think this?

We are not just stepping into a new country today, we are stepping into a new world. Every action made today impacts the globe; the politics of one country affect everyone on this planet. One tweet from our new president could cause a war, both within our country and against it. More importantly, our actions can also be heard ’round the world.

You may support the soon-to-be President Trump. You may despise him. But remember, he ran a campaign on hatred. Move forward with positivity whether he is your president or not. Life is made of choices, make sure you make ones with which you can live. These words come from both the New Testament (Ephesians 4:32) and Ellen, so whichever you choose to acknowledge please take them to heart. Be kind to one another.

Without further ado, the poem you’ve been waiting for:

If I don’t make it home,

there are a few things you should know.

I’ve hidden money in our spot

in case I had to go.

My favorite memory of life

is the day you stole my heart

which would have been second

to the family we hoped to start.

Please know I didn’t want this,

as the choice was not mine to make;

my choice is always you

it’s another’s choice to take.

The press will say it’s all your fault,

but believe me, it’s just not true.

Hatred claimed my life that day,

not my love for you.

© Autumn Siders 2017
If I Don’t Make it Home

Love Trumps Hate

*Disclaimer: The following is not intended to sway anyone’s opinions or beliefs. It is however, intended to sway your feelings. If you take offense to any of the following, I don’t give a fuck. Grow up.

I pride myself on political apathy. I have never acted upon my right to vote, but I also do not complain about the results. Apathetic, sure, but hypocrite, no. This time around is no different. I will not complain about the results but rather the reaction of all these people who believed in the system. It seems the whole country, maybe even other countries are so shocked by these results. I am not though. I would like to think I see this “great” country in a different light than others. I knew from the beginning of this circus that the only person who might be able to beat Trump would have been a Kardashian.

I, like many others, was hoping that once the election was over, we would finally see an end of the ridiculous behavior from both sides. It would appear my hopes have been crushed. It is quite possible that things are worse now, and it’s not Trump’s fault. Surprise!

I am saying all of this as a member of a minority whose rights may now be at risk, but then again, nothing in this life should be taken for granted. I know it has been pointed out by some already, but we do need to realize that in other parts of this world, there are many people who have it far worse than we do. Americans do have this sense of entitlement which has gone on for far too long.

That being said, Trump hasn’t even taken office, but his foes have already taken the offense. Do I think that he is going to “make America great again?” No. But maybe we should give the guy a chance since he will be leading this nation for at least four years. Unless he decides to grab the wrong pussy and gets impeached.

If there is one thing we have learned from his campaign, it’s that there is a lot of hate in this country. So, what has been the major reaction to his election? More hate. This is definitely not the answer by any means. We don’t have to like him, but we also shouldn’t hate him. We shouldn’t fear him either. There has been a lot of work in past years to put everyone on an even playing field. So much work, that it will take time to dismantle it if that is the path the new administration plans to take. And they will win, if we fight fear and hatred with fear and hatred.

People are spending so much time worrying about what could be and forgetting to live in the moment. I could end up being gunned down by a homophobe three weeks from now or a stack of books could collapse upon me tomorrow trapping me until I take my last breath. I don’t care, because I live in the now and enjoy the things that matter. My family, my friends, my cat, my bird, The Walking Dead. Happiness is not determined by who sits in the oval office. Could that person make it harder to be happy? Sure. But I know for a fact that no matter what is taken from me, love is one thing that cannot be taken. Choose to love, not to hate.

Love Trumps Hate