Pride in Pictures and Poetry


This is one of my favorite issues of the year: Pride in Pictures. So many smiles and faces and signs and causes; all coming out and being seen. And, though there generally aren’t many words to accompany all the pictures, this year I am taking the opportunity to step aside and not suck any air out of the room by presenting a poem called “we” that was written by several hundred people during the Twin Cities Pride Festival. As a special project by the Queer Voices reading series and IntermediaArts, “we” captures the time just after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the recognition of same-sex marriage is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution. It is a piece of history in poetry.

With you and with thanks,





we shine

like the night

stars dancing in a crazy wind

we shine at the beach

and sing in one voice, ticking like a joyous metronome

we glisten

like a thousand divas

laughing loudly

loving forever

moving forward in vociferous vibration.

we love

fully willing

to turn back time and do it all again.


we sing like Miriam at the Red Sea

celebrating our international friendships

hanging out and sharing hugs

družim in delitev objemov.

we sing for our children and their friends

for David (lost and sadly missed)

for sunny days and summer skies

for a nation as it celebrates love.

we sing so we have music to dance to.

and faces surround us –

faces of joy and inclusion

beaming like little lights of the world

as fear and hatred dim and flicker and fade

we are one

a myriad of volatile voices

speaking in harmony

sprouting like young green leaves

all around us.

there is thrill in completion

in having come this far after walking for so long

our steps, heavy and weary.

but here we are

a community glowing, surrounded by affection,

strong and beautiful and authentic

in our gender

and in our love.


there are flags and kites and feathers

of future generations

majestic in their colors

majestic in their flight

floating in unison

as minds and hearts open

and love (equally)

our brothers and sisters

in this, our Garden of Eden.

we say yes to love,

yes to always

yes to unity and acceptance

and, after long last,

to loving openly.

we say no

to shame we don’t deserve.

like Vonnegut we hate this war

– this fight against oppressive swords.

yes, the battle was necessary

to honor those who came before

and those who have yet to come.


our guide is this brilliant sun

a sun of intuition

reflecting blues and greens pride of years long past,

reflecting back to the grass where love first started,

where love took root and grew as roots so often do.

our guides are those heroes who taught us

to love who we are

to fight with the strength of a diseased tree

to stand against hatred and injustice

and to remember where we came from.

love is always the answer, says the Court

let her in. let her in now.

         love is the answer. the answer is love.

and now we can find comfort in our own skin

and not hide our love within

and like roses we grow

graceful despite our thorns.

in the end we are a proud

rainbow of traditions and colors –

a community that has learned to love

in the midst of hate.

faith is our pride.

we have learned to love a queer love

an awesome, beautiful, powerful, political,

strong, unique, colorful, big, bold, queer love

that, when tossed away by others,

like a boomerang always manages to come back.


and who expected this sun to shine?

who expected love to flow,

hugs to abound

and kisses to flow without fear?

who expected us to be here

brilliant as the first sun just after the first rain?

who knew we would win 5 to 4?

who knew ours would be a rapid flight,

that feathery clouds would take wing,

that the Court would spawn such inspiration and passion and love?

who knew freedom would taste like this?

that our bellies would expand so with such joy?

that fifty states would now be mandated

to recognize love equally.


we shine despite the darkness

we sing despite the silence

we love despite the hatred

because love wins.

it is so ordered.

thus sayeth the Court.



Several hundred people added lines and images to the poem; John Medeiros edited the final version. Many thanks go to John Medeiros and Andrea Jenkins, co-curators of the Queer Voices reading series and to the volunteers of IntermediaArts who contributed to the project. If you are a writer and would like to read with the Queer Voices Reading Series, please contact IntermediaArts at [email protected].

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