So What?

So I looked at him - so what?
That does not mean I like his butt
And till you have some kind of proof
You ought to keep your big mouth shut.

You saw me stare at him - big deal!
That action shows not how I feel.
It's inconclusive evidence;
My fate with it you can not seal.

And so suspicion clouds your mind
You grasp at every straw you find
Your accusation's without base
I turn and I leave you behind.

So I looked at him - so what?
does that mean I like his butt?
Are visible, these thoughts of mine?
I must keep all the view ports shut.

For what if someone looked in there
And witnessed just how much I care
About a boy I hardly know?
Of longing looks I must beware.

I can not let the others see
Just what this boy has done to me.
His hair, his face, his smiling eyes
From gravity have set me free.

So I talked to him - my God!
Is conversation now outlawed?
And please explain how words, exchanged
Make you believe I'm acting odd.

"But you touched his hand," you say.
That's easily explained away:
He dropped his pen; I picked it up
And gave it back to him, okay?

And yes, our fingers touched just then
In mid-exchange of fallen pen.
Its innocence is clear and thus
You'll see you have no proof again.

However, though I tossed aside
His charges and his comments, snide,
That touch was more than what it seemed
And of its innocence I lied.

He dropped his pen; that part was true
And trust me - I won't lie to you.
But when I set it in his palm
He did what I dared not to do.

He touched my hand! And I could swear
That, knowingly, he held it there.
Such length of contact made me think:
"I wonder does my thoughts he share?"

So, with me he spent the night!
What makes you think that isn't right?
It happens all the time, you know;
A sleep-over is common, quite.

What did we do? Well, let me see . .
First, I did him then he did me.
And after that we went to bed -
Exhausted from such ecstasy.

I guess that's what you'd like to hear -
A quick confession, crystal clear
But you'll get no such thing from me;
I'll never say to you "I'm queer."

But oh, that night - that awesome night
It seems he shares my thoughts, all right.
And where I once saw clouds of gray
I now see him - a ray of light.

However, while a kiss we shared
In empty room to show we cared
That evil boy walked through the door
And at the two of us he stared.

At first I think he felt surprise
For he had just disproved my lies
But as the truth upon him dawned
There grew a look within his eyes.

He knew he had the fodder for
A weapon worse than that of war
So both our wrists he grabbed and then
He roughly pulled us toward the door.

We didn't struggle - didn't fight
'twas hopeless for his grip was tight
And as the door was opened wide
I watched his fiery eyes ignite.

And then we in the lunchroom were.
The sound of kids - the general stir -
Was muted as they stared at us.
Now, was I scared just then? Yes sir!

But something else was in command;
I knew I could rejection stand
Because the thing that matters most
Is not the crowd. I understand.

By then my head was pounding - loud.
The evil boy was standing proud
And while I realized we had won
He turned from us and faced the crowd.

He knew they'd listen - had no doubt
He didn't even have to shout.
He looked at us - his eyes ablaze
And then he took his weapon out.

So, you've got a gun. Hooray!
I will not opt to run away.
I'm stronger than you think I am;
I hold my ground - I choose to stay.

Ah, the trigger's pulled, I see
But are there bullets hitting me?
The power you once owned is lost
And you're just shooting blanks at me.

Okay, first I'll get the most obvious out of the way: the italics in this poem are the thoughts of the main character and thus function as either private battles within his mind or narration. The regular print is simply his reaction - perhaps spoken - to what is physically going on at the moment.

Now for the symbolism.

There are three main symbols within this poem. The first is the seemingly awkward use of a grouping of three stanzas before shifting narrative formats. This organization is a textual representation of the main character's focus on three parties: his friend, his reputation, and himself. Naturally, one should be aware of and care for oneself, as should one be aware of and care for one's friend - or, in this case, what equates to be a bit more than a friend - but clearly the main character is erroneous in putting so much emphasis on the public opinion of his actions. This constant grouping of three - which, you'll notice, consistently occurs only in the physical narrative - is broken only at the end of the poem with the last two stanzas, where he discovers the freeing power of not putting so much stock in what others may think of a given situation of which he is a part.

The second symbol, which re-emphasizes the previous point, is the rhyming scheme. You've noticed that the poem takes on an AABA pattern, right? Well, the stanza where he realizes what is truly important ("But something else . . . I understand.") and the last stanza of the piece do not have three rhymes for as any English teacher will tell you, two identical words (i.e. "stand" and "stand", "me" and "me") are definitely not rhymes. Therefore, the two stanzas that detail the character's revelation of the fact that he and his friend are the only truly important things in the current situation are accompanied by two rhymes, not three! This break from the constant repetition of threes is once again symbolic of his focus on only two objects at the end of the poem.

The third symbol of the poem is much more clear-cut. The weapon - or gun, as is later revealed in the piece - is obviously not an actual gun. It's simply a metaphor for the verbal artillery that the bully unleashes at the end of the poem - announcing to the whole school that the main character and his companion are gay. I just liked the comparison between firing blanks at somebody and the lack of effect the bully's words had on the morale of the main character.

Right, so that's about it. If you find anything else please let me know; unintentional symbolism is symbolism nonetheless. I hope you had as much fun reading this poem as I had writing it.



This poem is copyright 2002 Machelli, and comments may be sent by clicking his name.