Paulie Lipman

No Returning

The only thing
Hitler and Orthodox Judaism
would ever agree on is that
I deserve to die

Under the Nazis, I
would’ve been forced
to wear a yellow star
and a pink triangle
prideless, point flipped down
denoting my “chosen” path
into Hell

I am Queer in my heart
and Jewish in blood
but my heart will always
shout the loudest

My heart and blood
have been engulfed
enough times to know
the true nature of burning
how small it starts
how little it takes to spread
and the myth that it
will eventually burn itself out

I did not know what
to name the fear I lived in
for 38 years
I couldn’t call it Closet
for it was too small a space
to qualify
Now I call it Coffin
I call it Pyre

If you torch a person at the stake
then it’s just a body
If you then kill the ghost
it’s an Exorcism
holy/ordained/above reproach
and is never considered Murder

Paulie Lipman is a former bartender/bouncer/record store employee/Renaissance Fair worker/two time National Poetry Slam finalist and a current loud Jewish/Queer/ poet/writer/performer. His work has appeared in the anthology We Will Be Shelter (Write Bloody Publishing) as well as The Emerson Review, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, Voicemail Poems, pressure gauge, and Prisma (Zeitblatt Fur Text & Sprache).