“Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge” by Courtney Campbell

June 19, 2015

For the entire month of June RESTLESS is celebrating Pride by featuring work exclusively by LGBTQ writers. Check out the “Pride2015” tag for more.

I.
Perched in the Hotel Palomar San Francisco in the Golden Gate Bridge Suite,
room number 512, pompously priced at $439 per night,
I stroke my pooch seated to the left alongside the coffee table
so delicately crafted by the artist Richard Bulan
from leftover steel extracted from one of the seven wonders.
My story is told in the expansive, opaque decal that stretches across five of the bay windows etched into finely wrought walls.

II.
That black Toyota Camry, there, two-thirds across the bridge
is stolen. Kind of. It was my parent’s.
And so must many of the cars, paralyzed in the still traffic jam,
be filled with young, gay individuals like me,
having embarked on a hopeful journey to a new, more accepting city.
A city where public displays of affection are not looked on near as often
with a downward turn of the mouth, pursing of the lips, or pupils that will shame.
And as you steered high above the waters so I steered,
peering out across the bay at swelling waves that spill onto sandy shores and retreat again,
and lap at the sides of floats fierce with iridescent hues
that reflect a crew as invigorated as an athlete from runner’s high.

III.
I have felt the shackles fall as you have felt them fall,
the fetters fractured with each mile shed.
An array of aphids quivering in the colon replaced with the creeping joy
of a scrawny teenage boy coming to the realization
that he is about to pop his girlfriend’s cherry.

IV.
I, too, have sobbed on sleepless nights and tangled the notions of love and acceptance
and weaved them into one large, inseparable ball.
I, too, have had a heart made as pliable as putty, so easily misshapen by the fingers of society
and mouths enunciating ignorance.
I, too, have dropped my partner’s hand in public and turned from a chaste kiss on the cheek.
I, too, have faced a conservative household that condemned me to hell by the age of twelve.
But I, too, made it across the Golden Gate Bridge,
as will you.

 

Courtney CampbellCourtney Campbell graduated from Del Mar College with an Associate of Arts degree in English with Emphasis in Literature. She currently attends the Corpus Christi branch of Texas A&M University where she majors in English and minors in Creative Writing. Her short story, “Existential Exorcism,” is published in the Linden Avenue Literary Journal; her poem, “Ode to the Clitoris,” in the Switchgrass Review, and her creative nonfiction piece, “The Flaming Vibrator,” in Blotterature Literary Magazine. In addition, another poem titled “A Glimmer of Joy” is forthcoming in Sun & Sandstone.