Micro-violences

The poem “History, according to Boy” is a collection of poems that exposes the feeling of guilt, invisibility, physical and psychological violence that pervade the lives of LGBT people. The sections are episodes that remained ingrained in Saaed Jones’s mind during his teenage years.

Jones had a blue journal in which he would eternalise these moments through his writing. It wasn’t always easy for him to write these thoughts, though. In the essay “A Poet’s Boyhood at the Burning Crossroads”, Jones said “There was no one moment in which I was suddenly able to shatter silence into language (2).” He had never had space to talk about his sexuality with his family. Silence was the rule. The constant silencing made it difficult for Jones to process his own feelings and write about how he feels.

In the essay, we learn that Jones has starting writing about himself as a gay man when he came out to his close friends. In section 5, however, he was only 12. In “History, according to Boy”, Jones is the “Boy”. He talks about various micro-violences that had happened to him, but which are universal in the sense that they represent the silencing and hurt that LGBT people have to go through since they are kids. The micro-violences can be blatant (when D., a classmate, calls Jones a fag, for example) or very subtle. The one we see in section 5 is subtle, but has managed to remain in Jones’s mind.

Jones’s father dims his smile when seeing his son hopping after shooting precisely.  This second-long action, so subtle, has survived in Jones’s mind through the years. The poet was very young and hadn’t come into terms with his sexuality, but this micro-violence instills in him the poison of self-shame and guilt.

 

One thought on “Micro-violences”

  1. I understand what you’re talking about, and I agree to an extent. I definitely agree that society aims to silence LGBTQ youth, but I thought of this poem as Jones using third person as a ways of escapism. To me, this poem was a mix of silencing by society, which you pointed out, and self escapism- a way to distance himself from the label of ‘gay’.

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