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Sex is awkward! Gender is confusing!
Discovering his gender and sexual identities in the lonely dungeon of the pandemic, Echo Corby found an outlet through poetry. Graduating high school as everyone was thrust into isolation, friends were hard to find and love was even harder. Loneliness made him crave connection even more, but what did he like and who would love him?
Piecing together the queer world, Corby uses comedy and anecdote to express the uncomfortable ins and awkward outs of gender, sex, love and all outrage that comes with categorization. This collection of autobiographical poetry is a form of release and expression of the vibrant emotions that so many of the LGBTQIA+ community struggle with.
Corby prides himself as an open-book. The vulnerability enclosed within these pages proves as much.
Read an Excerpt
I went to a plant shop with my family/friend,
And knocked things over like a freight truck making a tight turn,
In the shop with candles and glass things and books propped on spindly legged tables,
You’d wonder why I was so concerned,
Of course something would fall! —But no.
I’m not usually this uncoordinated,
And compared to the family/friend I brought along,
The person my family doesn’t trust with any drink without a cap,
Who was suddenly surefooted in contrast to me,
And as lithe as sun-basking deer.
The reason for my klutziness I realized as we left,
Was I had a crush on the person behind the counter.
And when I asked them to make a cactus and succulent array,
Maybe it was an apology for my prudence and an excuse to stay.
In the general area, while they made me my pot,
I knocked over dirt after the candles, I knocked over a lot.
When I spilled all those candles onto the ground,
The most upsetting thing was that they weren’t even around!
I’d never been that clumsy, I didn’t think,
Shatter glass, spill dirt,
Then I turn pink,
When they’re there and they smile at me.
Of course, I offered to pay—
They declined the offer, smiling.
Wait, isn’t that the American way?
But in Europe they don’t do that, the store writes it off as tax.
I wish I had known that before I let my companion assure me that I didn’t need to
To make me relax.
Is it desperate to ponder if they had let me pass free,
Because they were actually attracted to me?
Their coworker looked peeved,
But they smiled perhaps dissimilar to anyone I’ve met.
I mentioned the dorms; they knew I wasn’t twelve.
They must have assumed I was a lesbian like everyone else.
I know they assumed this of me because of a conversation after,
Where my family/friend said to me that they hadn’t even asked her—
They had told her that we made a great couple.
I didn’t ask of course, but based on the conversation’s context,
It seemed clear my companion didn’t correct them.
Why didn’t she correct them? Maybe it didn’t feel right,
When we spilled in their store and made their shift tight,
With cleaning up the glass and the bits of dirt
That I left in my wake when I turned my metaphorical skirt
To the door with my cactus in hand.
I don’t claim to know their pronoun,
I’d never just assume,
But they could quite possibly have been a lesbian too.
And in that case, maybe I would dare to be a lesbian for a day.
Or is that too self-destructive to muse then to say?
Now I stare at the wall,
Of a date we might have had,
Or a life with some meaning.
Maybe I’m just depressed,
Or it’s just PMS,
But I consider a life that isn’t such a stagnant mess.
No pandemic—I’m in college,
Surrounded by peers,
And I’m not suffering from the loneliness,
That makes minutes feel like years.
And my family/friend keeps laughing,
About the stuff that I spilled,
In the store with my crush,
Where I can’t hope to rebuild,
A relationship with them because they think I’m a double—not single—lesbian.
About the Author:
Having started writing “seriously” as an ignorant fourteen-year-old, Echo has progressed in his writing and editing skills since finding the inspiration in middle school. His whole life, his imagination has always driven him in the creative writing and arts fields. The imagination of childhood has never left him but has evolved into something malleable to his career and tolerable in his vocabulary and sentence structure. Echo’s writing and other creative endeavors have deep relevance to his personal life, as his characters, world and themes always reflect aspects of his personality and identity in ways that may go beyond the average reader’s comprehension. Often writers add elements of themselves to their characters, as it is easier to write what we know, but Echo goes beyond that in exploring deeply sentimental to traumatic elements in his life as a form of therapy for himself and others tackling similar internal conflicts. As a trans masc, nonbinary, pansexual man discovering his identity in the middle of a pandemic, his writing also acts as a way of exploring himself deeper as well as dealing with mental health issues he has been struggling with his whole life. Writing is both deeply personal for him and also something he has always wanted to share with the world. He feels emotions are better told then hidden and that building a community is extremely important to recovery and rejuvenation.