Jukebooks: October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman

13530012Matthew Shepard would have turned 38 years old this week.

Matthew’s story has been told many times since the night of October 12, 1998, when he was brutally beaten, tied to a fence, and left for dead. Matthew was killed because he was gay. In her award-winning novel, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, Lesléa Newman explores the tragedy from multiple viewpoints, writing in powerful free verse.

She writes:

two thin white tear tracks
one red swollen blood-caked face
this is someone’s child

Could it happen again? It can, and does, in large and small ways.

In 2013, an Irish musician named Hozier released the song, “Take Me to Church.” The dark, measured tone of the music, combined with Hozier’s sorrowful voice and heart-wrenching lyrics, call to mind the gravity of dangerous love. In creating this 2014 music video, it was Hozier’s suggestion to show two young male lovers. The fear it evokes reminds the viewer of Matthew Shepard, as well as countless unnamed men and women who have been tortured, and even killed, because they are gay.

-Diane Colson, who is currently reading How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon.