On the Verge of Differences

Alison Bechdel is an acclaimed artist and illustrator best known for her graphic novel “Fun Home” which was later adapted into the 2015 Tony Award-winning musical of the same name. Alison, used her graphic novel to explain the process of understanding her identity as a lesbian woman as well as working through her complicated relationship with her father who was secretly gay as well. The following poem juxtaposes the relationship of Alison with her father Bruce to reveal how oftentimes one who feels alone in their identity has someone close to them who shares a similar story.

Image: Joan Marcus

Image: Joan Marcus

“On the Verge of Differences”

I wanna play airplane.

A young Alison soars over her father Bruce:

They are both searching for balance,

but cannot seem to find equilibrium.


They both develop their lives through words:

Alison combines them with illustrations.

Bruce combines them with anger and frustration.

Words lacking in communication.


They have each grown distant from their true selves:

A father who cannot make sense of his past.

A daughter who is coming to terms with her future.

Exploring their identities reflected in each other.


They find out information about each other kept in hushed whispers:

A daughter, gay - proud.

A father, gay - ashamed.

So alike yet so different.


Alison makes these differences tangible:

Unfolding her life’s narrative as she struggles

to find identity.

She chooses to create, to illustrate, to write.


Just two people wanting to soar:

one tangled, caught in the wires.

Just two people:

who want to play airplane.

Author: Melanie Rodriquez

Melanie Rodriguez is from Miami, Florida is a rising college freshman at Florida International University majoring in Journalism. In addition to her love for the written word, Melanie is also an avid performer and producer. She combines her passions with her dedication to political activism to approach these topics in a creative manner; she hopes to create a non-profit organization in the near future to address these issues through youth interaction. Melanie is eager to work with Make Muse to enact social change through creative means.