i did not want to write about Orlando because it is not my story to tell.
1 part homophobia, 3/4ths cup race, garnish with
religious extremism, shake
and shake and shake, take
the glass and throw it against the side of a sanctuary,
watch the way mental illness coagulates
on the rim, eats through the varnish of a kitchen table we were gifted
by estranged aunts and uncles, people who still refer to your ex-girlfriend as
"friend", as in,
"how is your friend doing?"
well probably not great since
you are bleeding us all
and calling it an oil spill, calling it an accident, taking the tragedy like handfuls of sand and
shrugging, "what are we to do with all these toppled castles? here, here, have them back, this is your mess to clean but we will
i asked the universe for a drink, she brought
2 parts solitary epiphany and 1 part
i tell myself, perhaps this is how she speaks- in a short gun bursts.
perhaps i don't know her voice and search in the trees, search in the newspapers,
what does this mean? what does this mean?
on saturday night i was alone, bobbing in the center of a black lake, mountains folding in
on me, the stars were snow flurry sprinkled and i willed
tears to come. willed the crevices to rise up and consume me, spit me out someplace
full of knowing, i wanted my heart to seep out and bob back to the surface
suddenly whole again,
i asked the universe for a drink but i have been
holding her head under the water this whole time, repeating,
"do something that i understand, what does this mean? what does this mean?"
one message spelled out on every rock, every loon call, un-ignorable
i lived i lived i lived i lived i lived
like walking back into yourself, like pushing your shoulders off the bathroom floor to
find that you still have legs, still have blood, the earth has not left you
as you expected it might. i have been terrified
to enjoy life too much, as if once i revealed how happy i was
it would be suddenly, poetically, taken away again.
because life isn't fair, right? because we need to live expecting the punches, right? hide our
joy away, no one teaches you how to un-die. i
lived, i lived, i stole my second chance
and spent each breath smothering it for fear of hubris, fear that the universe might re-check
her books and realize her mistake.
the lake told me, saturday night, that i will not be penalized for happiness, that
it is a crime to not live while so many die.
we cannot rebuild our houses when people keep
snatching our hammers away, calling it
assistance, calling it alliance,
the best tribute is one that you remember, they hand us a drink
1 part apology and 2 parts "look, we get it, but not enough
to change", their names,
their ages, we do not broadcast every missed love, every missed
opportunity, no one asked if they wanted to become martyrs for a national
dialogue in which most voices are muzzled, ask why a straight white man was chosen to
ease the pain, ask who the fuck cares about
when we are doubled over from 49 stab wounds, get out of our clubs, get out
of our pain, but recognize it. ask your queer latinx friends how it feels to be
2 parts bullet and 1 part silence.
i did not want to write about Orlando because i was
safe saturday night. i was un-invaded, my cell phone is not