August 3, 2016

LGBTQ Poets Respond to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting

Robert Américo Esnard

On Deciding Whether to Go Out

The mirror gives cruel instructions. It hates, and fears, and hangs itself on the wall of the bathroom, or the bar, or maybe it's the reflection. Either way, something says to shave, to cut away the brown hairs, to trim the image of the too curled, and too coiled, and too revealing of hidden history. Claves come in from the radio and somehow produce light. The feet flutter, honoring the salsa they learned at six. Pausing in a puddle of water, when they see themselves in the mirror. Perhaps it's the light. It's too light to go out, too glittery, too dazzling, too blatant, too proud. The reflection says blot. It says see, there is blood. The glitter is kind. The glitter says come and dance. But the mirror stays hanging. And it's only eight, and too bright, and too likely to be seen. The radio is safe. The glitter will get everywhere. The glitter will not go away; the claves come back. The feet slip in the water and hate themselves for failing in such revealing light. Upon reflection, it is in fact the image that fears the hairs, the bar hates the claves, and only loves the light. Maybe the bar is cruel. The salsa is too proud to be hidden, but too history to hang around the glitter. It is blatant everywhere. See, the feet do not know if they are coming or going out. Either way, the blood dazzles the bathroom, and the bar, and the hairs glitter in the water. And, without instructions, somehow, the image must honor itself. The radio flutters. The mirror gives pause, but cannot cut out the dance.

Robert Américo Esnard was born and raised in the Bronx, New York and studied Linguistics and Social Psychology at Dartmouth College. It is his experience with and study of personal and political semiotics that motivates his work as a poet and a dramatist. Accordingly, he would like to be clear that rainbows are not a surrogate for action.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press. All contents © the author.