August 3, 2016

LGBTQ Poets Respond to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting

Darrel Alejandro Holnes

All Legs Lead to Naomi Campbell

— for Rosebud Ben-Oni We wear "criaras," gender- Bending, queer-as-cracked- Crowns tilted to the side Like we LGB royalTy, Like we long legs on a catwalk, smoking Up the haus with our Hot sex-kitten heels With our stomp and strut Until the windows are foggy And the bloggers are out Of breath and edges, Until we've snatched And slayed the runway at Fashion Week Wearing everything China is selling online That Americans haven't Yet Columbused. When I cross the streets Of Kreuzberg, and you The streets of Hong Kong, There are no breadcrumb trails. These big city streets Are wider than any runway But still we toe in style To the Schvety for beer Or to the rooftop for Cockatoos and secret teas With grandmother-in-laws And ghosts who only speak Cantonese. But still we stiletto Or loafer or boat shoe While running upstairs, While hanging from ladders, While climbing from the rooftop To the skies. There are such few of us Left standing these days after The club shooting in Orlando, After the lobotomies or Electroshock therapy, After AIDS, After passing for straight, After passing for white and white and white — Naomi Campbell Is a sunset over The 7 train on our way To get dumplings with Your husband, Brian Lee, While reading your poems About Tara or horses in Iceland That took you for a ride. Naomi Campbell is A dark shadow in a dream Your cousins don't realize Will save your uncle. Naomi Campbell Is a fire hydrant you unleash after Jerome burnt my city down, And Preston wouldn't come out To play. In another era, we are locked up loonies. In another era, we are deities. Tonight we are throwing blackberry phones, Dark-juiced and dangerous, At whomever dares to stand in our way Or tell us how or who to love. Strut your Stuff with me, Black Diamond. Come on; let's swallow the sun and burn Bright into the night until our bellies are Filled with so much hubris No man can ever put our kinship or kind asunder; Filled with so much hubris We put god herself to shame.

Darrel Alejandro Holnes is a poet and playwright from Panama. His poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Best American Experimental Writing, Day One, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere in print and online. He deeply mourns those lost in the shooting at Pulse in Orlando and other victims of gun violence in the USA. More information can be found at and @iamdarelo

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