August 3, 2016

LGBTQ Poets Respond to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting

Michael Perez

6/12/16 (Flying Stone Poem)

1 This is for the first stone thrown at Stonewall, the hot night Judy Garland dies, and guys who live as girls or vice versa and dykes decide no more. This stone will always say No more. 2 This is for the front line, butch and femme and fierce as any sissy's sudden slap — just like Joan Crawford's lightening quick backhand snaps Ann Blythe from her delusion in "Mildred Pierce." 3

This is for Judy, Joan, Bette Midler, Bette, Liza, Aretha, Dusty, Amy, Adele and (add yours here), the icons that make soundtracks for your griefs —
And this slap is a vogueing gesture Davis
applies around Joan's cheekbones as they kiss,
like invisible motion marks that mark the start of an iconic truce written in lipstick that never bleeds.

4 This mutual surrender into sudden airborne wedded bliss is for Drew Leinonen and Juan Guerroro, who now walk Paradise's endless aisle forever to enact the ceremony denied them on 6/12/16 for life. This is for the sedimentary bed their bodies will inhabit — there is life at rest but never lost, this is Laramie, Wyoming in the rough-rocked stretch or land, of arms outstretched like Matthew Shepard's arms the night of 10/6/98 — 5 [ erased ] 6 When will Matt come down from his fence for good, when will Gwen Araujo not give her life for someone's trans-panic defense. My hands need virtual stones to build, to line an airborne aisle, where one day Drew and Juan can saunter down then — YASSSS! — leap up and pose mid-air where air bends gently to aerate their holy union in each breath they take — My hands needs virtual stones to build one aisle in the hard great unwashed flight time of our minds that guides each passenger to stand, exit with grace their aisle of seats like a buoyant steel cathedral just as Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo's grandma deplaned to leave the flight that took her back to earth as family plot, to not forget the fresh grief of her aisle's communal passage to board again in awe of common purpose, hearts in flight and now there will be no more stones as weapons stones to hurl to fling to throw in heat where Judy made it over the rainbow safely with every life on 6/12/16 in single file to greet her with each stoned man or woman levitating in one updraft that erases their sentenced shame in stones that took their lives: do not hate stones: to hail the rain of the last stone thrown — no more; a stone's trajectory will now miss its mark, be target-less, as stoned spirits reclaim the mineral faith that erased their lives to soar for good, for love, for good and now there will be no more dying lulled, coerced to automatic dust, in rough-rocked requiem forever more.

Michael Perez earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Florida State University and an M.F.A. from The University of Houston. His poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, BLOOM, The Journal Of Florida Studies, Route 7 Review, and as a finalist for the 2004 War Poetry Contest by His book chapters were part of the anthologies Florida In The Popular Imagination and The Tiger Woods Phenomenon. A new chapter about Susan Sontag and the state of American Drag is forthcoming in Sontag and the Camp Aesthetic: Advancing New Perspectives. Mike teaches technical writing, composition, and humanities (especially science fiction, ecological literature, and as much Flannery O’Connor as possible) at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. With much gratitude, thank you to Glass Poetry Press for this wonderful opportunity to begin healing and to be heard through the power of an online community.

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