August 3, 2016
LGBTQ Poets Respond to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting
Orlando, FL — June 12, 2016
I have written on my wrists, "If found,
Do not return. Do not resuscitate.
I have been marked
By gunmen as a new target,
I wear a bracelet saying,
"Turn off my phone, my mother
Won't be able to find me here
Among the silent bodies
Of my brothers, empty echoes
Of my sisters, do not worry her.
I won't be coming home."
I'm going home, to where
The rent's a little lower
And the stars are blue like new
Wallpaper. Nightclub floors
Aren't too attractive,
But here's the ground and
There's the shooter active
In his hunt, I press my nose
To bloodied tiles, smell
The smell of where my friends
Were sitting. Now they're dead.
How many times must hatred win?
How many times must love begin
To wilt a little more in places
Long deprived of decency?
How many friends do we
Have to lose before we tear
Open the battered closets,
Let the young ones breathe
For the first time in their lives?
Do not force them into secret
Clubs where namelessly they
Lie in puddles because you were
Ashamed your son liked other sons.
Better to love like the universe loves
The stars love the planets love the
Winds love the waters love the cells
Love the creatures love the plants love
The people coming home everyday
To loved ones of every color, creed,
And crimson heart that beats in steady
Rhythm with the movement
Of the dying and the living.
Stomp on broken lungs, broken
Hearts, feeling every feeling
Like a splash of cold fire
Touches every nerve-ending,
Sensitive songs in the raw, chafed
Hands of a cruel world, taken
Too soon before their parents
Could ever learn who they were,
Who they really were inside the
Denim cutoffs, leather bracelets,
Punk hairstyles memorialized
Ad infinitum, to limitless infinity,
To memories that can never stand
For the real body, and they were real,
They were real, they were
Real, and they loved the love that
Is more ancient than the stars,
Far deeper than the earth, more
Powerful than any gun or hate
Can ever be. They loved the love
Of living of loving of being one.
Let us be one. Let us be one.
Sage is a Creative Writing undergraduate student at Elms College in Massachusetts. They work on and have been published in their campus' literary magazine, BLOOM. They received the Blue House Fellowship from Elms College. And this summer they participated in the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts. They are a genderqueer student, struggling every day to make sense of why we continue to allow horrible atrocities like this shooting to happen to our brothers and sisters across the nation. Sage hopes this special edition will stand as a memorial to the ones we've lost, and a small testament of hope and celebration for the ones we've loved.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.