Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I Listen to Istanbul

By Orhan Veli Kanik

I listen to Istanbul, my eyes closed:
The cool covered bazaar,
Mahmutpasha, the courtyards
Filled with warbling pigeons,
Hammer sounds from the docks,
Smells of sweat in my lovely Spring wind;
I listen to Istanbul, my eyes closed.
I listen to Istanbul, my eyes closed:
An old world drunk in its head,
A waterfront palace with a dark boat shed,
The humming of the lodos ceases inside;
I listen to Istanbul, my eyes closed.
I listen to Istanbul, my eyes closed:
A pretty young girl walks by
Chased by taunts, come-ons and curses,
Something falls from my hand—
Surely a rose;
I listen to Istanbul, my eyes closed.
I listen to Istanbul, my eyes closed:
A bird is fluttering in your skirts,
Your brow is hot, I know,
Your lips are wet, I know, I know,
A white moon rises behind the pistachio trees—
I understand the pounding of your heart;
I listen to Istanbul, my eyes closed.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Good Bones

By Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real s---hole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

For colored boys who speak softly

By Yosimar Reyes

For colored boys
I will crucify myself like Christ
let my blood purify and sanctify these words
create a doctrine and go knocking door to door
letting the people know that messiahs are here
that we are messengers
even though we embody the word queer
that we are a reminder of
how colonization has destroyed nuestra cultura
they burned our villages, nuestros pueblos
implemented homophobia, sexism, and machismo
in las cabezas de nuestros abuelos
brainwashed our ancestors into believing
that boys like us are a manifestation of the devil

For colored boys who speak softly
I'll remind the world that centuries ago
we were shamans and healers
gifted warriors
two-spirited people highly respected by villagers
but now we've become
nothing more than fags and queers
making ourselves believe
that capitalism will solve our issue...

I'll recognize
that there is more than one wound to heal
more than one struggle that we feel
but this ignorance blocks us from seeing
the greater picture, the greater evil
and these same issues
these same issues transcend the borders
because brothers and sisters
in Oaxaca
in Chiapas
in the Philippines
in Iraq
are resisting this very same system...

For colored boys
I will remind my people
que somos diferente
que somos gente
con cultura, con orgullo, con poder
we are people
and with the people we stand
breaking borders and stereotypes
like this system that exploited our hands...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The War Continues

By Cherríe Moraga

Flesh is full
of holes.

It is made
to breathe
secrete
receive.

It is nothing
against
bombs
and
bullets.

It is not meant
to be a barrier
against
anything.

But this dark flesh
will resist you flee
you who believe
you are not made
of the same
skin
and
bones.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Poem for Pulse

By Jameson Fitzpatrick

Last night, I went to a gay bar
with a man I love a little.
After dinner, we had a drink.
We sat in the far-back of the big backyard
and he asked, What will we do when this place closes?
I don’t think it’s going anywhere any time soon,
I said, though the crowd was slow for a Saturday,
and he said—Yes, but one day. Where will we go?
He walked me the half-block home
and kissed me goodnight on my stoop—
 properly: not too quick, close enough
our stomachs pressed together
in a second sort of kiss.
I live next to a bar that’s not a gay bar —
we just call those bars, I guess
— and because it is popular
and because I live on a busy street,
there are always people who aren’t queer people
on the sidewalk on weekend nights.
We just call those people, I guess.
They were there last night.
As I kissed this man I was aware of them watching
and of myself wondering whether or not they were just
people. But I didn’t let myself feel scared, I kissed him
exactly as I wanted to, as I would have without an audience,
because I decided many years ago to refuse this fear
— an act of resistance. I left
the idea of hate out on the stoop and went inside,
to sleep, early and drunk and happy.
While I slept, a man went to a gay club
with two guns and killed fifty people. At least.
 Today in an interview, his father said he had been disturbed
by the sight of two men kissing recently.
What a strange power to be cursed with,
 for the proof of our desire to move men to violence.
What’s a single kiss? I’ve had kisses
no one has ever known about, so many
kisses without consequence—
but there is a place you can’t outrun,
whoever you are.
There will be a time when.
It might be a bullet, suddenly.
The sound of it. Many.
One man, two guns, fifty dead—
Two men kissing. Last night
is what I can’t get away from, imagining it, them,
the people there to dance and laugh and drink,
who didn’t believe they’d die, who couldn’t have.
How else can you have a good time?
How else can you live?
There must have been two men kissing
for the first time last night, and for the last,
and two women, too, and two people who were neither.
Brown people mostly, which cannot be a coincidence in this country.
which is a racist country, which is gun country.
Today I’m thinking of the Bernie Boston photograph
Flower Power, of the Vietnam protestor placing carnations
in the rifles of the National Guard,
and wishing for a gesture as queer and simple.
The protester in the photo was gay, you know,
he went by Hibiscus and died of AIDS,
which I am also thinking about today because
(the government’s response to) AIDS was a hate crime.
Reagan was a terrorist.
Now we have a president who loves Us,
the big and imperfectly lettered Us, and here we are
getting kissed on stoops, getting married some of Us,
some of Us getting killed.
We must love one another whether or not we die.
Love can’t block a bullet
but it can’t be destroyed by one either,
and love is, for the most part, what makes Us Us—
in Orlando and in Brooklyn and in Kabul.
We will be everywhere, always;
there’s nowhere else for Us, or you, to go.
Anywhere you run in this world, love will be there to greet you.
Around any corner, there might be two men. Kissing.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pride Poem

By Karen G

I am privileged to be queer & here

beneath the entertainment stages and in the wiring,
at the bottom of the beer cozy.

Stringing together the booths selling everything
from Utilikilts and chirping wood frogs to chicken on a stick

are the long shadows of our ghosts who couldn’t make it here today.

Behind the banners of rainbow flags and generous sponsors
are the sore knuckles and hoarse voices who know what time it is
on government clocks right now,

and for those paying attention,
we’ve come so far to be here & queer
and proud,
but we still have far to go.

Pride celebration is a perfect example of so many lessons
like how there’s something for everyone
like how many of us there are
like how necessary this space still is
like how some of us would rather integrate than assimilate
and that, as a celebration like this one proves,
there’s room enough for everyone.

Despite the blow-up balloons of corporate logos
trying to appeal to our target market
like we’re a red bull’s eye
(because, you know they love our money
but hate our sin)
I come to Pride to remember
in the decade before I was born,
people in this tribe were arrested for kisses,
twined fingers,
meeting for a drink
and following the blood in their hearts.

I come to Pride remembering that in my life time
it was flagrant queens in too-tall heels and caked make-up
who by sticking up for themselves,
proved it's the radicals among us
who often make the biggest changes
for all of us.

I come to Pride because this year
two of my friends and countless others
whose numbers are whimpered away with
"we can't be sure it was a hate crime"
made hospital visits because they were
bashed for being faggots.

I come to Pride remembering that I have a Queer Nation,
that I still Act-Up
and that Silence will not Equal My Death

I come to Pride because
somewhere tonight someone is healing from surgery,
stepping into freedom from bindings or accessories
into a body that’s always been under the surface
and I want that body to be seen on its own terms
and met there with respect.

I come to Pride because
it is always somebody’s first time
first kiss
first love
and I believe in furtive firsts
becoming solid seconds
following the freedom
of a self-defined life
rather than a life hung on rungs
of someone else's expectations.

I come to Pride
enduring the heat
and enjoying the sweaty hugs of friends
because somewhere and right here
lives are in motion
following their own trajectories
of love & discovery
epiphany & possibility
just as names have done before them
and faces will follow afterwards.

I come to Pride because
the nation in this planet
holding us in orbit
hasn’t caught up with the ways
people are already living in it
and have been living in it
on the ground
both before us and right now,
but the future of changing that orbit
both for the ghosts
for us
and for those coming
is up to us.

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