15 June 2016

Poem-A-Day #107 : Assimilation Is The New Weapon

Assimilation Is The New Weapon*

Wind is picking up drops from the silver clouds and setting them on the heads of the people gathered around the monument to dead Spaniards killing Natives

And this is how we begin - we pray a Catholic prayer that mentions Conquistadors and imperialism - this is how we honor our dead - many from an island currently in the limbo of colonial rule

And the gay mayor will stand there and call himself the MC for this event like it's a prom and there will be bands and refreshments and maybe someone will get lucky in the bathroom

Politicians and activists will stand and congratulate themselves on their progressive bona fides and talk about the children they have and how those children just hate gun violence

You will be forgiven for thinking this is a rally for assault weapons bans and sane gun regulations and not the vigil for the dead - all the dead - in Orlando

The joke is that Santa Fe is a Disney version of Spanish colonialism in the Americas - the adobe and rounded corners a sort of hall of mirrors to attract tourism

But where are the fucking queers in this vigil for dead queers - the nice heterosexual white lady up there needs us to clap for her tears so let's go ahead and clap

The politicians certainly want our votes but really Javier - M-fucking-C - like a fucking party - like we're in the nightclub and it's only 1AM and the idea of violence is so far away that we can't hear it over the sound of music and drag and alcohol and dancing

Like the moment isn't coming when the sound will drop out and the screaming will start and people will fucking hide in bathrooms and play dead and be killed like cattle in a yard - is that the party you want to MC Javier - we expect our queer politicians to be better - to not only mug for national cameras and claim community when it serves a career

Heres the thing - Peace Choirs are bull shit - gun violence is a discussion worth having - but the sky is opening up and the clouds are sending down freezing cold drops and this is what you bring us - a woman who was shocked that gun violence exists in America - a politician in a suit clapping for his colleagues who bothered to show up - letting the queers speak 45 minutes into a vigil to our dead

Look at their bodies - this is how it begins - the club is dark and packed and sweaty and amazing and the music is a heartbeat - the heartbeat scatters into the corners and then there are bullets tearing and it is a different but equal kind of awe - a different kind of rhythm because even then - as those queer people - brown people - our people - were dying there - we all knew how this would go

Hands can only wring themselves so much - skin is not like paper but it does go raw and your tears are not cleansing like this desert rain and your ambition is not the same thing as grief

And maybe it is a dance and we are all moving sullenly and the band is terrible because it just keeps playing the same damn song about loss and redemption until our ears can no longer hear

Near the memorial to the dead Spaniards who came to this land and conquered it and killed the people who lived here where they stood - a man collapses

In grief or tedium is unclear - but his gray hair is slicked back and his shirt is open and he has on a pride medallion and the urge to ask how many dead in his past is too sharp to bear

How many vigils has he seen - how many in rain - how many were attended to by the wings of dark angels bearing news cameras and platitudes about guns



* Quote from CAConrad's The Library of Congress Censored Interview (Bloof Books)