this is not an origin story
this is not a trapped in the wrong body
this is not a detailed ethnography of the lisp,
the sway, the closet
this is not a history of fag, and sodomite,
and terrorist and all those fingers
tattooed around your throat

you are no longer a victim

tell it to yourself as you check all
the boxes: 
you, the model minority
edit // diversity
edit // affirmative action
edit // “i’m just dismantling the system from within!”
call it ‘brown’ to be vague enough
to get away with it
for the fellowship
at least

this is no longer about you:
the twenty two year old self-proclaimed performance artist
who speaks your
mind in public when it’s not too controversial
whose favorite word is colonization, which you serve at cafes built
on occupied land
flirting over soy hot chocolate
with radical activists who give you bell hooks quotes
to recycle on your facebook sometimes
forgot to tip the waiter cuz a gurl’s
gotta pay that rent in #brooklyn
the #struggle is real sometimes

this is not a story of shaving
at thirteen to keep the man out of you
this is not a romantic account of your
first kiss, your first love, your first heartbreak
we are no longer interested
in the boys who won’t fuck you,
and the flamboyant outfits that
consist of the clothing from the
women’s section you thrifted
because they made you look more
provocative and curious for the
boys who won’t fuck you
because you’re so provocative
and curious

you are no longer a victim,

tell it to yourself as you laugh
at all the un-educated, 
call it white.
call it rich people.
call it always not you people
getting gay married
getting gay not like you.

this is no longer about you,
in fact this was never about you
the hair that flirts out sometimes
under your collar, the deepen your
voice, the wipe off your lipstick
the put on man when it is convenient for you
the come out as genderqueer after taking
your first queer studies class at your private university
use theory to justify it all —
fluidity! fashion! fun!

you are no longer a victim,
so who is the victim? 
so who can we save now?

tell it to yourself
when he calls you beautiful,
and you run away and find lonely nights
for dramatic effect
and sometimes new metaphors
to use on new boys so that they can
call you beautiful but they are
never good enough because you
want to be a victim

on friday you have an interview
about growing up in small town
texas. tell them about the time
you learned gender in first grade
the same day the men in your class
learned to discipline their
tongues into silence
hearts into fists. tell them about the
times they almost hit you.

(but do not mention when you heard
them call her a slut and you said nothing because you wanted them to fuck you, 
do not tell them about the woman  who cooked for you, edited your polemics, drove you to your first protest – you look better than her in her vintage blazers, anyways)

you are no longer a victim
why not? but what about…?

tell it to yourself as you travel the globe
and use words like ‘solidarity’ to translate parties and conversations into activism, laugh
at all the other people who are not
like you because they are white
even though they are wearing the same bow ties, and irony, 
and vegan diets

we thought this was no longer about you?

next week they are running a story
on how conservative the south asian diaspora is. edit out the good parts, tell them about that one time he said, she said, you felt, you felt, you felt, tell them about how hard it was coming out – of your 3,000 square foot house – use words like honor and collectivism if you are feeling edgy and post-colonial

(do not mention the women in your
family who have no closets
to come out of because they are
full of baggage and discarded
promises from men like you
– they say you have your fathers’ scowl,
does that mean you share his fist? –
do not mention the way you
manipulated words like ‘love’
and ‘feminist’ to justify your exploitation of their labor and sympathy)

we swear this is no longer about you
this is about the movement!

at the poly/queer/trans/kink/fetish/poc/radical/radical/me/me/me conference last week you gave a great talk on how hard it is to manage all your romantic friendships, and how you
are trying to envision a new type of radical
love that’s so brave it’s post-marxist, post-queer, post-anti-capitalist
and they gave you a juicy honorarium for your groundbreaking ‘work’ because it’s gonna help them bring the revolution home and do #self-care

(do not mention that you wrote down the
speech on your Mac Laptop after cuddling with a boy in your apartment, the place you can afford from the speeches you do not practice with him because he would not get it because he’s not as radical as you’d like him to be, i mean not as oppressed as you’d like him to be)

you are a victim goddamnit it

tell it to yourself as you
write a poem about your #struggle
and spit it to audiences across the world
who might snap for you and might
even call you
provocative and
curious sometimes

this is no longer about you
you are no longer a victim
this was never about you
so who are you