the first time he called me gay and i googled it
and was convinced that i found myself
in the images on a screen:
a white man, a big city, and happiness
(or, two truths and a lie)

we do not yet have a word in the english language
vulnerable enough to hold the loneliness of being
thirteen years old and inheriting a body
that has been choked into silence

but we try our best don’t we? 

use ‘love’ to tell the story of
limbs searching for holes in one another
to push the trauma through
sew it shut

use ‘equal’ to heal from that deadly
combination of scar and stare
that body beaten into difference

use ‘trans’ to cross the
distance between a heart and a television screen
a flower and a fist
her and him

we do not yet have a word to capture
that initial sense of recognition: 
of a body becoming coherent to itself, 
an object becoming subject, 
brown becoming white.

so instead i am telling you a story
about a ‘body’ and a ‘loneliness’ 
who grew up together in a small town and a dark night
and clung onto a word like a mirror
until he could not distinguish himself from his own
did you experience my pain or
did i reflect it on you
to feel a little bit less alone?

we do not yet have a word in the english language
capable of accounting for all of the hurt
hurt people do
because this is not what english is for.

you see english is for hurting.
english has no words to discuss
itself because then maybe it would have to stop speaking.

in the mean time we will use
‘colonialism’ instead of ‘gay’
and maybe things will start making
sense again

for example:

definition: incoherence is resistance
in a world where your representation is regarded more seriously than your reality

definition: white men dance on stolen land and call it activism. 
send wedding invitations to the rest of us who
hate ourselves enough to attend

the shooting stars we wished
upon as kids have landed and come out
as drones

the engagement rings our country
flings across the ocean have revealed themselves to be
handcuffs in drag
(who is the terrorist now?)

hilary clinton tells the world that
gay rights are human rights after she supports
the war (definition: slaughter) against iraq (definition: homophobic)
and talks about economic justice (synonym: let them eat credit!)
for her 2pm rally
then invites Wall Street to her 4pm private tea

there are no contradictions here
she is speaking in english, 
a language determined to
deny difference and digest
the millions of flavors of queer across the world
and cough up ‘LGBT’ 
spit out ‘mine’

and we let this happen
because we have been taught to romanticize the violence
of seeing a white body on a screen and pretending like it represents us
like the way we will cry when hilary tells us she will fight
for LGBT rights
(SYNONYMS: torture, bomb, annihilate) 
and think that we are saving our people across the world because of it
(SYNONYM: doing more harm than good)

maybe we believe her because we are left
speaking this language of loneliness
holding on to it like a mirror
so that we are still walking around trying to find ourselves in one another
(i mean colonizing the entire world and
calling it building community)

we do not yet have a word in the english language
to apologize and actually mean it
so instead
i am giving you this brown in all of its
in all of its incoherence,
in all of its terror and loneliness

and i hope it translates
across the silence
of an entire country

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