an online showcase curated by Maya Kóvskaya



by Seth Michelson



Tonight it hits me y de repente
I'm struck by acid understanding:
assimilation es una trampa
de los devotos de la ausencia.
I mean, quién de nosotros
would lust wildly for her own disappearance?
We must speak nuestras lenguas
or cease to exist, correcto?
So our tongues flicker-trip
over linguistic borders, spitting
blue-green fire with the crazed fury
of what the gods would be
si no estuvieron perdidos en mitos:
of homogeneity, that bad translation
of our mosaic lives, minds, and bodies,
our forests of Ash, Hickory, and Beech
hacked to bits and sold as “firewood,”
the violence of enforced uniformity
la cosa que más me da miedo.
Why else would young gay men
jump from presidential bridges
when instead they could be safe at home
playing violin for a wine-drunk boyfriend
until neither man can resist
the impassioned, thrusty bowing
and a shirt is unbuttoned
and a breast is bared
for a tongued arpeggio with staccato moans?
¿Me entendés, mon hypocrite lecteur,
mon semblable, mon frère?
I'm the dark matter of the senses
exploding into starlight. These
are Spanglish Queer Outlaw love songs
cantadas para los hombres necios,
and for my sons, and for my neighbor,
the closeted Baptist preacher,
who, like many, thinks men are beautiful
but fools to as couples, their lives
un estilo de vida, and a sinful one.
Such is the singularity of his puto de vista;
you feel me, mis compañer@s?
I want to whisper into his narrow ear canal,
Dejá de joder, boludo. Or better yet:
Dejálos joder, y en paz. I’m just trying
my damnedest here to say
Leave us be, perform your exorcismos
elsewhere, like in the confessional booth
of your locked bathroom,
where, alone, gone pre-verbal loco,
you’ll pull out a razor blade and slash
at your heart
in an attempt to excise
its impurities, though
all you'll end up with
is a wasted razor blade
and two bloody hands, both empty.
Entonces, mis queridos, mis
compatriotas from the land beyond absence,
remember this: we exist
and will conform, but only if necessary:
to duck a back-alley beating,
a schoolyard bully, to avoid
being tied to a rural fence
by escapees from cathedrals of hatred,
instead we'll appeal
to grocery-store saints, blessed
dogs, PTA moms, and the prismatic genius
of our own magnificent, multitudinous bodies
such that when you, a grown person,
find yourself crouched with fear
in a homophobic bar or court room,
or, worse, like my pal Viju,
thrown into a brick wall
by a drunk bigot, yes, even there,
bloodied, your teeth
chipped, mind skittering, you’ll be
strong enough
to close your eyes, inhale
deeply, and begin to sing.



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