Walking home alone
confused among the chrysanthemums
I shouted aloud: Where do we go from here?
There needs to be something,
someplace, somehow far from here.
Here, where the road is
littered with mottled-black
stones breaking through
or the ones that died trying—
and by trying, I should say fighting—On this particular night,
I dared myself
to think of all
I could’ve been.
And there are many,
so I implore you: turn from our cities as they burn
watch our sky unhinge it jaws like a yawn. Open like a mother’s arms
after years without contact. The clouds are your mother’s
lips landing upon a swollen bruise violently-violet and hidden away.
Our sky is the color of smoke as it gets in your eyes. Every so often
the sun saunters to the center and bleaches everything
pinecones and needles, narratives and evidence of last night ’s arrogance
There are many white gay men
with many more opinions about Orlando,
again. And then
they will have more to say
but what I want
to say has a memory
of its own something
they could not
that violet self
that old, ornery,
Grey as the lip
of the lake
where tiny fish
flirt with birds
dancing the impossible-blue.
Those tiny fish were my kin. Mine. With names like the one my father gave me. A name I had
to chase down to write down on papers as they rollicked across rivers agendas and state-lines to write this and only you reading it here will read it.
Roberto F. Santiago
Roberto F. Santiago received his MFA from Rutgers University, and BA from Sarah Lawrence College. He is a 2016 Community of Writers Fellow, 2015 Sarah Lawrence Fellow, 2014 Lambda Literary Fellow, the recipient of the Alfred C. Carey Poetry Prize, and his debut book of poetry was a finalist for the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Poetry. Roberto writes and produces his own music, and likens himself to Tennessee Williams in a poodle skirt, Gloria Anzaldúa in culottes, and/or James Merrill in short-shorts. Currently, he works as an educator in San Francisco and lives in Oakland with a fiction writer and 15 year old cat that edits most of his poetry…whether he asks her to, or not.