Eulogy

I stand before you
searching for the right words.
Like embers–
they travel up my body,
through my heart,
and cannot escape
–my lips.

They disappear in remembrance.
I stare at a blank page,
constantly trying to form a sentence,
a line,
an image or memory that warms from within
and I cannot.

This is your eulogy.
Un canto sin letras.
Una memoria
inexpresable.

Like smoking shells falling by the dozens
–chaos.

A wish for freedom–
That I could help you escape fate with my grief.

A wish for immortality–
That we could understand the path we must take.

We learn to live.
before death comes in,
like the weeping willow of the world,
to shade,
to illuminate,
with its branches of despair,
with its rustling leaves of discontent.

But in its sorrow–
consuelo.

This is your eulogy.
Un rosario sin fin.
Un retrato sin ti.

Manifested in great peace.
For we recall
a time when we were young,
when there was love
–and we begin to live.


David López

David López is a queer chicano writer from Santa Ana, CA. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Screenwriting from Chapman University, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from University of California, Riverside and a Master of Library & Information Science degree from San José State University. His writing has appeared in The Orange County Register, OC Weekly, Connotation Press, Brooklyn & Boyle, and La Bloga. He currently works as a librarian in Orange County, CA.

 

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Dear Omar Mateen

For the LGBTQIA community

You killed 49 inured 53, took the life out of me just before the start of summer, the 9k in jewelry you bought a week before, the plane tickets you secured for your wife & father: all for what? The way you were always mad as a kid, always saying crazy shit, always staring at the other boys in the locker rooms wishing you could be their gym shorts, brushing against hips & ass, the way you grew up & fooled around here & there, getting an HIV scare: I will kill Latino men. But now my dear, you are googled, plastered on every Facebook wall, on every tweet we tweet, on every flat-screen across America, your tender tender eyes hide behind sweet sweet hate. I get you Omar Mateen, your Grindr curiosity, your nervous laugh slipping through white teeth, your smooth hands, neck & lips. I get you Omar Mateen, the frustration of living in-be-tween, not knowing if you’re clean, the extra cream you add in your dark roast. But my dear Omar Mateen, why did you have to kill my rainbow family?


Luis Lopez-Maldonado

Luis Lopez-Maldonado is a Xicano poet choreographer born & raised in Orange County, CA. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California Riverside, majoring in Creative Writing and Dance. His poetry has been seen in The American Poetry Review, Cloudbank, The Packinghouse Review, Off Channel, and Spillway, among many others. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Dance from Florida State University. He is now currently a candidate for the Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame, where he is poetry editorial assistant for the Notre Dame Review and founder of the boys’s creative writing workshop in the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center.

Maternal Love

“Mother died protecting her son in Orlando shooting”
US Weekly, June 15, 2016

Brenda loved all of her eleven children. She also loved life.
As a two-time survivor of cancer, she had a strong will to live.
Brenda was out dancing with her 21-year-old son Isaiah Henderson
at the nightclub Pulse. Isaiah in Hebrew means YAHWEH is salvation.
For Brenda’s son Isaiah, she was his salvation. As she saw the gunman
point an assault rifle in their direction, her last words to her son
were “Get down” before shielding him with her own body.
The gunman, not worthy to be remembered by name, shot in their direction
multiple times. Brenda took all of the bullets inside of her 49-year-old frame.
Her son emerged from the shooting unscathed. The reason for the massacre
was bigotry. Isaiah was an openly gay man, dancing at an openly gay nightclub
frequented by Latinxs, and for that, he as part of the LGBT community, was targeted.
49 dead and 53 injured. May we never forget.


Steve Castro

Steve Castro’s poetry is forthcoming in Green Mountains Review special print issue dedicated to U.S. Poet Laurete, Juan Felipe Herrera, and in Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction and Fantasy (Wings Press, 2017). He got his MFA from American University in Washington, D.C.

Love

Yo ya soy el viento
que pasa entre tus dedos.
I caress your hair like the way
you held me in your arms. When I was a child
tenía miedo a ser yo. I hid behind closed doors.
Waiting for the right time to tell you who I was.

Tu ya sabias quien era
and you held me even tighter.
You were always afraid to let me go.

Ahora paso por el cielo salado cargando nubes
And I watch you create storms in your eyes
drowning yourself in prayers.

Mamá naturaleza ya no causes más
earthquakes in your heart.
When you need to find me look up at the sky
You’ll feel me brush your skin
I’ll hold you with a hot summer hug.

You must go forward.
You are still here.
Y yo ya soy el viento.


Saúl Hernández

Saúl Hernández resides in El Paso, TX where he is currently in his second year as a grad student pursing a MFA in Creative Writing. He’s also the current director for Barrio Writers at Borderlands. His passion is in making sure everyone has a voice and know how to use it.

AFTER ORLANDO

In memory of Sabas Espinosa 

It could have been my primo Sabas with a palindrome
for a first name to parallel the last name I still bear.
Sabitas, newly met by el jibarito with sad eyes and a
lisp still lingering like an albatross, the pecas across
the ridge of his nose like lady bug markings for luck
on one of those Montrose nights or that crazy day
at Escuelita in the Mission, because you were so
proud to be seen with me, your first cousin, a wan
androgynous yearling who almost always took the
frost-haired, Emo hippie girls in black Elvis Costello
glasses you assisted in the Westheimer salons to bed,
before you insisted on cutting my hair and then asked
me to play dress up for a photo shoot the last cougar
had organized to make sure I had a contact sheet and
you had more practice with the razor sharp scissors.
It could have been you if you had lived to see the days
beyond AZT scarcity and lives no longer laid waste
by the devastating effects of HIV. It might have been
you, and my eyes cloud over when I remember how
you spoke in whispers shaded by awe about your one
visit to Florida, about your disco dreams and the high
end estética you would open so I could come through
to curate art shows every three months, haircuts and
shrimp omelets for me and whichever compañera was
bold enough to brave the humidity included for free-99.
It would have been you, querido y extrañado primo mío,
there in Orlando with that melancholy caribeño on the
dance floor like the time in Austin when you saw a boy so
beautiful it made you cry because no one would ever look
at you that way and I bought us schnapps until you told me
it was no use and said I would never understand because
I was like that efebo who appeared and disappeared under
the strobe light. Walking out to Red River Street with my
arm around your shoulder, I told you how ashamed I felt
when the chickenhawks stared, and anyway, I added, if
your mother, my Tía Fela, had not broken my dad’s heart,
and he hadn’t paid her back by marrying her younger sister,
your Tía Julia, who people said I took after, you and I would
have been brothers and as my older brother is was your
job to be strong for both of us because the schnapps were
like fire in my panza and I wanted to find the woman from
Houston you’d driven in with. Today, I remember you, and
the gouache paintings you never framed for your someday
solo exhibit. Today, when dozens are buried after a horrible
night as hostages, I wish you were still here because it’s my
turn to cry, and I really don’t know how to stop these tears.


Abel Salas

Based in L.A., poet and journalist Abel Salas publishes and edits Brooklyn & Boyle, a monthly community arts paper. His poems have appeared in Zyzzyva, Huizache, Cipactli and Beltway Poetry Quarterly, as well Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice (University of Arizona Press, 2016) and Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising From the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles (Tia Chucha Press, 2016). As a journalist, he has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, LA Weekly, Latina Magazine and The Austin Chronicle.

 

Scrolling Names on a News Ticker

—after the Orlando Shooting

I look at the names and see my people,
Martinez, Torres, Vega, Ocasio,

I look at names and see the families,
brothers, sisters, lovers, parents.

I look at their names and see my family,
Simón, Luis, Enrique, Alejandro.

I look and I look, can’t pull away,
the names lost among headlines:

“Delayed Police Response,” “‘He’s Going to Kill Us,’”
“Orlando Gunman Was ‘Cool and Calm.’”

Had they been white instead of Latinx,
had they been straight instead of queer,

had the club been exclusive, country,
they’d be more than names, there’d be more fear.


Ernesto L. Abeytia

Ernesto L. Abeytia is a Spanish-American poet. He holds MAs in English from Saint Louis University and from the Autonomous University of Madrid. He is currently working on a collection of poems about living and traveling throughout the Iberian Peninsula. He can be found reading his work online at PBS NewsHour. Ernesto is a Teaching Associate and MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

Grief

Time stands still
whispers are heard again and again
across my head. The image of them
no se pierde, no se desborran.
They tell me to let go. Let go of everything
inside. The walls I have put up
would crumble from emotions
bottling up in me ready
to burst.
If my mouth opens
I’d look the same,
but no one would recognize
my voice. It scratches on a chalk board
brings you to your knees.
You’re left there on the alter floor
in search of words, but I
don’t want your words.
I want their body.
I want them here.
Quiero vivir
where there is no time.

Saúl Hernández
Saúl Hernández resides in El Paso, TX where he is currently in his second year as a grad student pursing a MFA in Creative Writing. He’s also the current director for Barrio Writers at Borderlands. His passion is in making sure everyone has a voice and know how to use it.

Pulso

que bailen!
su roce bachatero
su salsa y meneo
sus besos prohibidos
abrazos mañaneros.

que bailen
en la Florida
en San Juan
en las Marias!
que bailen en colores
sus vidas como la mía.

el amor es amor es amor
es Amar!
que justicia sea hecha
y sus llantos puedan calmar.

que bailen
aunque violencia!
que bailen
aunque injusticia!
que bailen
sin vergüenza
sin miedo
sin camisas!

que bailen en el cielo
mis ángeles
mis mártires
bailemos juntos
hasta que la homofobia
se termine.


Chakira M. Haddock-Lazala

Chakira M. Haddock-Lazala is a proud Boricua from the Bronx.  She recently obtained her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from the New School for Social Research in New York City and is passionate about Latinx life, love and liberation! #liberationnow

If I am Murdered

Don’t tell them / I always had a smile on my face. Don’t tell them / I was kind to everyone. Don’t tell them / I liked to have fun. Don’t tell them / I was full of a joy. Tell them / I was a

bitch. Tell them / I was fierce. Tell them / I had a fire in me. Tell them / I struggled to control it. Tell them / love scared me. Tell them / fear motivated and / sometimes paralyzed me. Tell them /

I kicked ass. Tell them / I was arrested fighting AIDS. Tell them / my gift was turning anger into action. Tell them / social justice is the only justice. Tell them / I was a farmworker, a cocksucker,

an asshole, a chingón, and a poet / all at the same time. Tell whoever did it / that fucked up. Tell them / they didn’t kill me – they unleashed me.


Miguel M. Morales

Miguel M. Morales grew up working as a farmworker. A Lambda Literary Fellow and an alum of VONA/Voices and the Macondo Writers Workshop, Miguel’s work appears in From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction, Hibernation and Other Poems by Bear Bards, and in the forthcoming Imaniman: Anzaldua Poetic Anthology.

Girl Scouts and Tattered Photographs

I’ve know my friend Kelsey since we were both 8 years old.  We were in the same class, the same clique, the same Girl Scout troop.  17 years.  I feel too young to have known someone for so long.

She has a picture of our grade school gang stuck to her refrigerator.  We’re all bundled up in parkas and windbreakers with rosy cheeks and huge, gap-toothed smiles.  Me and Kelsey and Julia and Ana and Katie and Jenni.

One day as we were looking at that old photo, reminiscing about childhood mischief, Kelsey noted that nearly everyone in the group had grown up to be some flavor of gay or another.  At the time it made us both chuckle…it still does.  After this June, that happy revelation has taken on a new weight.

On the 11th Kelsey and another dear friend and I were laughing and sharing coming out stories.  The next day we were all silent and numb.  And when I thought about that picture on Kelsey’s fridge, all I could think about was how deep, low far back the wound of a lost life can stretch.

And I know it is self-centered, but I thought about my little band of grinning Girl Scouts and I wondered ‘what if’.  And I wondered how many people lost their own Kelsey that night.  And I wept.


Margaret Overholt

Margaret Overholt is a 25-year-old proud queer woman. She studied English at Carthage College and currently works for a patient advocacy non-profit.  Most of her writing tend to focus on living with my own health issues or semi-spiritual reveries about Lake Michigan.