about this poem (scroll down for the actual piece):

although i’ve written poems about pulse before, i think it’s impossible to describe the trauma this shooting left on the queer community without explicitly including the words spoken by survivors and victims inside the nightclub (info in comments). i know this comes multiple days late — the five-year anniversary of pulse was almost a week ago. regardless of how long it’s been, however, the memory of this shooting lives fresh in the minds of queer people across the world. frankly, things haven’t changed at all. at a macro level, hate crimes rose after pulse, and anti-queer policies, such as discrimination against trans individuals in sports, workplaces, and more, have spiked. at a micro level, individuals find any way they can to justify heteronormativity and outright homophobia, such as when they eat at chick-fil-a (yes, if you eat at chick-fil-a you’re a bad person, i don’t care about your opinion on this) or make fun of individuals such as myself who use neo-pronouns. furthermore, queer people of color — specifically queer Black people — live in the nucleus of various intersecting vulnerabilities. instagram activism is super performative so i don’t really have much to add here. all i really want to say is that queer people will always be on the margins of society in some way. you think “discourse” about neopronouns and nounpronouns is exhausting? conservatives are still too stupid to understand the grammatical ramifications of they / them pronouns. conservatives will ALWAYS be two decades behind us. we will ALWAYS be a joke to them. they will ALWAYS move the goalposts to whatever reactionary, pseudo-scientific viewpoint they can latch onto next. fuck it all lol. live how you want to. embrace your marginalization. you’re in a community they will never have access to. queer culture is so, so gorgeous in a way heteronormativity will never capture. yeah, we’re weird, we’re not “normal,” we’re “cringe” or “faggy” or whatever. at least we’re not such special snowflakes that our dicks shrivel up when we see a woman wearing a suit or some shit.

please note: this poem is best viewed on a computer, not a phone.

Poem About McDonalds

when i was young,
my mom would take me
to mcdonalds every saturday
while my dad & brother
went hiking with our friend Craig.
i would order the usual,
(six chicken nuggets, honey mustard, bbq sauce)
eat the skin off each one
then count the number of bites
based on how many nuggets i had left.
six nuggets left – i’ll eat this one in six bites. five nuggets – five bites. so on.
like all things,
this ritual ended
when Craig moved to san diego
& i grew older,
& my brother was busy with school & dad
was busy too.

i imagine myself –
adulthood just out of reach –
dissecting each nugget as if
the restaurant were a morgue,
& think there must be a metaphor in there
somewhere, that this nostalgia somehow means
something, that i could reconstruct this memory
& publish it in POETRY or The New Yorker
or someplace.

of course,
these are always empty threats.
there was never any poem
in that place –
dad was an alcoholic
& Craig was a coke addict
& my brother had cancer
& mom was always stressed with work
& the nuggets were always
slightly too cold anyway.

do it.
write this revisionist romance.
open your mouth
like a wound.
chew on this memory
& make it nothing.
swallow it with your pride.