The New Era
I think about carrying the gun
I’d never be brave enough to fire
I am told this will make me feel safe
People, white men particularly, love to tell me
to buy a gun
And maybe they are right
Perhaps carrying a loaded gun around with me would make me
But have you ever seen a gunshot wound, even decades later?
A bullet will disfigure,
gnarl a person’s skin,
twisting and warping the fragments
cells dragging their pieces back together
covering a hole that will never truly heal,
if it leaves a breathing body at all.
I am told this will make me feel safe,
to be given the power to do this,
to cause the same destruction that threatens me,
to shred human flesh
And I can’t help but wonder who wrote these rules
Who decided violence was the formidable response to fear?
Who decided my ability to cause pain bestows safety?
I don’t know how often I feel safe,
perhaps too often
(naïveté is the houseguest you always forget is crashing in the den)
perhaps not often enough,
when my bed feels threatening
when the trolley feels threatening
when cable news tells me my father is threatening
when the vice president claims I am threatening
and when the president is threatening
I feel safe with my mother
I feel safe when holding the housecat close to my face
I feel safe, even tenuously so, in the arms of a lover
I feel safe most often in the presence of another beating heart,
the bloodied, thrumming, angry existence
fierce and insistent
The earliest serenity we are afforded is
the intimacy of closeness,
the proximity of life
--and not Life, as some would deem it,
as the miraculous, glorious gift, unknowable and invaluable
but life, beautifully common and humbling
in its sheer will to simply exist.
That is where my safety sleeps,
tucked into the chest of another,
not holstered between my belt loops
Before I sound too docile,
let me be clear,
this vice president
the cable news networks
they are all correct
I am the threat they so desperately fear:
queer, brown, radical, femme
I am everything they cower from
I am the future that terrifies them
My rage is formidable
My heart beats
Do you understand the gravity of that?
That I exist,
all shining and sparkly,
luminescent and melanin-infused
Queer and planting the whimsy of my love
deep in the chest of everyone I come across
Leaving handprints of silliness, innocence
on the sides of buildings
on the cheeks of lovers
Leaving marks with the soles of these dancing shoes
all over the sidewalks of this city
to proclaim that I WAS HERE
Hoping to leave behind Joy
as an heirloom,
gifted by some great goddess
who saw me, and you, and every beating heart
as worthy and welcome
And isn’t that a revolution?
Isn’t my bliss defiant?
Isn’t my love profound?
So maybe a gun will not make me feel safe
but would I protect this serene celebration in my chest,
the rhythmic radiation of love,
the purity of my inner symphony?
Would I defend it with a weapon?
I look around at the chaos raging
and the daggers at the necks of my brothers, sisters, and siblings
and the smug, smiling conservative faces on CNN,
and I think,
I could use a gun.