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crush a pearl (its powder)
the night rory died, he moved the chair, his blonde locks fell
& we will never be the same
i moved to the beach, thrusted my hands into the mud
broke the jaw of every clam, hoping to find him
his pearly smile, like a broken necklace, thudded to the ground
scattered across mahogany floor
he kissed open the stitches of my gums & draped my teeth
on a necklace over the shy of his breasts
new lovers plagiarize, say awkward things, and yearn
they ask to see my pretty smile
but who smiles when the sky swallows its stars
Hatred of Happiness
My heart is a mudslide, it will suffocate you
………..[stuff your mouth with forestry].
Don’t you know? That broken-boys can’t
make a proper home. Just listen to my chest.
…………One-thousand lovers are stuck inside me
beating- thud, thud, thud, thud, thud.
You say [that I’m something special]. You say
.that the eyes are the windows to the soul.
Well, I’m drawing the curtains
and asking you to leave. [I don’t want any visitors].
………….I don’t want you to love me. My porch
lights are turned off. My doorbell will not be
answered. Do you understand?!
……………………..If I had an ounce of happiness, or
a bag of sugar, to give you… then I would.
But all I own are these little lips.
………..They kiss, then close [like the lid on
a coffin]. Please, let me die here.
Your father never intended to be a “bad man,” whatever that means. But intent is not the issue that we are discussing. The holes in the walls are covered with family portraits. Your cloths are stripped and you are told that you deserve nothing, are nothing. What we are discussing is the difference between the unsaid and the said (or rather, what is hidden and what is exposed). Your genitals hang from unzipped pants and the police call sex work perverse. The police shoot another brown boy but that’s just part of the job. Okay, let’s get back to the point. Rory was your first love. Your father did not mean to be a “bad man.” But you lost count of the number of cigarette burns knotted into mother’s carpet and wrists. She never knew whether to stay or whether to go. There was a manner by which the oppression was normalized; by which the feeling of liberation was long forgotten; by which everything revolved around capital. But you could no longer afford to stay in your father’s home. There was no rent control and some nights you thought that he would kill you in your sleep. Language is where the tongue fails itself over and over again. Rory said that he loved you but would not hold your hand in public. And he wanted so bad to end the pain, but it never went away, it stayed with the people that loved him. Sleeping in the private of his car, Rory would hold you, like a rope tied to a ceiling fan. We all thought that we would die young, some of us did. But that is not the point. You have graduated from college now and these stories are far behind you. Can you pretend that time is linear? That the memories do not manifest themselves in every object that you pass. At night, when you’re sitting on the bed, your lover turns to unbuckle his belt. So that you won’t see your father unbuckling his.
Christopher Soto (aka Loma) is a queer latin@ punk poet and prison abolitionist. They are currently curating Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color in collaboration with The Lambda Literary Foundation. They have work published in Columbia: A Journal, MiPOesias, Apogee Journal and more. They are an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU and the 2014-2015 Intern at Poetry Society of America.