Return to Oz (Pulse)
We used fake names, fake IDs, and wore fake jewelry.
Chipped glassware was carried to and from broken hearted or
heartless country bumpkins, street rats, vampires, wolves, and rakes.
None of our names mattered as we danced for dollar bills.
Danced like the storm that had carried us away. Scattered us
across interstates, prairies, and prisons, unable or unwilling
to find our way back home. The screams of dancefloor sirens
blocked out the curses and prayers of religious extremists,
sycophant bigots, who said we intended to unleash harm
on one nation. Under God. Indivisible. With
and cruel justice for all. These were hard lessons to learn.
Internalized double damage. Self-inflected hesitation scratches.
Left their mark with the sharp edges of their words spewing endlessly
like an oil pipeline into a river, an aneurysm about to burst.
They couldn’t bear the sight of rainbows.
Wouldn’t dance on yellow bricks with us.
Our hearts were glowing. Streaming
RED. As he pulled the trigger. Into bodies stained
RED. As he pulled the trigger. Into lovers stained
RED. As he pulled the trigger. Into the crowd. Stained
RED. As he pulled the trigger. Until he was satisfied.
The next day everyone was obsessed with the violence.
Shocked by how many were dead. More than dead. Maimed.
Split into pieces. Headshots. Ripped apart. Unrecognizable.
Faces that had been kissed. Pulverized.
Brothers and sisters. Without a pulse.
Saints and sinners. Dead on impact or dying in fear, or dying alone.
We were finished, utterly destroyed. And they were satisfied
that they had shattered our pride.
Shattered glass, drops of blood
on the dancefloor. Glitter in my wounds—
I didn’t notice how badly I was bleeding.
People gathered to watch the spectacle
but I didn’t stop dancing
and I didn’t care who watched.
I did not choose to become a monument to sorrow.
I want my name to be written forever
on the living body of my lover,
not in cold stone and dead paper.
I still have so much love inside me,
though they mistook me for a corpse.
I long for the day someone will hear me crying
beneath the pine needles and broken bottles,
and disturb the sacred hollows of this graveyard,
finding me breathing, yearning, clutching
at my heart which has grown only fiercer
in the face of adversity. They will see
my pride burning so brightly,
though it was confined to a box.
My hand will once again be held, warm
in the grasp of another. For I was not ready
to be forsaken into the earth.
I was born in the hot, unforgiving sun,
and I finally know my purpose in life.
For though I was buried alive—
and nobody thought to check on me,
I had learned to love again.
Before I Die
I want to see China, Egypt, and Sweden!
And I want to write
about all the love I still see
in the face of so much terror.
I want to love the world
even if others hate it.
I want to save the world
even if others more powerful destroy it.
If anything, let there be no hate in my heart.
All I want to write about is love.