Hard Won Home:

It’s Pride week here in NYC – despite all the complex feelings that I (along with most queers) have about corporate pride I always find it to be a really special time of year. I’ll never forget my first Pride, and that first experience of seeing so many queer people and I try to never forget that every year is someones first pride, someones first experience of for the first time being surrounded by their community. The following is a piece I wrote a few years ago, that always feels appropriate to bring out this time of year.

Hard Won Home

We storm the streets
Spilling out from subway tunnels
Clown car piled fire escapes

Sequins and glitter
Like that first thrown bottle

Like the shards that barely missed me last week
You the week before

The streetlights cast shadows
Of the
we should carry
Strapped next to our hearts into our boots
But are instead too often
Rusted glitter buried in sidewalk cracks

We’re starved for this
Body slams body
Circuit parties
Festival sidelines
Desperate to feel
To connect
To believe
We’re not

On Monday
We emerge from the rainbow haze
On the memory of
On the feeling of
It’s never enough
And also everything we spent lifetimes
Not daring to dream of

Tell me about your first pride
And I’ll show you mine
The stumble for breath
Backwards falling into buildings
The sunrise walk over the bridge
To watch the festival bloom
Dilated pupils taking in
More than dreams could conjure

The roar of bikes

That day I did not wear three pieces of women’s clothes
Ace bandage
I did not know
Not long ago
This would have mattered

The plague has never ended
Cocktails are not cures
And I know more positive than not
So I assume
Until told otherwise

We hug when we meet
Chest to chest full body hugs
Pressing our hearts towards one another

Their fists were in the air that night
Heels and bottles gripped tight
Queer kids

We never learned this in school
Taught ourselves in youth center back rooms
On library floors
Newsprint riot photo documented eyes
From the mouths of our lovers

Now we talk of it daily
Tattoo it into our skin
Wanting them to know
The hirstory they walk upon
The scars carried
Lives lost
For this moment to come to pass

The heart is the size of a fist
We’re built to love and fight with the same ferocity
Always have been
We bring our love to the streets
And kiss away the road rash in hard won homes