Mollie and Kristene
This isn’t a poem.
I do not need for you to read this
And then tell me how it moved you
Or quote the parts that made you feel something.
Or call it things like “beautiful,” or “really good.”
Or thank me for saying it.
What I need
Is to stop having a reason
To ever write this
I am tired of writing the same thing
But with different names
Counting the distance between ages
Of the ones who died the last time
I wrote this
With the ones who are dead
I am tired of telling the same story,
But taking place in a different city
Somewhere that is rarely
City of my birth
The holy mecca
To the “largest gathering of LGBT people
And allies in the nation”
I am ashamed to ask my people
What pride they are celebrating
As they gather
Once a year
After such pilgrimage.
Pride for what?
Proud of what?
Since when did our riot cries
Become so fucking fabulous?
Teach me how to mistake the gashes of blood
For a spilled bottle
Because I must be doing it wrong.
43 years later,
After the stonewall around our freedom
Into a powdery dust,
We are still making excuses
For our lack of priorities.
How nice of the internet
To do our activism for us;
Compel us to re-blog and re-share
The death of Mollie Olgin
And the survival of Mary Chapa
So that no one accuses us of not
Giving a fuck.
I am outraged that I have to write this
When I perform in front of a group
Of young people,
I make it a point
For them to smell the smoke on my clothes
As I stand in front of the mic
In the middle of their school auditorium.
It’s nerve wracking to tell them
How I burned
The closet door down
When I left it
But I can care less if I’m scared.
What matters to me the most
Are the ones sitting there,
With fresh cuts stacked on their forearms
From elbow to wrist,
Wondering to themselves:
“Where can I find the lighter fluid
to burn my closet door down
the same way
What scares me
Is that as some of them will have
What it takes
To go through with the burning,
I terrify myself into wondering
If they are lighting the match
From the outside of the house,
Or from the inside
Of the closet.
I do not feel brave right now.
I am disappointed with our mobilization
Around the mundane
And not the murdered.
I am too worried to be asleep,
Knowing that one of us will die again
I am too tired to read through this
And see if it’s covering
Everything that I want it to say;
It will never do that.
I wrote this before,
And it has never satisfied my rage,
And it never will
Because it does not end with me.
I will not have the last word
For the justice we’re all tired
Of waiting for
And I don’t want to wait for that right now.
I want to wait to see if Mary will wake up.
I want to wait to hear the footsteps
Coming out of the closet.
I want to wait to see the sun
As a reminder to thank God
For living in a city that will protect me
Before they ever choose to kill me.
I want to wait to learn the reasons
Of what my people
Are proud of.
I want to wait for the day
Where I won’t have to write this
Terisa Siagatonu is a 1st generation, queer Samoan poet/organizer from the Bay Area. Currently living in Los Angeles, Terisa’s in the midst of planning out her next move. Some things on her horizon include: more writing, a one-way trip to a different country, youth empowerment, grad school, and East Coast living.