I hated the tears. Hated the helplessness of them. Two weeks after the U.S. election, and they were still coming. And then a friend emailed me saying “I’d love to treat you to a poem just written by a brilliant young woman I know.”
It was signed only with initials: e.c.c. I had no idea who e.c.c. was. But I knew the moment I saw the first lines that this what I needed. Enough with the tears. This spirited slam poem had me cheering. It’s what got me moving again.
Since you mention it, I think I will start that race war.
I could’ve swung either way, but now I’m definitely spending
the next 4 years converting your daughters to lesbianism;
I’m gonna eat all your guns. Swallow them lock stock and barrel
and spit bullet casings onto the dinner table;
I’ll give birth to an army of mixed-race babies
with fathers from every continent and genders to outnumber the stars
My legion of multiracial babies will be intersectional as fuck
and your swastikas will not be enough to save you,
because real talk, you didn’t stop the future from coming.
You just delayed our coronation.
We have the same deviant haircuts we had yesterday;
we are still getting gay-married like nobody’s business
because it’s still nobody’s business;
there’s a Muslim kid in Kansas who has already written the schematic
for the robot that will steal your job in manufacturing.
And that robot? Will also be gay, so get used to it:
we didn’t manifest the mountain by speaking its name,
the buildings here are not on your side just because
you make them spray-painted accomplices.
These walls do not have genders and they all think you suck.
Even the earth found common ground with us in the way
you bootstrap across us both.
Oh yeah: there will be signs, and rainbow-colored drum circles,
and folks arguing ideology until even I want to punch them
but I won’t, because they’re my family,
in that blood-of-the-covenant sense.
If you’ve never loved someone like that
you cannot outwaltz us, we have all the good dancers anyway.
I’ll confess I don’t know if I’m alive right now;
I haven’t heard my heart beat in days,
I keep holding my breath for the moment the plane goes down
and I have to save enough oxygen to get my friends through.
But I finally found the argument against suicide and it’s us.
We’re the effigies that haunt America’s nights harder
the longer they spend burning us,
we are scaring the shit out of people by spreading,
by refusing to die: what are we but a fire?
We know everything we do is so the kids after us
will be able to follow something towards safety;
what can I call us but lighthouse,
Of course I’m terrified. Of course I’m a shroud.
And of course it’s not fair but rest assured,
anxious America, you brought your fists to a glitter fight.
This is a taco truck rally and all you have is cole slaw.
You cannot deport our minds; we won’t
hold funerals for our potential. We have always been
what makes America great.
And who is e.c.c? She’s Elisa Chavez, co-organizer of the Rain City Slam. Three weeks later, she’d bring down the house at Town Hall Seattle with her performance of this poem, doing for 900 others what she did for me. And yes, I post the poem here with her permission, in the hope that it does for you what it did for me as we move into the New Year: with spirit, with resolve, and dammit, with joy. — Lesley