Sing, My Tongue

Of tongues singing in adoration, after coming to blows with the supremacist heteropatriarchy of nation-states. Of celebrating unlaced passion, at the crux of all interpenetrating dimensions. Of climactic veneration of ceremonial vice, set amid a salubrious biome of nutritious blurs, where flesh and landscape are in indistinguishable form. Of spaces we can call our own and needn’t queering, for they simply are.

Belonging to my suite of poems ‘Of Joyrides, Backseat Loving, and Road Trips’ and (un)apologetically heavy on metaphor borrowing from Christianity (in particular, Catholicism), ‘Sing, My Tongue’, was published just over a year ago in Broad! (Chicago, IL: August 2016).

Sing, My Tongue (poem)

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XOR

The exclusive or/exclusive disjunction (symbolized by the infix operator XOR), is a connective in logic operations that yields true only when one (but not both) of the inputs/conditions is true. Sometimes expressed as “one or the other but not both”, the XOR operation can be written as “A or B, but not, A and B”.

This logical operator informed the sentiment in my poem, ‘XOR’ which explores the presumed logical impossibility of non-binary genders/genderqueerness and the prescribed notion of “male or female, but not, male and female, nor not-male and not-female”.

‘XOR’ features in this year’s TQ Review: A Journal of Trans and Queer Voices (Petersburg, VA: July 2017).

XOR

(…)

look what you’ve done to us
we are nothing more than the sum of our parts
the collective trauma of our discursive genders
the casualties of your virulent blanket terms

XOR (poem)

Tidally Locked

Also known as gravitational locking or captured rotation, tidal locking is the name given to the phenomenon that takes place when an object’s orbital period matches its rotational period. A tidally-locked object revolving around another object constantly faces its “partner”, presenting only one side as it continues its orbit. Tidal locking is the reason behind the far side of the Moon, the astronomical body’s hemisphere that always faces away from Earth. In other words, the fact that the Moon is tidally-locked to Earth means, from Earth, only one side of the Moon is ever visible.

Tidal locking is also believed to reduce the possibility of complex lifeforms existing on the surface.

Originally published in the first issue of Cloudthroat (Albuquerque, NM: December 2016), ‘Tidally Locked’ applies the definition of this concept in celestial mechanics to represent the unyielding effects of trauma(s).

Tidally Locked (poem)

Love and Rackets

A year ago today (June 12, 2016), an armed individual assaulted partygoers in the popular Orlando LGBTQ+ nightclub, Pulse, during Latin Night. In the worst mass shooting in US history and the deadliest single act of violence against LGBTQ+ people, the perpetrator robbed 49 human beings – the majority of them Latinx – of the joy, suffering, perfection, and imperfection of their existence. Dozens more were injured during the attack.

At the time, I was flying back home to the UK, blissfully unaware of this act of hate and brutality against the LGBTQ+ community. After I went through passport checks, I took my phone off plane mode and immediately, it displayed dozens of notifications and news alerts. Instantly stopped in my tracks by the enormity of what these revealed, I was short-winded due to the crushing nature of the flow of emotions pouring into my body: helplessness and anger and soon thereafter something else… a nagging feeling that bingeing on every last detail that emerged, though a millennial’s natural reaction, was probably not healthy.

More than “not healthy” I knew that the whole media spectacle was not a fitting tribute to the victims and their families (biological or of-choice); that footage of wounded bodies playing in a loop was possibly only contributing to the normalization of such images and the dehumanization of the injured; that consuming every last gruesome detail of the fatal chain of events was doing nothing more than feeding the hyper-crass monstrosity characteristic of too many media outlets today. But for every one of these and other arguments against my being under the media spell, counterarguments formed in my head: queer and Latinx erasure are painfully dangerous everyday realities and silencing the details would only allow non-queer/white people to remain comfortable in their own ignorance of the life-threatening situations many queer folk/POC find themselves in – even in more “progressive” cultures. Proof of this was the whitewashed coverage of the tragedy as denounced by Steven W Thrasher.

Inconsolably, I oscillated between turning my phone off and frantically turning it back on to search for the latest developments. Irremediably, every time I rested my eyes, the wounded appeared superimposed on every image; every time I tried to put them out of my mind, I could see them out of the corner of my eye. It was then that I did something I hadn’t done since my Holy Communion: I fell on my knees and I prayed, the way my grandmother showed me: Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre…

I did this not because I believed in it but because there was nothing else for me to do at the time and I had hoped it would bring me a sliver of the consolation and reassurance I knew it brought my grandmother daily. Though mildly soothing at first, I still could not deal with the inner conflict caused by the presence of opposing emotions. Additionally, I became angry at myself – thinking ‘how dare you make this pain yours?!’ – and wondered if I was somehow appropriating others’ personal grief. It then struck me that actually, this was in a way personal to all of us queer people who have known numerous permutations of discrimination. The Orlando Pulse tragedy acted as a painful reminder to the community that vicious and oftentimes fatal queerphobic hate is simmering away under the surface of even the more “tolerant” of places.

So, I did the only thing I knew had always helped me process pain: I got off my knees, sat at my desk, and wrote a poem for Stanley Almodóvar, Amanda Alvear, Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, Rodolfo Ayala Ayala, Antonio Davon Brown, Darryl Burt, Simón Carrillo, Luis Daniel Conde, Cory Connell, Tevin Eugene Crosby, Anthony Laureano Disla, Deonka Drayton, Leroy Valentín Fernández, Mercedez Marisol Flores, Jean Carlo Méndez Pérez, Peter González-Cruz, Juan Ramón Guerrero, Paul Terrell Henry, Frank Hernández, Miguel Ángel Honorato, Javier Jorge-Reyes, Jason Josaphat, Eddie Justice, Christopher Andrew Leinonen, Luis Daniel Wilson León, Alejandro Barrios Martínez, Juan Chavez Martinez, Brenda Lee Márquez-McCool, Gilberto Ramón Silva Menéndez, Kimberly Morris, Akyra Murray, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Geraldo Ortiz, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Ángel Luis Candelario Padró, Joel Rayón Paniagua, Enrique L. Rios, Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, Christopher Sanfeliz, Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan, Edward Sotomayor Jr., Shane Tomlinson, Martin Benítez Torres, Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, Franky Jimmy De Jesús Velázquez, Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez, Luis Sergio Vielma, and Jerald Arthur Wright.

As we commemorate the first anniversary of the Pulse attack, with queer communities in the US living under the constant threat of one of the most horrifyingly homophobic/transphobic administrations (one that is dismantling already fragile LGBTQ+ recognition and rights) a dystopian novelist could conjure up, I want to share what I wrote back in June 14, 2016: my tribute poem to the Orlando Pulse victims, a celebration in verse, with love and in hope.

Love and Rackets (poem)

If you wish to show your support, please consider an act of kindness and love, on Orlando United Day and/or a donation to the onePULSE Foundation.

This Side of Town

‘This Side of Town’ is part of a suite of poems entitled, ‘Of Joyrides, Backseat Loving, and Road Trips’. A while back, I shared a “sneak preview” of one of the poems in this set and today I am posting in full ‘This Side of Town’ – which was previously published in Heather, Vol. 1, Issue 1 (New York City, NY: May 2016).

This Side of Town (poem)

Behind the Camera for ILFL

Client: I Live For Lucy
Promotional Photography / Lyric Video
2016

From EP artwork to website design to inspiring her latest single, my collaborations with British synthpop artist, I Live For Lucy have been anything but predictable. On this occasion I am sharing the results of my work behind the camera: Earlier in the year, I did some promotional photography for ILFL and made a lyric video for her song, ‘Run’.

I had tons of fun doing the photoshoot. Here is a selection of some of my favorite shots for you to swoon over (total ‘lesbian catnip’, as Laura Prepon would say) and the lyric video for a treat for the ears.

Medusa Is My Homegirl

Medusa Is My Homegirl (tattoo)

“Why Medusa?” you ask. Why the hell not? And what do you care? Oh, yeah, sorry I forget my body is public space and getting it tattooed is like urban art to street walls – wheat paste inviting further scrutiny. But, on this occasion, I want to give an explanation beyond “it’s a woman’s right to ink”. It’s just that the answer is so goddamn long! So I tell you, “I am writing a blog post about it. I’ll send you the link.” This is the link.

We all know the myth, a monster in Greek mythology. A hideous woman with living snakes for hair, whose gaze would render men immobile, no better than a garden ornament, stone. Beyond this, details of the myth get a little fuzzy for most. In essence, Medusa was originally a gorgeous maiden who was raped by Poseidon – enraging Athena who turned her into the stuff of nightmares – and eventually killed and beheaded by Perseus, who subsequently used the Gorgon’s head as it retained its supernatural qualities, continuing to turn onlookers to stone.

As it is often the case, the symbolism of Medusa is varied: Among other things, Medusa is a muse to poets, causes castration anxiety from the viewpoint of psychoanalysts, and represents female power in feminist discourse. It is in these interpretations of the myth that I find my reasons for getting my arm inked with a “portrait” of the Gorgon.  Keep on reading>>