So tonight I went with some friends to the vigil for Orlando held in the plaza in front of Boston City Hall, and prayed and held silence and signed the book for our brothers and sisters in Orlando, to let them know we care. I still need to process all that, and I will write about it soon, but for now, a look back to Saturday and what I spent the time doing when I wasn’t either watching the parade or dancing my ass off.
Needle. Haystack. Backbeat.
A sea of exhausted queers, underdressed, rained on,
Milling jubilantly across the plaza. Three flags:
Stars and Stripes, Massachusetts Indian, Rainbow.
Sixty-nine reasons to salute. Save the environment.
Adopt a shelter dog. Get tested. Buy a t-shirt.
Help veterans stop our warring. Eat fried dough.
There on the steps, a woman break-dances to music
Coming from the stage, to the applause of her friends
And strangers. One onlooker, all in black leather,
Turns away. We text and call you, give up,
Then turn around, and there you are at last.
Parking lot block party between tall brick
Buildings echoing the DJ’s words, the backbeat
So deep my bones reverberate. Broken tarmac
And puddles of Bud Lite Lime make a rough
Dance floor, but I’ve lost my friends. I looked
Away for a moment and once again I was
Alone amid a few hundred tightly packed
Tattooed women’s bodies gyrating. Buzz cut
Blue hair bump and grind. Surely salmon swimming
Upriver move to no such background music,
Though the press of bodies must be something
Like this. How then to find four particular
Fish in the struggling river? Wandering the edges
Will not suffice. Only leaping into center stream,
Zenlike, gets it done. I abandon my goal,
My isolation, and finally find what I seek.
Black light disco ball and all the young men
Packed wall to wall and taller than all
My lost friends: I am tired of losing them.
Even more than the vibrating drums and lights
Is the slight pall of sticky spilled drinks
On the floor. All these men so intent on
Scoring block my view as the lights
Scramble my attention. Trying to make out
Lyrics, like making out faces, is too much
Of a chore. Some searches are just doomed
From the start. At least I can still find the door.
Photo by Paula M. Grez.