“Huge crowd gathers to watch ISIS throw gay man off building”

Preface: There are so many awful stories in the news, and to try to comprehend, to fathom what I see and hear, to humanize the murders, the tortures, the hatred, I am beginning a series where I put myself in the story and try to imagine what the person was going through. The result of that is here. This is not supposed to be what this man felt, but rather a rendition of what I would feel were I in the same situation.

It was just a kiss.
A heart-racing, eye-widening, soul-splitting kiss, but just a kiss all the same.
I should have known better.
I don’t know how they found out.
Nothing is safe.
Here I am, the consequence of one moment of weakness.
A message of hatred.
God, why?
The rope burns on my wrist and the heat scalding my skin are no match for my mind.
They are leading me to my death.
I am a good man. I give, I help, I love.
I love.
They wish to destroy me.
They will destroy me.
I think I’m on the roof now.
They’re talking all around me, but I can’t make out the words.
I am going to die for my love.
I do not want this, it is no heroic gesture – no one will stop them.
A sharp command, they grab my arm.
I am on the edge.
They share their message.
I’m overcome with the urge to jump right there, to shatter their vision of how this should go, but the self-preservation wins out, I hold onto life for just a bit more.
I know it is coming before I feel it.
My body is flailing through the air.
I am reminded of the steep drop of my favorite roller coaster.
His face flashes before my eyes,
disappearing in flames upon impact.
No one will ever know my fear, my pain, my promise.
No one will ever know me.

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“Huge crowd gathers to watch ISIS throw gay man off building”

Titanic

Sometimes
my heart is a sinking ship.
The pull of the dark water
is so irresistible,
how can I turn away?

I don’t know how to be loved.
The moment compassion finds me,
my stomach tightens,
my heart races,
“don’t screw it up this time.”

But it’s hard to love
someone who sabotages themselves
daily.

And so I sink
into the cold dark water,
where I’ve never felt more alone,
more at home.

Titanic

Bargaining with the stars

At midnight on my sixteenth birthday
I climbed through the large picture window
in the living room.
On that warm summer night
I walked through the woods
and sat in the field
beneath the stars.
The blades of grass
scratched my legs,
and I thought of dying.
Tears streaming,
I laid my cheek on the ground
and closed my eyes.
Not yet, my heart whispered
as I drifted off to sleep.
I awoke with the dawn,
returned to my bed
and awaited the celebration of my life
until the next year.

Bargaining with the stars

Bullet to the head

I have come to accept distasteful jokes
and ugly names
as harmless.

The word ‘dyke’ spit with venom
or muttered in sheer ignorance
stands silent next to the
proposed legislation
to take lives for loving.
The sexualization of woman on woman
doesn’t hurt like the punches and kicks
of a small-town mind or messiah
in devil’s garb.

I have been so damn lucky,
but my heart holds the struggle
that my identity means.
I do not have to be beaten
to know the sting.
I do not have to be threatened
to know the fear.

I know it all too well,
we know it all too well.

Bullet to the head

Nanjing, 1937.1

300,000 dead.
We do not speak of them.
Child’s playtime. Race to the finish.
Kill and count! Kill and count!
A coin fell on heads; heads fell on ground—
There is no luck in hell.
Dignity stripped, humanity raped:
the laughter echoed through the hills.
The heavens had been raining blood.
My face, their face: our face.
We are the wrong side of the moon.

1. In 1937, the Japanese military invaded the Chinese capital of Nanjing (also referred to as Nanking). The capital had been abandoned by the Chinese military, leaving primarily civilians to welcome the Japanese forces. The Japanese tortured, brutally raped, and murdered a large amount of the remaining population. The massacre, known today as the Rape of Nanjing, consisted of killing games—one described here where the Japanese soldiers lined up the Chinese and raced to see who could decapitate the most Chinese in the quickest amount of time. Information from this piece is drawn from The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang.

Nanjing, 1937.1

Storm girl

There was a girl
who saw the storm within me
and crafted an umbrella from her words.
She, too, had a hurricane heart.

We were both drowning.

We used to discuss death
as if it were a vacation.
Our shared struggle
became my escape.

When she found a reason to live,
her sunshine was too light
for my stormy eyes.

She left me in the rain.

Sometimes your world must fall apart
before you see

A life of death
is no way to live.

Storm girl