ORLANDO SHOOTINGS / TRANS WOMEN / HOMOPHOBIA

49 Roses_PresenteTRANS OBITUARY
(In memory for a murdered trans woman)

“Pay attention to my body,” says a trans woman.
“Not a boy in a dress.
Don’t paint my face as acceptable
to matrix media.
Didn’t hear me alive
and still deny me dead.
Disfigure my potential.
Brutality is not a work of art.”

Don’t paint my old life as acceptable
for a colonizing media.
Didn’t ask for this finale, a brutal exit,
by a rage of hatred.
A political plate is passed to serve my mind,
my heart, my body, my color.
Thought it would be old age quietness,
laughing at memories.”

“I am welcomed by the murdered
trans women who are comforters
from the violence inflicted,
who wash off the tainted blood,
the hurt, the crazy,
the lamenting, the shouting
’Don’t kill me; I want to live’
from my eyes so
I don’t give the perpetrator
a voice and image inside my heaven.”

“Pay attention to my body,” says a trans woman.
“My heart says I am trans woman
and those who find this dead body
say this is a man without purpose;
a man who is lost; a confused one
as they shuffle their laughter
behind their political voice
and upturn eyes judge
but I see them from a place
they cannot go because
my god doesn’t like ugly
especially when it masquerades
as god loves them only
and not the Other,
the fringe dweller, the outcast.”

“Pay attention as you put away this body.
Discard me not in a news item marked
“Not important”. I know I will look back
with a comforting hand when another
trans woman is marked finale
before her time.

Voices of trans women murdered before
call out as psychopomps
…I see them, I will walk with them,
and sometimes an angel is a
tragic path just so you can
find the beat to the heart
to give you breathe;
to give you compassion; to awaken
the dead inside…back to life.

From “Dark Night Flesh” available Fall 2016
© Lorenzo Buford 2016
Graphic design by Abraham Celaya

HOMOPHOBIA
…can’t have that other voice speaking
from the eyes; don’t look at strangers;
don’t look at anyone; eyes to the ground….
butch the walk; dull down the clothes,
take the voice out the hips and
lower the sensual purr and think like a hunter.

Will today be a bullet day; a hateful word
slashing off that smile
or cursed by a homeless person
whose head is full of demented voices…

and will I be dismissed from work
because I have too much snap;
ignored for promotion,
laughed at behind closed doors
and wonder if I can go out to lunch
without racist slurs being hurled
…my bubble burst…always…
before a repair service is called.

So I read a book on the bus, on
the subway not to make eye contact
because skin color like mine
is despised by males with sexual
hang-ups and if I can measure up
to the stereotype, I am scheduled for
a beat down….and even their eyes
are waiting to throw a knife, a bullet…

and hateful words are uttered by other
gays at happy hour about my color
and other colors because the rainbow
has restrictions and I’m not happy
so walking home late, you wonder
is god watching?; is someone lurking
in the shadows? and afraid that the
car slowing down is not offering
a candy cane but….

I’ve been beaten; been raped,
been cussed out, been denied
apartments; been harassed by the police
and wonder what world is this
that god does not exist but I know
demons like to masquerade as if
offering a helping hand with
poisonous words…

Each day I wake up hoping this
is not a nightmare on repeat but
other bodies of color meet
tragic ends; a moment of silence
and the noise of the world rules again;
and I am afraid when I leave home
I will be a statistic; not a name; not someone
who had a life; but a statistic
wheeled out when a political agenda
needs diluted or a politician needs
a place to shit rhetoric.

No matter where I walk, where
I sit…is this a safe place?…
Am I to be enveloped by Other’s
shadows and still I am supposed
to feel love…will it be love
in my heart when I don’t see life
passing before my eyes as I die
because someone has to make
their god better than mine.

I don’t want a burial day; or
think of wreaths when I step
out of my house but I know
today may be the last day
and did I say the things I need
to say before my color makes
me a victim because my color
doesn’t match their mental décor.
Must each day be a reminder I walk
through the valley of death and
shadows have guns, have knives,
have cars, have ropes, have ignorance
to guide their destroying hands.

Maybe today, I will paint a new
world in my mind…to walk within.

From “Dark Night Flesh” available Fall 2016
© Lorenzo Buford 2016
Graphic design by Abraham Celaya

A DEATH WALKER’S PRAYER
Let me be a lighthouse in the dark places to shine the light on the path forgotten.
Let me be as a lighthouse, a companion to walk the lost to their loved ones.
Let me be a lighthouse in the tragic place and open the path to the ancestors.
Let me be a lighthouse; not judging but accepting and shining compassion.
Let me be a lighthouse, the silent sentinel shining light in all directions for those who are lost and confused in their transition.
Let me be a lighthouse to open a sacred space for the lamenting for saying their goodbyes.
Let me be a lighthouse in the tragic place so the Comforters can find the lost.
Let me be a lighthouse so the transitioning ones can know the angel’s hand reaching for them.
Let me be a light house always standing in the in-between places.

From “Dark Night Flesh” available Fall 2016
© Lorenzo Buford 2016
Graphic design by Abraham Celaya

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