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Ceremonias De La Superviviencia

By Baruch Porras-Hernandez

at the movies    my eye      on the Exit sign
on the aisles    the doorways     the space
between the seat in front of me and my legs
how far could I crawl
before I die?

wednesday   after it happened
I went to a work event at a gay bar     I stood
near the exit when I could   when I couldn’t
I stood near a window   I made sure I could
open and fit through    made sure I could
jump out and land on the roof
of the building next door
just in case
                                     after the event
my coworker was leaving
thought about hugging him     but I don’t
I   waived       asked myself
is this the last time I’m going to see him?

two weeks after the massacre
my partner is getting ready to attend Pride
                 I am   staying home

I watch him pick out his outfit         I sit
quietly on the couch    when he is dressed
he holds me    I hold him a little longer
ask myself
is this the last time I’m going to see him?
he leaves       I feel as if I should go with him
just in case

has I love you      always meant
I would   die   holding you
                              for people    like us?
has I love you
    always tasted like     two boys
    scared to form the word    amor
with their lips      terrified to say things
like       belleza    te quiero
    would you      die
              holding      me?

when it happens           if it happens
do we run towards the fucker together?
do we die in each other’s arms?

I will be your shield
will you be mine?

I’ve never used my body as a shield
is this what true love is? is this what queer love is?

if our genes    our DNA
truly hold onto memory
then we remember our ancestor’s gay love
remember our ancestor’s queer communion
the ceremony of maricones before us
their trauma    their struggle
and if that is in us    then so is their survival!

to all    the fuckers out there ready to shoot us down
we will survive you          we have survived fires
                we have survived camps
                             we have survived plagues and

                             we will survive you

I’m sitting at work     everyone
has moved on to the next tragedy
Nice    Quetta    Baghdad    Istanbul

my eyes focus on the exit sign
then the door        the front lobby
                  then back to the exit sign
                            the door

the space between my cubicle
and the door

              the exit sign
                    the door.




Listen as Baruch Porras-Hernandez reads

"Ceremonias De La Superviviencia." 

Added: Friday, March 15, 2019  /  From Pulse/Pulso: In Remembrance of Orlando, (Damaged Goods Press, 2018). Used with permission. This Split This Rock poem is presented as part of "What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy," the third annual programming initiative of the Poetry Coalition. This national initiative is made possible in part by a grant from the Ford Foundation secured by the Academy of American Poets.
Baruch Porras-Hernandez

Baruch Porras-Hernandez is a two-time winner of Literary Death Match, a Lambda Literary Poetry Fellow, a Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow, and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Baruch was named a Bay Area Writer to Watch! in 2016 by 7×7 Magazine. He is the founder and host of ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente? Latinx Literary Series, and a regular literary host for KQED. His poems can be found in Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, Write Bloody Publishing, Divining Divas: 100 Gay Men on Their Muses, Rio Grande Review, Foglifter Journal, The Tusk, and Love is the Drug & other Dark Poems. He has been an artist in residence at the Ground Floor Summer Lab with Berkeley Repertory Theatre. He has two chapbooks from Sibling Rivalry Press. Baruch is originally from Mexico and lives in San Francisco. Please visit his website.

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