“I am their fury,
I am their patience,
I am a conversation.
I am made of love – and it’s stronger than you.” – Garnet, character in Steven Universe
i am their fury:
an anarchic army of ferocious drag queens, screaming
to leap free of the velvet underground. it was we
who first set fire to the stage, who threw
the first stones, who fought the fuzz with tooth and manicured nail.
hustlers, homos, perverts and transvestites – femmes,
faggots, divas, and butch dykes all made up the fairy
warrior tribe. bound by the bloodline not of birth,
but battleground. i dance to their tune,
a song from valhalla. their anger my survival. their memory my strength.
and i am their patience:
the fallen forgotten of angel island, celestials stripped
of homeland, of heaven. those shipped back to china
like unwanted goods jumped into the belly of the sea. the waves
ate their bones. years, the rest waited in detainment: for salvation,
a sign. carved poetry into the walls of their cages: “america has power,
but not justice” – wrote one xu from xiangshan. his words still stand.
four generations of exploited labour later, chinese children adorn
the ivy league, the fortune 500, but unwanted people still swell
the gullet of detention centres. a train of ghosts rides in my wake.
you see, i am a conversation
between the city and the sea. my body
is the realization of a future someone else foretold.
i am something that someone fought for, that somebody wished for.
i am man and woman and east and west,
i am salt and fire and metal and flesh. i was made to be nationless, fearless,
changing like the sky changes, without shame or sacrifice.
and i am something that you tried to stop from becoming:
something so glorious that you were afraid of it, something
you didn’t want in your kingdom. and it’s stronger than you –
because i am made of love:
the kind that drives parents from their villages and across oceans
to feed their children. that men building railways on foreign
mountainsides in wintertime risk losing limbs for
as they close their eyes to remember the lovers they left behind
as the dynamite goes off. that kept faggots and dykes
holding hands in a police raid. that tranny girls forced to leave
home dream about as they clench their fists and face the man in the street.
that puts a boy and a girl into a single body crackling with rage and pleasure.
you cannot stop me: i am made of love.