“We got married last year, the day after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. It was a coincidence. We live in California so it was already legal, but the whole city was celebrating with us. Her family has a house on Cape Cod and we’ve been coming here for the summer for nine years. At first her parents wouldn’t talk to me, but now they like me. “What changed?” “They got used to the idea that she wasn’t going to marry a nice catholic boy.”
Long lines for the beginning of summer
the sand will be quite taken up
by the time you get there
toes tasting salt water
for the first time in months
men fish-belly white that have lost
their business shirts for the week
and hope for a tan before their time is up
wives whittled down by the demands
of children and laundry and cooking
bury their eyes in books they wished
they had been reading all year long
yes the sand will be quite taken up
barely room to lay your own blanket
and let the sun fry away your memories
of winter and blankness and snow
remembering to turn over
counterclockwise every hour
lest the heat lash you with a burn
to remind you again we’re all the mortals here
summer would come and go
even if we’d never crawled out of the ocean.
My whole family comes to this park four or five times a month. We’ve got a lot of kids at home during the summer, so we all come here. My mom and my uncle are over there barbecuing and everybody else is over here at the pool. We still have more coming. We’ll have maybe forty-five people here. We had to get them out of the house. If everybody came to my mama’s house or my auntie’s house, everybody all in one spot, we’d be all stuffed up. So we come to the park and everybody can get out and enjoy themselves. The parents can relax and just have a good time.
I love to swim. I’m an artist, and if I can’t listen to music or write music, I’ll swim to clear my head and take a breather. Over the past three weeks I’ve been here seventeen times using the lap pool. Some of my cousins can’t swim, so I teach them. It’s kind of hard when everybody wants to learn at once, but they’re getting there. I taught them all how to doggie paddle and so far that’s what keeping them safe.
I’ve been singing in church since I was seven and I’ve been writing poetry since I was fourteen. I started rapping when I turned sixteen because my uncle passed away and it was the only way I knew how to express myself. He was killed in a car accident. That was my father figure. So I wrote a poem and then my friend started singing it. It was perfect, so she wrote a chorus and we recorded a track and it was just something I was feeling at the moment. So that’s what led me to sticking with rap.
Music has always been my best friend. Old school R&B, gospel, it’s always helped me if I’m feeling upset or mad. It’s like food for my soul. Artists have been there for me, so I want to be that person other people can look up to. I want somebody to be like, “Your song got me through this situation.” I just want to have that impact on somebody else ‘cause I like helping people.
Damontay with baby cousin Rain (at Webber Natural Swimming Pool)
Life cycles: things happen in circles. Here we come round
again – summer vacation for me. It’s the easy life. I have only one week of
plans. So what else should I do? Hang out with you in book shops, please.