In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Pulse
  • Alexis Pauline Gumbs (bio)

for the loved ones in Orlando we never got to meet

i was going to see youi was going to dancein the same place with you somedayi was going to pretend not to noticehow you and your friends smiledwhen you saw me and my partnertrying to cumbia to bachatabut i was going to feel more free anywaybecause you were smilingand we were togetherand you had your stomach outand you felt beautiful in your sweat

i was going to smile when i walked byi was going to hug you the first timea friend of a friend introduced usi was going to compliment your shoesinstead of writing you a love poemi was going to smile every time i saw youand struggle to remember your name

we were going to sing togetherwe were going to belt out Selenai was going to mispronounce everythingexcept for amor [End Page 95]

and ay ay ayi was going to covet your confidence and your braceleti was going to be grateful for the sight of youi was going scream YES!!! at nothing in particularat everything especiallymeaning youmeaning you beyond who i knew you to be

i was going to see you in hallwaysand be too shy to say helloyou were going to come to the workshopyou were going to sign up for the workshop and not comeyou were going to translate the webinareven though my politics seemed out there

we were going to sign up for creating change the same dayand be reluctant about it for completely different reasonswe were going to watch the keynotesand laugh at completely different times

i was going to hold your hand in a big activityabout the intimacy of strangersabout the strangeness of needing prayerwe were going to get the same automated voice messagewhen we complained that it was not what it should have been

we were going to be standing in the same linefor various overpriced drinksduring a shift changei was going to breathe loudly so you would notice meyou were going to compliment my hair

it isn’t fairbecause we were going to workto beyonce and rihannaand the rihanna’s and beyonce’s to comeand the beyonce’s and rihanna’s after that

we were going to not drink enough waterand stay out later than our immune systems could handlewe were going to sit in traffic in each others blindspotslistening to top 40 songs that trigger queer memoriesjust outside the scope of marketing predictions [End Page 96]

we were going to get old and i was going to wonderabout the hint of a tattoo i could see under your sleevei was going to blink and just missthe fought-for laughter lines around your liner-loved eyes

i was going to go out for my birthdaybut i didn’tand you did

we were going to be eldersjust because we were still aroundand i was going to listen to you on a panelwe didn’t feel qualified forand hear you talk about your guiltfor still being alivewhen so many of your friends were takenby suicideby AIDSby racist policeand jealous ex-loversand poverty and no access to healthcareand how you had a stable jobyou suffered at until the weekendhow you avoided the dramaand only went to the club at prideand so here you were with no one to dance with anymore

i was going to see you and forget youand only remember you in my hipsand how my smile came easier than clenching my teeth eventuallyand how i finally learned whatever it is i still haven’t learned yeti was going to hear you laugh and not know whyand not care

our ancestors fought for a futureand we were both going to be thereuntil we weren’t

and i don’t...


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pp. 95-98
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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