brown out shouts!
this is for matea who dances the bomba
with hands that crest moonhips
and kisses harder than she loves herself.
every trans, genderqueer, futchie, fairy, AG,
anything with roots arches toward her, they can’t help it,
their arms like petals soaking up her light.
and this is for my student, hard ass krystal who doesn’t want anything
to do with brasso or that jrotc uniform, however constructs a sonnet
as simple as some of us make our beds. he just wants 3 meals a
day for his brother and a brand new binder for his chest.
for Javi who takes his tequila quick.
for aqua starr black.
because they had the bravery to re-name
themselves: aqua. starr. black.
sometimes you just gotta call out your power
cuz no one else is gonna do it for you.
maria is a dancer clasping onto hardwood by the heels
but serves our coffee at the diner always w/ a smile.
she’s pissed off cuz her wife cannot afford to go to the hospital.
although, you can’t see it, her heart breaks because no papers or government
can explain how this person in the bed makes her laugh
like a gutteral fool.
for JP who draws sketches sneaking them in your purse.
for Celiany whose caliber demands that the very least her lovers
have the following traits: dexterity, initiative, and someone who can put it down.
for every son shaped in bullets, your heart as compact as
a trigger, your voice a sharp wind song that wants to lay a forehead
down on the chest of your boyfriend.
let your letters survive the wars, jail cells,
let the meter of your words swoon your lovers back to the bed,
as you take turns turning off the alarm on the nightstand with
your toes, elbows, orgasms, and in between kisses.
for that one lonely Korean guy Jake who found me in a group of
500 white people in the frenzy of the Sugar Club in Dublin, Ireland.
I make due, he said. & we can still see him shrugging in the strobe lights,
hungry for somewhere else.
this is for you this afternoon, spring cleaning your blues away,
maybe in your favorite t-shirt, maybe you called in sick,
maybe missing your family back home, maybe your voice is hoarse
from asking strangers for food, maybe you lost a lover or
are losing yourself, lost in the whimsy of musical notes.
the rhythms can consume the sadness, if you let it.
for my dearest sarwat who sat on a hill, held up the sun, looking at all the
fiiiine transmasculine and queers of color and said without
saying, mm mmm I deserve this.
for español, pangasinan, patois, pidgeon, mandarin
love poems you write.
for those immigrants, babydykes and trans youth who sprout out
from neighborhoods described to tourists as, don’t go there. its dangerous.
rolling up their windows from our existence.
for you who fights for our rights,
for you who laughs too loud,
for you who eats too much,
for you who twists wrists by paintbrush,
for you who will not let your spirit pass up a sunset or a protest
even when you think you deserve less sometimes.
because there’s a brown out right now
and by that I mean there is no electricity,
which means life is crashing and pouring down
and by that I mean I am lonely,
which really means
that we are brown and transgender and queer and out
and we’ve been told too many times that all of those
cannot belong all at once. that based on those odds,
we equal death.
for you / for us / for we
because without explanation, we exist
and you, you like all of our ancestors before,
you live it so fiercely that even when injustice sets in,
this rumbling sky houses your breath and
that is better than any survival story,
that, that is joy being born.
Additional Information About the Text or Author: A Campus Pride Hot List artist, Trans Justice Funding Project Panelist, and Trans 100 Honoree, Kay Ulanday Barrett aka @brownroundboi, is a poet, performer, and educator, navigating life as a disabled pin@y-amerikan transgender queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance, and laughter. K. has featured on colleges & stages globally; Princeton University, UC Berkeley, Musee Pour Rire in Montreal, Queens Museum, and The Chicago Historical Society. K’s bold work continues to excite and challenge audiences. K. has facilitated workshops, presented keynotes, and contributed to panels with various social justice communities. Honors include: 18 Million Rising Filipino American History Month Hero 2013, Chicago’s LGBTQ 30 under 30 awards, Finalist for The Gwendolyn Brooks Open-Mic Award, Windy City Times Pride Literary Poetry Prize. Their contributions are found in RaceForward, Poor Magazine, Fusion.net, Trans Bodies/Trans Selves, Windy City Queer: Dispatches from the Third Coast, Make/Shift, Filipino American Psychology, Third Woman Press, Asian Americans For Progress, The Advocate, and Bitch Magazine. K. turns art into action and is dedicated to remixing recipes. Recent publications include contributions in the upcoming anthologies, “Outside the XY: Queer Black & Brown Masculinity” (Magnus Books) and “Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices” (Trans-genre Press). Their first book of poetry, When The Chant Comes, is due out from Topside Press in summer 2016. Check out their work at kaybarrett.net