For the victims of the Orlando Massacre–dead and living, near and far


by C.P. Cavafy

The days of the future stand before us
like a row of small lighted candles–
golden, warm, and lively candles.

snuffedoutcandlesimgThe days of the past stay behind,
a sad line of burned-out candles;
still smoking are the closest ones,
cold candles, melted and drooping.

I don’t want to look at them, their aspect saddens me,
and it saddens me to remember their first light.
I look ahead to my lighted candles.

I down’t want to look back, to see, horrified,
how quickly the dark line lengthens,
how quickly the snuffed-out candles multiply.

(translated by Aliki Barnstone)

Hatred and loathing of queer people and violence towards our bodies in the USA is nothing new. It is not simply a thing of the past, a relic dramatically resurrected in an ‪#‎Orlando‬ gay club. The violence has been chronic for some time–a fact those aware of the epidemic of extreme violence towards transgender people know all too well. The perpetrators have so often targeted Black and Latino queer people.

The mourning and outrage over murderous assaults and attempts to terrorize us has been felt already everyday for many days. For years.

Today we feel a collective grief and horror. We seek to make sense of it and to find the culprits to blame–religious extremists at home and abroad, legislators who do not take a stand about gun violence, and the list goes on.

It is hard to make sense of what is happening in the midst of a storm. The media frenzy added to our own individual and collective shock becomes so disorienting. So much is unknown.

But one thing is true and has always been true:
We need each other.
We need each other.
We need each other.


This post has 2 Comments

  1. Mercia McMahon on June 13, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    I thought of you, Peterson, when I first heard news of that awful shooting in Orlando. I wanted to be positive about Floridan clubs last night so watched The Birdcage movie. They are holding an event in Soho (London) later tonight to show solidarity. I’ll be keeping America on my mind and holding its queer community in the light.

  2. Peterson Toscano on June 13, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you friend for your comment. Thinking of you too. It’s a time when we all seem to need to band together.

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