The heart beats to animate the body; we call this human rhythm our pulse. It is no coincidence that I can’t stop thinking about heartbeats. How subtle a heartbeat is, how it quickens in love, and in fear. I think of how love and fear are related, especially growing up a queer person. When I was young and coming out I didn’t want to be defined by my queer identity. I might avoid a pride parade because of fear, or self loathing, or because I feared love. I think about the very first time I came close to a woman in a gay bar. Manray was a sprawling three-room gay bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I remember how the music was pulsing, how my pulse quickened when she reached out her hand to me, and the lights were dazzling, and the men were wild and sweating and dancing like the gorgeous creatures they were, and the fog machine had a slightly sour but dizzying smell. I think about how my pulse revealed me. Then I imagine 49 hearts that have ceased beating.
I think about how blood is everywhere. It is inside us, pumping through us. It is the river of our living, until it is leaking out of us. I’m imagining the massacre on June, 12. I’m still uneasy using the word massacre.
1. Noun – an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people.
2. Verb – deliberately and violently kill (a large number of people).
It was to massacre, but perhaps it wasn’t a massacre? The shooting wasn’t indiscriminate. It was at a gay bar. I’m at the restaurant where I work when I read the Facebook post from the club that night: If you are at Pulse get out and keep running. And I start crying silently in front of customers who do not notice or choose not to react. (more…)