Pride is not our arrival.
It’s gas on the journey,
a gasp while drowning.
Pride is not the destination,
just an exhale and a cigarette
to remind ourselves to drop the fucks we gave.
Pride is not the goal,
but a utopia carved into the dystopia,
an hour of sun after a month of monsoon, 
a stranger’s couch after a long stint in the cold.

The big bang of a brick
conceived a cosmos 
made of millions of stars
almost always drowned by the blackness of night
except for the days
when we remember to shine.
Behind a fence there is this world
where black and brown and white bodies 
are all covered with rainbows. 
Where genderless bodies with 
boobs and beards and fat and muscles 
wear thongs and pasties as the norm. 
Where rubber dildos fall from the clouds,
dousing young lovers who make out in the shade
behind one white man and a megaphone
and a sign with a bible verse
who bellows ragefully outside the fence of joy
misunderstanding the earth and the sparking bodies 
who have already found the queendom of heaven.

Mothers with free mom hug shirts
stand tall in rows
like the mother geese who adopt goslings 
who have lost their parents,
regardless of biological kin,
lined up for queer goslings begging to be seen.

Most days I still cannot touch desire
or even whisper want.
When I get close enough to think the words
the voices cannot swallow the remaining space,
closing out the sentence to put
me in my place.

I want adoption here. 
I needed adoption then.
Can they still be my chosen family if they found me in a miracle? 
If they saw what I was blind to and gave life I never deserved?
Am I unchosen by love?
Unchosen by need?
Unchosen by divine?

Capitalism is fog that sneaks between holes in wire fencing.
Corporations seek consumption,
while queers seek spaciousness,
while black lovers seek reparations,
while immigrants seek refuge.
We speak different languages because 
Pride is not complacency unless we want it to be.
We ignore the logos 
with our dancing bodies exhaling.
We blast music to drown it out.
Our bodies touch and grind to the sin of freedom.

Bring your guns and your bibles,
bring your power and your vote.
It’s all distraction from the truth
which is joy in the fight,
laughter in the movement

When movement is all we have left
we will tear the signs off the walls
to create space
for blank canvases
to spill joy 
over the mask
of the everyday loneliness 
of carving out space for our existence.

I’m carving out space for your existence
and the generations to come.
I’m spilling paint on the streets
as sacrifice to Marsha and Sylvia
and the names we will never know.

Pride is not always pleasure
or satisfaction
or dignity
or confidence,
but the whisper of a new day,
the belief in the possibility
of ecstasy,
the charm of convincing oneself
that even for today
our lives are choices  
and we are choosing to stay.

About the author:

Hayden Dansky (pronouns: they/them/theirs) is a nonbinary rural queer kid trying their best to not to be smothered by capitalism. They have been writing and performing poetry for several years, and are currently collaborating with local experimental musicians, dancers and videographers to create performances that encompass multiple disciplines. They just published their first full length poetry book called I Would Tell You a Secret. Their most recent poetry can also be found in anthologies such as Bible Belt Queers, Thought for Food, South Broadway Ghost Society Online Journal, and Spit Poet Volume 8. They are also the Executive Director of Boulder Food Rescue, a nonprofit working to create a more just and less wasteful food system, through the sustainable redistribution of healthy food and participatory and community-led food access systems.


Facebook: Hayden Dansky

Instagram: @haydendansky 

Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash