For José Esteban Muñoz (1967 – 2013)
By Sam Sax
Queerness is the thing that lets us know the world is not enough, that indeed, something is missing. – José Esteban Muñoz
today you are dead and i read a poem by merwin
on the toilet that i forgot soon as i read it.
after, i watched a video my father sent of katie perry
singing her hit song about explosives and the potential of the human
spirit. she sang it with an autistic girl whose dream it was to sing
with katie perry. he tells me he cried, my father.
i’ll never understand what makes men do that. or how to get there
outside of a map stitched from liquor.
i think that type of open weeping must be like the ocean coughing
up a swallowed city.
last week i found your words in my mouth again, in a classroom,
defending theory. how it too can make the world or map it.
somewhere else on the internet, a man whose cum i ate and hate now
says he cried over your passing or is crying still. and i’m full,
not quite of envy, but still something huge and wet. every boy i’ve loved
is an archive of spit, every man a document taken into the body.
your first book, i carried inside me until its pages wore thin as a blueprint
of valhalla. homeless in atlanta, i met someone at a faggot bar
who let me live in his house because of how we both loved you.
everyone i love is sad on the internet, is reaching
with both arms toward the promise of something reaching back
is charting a path between what is given and what is given away
today you are dead and somewhere on the internet, a friend films
himself injecting testosterone into his dirt gold calves
elsewhere, a drag queen’s makeup is spun backwards off her plain face,
a boy dances inside his mother’s vestigial hips, fast food
workers strike, their picket signs full of text. elsewhere, someone claims
an ancient library was found at the bottom of the ocean
i bet that’s where we’re all going. i bet that’s where you went.
Sam Sax is an MFA candidate at the Michener Center for Writers, a recipient of the Acker Award, a Pushcart-nominated poet, and has recently had his poetry appear (or is forthcoming) in Anti-, Rattle, The Boxcar Poetry Review and other journals.