i stand as witness
"nigger monkeys. all of them."i heard. and i kept hammering. tears pushing the back of my eyes.
fast backward to when a little girl, about 7, repeated what she heard from her parents or grandparents or older siblings. maybe on tv. fast backward to that moment at the park when she wanted the swing i pushed my brother on."stupid nigger."
the only time i've ever punched someone in the mouth. my 6 yr. old fist.and now fast forward. standing on castro street. under rainbow flags. after shopping and talking and sharing and
"nigger."and it jolts you. and it matters you're in san francisco, an icon of liberal whiteness. a san francisco of gayness rather than queerness. and it matters i stood witness. and it matters it wasn't "at me." but at my friend who stood next to me. and it matters all i could say was "fuck you." and it matters i was braver at 6. and it matters two minutes later we ate burritos in silence. and it matters until then he'd never heard it said to him. that faggot was the epithet of choice that marked his body. and it matters we were in the bay for a conference on transnational american studies.
but then i guess it doesn't.