Say Their Names

Say their names.

It was Saturday night in Orlando.
The night was filled with dancing,
Music whirling bodies merrily about the floor,
Laughing with loved ones
In common sanctuary,
When Death arrived, spinning bullets
Striking spinning dancers to the stone.
Rainbow festival yielded to one color, crimson.
Their names, accented with the Spanish
Of Caribbean islands or of South
American towns, spill haltingly
From my awkward tongue,
Because my voice is choked
With tears.

Stanley Almodovar III, 23
Amanda Alvear, 25
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
Antonio Davon Brown, 29
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Luis Daniel Conde, 39
Cory James Connell, 21
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
Paul Terrell Henry, 41
Frank Hernandez, 27
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
Kimberly Morris, 37
Akyra Monet Murray, 18
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
Martin Benitez Torres, 33
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Luis S. Vielma, 22
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31

As their friends and families mourn their murders,
Say their names.


I Guess it Needs to be Said

Liliuokalani Park, Hilo, HI

I guess it needs to be said: 

You don’t get to kill someone because they’re different. God made LGBTQ folks. Muslim folks. Black folks. Brown folks. You don’t get to kill them because of any of that.

You don’t get to kill people because you’re angry, or scared, or offended, or embarrassed. You don’t get to kill them out of resentment or a sense of betrayal. You don’t get to kill them out of privilege or pride. You don’t get to kill them. 

When the sword flashed in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said, “Enough of this.” 

Two thousand years and millions of dead later, haven’t we had enough?