Roberto Montes

Shame is Revolutionary Feeling

I cannot
Pronounce my name
The way it was given
You knew what they would say
Clarifying the theory of alienation
Touching yourself
Only to realize
After you are done
You are not
The frame settles a little
If I am white
People are looking at me
Or I couldn't work my mouth
Around the second syllable
Pronounced processional
When you stop traffic
To let the body through
When I don't understand
Something I say
It is a dialectic
The psychosis of loss
Without a scandal
The funds filled the space
We left behind
An attentive love
Made itself known
And we are to understand this
As one cycle
Not so much interested
In the next
Of what the reliquary held
But what was held back
One kind of vandalism
Is just accepting the wall
As it is given to you
No future
We haven't seen first
Past the post
Where the memorial used to be
You knew what they would say
We've all been there
But life was there first

Roberto Montes is the author of I DON'T KNOW DO YOU, named one of the Best Books of 2014 by NPR. His poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Whiskey Island; Coconut Magazine; Forklift, Ohio; Nepantla: A Journal for Queer Poets of Color; Apogee Journal; and elsewhere.