Steven Sanchez – Ode to Anger

Steven Sanchez

Ode to Anger

Because, last week, a bigot bashed Robert’s face
for holding his boyfriend’s hand
on the corner of Olive and Yosemite
in the pink neon glow of Tower Theatre,
because the KKK stood on that corner
for Fresno Pride, because you run
the gay bar on Olive and Broadway
and straights call you faggot in their drunken stupor,
because you always carry a switchblade,
because the bar ran out of ice one night
and you ran to the store in stilettos,
raising you from six foot to six five,
fishnet stockings wrapped
around the muscles of your calves
flexed but familiar with walking at an angle,
because I love how soft your beard feels
against my face, because a man shouted
faggot from his parked car and you said
I’d be upset if I looked as messed up as you,
because he stepped out of his car and walked toward you
and asked what the fuck did you say,
because you said did I stutter, come at me
because you pulled out your knife
because he walked back
because he drove away
because you shouted who is the faggot now
because Olive is the gayest street in Fresno,
because the night Robert got stitches
was my birthday, and I made a joke
about turning 33, about it being my Jesus year,
about how I’ll be dead soon,
because now that joke is sour,
because Mathew Shepherd was murdered
near my birthday, because my straight friend
taught me how to throw a punch:
tuck your thumb over your middle finger so you don’t break any bones,
keep your wrist straight with your forearm or you’ll sprain it,
twist your hips to gain momentum,
strike with the middle knuckle,
flip your palm towards the floor right before you hit

because I know this means he cares about me,
                because I love you
                                                                                                                                                                                                           violence is necessary.

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