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Wednesday, February 22, 2017


by Danielle Shorr

It is valentines day again
Larry is putting on his black boots
zipping them up smoothly,
he knows a thing or two about confidence,
how to swing his hips with an internal rhythm,
kick up his heels as he walks past a crowd.

These boots are like ones he used to wear
but the latest edition
bought with the paycheck from his new job-
he is proud today.

This queerness has always been
a heart without a name,
worn loudly,
second nature.

Makeup done
full face with
brows arched higher than his dreams for the future-
he has many.

We don't know where he is going tonight
maybe to a bar on Santa Monica Boulevard
or a house party adorned by candy hearts and balloons
or maybe on a date

It could be his first or more likely it isn't because he loves
to talk and smile and his friends swear he can
make anyone see light in a dim room
he’s walked through many
but has learned how
to sway against the darkness

Today Larry is 24
or he would've been
had the bullet not met
the back of his head that day
9 years ago in computer class

I wonder about his plans
like they’re still a possibility

I wonder about him the same way
my mother asks if I got home safely from a night class
there is more fear than optimism
and his fate feels almost inevitable
with the way the years have unraveled since his death

Fifty bodies on a night club floor
still isn't enough to warrant protection-
still a synonym for target

They say humanity is getting better
but we still haven’t heard acknowledgement
and it doesn’t matter how vocal you are
because the silencing will always be louder

This institution is deafening
our sensitivity to noise has diminished-
when was the last time you heard his name in a classroom?

2008 was the year of the swine flu
never ending headlines about things that kill
not one mentioned hatred

Since her start in slam poetry at the age of 17,  Danielle Shorr has continued to write with consistency. From competing at Brave New Voices in 2014, to placing as a finalist for the title of Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate, Danielle has built a resume on experience and passion. As an undergraduate student at Chapman University, Danielle has helped bring student poetic voice to the university, co-founding the first poetry club in 2015. In 2016, Danielle published her first full book of poetry Beyond Existing.