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We've all heard the phrase before: "now more than ever." But why now? What does that mean? I don't know about you, but as a queer person of color, "now" has always been a state of mind. On my birth, the color of my skin blushed now. When I kissed a pair of lips, named it "Lover," my nerves danced with now.

That's not what I'm here to talk to you about. Let's talk about being. Let's talk about "Cranes in the Sky" by Solange when she says, "I tried to drink it away. I tried to put one in the air. I tried to dance it away. I tried to change it with my hair." Let's talk about the sky and the way the gods string a snake of stars across the blue-black of midnight. Cue, "Back That Azz Up," and twerk in front of the bathroom mirror. I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of giving language to people who won't give me a hand. When Hazem Fahmy writes, "Let's go habiby. / A storm is but wind and water," I want to swallow my obstructions. I want to conjure a prayer in bed next to the boy I once loved. In the mirror, Joseph O. Legaspi's words howl--"Are you man/or butterfly,/the way your/dress billows." The hollow of the earth wails for me. The white man wants to see me dead. My love, "now" has always been, will always be. Why do you think Taylor Johnson writes, "Call my name and the whole woods / rise up inside me?"

When I die, dedicate my bones to beauty.

Luther Hughes Founder & Editor-in-Chief the Shade Journal


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