To Be Queer and Sāmoan

To live and breathe
As queer and Samoan-
Is to walk a hundred tight ropes-
Only to fall,
And land on another tightrope
On another tightrope
On another tightrope
On another tightrope
On another tightrope EXTENDED
Over an angry ocean of someone else’s ancestors.
Notice how my family is not there to receive me
In said ocean.
There is a familiar loneliness- a desolation that unites us all.
You’re on Grindr at 3:00am,
You realize every profile without a profile picture
Is a Samoan boy, who just wants to know love-
Without the repercussions of seeking it-
Because our love is only valid when the village sleeps
Our humanity only recognized after dark.
Being queer and Samoan is lowering my voice when I get home
Being queer and Samoan is LOWER than my voice when I get home
Walking in another man’s shoes
While facing the people who claim to love me “unconditionally.”
Queer Samoans live their lives in a constant state of performance.
Which would explain why it's so hard to trust each other.
Queer Samoans live their lives in a constant state of self defense.
Because the beatings are just as hard as the rejection.
In 1830, the first missionaries landed in Samoa.
187 years ago was the last time Samoa was a home for queers.
Was the last time we could look at our own bodies with native eyes.
The last time our genders weren’t called genders.
-last time Samoan love was boundless.
We stopped wearing our hearts on our sleeves
As an act of self defense.
And we keep quiet in the village- because we know how to separate identity and culture.
The toxicity, however, is in that our identity IS our culture.
Our unchristian love IS our culture.
Our ancient and savage love IS our culture.
I can’t bear this repression anymore-
We’ve allowed our hearts to be grounded by another God’s tongue.
The missionaries landed on OUR shores-
And to acknowledge this history as anything else, is the opposite of healing.
I’m here to preach a new sermon
The ugly, and feminine, and messy, and ancient sermon-
Their colonial repression will TWIST the way my tongue twists it-
I will serve them a blasphemous oratory
And remind them that there is no room in the Pasefika
For their definition of love-
Their love in boxes
Their love in categories
Their love on charts.
Bring me your hatred and I will show you a new foreign policy-
My message to Samoans who's hearts dance the Old way-
Let it dance.
Let your gay little hearts be depth.
Let your hearts be salt.
Let your hearts be untameable
Just like the Moana.
And I want you to dare anybody
And everybody
To try and tame your oceans.

This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country
Our world


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