Issue 1: Queering Across Borders
Tramps Like Us
By Resi Polixa June 10, 2019
I’ve never felt so New Jersey as I did when I left.
Like you, I was born to run.
if you want to see me, you can tell I am easily found.
People ask me what I am. I struggle to tell them that I am everywhere and nowhere all at once. I
am everything and nothing -
I exist at the darkness on the edge of town.
It’s strange to be made up of paradoxes. Margins are the only things that make sense.
I had to leave New Jersey, but since leaving I can’t shake it.
I come from people who moved, people who crossed borders
like they were permeable lines that didn’t matter,
the dotted lines you see on a map
My mother is an immigrant
While she was pregnant with me
she commuted to work over two trains from
New Jersey to Queens daily
And my mother came from a place
that was invaded by colonizers
who also acted like borders
Spanish who traveled a long way
to conquistador a collection of
over 7500 islands
in the Pacific
In Tagalog, there’s words that
come from other places
One of them is a word for me:
or, I should say
I’ve been wanting to write this poem since I could form
words since I could
speak since I could
this poem’s been writing itself
since before I was born
to cross borders
to exist on both sides of that / line
Because I am everywhere/nowhere
all at once
Most people don’t realize
that gender exists beyond two/sides
In Tagalog, the Spanish introduced gender
there is no grammatical difference
I am a siya
I am someone more deep
than I look on the surface
My gender is a universe
It is anarchy
of bright lights, starlight, saxophone solos, operas and ballets
Beneath the surface
I am a city, I am the chaotic jungleland
of New Jersey
I struggle against
my skin feels like ice I have to break through daily:
permeable lines that don’t matter / the dotted lines you see on a map
No, outside my skin is on fire, in a real death waltz
between what’s flesh/what’s fantasy
dotted with track marks
that betray my identity
of racial ambiguity and gender anarchy
that lie beneath -
I am not who you’d expect,
So the poet in here
has to stand back and let it all be.
So if you want to see me, you can tell I am easily found.
I am everywhere/nowhere
all at once
Because like you,
I was born to run.
Everybody’s out on the run tonight,
but there’s no place left to hide.
I can’t escape this jungleland inside me,
even from this place,
where no one asks any questions
or looks too hard in your face,
where the madness in my soul lives —
in the darkness on the edge/of town.
Resi Polixa is a queer Filipinx public historian, writer, and community storyteller based out of Lowell, MA. They are the founder of the LGBTQ+ Lowell Open Mic series, and are a firm believer in the power of storytelling to change the world. They have been published by bklyn boihood in Outside the XY: Queer Black and Brown Masculinity, and will soon be published in LOAM magazine. They are an alum of the Public Humanities MA program at Brown, and when not writing, enjoy exploring the mysteries of tarot and experiencing the outdoors. You can follow them on Instagram @resi_ibanez and @sideeye.historian .