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Hector is grassroots
registers in the neighborhood
where they are afraid of the System
like he used to be
Hector brings clipboards & Sharpies
has his speech down to 10 seconds
says You want a better life for your family?
Keep your children safe?
They want to keep you small
keep you scraping by
The party has gotten a bad rap
It’s the party of Lincoln
Hector has what sounds like a slight lisp
but it’s the way his tongue touches his veneers
the teeth you can get when you’ve made it   Hector
thick in his suit    sweet smelling
a smile at the ready
Hector knows how to shake a hand lock eyes tell you about his abuela
all she did for him
to be nothing
like her
Hector is delirious with shame
talks loud & fast when the memories come up
He’s got sympathy for Clarence Colin Condoleezza & Cruz
Hector learned to speak their language
Newly lingual
Hector tore out his tongue
He expects them
to do the same



is a drag queen
with a voice

that grates like a knock-kneed Japanese girl
dragging her soles down the sidewalk

Her implants
military grade

will outlive her
in the sweet meat

of the ground

avatar of Vishnu
plural in incarnation

Behold her bioluminescence


Kevin Simmonds is a writer and musician originally from New Orleans. Bend to it, his second collection from Salmon Poetry, was released in March 2014. He is the editor of the groundbreaking anthology Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality. He wrote the music for the Emmy Award-winning documentary HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica and Voices of Haiti, both commissioned by the Pulitzer Center. He’s received awards, commissions and grants from Fulbright, Creative Work Fund, San Francisco Arts Commission and, most recently, the Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner. He divides his time between Brooklyn, San Franciso, and Japan.