Butterfly Migration

(As I watched the dying autumn leaves spiral downward against the sky- some of the orange ones never hit the ground, but opened their stained glass wings. They were not leaves but Monarch butterflies, migrating)

Gordene MacKenzie

(dedicated to all the volunteers at MTPC, Nov. 2006)


The Blonde Roar of the Media engine

That spread

The story of Christine Jorgenson

Wider than the Ocean

She crossed

hollered headlines of

“EX GI becomes blonde bombshell”

lifted postwar bodies

left dead by McCarthyism’s

campaign of gender hate

Rosie the Riveter’s ghost

chained in the suburbs

Alone in a starched shirtwaist dress

watched Televised Black bodies

Violently washed away

by fire hoses of fear

and Vietnamese children floating in vats of napalm

on the news

that shook middle class children

Out of their concrete cocoons

into the streets patrolled by angry men

who stalked feminine boys

And brave women

How many died

Or stood up like

Screaming Queens and butch Lesbians of color

Tired of police harassment and beatings

Who lit the night with fires of liberation and hope

Illuminating centuries of ancestral pain:

Of 50 million Africans

Who died

Before they were sold into slavery

stolen from their families and

marched 1,000 miles to the coast

In neck and leg chains

caged in the bottom of ships

For the long voyage across the Atlantic

Where captains poured hot tar into their wounds

To smooth out their appearance before selling them

We are still fighting back

Or the two Wounded Knees

Where 300 Lakota Indians were gunned down by the US military

for doing the Ghost Dance

that promised to remove their executioners, restore the earth

bring back the buffalo

and raise their dead

an infant was found nursing on the breast of her dead mother

80 years later back at Pine Ridge

the FBI killed 300 more Lakotas

while waging war against the American Indian Movement

We are still fighting back

And Gwen Araujo, a young transwoman

beaten with a skillet, a soup can,

pounded with a shovel, and strangled with a rope

At her burial site one of her killers said

he wished she was still alive so he could kick her again

Then her 4 murderers went to McDonald’s for breakfast

The media said she asked for it

We are still fighting back

This time with hoes and not guns

We are planting the revolution

As we unravel the fabric of hate

embroidered deep in the soil

where the ghosts of our dead

are resurrected in young trans bodies transitioning

in elementary and middle school

in a new dawn of hope

where yellow velvet lilies crawl through the afternoon doors of Love

and some falling leaves we thought were dead

Sprout orange stained glass wings

As Monarch butterflies begin their migration

to a warmer climate

(please see Gordene’s comments on the writing of this poem)