TDOR speech – michael

who calls out the names of the living?

michael munson

who calls out the names of the living?
those who have been bruised,
scarred,
marked for life
with the hate
tattooed on their bodies
carved into their minds
burned through their souls?

who calls out the names of the living?
those who never retreat
after hundreds of dozens
of insults,
epithets,
slurs,
puncturing their eardrums.

who calls out the names of the living?
those walking the streets
with no shelter or home,
bodies the tool for
survival,
hammered to the pavement.

who calls out the names of the living?
those pummeled by police,
left to bleed on the driveway,
the sheets,
shunned and betrayed,
embodying their lies.

who calls out the names of the living?
those who wake up
to shouts and slaps,
fists and coercion,
trapped,
convinced they deserve each strike.

who calls out the names of the living?
those who have been demoted
from within their own ranks,
humiliated, taunted,
critiqued,
accepting the place they’ve been assigned.

who calls out the names of the living?
those who mop the blood,
stitch the wounds,
caress the fractures,
weep,
praying for wholeness.

who calls out the names of the living?

chanting their names,
unable to parse the
union of theirs and ours.

who calls out the names of the living?

an army of wounded soldiers
with armor built of scar tissue.

(c) michael munson
November 22, 2006

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This piece of writing was submitted and read at the Milwaukee Wisconsin Transgender Day of Remembrance event on November 19, 2012.

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