a poem on the occasion of the five-year anniversary of the ninety-five stories protest

on the thirty-first of october, 1517, martin luther published his ninety five theses.

his protest burned into the oak doors of a candy colored righteousness.


on the third of december, 2017—oh holy night—a chapel chorus tenor

in a faux dutch church fell from the graces with a nail and a hammer in hand,


and from the balcony rained a new ninety-five; lake-logged stories that hit the crowd 

like a bomb, pine pews alight with voices that were done being silenced.


luther was excommunicated but michael vasquez was expelled

for trying to pull the rainbows out of the stained glass windows of dimnent memorial.


the fire sparked, but the train kept coming and the anchor was at last pulled

from the depths so the tenth street schooner could finally sail forward.


i would like to thank vasquez, kam, schaetzel, and nelson for their sacrifices,

which let us stand here today. as the sun shines through the rouge triangle glass, 


we experience a twilight queerness—us disgruntled children of the dutchman’s dream—

we, the angelic troublemakers, the indigo sweethearts, and the lighthouse queens—


but we are here and we no longer whisper along the theatre halls.

we sing as a body electric amongst the cherry fields and tulip buds,


we shout in the grove to paint the moonlight wilde 

for the sapphics and the carnation kings and all the lovers in between,


from the field house to the research labs, from the finance offices 

to the cottages that have always been the safest places for us.


we have come so far in these one thousand eight hundred and twenty six days.

let us never forget the courage that walked before us, nor the battles that were won.


just know that no matter how long the struggle, look how far we’ve come.


Aubrey Brolsma

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