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SpaceLogo Sciences Participating with Arts & Culture in Education

By Sara Rodrigues February 26, 2019

Echo

The classroom is cold                                                                                                        The bar is warm

and packed full of                                                                                                           and packed full of

half-asleep bodies                                                                                                            half-drunk bodies

slouched over their desks.                                                                                  slouched over their drinks.

Above us,                                                                                                                                        Above us,

the projector hums anciently                                                                       the speakers blare deafeningly;

as the screen changes.                                                                                            as the music changes.

 

My professor finishes her sentence                                                                 My friend finishes his drink

and clears her throat before                                                                           and clears his throat before

asking: “Have you heard of                                                                           asking: “Have you heard of

the Stonewall Riots?”                                                                                                       the police raids?”

The silence is loud.                                                                                                         The music is loud.

I almost nod.                                                                                                                           I have to nod.

 

My shoulders feel heavy                                                                                My shoulders feel heavy

at the words that follow,                                                                               at the words that follow,

every one of them adding on                                                                 every one of them adding on

another layer of fatigue:                                                                                  another layer of fatigue:

“Before the seventies,                                                                                                         “Last week,

police raids were carried out                                                                               I had to carry Richie

regularly to arrest people                                                                                           out the back door

in gay bars.”                                                                                                                           of Julius’.”

 

The PowerPoint slides change                                                                    The front door slams open

and the room grows warm;                                                                            and the room grows cold;

Two men,                                                                                                                                 Two men,

in grainy black-and-white,                                                                                  in blood-curdling blue,

stand before us:                                                                                                             stand before us:

Their fists are raised high,                                                                                                “Police! Police!

their eyes defiant, staring down                                                                               Stay where you are!

a police line.                                                                                                          We’re taking the place!”

 

I write it all down                                                                                                        My drink falls down

in neat, tidy handwriting,                                                                           in a burst of shattering shards,

hands slightly shaking.                                                                                       my whole body quaking.

 

My professor’s voice is                                                                                              The officer’s voice is       

matter-of-fact, clinical,                                                                                             matter-of-fact, clinical,

when she says: “Solicitation                                                                           when he says: “You’re now

of homosexual relations                                                                                                          under arrest,

was deemed illegal.”                                                                                                          you fuckin’ dyke.”

 

My chest hurts sharply                                                                                        My wrists hurt sharply

as I bend over my desk                                                                              as I’m bent over the counter

and hurry to write it all down                                                         and refuse to let them see me wince

and wonder whether or not                                                                          and wonder whether or not

solicitation is spelled with two Ls.                                                              I will be whole come sunrise.

About the author

Sara is currently in her second semester of Continuing Education at Dawson. She uses writing as a tool to wrangle out her feelings and lay them bare so she can make sense of them. She is particularly interested in approaching topics such as LGBT identity, feminism and mental health, as they all impact her directly.

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