⌘ The Pulse of a Rainbow | Kai Coggin

You might not think
such a thing exists,
the pulse of a rainbow,
a heartbeat
made of only light
and color,
arches bending across skies,
a vibration that resonates
through time
and space
and history
and place,
but it does exist,
it always has existed,
it always will exist and persist through even this,
the pulse of a rainbow.


It is a quiet pulse,
a rhythm that imbues culture,
fierce and ravishing,
soft butch,
high femme,
blurred gender lines,
bears and queers,
trans and boi and bi,
every shade of a spectrum
that can’t be named by naked eyes,
if only this country could hear the music
we make with our lives,
muted for so long
with the pages of an ancient book
quoted from fundamentalist cherry-picking lips,
muffled for so long
against the bigoted legislations of men,
silenced for so long
amidst the fists and rapid fire bullets of hate,
it is still here.


The pulse.
The pulse.
The pulse.


The pulse of a rainbow,
always a drum,
always a pulse you can recognize
when you see another rainbow on the street, dancing,
and suddenly you dance inside,
you shine brighter,
when you look into the eyes of a stranger
and know the struggle
shares your names,
when you know that this family is thicker than blood
and when that innocent blood is spilled,
you feel it in your heartbeat
skipping with
the loss, the grief, the emptiness
of a rainbow.


49 lives,
one self-loathing homophobic psychopath
opened fire and took 49 lives,
and all the colors of the rainbow
turned to red that night,
no yellow, orange, green, blue, violet,
only red,
red for miles,
red becoming the music,
red becoming bass pumping into now,
red spilling into the 2am Orlando streets,
red becoming the floor, the walls, the building,
red mingling with other reds
until just heaps
lie there in the wake
of one man’s slaughter wet-dream,
a dance floor becomes a sea
of bodies and blood ankle deep,
a tomb, minutes before was a sanctuary,
where does a rainbow go when it dies?


The pulse.
The pulse.
The pulse.


I read the news as it comes in,
the body count growing
from 20 to 50
to 49
because we will not count him
with the innocents,
with the bright faced beautiful souls
extinguished too soon,


and I read of the silence in the dead room
turning into a cacophony of cell phones
ring-singing a song of harmonized panic
from the pockets of the slain,


“pick up the phone”
“baby, please pick up the phone”
“please text me back!”
“did you get out?”
“are you ok?”
“pick up the phone”


“Mommy I love you… I’m going to die.”


The sounds of 49 phones play a chorus of grief,
their interwoven song
becomes the music this new flock of angels can dance to
as they leave their earthly bodies,
rise as souls, still dancing,
always dancing
always laughing, singing,
doing what rainbows do… shine.


The pulse.


I feel it stronger in me this morning,
my heart sick with grief for these strangers
that I know so well,
through the tears somehow
my colors are renewed,
infused with
the vibrant light of them,
their beautiful brown queer skin
making my skin more brown and queer in their names,
the pulse
a drum cry of grief turned power chanting
into the face of a country that does not see us until we die en masse,
a country that hashtags #prayers but votes for bigots,
a country that holds tighter to its guns
than it does its gay children.


The pulse.
The pulse.
The pulse.


And I can’t stop looking at their beautiful young faces,
can’t stop reading the details about their lives,
the 49 holes left in families,
49 love stories with rewritten endings,
a future wedding now a joint funeral,
the mothers,
their families and friends, yes,
but I return to the wailing howl of their mothers,
I think of my mother, how she would bawl a new ocean,


it is raining outside,
it is raining so hard the atmosphere is breaking,
candlelight vigils materialize across the country,
the President orders flags to be flown at half-mast,
(the rainbow flag has always flown at half mast)
bridges and buildings light up with rainbows,
spires of the tallest skyscrapers cut the night,
the Eiffel Tower blasts colors into the sky,
unity through tragedy,
Pride getting prouder,
cries for gun control finally getting louder,
and maybe this is the tipping point
we have been waiting for,
as democrats chant “where’s the bill?”
after a moment of silence
on the house of representatives floor.


How many more mass graves must we dig
with the blunt end of an AR-15?


The pulse.
The pulse.
The pulse.


I sit here,
safe in my home,
colors burning to write a poem.
I read their 49 names like a mantra,
say them into the air
to make them more real,
shape their beautiful syllables
with my mouth to make their loss more palpable,
repeat them for the infinite
times they will not be said aloud in the years to come,
their names become
a prayer,
a poem,
a dance to every love song ever written


I become the pulse.
We all become the pulse.


The pulse of a rainbow.



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