A poem for Queer Spirit Day: ‘You Cannot Kill Me’ The GA Voice Editors October 20, 2010 Culture I offer one of my poems in their memory and also in memory of all of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people who died as well of disease and violence. This poem, which is included in my book “Pink Zinnia,” was written in response to the hanging execution of two adolescents in Iran for homosexuality and to the ongoing genocide being practiced by religious extremists in Iraq. The writers I reference are the great lesbian poet of antiquity Sappho, the Sufi poet of the 14th century Rumi, Walt Whitman, Gertrude Stein, the lesbian African American poet Audre Lorde and the great Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Michelangelo is the Renaissance sculptor and painter. Bessie Smith was an early blues singer. All are believed to be queer. You Cannot Kill Me I am not only I but a multiplicity of souls I have always been here i will always be back I was your uncle, your 5th grade teracher, your cousin I will be your grandson, your niece, the boy next door you can erase my words and a new Sappho, Eumi, Whitman, Stein, Lorde, Lorca will emerge and write what I wrote even more beautifully you can shatter my statues and a new Michelangelo with a sharper chisel and a stronger arm will make grander statues you can silence my singing and a new Bessie Smith will sound a bluer note I have always been here indivisible, essential to the human spirit firebird I am feathered serpent in every opposition I am the tender collapse that always happens before a song rises up to heaven you see I cannot die you cannot kill me Franklin Abbott c 2009 Editor’s note: Abbott also read the poem on Friday at the keynote event for the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival. The video also includes AQLF keynote speakers. You can view it here. SHARE ON Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Name* Email* Website + 6 = eight Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.