Born out of wedlock, I am bastard-child. Like most kids, the story of my conception, slowly realized concepts of sex, and then the worst concept of my own conception took time to reveal. Took time for Ma to admit to me one night. “I had sex with him to prove to myself I could be with a man,” when she finally told me where I came from. “To change. To be straight.”
I am my mother’s self-denial. Her inescapable, unacceptable sinful self. I am the groping hands of a Cuban man in the half-light of 80’s porn. I am the pot in the air. “He popped in a tape and we smoked.” Porn and pot are my blood. Seamen from the Isle, my father to my mother, Gulf of Mexico. Something sticky and unsettling about everything in me, explained through my conception. My mother makes mistakes. Everything happens for a reason. I was born to save her, she would always say. “You saved me.”
I pulled the virgin robe over her, tied the rosary to her hands and bent her head in prayer. I forced myself like Jesus in her womb, and she had no choice but to bite her soul and bear this savior. Humbly hushed the secrets of origins and pasts, replaced with prayers. She did have sex with him to turn herself straight. I was born to turn her straight. Save her soul and silence.
“Who’s my father, Ma ? What’s his name.” But, I never remembered every time she told me. I never needed to know. Never needed him. He and where I came from was a revealing truth that would change me. Only and not only a fact. Like learning the inner workings of history and culture in my Mexi-Cathlican blood, the influences of eons on spinning earth, motivations of masses of people, religions, politics and governments intertwined economics. My father and Cuba. “I didn’t want him in your life, he wasn’t worth having in your life.” My birth certificate says “not worth it” is his name. Truth against the unknown, untold, secrets. Knowing now is all that matters. Telling and letting go. Giving and learning. Rising with our truths, where we came from, to where we are going.
The truth is I am proud of every bit of my existence. I am not ashamed of where I came from. Ma, you should never have been ashamed of yourself. But, if the Saint-Sisters and the world hadn’t condemned you, if self-hatred hadn’t driven you to his dark apartment, his Cuban arms, I wouldn’t exist. I was born not of love but self-hatred and doubt. This is the only truth. The truth of paradox and amnesia. And now I radiate and teach you self-love and certain-uncertainty, Ma, the universe. There are no if only’s. If only I wasn’t born gay, if only I wasn’t born poor, if only. There is only the truth of all these different meanings floating against each other. The collision that we are all born from, deep within our mother’s wombs. And we are alive. And this is all that matters, Ma. This. This is all we can truly know. Reaching out to hold each other’s hands. This is all we need. To know.
And your bible says, Adam ate from the tree of knowledge. Knowing is knowing you can never know. Is the ultimate fear. Is where sin comes from? What does knowing taste like? Do you taste sin's truth like a bloody palm, a blunt to your lips, his hard Cuban kiss, like breaking. Knowing like Eucharist or electric shock’s sour tongue. Pray your prayers to know. I’ll be content with books to read and write like prayers. Knowing like love. Knowing like family or friends. Knowing like secrets to find. Searching hands in the half-light of 80’s porn and pot. Searching like somewhere deep in you, Ma, searching like womb and warmth. Knowledge. I pain you truth like birth from unknowing to now. To know you, so you can know me. Just wanting your family and love to know you once. Know you true like love, like family. Like beginning. I am: was conceived answer to your prayers. I am: your knowing, I am: what will never let you know: An answer to a question: If only? We could know.