To The Kissing Lovers In The Vancouver Riots, 2011
I wasn’t invested when the Bruins shut out the Canucks 4-0
in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, but gas-can anarchists and fans angered over
another year of Canada’s Cup drought cared enough to fuck up downtown Vancouver,
to riot for the home team choking in the clutch, or just for the sake
of breaking shit. One lingering image, the viral one, with
riot police sweeping away into the smoky orange street
and the out-of-focus riot cop behind a riot shield,
accents the twenty-something couple
lip-locked and him laying on top of her in the middle of the street,
seeming oblivious to the scene. I read about the harrowing story
of the two prodded and pushed to ground by police who dispersed rioters,
and arrested bystanders to calm the city’s padding heart.
The boyfriend, still wearing a backpack, kissed her into comfort
against pavement, to free her from the tension of
a pissed-off city divided between rioters and cops.
Even if we declare it bullshit and stage craft, we still admit
maybe a long, improvised kiss could inspire us to lay ourselves
in front of a police line that rolls right over us
to bash away the outraged hockey fans, bored kids, and anarchists,
who do not smash the cameras that preserve us as
lovers, a moment we all want saved.
Juan Morales is the author of a new collection of poetry, The Siren World (Lithic Press) and Friday and the Year That Followed (Bedbug Press). His poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Huizache, Crab Orchard Review, North Dakota Review, Copper Nickel, Luna Luna, and others. He is a CantoMundo Fellow, the Editor of Pilgrimage Magazine, and an Associate Professor of English at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where he directs the Creative Writing Program and curates the SoCo Reading Series.