A Queer Poem after the Colony

Jomer Malonosan
2 min readDec 13, 2021
From the visual art collection of Renz Botero, Natu Xantino, and Ram Botero.

In my town,
the boys played in mud and dreamed
of becoming soldiers in America
while I made crowns from santan flowers
and played house
and dreamed of marrying a boy with a gun.
For my tenderness, I am called bakla.

In my country,
men from the land of milk and honey with streets paved in gold
devour our women, children, and men who look and dress like women.
The news tells me of a transwoman killed by a foreign man
with olive eyes and sunburnt arms.
Just like me, she was called ganda.

In Grindr,
a white man tells me that I am an exotic beauty
with brown skin like soil
and dark hair like an oil spill.
He does not know that I would give the world
to look like him.
He makes fun of my broken English
but calls me mahal.

In my university,
the books tell me that before the white men arrived
there were men who could become women
who talked to the spirits and the earth
who were adored like the saints in my mother’s altar.
My parents and history does not speak of them.

In this poem,
I try to salvage my identity.
But in the end, I am the contradiction

of white and brown

of man and woman

of foreign and native.

In the end, there is no name for me after the colony.