“Flamboyance Takes Spine” explores the complexity of identity–the intricacies, adversities, and ironies associated with it. Flamboyance here does not necessarily mean loud and colorful, it means attracting excessive attention for merely expressing who you are (and what you might represent) in the most organic and quiet ways. Although the poem intimately explores Arab, Muslim and/or Palestinian identity, and femme or non-traditional masculinity, it also contextualizes within a larger theme. When we were coming up with concepts for the visualization, we made sure the gallery created was accessible and (somewhat) relatable. This is about being profiled everywhere you go, intensely or subtly, and the anxiety and pride that comes with it.
Flamboyance takes spine:
bones that know brokenness
as if it’s nature.
a man of hairy legs
and hairy heritages
wraps himself in
clichés of gendered pinks and softness
then cracks a laughter of earthquakes
unapologetic and radiant with acne and glitter,
Flamboyance comes burdened,
I’ve carried my truth stitched and altered
in settings I have wandered and settings
that wandered me:
staring eyes in barbershops
different staring eyes at airports
and eyes I have made up.
Don’t ask me
why do I walk life as if planets
circle their breath around my heavy head?
Why do I assume every whisper
is an ear for me to itch?
Why do I walk life arched,
Because flamboyance takes strength
flamboyance, motherfucker, needs spine.
-Mohammed El Kurd ♦