Pineapple Silk by Zero the Fool

I walk down that aisle,
hands pressed together.

I wear the finest Filipino pineapple silk
and it caresses my skin in the smoothest of scratches.

You look so nice, my teachers say
when they ask what kind of shirt I’m wearing.

I think, now, fondly of my barong
though my childish self seemed to hide away
from the very thing I was wearing. 

They ask me to choose a Saint’s name.
They say whichever one applies to you

But I ask them – does this religion apply to me?
When you plagued it on my people
upon your ships you docked
on my sands that you walked
upon in leather.

You walk upon dirt, not water.

Genesius, I say.
Patron saint of actors & clowns.
For I only masquerade in this scene,
whilst it is you who plays the fool.

Still, I held the heavy chalice
in my red-covered hands
and let the wine pour down
my throat like a seed
that was held there,
and choked.
A taste of the fruit,
then I am revoked. 

What is the body of Christ,
when mine is the only one torn?
Man or woman, you ask.
I reply: body and blood.

And I feasted on the stalest bread
and the sharpest of wine
and I use my barong to wipe
the edges of my mouth
for pineapple silk is fancier
than paper napkins
or blood-soaked rags. 

Upon my knees, I awoke to find
the only Confirmation
of this occasion is the fact
I am nailed to the wood,
you would have me
hang upon. 

Zero the Fool is a queer, non-binary POC originally from The Philippines, now living in Manchester. Their poetry focuses on association through alienation and seeks to interrogate the human condition through distance and the perpetual pursuit of figuring out the complexity of emotion. Pineapple Silk discusses the experience of their Confirmation as a child, having grown up within a Catholic upbringing, they question the authenticity of religion when that religion was a forced result of colonization. By intertwining their queer experience in juxtaposition to divine bodies, Zero the Fool aims to solidify the pastiche ideology of the ‘Divine Androgyne’ by equating themselves to a deity whilst navigating their lived experience of rejection within the institution.

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