Josh Healey


Queer Intifada                                                                                             


Josh Healey is an award-winning writer, performer, and creative activist. Fusing his distinct storytelling style with a subversive humor and fiery love for justice, Healey has been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and is a regular performer on NPR’s Snap Judgment. He has performed and led workshops at UC-Berkeley, Harvard, and over 200 colleges, high schools, & conferences across the country.

 I’m in DC
on my way to march
against Israeli occupation

I get off the Red Line at Judiciary Square
and the first thing I see 
are two middle-aged women
wearing matching black tank tops
with pink letters across the chest that read

  Two Moms are Hotter than One

the Palestinian Solidarity March
has been placed right across the street from
the Gay Pride Parade

it’s clear as the Dead Sea
who is going to which:
kaffiyehs and peace signs to my left
leather boots and nipple tassels to my right

four lanes divide the crowds
but have no power to stop
the two sound systems
from becoming one
explosion of human noise
so on my left it sounds like


and on my right it's

               GAY LIBERATION NOW!
back and forth:


               GAY LIBERATION NOW!

and then

and finally

and I imagine
Mahmoud Abbas
Prime Minister turned Minister
performing the first marriage
in liberated Ramallah
and pronouncing the two
new citizens Husband and Husband
while Ellen Degeneres
and the Human Rights Campaign
stage a hunger strike outside the UN
to demand the LGBT Right of Return
and I wonder
if we can build a Queer Intifada
what else is possible?
and I am here
straight and Jewish
white and American
solidarity is not just my offering
at the movement dinner table
it’s the first invitation I got
to sit down and eat
but I remember that time at Ellis Island
when I was hungry myself
and I remember that the same day
Hitler made my family wear yellow triangles
he made my friends wear pink ones
my friends,
Anne Frank is Matthew Shepard
Guantanamo is Auschwitz
Gay Marriage is Palestine
and we are all still walking on occupied land
            the protestors are shouting their final chants now
I start making my way back to the Metro
see a young woman walking
on the other side of the street
she is wearing a hijab
body covered from the knees up
except her face and hands
toned like olive trees
in her left palm waves a small
but unmistakable rainbow flag
it is June in DC
the moon is rising early
  in the evening sky
not a crescent
not a rainbow
the moon is full tonight
full and bright and marching
ever higher

Yuri Kochiyama and Amiri Baraka play 2-on-2 in Heaven

I had this crazy dream last night.

Yuri Kochiyama and Amiri Baraka were up in heaven…playing Ronald Reagan and Strom
Thurmond in a game of 2-on-2 basketball. And the only thing that didn't make sense
about this situation was...what is Ronald Reagan doing in heaven?

The stakes? Dismantling the segregated institutions of heaven. Why all the clouds gotta
be white? Baraka asks. Why all the pale angels get the nice harps, and we get these
hand-me-down purgatory ukeleles?

The score is tied. 14 up. Next basket wins.

Yuri looks at Baraka like, Don’t worry. I got this.

She dribbles the ball slowly up the cloudy court. Then, quick as lightning, she puts the
ball between her legs, flies over Reagan, karate chops Strom Thurmond in the face with
one hand, wipes ups his tears with her other, does a triple somersault in the air, and
dunks the ball so hard, the basket explodes – BOOM! – like the echo of a Harlem

Baraka looks over at Yuri, grinning like a well-fed cat, like Greg Popovoich, like Newark
after his son got elected. That’s what I’m talking about, girl.

From the sideline, Maya whistles her approval. Phenomenal, she says. Simply phenomenal.

Reagan scrapes himself off the floor, tries to regain his composure. Whatever. Y’all wanna run again?

Yuri looks down to Earth. At her people, her nation of struggle and pain and possibility,
still fighting the fight she fought for damn near a century. She just got here, to this city
in the stars. Doesn’t she deserve some time to rest her feet?

Maybe later, but right now, she’s staring down the man who drove half her friends to
jail or drugs or a Cointel grave. And up here, he doesn’t have Secret Service to defend
him in the paint. And if there's one thing Yuri Kochiyama loves, it's to go hard in the
paint. Shit, she could do this forever.

She takes the rock from Reagan. Winner takes ball, she says. Game on.

© The Acentos Review 2014