Sunday, June 7, 2009

a love poem for each of your bruises

{photo credit: NerdScarf Photography}

On May 16, 2009 two lesbians of color were brutally beaten by police officers in front of a club in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, NY. The Safe OUTside the System Collective of The Audre Lorde Project and Gays & Lesbians of Bushwick Empowered of Make the Road New York organized a protest against the 77th Precinct in Brooklyn for the women who were attacked that took place on Saturday June 6, 2009 @ 3PM

I wrote this poem that Saturday morning & performed it at the rally.

{for Tiffany & JG & all survivors of violence}

a love poem for each of your bruises
a love poem for all of our rage and confusion
every knee to your back, for every contusion
a love poem for every butch, every trannie, every b.o.i, every lesbian, every femme, every person not into labels
a love poem for the days when the activist work seems neverending
the police sirens are loud & they are chasing our babies and our angels
and enough

I just want to write about lovemaking, mangoes & my homeland
I want to live my life unhampered by the oppression of a police state that denies my heartbeat
as human and beautiful
I don’t give a fuck about whether you support gay marriage
I’m not married; I care about having good health care
I don’t give a fuck about whether you voted for Obama
I don’t give a fuck about whether you like how I choose to dress
I did not come into this store for fashion tips son
I just want my cinnamon raisin bagel toasted light brown with butter, thank you

I want to hold my woman’s hand in the street at midnight
at 2pm, at 10am
I want to be able to go party with other women who eat pussy
then go to the after party with those same women
grab some food
walk home if I choose
feel safe
I want to feel safe
I want to feel safe
I want to be safe
I do not want to wait for June to celebrate my pride in the street

I’m not interested in whether you can quote Audre Lorde or Assata Shakur
I’m not interested in how many degrees you have
what I care about is that you see injustice and you ain’t having it
I’m interested in whether you will fight beside me for this love beating in our chests
I’m fighting for a life worth living for
I’m fighting for the dykes coming up after me
I want us to live our lives so we are the legends our descendants will need to find in their herstory books
breathing these words so we can make a world we’re proud to pass on
I know you may not remember that one phrase I said that shook your soul—don’t worry about that shit
remember how you feel right now in this moment
and don’t you ever/don’t you ever/don’t you ever
settle for less
than every fuckin peace of justice we came for


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for reading this at our prom!

Having heard it and read it gives it a certain power.

Always love some raw poetry,


daughter of my mama said...

thanks so much karen for listening! without your ears & open heart, i'd just be talking to myself.:) please keep reading and commenting. sending love & blessings to you. i have a feeling you're a writer--so keep writing!

Reggie said... very powerful!!!

Yolie said...

...always amazing.

openMIND said...

NSP <3 you!

Nicole said...

This poem was just sent to me today from a friend who thought that it would lift my spirits. I just wanted to say, thank you for writing this beautiful piece of art. As a queer Latina just recently facing the rejection from multiple grad schools I've applied to, I am currently experiencing a different type of bruise. One that is created by an institution called the academy that continues to refuse to recognize the existence of queer women of color as scholars, & refuses to recognize the legitimacy of research and scholarly work done about those subaltern agents who live in the margins. Your poem reminds me to continue to love, and to continue to fight for the recovery, continual creation and permanency of our herstory.
Many blessings to you.


daughter of my mama said...

@nikki: thanks so much for reading my poem and thanks so so much for taking the time to share some of your story with me. we create bodies of work and art in honor of the communities we love and are a part of, meanwhile we live in a society that doesn't honor those communities, yet we somehow have to work within this system that dishonors us as we try to honor ourselves. it's complex, difficult and at times frustrating. i send you support, love and solidarity as you navigate it all. please do feel free to email me ( and/or find me on facebook (yvonne fly onakeme etaghene). let's stay in touch yeah? let the poems heal you.

solidarity, breath, sun,

also find my work here:

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