My Lover Is a Woman/Pat Parker- In Honor of National Poetry Month

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I.

my lover is a woman
& when i hold her
feel her warmth
i feel good
feel safe

then—i never think of
my family’s voices
never hear my sisters say
bulldaggers, queers, funny
come see us, but don’t
bring your friends
it’s ok with us,
but don’t tell mama
it’d break her heart
never feel my father
turn in his grave
never hear my mother cry
Lord, what kind of child is this?

 

II.

my lover’s hair is blonde
& when it rubs across my face
it feels soft
feels like a thousand fingers
touch my skin & hold me
and i feel good

then—i never think of the little boy
who spat & called me nigger
never think of the policemen
who kicked my body & said crawl
never think of Black bodies
hanging in trees or filled
with bullet holes
never hear my sisters say
white folks hair stinks
don’t trust any of them
never feel my father
turn in his grave
never hear my mother talk
of her backache after scrubbing floors
never hear her cry
Lord, what kind of child is this?

 

III.

my lover’s eyes are blue
& when she looks at me
i float in a warm lake
feel my muscles go weak with want
feel good
feel safe

then—i never think of the blue
eyes that have glared at me
moved three stools away from me
in a bar
never hear my sisters rage
of syphilitic Black men as
guinea pigs
rage of sterilized children
watch them just stop in an
intersection to scare the old
white bitch

never feel my father turn
in his grave
never remember my mother
teaching me the yes sirs & ma’ams
to keep me alive
never hear my mother cry
Lord, what kind of child is this?

 

IV.

& when we go to a gay bar
& my people shun me because i crossed
the line
& her people look to see what’s
wrong with her
what defect
drove her to me

& when we walk the streets
of this city
forget and touch
or hold hands
& the people
stare, glare, frown, & taunt
at those queers

i remember
every word taught me
every word said to me
every deed done to me
& then i hate
i look at my lover
& for an instant
doubt

then—i hold her hand tighter
& i can hear my mother cry.
Lord, what kind of child is this?

 

Pat Parker was the author of Movement in Black (Diana Press, 1978) and actively involved in the civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights movements on the West Coast.

5 thoughts on “My Lover Is a Woman/Pat Parker- In Honor of National Poetry Month

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