mercifulserpent: (Default)
"Get Your Hands Off My Brother"
Nicole Blackman

(for Bobby)

Get your hands off my brother
I don't care if his name is Stephen or Daniel
or James or Billy or even if I don't know his name at all.
They are all my brothers and you have no right
no right at all, to attack any one of them.

What is it about love that makes you so scared and angry?
You fear what you don't understand
but how could a gay man earn such a beating?
You think you are mighty because
you are 18, ineloquent and full of rage
standing over a man with blood pouring from his nose.
Where in the world did you get the idea
that murdering a man will make your life any better?

These men are all my brothers because
they were the ones who came
to pick me up from a phone booth
after I got thrown out of a car.

They rubbed my shoulders in taxis when I was tired
and bought me a drink when I didn't have the money.
They went with me to Audrey Hepburn films
and taught me the meaning of words like 'fierce' and 'worthy.'
They made me understand that life should be about
things that are wonderful, things that are beautiful.

These are the men with whom I have the most in common
and they taught me more than Cosmo ever did.

They drank cup after cup of tea with me
when I was unraveling and reeling from being dumped for no reason.

They taught me that love is love
and who should be the one to judge?

We used to say that if I was a gay man
or they were straight
that we would be lovers.
But in many ways,
they have been more loving to me
than the men I loved.

When my courage failed
they showed me the power
of a good Billie Holiday tune.
They told me to do what I believed in,
that a glass of wine can fix almost anything,
that the music you listen to
is the soundtrack to your life,
that $1.25 and a sense of style
will take you anywhere in this city.

They said Everyone is a star
and everyone shines
it just may be that yours
is a little different than mine.

They taught me that everyone wants
someone to come home to,
someone to look after,
that everyone adores a tender touch,
that everyone needs someone to hold them
and say shh when they cry,
that everyone likes to talk and laugh
and cook and watch TV and kiss.
They taught me that being a loving person
means sometimes getting your heart broken.

Whether by violence or virus
I've lost some of my guardian angels.

Patrick was killed in Boston
and I never had the chance to say thank you.
Lee died in New York
and I never had the chance to say goodbye.
Peter didn't want me to see him sick
so I didn't know until after he'd gone.
I hated him for that.
I loved him for that.

I made them promise they'd be at my wedding
and they made me promise that there would be
balloons at their funerals.
And I did because they taught me
how important promises are.

But it's not his time now
and I will not let you take him from me,
so get your hands off my brother.

(You have no right, no right in the world,
to drive through the city
breaking the wings off angels.)

He may be face down on the pavement but I'm not
and I will fight you to save his life
because every day
in so many ways
he saved mine.
mercifulserpent: (Default)
daughter | nicole blackman
one day i'll give birth to a tiny baby girl
and when she's born she'll scream and i'll make sure she never stops.

i will kiss her before i lay her down
and will tell her a story so she knows how it is and how it must be for her to survive.

i'll tell her about the power of water, the seduction of paper
the promise of gasoline, and the hope of blood.

i'll teach her to shave her eyebrows and mark her skin.
i'll teach her that her body is her greatest work of art.

i'll tell her to light things on fire and keep them burning.
i'll teach her that the fire will not consume her,that she must take it and use it.

i'll tell her to be tri-sexual, to try anything, to sleep with, fight with, pray with anyone,
just as long as she feels something.
i'll help her to do her best work when it rains.
i'll tell her to reinvent herself every 28 days.

i'll teach her to develop all her selves
the courageous ones, the smart ones, the dreaming ones, the fast ones
i'll teach her that she has an army inside her that can save her life.

i'll tell her to say “fuck" like people say "THE"
and when people are shocked to ask them why they so fear a small quartet of letters.

i'll make sure she carries a pen so she can take down the evidence.
if she has no paper, i'll teach her to write everything down on her tongue,
to write it on her thighs.

i'll help her see that she will not find God
or salvation in a dark brick building built by dead men.

i'll explain to her it's better to regret the things she has done than the things she hasn't.
i'll teach her to write her manifestos on cocktail napkins.

i'll say she should make men lick her enterprise.
i'll teach her to talk hard.
i'll tell her that her skin is the most beautiful dress she will ever wear.

i'll tell her that people must earn the right to use her nickname,
that forced intimacy is an ugly thing.

i'll make her understand that she is worth more with her clothes on.

i'll tell her that when the words finally flow too fast and she has no use for a pen
that she must quit her job, run out of the house in her bathrobe, leaving the door open.
i'll teach her to follow the words.
i'll tell her to stand up and head for the door after she makes love.
when he asks her to stay she'll say she's got to go.

i'll tell her that when she first bleeds when she is a woman,
to go up to the roof at midnight, reach her hands up to the sky and scream.

i'll teach her to be whole, to be holy,
to be so much that she doesn't even need me anymore.

i'll tell her to go quickly and never come back.
i will make her stronger than me.

i'll say to her never forget what they did to you
and never let them know you remember.
i'll say to her never forget what they did to you
and never let them know you remember.
i'll say to her never forget what they did to you
and never let them know you remember
mercifulserpent: (Default)
Girls, by Nicole Blackman

When he leaves,
he leaves a space,
a big or little airless place
that begs to be filled.
A part of the weekend that says
What are you going to do now?

And you think if you fill it up
you'll survive.
So you work and clean and call
and cook and write and drink
and read and sleep and shop
and say This is fine.
You can do this.

Laugh and go out drinking
with your friends when it's over.
Call everyone you know and say
Shrug, clear your throat.

It's kind of like losing a dog.
You'll miss him
but maybe it's better this way.

His friends are still your friends
and they watch you
because they send him messages
about how you're doing.
Sometimes they figure now is their chance
and they tell you they've always had it bad
for you.

Be careful with his friends.

So cut your hair
and learn to play guitar.
Walk fast and yell back
at bike messengers who tell you
what they'd do to you
if you were theirs.

Stop wearing his coat and sell his CDs.
White out his name in your address book.
Buy new perfume and learn to masturbate
with the showerhead.
Turn the pain into something you can use.

And when it feels like you're imploding,
like you're the only one
who wants to lie down in the street,
know that there will always be girls
who stream through this city
with their mouths slightly open
trying to breathe
and waiting to be kissed.
mercifulserpent: (Default)
Nicole Blackman – In The Movie Now

There is no glory in trying to make love to men who only know how to fuck. Man after man after man after man. Raised on porn. Out all day, while he's been watching two-dollar videos, now piles by the VCR. Out all day, at work, at class, at the gym, while he's been making plans.

There is no glory in trying to make love to men who only know how to fuck. Man after man after man after man. Raised on porn. Out all day, while he's been watching two-dollar videos, now piled by the VCR. Out all day, at work, at class, at the gym, while he's been making plans. Out all day, returning with bags of bread and tomatoes and bluefish, for what you think will be dinner. Dinner is you. And you are nothing like the dead-eyed blond women he's been watching. You're in the movie now. He is nothing like you remember. No time for a condom, take a pill, or put in a dire for him – those girls never get pregnant anyway. What are you trying to do? Clothes cannot come off fast enough, get them off, get them off. Shoes are always left on. You don't know why. You're in the movie now. You used to scrape your nails against the walls, leaving streaks like scars of where you wanted to stay and where he took you. Now you just go. It'll be over in ten minutes. It'll be over in ten minutes, twenty at most. A black envelope closes, with you inside. You're in the movie now. He winds your hair around his fist like a roll, and keeps it nailed to the bed. You swear you'll cut your hair tomorrow. You swear you'll cut your hair tomorrow. You still swim in memories sometimes. It wasn't always like this, was it. You are becoming stone, stone desires nothing, stone cannot be moved, stone can only be worn down little by little. Close your eyes, and think of England. You are tucked in for the fucking. You're in the movie now. There is no beauty in being held face down in a bed of sheets that tear beneath you, and you are wearing him like a country you haven't the strength to carry. You're in the movie now. You don't fight, he takes it from you, he takes it from you, he takes it from you now it isn't yours, how could it be, isn't yours anymore, never will be again. One eye open focusing on a window years of this and you don't even say anything anymore. This is how it is, how it will always be. You're in the movie now. It doesn't hurt anymore. You shut down, examining fibres in the pillowcase, counting them until he's finished. Seventy-seven, seventy-eight, seventy-nine he says look at me, look at me it's no good unless you look at me you look right through him look at your bookshelf your grandmother's patio your list of things to do this weekend the basal leaves drying by the window. He says if you cry it makes him angry – I fuck better when I'm angry you know, you know, he says it every time. You learn not to cry. You are startled that he's doing this to you, you are startled that he knows how, you are startled that you stay, knowing that you'd tell a friend to kill him if he did this to her. Your mouth is on fire with possibilities. You say nothing. You shut down your body one limb at a time like you learned in drama class relaxation exercises absence of pain makes anything possible. Because you are pretty you are possessed, you too are alone, owner and owned. You used to confuse this with caring, you used to confuse these with caresses. Desire doesn't live here anymore. Desire doesn't live here anymore. You are turned over and over backstrokes in your own blood horses have been christened with less. There is no glory here. Only bloodstains, and apologies that come with the stroking. Only throwing up in a sink you'll have to scrub out later.


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November 2014

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