Jul 012013
 

Pride has a special place in my heart- always has, and despite all the “bad” things about how corporate it has become, and how aspects of it promote assimilation.  I never want to forget what a privledge it is to critique “how” we celebrate Pride. I want to always remember that people are beaten, jailed, and killed trying to have pride marches, for simply trying to live out LGBTQ lives.  Have you been following everything happening in Russia?  You need to be.  Everyone who marched in St. Petersburg Pride this year has been beaten and jailed. 

This year was particularly special because I had received an invitation from NYC’s Heritage of Pride to be part of the annual Pride Kickoff Rally! Now, if you would have told the 17 year old baby-dyke who was sleeping on someone’s borrowed couch after being kicked out, or the 19 year old trans-guy living in a basement that flooded with sewage that someday I would be speaking fromt eh stage of NYC’s Pride Rally, three days after DOMA fell…. I would NEVER have believed you.

So I was scheduled to perform at the Pride Rally and as I was backstage on the pier getting ready to go on, the rumor began circulating that there was to be a surprise performance from LADY GAGA!!! Now I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest Gaga fan (my musical tastes are pretty solidly in the lesbian folk category) but there’s no denying how powerful she’s been as an artist within our community.  As the security backstage increased it became clear that the rumor was real, and then suddenly there she was!  Gaga talked about how the LGBTQ community has saved her – and then she sang the national anthem!

I was backstage waiting to go on stage. The whole thing was pretty surreal, I mean what are the odds I would get to say that Lady GaGa has opened for me 😛 It was also funny to watch the intense amount of security that sprung up the minute she arrived onto the Pier, and then of course there was the moment after she sang where she was backstage smoking a cigarette leaning against a port-a-potty, and then later smoking inside the port-a-potty!!!

Because the programming had run long the Heritage of Pride volunteers asked me to shorten my set if possible. I had to decide between the two pieces I planed to perform that night. I ended up deciding on “A Prayer For The Runaways” but I wanted to share both that piece, and “Hard Won Home” my piece about PRIDE here with all of you:

Hard Won Home:

You stand at Christopher

Camera’d eyes  hidden behind the shutter

Shudder

Tears pulled loose by what this cost us

We storm the streets

Spilling out from subway tunnels

Clown car piled fire escapes

Sequins and glitter

Glinting

Like that first thrown bottle

Smashed

Like the shards that barely missed me last week

You the week before

The streetlights cast shadows

Haunting

Of the

Hirstories

we should carry

Strapped next to our hearts into our boots

But are instead too often

Rusted glitter buried in sidewalk cracks

We’re starved for this

Body slams body

Circuit parties

Festival sidelines

Desperate to feel

To connect

To believe

We’re not

Alone

On Monday

We emerge from the rainbow haze

Hung-over

On the memory of

Belonging

On the feeling of

Connecting

It’s never enough

And also everything we spent lifetimes

Not daring to dream of

Tell me about your first pride

And I’ll show you mine

The stumble for breath

Backwards falling into buildings

The sunrise walk over the bridge

To watch the festival bloom

Dilated pupils taking in

More than dreams could conjure

Floats

Glitter

The roar of Dykes and

 bikes

That day I did not wear three pieces of women’s clothes

Boots

Jeans

Ace bandage

Boxers

Button-down

I did not know

Not long ago

This would have mattered

The plague has never ended

Cocktails are not cures

And I know more positive than not

Last month in Union Square park

A girl died with a needle

Her devoted dog was pulled from her body

We hug when we meet

Chest to chest full body hugs

Pressing our hearts towards one another

Their fists were in the air that night

Heels and bottles gripped tight

Queens

Butches

Queer kids

Homeless

We never learned this in school

Taught ourselves in youth center back rooms

On library floors

Newsprint riot photo documented eyes

From the mouths of our lovers

Now we talk of it daily

I tattoo it into my skin

We want them to know

The hirstory they walk upon

The scars carried

Lives lost

For this moment to come to pass

The heart is the size of a fist

We’re built to love and fight with the same ferocity

Always have been

We bring our love to the streets

And kiss away the road rash in hard won homes 

 

A Prayer for the Runaways:

This is for the runaways

In memory of the kids I grew up with

For the gender radicals who were lost to broken beer bottles in fist fights

For those who disappeared.

For the dykes behind bars, and the ones who swallowed pills to make everything end.

For the kid with eyes glazed over with stories trapped inside by the needle in his arm.

For the genderqueers buried under headstones with their names carved wrong.

This is for the runaways

This is for the ones who walked out the door the final time

And the ones stuck sweaty hand slipping off the doorknob

Ears tuned into the sounds of sleeping parents upstairs

To aunts cooking in the kitchen

For the ones that know no one is listening For that final slam

I’m praying that you don’t hit that squeaky stair in the middle of the night

That the battery on your cell phone lasts long enough that you can call a friend

That you remembered to empty your piggy bank

That you remember you’re not alone

I’m praying to gods and goddesses I’m never even sure that I believe in

That you have the strength to walk out that door

To stay gone

Because they don’t deserve you

And they never did

Welcome Home

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