Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

African Feminism, Poetry, Queer Politics

The perversion of silence : a poem by Pat Parker

Pat Parker was one of the first African American lesbian feminist poets to come out.  She published five collections of poems including a  “Movement in Black” 1978.  She died  in 1989 at age 45 of breast cancer. 

Where will you be, When they come? –

Boots are being polished…trumpeters clean their horns
Chains and locks forged…the crusade has begun.
Once again flags of Christ…are unfurled in the dawn
and cries of soul saviors…sing apocalyptic on air waves.
Citizens, good citizens all…parade into voting booths
and in self-righteous sanctity…X away our right to life.
I do not believe as some…that the vote is an end,
I fear even more…it is just a beginning.
So I must make assessment…look to you and ask:
Where will you be…when they come? […]
Where will we _all be_
when they come?
And they will come-
they will come…because we are defined as opposite…perverse
and we are perverse.
Every time we watched…a queer hassled in the
street and said nothing…it was an act of perversion.
Every time we lied about…the boyfriend or girlfriend
at coffee break…it was an act of perversion. […]
Every time we let straight relatives…bury our dead and push our
lovers away…it was an act of perversion.
And they will come.
They will come for…the perverts
& it won’t matter…if you’re
homosexual, not a faggot
lesbian, not a dyke
gay, not queer […]
They will come…they will come
to the cities…and to the land
to your front rooms…and in _your_ closets.
They will come for…the perverts
and where will…you be
When they come?

1 Comment

  1. Very effective; well written.
    .-= Rethabile´s last blog ..Pat Parker’s "Where will you be, When they come?" =-.