Borrowed Lines — As Told To Me

Performed at the Lesbian & Communities’ Congratulatory Ceremony in Celebration of Dr. Marjorie J. Hill, Director, Mayor’s Office for the Lesbian & Gay Community, on Tuesday June 12, 1990, at the NYC Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center.

I’d like to thank the Planning Committee for including Other Countries among the many diverse people in our community to welcome and celebrate Dr. Marjorie Hill’s appointment.

Other Countries is a community dedicated to affirming and documenting our experiences as Gay Men of African Heritage.

Our goal is to create a visible and enduring cultural institution committed to nurturing and preserving our creative expression through presentations and community outreach.

We are currently in our fourth year and thank all of you who have supported us in so many ways, for the encouragement.

In tandem with that support, we are conducting an open reading this Saturday from 5-10 pm. Most of my work this year has been in understanding difference and myself. I’d like to share with you a short poem which recognizes the many written works that have helped in directing my anger in constructive ways as well as shaped and healed my life. You could call it Quotable Titles: A Bibliography, or simply, “As Told To Me.”

They say the child was born
With a veil over his head

A darker brother
Livin’ among the things that used to be
In the spirit
And the flesh
Of Africans __________ mi madrina __________native sons __________buried hearts and
Wounded knees

Each night __________midnight birds pass by his window
Singin’ ________ songs of Solomon ________ serious pleasures ________ coyotes
Flamingoes ________ bears dew locks ________ salteaters ________ homegirls
His bondage and ________ his freedom

He speaks of
_______ Black Indians
__________ ___  Chinese Doctors
__________  _________  Sisters
__________ __________ ____   Outsiders
Lives before
The Mayflower _____ and _____ Columbus

He speaks of
The evidence
Of things not seen

If the beginning of all circles is also the ending
Let the circle be unbroken

Voices in the whirlwind
No longer at ease
Gather together in his name

Speaking in tongues
On the mountain

They say

“In this life, as you travel through other countries.
Remember — some of us are brave and will always
support you on this bridge called our backs!”

© B.Michael Hunter 1990


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