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love isn’t

By Pat Parker (d.)

I wish I could be
the lover you want
come joyful
bear brightness
like summer sun

I come cloudy
bring pregnant women
with no money
bring angry comrades
with no shelter

I wish I could take you
run over beaches
lay you in sand
and make love to you

I come rage
bring city streets
with wine and blood
bring cops and guns
with dead bodies and prison

I wish I could take you
travel to new lives
kiss ninos on tourist buses
sip tequila at sunrise

I come sad
bring lesbians
without lovers
bring sick folk
without doctors
bring children
without families

I wish I could be
your warmth
your blanket

All I can give
is my love.

I care for you
I care for our world
if I stop
caring about one
it would be only
a matter of time
before I stop
the other.

Added: Thursday, February 9, 2017  /  From "The Complete Works of Pat Parker," Edited by Julie Enszer (Sinister Wisdom, 2016). Used with permission.
Pat Parker (d.)

During her lifetime, Pat Parker was a renowned African-American, lesbian-feminist poet and performer. She was the author of Jonestown & Other Madness (1985), Movement in Black (1978, 1983, 1989, 1999), Womanslaughter (1978), Pit Stop (1974, 1975), and Child of Myself (1972, 1974). Her poems appeared in numerous journals, newspapers, and anthologies. With Judy Grahn, she recorded the album Where Would I Be Without You (Olivia Records, 1976), and one of her spoken poems appeared on the album Lesbian Concentrate.

She performed live readings at numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. Her work is often included in Women’s Studies curricula.

Parker was born in Houston, TX, in 1944 and moved to Los Angeles, CA after she graduated high school. She lived in the San Francisco bay area from 1965 until her death. Parker died in 1989 from complications of cancer. Her partner of nine years, Martha Dunham, and their daughter, Anastasia Dunham-Parker-Brady, survived her as well as Cassidy Brown whom she co-parented.

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