Sunday, June 11, 2006

Emanuel Xavier on Kevin Aviance

I got the following message tonight:

Sent: Sun 6/11/2006 10:55 PM

Subject: Kevin Aviance attack

My manager, Leo Toro, called early this morning to inform me fellow NYC entertainer, Kevin Aviance, had been brutally beaten last night in the East Village, only months after my own incident in Bushwick. All I could think of was how this is Pride Month here in New York City and, for every Kevin or myself, there is a Dwane Prince or even worse, Sakia Gunn or Rashawn Brazell. With the hatred and ignorance preached by our current government and religious leaders, it's no wonder today's youth still feel they have permission to attack queers and people of color. I may have been left partially deaf, Kevin may be temporarily silenced, Dwan may be struggling to survive but just how many more of our brothers and sisters have yet to suffer and/or die in what is supposed to be the greatest city in the world?

Ironically, the following poem was written several years ago after someone I knew, Neil Askew, was shot and killed after gunning down Councilman James E. Davis, (who coincidentally awarded me a New York City Council Citation for my contributions to the queer community) at City Hall for reasons still unclear.

It now resonates with so much more personal meaning for many different reasons and today, I dedicate it to Kevin and Dwane and those of us lucky enough to still be alive.

Hypocrisy exists in our world today
when those that are out can only go so far
and society is surprised when those who prefer to hide
react with violence to threats of opening closet doors
because, in darkness, they are safe from those responsible
for reducing our brothers and sisters to dust and memories
like Matthew and Brandon and Sakia and Rashawn
and way too many others to name

Those of us that are out, in these empty rooms,
dance ignorantly to the occasional drum beats of liberty
While the only difference between us
and those huddled in corners and shadows of fear
is that we have a little more space to breathe
Yet the smell of equality is only truly found outside
where there are no limits or debates on how to legislate desire
and sexuality is simply the right to physical expression
between consenting adults

We could live out of the closet but we could never leave this house
Monsters, especially those with hideous diseases and colored skin,
are not welcome in the open fields of America
where others could dare to dream of marriage or adoption or political office
or defend our country from imaginary weapons of mass destruction
because not all of God's children are worthy to see the light
beyond these cold white walls
We are only tolerable as long as we remain silently lingering indoors

Straight friends sometimes visit to feed our hungry souls
with stories about journeys and adventures
Taking the time to join us and mourn the memory of our dead
before heading back into the privilege of sunlight
Leaving us behind to wave goodbye from gated windows
unable to come out and play
If only we could run past the prejudice and feel the wind across our chests
Discover lands starving for diversity
and star filled skies awaiting to shine for us too

In the distance, the emptiness of towers fallen,

a cruel reminder of our perversions and sins
as preached by religious men with tongues that are holy enough
to lick the innocence of children
to touch the openings of children
While faint sounds, unrecognizable as cries,
emerge from underneath closet doors

There are too many of us in this house

located on a land far away from Normal
Chanting songs of freedom every day
We only want to be outside,
we only want to be outside,
we only want to be outside,
The Lord is outside

It's no wonder some would rather die moths in the closet
when butterflies are not free
Copyright 2005 by Emanuel Xavier for Suspect Thoughts Press. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great minds...
I will be posting the same on my blog this afternoon.
This poem and email needs to be shared with as many people as possible.
Good Job.