Kamden Hilliard

notes on the hickey

for speaker so used to HELLO MY NAME IS:
invisible mostlyman        the hickey is alchemy*

     *long island iced teas straw casings spun to gold & a boy
     who might want me / might want to be wanted by me.

can you believe this? among these various slaveries
and Target(s)        i’m a weekend vampire victim /

neck rubbered with lust.        i’m blushing blue
in the balls, baby, ’cause America values my sex drive

which is almost like valuing me        twerk the tourniquet&quell
my psychological hemorrhaging, which is shorthand

for my pricey love train ticket        punched out        with
another mouth bruise        ownership or love to dot my daydreams:

see        see they love me! they really        love me!        i survived!
the long stonewalls&middle passages have spit me out

only slightly damaged with use!        when i say self        i say corkscrew
say pocket pussy        say 401k say anything to be stained

by these silly physics.

Early American Cinema [Pt. Two]

after D.W. Griffith

gimmie that D,
big daddy Griffith.
don’t you know
how hungry i am /
we are / my text-
book be? maker
of close up and
mover of the craft.
i am hovering
hot for it. i am off
the ground for itand swaying.


this week is a gift ’cause white film teacher assigns Broken Blossoms [read:
a generally Asian racism] instead of her usual choice: Birth of a Nation:

almost three hours of white people doing white ass shit to people who look like
me [read: niggardly]. go figure. now i can roll through / skip this ad after ten seconds.

no cancerous eye candy, ’cause yes this shit is formally excellent. yes it’s
significant. yes, it’s well done [[[, but so was the holocaust. a reach? yes.]

too! where is the love?]. i’m not mad tho. the Jews get Schindler’s List and the stars

numbered with love. we got [drumroll, pleaseeeeeee]: scrambled goose eggs
[read: the first [and possibly best] film ’bout American Slavery was made by a Brit].

it’s not fair! why do [insert authorized ethnic group] get all the toys? microloans
and academy nominated medias? but white film teacher is right ’bout her gift.

grinning i am. thick on sunshine [read: quietly cherishing my invisibility].


David Wark Griffith was born in rural Kentucky to Jacob “Roaring Jake” Griffith, a former Confederate Army colonel and Civil War hero. Young Griffith grew up with his father’s romantic war stories and melodramatic nineteenth-century literature that were to eventually mold his black-and-white view of human existence and history. In 1897 Griffith set out to pursue a career both acting and writing for the theater, but for the most part was unsuccessful. Reluctantly, he agreed to act in the new motion picture medium forEdwin S. Porter at the Edison Company. Griffith was eventually offered a job at the financially struggling American Mutoscope & Biograph Co., where he directed over four hundred and fifty short films,experimenting with the story-telling techniques he would later perfect in his epic The Birth of a Nation [1915].

Griffithand his personal cinematographer G.W. Bitzer collaborated tocreateand perfect such cinematic devices as the flash-back, the iris shot, the mask and cross-cutting In the years following “Birth”, Griffith never again saw the same monumental success as his signature film and, in1931, his increasing failures forced his retirement. Though hailed for his vision in narrative film-making, he was similarly criticized for his blatant racism. Griffith diedin Los Angeles in 1948, one of the most dichotomous figures in film history.

from IMBD


POP QUIZ: Match the terms listed [group A] to their definitions [group B].

:Group A:

camera ; shot ; edit ; race to the rescue ; fade out ; phallic symbol ; yonic symbol ; parallel construction

:Group B:
the world with its multiple / simultaneous happenings; change / alter / mutate / transform / manipulate;
light catcher; light caught; SAVE THE WHITE WOMAN PLZ; back to black; dickthong i mean;
diphthong sorry [sometimes it itsn’t just a cigar]; N/A


Hawai’i,      often the final solution,      is today’s problematic set.    just as racist,    the Asian girl says     [again].        ’cause our cute [and hopefully queer] graduate student wants to know:         which is more racist, Birth of a Nation or Broken Blossoms?              and i think slam dunk,     already accepting my golden trauma olympic trounce          when the Asian girl says,     they’re both deeply racist films–      Griffith’s portrayal of Asians is just as bad      as his depiction of Blacks.        and i can’t even say what i thought /    i can’t even right now omg.      this melting pot is dummyhigh and without a stirrer /       bottom burned. born i’m    black which isn’t brown and brown is all island all the time–the boys,   thick as invasive palm tree trunks / and errything else       and everyone’s into this shit.         the mob is gathering / the hivemind is hot and fuzzing.     right! another Asian girl goes right! the film even used the word “chinky” which is just like saying ni–     like saying the n-word.    


to be fair [if you’re
into that sorta thing]
Broken Blossoms is
pretty fucking racist.
pretty fucking thotful:
where there’s 1920’s
film and Asians there’s
yellow face / opium /
and impotence.
anyone who thinks
the curtains are blue
’cause the curtains
are blue
hasn’t seen
a film’s worth of folk
so fervently invest
in the word oriental.
all capital and number
crunching. and nom
nom nom says America’s
moviegoers: racism
goes down hot and
good. neck twisted
toward the light, for
just a bit more. another
vision of the desert’s beasts.

Kamden Hilliard picked up good vibes from The Ucross Foundation, Callaloo, and The Davidson Institute. Kamden prefers Kam and is an Editor at Jellyfish Magazine. He’s the author of two chapbooks: distress tolerance (Magic Helicopter Press, 2016) and perceived distance from impact (Black Lawrence Press, 2017). Kam tweeters @KamdenHilliard. Please bother him– he’s already lonely again.