A Poetic Response to NY State 3-Condom Law

“WE ARE REBELS BECAUSE THOSE WHO GOVERN US, OFTEN—BLINDLY, NO DOUBT BETRAY US” –Nance o’Neill, lover of Lizzie Borden

before you take a step closer, think:
how informed you want to be

Current New York State Law is tangling with the number of condoms we carry.

Did you know this?

New York’s Three-Condom Law is their attempt to prosecute those carrying three or more condoms on the grounds that they are sex workers, in an effort to punish/jail prostitutes.

a silent dialect for those
unable to speak using the signs of
their body.

the scaffold of what is

you see these organs
this tongue hunched over
borrowed by the hour or night
you see this arm which wrangles neck and belt and tangle of of

you see these feet which curl
this hair you pull
you see this brain you forgot
you gut

you see this womb you rot
forget don’t ask

you make this scar
make them plural
you see this harm
this need

you see me right?
right?

Aimee Herman

Criminalization of condom possession directly conflicts with New York’s longstanding policy of ENCOURAGING condom use.

state of new york taps these women
these men
these humans
on the shoulder
checks for evidence of prostitution
calls condoms:
evidence of prostitution
three or more found in pockets
noticed bulge of rubber sheath lambskin latex

with hands in metal cuffs
removal of breaths or rights
punishment for responsibility

Does she look like a sex worker?
Oh.
What does a sex worker look like?

And how could you not ENCOURAGE her to put one on him
before he puts it IN her?

Since the early 1970’s women have vocalized their need for regulations against persecution for those who engage in sexual activities in exchange for monetary gain.

No Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution Bill is moving forward to eradicate this law, which punishes people for being sex positive in a safe manner.

Sex worker.
Or sexually playful.

There is a shape
plunged into mouth

It resembles—

A splinter.
A diagnosis.
An envelope of twenty dollar bills rolled up and
used to test gag reflex.

Her tongue is a plague and she does not use protection
because
you took it away from her, New York.

so she grows weary
bumpy
SICK

modified cells
box of accidental gatherings

itchy
tiny humans growing on skin
an opposition
a blur

New York,
unemployment rate is rising
you steal these humans away for protecting their bodies

sometimes you test them out before
locking them up
and you wonder why these diseases enter our alphabet

I am responding to the growing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases draining bodies into corpses

and if we start taking all the condoms away or those equaling more than two, then what
are we contributing to?

So, I’ve got these condoms.
Far more than three.

What does that make me now?

2 responses to “A Poetic Response to NY State 3-Condom Law

  1. Love the poem, Aimee, slight literal in the heading of the post. Maybe you could organise a demo of womnen walking through Times Square, each wearing four condoms on their lapels?

    You call yourselves the Land of the Free and shove each other in court for carrying four condoms! Amazing.

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