CHERRY VANILLA         

PERFORMER

In 1978, Cherry Vanilla called herself “the bard of the hard and the tarot’s fool.” She continued, “I’ve got a hot reputation, and I keep playing it cool.” 42 years later, Cherry Vanilla hasn’t changed. 

 

Cherry Vanilla was a pre-queer queer who smashed the glass ceiling and stomped on gender stereotypes. At a time when women were supposed to be seen and not heard, Cherry was heard and most definitely seen, with a cherry tattoo on her bare breasts. For the longest time, she was the only woman who frequented the gay sex Mecca, Fire Island. 

 

An actor who started at the height of New York’s Off-Off-Broadway scene, in 1971, Cherry went on to star in the London productions of Andy Warhol's gender-bending play, Pork. A young, aspiring David Bowie was forever impacted by Pork and hired Cherry to be his publicist in the 1970s at the peak of his Ziggy Stardust fame. 

 

In 1974, Cherry reinvented herself as a musician. In 1977, she took her punk act to Europe where The Police served as her backing band. In her 30s, nearly 15 years older than most of her punk peers, she threw down with the best of them singing fast and loud poetry songs about sex all the while donning a shirt that said “Lick Me.”

Like It Is

No children in the playground

No lovers in the park

No laughter from the corner bar

Not even after dark

This world so full of wonder

now sealed-off like a tomb

And just when springtime fills the air

with lilacs in full bloom

It's never been so quiet

It's never been so sad

And those who aren't dying

are slowly going mad

I had my solo dinner

I took my daily walk

It's nothing like it used to be

when we would sit and talk

I don't know where it's going

and no one really does

But all we long and pray for

is that it just be like it was

THE FOLLOWING SOCIAL DISTANCING POETRY HAS NEVER BEEN PUBLISHED BEFORE

Sunday Pandemic Poem

The air has never been so fresh

the sky so clear and blue

But when this plague is over

I wonder what we'll do

Have the spiritual awakening

that most are hoping for

Or go back to treating Mother Earth

like she's our fucking whore

Pandemic Poem

Wearing masks is now the norm

Be it in sunshine or in storm

Accept we must this current style

But how are we to see a smile?

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