by N.I. Nicholson

Try to cram billions of rooms
into your head;

notice that some of them
start to look alike.

There are mild variations
between them --

color, in a slight different
hexed code, different chairs --

but lay them on top of each other,
and still they fit snugly together.

That is how times and places
repeat themselves to me:

Baltimore. Ferguson. Watts.
Chicago. Harlem. Selma.

Yes, I breathe your air, walk
your Earth, have been your friend --

why else do you think
I land my blue box here? --

and once I thought it was
simple, a trick of my mind:

just walk around like I owned
the place. Always worked for me.

Once I took on Martha’s color,
I began to understand deeper,

not just how oppression bends
the laddered spine until breaking,

but how one wears culture over
the rawness of spirit and skin.

Back on Gallifrey, I wore
gold-crested crimson robes;

they spoke me into everyone’s
ears, proclaiming what I was.

I find now here, it is the brown of
my skin that speaks ahead of me.

I remain your friend, always, but
your timelines vex my spirit;

humanity, you are hurting me.
But that ain’t nothing new.

Author’s Note: “This work is part of a series of Doctor Who universe persona poems written to answer a question: given that 1) changes in gender and physical appearance for Time Lords and Ladies are canon, and 2) as of the date of this publication every incarnation of Doctor  has the appearance of a cisgendered white male, what would happen if the Doctor’s next regeneration appeared to be a woman of color — specifically, a somewhat androgynous-appearing black woman? Also, the last four lines are a variation of text borrowed from a Facebook status update seen on fellow Columbus poet Naki Akrobettoe in April 2015. Because of what was happening in Baltimore at that time, I thought this would be something my regeneration of the Doctor would be very likely to think.”

N.I. Nicholson is one of the editors of Barking Sycamores and blogs at The Digital Hyperlexic. Other published work has appeared in AlphanumericNeuroQueerGTK Creative Journaland qaartsiluni. Nicholson studies poetry in the Ashland University MFA program, lives in Columbus, Ohio with their fiancé, and is currently in the middle of regenerating.


One thought on “THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR’S LAMENT, N.I. Nicholson

  1. This is a really beautiful social awareness piece using one of my favorite (and, as you note, quite white) shows. Well composed.

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