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From Quean Lutibelle's Pew From Quean Lutibelle's Pew

by Louie Crew
©  1990, 2000 by Louie Crew. All rights reserved.
For permissions write to Louie Crew or
Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison Street, 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225
 
 
Write to Louie Crew to find out about the CD

Contents

Lutibelle Prays
Lutibelle Reads the Bible
The Venite
Lutibelle's Psalm
Lutibelle Looks at Genesis
Lutibelle Eavesdrops
Lutibelle Tweaks David the King:  Psalm 1B
Lutibelle's Metamorphosis
Lutibelle Enters a Time Machine
Crowd of Witnesses Dazzles Lutibelle
Lutibelle Peeks at the Bishop
Lutibelle Mocks a Bushes Quean
Lutibelle Talks Behind the Rector's Back
Lutibelle Rocks on the Porch
Lutibelle Gets a Telephone Call
Lutibelle Recalls His Baptist Childhood
Lutibelle Uses Binoculars
Lutibelle Imitates a Strait Male Prayer
A Cynic Gossips about Lutibelle
Poem Lutibelle's Lover Left on Their Answering Machine
Poem Lutibelle Wrote for the Shriners Convention
Lutibelle Tells His Age
The Day Lutibelle Got Maced
Lutibelle Turns Anthropologist
Lutibelle Imitates Male Birdcalls
Lutibelle Turns Taxidermist
Lutibelle Reads the Riot Act
Lutibelle Cruises
Lutibelle Waxes Metaphysical
Lutibelle Intercepts a Bread-and-Butter Note
Lutibelle's Neighbors

Message that Anonymous Left
Lutibelle Goes to an Auction
Lutibelle as Quean of the Float
Lutibelle Curses
Lutibelle Actually Hisses
Lutibelle Sings
Lutibelle Speaks as the Poet
Lutibelle Orders His Funeral
Lutibelle Records His Own Eulogy
Epitaph
The Last Word

Acknowledgments
 
 
 



Lutibelle's Neighbors:  The Barfly
 

1st Try

Yoo hoo!
Hi there.
Hey, you!
Hello, good looking.
 

2nd Try

Yoo ho!
Hi there.
Yea, you!
Hello, handsome.
 

3rd Try

Yoo hoo!
Hi there.
Hey.  Yes, you.
You're gorgeous.
 

Refrain (when needed)

Yoo hoo!  Yoo hoo!  Yoo hoo!

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         Lutibelle Goes to an Auction

Give me one, give me one, give me one;
I see ya:  one cracker smile.
Give me two, give me two, give me
two cracker smiles.
Who'll make it three?
Three cracker smiles?
Who'll make it three?
I see ya!  Three cracker smiles.
Three going once, three going twice,
Sold for three cracker smiles
this pretty little pickaninny's
photograph just before they blew up
the Sunday School.

Give me one, give me one, give me one;
I see ya: One good ol' boy's grunt.
Give me two, give me two, give me
two good ol' boy's grunts.
Who will make it three?
I see ya: Three good ol' boy's grunts.
Who'll make it four?
Now surely some one of you recognizes
a real bargain when you see one.
I mean, it ain't everyday that you gets
to see wimmin libbers hauled off to jail
and raped.  That's better:
Sold to the Colonel there,
one 8 milimeter projector with the full details
for four good ol' boy's grunts,
with a pair of the panties thrown in for good measure.

Give me one, give me one, give me one;
I see ya:  One basher's knuckles.
Who'll make it two?
I see ya.  Two basher's knuckles.
I see ya.  Three basher's knuckles.
Well, folks, trading's fast here today.
I see ya.  Four basher's knuckles.
Come on now, who'll make it half a dozen?
Four going once, four going twice
Six basher's knuckles, I see ya.
Half dozen once, half dozen twice,
Sold, for half dozen basher's knuckles
bid by that man yonder in blue overalls
for one whimpering sissy with all of his fancy clothes.

Give me one, give me one, give me one.
Who'll give me one?  I see ya.
Two.  Who'll give me two?....
 

Sold to America!

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Lutibelle Records His Own Eulogy
 
 

     I got a vision
of who I might have been
     had I not declared myself
one of my Church's queers
     or a house faggot
for the English profession:

A quiet, arthritic Episcopalian
     winked at me from his pew
where he knelt before Mary,
     having come from tea
after his lecture
     on the Rhetoric of Bleak House.
I thanked him
     for affirming my sacrifice,
my shrill declaration
     that kept him from ever being
more than a figment of my imagination.
 

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Lutibelle's Neighbors: Collared Queer
 

He could preach about his ghetto
     till his cracker bishop wept
guilt dollars into his parish coffers.

He could shout about city managers
     till his people marched
affirmative action
     through every municipal office.

He could narrate family history
     till his boy and girl
joyfully plodded through the books
     their grandparents had been denied.

He could presage his weariness
     till his wife calmed him
with her care.

But because he could share with no one
     the fact that he was queer,
he hitched a hose to his VW exhaust
     and quietly went to heaven.

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Crowd of Witnesses Dazzles Lutibelle
 

I have watched God take Her love
and squeeze it through a surgeon's
precise line of vision
to save the heartbeat of a strait
who would probably vomit
to know a Lesbian operated.

I have heard God distill His grandeur
through a Brother's gay fingers
opening organ pipes in dark
ecclesiastical corners
to make even tired adulterers
tremble at the glory of the Queandom.

I have watched God twinkle
in the eye of a teacher
seducing bored minds
away from sitcoms and comics
into Native Son or a Renoir nude,
only to have God laughed at
when the student ossifies to say,
"Teacher was a harmless bit queer!"

And I have seen God grow bald,
don a wig and sequined gown,
and cruise the streets,
even of small towns,
laughing joyfully to be God,
to understand creation,
          to wait out
the slow drainage of stupidity.

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       Lutibelle Cruises

     Down the crowded street
a carload of boys shouted, "Faggot!"
     at the old man
who carried a shoulder bag
     and wore a silver lambda
in his left ear.

When he paid for his chili
     with Susan B's,
the cashier rushed to whisper
     to the cook,
pointing luridly,
     but the cook only winked
as the old man
     entered the revolving doors.

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Lutibelle Waxes Metaphysical
 

Did Yaweh know
Eden would go?
 

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Lutibelle Imitates a Strait Male Prayer
 

God, I can't pray just now,
     though you're the ruler
of the universe.

Some people
     have been saying
that you
     might not even be a real man,
     might be instead an androgynous mutation.

Forgive me for my difficulties
     in paying attention.
I do find it distracting
     if I don't know for sure
what's under that robe
     you're wearing
and whether those whiskers are fake.

It was difficult enough
     when those black children
started coloring you black.
     Before long
even sissies will be saying
     that you lisp
or go about in drag.

God, I think I'm about to lose
     my religion,
and you'll
     just have to thunder again
if you're going to get me back.

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Epitaph

Lutibelle bit the hound of heaven.

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Lutibelle Talks Behind the Rector's Back
 

My church grew rich on tithes
     and invested in a bookstore
in a neighborhood that became
     too sleazy for Bible buyers,
so my church doubled its capital
     by selling the property
to Allied Cinema, Inc.,
     which placed 30 stalls
under a blue light,
     fitted each with a double sofa,
a screen, a projector,
     and a slot for quarters.
Troops came from the highways and hedges
     miles around
there to discover in pairs
     simple affection,
which my church never considered
     a profitable investment.

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           Lutibelle Actually Hisses
 

     Fine, Upstanding Citizens
Must you politicize my pitch, my wrist,
     my fingernails, my crossed legs?
Must you imagine me gunning down
     every young tough you can breed
and in the next moment teach your toughs
     that they could beat me up
     or blow me away as easily as a dandelion
     or a powderpuff?

Must I be your Instant Maniac, nondecaffeinated,
     undemystified, 75% Real Fairy
     --harmless locked in your brain,
     lethal spooned into your conversation?

While I wash dishes or read the paper,
must you imagine me swinging from the chandelier
just because you are bored with your sitcoms
     or your lawns and gardens?

I will not unzip for you, dear neighbors.
I will not even open the Levelor for you to peek.
I will reply only with silence when you call to heckle.

The welcoming kiss which I give my lover at the bus
is the welcoming kiss which I give my lover,
not a time bomb to destroy this civilization.

Make your own magic, citizens.
Ours is not for your divining.
 
 

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                Lutibelle's Psalm

Oh, Lord, we call to you from our apartment
because we are not welcome in the church hall.
Hear us and help us with this terrible fear.
Do not freeze our hurt into false smiles.
Deliver us from coutenancing in ourselves
     the rumors our enemies spread about us.
Help our enemies to come to terms
     with that in themselves
     which they project on us.
Turn their evil into good, oh God.
Make of their children's spit on our faces
     a salve for healing the pains
     which they have inflicted.
Be miraculous, God!
Do not fear to show your glory on the side
     of your children.

Why have our accusers refused even to hear us?
How can your Church tolerate spiritual lynchings?
Deliver us from vigilantes, God.

How they hiss against us,
     gossiping on their phones
     all the day long.
One of their most articulate ones,
     driving his car to house after house,
     peddles the Vestry's hateful petition
     to ask us to leave.
What does he think as the remnant,
     the two loving women,
     turn him away?
Is he ready to be judged with that judgment
     which he has meted to us?
Help him, God.

Why do you allow the proud to turn your house
     of prayer into a court house?
Why do you allow your priests to bully us,
     to insult us,
     to spread lies about us in their councils,
     and yet to ignore us
     when we are sick or in danger or in need?
Why have you allowed your house
     to become a temple of self-righteousness
     rather than a house of honest sinners?

About ourselves we have spoken the truth
     in love, God,
and the keepers of the Church

     have turned us away.
Were we to debauch ourselves with hypocrisies
     and in secret to be consumed
     in anonymous lust,
they would honor us, God,
     and welcome us as like themselves.
But they have hated us for loving openly
     and responsibly.
They ride by our apartment
     with orgies in their heads
     while we cook supper
     and wash dishes together.

Heal this sick town, God.
You promised that the meek will inherit
     the earth, that with Christ
     we are joint heirs
     of your everlasting kingdom.
Strengthen us with a sense of being your children.
By your power, ready us for our witness.
 

See the origin of this Psalm

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Lutibelle's Neighbors: Gump #1
 

Father Gee, his collar showin,
loved men, not just their groin;
cooked them greens, yams and hams;
shared his dreams, mocked all shams.

    Queer priest, this Father Gee,
    fleshed saint with Gospel glee.
 
 

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           Lutibelle Turns Taxidermist
 

Note well the common leer.

in both genders, the species breeds well
in all habitats of homo sapiens,
but thrives best in isolation,
either in the provinces
or around urban steeples and altar
to the hum of block after block of lawn mowers.

The Bible-in-hand is not mandatory,
but recurs often, symptomatically,
especially in a King James Version that falls open
automatically to only the same six passages.

Our first rare specimen was caught
weilding a machine gun in Greenwich Village,
mowing down half a dozen Ramrod patrons.

Under the next glass, observe the more common variety,
a street gossip, officianado of the otherwise private
coming and goings of everyone.
This particular one was nabbed by her hairdresser.
 

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        Lutibelle's Neighbors:  Jail Bait
 
 

They took my friend to jail at nine today.
But he was wrong about the way he thought it'd go.
Even his dad had nothing mean to say.

The cops were gentle too in their own way.
"The fairy's sorta nice," they said down low.
They took my friend to jail at nine today.

The kid he'd touched stayed well away,
and neighbors had no other chance to know.
Even his dad had nothing mean to say.

I held his hand as he talked  quietly,
 "I'll tell you if you'll keep your eyes down so."
They took my friend to jail at nine today.

Digital clocks flap and grind away
throughout the world this lonely night, I know.
Even his dad had nothing mean to say.

Now everyone stays at tedious, mindless play,
and no one feels the void begin to grow.
They took my friend to jail at nine today.
Even his dad had nothing mean to say.
 
 

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Lutibelle Reads the Bible:

Let Us Now Praise Caustic Christians
 

Let us now praise caustic Christians,
the champions of justice in all generations,
through whom God has restored the flow of mercy.

Some have nailed theses to the church door
     with prophetic power.
Some have started new universities to
     challenge the prevailing notions.
Some have overturned tables at the temple,
     demanding alms for the poor, the sick,
     and the destitute before we buy organs
     and stained glass.
Some have worn dresses to be priested for gender justice.
Some have yanked off masks to proclaim their loving gay unions.
Some have demanded of the white authorities, "Let My People Go!"
Some have marched through tear gas and police dogs,
     defying orders from prelates and judges.
Some have destroyed draft files
     and burned plans for nuclear destruction.
Some have organized unions and cooperatives.
Some have fought to redistribute God's bounty justly.

All these won notoriety in their own generation
     and were the scandal of their times.
Many have sat in jails rather than to recant
     or to say that the earth as we know it
     is at the center of the universe.
Others have died.
Many there are who have left behind them no name,
     but a legacy of hope restored, conflict resolved,
     injustice rectified, lives redeemed.
Their victories are the inheritance of future generations.
Their line will endure for all times.

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       Lutibelle Looks at Genesis
 

Then God said, "I'm lonely still.
I think I'll make me a friend.

Kneading clay fetched from the upper Nile,
God worked a full day fashioning the creature
to look exactly like God--strong, agile, graceful.

And when it was evening, God breathed
into the creature the breath of life,
and the creature became a living soul.

Later, as the two supped under moonlight
by the ocean, God snapped two fingers,
and a male servant appeared.
"We would like more wine," God said.

"Yessum," he muttered as he left the pair in peace.

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Lutibelle Gets a Telephone Call
 

     Don't hang up!
I'm not a heckler!
     I really meant it
when I said
     I didn't understand you
          on the radio
     when you said
we gays, like straits,
     can know
by body chemistry.

I'm only 15
     and have never had sex
--except by myself--
     so I can't tell at all
which man it is safe
     for me to want.
And I want them all.

Can't you give me one name
     or just one telephone number?
I'm scared folks walking by
     might hear me in this booth,
but I'll risk one more call.
     My name is John
--I really am not a heckler!--
     but it isn't safe
for me to give my number.

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Lutibelle Turns Anthropologist
 

Little Ms. Muffet
sat on her tuffet
eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider
and sat down beside her.
Ms. Muffet laughed
   as she killed him with spray.

Fight back!

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Lutibelle Peeks at the Bishop
 

The bishop sniffles, readjusts,
     and sucks a Vicks.
"Do you love me?  Feed my sheep."

A drop of sweat hovers above,
     then implodes
     at a raw episcopal hemorrhoid
     wrapped in boxer shorts.

"And preach the Good News to every creature."

His left eye ticks and he doodles
     the names of every priest and bishop
     he has ever suspected of being one.

"Judge not that you be not judged."

"But why can't they just cover their nakedness
     as everybody else does?" he wonders.

"Do you love me?  Feed my sheep."

The fan blows heavy gardinia
     from the open window.
The carillon sounds a tinny quarter.

"And preach the Good News to every creature."

"There'll be no funds from anyone
     if we let gays as gays be active here."
Tons of steel and carved stone
     seem to settle momentarily more secure
     as a fortress to protect
     God Almighty's reputation.

"Judge not that you be not judged."

Mary Magdalen arrives in a silver Mercedes
     wearing a blue wiglet and My Sin.
She drives His Worship to a party
     where a green olive in a fine vermouth
     nurses his cold safely back to a hetero world.

"Do you love me?  Feed my sheep."

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Lutibelle Sings
 

Tune:  Ein' feste burg
 

Two thousand years we feared our love,
condemned "unnatural sinners."
Now stepping forth from heaven above
Christ makes gays special winners.
This world is filled with hate.
It seems almost too late
for God to interfere
again to bring love here,
but that's what God is doing.

No more can foes God's plans decide,
nor obfuscate God's choosing.
God's love for gays they cannot hide,
their puppetry is losing.
The God of heaven and earth
affirms gays' priceless worth.
Our ransom has been paid:
joint heirs with Christ we're made:
let homophobes take notice!

The Church once asked to have us killed:
our blood has writ this witness.
All ignorant minds must now be filled
with sexual truth and fitness.
The pressures still are strong
to work on gays much wrong.
We're called to persevere,
endure our holy fear,
for Christ commands our army.

Our strength is not in guns or laws.
Our weapon is but Meekness.
We can forgive our foes their flaws:
Gay Might is just such "weakness."
More friends will join this fight
because the Lord is right.
Gay bodies house God's Spirit,
but only through Christ's merit.
God's love will triumph through us.

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                 Lutibelle Prays
 

I come here to your cross, Christ,
     a raging quean.
I want to walk with my head high,
     a child of God,
but I am feeling too much
     like the scum people take me to be.
Sometimes I get downright campy
     and want to shout at them,
"Why do you think God chose twelve of his own
     kind to be nearest!?"
but then I don't really believe you're
     some macho male riding a chariot
and weilding a whip, or that you are really
     male or female at all,
though I suspect
     that when you were enfleshed as Jesus
your juices were not lactation.

What did you feel when your beloved John
lay across your lap casually?

Now you seem trapped above this altar,
     as if the Romans really were successful
and rid the world of any fresh response
     you might have for it or for me.

I wonder if what I want is a break
     from being quean?
Maybe you should
     take away my regnum and give me back
a Pennypress suit and a lower middleclass
     seat on the vestry.
But put me somewhere else,
     where the people in the next pew
don't think I'm different.

--"Maybe he's just never found Miss Right.
Besides, bachelors aren't all queers.
Some of them are even good to their mamas
when they get old!"--

But here all know, Jesus,
     and they'll never allow me
to teach Sunday School
     or to be a lay reader again,
or even to have lunch with the rector
     --or if I do, I'll have to endure

the rector's notion of who I am
     with every sip of my coffee
     --is my pinky showing?

Maybe if I just go to a new town
     and am very quiet about it all,
lie low, as it were,
     play tennis and jog alot,
they'll spend some of this time
     seeing me as the good salesman I am.
I mean, do they hate queers as much
     in Chicago, New York, or San Francisco?
I wish my company had a branch
     in one of those places.
Even their bishops claim to love us,
     though clergy do throw love
     around very glibly.
I wonder if they'd love a son or a daughter
     who is one?

I wish you'd talk back, God.
     I'm one weary quean
with all of these folks
     kneeling around me.
Sometimes I think
     they're not praying about themselves,
but just about me,
     telling you all of their fears
as if I had not already told you the truth.

But I probably occupy no more space
     in their prayers than does a bug
which one mindlessly avoids
     so as not to waste time squashing it.

Yes, Jesus, back at self-pity,
     badly this time
--as much of a venereal disease
     as any quean requires!
Maybe I should just stick with the Prayer Book,
     which makes me come across
as much more noble
     than I really am;
and at least it keeps me from looking
     only at myself.

I can't believe
     you want this groveling, Jesus.
Help me to stand on my own two feet.
     God save this quean!

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           The Day Lutibelle Got Maced
 

"What a big chemistry set Santa brought!"
     I exclaimed to Michael, 10,
son of the chemist turned dean,
     when we went nextdoor
for spicy Christmas cake.

Michael beamed as his dad peered
     proudly over half-rims.

Mary, 6, nudged to show me her gift.
     "And what a cute nurse's kit,"
I added with a patron's smile.

"Doctor's kit," the housewife intruded;
     "tell him it's a doctor's kit, Mary,"
Mary's mother repeated even as she fetched us
     pieces of her best minced meat pie.

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Lutibelle's Neighbors: Maggie
 

Maggie always was clever.
At 8 she read Red Cross books to learn
first-aid for every dog, cat & canary
on our block. We were not surprised
when she won a biology scholarship
to the state university.

What we never could understand was why,
when she came back home to tend her pa,
she always wore her same old overalls
and smoked a small cigar.

We only discovered when the boys,
finding her coming out of a city dance hall
     just for women,
beat her with a lead pipe
     until she lost her mind.

Now Maggie sits in an old lab coat
     rocking on the porch, smoking those cigars
all day long, and never says a single word.
 
 
 
 

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Lutibelle Imitates Male Birdcalls
 
 
 

Wife, where's my dinner, where're my shirts,
     where're my slippers?
Whatya mean by "I'm tired"?

Woman, whatsamatter?
Whatyamean you ain't cum yet?

Faggot, suckit, suckit, suckit.
Sissy, sissy, don't stop now.

Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!

Girl!  Girl!  Girl!  Girl!

Bitch!  Bitch!  Bitch!  Bitch!

Mommy!  Sissy!  Girl!  Bitch!
 

           Refrain

         --optional--
 

Kitche, kitche, coo.
Kitche, kitche, coo.
Kitche, kitche, coo.
 
 
 

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       Lutibelle Recalls His Baptist Childhood
 

The mist in the valley below
   pinkened in the setting sun
and marshmellowed our blood
     as we sang "The Old Rugged Cross,"
after riding here
     in smart yellow buses
up the interstate to celebrate
     the ancient bloodshed,
plunging our tiresome sins--
     our Playboy
          between the mattress and springs,
     our sperm-filled socks,
     our white privilege,
     our excluding pews,
     our one shot too many,
     our extra valium,
     our spite, our greed
     our selfishness, our vanity....
plunging them all in the blood of the lamb.

"Student friend," the gentle evangelist
     intoned when we were thus primed,
"sin is like the moth that shortcircuited
     the power plant of the whole city;
Jesus wants to get that moth out of your system.
     Won't you give your heart to him?"

Hundreds of us did,
     to the tremulo of Hymn 169
--"Just As I Am Without One Plea"--
     bouncing up and down the moutainside
as we marched to the front
     to accept, to rededicate,
or to transfer membership.

When the evangelist
     came to lunch the next day,
Mom brought out her best preserves
     and watermellon rind pickle,
spread on her Irish linen
     and tinkled the bell for Vera
to deliver each course,
     the shrimp cocktail rushed from Charleston,
     the barbecued lamb from the freezer,
     and the meringue topped with fresh peaches,
as the evangelist took itsy bites
     of food and people,

gobbled up the whole denomination
     with juiciest gossip
collected from all his travels,
topped with the tally of souls saved
     and the evening's collection;
and then he left:

     Mother with a headache,
     Dad with a bit of gastric homophobia,
     Vera with the dirty dishes,
     and me with a mistless mountain.

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Poem Lutibelle Wrote for the Shriners Convention
 

"Love without justice is cheap sentimentality."

       --The Rev. Carter Heyward
      One of the Philadelphia Eleven
       first women priests of the
          Episcopal Church
 
 

M       is for our minimizing of her.

o         means that we'll use her till she's old.

t         is for the time we take from her.

h        is for the hurt we hurl to get her told.

e        is for her energy, enduring us.

r        is for rage, and rage she sorely needs.
 

    Put them all together, they spell victim,

    a prisoner waiting to be freed.
 
 
 

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  Lutibelle's Neighbors:  John and Mary Strait
 
 
 

Our neighbor's a fag and bakes good cakes,
     as parents are careful to warn children.
But he's just an undertaker,
     so there ain't much way
he could harm no living thing.

He even married wunts,
     to a widow schoolteacher;
but their maid let out
     how the two lived in separate parts
of the house right from the beginning,
     and the teacher, being sickly,
conveniently upped and died real soon.

I think those boys were wrong to beat him up
     when he wrote the paper about Anita.
A little sugar in his gas tank
     or a few discreet breathing calls
oughta been enough to keep him scared
     to make another public move.

We ain't got nothin gainst queers, really,
     long's they don't do nothin or tell nobody.
We never have let the Baptists
     tell us how to run our lives.
 
 

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                    A Cynic Gossips about Lutibelle
 

                My silly fairy friend kept the 11 p.m. Vigil
                with his Cardex, like a prayer wheel,
                mumbling over the names of 435 "holy" queers
                and 37 of their chapters,
                while 17 candles flickered before a plaster Mary
                and lace draped the poker-chip host,
                as if my friend really believed in Resurrection,
                or more preposterous, believed that Jesus,
                even if resurrected,
                would have anything to do with us.

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     Lutibelle Rocks on the Porch
 
 

   A yellow butterfly
   just chased a shiny
   chocolate man
   lightly bouncing
   on the seat of his green bulldozer
   the full length of our street.

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          Poem Lutibelle's Lover Left on Their Answering Machine

             at 3:30 a.m.
 
 
 

           Oh, this is me, calling from work, just to say
           --and I hate to disturb you at this time--
           but you've just missed one of the prettiest sights,
           a half moon and a star just at the very tip of it.
           So if you happen to hear this message and you wake up,
           look out the back window of your study
           and you might see it.

           Good morning.
 

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     Lutibelle Speaks as the Poet
 
 
 

                 I hope that the world I sing about
    will not last,
                 that my verse soon will self-destruct,
    requiring too much gloss
                 to be worth the reading,
    that queer, lezzie,
           bulldagger, and homophile
    will be buried in unabridged
                 historical dictionaries,
    that a homo will be
                 "a bottle of milk,"
    that queanly will survive
                 only as "venerable,"
    that faggot will mean simply
                 "anyone who demonstrates courage,"
    that everyone will aspire
                 to be a dyke,
    or "one who endures and prevails,"
                 that husbands kissing each other goodbye
    will stand out only
                 because they block the traffic,
    that pink triangles will occur
                 only randomly, and only  in linoleum,
    quilts, or Christmas paper,
                 that all these will pass as completely
    as our smells at Dachau and Auschwitz.

                 I carefully remark current social dis-ease
    only to destroy it,
                 not to memorialize it.
    Bigotry needs no more monuments.
 

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             Lutibelle Reads the Riot Act
 
 
 

           Big Mr. America,
           many, many times in the public streets
           you have whistled at me,
           catcalling from your windows,
           or you've skidded past, yelling,
           "Queer!", "Faggot!", or "Sicko!"

           Still, I have borne it with a patient shrug,
           for "Sissy" is the mark of all my tribe.
           You called me "Unbeliever!" "Diseased!" "Criminal!|
           and trained your children to spit upon my jogging suit
           --and all because I dared to be myself.

           Well then, it now appears you know you need my help.
           "Go to the queer," you say, and come to me whispering:
           "we want to have use of your talents still,
           but without your telling who you are.
           If you will keep your mouth shut,
           we will let you continue to lead our choirs,
           teach our children, design our buildings,
           shepherd our churches, take out our appendices,
           win our cases in court, dress our hair,
           write our love literature...."
           You say so,
           you who did cough your phlegm
           on the sidewalk as I passed and did brush by me
           in the office elevator as if I had the plague.

           What should I say to you?  Should I say,
           "Do the diseased have such talents?"
           Is it possible that a criminal can do these things
           for you?"  Or, should I bend low,
           and in a quean's falseto, with bated breath
           and whispering humbleness, say this:
           "Kind person, you spat on me last Wednesday.
           You pretended not to see me on another day.
           Another time you evicted my lover and me
           from our apartment.  Again you called me "Queer,"
           and for these courtesies I will deny my identity?"?
 

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    Lutibelle Tweaks David the King
 

               Psalm 1B
 

   Miserable is the person who never talks with the ungodly,
        who goes out of the way to avoid sinners,
   who never can see life critically.
   The self-righteous live by the rules of the elite,
        and by these rules are they compulsive day and night.
   They are like trees planted in a swamp, moored
        in every flood of fashion.
   They seem to endure, and whatsoever they perform
        is always noticed.

   The humble are not so; but are free,
        like leaves which the wind drives everywhere.
   Therefore, the humble shall not sit to be judged,
        nor shall the gentle join the congregation of the
        proud.
   For God knows the ways of them all,
        and only the self-righteous shall perish.

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          Lutibelle Orders His Funeral
 

           Mingle the tacky with the grand,
         by all means.
    Sing at least one whiny hymn
         --my favorite is No. 412,
    "Jesus, my Savior, look on me,
         for I am weary
    and sore opprest!"--
         to celebrate my Baptist heritage,
    and at least one
         like "Joyful, joyful, we adore thee!"
    to affirm that I really did convert
         to become an authentic Episcopalian.

    If it is winter, be sure to thaw
         the holy water in the stoop
    under the belfry.
         If it is summer,
    try to have some of those gawdy fans
         from the monument makers,
    and open the windows.
         Let 6 strong sisters
    bear my pall,
         and one proper sissy
    to serve as deacon or acolyte.

    Stay with the text
         of the Prayer Book exclusively:
    it is all that any quean requires.
         Show them how to squeeze
    when you share the Peace.
         Smell good.  Comb your hair.
    Be modest.
         Heaven's is the real celebration.
    Afterwards, I prefer cremation.

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        Lutibelle's Metamorphosis
 
 
 

Squinting hours at his lighted mirror,
the boy memorizes his crows' feet
which She will shadow green.
The boy sniggers.  She will laugh generously
long after he has shaved his chest.

Apprehension must yield.

Some take years to become a quean.
 

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    Lutibelle as Quean of the Float
 
 
 

Yoo-hoo!  Hi there!

You, with the black suit and valise.
Hello, darling!  I haven't seen you lately.
How are the little wife and kiddies?

     He's the one who always wore paisley drawers
     and once forgot and left a pack of his wife's
     birth control pills, as if I needed them!

Hi there!  Yoo-hoo!

     Who does this other Mr. Big think he's fooling
     dashing into Gimbel's as if he hadn't seen?

Hi there, Father Davis.  We haven't seen you lately.

     I don't think he ever did like the way I genuflect.

Hi there!  Yoo-hoo!  Hi there!  Yoo-hoo!

Don't you want to march in my parade?
 

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Lutibelle Curses

Swish, swish, men of America.
Cross your legs only at 90° angles.
Swish, swish!
Your fingernails are getting a mite too long.
Swish, swish!
That fuchsia shirt might be misunderstood.
Swish, swish!
You'd better lower your pitches
and say something evil about your mothers.
Swish, swish!
You smell too sweet and are too polite.  Be crude.
Swish, swish!
Talk about war, not about flowers.
Swish, swish, men of America.
Swish, swish.  Swish, swish.
Swish, swish.  Bug off.
 

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    Lutibelle Mocks a Bushes Quean
 

            in Bai Hai Park
 

Lest our new passion sputter,
Lest peepers mark its fervid flicker,
Let's only lick, not flutter,
Not risk a bite to bring a snicker.

Lest my frayed wire shortcircuit,
Lest passers hear your high-pitched squeal,
Let's measure till we work it:
This fever subdue to only a feel.

Lest at cocktails later we wince,
Lest launderers discover our stain,
Let's swallow jaded evidence.
Dear boy, what did you say is your name?
 

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Lutibelle's Neighbors:  The School Teacher
 

You have embroidered my scarlet Q well, citizens,
but like Hester Prynne, I still won't talk.
I don't have to tell you who my Arthur Dimmesdale is.

I'll serve you otherwise, minding your older children,
teaching them to be lucid while the word-brokers
in  the  real  world  obfuscate  and  have  their  expletives
deleted.
But a teacher deserves some privacy, really!

Besides, you haven't earned the right to know.
You can be sure that Arthur himself won't tip you off;
you'll never recognize him by a lisp or a limp wrist
or a porcelain collection.  He will not carry a Gucci bag,
make cucumber sandwiches, or collect candles.
He will not even move his eyes if he sees you watching
as he passes me on the street, looking straight ahead.

Don't stop reading now, my dears.
It doesn't do much good for me to stand here
with my head in these stocks in broad daylight
if you're not going to watch and heckle.

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Lutibelle Tells His Age

My hand keeps hitting the subtotal,
as if by design,
though each time seems an accident.

Last week, for a lark, I said to a student,
"Son, this comma should go over there,"
and he did not blink as he emended.
Suddenly I realized that his dad could be 5-8 years
my junior.  I had thought him and me fellow bachelors.

Dad called Thursday to complain
that Mother twice last week
arose at 2 or 3 a.m. to cook supper.
Fifty years ago she was head bookkeeper at the bank.

Even after I jog seven miles in the snow,
sometimes my arthritic index finger
can't steady a pencil.

A sociologist I read last summer
gives me only 8 more days of middle age
--"Young, 21-32; Middleaged, 33-44; Old, 45+"--
arbitrary trifurcation of the laboring years.

It's not the novelty but the frequency of "S" that troubles.
For years and years after I balded early, at 23,
I got only very infrequent subtotals.  Just now,
they plop up almost daily, as I soak in the tub
or drowse through the news.

Of course, the really scary diacritic is not "S" but "T."

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Lutibelle Uses Binoculars

This boy,
hair on his midriff gleaming:
whiff of Eden's applebreath.

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Lutibelle Intercepts a Bread-and-Butter Note

Meant for Swish Singers

I have to write this
because I lost my speech
three years ago
when cancer got my larynx,
back when I was in Ward I,
before they called me "intermediary,"
fed me valium,
and rolled me
before the game shows
with those giddy couples
spinning medieval wheels
all daylight hours.

When you read this back outside,
know that I appreciate
your campy caroling tonight,
(most did not even notice
you are different!  how clever!)
and hope that you will come again
one afternoon
to hold the hand
of a gay brother
imprisoned here at 93
in the culture of grandparenthood
at Little Acre of Heaven.

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The Venite

Tuning out the congregation
lost in the psalm,
the pudgy baby girl
lunged for the sparkling eyes
of the gay librarian
singing in the pew
behind her mother's damp,
forbidding shoulder;
and when he caught her,
for four pews
the embarrassed hushed
as together the two gooed.

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Lutibelle Eavesdrops

"Go away, ugly birds,
so some pretty birds will come!"
my lover rattles at the sparrows
feeding outside our window.

The pretty birds have all flown south.
Only we plainer sorts will survive this winter.

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Lutibelle Enters a Time Machine

I watched God when He made
Adam's penis,
matched it with his own,
checked it out for size,
for accordianability,
and for fit and feel
in a dozen orifices;
and I swear
He was happy,
did not draw the curtain,
never smirked,
but winked,
even blinked in anticipation.

I watched God as She made
Eve's vagina,
measured it with Her delicate fingers,
nudged out a dimension,
added springs, nectar, slush,
rejected the notion
of a finger-like protrusion
self-insertable at the entrance,
purred to experience
for the first time
the joy for which
Eve was being made.

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Lutibelle's Neighbors:

Message that Anonymous Left on his Answering Machine

Hey, I'm gonna kill you.
I listened to your program, you faggot.
I'm gonna beat your fucking face
if I ever see you.  You hear me!?
I ain't no fucking faggot.
I kick your junky fucking ass.
Goodbye.
 

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            The Last Word:
 

        Poem Lutibelle's Godchild Found on Cinder No. 3--2020 A.D.
 

       The tree, the sky, and the water were ours,
       we presumed, for us to use as we pleased,
       as if we had a Visacard or Mastercharge account
       in God's name with no payment to make in our generation.

       This is a recording is a recording is a recording
       is a recordingisa recordingisarec....

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Acknowledgments

The following publishers have also published works which appear in From Quean Lutibelle's Pew and are hereby gratefully acknowleged.  Click to see complete details of all of Louie Crew's poetry publications
 
 

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