Louie Crew


At 7, William could bake
        the best cookies
of any kid on the entire block.
        When we played school,
William always got to be teacher.

In high school,
        William made all the costumes
for Romeo and Juliet,
        and my mother said
William was sure to make it big
        in New York as a designer.

At 20, William had saved
        $1000 from his clerk job
at the clothing store
        to go to the city
to designing school,
        but some football players,
drunk and sporting,
        bashed William's head
so bad that the $1000
        went for his funeral
and a small tombstone
        in gothic script.

Two Haiku

Eyes may window the genitals,
        but do the genitals
sheathe the soul?

It all depends on what you see
        when they remove
the statue's fig leaf.

The Maledictions

Unhappily we are arrested and thrown
        into prison, for theirs is the law
        as well as the court.
Unhappily are we called queer, lezzy, punk,
        faggot, nellie, queen...; for theirs
        are the media.
Unhappily are we diagnosed neurotic, narcissistic,
        Oedipal, and "arrested,"
        for theirs is the money when we pay the bill.
Unhappily are we accused of child molestation,
        corrupting the young, and destroying the
        family, for they are our mothers, our fathers,
        our sisters and our brothers.
Unhappily are we tempted with rewards
        for every time that we might betray
        our sisters and brothers,
        for we are spirit of their spirit,
        flesh from their flesh.
Unhappily are we comfortable and rich
        and educated and integrated with straights,
        for we have to hide the truth.
Unhappily are we praised for our sensitivity,
        for our artistry, for our humor,
        for our intelligence, and for our sweetness;
        we hurt and grow loudly angry,
        for so humored they our gay ancestors
        before genocide.
We are indeed the salt of the earth,
        in a world sickening from saltlessness.
We are the light of the world,
        revealing the secrets of the heart,
        offering obvious witness
        of what it is to be whole.

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 on the next day teach them
        to beat me up or blow me away
        like a dandelion or a powder puff?

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

Neighbors, I will not unzip for you.
I will not even open the Levelors.
I will reply only like the dangerous night.
Beware my silence.

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

Make your own magic, citizens.

Louie Crew, 73, an Alabama native, is an emeritus professor at Rutgers. He lives in East Orange, NJ, with Ernest Clay, his husband of 36+ years.
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