The day before his hearse drove through the moon,
you said everyone wished they could be us, then asked
who wouldn’t want to be a 6’2 glamazon
trouncing the world in studded McQueen brogues.
If fashion were cocks we’d be kings, quipped your young trick,
and you scoffed left in perfect pivot, snapping the whole way,
ordered him shake you another jellybean-tini, began
another of your histrionic histories.
In the days before the beige invasion
crept across our Magic Queendom, queers ruled
the vast Arts & Crafts bungalow dreamscape
stretching from Upper Kirby to Downtown,
glitzing the then-vacant homes of Montrose,
making peace with dealers, gang-bangers, pimps,
and honeys-by-the-hour—a tramp-stamped
better-than-fabled era of no less than
30 queer bars oozing like spent money
shots between Shepherd and Brazos, up and
down lower Westheimer—each one rising
from columns of fire christened pink lightning…
Dancing a half-conscious apocalypso
on the scuzzed-out dancefloor of what was once
Pacific Street, now a shadow dubbed Blur, soon to be
blight on the beige yuppie stucco palazzos
plaquing up the arteries of our homo heartland,
you prophesied we’d rule again with glittered fist.
When your lover came home for hospice,
no longer able to survive the seventh floor
AIDS ward at Park Plaza hospital, you collapsed,
clawed yourself almost upright with jellybean-tinis,
brogues stained with bitters, spikes of cooked coke
jabbed into your hands and feet,
a soured nightlife aperitif.
We pray your hearse will not lag long behind,
that you may know how timely death can be
such graceful sublimation.
Scott Chalupa writes in an attic near the margins of Columbia, SC, where he is pursuing an MFA at the University of South Carolina. A Houston, TX native, his work has appeared in Houston & Nomadic Voices Magazine, Dark Matter, Two Hawks Quarterly, and other venues. He has led workshops for Houston Poetry Fest, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Houston Public Libraries’ SpeakOUT! Series for LGBT writers.
This poem is not previously published.