There was an elegant sissy, from New York City
Or maybe Rome or New Orleans.
He was a spectacular fag, but didn’t do drag at all;
Falling somewhere in between that category
Of glorious ladies and men of the day.
A queen with no throne nor entourage scene,
Camouflaging himself in skin-tight trousers,
Spectacular coats and jackets,
Packets of sachet in his pockets
To give him a scent of an unusual gent.
As if he had a choice in the matter.
He had a delicate way with his manner,
His hands and his eyes touching gracefully
As if not to disturb the dust on the mind,
Often very unkind, he used his tongue slicing
And dicing those who offended his senses
When such dared to step on his train
Invisibly dragging behind him, around him
Keeping his visitors at bay, a few feet away
Like proper subjects, courtiers to his grace
His face locked in a grin; hiding all within
The secrets protected by laden witticisms
Criticisms if you misbehave, saving smiles;
Handing out compliments like cookies.
There was always a waving of hands,
The arms caught in the wind like cornstalks.
For a moment. Then catching, ending like feathers
Settling together, resting as if cradling a baby
One hip thrown out, the head to one side
As if listening; hearing a devil’s good joke,
Smoking a constant cigarette, the ends never wet
Laying the tip on the lip like a kiss
His face slightly lifted so the smoke will drift
Away from his half-lidded cynical eyes.
The talk could be varied, of Tom, Dick or Harry
He would call women men and vice versa
Saying, Robert is a bitch woman is she.
He then waiting your laughter, hesitating
Seldom laughing himself, having said it all
Heard it all, done it all, had them all
No fertile male soil left unspoiled by his touch
Just entirely too much for one man to handle,
No woman to compare, he lived alone somewhere
Coming to the bars each night, a familiar sight
Drinking, but not seeming drunk,
Never sunk so low that he staggered,
Still swaggered after hours at the trough
Not so much as a slur or a cough.
He knew all the jokes that could be made
From a seemingly innocent mistake
Taking a word here and there and trading
Raising a regal eyebrow, somehow changing
Restating the meaning leaning it toward the crotch
Watching the listener’s face, sensing the disgrace;
Granting himself the luxury of the infrequent howl
His majesty could keen like an un-oiled machine
Setting his victim’s nerves and gooseflesh to snap
Giving his udderless chest a slap, he would go on
Make more of the jest, leave his victim no rest
And the mourners to offer their apologies.
Words such as that are not for ladies
Such as this infamous old queen.
The old spirit held on after the body was near gone
Propelling it nightly to appear on the scene.
Mean children would taunt him, just as he taught them
And waving their arms like cornstalks, cackle like hens
And tease him again, then resume cruising the men
Hurting the once regal spirit more with their disdain
Than beating him, or cheating him; ignoring him,
They dealt him a blow he never could abide
That fear he kept inside, all those years, the tears,
Still left un-cried, after he died, in his room somewhere.
He has left to be shared, the way he fluffed his hair,
The off-color joke, spoken in a strange lady’s voice
Something like a boy’s, not like a man’s;
That flutter of the hands and the stance
Still copied today, by the splinter-group gays
That straight people think we all are
Is all that remains of a star once seen;
The seldom lamented, well-imitated, eternal queen.