Integrity USA Video: “With God’s Help”

This 7-minute video by Integrity USA explains why the Episcopal Church needs to move beyond its de facto moratorium on additional gay and lesbian bishops during General Convention 2009 in Anaheim. Since 1974, Integrity has been a faithful witness of God’s inclusive love to the Episcopal Church and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Their motto is “all the sacraments for all the baptized”. Visit their resolutions page to find out how you can get involved. (Hat tip to Cameron Partridge for the link.)

Lesléa Newman: “The Last Supper”

Northampton, Mass. Poet Laureate Lesléa Newman is the author of over 50 books for children and adults. This poem is reprinted with permission from her latest poetry collection, Nobody’s Mother (Port Orchard, Wash.: Orchard House Press, 2009). Read my review here.

The Last Supper

Victor was dying
to go out
one last time
so I yanked
a t-shirt over his head
that said, “I’m Looking for Mr. Right
Away” and rolled
his wheelchair
down the bumpy street
to his favorite place to eat:
a dumpy pizza joint
with a lovely view of the sea.
Our waiter was a prince
and didn’t wince at the sight
of Victor’s frail frame,
be he failed to notice
his sexy shirt and didn’t flirt
with him either. “Something
to drink?” he asked,
all business behind
the safety of his order pad.
“Coke” Victor rasped
and then gasped for breath.
“Regular or Diet?”
That got Victor’s attention.
He raised his phantom eyebrows
straightened his bony shoulders
and cocked his hairless head
as if this was a life
or death decision.
Our waiter waited
wrapped in the banner
of his impossible youth
the truth of which was painful
to see. Victor did not look
away. He took the time
it took to utter his first
complete sentence
of the year. “My dear
boy,” Victor poked
an Ichabod Crane finger
into his own concave chest.
“Do I look like someone
who has anything left
to lose?” Victor croaked
and then choked on a throat
full of phlegm. “Ahem.”
Silence from the boy
toy who might have gone home
with Victor a few years ago
when he was the queen
of Provincetown and ate boys
like this for breakfast.
Dinner was a sad affair:
Try as he might,
Victor couldn’t bite
the slice of pizza I held
to his chapped lips. Small sips
of Coke were all he could manage
and the ride home hurt his hips.
Ships passing in the night
I thought as another man
was pushed toward us
waving from his wheelchair
as though he were floating by
in a gay pride parade. Victor stayed
with us for two more weeks
though he did not speak
or drink again. The End.

Pride Month Poem: “Nudging Man” by The Poet Spiel

It’s Pride Month at Reiter’s Block? How can you tell?

As I did last June, this month I’ll be showcasing the work of GLBT authors I admire. I’m hoping to have time for some book and movie reviews, as well. First up, we have The Poet Spiel, a widely published author and performance poet, whose work has been featured on the Poets Against War website. His chapbooks include come here cowboy: poems of war (Pudding House Publications, 2006) and once upon a farmboy (Madman Ink, 2008).

Nudging Man

You wonder why that kid doesn’t just stay at home
till maybe 2:00 a.m.—watch Carson—
give his eyelids the cucumber treatment—
because he gets so stiff he can barely lift his warm
         beer to his face.

How he reminds you of when you pick up
         a small bird
which has crashed into your kitchen window
and it becomes completely still; it does not resist;
it does not know where it is; it does not know
         what it is.

You’ve always figured it was waiting for
         something familiar,
another bird, to nudge it, to call to it.
But the best that you can do
is place it gently in the warmth of your armpit

in the darkness of that space where nothing
         threatens it
and your body heat and the beating of your heart
are without a name
and you sense that that familiarity makes the bird
         become whole again.

You see the kid every night when you slide
         him a Schlitz-on-draft
across your bar—
never expecting a tip. A kid like him
will nurse one beer from 10:05, when he arrives,
         till the moment
when he scores: fifteen minutes before
         you close.

It takes him an hour to rise up from the barstool,
move across the room for a different point
         of view—
to where the quantity of men for choosing
         is mounting.
He’s barely touched his beer

but his eyes are darting; exposing signs of wanting.
Wanting it bad.
He’s available but shows no sense of knowing
         he has a right
to declare that he is present, as in speaking
         out loud:

“I’ve seen you here before can I buy you a beer,”
as if he fears his voice, his presence, will
         reveal himself to himself;
that this can only happen by the revelation
of the recognition of him by another man.

So each hour he repositions, stands as near as he
         can stand to a man—
nudges one of them.
But he cannot say a single word.
Then another; he nudges another and another.

This kid touches them but he cannot speak.

By 2 a.m. the men are sweaty and anxious
for the hot trick they’ve come here to find.
And the kid is nudging more of them
and nudging them more aggressively.

The room is reckless. Most patrons are drunk
and you’re hollering out Last call!
before they head on to the after hours bars
where some of them will do it raw, on site;

but you overhear the kid,
standing just inside the doorway at the far
         end of your bar,
not drunk at all,
just as you’ve heard him so many times
         at 2:15 a.m.,

point blank, his eyes certain,
entertaining the potential of unskinned meat
         from some happy nighthawk:
“You wanna fuck?”
and he gets the nod every time.

You guess he finds himself while in bed—
when he is naked—
in the reflection of another man—
where you guess he is not as silent
         as a stricken bird.