As the New Year approaches, I felt the time was right to post this, based on a person (whose name has been changed) who hung around Court Street in Binghamton, NY, back in the 70s. I didn’t know her personally… but she was different.  And she was persecuted for it. This year, let’s be kind to everyone – especially “The Others,” those whom we may not understand, but who are just as worthy of respect as the next person.  Let’s make this the year we put an end to homophobia and prejudice against all who buck the stereotypes.

Here’s the story of a fighter. Peace, Amy

FRANCES BY NIGHT

Frances took a lot of shit
back when cross-dressing was even more misunderstood
On Saturday nights, she’d dress to the nines
Scarves, handbag, nails done, bejeweled pumps
The Pink Cadillac was the only bar in town that would serve her
Sometimes she’d get bounced early for
flouncing around the married guys too much
(They were undercover, like the CIA)

This was back in the day of “those bars”
When you came in the back door and showed ID
Humiliating for closet cases, but worse for Frances
who had to show her license with her real name, Frank
It set her on edge every time, and she had a mouth on her

A few cocktails would set her right
She’d be fine ‘til closing time
If no prime escort took the bait
she’d wait as long as she could
before leaving for good (or for worse)

Fag bashers staked out the back door, on their beat
Ready to beat the crap out of “the little whore”
Yelling, “Frankie! Frankie!”
No cops were ever around that part of town
despite the shouts of the frantic rumble

She put up a good fight, that little queen
for all the mascara and cashmere, she was a scrapper
Her Georgette Klinger lipstick smeared on the knuckles
of some macho boy who really only wanted to touch her
but couldn’t admit it in front of his buddies

“Frankie,” they’d shout, “we’re coming for you”
“Boys,” she’d retort, “do come!
You need it more than I do”

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also at my poetic hearth and home, Poets United, for their Poetry Pantry.