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  • William Werc's Prayer

    Louie Crew


    I come here to your cross, Christ,
    a raging quean.
    I want to walk with my head high,
    a child of God,
    but I am feeling too much
    like the scum people take me to be.
    Sometimes I get downright campy
    and want to shout at them,
    "Why do you think God chose twelve of his own
    kind to be nearest!?"
    but then I don't really believe you're
    some macho male riding a chariot
    and wielding a whip, or that you are really
    male or female at all,
    though I suspect
    that when you were enfleshed as Jesus
    your juices were not lactation.

    What did you feel when your beloved John
    lay across your lap casually?

    Now you seem trapped above this altar,
    as if the Romans really were successful
    and rid the world of any fresh response
    you might have for it or for me.

    I wonder if what I what is a break
    from being quean?
    Maybe you should
    take away my regnum and give me back
    a Pennypress suit and a lower middleclass
    seat on the vestry.
    But put me somewhere else,
    where the people in the next pew
    don't think I'm different.

    --Maybe he's just never found Miss Right.
    Besides, bachelors aren't all queers.
    Some of them are even good to their mamas
    when they get old!"

    But here all know, Jesus,
    and they'll never allow me
    to teach Sunday School
    or to be a lay reader again,
    or even to have lunch with the rector
    --or if I do, I'll have to endure
    the rector's notion of who I am
    with every sip of my coffee
    --is my pinkie showing?
    Maybe if I just go to a new town
    and am very quiet about it all,
    lie low, as it were,
    play tennis and jog a lot,
    they'll spend some of this time
    seeing me as the good salesman I am.
    I mean, do they hate queers as much
    in Chicago, New York, or San Francisco?
    I wish my company had a branch
    in one of those places.
    Even their bishops claim to love us,
    though clergy do throw love
    around very glibly.
    I wonder if they'd love a son or a daughter
    who is one?

    I wish you'd talk back, God.
    I'm one weary quean
    with all of these folks
    kneeling around me.
    Sometimes I think
    they're not praying about themselves,
    but just about me,
    telling you all of their fears
    as if I had not already told you the truth.

    But I probably occupy no more space
    in their prayers than does a bug
    which one mindlessly avoid
    so as not to waste time squashing it.

    Yes, Jesus, back at self-pity,
    badly this time
    --as much of a venereal disease
    as any quean requires!
    Maybe I should just stick with the Prayer Book,
    which makes me come across
    as much more noble
    than I really am;
    and at least it keeps me from looking
    only at myself.

    I can't believe
    you want this groveling, Jesus.
    Help me to stand on my own two feet.
    God save this quean!

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