October 27, 2009


I FOUND THIS AMAZING POEM on ANOTHERQUEERJUBU, which also has a video link for Marsha P. Johnson videos on youtube! The poem's by Jimmy Centola, formerly of the Hot Peaches theater troupe, and was published in the Divas Of Sheridan Square zine in 1979!

Spare Some Change For A Dying Queen

Can you spare any change for a dying queen dar—ling?
I mean I am dying.
I know you don’t believe me.
But I know what I’m talking about.
Yes I do.
Us queens know what we’re talking about because we’re for liberation, yes we are.
Look at the Stonewall.
When I first came to New York
all pressed and clean
in a white shirt and tie
what my mother bought me
I heard about the Stonewall
so I thought I’d go over and
check it out
and LORD!
Men are dancing with men
and one more gorgeous than another
and way in the back were my sisters, honey
turning it out in gold lame and wigs for days.

I was hanging out in the Stonewall one night
talking to Miss June, who was feeling low
and nodding out on downs
when she looked up at me and said,
“Them pigs come in here tonight
they better stay off my motherfuckin’ case.”
And she was right cause
we wasn’t bothering nobody
just hanging out and being ourselves
when don’t you know
sure enough
the whistle done blew
and in they come
pushing and shoving everyone just like
a bunch of pigs
and ain’t nobody said nothing
cause in them days
if you was gay
you didn’t say
you was gay

So they’re pushing and shoving
and nobody said nothing
til them came to the queens
then this pig comes up
and gave Miss June one slap
knocked her down
ripped her dress
and scratched her face.
Now Darling,
anybody will tell you
that a queen is sort of
soft hearted, easy going person
who you can sort of shove around
but Darling let me tell you this.
There are two things you cannot do to a queen.
One. You cannot rip a queen’s dress.
And Two…Don’t you ever, never
touch the face honey…
Well Miss June got up
screaming and yelling
when this pig goes to hit her again
so I said
”Hey, why don’t you leave her alone
she ain’t bothering nobody.”
And he turned to me and said,
“Shut up you sick faggot.”
Now Darling,
You can call me a lot of things,
you can call me
a queer,
a cocksucker,
or a crazy fool,
but ain’t nobody got no right to call me
a piece of wood.
That’s right,
a piece of wood.
I looked it up one day
and it was right there
in the Webster’s
a faggot is a piece of wood.
And Darling I ain’t no piece of wood
and I was telling Miss Pig this when
he came to knock me,
then Miss June picked up a chair and swung it
and everybody started screaming and fighting
and queens was getting their faces scratched honey
and you know what that meant.
And the next thing I know
we all wound up in the Tombs……..again.

Them pigs done
busted up our fun, busted our heads
and just plain old busted us.
But that was O.K., honey.
Yes it was
because that was the beginning of gay liberation
in New York
and in the world.
Yes it was.
And now everybody done forgot
who done what and why and how
and you know, sometimes
when I pass one of them gay bars
where I see my brothers or sisters
having a good time and turning it out
in all their liberated glory
and I see hanging right over that bar a sign
what says “No Drunks, No dogs, No drags.”
Can you imagine comparing me to a dog?
Well honey, I just want to break right down.
But I just pay it no mind,
that’s right darling, cause once you 86 me I tip
and once I tip I stay tipped.
And they can 86 me out of every gay bar in the village.
And they can 86 me out of every gay bar in New York.
And honey, they can 86 me out of every gay bar in the world
and I pay it no mind because I got my friends.
Yes I do, and I do know who my friends are.
My friends are people who love their gay sisters and brothers
including the queens.
My friends are people who got change to spare.
And my friends are people who smile at me and understand
when I say
Can you spare any change for a dying queen, Dar—ling?
So they next time you’re in one of them bars what has that sign,
“no drunks, no dogs, no drags”
the next time you see them
turning out one of my gay brothers or sisters
Honey, you just dig real deep down
into your pocket and take some of that change you’re saving for
your cold beers and your hot dogs
and get over yourself and
spare some change for a dying queen………dar—ling.