Rejecting Dirges – Carla Schick

(Elegy for Tede)

How you danced with rainbow scarves
one in your hand, the other draped
across your bare shoulders

You made a tutu from violet shorts
curtsied for the camera
your red lipstick never fades.

You wrote the lyrics of your disease
Desire still trembling from fingertips
caress of a sunflower on your cheek

Sitting on the steps at the Washington march
You pulled back a sleeve, pale arm, held
the interferon laced syringe, poked

a needle into thinning veins. You, who named us
Mainstream Exiles, vagabonds, cast out of homes,
queer kids singing poetry on any empty corner

and abstract art projected onto flat buildings at night
We stole storefronts from their owners
Teeth chattering cold, but cheap

We were shadows, running to tape our words
on telephone polls on unlit streets. Your pretty boy face
returns as the exiled ones roam

and enter bars where you once sat
in dark rooms, illuminated by one disco ball
sequins, raw sex, edged in hidden alleys

back doors, the snap of fingers, attention
puckered lips, swaying hips, and the rough red spots
of disease. Coming out at twilight, a candlelight vigil

Haunting echoes of a conch shell summons
all who have laid in death’s bed
morphine induced dreams, fists raised

How the banner unfurls, blanketing us
Fingers pressed to lips, heads bowed
Not as supplicants, as dancers waiting

For the music’s crescendo.

Carla Schick
Carla Schick was in the political queer arts group, Mainstream Exiles, in the early 1980’s. Their poetry is published in Sinister Wisdom, A Gathering of the Tribes, Suisun Review and Earth’s Daughters, and they received first place in the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Contest.

Chinatown
Photography
Desi Pena

Desi Pena
My name is Desi Pena. I am 23 years old and enjoy skateboarding, making skate videos, photography and writing. Follow my Instagram @desip_

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