Posted by GaySeniors on June 26, 2007
by Patrick O’Connor
The old queens of the city, especially the fat ones,
Whom age has withered and custom staled,
Who hang out in “Johnny’s Pub,” and “The G H,”
Forgoing the penultimate Ovaltine for one last fling
Have reason to rejoice.
Jesus is back from Puerto Rico:
New York City fireman,
Six-foot-two of island-sunshine,
Winner of the San Juan Golden Gloves;
Golden skin, unwrinkled;
Massive, broad shoulders, unbent;
Slim waist, legs of oak, lustrous brown hair,
A modified (non-frightening) Afro;
A smile that would melt the heart of a Vice Squad Cop.
All beauty, Jesus boogies, “Macho, macho, macho man.”
As Jesus dances (“like a butterfly,” –no sting)
The old men in the bar say, “There is the man.”
At Jesus’ christening a Caribbean fairy delivered
A blessing and a curse “He shall be happy
All the days of his life and love only fat old men.”
It is difficult to tell a Puerto Rican curse from a Puerto Rican blessing.
Saturday night: Jesus soars.
In the chubby chaser, gerontophil bar
Known to its friends as the Elephant’s Graveyard
Jesus finds a soaring partner:
A retired marine, civil engineer, minor stroke victim.
The Marine is filled with fear from the ministrations of Jesus;
Thinks: money and death (violent); retreats.
Jesus smiles, puts his magic-honey hand
On the palsied arm. Fear melts.
Jesus takes the ex-Colonel home and treats him with the
Exquisite tenderness (island-Indian)
The Colonel did not know seventy-three years ago
In Elmira, New York.
Jesus, fortunately, is promiscuous, but
He remains friends with his soaring partners:
Buys small presents out of his fireman’s salary,
Remembers birthdays, visits hospitals,
Attends funerals where he is often the only mourner.
Jesus’ promiscuity is a gift from God,
Otherwise numberless old men of Manhattan would never know
Before retiring to the empty room with the hated sister in Perth Amboy,
The Mary Manning Walsh Home for the Aged, The Veterans Hospital,
The golden, warming, island-sunshine, tender touch of blessed Jesus.
I wrote this poem many years ago. It was written about, and dedicated to Angel Rivera, a New York City Fireman. When it was published in CR Magazine, Angel was furious and told friends he was going to kill me. Though we had been friends for years I avoided him but finally, since we frequented the same places, we came face to face. He said “You outed me you *******-****** ” I said, “ I never mentioned your name, in fact I changed your name to Jesus.” He said, “How many six foot two, gay Puerto Ricans who like fat old men do you think there are in the New York City Fire Department?” Angel Rivera was a hero of 9/11 and survived, just.