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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Poem Inspired by "Mommie Queerest"

Jimmy Janowski as Joan Crawford in BUA's "Mommie Queerest." Photo by Cheryl Gorski

How Many Secrets Can You Keep?

By Justin Karcher

Old Hollywood

is alive and well

even in a place like Buffalo

where there doesn’t appear

to be any glitz or glamour

but there is, we just don’t want to

admit it, because there’s beauty

in the secrets we try to keep

but can’t, a sizzle

in the way they sing

when they’re not crying

in a vault

how they squeeze out

like extroverted ghosts

when we’ve had too much to drink

or when we want to rock the boat

because the lakes and rivers here

don’t shake us hard enough

because we want a change of scenery

but not necessarily a new city

we want what we know

but something closer to the truth

something that shines

like how we do on the inside

we have no say in the matter

whether gossip or gospel

secrets putting on evening gowns

or perfect three piece suits

and carrying the weight of an indifferent world

on their surprisingly strong backs

they float around the Theater District

looking for a stage to call home

for an audience that will roll out the red carpet

even if it’s a dirty one, even if it looks like the tongue

of a hungry monster

who wants to eat your self-importance

nevertheless, let’s celebrate who we truly are

because our secrets are determined to find the way out

by any means necessary

other tongues to socialize on

a glamorous party

where we’re all drinking expensive wine

from drag queen high heels

it’s like we’re drinking the blood of Christ

because the only way to save yourself

is to never lose yourself in a city

that talks behind your back the moment

you step outside to have a cigarette


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