A Birthday Card to the USA

By Fairy Quean Luti of the Alabama Belles

© 1994, 2004 by Louie Crew


What does 4th of July mean to you as a lesbigay USA Christian?

With apologies to those up nawth, down south, over yonder and down under:

Does the 4th of July mean anything to you as a lesbigay person?

At my parish tomorrow, we'll sing "America the Beautiful," not  necessarily because we want to, but because in some sense we have to.   Augustus Ward composed it while he was our choirmaster decades  and decades ago.  And Jim McGregor, our brilliant composer and  choirmaster and organist for the last 40+ years, will play variations on  it that would make Virgil Fox eat his heart out.   And some kind soul  responsible for the coffee hour may even bring hot dogs, though, more  likely we will eat Caribbean, the cuisine of home for most of our  parishioners.

I am about to devil the eggs I boiled earlier this afternoon, and I'll eat  hot dogs on the balcony of Kim and Scott, overlooking the Hudson  from NJ, directly opposite 76th street.  When the sun goes down, we'll  walk further down to see the full panorama towards the Verazzano  Bridge and the fireworks.  Ernest called from a family reunion of over  300 Clays in Macrae, Georgia, where they are celebrating early.   He  was in a phone booth a few feet away from Shack 17, the shack rented  for the fish...  You can get other goodies at 20 other shacks in the  same family area of the state park.

Oh beautiful for what?

I love America because I grew up sissy in Alabama before anyone  besides Dad and me would go weekend after weekend all summer  long to virgin forests and flyfish.  Dad was the only parent who had  time for any of the other kids, and often as an only child I could  recruit a whole tent full of brothers.
 
I love America because as someone pale peach I can go all the way round the world merely by going to bed with someone dark pecan;  and while our neighbors freak out, we just snuggle closer as we grow  gray and wrinkled together, in the same bed one of our ancestors may  have made for another of our ancestors when it was made 250 years ago.
 
I love America because when I taught in Beijing and my husband  came to see me my students gawked to see so clear an image of  freedom beyond their wildest imaginings, all the more convincing  because it was not a freedom they even needed for personally.  Some  of them died five years later standing up for such freedom, and one of  my gay students in Hong Kong knows that same government will long  remember that he made the statue of Ms. Liberty in Hong Kong's  sympathy parade.
 
I love America because I can blast it with every criticism possible and,  not have to "leave it" -- unless some mindless folks rewrite our Constitution.  I love America because it preserves the idea of freedom  and the talk about freedom even when it denies the possibility of  freedom for most of its citizens.

I love America because I have stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon  and at the edge of Newark's vast poverty.
 
I love America because black people and brown people and yellow  people are taking it over and promising to make something new and  stronger out of it.
 
I love America because women don't wear the purdah here, or a least  don't have to.
 
I love America because here I can go to the Lesbian Draino School of  Social Change and it's homegrown and better than apple pie ala  mode.

  I love America because I don't have to live just here, but can be  schooled by friends and critics from all over the globe, even while I sit  in my underwear in font of my crt, now lavender, as someone  suggested just this week.
 
I love America increasingly because of what it means for people  elsewhere, all too little for what it means for the masses actually  here--a promise Ms. Liberty has had to reduce for so many of us to  merely a whisper: "Huddle!"
 
I love America because within the last four hours persons of four  different races have illegally jumped over the fence beside my first- floor apartment to make a quicker trek to the street below.

I love America because in 10 minutes I can walk to cheap restaurants  of 5 different ethnicities.

I love America because here poetry has always been for sissies.

I love America because one day we'll expose the American Dream as  just a white het male bully's nightmare and one day he'll take off his  fear and enjoy just being a plain human being.

I will love America more when like Italy, we cease striving to be an  Empire and settle for just being fat and loving pizza (plus chocolate  and collard greens).

I love America even though America does not love me, wants me  dead, wants me at the end of some bigot's lead pipe, wants my balls  hanging from an ice-pick, wants my head in the stocks at the parish  altar, wants me locked up in a chastity belt with Jerry Falwell and  Jessie Helms holding the key.  But I love America, and I'll love it  more when Jerry and Jessie chill out and eat hot dogs and learn to hug  each other, when Anita doesn't have to slip vodka into her orange  juice, when Bob Green makes up his mind, when Kris drives her taxi  right up to the White House and replaces Bill with Hillary.....

I will love America more when every Episcopal Church is known  more for its love than for its money, when we're "lovapalions" rather  than "whiskeypalians."

Oh beautiful, two girls holding hands in the park.

For spacious skies, to women piloting across them, and Amelia always  coming back!

For amber waves of touch.

For purple mountains of bishops drag traded in for Samaritan Wells.

For fruited, fruited, fruited fields and plains.
 
 
 
 
 


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