Ghazal : Sister

by Pete Halliwell

i.m. Sylvia Rivera (d. 19 February 2002)*

Drunk, she could be one ugly old sister
and so, often out in the cold, Sister.
And the taxi blow-jobs for straight johns
were done to live, for money – not bold, Sister.
But on dark winter’s nights she’d fight for young
queens to be brought in off the roads, Sister.
Sure, she’d broken the rules a few times
but she required them to break the mould, Sister.
Not to exclude the Fight’s early vanguard,
just bring them back into the fold, Sister.
Take care with what you might hear said about her,
don’t believe all that you are told, Sister.
O that the bitch on wheels was back.
So that Pedro might say: Lo and Behold – Sister.

*Rivera is rumoured to have thrown the first beer bottle at the New York Police during the Stonewall Riots forty years ago.