Saturday, May 29, 2010

Frances by Night (the cruelty of gay-bashing)

Based on a person from my hometown, name changed for dignity's sake. No one should ever have to suffer because they live without lying about who they are.


Frances took a lot of shit
back when cross-dressing was even more misunderstood
On Saturday nights, she’d dress to the nines
Scarves, handbag, nails done, bejeweled pumps
The Pink Cadillac was the only bar in town that would serve her
Sometimes she’d get bounced early for
flouncing around the married guys too much
They were undercover, like the CIA

This was back in the day
when you came in the back door and showed ID
Humiliating for closet cases, but worse for Frances
who had to show her license with her real name, Frank
It set her on edge every time, and she had a mouth on her

A few cocktails would set her right
She’d be fine ‘til closing time
If no prime escort took the bait
she’d wait as long as she could
before leaving for good (or for worse)

Fag bashers staked out the back door, on their beat
Ready to beat the crap out of “the little whore”
Yelling, “Frankie! Frankie!”
No cops were ever around that part of town
despite the shouts of the frantic rumble

She put up a good fight, that little queen
for all the mascara and cashmere, she was a scrapper
Her Georgette Klinger lipstick smeared on the knuckles
of some macho boy who really only wanted to touch her
but couldn’t admit it in front of his buddies

“Frankie,” they’d shout, “we’re coming for you”
“Boys,” she’d retort, “do come!
You need it more than I do”

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


  1. another well done poem....I like it....and thanks for sharing your words from the pencil

  2. Never been bashed. Never witnessed a bashing. But people close to me have experienced it and bear scars. Thanks for writing on this topic.

  3. Thanks to you both for your comments. Glad to hear you have not been victimized, Paul. By the way, enjoyed your interview on the prompt - I feel like I know you even better now!

  4. That ending is priceless. A comeback way stronger than a fist-smack.

    Thank you for sharing this story, with that wise introduction, too.