Bopping down tenement steps
down in red platform shoes
through warm, dim, greasy halls.
Carmen Miranda’s kid brother
goes to meet his lover.
Listening to Sister Aretha wail
in resounding, resounding soul
blend with the many moods of Latin tongues.
And he enters out on to
the hot tropical Newark street.
Tropical womb of dark neon pains.
Newark–trash with flash.
Dark children swarming in darkening streets
Sun descending on warm flesh
Very distant white moon rising
White salve cooling abstract concrete Earth
Veins of crabgrass, dogshit, and fear
Broad and Market Streets.
Warm chocolate and ivory loins–skin
share a touch.
Who will share the real experience
of being gay in Newark?
The mural by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh pictured above honors 15-year-old Sakia Gunn, who was murdered in 2003 at the intersection of Broad and Market Streets. This crime and the scarce media attention it received sparked a new era of activism among LGBT Newarkers.
“Gay in Newark” appeared three decades earlier in the September 1973 GAANJ Speaks, the newsletter of the Gay Activists Alliance of New Jersey.