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But one morning,
in a flash of inspiration,
I realized I did not need to look at anyone,
nor even to wear my funny hat,
that people listened more closely
if I did not scare them,
did not single them out,
but talked just to the air
like any other self-respecting crazy or poet.


                 from; Nattering by Louie Crew




      Don't Hang Up
     To Canterbury
     The Gospel Truth 
     Watching the Watcher
     A Gay Psalm from Fort Valley
     Chen Yuk Che,
     Ice Cube Poem

1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Louie Crew

Louie Crew, was 75 on 9th December 2011.   He is an Alabama native and an emeritus professor at Rutgers.  He lives in East Orange, NJ, with Ernest Clay, his husband of 37 years.

As of today, editors have published 2,151 of Crew's poems and essays. He has written four poetry volumes Sunspots (Lotus Press, Detroit, 1976) Midnight Lessons (Samisdat, 1987), Lutibelle's Pew (Dragon Disks, 1990), and Queers! for Christ's Sake! (Dragon Disks, 2003).  You can follow his work at http://rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/pubs.html

Crew wrote the first openly gay materials ever published in Change Magazine, Christianity & Crisis, Chronicle of   Higher Education, The Churchman, Fellowship Magazine, The Living Church, Metanoia, and Southern Exposure.   He has been editor of special issues of College English, and Margins. He serves on the editorial board of Journal of  Homosexuality (1978-83; 89--).

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louie_Crew. The University of Michigan collects Crew’s papers.






Don't Hang Up


Don't hang up,
I'm not a heckler.

I NEED your help
but I can't tell you my name.

I'm in a phone booth
while mom buys groceries,
so I won't take long.

I heard your talk show
and I'm scared.  Last summer,
when I was just thirteen,
I balled with a guy
I met at the bus station.

Now I've got these purple spots
all down my stomach.
I drink five shakes a day
and I have lost fifteen pounds
in just three months!

I'm afraid to go to our doctor
cause he's my dad.
He'd beat the shit out of me
for liking guys.

Can you tell me somebody else
to call?

Cripes!  Here comes mom.  Bye!





To Canterbury

We beat Chaucerian pilgrims by two months,
traveling past sheep in snow, yet crisped in Jags
and Fords.  Forsythian flashes, like bright flags
along the road, performed some yellow stunts
through our steamed glass.   There, we had a hot lunch,
then stood beneath the weathered, nuded crags
where once had stood stone saints in glory.  Nags
ushered dull husbands inside, where one bunch
of U.S.C.s, rapt by a Cockney guide,
saw Becket murdered fresh beneath the Queen
of Spades and pondered skimpy thighs and hide
medieval under a marble maxi.  Lean
and watching, a tired English matron said,
"Well, one cathedral's like another, dead."





The Gospel Truth 
Well, you remember how at Christmas                  
last year the two fairies down our street            
wrote "Bah, Humbug!" on their front door,            
using rhinestones in Olde English script             
(You know how they are!)?                            
Well, I just learned that last week                  
the one who teaches art at the college               
told a group of students at a Christmas party        
that Jesus was born                                  
without benefit of heterosexuality                   
and less than nine months                            
after Mary and Joseph were married!                  
There really ought to be a law                       
against such scandal!                                
If we don't stop them soon,                          
they'll probably claim                               
Jesus loves them!                                    





My one earring stores my powers.

It charms my lover into bed.
Worn aisle-side on buses and trains,
     it reserves me a double seat
     until all others are filled.
On campus it keeps me off all
     but the most enlightened committees.
It is 99% foolproof in protecting me
     from wasting time on racists.
At times it has made otherwise sane folks
     dangle from dormitory windows to giggle,
     "Where's your husband?"
Worn with a cap and gown, it wards off
     any threat of Respectability.
In class, it assures that students question
     what I say and not vainly agree
     because of who said it.
In church, it has made stranger priests
     spill me a double portion of the Mass....

When I take it off, people take me
     for any other mortal.



Watching the Watcher


I watched God when He made
Adam's penis,
matched it with his own,
checked it out for size,
for accordianability,
and for fit and feel
in a dozen orifices;
and I swear
He was happy,
did not draw the curtain,
never smirked,
but winked,
even blinked in anticipation.

I watched God as She made
Eve's vagina,
measured it with Her delicate fingers,
nudged out a dimension,
added springs, nectar, slush,
rejected the notion
of a finger-like protrusion
self-insertable at the entrance,
purred to experience
for the first time
the joy for which
Eve was being made.



A Gay Psalm from Fort Valley

Oh, Lord, we call to you from our apartment
because we are not welcome in the church hall.
Hear us and help us with this terrible fear.
Do not freeze our hurt into false smiles.
Deliver us from countenancing in ourselves
     the rumors our enemies spread about us.
Help our enemies to come to terms 
     with that in themselves
     which they project on us.
Turn their evil into good, oh God.
Make of their children's spit on our faces
     a salve for healing the pains
     which they have inflicted.
Be miraculous, God!
Do not fear to show your glory on the side
     of your children.

Why have our accusers refused even to hear us?
How can your Church tolerate spiritual lynchings?
Deliver us from vigilantes, God.

How they hiss against us,
     gossiping on their phones
     all the day long.
One of their most articulate ones,
     driving his car to house after house,
     peddles the Vestry's hateful petition
     to ask us to leave.
What does he think as the remnant,
     the two loving women,
     turn him away?
Is he ready to be judged with that judgment
     which he has meted to us?
Help him, God.

Why do you allow the proud to turn your house
     of prayer into a court house?
Why do you allow your priests to bully us,
     to insult us,
to spread lies about us in their councils,
     and yet to ignore us
when we are sick or in danger or in need?
     Why have you allowed your house
to become a temple of self-righteousness
     rather than a house of honest sinners?

About ourselves we have spoken the truth
     in love, God,
and the keepers of the Church
     have turned us away.
Were we to debauch ourselves with hypocrisies
     and in secret to be consumed
in anonymous lust,
     they would honor us, God,
     and welcome us as like themselves.
But they have hated us for loving openly
     and responsibly.
They ride by our apartment
     with orgies in their heads
while we cook supper
     and wash dishes together.

Heal this sick town, God.
You promised that the meek will inherit
     the earth, that with Christ
we are joint heirs
of your everlasting kingdom.
     Strengthen us with a sense of being your children.
By your power, ready us for our witness.



Chen Yuk Che,

Widow of Leung Bing Ming

and Mother

of the Late Leung Sai Ham,


the Honor of Your Contribution

at Her Investiture

as a Bag Lady,

on the Lawn

of St. John's Cathedral

Garden Road, Central

just after the Christmas Mass.

Sportswear acceptable.

R.S.V.P. optional.






Give me one, give me one, give me one;
I see ya:  one cracker smile.
Give me two, give me two, give me
two cracker smiles.
Who'll make it three?
Three cracker smiles?
Who'll make it three?
I see ya!  Three cracker smiles.
Three going once, three going twice,
Sold for three cracker smiles
this pretty little pickaninny's
photograph just before they blew up
the Sunday School.

Give me one, give me one, give me one;
I see ya: One good ol' boy's grunt.
Give me two, give me two, give me
two good ol' boy's grunts.
Who will make it three?
I see ya: Three good ol' boy's grunts.
Who'll make it four?
Now surely some one of you recognizes
a real bargain when you see one.
I mean, it ain't everyday that you gets
to see wimmin libbers hauled off to jail
and raped.  That's better:
Sold to the Colonel there,
one 8 millimeter projector with the full details
for four good ol' boy's grunts,
with a pair of the panties thrown in for good measure.

Give me one, give me one, give me one;
I see ya:  One basher's knuckles.
Who'll make it two?
I see ya.  Two basher's knuckles.
I see ya.  Three basher's knuckles.
Well, folks, trading's fast here today.
I see ya.  Four basher's knuckles.
Come on now, who'll make it half a dozen?
Four going once, four going twice
Six basher's knuckles, I see ya.
Half dozen once, half dozen twice,
Sold, for half dozen basher's knuckles
bid by that man yonder in blue overalls
for one sissy school teacher, with all of his fancy clothes.

Give me one, give me one, give me one.
Who'll give me one?  I see ya.
Two.  Who'll give me two?....

Sold to America.





It happened without warning.

One day I just started saying out loud
all the stuff that swarmed inside me.

At first I looked at a person next to me,
and when she turned away,
I looked at the one next to her,
and when he turned away
I looked at the one next to....

But one morning,
in a flash of inspiration,
I realized I did not need to look at anyone,
nor even to wear my funny hat,
that people listened more closely
if I did not scare them,
did not single them out,
but talked just to the air
like any other self-respecting crazy or poet.

I quit staring strangers straight in the eyes
as if each was a long-lost relation
washed up on shore to hear the story
that I alone have escaped to tell.

And it worked.  No matter what they
thought they thought about me,
clearly they started listening
to everything I said.

And as I named the evils of these times,
I noticed that people five and six rows away,
or people way the hell to the other end of a line,
would nod, or mutter "Yes, sister."
Then someone else would say, "Ain't it so."

Occasionally I would peek
at those who spoke, and nary a one
actually looked in my direction.

But they listened, and many responded.
A couple of times fellow travelers
put up such an echo that others
muttered as they left,
"Bunch of loonies taking over the world"

These too spoke to nobody in particular.





                  Ice Cube Poem


              (For My Guest Who Caught
             Her Brother Holding My Hand
              Whilst Her Back Was Turned)


                   For 4000 years
                 your turned-up nose
                 licensed funeral pyres,
                   electric chairs,

                     Even now,
                    above Lo Wu
                   on ad hoc nights
                 your turned-up nose
               squeezes snug into armpits
                  to help squads aim
              when brothers stand too long
                 beyond a final dribble.

                I'm glad yours wrinkles
             without a match, switch, or gun;
                but I'll not push my luck
                 to stick out my tongue

                    60 years ago
                   Mother told me
               that those who make faces



3 - Publishing History


     Don't Hang Up

  1. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services 7.3 (1997): 105-106

  2. Rural Gays and Lesbians.  An Anthology edited by James D. Smith and Ronald Mancoske.  NY:  Harrington Park Press, 1997.  Pages 105-106

  3. Making Waves 2.2 (February 1995):  2

  4. Don't Hang Up.  An Anthology of Poems about AIDS.  Edited by Andrew Miller.  Univ. of SD Press, USD AIDS Task Force, & Copen Foundation, 1993.  Crew's title poem appears on p. 16

  5. Blue Productions August 1992.  A 3-minute video produced and directed by Scott Silver.  An adaptation of Crew's poem of the same title

  6. Integrity Heartland Voice June 1992: 11

  7. Integrity/Austin News 7.11 (July 1992):  3

  8. Koinonia 5.5 (May 1992):  11

  9. More Light Update 13.5 (December 1992):  13

  10. Walking With Integrity 1.2 (May 1992):  23

  11. Other Voice Spring/Summer 1982: no page

  12. Facebook from March 10, 2011 http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150108056108732

  13. Youtube. Online from March 29, 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP6LUTO5o6o

  14. Poetry Kit No. 7 (May 2006). http://www.poetrykit.org/pkmag/pkmag7/004.htm

  15. Ithuriel's Spear from January 1, 2005.

  16. Poetrykit Anthology from January 1, 2005 http://www.poetrykit.org/an/125p.htm


To Canterbury

  1. Wilde Oaks Winter 1993:  45

  2. Candelabrum Poetry Magazine 4.3-4 (1982): 32. 

  3. Thursday Stories 5 (1980): Page 53. 

  4. Sunspots. Page 54 http://rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/sunspots.html#tocanter

  5. Christian Century 89.1 (1972): 353

  6. Anglican Poetry Contest 20093rd Place Winner for two sonnets from 1/11/2010.

  7. Samsara from August 6, 2000 - February 2011.

  8. Hot Rod Anglican From March 26, 2010 http://hotrodanglican.blogspot.com/2010/03/anglican-poetry-contest-third-place.html

  9. Exit 13 Number 15 (2008):  23


The Gospel Truth 

  1. Outlook January-February 1995:  11

  2. 2nd Rapture No. 8 (December 1991):  1 [Britain].  Used Li Min Hua

  3. Deviance 2.1 (1989):  no page

  4. Swish Christmas 1978.  Postcard

  5. Youtube A video performance by Louie Crew online from March 15, 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N3R5PRcmjY&feature=player_embedded

  6. Queer Eye for the LectionaryIncluded in Crew's reflections for December 28, 2008 http://queereye4lectionary.blogspot.com/2008/12/sunday-december-28-2008-1st-sunday.html

  7. New Verse News Sundary, December 25, 2005 http://www.newversenews.com/

  8. Queers!  For Christ's Sake!  From May 12, 2004 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/queers.html#gospel

  9. Witness Magazine in `Reflections for Christmas Day 2004' http://www.thewitness.org/agw/crew121604.html


  1. Feh!  Journal of Odious Poetry 6 (June 1989), n.p

  2. Men Freeing Men.  Anthology edited by Francis Baumli.  Jersey City:  New Atlantis Press, 1985.  Page 119

  3. Cat's Eye 3 (1981): 16

  4. Mouth of the Dragon 2.1 (1979): 44

  5. Meghdutam from February 2000.

  6. Otoliths from December 21, 2007 http://the-otolith.blogspot.com/2007/12/louie-crews-fay-my-one-earring-stores.html

  7. "Fey," Queer Eye for the Lectionary Included in Crew's reflections for March 22, 2009 http://queereye4lectionary.blogspot.com/2009/03/sunday-march-22-2009-fourth-sunday-in.html

  8. Otoliths  8.1 (Southern Summer 2008): 25 [Australia]

  9. Otoliths  from December 21, 2007 http://the-otolith.blogspot.com/2007/12/louie-crews-fay-my-one-earring-stores.html

  10. Queer Eye for the Lectionary Included in Crew's reflections for March 22, 2009 http://queereye4lectionary.blogspot.com/2009/03/sunday-march-22-2009-fourth-sunday-in.html

Watching the Watcher

  1. Chiron Review 8.1 (Spring 1989):  11

  2. Insight 1.4 (1977): 19

  3. Queer Eye for the Lectionary, Included in Crew's reflections for April 10, 2011 http://queereye4lectionary.blogspot.com/2010/06/sunday-june-27-2010-fifth-sunday-after.html

  4. Youtube A video clip online from March 11, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j36u-PaB3js

  5. Queer Eye for the Lectionary Included in Crew's reflections for June 27, 2010 http://queereye4lectionary.blogspot.com/2010/06/sunday-june-27-2010-fifth-sunday-after.html

  6. Poetry Super Highway Poet of the Week (May 8-14, 2006). http://poetrysuperhighway.com/ppa/ppa454.html#fp2

  7. Ex Animo from 2002.

  8. Panic! Brixton Poetry from March 2000.  Used Li Min Hua http://homepages.which.net/~panic.brixtonpoetry/watching.htm

  9. Quean Lutibelle's Scrapbook on the Bishops of The Episcopal Church. Swish Publications 1994, 1997, 1998.  127 pp


A Gay Psalm from Fort Valley

  1. Bound By Diversity.  Columbia, SC:  Sebastian Press, 1994.  (A bound anthology, also published as Empathy 4.1-2).  Edited by James Sears.  Pages 176-176

  2. Literature Around the Globe Edited by Tuzyline Jita Allan and Thomas Fink.  Dubuque, Iowa:  Kendall Hunt Publishing, 1994.  Pages 171-173.  (A college textbook)

  3. Open Lines:  Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time.  An Anthology edited by Carl Morse and Joan Larkin.  St. Martin's Press, 1988.  Pages 88-90

  4. New Ways Project Part of informational packet.  1983

  5. Integrity Informer 2.4 (1978): 6-7. 

  6. Integrity Forum 2.7 (1976): 4

  7. Whosoever 9.2 (September/October 2004) http://www.whosoever.org/v9i2/psalm.shtml

  8. Know Theatre of Cincinnati  performed as part of ~Torn~ in the 2002 season.

  9. Youtube Online from March 24, 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkW7wqurvLI

Chen Yuk Che,

  1. Fall Down/Get Up.  from June 1999.  Used Li Min Hua.

  2. Northland Quarterly 2.3 (1990): 75.  Used Li Min Hua

  3. Witness 71.12 (1988): 23.  Used Li Min Hua

  4. Queer Eye for the Lectionary Included in Crew's reflections for August 28, 2010 http://queereye4lectionary.blogspot.com/2010/08/sunday-august-29-2010-fourteenth-sunday.html

  5. Angelic Dynamo Online from February 21, 2009--June 2010.  One of 3 finalists for February 2009. http://www.angelicdynamo.com/poems/02/

  6. Zafusy From April 2005.

  7. Queers!  For Christ's Sake!  From May 12, 2004 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/queers.html#chenyuk



  1. Pink Cadillac 1.2 (Summer-Fall 1998) Used Li Min Hua.

  2. Slipstream. Poem recorded by Louie Crew for 'American Contemporary Headcheese.  One of ten poets on Slipstream Audio No. 2.  January 1988

  3. Poet Lore 80.2 (1985): 89-90

  4. Youtube A video performance by Louie Crew online from March 14, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahvfon56iTM

  5. Jotspeak.com From August 2010 http://www.jotspeak.com/opensocial/ningapps/show?appUrl=http://gadget.jotspeak.com/app/0.2.19/opensocial/apps/my-audio.xml?ning-app-status%3Dnetwork&owner=37dfhvp0e53zv&xgs=1&xgi=1a9Q5kamUIp3Xh&xg_source=msg_share_url

  6. Pulsar #55 (June, 2010.  as Pulsar Webzine #3. http://www.pulsarpoetry.com/Pulsar_Webzine_Poems.htm#Auction

  7. Quean Lutibelle's Pew.  Dragon Disks:  Newark, NJ, 1990.  Page 36



  1. Hurricane Alice:  A Feminist Quarterly 6.2 (Spring, 1989):  3.  Used Li Min Hua

  2. Youtube Online from April 3, 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lkOLl4XNq0

  3. Fossil Record 4:29 from April 2010 http://www.thefossil.com/vol4no29.htm

  4. Jotspeak.com From August 2010 -- ??/2011.

  5. Queer Eye for the Lectionary Included in Crew's reflections for January 25, 2009 http://queereye4lectionary.blogspot.com/2009/01/sunday-january-25-2009-third-sunday.html

  6. Queers!  For Christ's Sake! from May 12, 2004 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/queers.html#natterin

  7. Ex Animo from 2002.


Ice Cube Poem

  1. Brave New Tick 4.7 (1996): 10

  2. RFD 13.3 (1987): 49.  Used Li Min Hua

  3. Label 7 (1986): 49.  Used Li Min Hua

  4. Self and Society.  European Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 4.5 (1986): 216.  Used Li Min Hua.

  5. Queers!  For Christ's Sake!  From May 12, 2004 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/queers.html#icecube

  6. Step Into My Shoes: Expressions from the LGBTQ Community  An anthology edited by Tonja Dudley Bagwell.  Jafansta, Inc., 2011.  ISBN: 978-098-346340-5.  Page 3

  7. Hudson View Poetry Digest [South Africa] Winter Poets (December 2009): 61




4 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think. 

We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -