As you walk down the sinister
Old mahogany staircase
Of a hotel building in Sutter Street,
Past the gold rush walkways
Into the main street, you can encounter
Some modern American identities-
Lesbian, homosexual and transsexual.
They have their own newspapers,
Their own private communities,
Their own ideologies, as they
Naturally mingle with each other,
Expressing love and making love
With the same audacity that
You and I did a decade or two ago.
But every identity isn't new.
There are women in menorah printed umbrellas
Shying away from human aberration,
Born again Christians and Evangelicals
Who find sacrilege written everywhere;
Young Jewish girls hoping it will pass away
When they wake up again tomorrow.
My conservative girl friend,
A second generation Jewish American,
Guides me by the elbow,
Chaperons me down the staircase
Through the reception area and
Out onto the sidewalk, past the teenagers
Leaning against the letterbox, kissing.
When I ask her what they are doing
She hesitates and says
"What men and women usually do!"
Bemused, when I ask her again
What she means by the phrase
"What mean and women usually do!"
She blushes pink with embarrassment.