Off-centre – Susan Sleepwriter

In the beginning
which wasn’t the beginning at all
off-centre from Oxford St
the girls hung out at Ruby Reds
their only bar
tucked as an after-thought
with no room on the main drag
so to speak.
And a meeting
to decide the beginning of it all
Stonewall march or Mardi Gras
was won by queens wanting to party
already decked
in boas and importunity
politics and I elbowed out
so it seemed.
And after all
the party bore its relentless
swell of political voices
for half a lifetime (all of life for some)
up Oxford Street
into today, and from the fringes
the brave and off-centre, fell in behind
for the first time.