I've known the poet Eileen Myles since the 1990s, when I first moved to New York, and I remember seeing her walking her Pit Bull Rosie around the East Village. She had these beautiful arms and David Cassidy hair and the sort of swagger so many of the gay boys I knew wished we had. We all had crushes on her.
I went to the University of Georgia for a year before I left, and then I went to live with Eileen Ford in New York for the modeling agency. I thank god I could do that because all the other kids were getting jobs doing other things, and when I got to New York, I was very blessed. I didn't have to stop and be a waitress. I started making money at a very young age and was just very lucky.
I was happy for Eileen because she had eight points and she had been playing very well recently, but her shot hadn't been falling and though she had been playing well, her name hadn't been showing up in the box scores. She was making great rebounds and making great passes off the rebounds.
She had been wrong in thinking Christ had been called up against his will to fight in a war. He didn't look - in spite of the crown of thorns - like someone making a sacrifice. Or even like someone determined to "do his bit". He looked instead like Marjorie had looked telling Polly she'd joined the Nursing Service, like Mr Humphreys had looked filling buckets with water and sand to save Saint Paul's, like Miss Laburnum had looked that day she came to Townsend Brothers with the coats. He looked like Captain Faulknor must have looked, lashing the ships together. Like Ernest Shackleton, setting out in that tiny boat across icy seas. Like Colin helping Mr Dunworthy across the wreckage. He looked... contented. As if he was where he wanted to be, doing what he wanted to do. Like Eileen had looked, telling Polly she'd decided to stay. Like Mike must have looked in Kent, composing engagement announcements and letters to the editor. Like I must have looked there in the rubble with Sir Godfrey, my hand pressed against his heart. Exalted. Happy. To do something for someone or something you loved - England or Shakespeare or a dog or the Hodbins or history - wasn't a sacrifice at all. Even if it cost you your freedom, your life, your youth.
We live in hope that the good we do here on earth will be rewarded in heaven. We also hope to win the war. We hope that right and goodness will triumph, and that when the war is won, we shall have a better world. And we work toward that end. We buy war bonds and put out incendiaries and knit stockings-" And pumpkin-colored scarves, Polly thought. "-and volunteer to take in evacuated children and work in hospitals and drive ambulances" - here Alf grinned and nudged Eileen sharply in the ribs - "and man anti-aircraft guns. We join the Home Guard and the ATS and the Civil Defence, but we cannot know whether the scrap metal we collect, the letter we write to a solider, the vegetables we grow, will turn out in the end to have helped win the war or not. We act in faith. "But the vital thing is that we act. We do not rely on hope alone, thought hope is our bulwark, our light through dark days and darker nights. We also work, and fight, and endure, and it does not matter whether the part we play is large or small. The reason that God marks the fall of the sparrow is that he knows that it is as important to the world as the bulldog or the wolf. We all, all must do 'our bit'. For it is through our deeds that the war will be won, through our kindness and devotion and courage that we make that better world for which we long.