A Poem in Celebration and Memory of Curt Stubbs
by TC Tolbert, Honorary Senior and Tucson’s Poet Laureate
All italicized words are Curt’s – either remembered or found in his writings.
You knew him even before you knew him: Hawaiian shirt, long shimmering silver goatee, curling mustache, round proud straw hat – Curt Stubbs exemplified the best this desert town offers – didn’t he call Tucson the Baked Apple? – generosity and sass. We agreed at his recent memorial reading – he wasn’t just kind, kindness is easy enough – he was more himself than that – a planner – Words of Wisdom: Poetry by LGBTQI Elders was his signature yearly event – how grateful I was to be there with my ears and my heart – how his very presence asked for both – I am (and we were, in his company especially) a lucky commoner among heroes – Curt’s poems were meticulously crafted – unabashed – A New Apocrypha – attentive, as he was, to the heaven and hell of life as an aging gay man – what it meant to exist in a body so intimate with the simultaneity of life and death
At night in the bars where
sanctuary reigned, I was called sister,
giddy as a school girl, laughing, flirting,
and dancing with the other legions.
They’re all dead now.
All the Gay men I met
when I first moved to Tucson 28 years ago.
The outing disease.
I throw a flower off the edge
and watch it drift to earth,
a thing of beauty even in its dying
This is the image of the body
destroying itself. STOP
We queers and dykes
are poets, novelists, musicians, and artists.
We bridge the spirit world of the arts.
And. We. Are. Sacred.
Arizona Daily Star Obituary
Born Bethesda, MD. Predeceased by parents, Lyle Curtis Stubbs and Edith Marie Schnittker Stubbs. Survived by sister, Donna Stubbs Dunlap; son, Joel Irvine and granddaughter, Erynn Irvine. Creative Writing B.A. from the University of Arizona, Curt was active in the sci-fi community from the early 1970s until his death, was beloved “chili chef” at Tuscon sci-fi conventions. Curt came out as gay in the 1980s but stayed on good terms with ex-wife Mahala Stubbs Sweebe. Though original he was also “Tucson’s Walt Whitman,” Poet Laureate at Southern AZ Senior Pride, and was an inspiring voice of the LGBTQ Community for diversity and acceptance. He was honored as the top Docent at the University of Arizona’s Poetry Center and was beloved as a mentor to many there.