For the next Damned I’ve picked Langston Hughes as our dead celeb. He’s one of those iconic American figures whose impact continues to be felt. His jazz poetry was written to be heard, to be performed, and that, to me, makes him one of founders of hip-hop, dub, slam and nearly any other kind of spoke-word poetry.

me03out in the country

As a black man he was an inspiration on par with King or Mandela. As a writer he is still an inspiration. I have the massive collected poetry as well a cd of him performing his work.

me02bundling to step out

Wikipedia says: “Hughes identified as unashamedly black at a time when blackness was démodé.” But his sexuality was suppressed – it remains ‘unconfirmable’ – poetry supposedly written to his lover has not been published. How much more powerful a role model would he have been if he could have been openly who he was. What ever is suppressed was in response to a culture that would have buried his genius lest his sexuality scared the children.

me01outing the inner

History is constantly re-assessed & re-interpreted so that what is actual gets lost in a mixed mist of cultural mores of the time that is doing the looking and the biases of the time being looked at. The result is that much queer history is lost or devalued or denied even in the fact of ‘facts.’ It seems the only proof-positive is photographs – but one can photoshop a cock into anyone’s mouth these days.

 

samples

Force

how did I turn out

the way I turned out

no one held a gun to my head

said you do this

you become that

unless the force of peer pressure

can be called that gun

what force is it that makes

one of us heterosexual

another homosexual

who would chose

considering the drawbacks of either

better to be nonsexual

to avoid all the pressures

of meeting   mating   so-called morality

working out  raising children

avoid stds

neither side of the life style equation

really gets such good press

the sexual grilling of congressmen

the boredom of those who never stray

the envy for those who do

the energy spent on judgment

not in pleasure

who would chose either

yet there is some force

beyond the ken

of the mind  heart  peer pressure

the dna string spinning around in our blood

a force that makes

all the variations flux and flow

those people caught up in it

are trying to make sense of it

that allows for a space for each

well, not all people

as some have this dna string

that doesn’t allow for any variation

where any variation

must be destroyed

shunned

and that very fact

makes me wonder

what force brings anyone into

the fold of the shunned

something happens

that pushes against the tide

of the commercial world around us

that breaks them free

of the rigid accepted standard

it happens  like sun spots

and like any invisible force

it becomes easier

to go with the tide

that to fight against it

the greater the resistance

the greater the pain

the hidden becomes less hidden

when the pain of hiding is too great

what was once such a scandal

doesn’t seem to have the weight

it once had

no force behind the fear

to sustain that pressure as it once did

it stopped being seen as revolution

accepted as a part of evolution

we can’t draw a line

that keeps the races apart

when hearts are involved

and the sky is the same over all heads

the earth is the same beneath all feet

the feet of the judgmental strike with the same force

are held by the same gravity

as the feet of those who are judged

as the feet of those

who know nothing about anything

the messy melting pot

that gives all the opportunity to be

none has the right to deny

that right to another

and even though some don’t

they find themselves

eventually drowned

in the ever rising tide of the past

of history

and the rest of us

make our way as best we can

not looking to disrupt anything

but merely to be

momhave you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadows