Basement Boxx

Here’s the piece I wrote when misunderstanding one of the Viral prompts, which I had assumed was about packing, where as it as really about travel. There is travel element in this mind you but not strong enough to count. I do move from Cape Breton to Toronto in it and my thoughts do move through my the history of my growing up queer to a willingness to let go of the tangible remains of those memories.

tear ragged bottom

This is how I like to deal with those coming out years, with more nostalgia than anger. In fact I’m glad that I was never offered much adult guidance – too often gay teens where forced into aversion therapy, shock treatment or prayed for under the healing hands of their church till Satan was driven out. I suppose that would make for a more dramatic poem.

cherry cherry chair

There are elements of truth in this piece – moving here, the feelings about my dad’s disappointment, making yogurt, even having an unopened box but that box was of cup and saucers packed away when we moved to this house & stuck on a basement shelf. It was finally opened & donated to Goodwill. As for papers in my old desk – some that has been tossed but I still have notebooks of poetry, even novels, I wrote in high-school, college and before my move to Toronto.

shovel chair tossed

I revisit some of it every four or five years just to remind myself what handwriting looks like. It’s aways a bit of shock to see my drunken scrawl as I struggle to write myself out the truth I was trapped by. That handwriting is better than aversion therapy for keeping me honest to who I am.

samples Basement Boxx

I came across this cardboard box

sitting on a basement shelf

my handwriting on the side ‘desk papers’

the box had been there for so long

I don’t remember putting it there

when we moved into the house

over thirty years ago


I wiped the collected dust off the top

‘what desk’ I wondered

the box had once held a yogurt maker

I recognized the illustration of it

on the side of the box

I’d gotten rid of that maker twenty years ago

it had been a gift from my dad

when I moved from the family home

to my first apartment


man I felt like my life was in motion

my first place

a place where I could drink

without being observed by my parents

where I could entertain whenever I wanted


the booze helped me pack away

the stuff in my life

I didn’t know how to deal with

and at the same time

give me the courage to unpack it

to drop my pants


to hide my fear & uncertainty

the frustration of never being the son

I thought I was supposed to be

a son who make the basketball team

not yogurt

a time when no parent wanted

their eldest to become a queer


frustrations that lead me to leave

that Cape Breton town

for the bigger one of Toronto

this was one of those boxes

from that move

now I know what desk

I give it a little shake

I hear papers loose paperclips   pens

I start to put it back

then decide to toss it unopened

finding it has unpacked

enough of my past or one day

SAM_1218 brokeback snow bank

One thought on “Basement Boxx

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