My Insensitivity


Law 19: Do Not Offend the Wrong Person

My Insensitivity

it was something I wrote?

I’ll have to face the consequences

no I don’t wish I hadn’t said it

not that it was actually me

it was a character

it was true to that character

not necessarily true to me

as person

some people can’t tell the difference

what can I do

not write for that p.o.v

force every character to reflect

my personal perspective

or do I have to mutter tigger warning

every time I open my mouth

every time I write something

or was it the fact that I might offend them

that offended them

maybe it wasn’t anything I wrote

but my suspicion they were too sensitive

too reactionary

and that I was going to go ahead anyway

indifferent to them

was its my arrogance

my willingness to be so cavalier

with their feelings about it

I don’t even know who they are

but clearly they hold a position of power

that’s my regret

to be judged by a stranger

deemed unworthy

not suited to be included

which isn’t fine by me

so it’s not an even playing field

but I’m not a person with power

I can’t be bothered striking back

that would make a bad situation worse

15-texture01Some of these Laws were odd to write about because the basic premise was one I didn’t fully agree with in the first place. Law 19 about not offending is one of those. The fact that I’m gay is enough to offend many people – even the right people 🙂 The fact that I’m an old queer offends young queers. What’s a boy to do?

15-texture02I don’t go out of my way to offend. Some of this piece looks at cultural appropriation. I wouldn’t write from a black p.o.v or a female p.o.v – though I do include characters of other cultures in my fiction I write almost always from male p.o.v. partly to avoid being criticized for not getting say, the female Asian character correct. Though in Lazarus Kiss – some sections are from a female p.o.v. You’ll have to read it to see if I succeeded.

The nature of ‘trigger’ warnings is tricky. I have a piece about interracial sex – do I have to give a trigger warning about that? I performed a piece about the death of my father & was later told I should have missed a trigger warning first as someone was upset when it brought back memories of their father’s death. WTF.

15-texture03I’ve had people who were disappointed that a piece they liked, that touched them, was in fact not based on my actual life – they weren’t ready for poetry that wasn’t confessional. If the feelings were that authentic that’s good enough for me. The notion that poetry can be fiction doesn’t go over well anymore. Sometimes poets are story tellers. That doesn’t make them any less authentic.



I don’t think this piece, as it stand now, is finished – it covers too many variations. If I were to perform it, or include it in a chapbook I would make the issues less muddled, or spit it into two or three pieces to develop those ideas more clearly.




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