Gift

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Gift

what am I accepting

when I accept this gift

is it an emotional bond

I’m not interested in

that I haven’t instigated

it’s not that I don’t like them

as a person

but I’m more disinterested

than anything else

 

I know the gift 

comes from a good place

that one cannot have too many friends

but at the same time

one can be 

shall we say 

discerning

so if the gift comes with strings

no thanks

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Measure Up

Measure Up

I concede 

I’m not that competitive

whether you are the better

isn’t that important to me

I want to be judged

on my merits alone

not on how much 

better or worse I may be

compared with anyone

better is relative

 

who is the winner

the one who comes in first 

or the one who finishes the race

on their own terms

 

I grew up

in a school system

where I learned 

I would never measure up

because I wasn’t smart enough

to memorize the times table

smart enough

to regurgitate passages of text books

when I wrote exams

even when I was right

I was given no credit

because my spelling was so wrong

 

coming out

I learned I would never measure

I was never young enough

buff enough

hung enough

to be desirable enough

in the eyes of those

who I wanted to measure up to

without realizing

I was trying to measure up



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Virility

The Best

‘you will be my third today’

he was proud of his virility

‘I save the best for last’

I wasn’t interested in being his best

‘you have a nice ass’

 

not that I thought he was

anything more than a fun fuck

but to hear of his conquests

wasn’t arousing me

 

we’d met on line

he was a 30 something

whose nickname was blktop4u

blk meaning black

it started with him messaging me

I had glanced at his profile 

even though there was no pic

it laid out the facts honestly

the first time we hooked up

I didn’t expect him to show

but he did

he was as he claimed to be

though his profile 

didn’t say he needed to fuck

three times a day

 

that fact didn’t come out for a year

we’d meet every month or so

I’d hear about his background 

but he was so fearful of identity theft 

we could only make contact

via the dating site

no cell phone

no email

 

sometimes longish text chats

on the site

then he’d show up

as arranged 

until one day he didn’t 

he contacted me two days later

to explain

he’d had a better offer

in a deluxe condo

 

so my interest changed

next time we chatted

he was so keen to play

I declined

I declined another two times

then said sure come on over

but if you’re a no show

it’s a no go ever again

 

I began to discount 

everything he told me

there was no truth

in the shifting life of a man

who wouldn’t even tell me his name

things were okay until he told me

‘you will be my third today

I save the best for last’

 

I declined to be part of his body count

said no

he asked why

I replied

you can’t always get what you want

then blocked him

because he wasn’t the best

A poet friend of mine recently started a little discussion about pieces we’ve written but that we have chosen not to share for various reasons – such as – didn’t want to tigger listeners/readers, too emotionally revealing, too blunt & judgemental. For me this is one that I am tempted to hide away – or put in an envelope ‘to be opened twenty years after my death.’ Hidden because of the the racial content & also because of what it reveals about my sex life.

 

 

It’s also a piece about a backhanded compliment. When ‘he’ said I was the best I’m sure he didn’t realize what he was saying wasn’t heard as a compliment. For the most part this is a factual real life adventure. I’ve omitted a few details that didn’t add enough to the story. The dialogue is verbatim.

 

 

Because of his secrecy I was never interested in letting our interaction become more than physical. As time passed I became more ‘illusive’ as well. It takes more than sex to keep me interested. But he never asked for more than sex, either. never needed transit money etc. 

 

Then he made the mistake of telling me about his sex life. Now, I didn’t think he was a one man man nor did I expect him to be. I’m a realist. I didn’t trust all of what he told me most of the time but when he casually mentioned ‘my third today’ I believed him. I didn’t challenge him, what was the point after all we were merely FB with no strings. My reply is also verbatim. 

 

I have heard from him since – I guess that’s one of the rewards of being ‘the best.’ No thanks.


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Haunted

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Haunted 

there is this theory

that it is unfinished business

that keeps spirits on earth

but we had no unfinished business

so I don’t know why

I’m haunting him

 

it wasn’t my intention

to haunt anybody

when death fit me like a glove

I thought

this is it

I can take it easy

let myself relax

let this new dimension

can give me whatever shape I need

 

I don’t have to think

of who I am

what to do

I can just be nothing

I welcomed this loss of self

 

only to discover

him

he was holding 

onto more than a memory of me

as far as I knew

we were sexually familiar with each other

affectionate but not emotionally invested

at least not the point

where I would be

hovering behind him

in a shower steamed mirror

gone before he could turn around

 

I don’t want to be here

he’s not the one

I’d pick to haunt

 

it would be you

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Don’t Go

Please Don’t Go

why are we here

there’s not a house in sight

not a car

not even a convenience store

not even a star in the sky

when I said

I think we should be alone now

this isn’t what I had in mind

nothing to sit on

no wall to lean against

no trees

nothing

 

everyone knows

this is nowhere

when I said

I would be nowhere without you

I didn’t expect to be here

I expected to be alone with you

not nowhere without you

don’t go

how do I get out of here

how

which way is up

don’t go

 

please

don’t go

This piece starts as dream like movie moment – the narrator is lost, looking around & asking their lover where they are. No explanation of how they got there except that the lover is responsible. Tension is created as the narrator begins to set conditions – a place to ie sit. One starts to realize this guy probably on the demanding side, needy & expectant of the lover to fulfill without being so literal.

A Neil Young quote is always welcome & give the piece more of an actual context. This flips that ‘this is nowhere’ a bit ‘nowhere without you’ – one of those romantic cliches like I would be lost without your love (which is implied by the piece). I like to literalize those cliches – i.e. nowhere without you – let’s put the speaker in a place that is nowhere & see how they feel about it. Like the Monkey’s Paw in which the wish is granted literally, as opposed to the way the wisher fantasizes it will be fulfilled.

I enjoy the shift as my narrator becomes more ‘needy’ as a result of this wish fulfillment. I’ve resisted the temptation to expand the piece to make motivations clearer or cause clearer. Who granted this wish? Why? Even genders are removed. It’s like one of Beckett’s short plays only here we don’t even get actual voices to tell us anything about the character. The reader is left in the same physical void as the narrator.

In the end it isn’t even clear who the narrator is speaking to – is the reader ‘you?’


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Dusty

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Dusty

I didn’t feel anything

was it supposed to hurt 

I thought this is how

it’s supposed to feel

not that I enjoyed the feeling

it wasn’t pain

it wasn’t pleasure 

merely

this is how I felt it always would be

that everyone lived in fear

 

this was the fear

that I was supposed to hide

or be hidden from

after enough time

I became unaware 

callose

I learned to live with it

didn’t conceive of being without it

 

it was like growing up

in a dark room

not knowing there was light

then one day

a window opens

to reveal the layers of dust

protection

I’ve been cloaked in

choked in

 

one fear replaces another

how much light can I shed

& still be safe

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No No No

No

no thank you

I’m not that hungry

 

I’ve learned 

it’s okay to say no

to what I don’t want

it has nothing to do with you

it’s not something I would

ordinarily eat anyway

I’m not watching my weight

just my intake

 

so no thank you

I’m really not hungry

I had a snack earlier

yes it looks good

but no thank you

 

why can’t you take no for an answer

no I won’t want it later

I realize all the work you put into it

the time it took

that you planned this specially for me

I am pleased by the efforts you took

but that’s not enough

to make me want to eat

what I don’t want to eat

 

I know where that compliance leads to

so I’m saying no now

I won’t be pressured

no doesn’t mean 

open for negotiation

if I let you talk me into this

you’ll think

you can talk me into anything

that you can coax me

into doing things I don’t want to do

even those harmless things

 

this no is relevant

no thank you

Based on a true story! Or rather on true stories. Some people take a ‘no’ to food, or a drink, or the drugs they love & want to share with you, as a rejection of them. The ‘no’ becomes your personal judgement on them as cooks, hosts or possible sex partners. One host who persistently offered me a drink thought I thought his wine wasn’t to my snooty standards. 

Similarly saying ‘no’ to the offer of some tokes in a bar became playing hard to get – I was merely refusing not to smoke up not refusing to socialize with them. But for many people booze, drugs = socializing. At one time I would do a little explaining about being in recovery etc but you know, in the long run, it wasn’t worth the effort.

If they can’t understand a simple ‘no’ it isn’t up to me to justify that. Explaining can quickly become negotiation. If you won’t do this maybe you’ll do that instead. It create a conversation of persuasion that I’m not interested in. As the menu of options increases my interest decreases.

At a restaurant with an extensive wine list the waiter offered several he felt would compliment my meal perfectly. I told him clearly that I don’t drink & that I wasn’t interested in his suggestions. In fact every entree on the menu had a suggested wine listed with it. I wanted to say – if I need wine to make the food taste good then I really don’t want anything.

Of course ‘food’ here is symbolic for the many things people present hoping we’ll take – emotional demand, time demands, sexual trade-offs. Taking ‘no’ for answer is defeat. But if they aren’t listening to me & see my ‘no’ as a challenge I’m not interested.


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I Can’t Get No 

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Satisfaction 

it went exactly as planned

the only one disappointed

was me

I wanted things to be better

the story of my life

 

the right size is never right enough

a good fit isn’t adequate

the praise adulation 

are mere stop gaps

diversions

from going beyond expectations

 

good enough

feels like settling for less

it isn’t satisfying to measure up

it has to be unforgettable

sure your good enough is fine by me

but my good enough

isn’t worth bothering with

even when I am the only one disappointed


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https://www.facebook.com/events/144488273335343/

 

Conversation

Text Me

he’s behind bars

so the streets are safer

yet I still say

text me when you get home

these streets will never be safe

 

all those years 

when I never worried

about more than someone getting wet

waiting too long for a bus

 

all those years

when this was happening

men lured into a van

expecting a lift home

not a fight for their life

 

I’m feeling retroactive fear

regret

for dangers I never knew existed 

for men coming and going

from my house

from my arms

making their way home

at night

 

some who have in fact

disappeared from my life

moved on

I presumed

but now I’m not sure

 

I know he’s behind bars

but the streets

will never feel safe again

so text me when you get home

I’ll text you when I get home

I find it unsettling to revisit the Terra Cotta poems. Some were written during the manhunt. This one after the arrest. I live a relatively protected life – not quite a cocoon but one at a distance from the downtown core where my immediate physical risks are minimal. I feel much safer walking the my east end streets at night that I do walking along, say, Jarvis at night.

Many of the killers victims were met on-line – which is where I do meet men – geography only plays a role when travel is involved. So it is not unlikely that I could have met this man. It isn’t even impossible that we did have some on-line contact but I’m clearly was not the ‘type’ he was looking for. Being a non-drugger, sober, white queer offers some protection 🙂

I knew men who knew some of the victims. One who was sure there was something going on before the police acknowledged there was something going on. I’ve been told that the killer went to some recovery meetings in his hunt for vulnerable men. I mention these things as context for all the Terra Cotta pieces. I felt I had tom write something about this, about the way the media responded to the man hunt.

It impacted the community is many ways. This piece reflects one of those ways. Our concern for friends & lovers whom we cannot protect. The text request was a way to offer connection to friends – not necessarily just fwb. I always make the request when one of guys who drive to my place head home. Even when men are ‘out of the closet’ they may not be out about who they are seeing. If they have an accident I may never know unless family alerts every # on a cell phone that so & so etc.

 

The fact that this guy is behind bars hasn’t changed the culture in which what he was doing was so easy to ignore. The indifference to crime/assault against the LGBTQIA community hasn’t changed as a result. It may have started a ‘conversation’ but let’s face it talk is not a change.



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The Right Price

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

The Right Price

Nothing was the right size. He stood in the centre of the hotel room. The windows were too high to look out of and were too large for the room. Standing on tip-toe he could get a brief glimpse of the high-rise across the street.

It strained his neck to keep looking outside. His suitcase took up half the bed. The bed would clearly be too small for him to stretch out on. The desk was more like ledge. There wasn’t enough room under it for his legs. Not enough room for the top for his laptop to open properly. The chair back came half-way up his spine and offered no support when he leaned back.

The wall-to-wall carpet wasn’t quite wall-to-wall. One one side there was a bare angle of concrete floor that hadn’t been covered. The sink in the bathroom was so low he had to stoop to get his hands under the taps to splash tepid water on his face. There was no cold or hot just lukewarm. The shower stall door didn’t close properly so water splashed out on the floor when he took a shower.

Nothing was the right size except for the price.


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paypal.me/TOpoet 

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