Next Time

Next Time

the sex was good

but at this stage 

good wasn’t enough

I craved more than contact

<>

he certainly enjoyed 

the flesh on flesh

but not nearly as much

as he enjoyed the down low

the secret assignation

<> 

his exploration of excitement

of things his wife didn’t provide

I was his walk on the wild side

that made the cultural box

he felt he had no way of avoiding

bearable

<>

the sex was good

I was a non-threatening opportunity

that had nothing to do with me

as a person

as a spiritual entity

he only wanted the release

when he wanted it

<>

his travel here

often took longer

than we played together

play that was clearly more than good for him

but a vitally needed contact

<>

the sex was good

but for me

good wasn’t enough

I want desire

chemistry

there wasn’t enough chemistry 

for me to want more

not enough chemistry

to get an yen for him 

I knew enough about him

I didn’t care

<>

now to tell him

the next time he calls

and I know he will call

they always do

A guy I saw decades ago once joked ‘How long before I show up in one of your poems?’ He never did but he was aware that writers, poets in particular, often write about their lives – it is a way of processing our experiences & a way remembering them. I didn’t tell him that poetry is a fiction that reflects the truth without telling it – reflections are often distorted by the light, by time & the surface that sends back the reflection.

Some of my pieces are composites of real events that I’ve experienced or that friends had told me about. This is one of those composite pieces that reflects that balance between lust & opportunity. One would think with changes in cultural mores men (or women) wouldn’t feel so bound to fulfill the roles of husband or father but many still do.

Whether out of a sense of not letting down the folks, or maintaining their ethnic standards they find themselves in domestic relationship boxes – often though, as in the case of the married man here, he felt little conflict in maintaining two lives. He also enjoyed the ‘sneak’ of meeting up to spending time with me – overtime, going to the gym tonight, etc.

Things between us developed beyond this stage as we talked about our lives outside the bedroom. Not that he was going to leave the missus or anything stupid like that but a mutual fondness was strong. But fondness is no mask in these pandemic years. So I haven’t seen him in over year now; we email occasionally but, to be honest, if we never meet up again, life will go on. He’ll be a sweet memory not a heart ache. He texted that he’s had his vaccine so I know he’ll call.


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You First

You First

I was hiding

my feelings from him

not hiding exactly

but not declaring them

not putting them into words

what was communicated in my touch

was that enough

did he

could he

read between the kisses

between my legs

was there enough

emotionally import

in my smile

my eagerness

to convey 

what I was afraid 

to put into words

as I waited

for him to put into words

what I felt in his touch

Have you ever heard this in movies – ‘You never say you love me.’ or ‘Say it like you mean it?’ Have you thought who needs this needy person? There is a theory of power dynamics in a relationships that the power is with the person who loves the least. The difference could be .001% but it is there. 

Early in ‘romantic’ relationships there are these points where both parties are tentative about expressing their emotions. ‘I like you’ is so much less vulnerable than ‘I love you.’ I’ve known people who back out of relationships if the other party jumps the affection gun. Going for ‘love’ comes across as a red flag not an invitation to deepen things.

We get consistent mixed message about what ‘true’ love is vs. codependency. There is also this, to me, illogical linking of sexual fidelity with love. If you love  strawberry ice cream, to even look at another flavour is a betrayal of trust. But that’s a subject for another post.

This state of tentative love is called, I think, limerence, were so much hinge son the feel of falling, the feel of being fallen for – a feel where there is constant edge of ‘when will be together again’ permeates dreams, where texting a smile can change a mood. But if you text that smile & wait for it to be trend then get pissed if it isn’t returned fast enough – that isn’t love it’s control.

I don’t hide my affections but I also don’t go over board with them either. I do text a smile (or other body parts) then get on with my day. The pleasure is as much in the opportunity to send affection as it is to get it. 


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The Thrill is Gone

The Thrill is Gone

he was bored

& looking for sex

as if sex was a solution

so far

nothing had lived up

to his expectations

his profile listed

his interests

it was like the index

to a gay sex manual

<>

at nineteen

he wanted to try them all

while he was still young enough

to enjoy them all

before he was bored

by them all

<>

what I hadn’t tried

of his endless index

had never appealed to me 

at any age

many I had tried a few times

had no interest in exploring them again

even though

he wanted an older guide

who was opened-minded

<>

we chatted a awhile

because he liked my dick pic

when it became clear

I had boundaries

my disinterest in

repeating what bored me

made him bitter

judgemental

the less defensive I became

the more defensive he became

but at least

he was no longer bored

crushing boredom

This is based on real life events & in some ways is why I bother with any online gay cruising sites – I find things like this amusing & sometime a little puzzling. These sites are also a way of passing the time when I have ten minutes with little to do. Like this guy here I was bored, but not really looking for sex just a reminder that sex was possible 🙂

I saw his shopping list of sexual delights & thought, well there’s a few things I enjoy here but the rest isn’t on my menu plan. I wasn’t even curious enough to look at his pics but he contacted me via the site’s chat line. More info was exchanged & the more that was exchanged the less interested I was. I even asked him if he had actually read my profile – if he had he would have known what he was asking about me.

One of the ‘code’ words I watch for in profiles is ‘open-minded’ – which boils down to kink: diapers, chastity cages, that sort of thing. If one isn’t interested you become close-minded. Similar to saying ‘no’ to a drink, to say ‘no’ to kink can make some guys defensive – as if that ‘no’ is a judgment on their choices. 

Over the years I’ve learned that many men on line are looking for attention not contact. His laundry list was extensive enough that there was something for everyone there. It struck me as indecisive, which seemed natural at his age, too. My other caveat pops up here, the one that says: men lie on line. There is no way for me to verify his age, his profile pics, or his shopping list. The twenty or so minutes we chatted was enough role playing for me.

clutching at straws

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Down The Blame Drain

Down The Blame Drain

what I lead you to believe

isn’t necessarily true

you let yourself be lead on

now don’t get defensive

but it was your willingness 

to fill in the blanks 

with your own expectations

that resulted in this

misunderstanding

<>

I could have pointed that

but you were so sure of yourself

contradicting you

seemed pointless

you can’t blame me

for you making it so easy

to lead you on

<>

once I started

you made no pause for me to stop

you took the wrong hint

dashed on with it

before I could stop you

and when I did

you were dumbfounded

you thought I was joking

now you know I wasn’t

<>

so blame me

even if it wasn’t my fault

This is a variation on one of my frequent notions – how we use language to evade responsibility. ‘What did she expect, I’m a man.’ ‘There were unexpected casualties.’ ‘He was black – young – in drag – so I shot him.’ The sad thing about these evasions is how acceptable they are to many people. 

I once read about a drunk driver, whose out-of-control car killed people on the sidewalk at around 11 p.m. – he said ‘they shouldn’t have been walking that late at night’ – he got off with a fine because the dead weren’t wearing bright enough clothes & had to bare some of the responsibility. All too often it seems that confessing replaces facing consequences, or facing consequences is seen as unfair & that a lack of forgiveness is spiteful. 

This poem is about shifting responsibility in such a way one isn’t sure who is responsible. There is an undercurrent of a much used romcom trope of a mistaken identity that is allowed to go on until one of parties feels betrayed. ‘you only loved me because you thought I was rich’ – a mistake that could have cleared up with a simple statement like – I’m not who you think I am – but no it is allowed to go on & on. Or poor twin killing the rich one to assume that identity. 

There is also a sense that the costume we wear is often mistaken for who we are, for what class we belong in. Dressing the part of say, a doctor, when one isn’t a doctor. Wear a white lab coat in any hospital & people will assume you are staff. Walk around a store with a clipboard & you can get away with merchandise. Look like you know what you are doing & people will assume you know what you are doing & that you have the right to do it 🙂


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Zero Interest Rate

Zero Interest Rate

why I lost interest

wasn’t relevant to letting go

neither of us was that invested

or at least I wasn’t

he was a good technical fuck

made it clear how much he enjoyed

the time we spent together

but as much as he filled me up

he never fulfilled me

he was chatty enough

but conversations went his way

he listened to his voice

his point of view

would ask the same questions

give his answer

talk over mine

so I lost interest

<>

I blocked him on dating sites

rather than go into why 

I lost interest

why I found his paranoia

around identity theft 

made me distrustful of him

he knew too much for the innocent

because he was black

his racism couldn’t be confronted

he’d merely repeat his view

to call him out

meant that I was the racist

<>

it was a few years

since we’d had contact

then one day there he was

on my door step

having changed his online identity 

he’d made contact with me

never let on who he was

did a few things differently

gave me his email

which he’d never done before

though I still didn’t know his real name

the date was set

and there he was

with a slightly smug smile

<>

I wasn’t flattered

but was amused

he was still a good technical fuck

friendly enough

not a listener

talked over my replies

to questions he’d asked

<>

when he left

I blocked him again

somethings don’t change

and he was one of them

“I Can’t Quit Him” – actually ‘Her’ in the Blood, Sweat & Tears song, comes to mind when I think about this poem. If this basic ‘boyfriends past’ seems familiar, it is but is also a different occasion & a different guy too! Now if you are think – he’s bragging, or worse yet, he’s a slut. Get over it! If you are thinking – I hope I have as active a sex life when I’m his age – congratulations. Though those first two thoughts have some truth too.

Often guys who won’t take no for answer think they are demonstrating their persistence, their ardour for you. I see it either as, in one case, sex addiction – no thanks or even sadder desperation – no thanks. It’s not as if I have that active a sex life than I can ‘afford’ to turn down opportunity – but as I’ve said before – just because you’re interested doesn’t mean I have to be.

This is based on a true story! It did happen about two years ago. I have heard from him since mind you. He showed up once day, out of the blue, unmasked & expected me to be eager & grateful. I was neither, even when he did mask & he didn’t get past the porch. He was just in the neighbourhood wanted to drop by.

I didn’t say drop dead – not in the midst of a pandemic – but I was clear this was unacceptable. He was dismayed & claimed other guys have been less inflexible about lockdown restrictions. I told him I’m not like other guys & sent him on his way. I didn’t apologize or even say ‘try me when the pandemic is over’ – though that would have been a good delay, as covid19 will never be over. But better no hope than false hope.


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Out With The Bathwater

Out With The Bathwater

he wanted to drink

my bathwater

or so he said

I never did take him up on it

if he had said that

after a few dates

I might have found it

appealing  

almost flattering

but to start with that

was a bit much

it was the sort of

coming on too strong

I called ‘a red flag’

similar to sending a phone number

in the first message

or as the first message

not even a call me

or I liked your profile

I’m not going to call that number

<>

he wanted to drink

my bathwater

when I asked him why

he said that it was pretty obvious

the water

was something that had touched

every inch of my body

the way he wished he could

I was amused

intrigued

all his pics were blurry

or close ups of his nipples

no face pic

<>

I asked for a face photo

never heard back from him

The on-line hook-up world is full of every fetish you can imagine. Obviously I know more about the ‘gay’ male faction but am sure this array of kink is found to the same degree in the hetero scene. Most sites are full of vanilla guys with a dash of leather, s&m, b&d & there some sites are devoted to specific types of play or types of men: bears, older, black – so you can narrow focus.

Profile info usually includes what sort of play the person is interested in & I, unlike many, read that section of a profile (after I check out their hight 🙂 ) Even profile nicknames tell me enough: PoppersRus – is not for me. If approached I make it clear that, based on their interests, we aren’t a good match. Some guys get a bit huffy mind you as if my not being interested in x is judging them. Whatever. If you want to, say, dress as a baby including a diaper, that’s fine by me but I’m not interested – my lack of interest is not a sign of disapproval.

This piece is based on a couple of actual non-encounters. I am perhaps more cautious than some, mind you, but some first contacts don’t even get responded too. Bathwater Jim did a reply though because his (I assume it was a man) approach was novel enough to warrant that much. The reply turned into one of those corny dating book pick-up lines. ‘if I told you you had beautiful body would you hold it against me?’

The anonymity of the internet allows people to approach strangers in ways they probably wouldn’t in person. It’s easy to brave when both parties are faceless, voiceless. I enjoy profile pics but know that with the right angle, lighting & photoshop anyone can be larger than life. 

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Ready For My Close-Up

Ready For My Close-Up

I let death happen

by proxy

if I didn’t eat the meat

wear the shoes

would their treatment

become more humane

<>

do I take a stand

no more meat

nothing with a face

search out alternatives

plants may have faces

that I don’t recognize

so that makes it fine

<>

the air that I breathe

is teaming with life

the water I drink

is alive with microorganisms 

that may have faces

my vision isn’t that good

<>

atomic microscopes

focus so finite 

I can’t recognize anything

maybe that squiggle shimmer

darting around other shimmers

is afraid of being seen

shamed by our look

not ready for their close-up

<>

they aren’t animals

are they

is my decision that they don’t count

relevant to anything

other than another brick

in a sense of superiority

the smug comfort

of valuing all life

<>

whereas people like me 

who still eat meat

will always be ethically

self-indulgent creeps

who should be shamed

denied our close-up

then shot

On one level what this piece is about is pretty clear. I have no animosity with vegans, their choices or even their motivations. Years ago a friend of mine once complained about how hard it was to source ‘vegan’ shoes on the internet. He wanted footwear that contained no leather or petroleum byproducts. He finally found hand-woven sandals made from reeds.

But he clearly had a computer or smart phone to a access the web to make his search. I was tempted to ask him if he’d ever tried to source electronics that were ethically produced. What petroleum by-products are in our smartphones? I haven’t seen wooden ones yet 🙂 Is anything we use ethical?

I occasionally go into ‘natural’ food stores for spices. I see signs that proclaim organically grown, ethically sourced etc then look at the prices. Clearly only the well-to-do can afford to save the planet with dietary change. Yes, I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to the motivations behind much of this pr. Coffee shops brag about their sustainable coffee growers but if that coffee isn’t selling with that label they’ll find another one for our hand-crafted beverages.

The piece also touches on the smarminess that some planet savers use in announcing their love for ‘natural’ while you are indulging in your unnatural lifestyle of range-free chicken. It is similar to non-smokers distain for smokers, or married homo’s who are examples of good queers. Give me a break & while you’re at it I’ll have hamburger with fries.

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The Toothbrush Isn’t Talking

The Toothbrush Isn’t Talking

all I am hiding

are my emotions

really

no I don’t have anything

in my hands

up my sleeve 

I didn’t put anything

where you couldn’t find it

everything is out in the open

<>

what good would it do

to hide your underwear

so you can’t get dressed

to hide your shoes so you can’t leave

hide the towels so

you have to 

dry off between the sheets

with me

me

who has nothing to hide

except my feelings

or rather my lack of them

<>

though you claim

my claim of lack of feelings

is actually hiding something

because my door is so open to you

I have made place

for you my life

you even have 

your own toothbrush here

it is out in the open too

<>

see nothing is hidden

really

except how I feel

which I can’t reveal

until you open up

to tell me what you have hidden

in your heart

The need for ‘transparency’ is getting to the point where if you don’t reveal you once looked at a naked person you could be taken to task for sexual harassment. I have a friend who refuses to appear & speak on any internet video feed lest what they say changes context as contexts change. What was harmless one decade becomes damning in the next. 

This piece isn’t directly about that 🙂 but looks at how & what we reveal of ourselves in our personal relationships. When does one reveal one’s sexual history, health issues? A buddy of mine started dating a guy & after a few dates realized they had potential he revealed a health issue & the other guy went ballistic. My buddy was devastated a she wasn’t hiding anything but waiting till there was some trust & a reason to reveal.

There are enough songs, books, movies about things that never get said. We, as humans, hope that our actions will convey our emotions, not merely our words. To say I love you & treat someone like shit as opposed to treating someone with kindness without saying saying I love you.

The underwear verse contains actual experiences of mine, slightly exaggerated. I didn’t really hide things just made them harder to find to delay departure. I’m more inclined to lack of expectation than I am to lack of feelings though. That is one of those things that goes unsaid. Things last as long as they do & I don’t build that much on expectations. But when I give one of my bed buddies undies as a birthday or Christmas gift I always say – I can’t wait to see them on you. So I guess that’s an expectation after all 🙂

I convey affection easily with words, but anything deeper not so readily – why is easier to say ‘I love those undies on you’ than it is to say ‘I love you’ ?

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The Thieving Slut

The Thieving Slut

who said

you could wear my things

because I certainly didn’t

maybe

if you had asked me

I might have consented 

but to take it on yourself

to figure I wouldn’t mind

is going too far

if you get my drift

you don’t want my grubby hands

all over your things

you’ve told me that often enough 

well I don’t want my clothes 

all over your slutty body

you heard me right

you thieving slut

that it looks better on you

than it ever did on me

is not justification 

it’s mine

now take it off right now

give it back to me

I don’t care who sees you here

the people in this mall

have seen uglier sights

than your skinny ass

so give me back my clothes

give me back my dignity

my privacy

my right to have something 

of my own

what did I do

to deserve a parent like you

Sometimes these poems are so obvious I don’t think they much explanation. I was older than my siblings & there was no way my clothes would fit them for many years so this scenario never happened to me. I’ve seen it in episodes of lots of sitcoms. You can almost hear this on the Brady Bunch.

I did get some of my dad’s hand-me-downs though. In fact I still have a leather jacket of his I sometimes wear. I also wore the hell out of a cream-coloured car coat of my mothers. My Dad had bought matching coats for him & her. Her’s wasn’t tailored quite right, maybe the buttons were on the wrong side, but it fit me perfectly. I wonder what became of that coat?

In writing this I didn’t want to mention an article of clothing to give your imagination room to play. I also wanted to make this gender free – how many of you thought it was females? Names of clothes tend to be gendered – blouse vs. shirt; panties vs. underwear. I know ‘slut’ tends toward female – is there a male equivalent? Nowadays it is applied to both male & female.

The title came well after the piece was written. It is a play on the name of a famous opera The Thieving Magpie by Rossini. Also magpie’s are noted for taking shiny objects and are one of only a few non-mammal species able to recognize itself in a mirror test. Which is appropriate for a clothing thief.


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My Space

My Space

marking my territory 

even temporarily 

happens without my awareness

an automatic act

will I share a table

with a stranger

in a crowded restaurant

a stranger who has already

marked it as their territory 

with a stare

a knapsack placed just so

<>

do I want an empty seat

on either side of me

when I fly

take public transit

sit in the audience

well – yes

unless I get to pick

who invades my territory

<>

dogs mark with quick squirts

an automatic act

that leaves a message

for any other dog to read

my territory

is only mine 

as long as I am there

no trace of me

is left behind

The other day I watched a guy walking his dog. The dog stopped frequently to mark their territory & couldn’t be deterred by its master, who smiled apologetically at me for being in the way. I envied the dog that sort of bladder control. I also wondered what it expected to do with the territory it had marked. The scent isn’t like a code that can be scanned telling other dogs to back off – all they do is piss on it.

Years ago I witnessed an altercation in a cafe when someone sat at an empty table with the coffee & sandwich. Moments later someone came to the table & said that that was their table – that they had just gone into give their order. The seated person said something toe effect that was too bad. The other said didn’t you see my knapsack on the chair. Swearing ensued & sadly the seated person relinquished the table. I was hoping for at least a drink being thrown.

One of few good things about pandemic distancing is the distancing. It makes establishing physical boundaries more culturally acceptable. When patios were opened it was no longer okay to crowd so many tables together than one and to hold their shoulder bag over their heads to avoid knocking things off the table next to them.

When it was possible (remember those days) to go to a public performance, or attend a workshop I would usually get a spot with good sight lines & away from groups of people. I was never one for sitting at the table, as it were. I liked my space. 


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