Safe From Me

Safe From Me

<>

somedays it isn’t safe

for me to be seen in public

not safe for others I mean

<>

the welfare of others 

has to be considered

when a glance from a male

can become triggering

send someone spinning

into painful childhood memories

my mere looking where I am going

can send people off 

<>

I never ask how are you doing

lest that appears to be disrespect

for their boundary issues

I won’t compliment your appearance 

never talk about my happy childhood

because it seems by doing so

I’m am diminishing 

what you experienced in yours

<>

I get tired of negotiating permission

to continue a conversation

is it okay if I talk about ….

negotiating to avoid making

others uncomfortable

<>

it isn’t wise to assume 

that just because they are a clerk

that they have to be of service

<>

I haven’t left my house

for years now

it’s the easiest way

of keeping the world safe

from me

There some real-life experiences in this piece. Once when dodging people on a busy street I stopped to let someone pass me & that someone said ‘What the fuck are you looking at!’ I shrugged & kept on my way. I’ve seen similar confrontations on the subway – people snapping ‘stop looking at me like that’ – this is why most people now stare at their cellphones – it’s less intrusive to bump into people because you aren’t looking where you’re going than it is to look where you are going.

A few years ago, on an open stage & read a poem about my Dad – about finding gifts he has hidden before he died, not knowing he was going to die. After the show I was accosted for not issuing a trigger warning before I had a poem about my father. The last time I read it I did it with a trigger warning & someone accosted me after for making fun of trigger warnings. You wonder why I shun open stages.

When someone says ‘I don’t want to talk about …’ I respect that but then am leery of what to say when they continue to talk about it. Is it my job to change the subject or say ‘You said we weren’t going to talk about that.’ As I’ve often said here people will talk about whatever they want even when they ask ‘how are you?’ They are preparing what they want to tell you about themselves. A good reason I never really start conversations about myself. One of the good things, to me. about social distancing is an end to negotiating permission for hugs. 

Unlike that last verse I leave my house regularly. I have no fear of being in pubic, in public places -one my morning walks I rarely see anyone anyway & the only negotiation is social distancing. In recovery I’ve learned the balance of conversation – I listen without the need to develop a response. 

When people ask me what I’ve been doing I resist going into details about my writing, my sex life. I fall back on generalities ‘pandemic purging’ being a good fall back – because it has been something I’ve been doing. One thing that I purged years ago is guilt for inadvertently triggering someone.


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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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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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I’m So Cute

I’m So Cute

you’ve used up my trust

yes 

I know you don’t mean any harm

no 

it doesn’t hurt

but I asked you to stop

because it is meaningless

yet distracting

<>

it is like the tip of the ice-burg

that small act

is meant to be affectionate

but I can’t stand it

I don’t enjoy it

it represents your lack of respect

after I’ve asked you not to

<>

if it means 

to you

that I don’t have a sense of humour

such is life

it’s not a control issue

on my part

it is the same as

serving food I’m allergic to

then getting pissed off

when I refuse to eat it

or insisting on playing

music you know I can stand

just to be playful

to be annoying

because I’m so cute

when I’m annoyed

<>

enjoy that memory

One of the bunch I used to hang out with on the east coast was a table tapper. It was a habit he wasn’t conscious of & as we talked he would play rhythms to whatever music might be on. He didn’t find it distracting but I did & told him a few times. He tried to control it but after a few drinks tappy tap tap tap. It was harmless enough but eroded my willingness to spend time with the gang when he was around. This piece isn’t about him, directly, nor is it about my need to control, really 🙂

It’s more about the power shifts in relationships – how much is one party willing to put up with or sacrifice in a spirit of cooperation. For some people the meaning of love is putting up with anything & everything, you know, the codependency dance romanticized by movies.

There’s also a micro-aggression subtext here – if what is said or done isn’t all that bad or direct then get over it. In fact being told to ‘get over it’ or ‘it’s just a joke’ is micro-aggression. To question their ‘control issues’ gets turned around into you having ‘control issues.’ 

This goes beyond someone tapping a table, which is usually not done to irritate but a nervous habit, but to something like someone who – thinking sticking their tongue in your ear is fun & should be sexually arousing when you find it intolerable. When you say things like ‘stop it’ they try to turn into a game & it becomes you being a wet blanket for not playing along – they just want to be playful. When you tell them where to stick their tongue they aren’t playing anymore. 🙂


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Don’t Look At Me

Don’t Look At Me

I’m just sitting here

I didn’t say anything

I didn’t even look in your direction

my eyes were on my feet

on my coffee

on my smart phone

like everyone else

in transit

in a busy cafe

not looking at anyone

pulling our bodies tight

lest we brush another person

lest we be accused

of staring

of invading another privacy

of copping a visual feel

I don’t need restraints

to feel restrained

to feel the fear

of being too close

even when we are shoved

so close

in transit

on an escalator

so close

we break out into a sweat

fearful of enjoying the closeness

or that someone might be

enjoying being this close to us

get back

don’t look at me

I’m here

but not here



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Don’t Take My Time

My Time

I am a creature of routine

no matter how hot the guy

I am unavailable at certain times

often the only time they are free

which they take personally

even though all we know

about each other are profile pics

& what we claim are our likes

 

they act as if my time boundary

is playing hard to get

or just playing them

a sign I’m not really interested

that all I want is their desire

not their bodies

one guy said ‘if you’re going to be that way

good luck because you’ll need it’

as if my schedule 

was a character fault

 

one called me inflexible

though I had suggested other times

other days

his inflexibility was of no concern to him

whereas mine was arbitrary

whatever 

I have a life

I don’t set it aside for no dick

 

or perhaps they see it

as control

that I am making it clear

I am the dominant, the top,

not some submissive bottom bitch

gasping eager for their randy visit

 

even if I am eager

it’s still my time

I have an acquaintance in recovery who will phone & launch into their conversation. No hello, no is this a good time, no how are you. I will stop them asap if I’m busy but they’ve never learned to say – is this a good time. I have another friend in recovery who calls & really needs to meet facto face for a real talk. I suggest times – none of which fit his schedule – he assumes that for the sake off recovery I’ll change my schedule to suit his needs. I’ve done this a few times only to have him text to say he’d be late or etc.

What does this have to do with ‘My Time’ – recovery has taught me to respect my own needs, to respect my boundaries & not to let people-pleasing turning into martyrdom. Times I’ve been persuaded to make allowances for another’s time constraints have rarely worked well for either party.

Sticking to my guns often has people acting as if my not being inconvenienced by them is an inconvenience to them. That also might have to do with he fact that I don’t apologize, any more, or explain either, when I say ‘not free at that time.’ Odd how being firm can be seen as arrogant or indifferent.

I no longer take the bait of being guilted into being agreeable. I’d rather be seen as unreasonable than being seen as an ‘any time Chuck.’ Now in the age of covid distancing such inflexibility is even more necessary & a covid ‘no’ is acceptable to many. Even if I am eager, now, it’s still my life.


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Safe From Me

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Safe From Me

somedays it isn’t safe

for me to be seen in public

not safe for others I mean

personally I am unconcerned

but the welfare of others 

has to be considered

just a glance from any male

let alone a gay male

can be triggering

sending someone spinning

into painful childhood memories

that don’t involve me directly

but my mere looking 

where I am going

can set people off 

 

I never ask how are you doing

lest that appears to be disrespect

for their boundary issues

I dress to deflect attention

I won’t compliment your appearance 

never talk about my happy childhood

because  by doing so

I may be diminishing 

what you experienced in yours

 

I get tired of negotiating permission

to continue a conversation

is it okay if I talk about ….

negotiating to avoid making

others uncomfortable

it isn’t wise to presume 

that just because they are a clerk

that they want to be of service

 

I haven’t left my house

for years now

it’s the easiest way

of keeping the world safe

from me

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees – thankspaypal.me/TOpoet 

No Blow

No Blow

so this is how it ends

no bang

no whimper

but with a snort

two lines of blow

careful spread 

on your cell phone screen

 

that you did 

this sort of thing

didn’t bother me particularly

as long as you did it

without me as an audience

as long as you did it

outside of my residence

 

when you aren’t here

it’s not a part of my life

not a part of our play

our play is best confined

to the two of us

substances

are a third party

that quickly becomes the focus

it takes over

demands that whatever else might happen

it is the only thing that counts

 

me being in the room

was a distraction

you being in the room

was now a disappointment

and when you left

I was relieved to see you go

not wishing you could stay longer

 

those two lines

closed a door

never open to you again


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The Ick Factor

The Ick Factor

you’ve used up my trust

yes I know you don’t mean any harm

no it doesn’t hurt

but I asked you to stop

because it is meaningless

yet distracting

it is like the tip of the iceberg

that small act

meant to be affectionate

that I can’t stand it

that I don’t enjoy it

represents your lack of respect

it means to you

that I don’t have a sense of humour

such is life

 

it’s not a control issue

on my part

it is the same as serving food 

you know I’m allergic to

then getting pissed off

when I refuse to eat it

or insisting on playing

music you know I can’t stand

just to be playful

to be annoying

because I’m so cute

when I’m annoyed

 

enjoy that memory

because if you can’t respect

my silly boundary

memory is all you’ll have


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My Time

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This another of the 92 pācittiyas.

My Time

I am a creature of routine

no matter how hot the guy

I am unavailable at certain times

often the only time they are free

which they take personally

even though all we know

about each other are profile pics

what we claim our likes are

 

they act as if my time boundary

is playing hard to get

or just playing them

a sign I’m not really interested

all I want is their desire

not their bodies

 

one guy said ‘if you’re going to be that way

good luck because you’ll need it’

as if my schedule 

was a character fault

one called me inflexible

though I had suggested other times

other days

his inflexibility was of no concern to him

whereas mine was arbitrary

whatever 

I have a life

I don’t set it aside for dick

or perhaps they see it

as control

that I am making it clear

I am the dominant, the top,

not some submissive bottom bitch

gaping eager for their randy visit

 

even I am

it’s still my time

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