The Name Game

The Name Game

this is not my real name

in fact

I use my given name so infrequently

no one is sure what it is

I’m not sure of what it is

 

I won’t tell you what you want to know

not that it’s a secret

there is no deep shame

that I am hiding

 

names that I use

change from time to time

location to location

in fact

we may have met before

when I was someone else

that’s why I sometimes

seem so familiar

 

I don’t go out of the way

to disguise myself

to cover my trail

only who I might be

so that when you say

you understand me

I know 

you don’t even know who are talking to

 

everything you know

is about another person

someone with a name you know

that’s not my name

it wasn’t then

and it never will be again

I’ve met guys on line who. for privacy, I guess, have more than one name. In fact nearly all people on line do – a handle, a nickname, an email address that doesn’t reveal who they are. On dating sites guys have names like Toppugood43 or flexlexy – that may hint on what they want to do. Some have given one name in chat, then another one shows up as part of their email response & when they text another name & when we meet maybe their real name.

 

Some never give a name at all, really. ‘Hi it’s Toppu.’ Or not even that much, as if their phone number will tell me who it is. Names are one of the way we define people, so I can accept people needing to self-define by choosing their own name & using it as a sort of mask. Would John Wayne have made it big with his birth name Marion Morrison?

One of the reasons for ‘branding’ myself as TOpoet, was to remove immediate information about myself. All I want you to know is there – where I am located & what I do. No gender, sexuality, race or even age is alluded to. The only preconceived notion one may have is about poets, not about me as a person – unless it is to conclude that anyone labeling themselves as a poet is a pretentious fop. Guilty.

So this piece is about the ambiguity of names, of what we think we know about people & how insubstantial image is. It is easy to be someone else on line. I’m never sure if who I may be chatting with for the first time is actually the person in the picture (if they have a picture). I don’t know until I meet them face to face & it is the face in their photos. I don’t even fully believe what they’ve said in our chats, or in their profile. It is easy to flirt, overstate interests in text. Meeting moves things to the next level of negotiation. Which may require proof of identity 🙂 


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Not Relevant

Not Relevant

why I lost interest

wasn’t relevant 

neither of us was that invested

or at least I wasn’t

he was a good technical fuck

he 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 me the same questions

give his answer

talk over mine

so I lost interest

 

I blocked him on dating sights

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

his racism couldn’t be confronted

as he’d merely repeat his view

as if I had said nothing

to call him out

meant that I was the racist

 

that was a few years ago

I heard nothing from him

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


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Out With The Bathwater

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Out With The Bathwater

he wanted to drink

my bath water

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 call ‘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 bath water

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

his pics were blurry

close ups of his nipples

what I assumed was his dick

no face pic

I asked for a face pic

never heard back from him

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Please Don’t Shoot

Please Don’t Shoot

I let death happen

by proxy

if I didn’t eat meat

wear shoes

would animal treatment

become more humane

 

do it 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

 

is that jelly fish like shimmer

darting around other shimmers

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

only as it serves my appetites

 

people

like me who still eat meat

will always be ethically

self-indulgent creeps

who should be shamed

better yet shot

 

but please don’t shoot me

until after dinner


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Old Enough To Know Better

Old Enough To Know Better

some say that age

is just a number

you are as old as you feel

not as you act

but if you don’t act your age

you are trying to fool people

 

age may be just a number

but one that tells a story

one that defines you

generalizes 

labels your place in life

 

people don’t even need to meet you

but if they know your age

it has told them everything 

they need to know

like race gender

colour of your hair

each tells others

all about you

even if they never spoken to you

 

if you are that blond

well everyone

already know about blonds

even ones you’ve never met

we know all about that black guy gal

just by looking

everything is revealed by

her over-made eyes

his six-pack

 

six-pack is just a number 

right

a rib-cage

not a personality

an age is a cage

used to lock away

sight unseen

 

how old am I

why ask

it’s just a number

not a death sentence

 

There’s an episode of Designing Women in which a character who dates older men tells the one she’s currently dating to act his age – so he dies. The joke being that at his age most men were already dead. Now, I’m not at that age, or at least I don’t think I am. How old do you have to be to shot in a church? Not that I’d be caught dead in a church, but that’s another story.

 

This piece is as much about aging as it is about how easy it is to slot people into categories based on age, race, gender, job etc. One facet being enough to define them in such a way it becomes difficult to see them beyond that one facet. What team do you like in the play-offs? Saying one isn’t into sports isn’t the right answer. My reply is usually ‘the team that wears the least.’ Ambiguity apparently breeds distrust.

 

This is how ‘image’ sells. Photos of stars without make-up are often rendered unrecognizable. Privacy is obtained by disguising themselves as themselves not as the product sold on screen. But treat the dressed-down version as an ordinary person & beware, right?

In the shallow world of on online gay male dating age is nearly as crucial as dick size. In fact I’ve seen profiles say, to the effect that, ‘if you are over 50 your dick better be over 8 inches.’ One learns that many men aren’t the age this say they are, or that the photos of them are actually 10 years old.

 

 

I’m not keen of being confined by any definition. So when asked, how big is your dick, I’ll say ‘more the enough to satisfy;’ when asked my age I’ll usually say ‘old enough to know better.’ 


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Profiting From Guilt

Profiting From Guilt

you think the guilt

this guilt

this humiliation

is a benefit

that I somehow enjoyed

being reviled

being castigated by the press

by pundits on TV

people who have never met me

but who felt no compunction

in demonizing my actions

 

my alleged actions

which by the way

have never been conclusively been proven

guilt by accusation

not by proof

but once that accusation has been uttered

innocence will never return

a loss that was a benefit

 

oh yes that was the main benefit

I have experienced as a result

my face on every news channel

by name on so many lips

my reputation

in every gutter in the world

 

good thing

I’m not here to be popular

only to be rich

that’s right I’m rich

thanks to your condemnation

rich beyond your wildest accusations

and I will continue to gain

overtime bonuses 

when anyone continues

to defame my name

even though I don’t enjoy the guilt

I sure do enjoy the interest it earns

 

The moral compass of our media culture skews to entertainment – not to justice, or equality. This piece reflects how media & the sacrament of celebrity absolves men (usually caucasians) of responsibility, accountability & repercussions for their actions. In fact it rewards them with attention. As Oscar Wilde said – ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity.’

 

A current celebrity convicted of rape gets more press than his victims. He is a martyr & they are crybaby bitches who should have been grateful for any attentions he may have blessed them with. I’m sure once he’s done his time he’ll end up with a sitcom (set in a prison) or perhaps a talk show.

 

 

Somehow seeking redress for harm turns victims into villains for wanting more than mere acknowledgement of harm done. The apology is now deemed sufficient. To want more is unfair, greedy & cruel. Reparations become court battles in which only the lawyers seem to profit.

 

I enjoy the way this piece moves from ‘you think’ – wherein the pov is showing a tinge of remorse – & ends up with them enjoying the media sacrament of notoriety. Almost saying that any negativity on our part is envy of their ‘fame.’


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El segundo primer beso

El segundo primer beso

I knew that I missed your kiss

but I didn’t realize

how much I needed it

 

that came as a surprise

much like the moment

when it was clear

that our last kiss

was almost the last kiss

 

maybe neither us knew

it was to be the last for awhile

it might have a lasting memory 

until I had that dream of you

 

we hadn’t spoken for two years

after that kiss

not that it ended in anger

it just ended

 

first I stumbled upon

a short clip from a porno

a Latino man 

with a beautiful face

talking Portuguese to the camera

while playing with his dick

his eyes

his smile

his sexual eagerness

was so much you

though you spoke Spanish

but that look

that invitation

is the same in any language

 

then I had a dream

of you emotionally hurting

I dreamt it twice more 

before I had to reach out 

 

we reconnected shyly

gladly

then hungry for that first kiss

deeper

than the memory of the last

‘Based on a true story’ 🙂 One of the dumbest things I ever did was when I stopped seeing  … um … let’s call him Beso to keep it simple. I’d meet him on line & our first meeting was chaste & our second was incendiary. His work shifts made it difficult for us to see each regularly so each time was special. He’d even been to my house for supper a few times. Then it ended without warning.

 

Being an all or nothing guy I unfriended him etc. But I couldn’t get him out of mind. He was one of the  few men who I wrote poems for/about. As this piece says nothing happened but it just ended. The porno clip is fact – I watched it several times & each time Beso haunted me. 

I had that dream. I doubt if I would have recontacted him without the dreams. I friended him again on FB, asked if he wanted to meet up to catch up. We met and went for coffee & creme caramel. We came back to my house and boom – incendiary. Some thing sin his life had changed: work etc. But the chemistry hadn’t changed.

I could have let my stubbornness keep us apart forever. The thought of dying & never seeing him again did away with that stubbornness. Life is short enough as it is & inviting as much joy into as one can makes perfect sense. Even if that joy doesn’t fulfill all exceptions what it does fulfill is enough & always leaves me wanting more. 

 


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Enemy At First Sight

Enemy At First Sight

some people

bring fear into a room

ideologies that I am expected

to accomodate

without knowing

what fear they bring into the room

 

they prejudge me

for prejudging them

merely because of who I am

of who I appear to be to them

 

I am an enemy at first sight

without having to say a word

or take any action

other than being there

of being unlike them

 

they feel unsafe

because I am not invisible

and it is my fault

all my fault

for not understanding

what they haven’t told me


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In The Company of Strangers 

In The Company of Strangers 

after two minutes

I knew this conversation

wasn’t going anywhere

it had started off so promising 

with an ‘I can’t wait to meet you

I’ve heard so much about you’

 

so we meet

we start to talk

and after a minute 

their eyes look around

at others

for others

for escape

 

we nod at the right times

chuckle at the right times

but aren’t looking at each other

eyes rove over one another’s shoulders

looking for some someone better

 

our attention intention

we showed in each other 

abruptly comprised

by the alluring promise

of others around us

of faces and smiles

of someone else to talk to

all of them is at least as interesting

all of who would only hold

our eager attention for a moment

because like the one 

who was so eager to meet them

our eyes would be darting

looking someone else

with bigger promise

bigger reputation

to be seen talking too

to be seen walking away from

to a better opportunity

 

because there is always a better opportunity

even when the one

in front of you is good enough

This ‘attention intention’ has happened to me so many times I’ve stopped bothering to make conversation at things like readings, workshops, book signings, people’s parties (even my own.) People want to be seen talking but rarely want to be seen listening 🙂 I have mastered the nod, frown, chuckle responses to the point where, much like them, I’m not fully listening as their eyes dart around the room for the person they were really waiting for.

Or if they aren’t placing around the room hey are glancing at their smart phone, or stopping in the middle of a chuckle to check their smart phone. The news feed from people not in the room being more commanding than the people foolish enough to be in the room. Or maybe they are texting or receiving  nods to someone else already in the room.

Occasionally someone does engage me in a ‘real’ conversation that starts with asking about me then quickly becomes them talking about themselves. I never discourage them. I know how to say things like ‘great’ or ‘that must be very stressful’ ‘tell me more.’ Which gives each of us a chance to glance over each other’s shoulder.

 

I no longer take such social interactions seriously or personally. At one time I did get miffed when eye contact couldn’t be maintained longer than it took to recognize each other. When someone say’s ‘it’s been great talking to you’ I know it really means the view over my shoulder was good. 


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Nice Undies

Nice Undies

please keep it

I don’t really need it

I have too many already

it’s not quite the right fit for me

the colour is so you

I don’t know

when I’ll ever use it

I want you to have 

you’ll get more use out of it than I would

I can’t begrudge you anything

of course you can have it

I never wore it

I only wore it once

let me see it on you

it really suits you

those undies look better on you

than they ever did on me

no I don’t hate it

it’s just not right for me

they were on sale

you’d be doing me a favour

I never want to see it again

too many memories

time to move the energy out of my life

if you don’t want it

I’ll have to throw it away

don’t let it to go to waste

it’s too good

to drop in a donation box

I want someone I know to have it

you won’t regret it

don’t thank me

thank whomever 

gave it to me

never wear it my presence

Nice Undies is a list poem of different thoughts or actual things said in giving something away. As much as I appreciate a gift I am sometimes given things that I either have, don’t want, or have no real need for. Because I enjoy bold colours I’ve been give shirts, or t-shirts that are great colours but with prints or cartoony images I’d never be seen in public wearing. Some become sleep wear, some end up in donation bins, some become regifted.

One Christmas I was given more socks than I needed, so some of them ended up in Christmas gift bags for friends. I’ve donated blank books, pens, even t-shirts to Hot Damn! as prizes. I move energy out of the house quickly so make room for new energy. It’s gotten to the point where I sometimes get a gift & I immediately think – this would be perfect for so-&-so.

Part of my personal ‘stuff’ policy is ‘if something new comes in, something old should go out.’ As a result if I keep the t-shirt someone gives me I have to cull one out of my collection to donate or give away. This can be difficult with things like shirts as my collection now if all favourites 🙂 So to make room for new I have to let go of my attachments of the old. In these cases I am more selective of where it goes but it does go.

Twice a year I cull various things from my processions: books, cds, shirts, socks, tee’s, even undies to pass on, to keep my sense of attachment in balance. I do this around New Year’s & around my birthday at the end of June. I’ve never been so invested in a memory that I can’t see someone wearing the tee I gave them. Nothing, to me, is hotter than one of my fwb arriving & finding that he’s wearing the undies I gave him. What can be more fun than some man literally getting into my pants? 🙂


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