Distant Valentine

A Valentine

forced to love, 

now that’s a tear-jerker,

having heard no man

is self-contained & complete

I am forced to love

made to search 

through warm & folding bodies

for isolated responses

for unsure coincidences of desire

sparked by demand

structured into relationships

for the perpetuation of the structure

desperation in every meeting

(will this be the one?)

the eternal lunging crush

prisoners of seduction

fixed positions

bayonets of loving thoughts

tender traps

looked for only the fall into

forced to love

to rationalize tenderness

politicized into affections

scandalized by survival

it’s all one to one

paired by demand

one alone becomes distrusted

forced to love

forced to love

Feb14/76

Of the pieces in the chapbook this is one of the ‘newest’ & reflects a definite stage in my growth philosophically & emotionally. I’m actually directly questioning cultural norms around romance, sexuality & indirectly probing the nature of gender. Clearly I am ‘questioning’ not yet coming out but opening that door 🙂

‘Paired by demand’ hasn’t changed all that much though. We live in a culture where being ‘single’ is seen as an an unhappy choice, a sign of emotional immaturity. Being trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship is for some reason healthier than being single. Getting out of one is merely making one ready for the right relationship to come along. If you wonder how we are ‘structured’ think of how impossible it is to afford to live alone. Most restaurants are at least two seats per table. Bars stools are about the only single seating offered. Drinking alone, yea.

At the time I wrote this I wasn’t as articulate about this squeeze of the cultural imperative to mate bond. Being queer & somewhat closeted at the time I was conflicted by trying to fit the heterocentric romance module I was presented with. The sacredness of fidelity, the sinful cost of pleasure. Folding bodies like folding chairs that only the right person could unfold. You’re nobody until somebody unfolds you.

Looking back I see how the exploration of the cultural mating imperative has become one of my running themes. Like masculinity, it is something that goes unquestioned. Marriage for love & not politic – i.e. merge alliances between nations, merging financial concerns – is a somewhat recent development – maybe 150 years old. The nature of ‘forced’ is one of convenience & control that is accepted & goes unrecognized. The deepest loves of my life have never been forced.

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it. paypal.me/TOpoet 

The Echo Echo Echo

The Echo

because I disagree

doesn’t mean you are wrong

<>

seeing things differently

doesn’t mean I know better

our ideological differences

ultimately don’t mean anything

minority majority

there’s always a power disparity 

our control over

each other

is still limited 

I may not be in charge

but neither are you

as we are caught in this dance

of conformity to

cultural imperatives

that define confine

us to gender roles

race roles

age roles

financial education class boundaries

that we struggle to tear down

or to reinforce

often without questioning why

they came to be in the first place

<>

there are noisy 

spokespersons on all sides

who shout down each other

as to who is right wrong

when the loudest wins

it’s only the echo

of what could have been

This piece starts with what I consider a truism which if more people understood there’d be no real purpose for twitter 🙂 There not agreeing is seen as treasonous, seditious & unpatriotic. I’d say un-American, but only the US president can make that decision. That’s disagreeing on a bigger playing field. History is seen through the eyes of the historian, not the eyes of the people who lived it. Colonizers see property rights as earned not stolen.

A variation on that truism is ‘just because I’m not arguing doesn’t mean I agree with you.’ What it does mean is that I’m not easily drawn into arguing because my experience has been the more insistent either side is the less productive the conversation is going to be. Not that I think we ‘should all be friends’    but we can respect one another’s individuality.

One of things recovery has pushed me to do is to examine more closely my own conformity to cultural imperatives, how lack of conformity to some of these imperatives has influenced me. One, that I’ve blogged about before is how masculinity is childhood is defined by fighting back with bullies. I was not a fighter so my internal self branded me a coward.

The news is often dominated by media whores who will tweet, say, do anything for attention. They don’t need information or even misinformation int heir reckless disregard for common sense. Contradict them & you are seditious, ignore them & you are seen as resentful & envious. The only dialogue they are interested in is the one in which you agree with them, not one that will lead to change.


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Kiss The Monster

The Monster 

whose lips are these

did they kiss 

before they were grafted to my face

this attitude to the kiss

where did it come from

what cultural imperative 

was infused into my brain

to tell me the power of the kiss

 

I look down at this body

ruminate about this brain

all the things woven into 

my sense of self

that I don’t know were they originated

though I know they are controlled

by attitudes I can’t alter

 

the history of dominant needs

sutured to my ideologies 

as seamlessly as these lips

as these hands

which send ripples of fear

through the global villagers

 

a monster created in their minds

moving in this world

asking them

are your lips yours

or have they too been grafted

seamlessly

as you groped with those hands

(your hands?)

into adulthood

 

Stepping away from the Rules for a break 🙂 Each October I’ve been writing poetry inspired by horror movies. I’ve been a fan from an early age – ghost stories, spooky stuff had a distinct appeal for me. I can’t pin-point an actual age or movie that sparked my interest. Maybe it was ghost stories at Y camp?

 

One approach is to see the world from the creature’s point of view. This is the most famous monster of all – Frankenstien’s creation. I’ve given him a more introspective sensibility that is even present in the novel. In the book he is quite chatty & thanks to his bad brains, rather vengeful. My creature is stitched together from similar parts from movies, books & shoe-gazer angst.

He questions the sociological construct of the kiss, of the sense of self. The sort of questioning that many non-conforming gender people often go though as they sort though the history of dominant needs. LGBTQ people often end up with a sense of sexual self that they have to put together for themselves. How do you adapt this self to a culture that says self-acceptance still doesn’t change the fact that you are fucking monster that can send women & children screaming when you go to the washroom.

Part of the fear of the monster is often how it makes us question our own sense of self. Are these my lips. Is this kiss, is this gender, me or is it a cultural costume I wear to fit in, fit in so well there’s no need to make any decision. Why not accept the pre-made identity that allows us to conform so that we don’t scare even ourselves when we look into the mirror.

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Racism or Slut Shaming?

A friend of mine likes Philippine men. Over the years he’s had sex with blacks, whites, latino and now finds he’s enjoying Filipinos more than the others – he wonders if that makes him a racist. Has he fetishized race?

bluedino

lose those jurassic attitudes

There has been, & will be a lot written about eroticizing skin color. I’ve come across rants about Asian men who don’t understand why other Asian men don’t find them attractive – how black men who like white guys only are buying into a cultural bias that only white is beautiful. I heard a brilliant spoken-word piece by a Vietnamese man in love with a white man that said ‘I’ve been taught that your skin is beautiful.’

So when my friend questions his Filipino preference I really can’t say if he is racist or not. I look at my own rather limited sex experiences and they have (& still do) span the globe. The trouble is if you admit to liking men of many types, races, sizes, shapes you aren’t considered liberal but a slut with no sense of value.

blackwall

white & black & hard

With the current wave of gender analysis it seems even my particular cismale sexual preference for other cismales is suspect – it comes from cultural values I should have the intellectual ability to cut through – or something like that. It echoes the argument that the fact that gay men do not find straight women sexually attractive is misogyny. By extension if I do not find, say, a trans sexually alluring its clear I’m transphobic.

brownwood

busted

I can’t help but think this comes down to a cultural bias about sex itself, not about color, gender or class – a bias in which pleasure is devalued and those that don’t also devalue it are self-indulgent sluts with no values. Because I don’t have values doesn’t mean I’m worthless 🙂

sample

FWB

 

‘I feel guilty’

his cock clearly had so such qualms

neither did mine

‘but I was so fucking horny’

whatever

‘he’s a nice guy’

 

yeah they all are

but there are times

when nice isn’t enough

nice doesn’t have

that little something extra

the dash of guilt

because I’m sure

we’re doing pretty much what

he does with his nice guy

 

the new guy

the one he started dating

a few months ago

they both agreed

not to sleep around

as they built a commitment to each other

which was fine by me

fwb meant that

those benefits could end

I was fine with that

not that I didn’t like

have affection for him

 

but sexual ownership

isn’t a part of my emotional make-up

as far as I’m concerned

commitment built on sexuality fidelity

is already on shaky ground

so when he contacted me

after a few months

of the new relationship

they were still dating

sleeping over now & then

I wasn’t surprised

 

I didn’t tsk tsk

didn’t pry into how things were going

that fact that he said

‘I feel guilty’

was already too much information

 

we did what we knew

satisfied each other

if this was sex out of the box

I might understand his need for guilt

but it wasn’t

it was ordinary suck fuck fun

for which I felt no guilt

merely a little come sticky

until I got home

to wash myself clean

thanks