Sydney Academy 2

 


I remember some of the teachers: Mr. Miller known as Jolly Miller behind his back who taught mathematics: algebra, trigonometry _ I excelled at the first & got lost with the second. Two English teachers stand out as well. Mr. Mould – an English gentleman whose accent we all tried to imitate. Rather staid & he always favoured the memorizers. Miss Laura Donaldson: perhaps my favourite English teacher who was sarcastic, challenging & stern. The English literature we were taught was never modern though. Dickens was as up to date as it got.

The other teacher I can’t forget is Mr. Mills who taught phys-ed at all grade levels. We had to have our gym shoes whitened properly for every class, we lined up for shoe & sock inspection, as well fingernails. Boys & girls got separate gym classes, to keep those raging hormones under control. We were never taught about how to control them expect avoidance. There was no sex ed that I recall.

I stumbled through basketball – never learned a lay up. Managed volley ball, hated gymnastics, found wrestling confusing – thanks to my raging hormones 🙂 After gym there were communal showers where I always washed as fast as possible, keeping my eyes on the floor to avoid slipping on soap suds. Our lockers were assigned so I changed next to the same boys each term. It was here I saw lots of different cocks, saw that some were darker skinned than the rest of the body, saw public hair, hairy chests, hairy legs.

There lots of taunting & bragging. Because I was crappy at every sport, except badminton, I was derided for not being good at basketball etc. There was no physical abuse though. In fact I experienced little of that but there was lots of verbal abuse in the halls.

My sense of style surfaced in high school. I had some paisley shirts, the first seen in the school. My hair was longish & Mr. Mills frequently suggested I get a haircut. I remember seeing a band on TV wearing shirts with cuffs & collars that matched so I had my mother cover the collar and cuffs of one my shirts with some polka dot fabric. I loved it. Another time I had her sew epaulettes on a shirt for me. The teasing increased & escalated to shoving. I didn’t back down.

Suffocating

me face down flat on the floor

me: fifteen

the floor: high school gym

pine slats and the smell of socks

 

lift from the waist

me lifting sweating

I could do this much of the class

I felt safe in one spot

not facing anything   anyone

 

now roll over

this was a little worse

I could see the other guys in my class

but I’m still safe

in one spot on the floor

 

I dreaded it all so much

I’d arrive at school in my gym clothes 

to avoid the change room

okay on your feet boys

we groaned up

jumping jacks

 

I was still safe in one spot

I could keep up with this

it was basketball that did me in

where I could never remember left from right

never could manage a lay up

traveling with the ball – whatever that was

I would pass whenever I could

sometimes I’d fall to get out of the way

 

but that fear was merely prelude 

to what I dreaded the most

the showers

I’d yank my glasses off right away

soft focus everyone

into naked fuzzy forms

I would slink in as small as I could

rinse down

dart back to my locker

keep my eyes to the floor – to faces

but there was always someone too close

someone I couldn’t keep from focusing on

when I was trying not to look

at hair everywhere on some of them

asses backs around their balls

 

I would dress barely dried off 

rush up the stairs and outside

to breath

to keep from drowning 

in the damp desires

that were suffocating me

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every Tuesday 2019

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Sydney Academy 1



After graduating from Woodill the next step up the educational ladder was Sydney Academy – the big boys school. Senior High grades 10 – 11- 12. This was a was a relief mainly because although there were hills they weren’t as steep as the ones down Royal Ave. The walk was much shorter.

One building I remember is the dry cleaners, Snow White Laundry, which was directly across the street from the front entrance. It had a wall painting of, of all things, Disney’s Snow White & some of the dwarves. Looking out the windows facing Terrace St it was the one thing one always saw. The wall painting eventually went – maybe Disney copyright lawyers threatened to sur.

The main entrance doors were for teachers & visitors. We students entered around the side where the parking lot was. No lining up by classes. We had homerooms & moved from class to class, as opposed to the teachers moving from room to room. At Colby & Ashby we remained in one classroom the whole semester. Woodill may have been the same one room but I can’t recall. 

The building was larger than Woodill’s. Some students being bussed in. It was Sydney’s main public senior high – there was a Catholic equivalent – which was the school’s main sports rival. The school had a huge gym, a major phys-ed program that included basketball, volley ball, gymnastics. It did have a hockey team as well but that was a separate entity for boys who qualified for the team.

The school had science labs, woodworking & metal workshops & probably ones for domestic sciences as well. Lots of extra-curricular activities like Jr. Red Cross, Drama club etc. There was a cafeteria on the basement level, which is where the lockers rooms & showers for the gym were. Sock hops were held in this area too.

The social context was totally different from Woodill with the mix of students from across the city. It wasn’t particularly diverse though. Sydney did have a large black population but they were ‘confined’ to the Whitney Pier area – which, I think, had its own senior high. 

Coming next week: troubling locker room memories

Square Root

I wished him dead

every time I sat in his class

I wished he were dead   buried

not someone I had to face every day

 

I would only have to glance up at him

writing formulas on the black board

the drone of his voice 

and wish him dead

 

he would always call on me

to read out what he had written

I picture his brain exploding

bloody cosines gush from his nose

all over his spotless white shirt

 

I wanted a sharp steel edge 

on my protractor

to cut out his heart

save the class from algebra trig calculus

his stories of sailing

how he figured directions 

with his slide rule

 

die die die

so we can figure out the angle

to bury you so your rotting corpse

will slump into your penny loafers

bones a jumble of secants 

and underpants

 

the formula on the board

meant nothing to me

it could have been written in flame

blah blah squared 

equals something degrees

 

my feet burning by the time I sat down

he would pat me on the shoulder

say   you seem to be catching on

when I was really catching on fire

his abacus belt buckle at eye level

 

I’d stare at the rubble on my page

hope his hand would stay a bit longer

hope some of his knowledge could rub off

what was the angle of the dangle 

behind that zipper

 

if he were to die I wouldn’t have to wonder

about where to look 

when he stood so close

 

I leave the class

can’t remember a formula or anything

all I could see was that glint of belt buckle

and that wouldn’t be on the exam

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every Tuesday 2019

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


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September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

The Right Entrance

The Right Entrance

the girls

had their own school

a Catholic separate school

we’re talking 60’s – 70’s

Cape Breton

 

I don’t know if there was one

for Catholic boys

but the girls had their own

to protect them 

from the unruly attentions of boys

 

schools I went to were mixed

but there was

boys’ manual training

girls’ domestic science

separate entrances for boys for girls

mixed classes

but boys’ gym

girls’ gym

 

the best way to control

those masculine urges

was segregation

guys who got laid were men

girls who got laid were easy

girls who didn’t were teases

guys who didn’t 

bragged about doing it

or salivated endless about pussy

boobs

because they were men

 

never once

never

was there a sense

that the guys were in the wrong

it was only the girls 

who need to be protected

guys weren’t taught

to think differently

in fact

we were encouraged

to get a little

get laid

get into her panties

 

find’em

feel’em

fuck’em

forget’em

 

this was masculine prerogative

entitlement

a natural urge

that resented any attempt

to curb it

do you want your sons

to grow up to be fags

yeah sure

free and easy access

to pussy

is the cure for queer

 

yet I grew up

gay queer a fag

full of fear

yet sure of who I was

& who I wanted to have sex with

 

I tried dating

getting a little

getting a little wasn’t enough

to cure me of anything

so I forgot’em 

but I did learn 

which entrance

was right for me

This piece is a documentary. All of it is my high-school experience though some of the facts go back even further in my history. When my family moved to Cape Breton I was enrolled in a nearby school with a mixed gender & to a degree religious population. Entirely white as well I might add. Protestant with a scattering of Jewish students – who we knew were Jewish because of the many holidays they had.

It wasn’t until I got to high-school that I realized there was a separate school system for Catholics, particularly girls. Rather it was a high-school run by a teaching order of Catholic nuns. It wasn’t limited to Catholic’s as I think one of my sisters went there because it offered better secretarial training. A class that was never offered to boys – we did get an introduction to basic accounting though.

Beyond this religious segregation there was a gender divide in the rest of the school system for sports, non-academic vocational options – boys got manual training & shop; girls got domestic science & shopping. Most of the academic classes were mixed but there was separate entrances for grades & genders. 

Sydney did have a sizeable black community, as well as a large Native community – but we only saw them if our teams were playing against them. As best as I can remember there was no racial mix in my high school except for one, lone Japanese girl.

 

The four f’s ‘find’em’ was a real mantra usually used by ‘guys who didn’t but bragged about doing it’ The piece also reflects how gender doesn’t equate sexuality – that even though I had all this male behaviour example I turned out queer, having no queer male behaviour example to lure me into the unnatural side. 

The ‘entrance’ that was right for me? I’ll leave that to your imagination 🙂


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T.S. Eliot

Writing about ‘inspirations’ has me thinking about my high-school English literature courses where we had some Shakespeare, some Dickens – smattering of short stories (The Lady or the Tiger) and lots of verse, most of which I have no real recollection of, by the classics Tennyson, Shelly & the like. Ornate & fussy is all I recollect – though I have read them since as an adult & now merely find them lofty.

There was some Canadian poetry represented by E.J. Pratt, Robert Service – butch man’s writing. The only female I recall is the dainty Emily Dickinson. No actually modern poets except for T.S. Eliot. One it was his big hit: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. After the forced feeding of the sacred texts by Tennyson, Shelly – Eliot was a breath of fresh air.

Surreal imagery that used ordinary English but wasn’t a pop lyric. Did I understand him? Probably not, because trying to write an exam essay on this was a stuttering stumbling mess. The layers of meaning in his work was merely hinted at by our high-school English teacher. 

This was probably the same English teacher who told me I’d never be a writer because my spelling was ‘inventive’ and my grammar was hopeless. That teacher made me feel stupid. But I persisted.

I have Eliot’s collected poetry & plays in one book & his essays in another. Plus a biography. I’ve read them all. His essays are a bit too academic for me to say I enjoyed them. His poetry is more comic than one expects. reading it today I find him to be more sardonic than perceptive. Prufrock is much easier to ‘understand’ when seen as a humorous poem. The Waste Land has great comic moments as well. I re-read the poetry every three or four years.

What inspired me about him was his concise use of language to covey multifoliate meanings. His work isn’t melodramatic or high-flown the way the romantics became. He wasn’t confessional even while talking about himself. Narrative line was more stream of consciousness as opposed to story telling. He freed me find the shadows that fall between the words.

Calypso’s Cave

I want to return to Calypso’s cave

for more erotic instruction

the ways of love I had been taught

never seemed enough for this world 

 

like Lazarus I could not 

remain in the shelter forever

I cannot rely on Neptune

to fulfill all my body’s longings

 

released from his tender endless coil

onto this shore where

I am unsure of my welcome

unsure of my name

 

unsure of anything except

I need another seven years 

to prepare me for cities of silver glass

for the fumbling turmoil of men

 

who tumble excitedly 

grasping for quick satisfaction

not having the time

to indulge in the erotic lore

I have received and long to pass on

 

let me return to Calypso

for another seven time seven

this school of sorrow and longing

I have been cast into a world

that holds no secrets for me

or is this the next lesson 

 

pleasure isn’t the end 

only a beginning

sorrow isn’t the result 

only a symptom

 

as I wander these streets

I cannot feel the river’s flow

I see their mouths open 

but no water comes forth

 

I want to return with Neptune

after sailing seeking

from one golden fleece to the next

is there anyone awaiting me

 

or am I the one waiting

to bring new light the cave

where Lazarus wrote on its walls

Calypso’s joke

Neptune’s revenge

 

the lover of the world 

ready for love 

yet no river bed 

to lay my body on

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every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

https://www.facebook.com/TorontoGratitudeRoundup/

September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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Graduation Secrets

For the summer I’m going back to the series of pieces mythologizing my growing up in Cape Breton.

Graduation Secrets

at my highschool graduation

in my village

I was sworn to secrecy

to never reveal the names

of those men & boys

whom I learned to undress

some whose names I never did know

 

many had faces I had never seen

doing my sacred ceremony

in garages with no lights

even the windows were blocked

not to permit any glimpse

as with the strip clubs

the men were allowed pleasure

without identity

there were times

when all that was allowed

was the undressing

there could be no kissing

fondling

my hands were allowed

to close enough

for the over heated warmth 

of our bodies to be felt

the rest was only for the imagination

to fuel our dreams of what could be

but would never be

 

we sacrificed the joy of actual confirmation

to the will of the moose

not to give in

was a testimony to our belief

 

yet there were times

when the darkness was dispelled

faces were clear in the street light

that shone on the back seats

of abandoned cars

were I would sometimes meet

those whose need was great 

to be undressed by me

they would send me notes

tied to a robin’s leg

requesting my services

even then visual contact

was kept to a minimum

 

with the seal of the moose

burned into the instep of my left foot

I was always to remember the vow I took

to respect the sanctity

of other men’s fear

In high school I became a member of DeMolay, as sort of Jr. Free Masons group. The ceremonies associated it with were secrets we were sworn to keep as part of the induction process. The ceremonies were banal to the extreme & I can’t remember any of them, not even the secret handshake. So some of the ‘secret’ here comes from that memory.

There was also this secret knowledge that I supposed I would learn when I left high school. The key to being an adult – like the secret to success. As if finally being old enough to buy booze without a permit would uncork adulthood. There is also the secret of ‘don’t tell anyone.’ Then there’s the sexual secret of being queer with no one to tell it too.


This piece looks as some of the myths of secrets & the power they hold over our futures. What sex I had before coming out was always cloaked in being hidden, sometimes under the excuse of ‘we were so drunk’ Here my hero indulges in sex-capades in which anonymity is part of the ceremony, because in the village sex is a ceremony performed in the dark. If neither party sees the other the sacred is maintained, as well as the secrecy. Those secrets often scar us, a brand on the foot, in ways that are often near seen by others, or even ourselves.

It ends with a respect for secrets – no not respect buy for a willingness to keep them without judgement. I’ve seen & see married men who have this secret life. Yes, even today there are active gay/bi men who are in the closet – who for their own reasons don’t want to be out or outed. I don’t think it is a positive thing but I don’t judge them either. The sanctity of their fear is up to them to break.

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Ironing Man

 

Ironing Man

other than

shirts to the dry cleaners

no one has done my laundry

since I was old enough

to sort whites from coloureds

that I taught myself

one of those abilities

I never learned in school

or even at my mother’s side

 

I know how to sort

how to fold

but I’ve never figured out

how to iron

something my sisters learned 

in home ec or was it domestic science

all those things taught by gender

in high-school

 

typing and cooking and sewing for girls

hammering and cars for boys

but my sisters never ironed for me

they never cooked for me either

I figured out how to cook on my own

 

those things taught by gender

taught me gender

I discovered in manual training

I wasn’t man enough

to use a band saw or a table saw

those whirling blades

filled me with terror

filled my classmates with scorn

and the shop teacher with clear dismay

but at least I was spared the shame

of learning to iron

Another fact filled piece. The prompt was something about not accepting robes from anyone other than relatives and this is where it took me – into my past. I realized, once again, while editing it, that like so many people I know much of the information I learned in Cape Breton at high-school hasn’t been useful, though some of the discipline needed to learn has stuck with me. As well as the negative sense of self that took me decades to unlearn.

Shame was not a useful educational tool yet many of my teachers used it – ‘you’ll never a writer if you can’t spell’ said in front the class. Phys Ed was a nightmare (which I’ve written about already) of gymnastics, basketball and hairy butts. I wasn’t the worst in the class but I was close to the worst. I lacked coordination for everything except getting in & out of the shower as fast as possible. Guys who wrapped a towel around their waists were called Maid Marian – there was no Robin Hood though.

 

Woodworking shop was also a nightmare. Those machine scared me & the few times I used them scarred me emotionally. Fear robbed me of the upper arm strength to use the band saw. The wood just wouldn’t stay still when I tried to push it through.

 

If I could have opted for domestic science I probably would have. It seemed much more practical to learn how to cook, sew though the baby-rearing might have a bit much for me. Boy were not allowed to take that option. I hear this is where girls learned a bit about sexual biology. I learned all mine in dark garages.

I also learned I’d never be a real man until I could use a band saw properly. Thank God I never did.

 

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That Tone Of Voice

Chalk It Up To Experience

‘don’t use that tone of voice

young man’

grade seven

the visiting maths teacher

the one the guys in the class

called blubber boobs

oh oh blubber boobs this afternoon

hope she can see my homework

over those blubber boobs of hers

 

she came to our school three times a week

Miss Dunlop

we also had a Mrs. DeMoine

who came twice a week

to teach us French

we called her Madam to her face

and Mizdammit behind her back

Miss Dunlop was another story

with her small waist

and gigantic breasts

 

she was berating me

I hadn’t written my homework

in the strict form she required

I can’t remember my reply

nor can I recall my tone of voice

perhaps I had slipped into

that school yard sexual intonation

we used when talking about her

erasing the blackboard with her boobs

there’s chalk on them there hills

 

I stood silent before her

after she ordered me

not to use that tone of voice

I couldn’t even apologize

not knowing how to control

how I sounded

I did know it was pointless

to ague with her

like my mother

winning wouldn’t get me anywhere

all I’d prove

was that I was a smart mouth

not that I was smart

 

Miss Dunlop taught me well

it’s better to be thought stupid

than it is to prove a pointless point

This is the 4th of the saṃghādisesas. It practically wrote itself. School memories are usually great to revisit, even the unpleasant ones. This one was more embarrassing than unpleasant. Like many of these  ‘true to life’ pieces it is a composite of different moments as I struggled through school. Not all of them were in Grace seven.

In Cape Breton many schools had travelling special teachers for things like maths, art, music & French. Usually female, young & sometimes pretty. Each brought different routines, different disciplinary tactics – that usually involved getting one of the male teachers to tell us to behave. The guys would always joke about these teachers breasts or lack of them. The bigger the boob the greater the respect for some reason.

I was told, more than once, to watch the tone of my voice, but many of the guys got the same command too. As I say here I just didn’t know what was meant as I couldn’t hear myself talking and once I was told to watch my tone I couldn’t hear anything else for at least ten minutes. Being singled out never helped my focus or ability to absorb information.

Being made so self-conscious opting for silence was the only choice I could think of at the time. Confrontation would only result in one of the male teachers, or the vice-principal, being called for to keep us all in line. The vice-principal was prone to giving the entire class detention not just the ‘smart mouth.’ So keeping my mouth shut was as much due to peer pressure than anything else.

One result was that I became very dismissive of my actual voice. I hated to hear recordings of myself. If you’ve been one of the fortunate ones who have seen me perform you know I got over that 🙂

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And The #Winner Is

Another season of SYTYCD crowns this year’s favourite dancer – the judges stress there are no losers, how proud they are of each of the dancers etc etc etc but I wouldn’t want to be the grief counsellor for the the top three who don’t get crowned. It’s always a matter of personality in the long run but talent sure can help & the top four had lots of both. The winner Kida was no exception but he didn’t amazed me until his AfroJazz routine to Din Din Da Da. 13-pinkhat-01The judges favourite routines came as no surprise. For me they begin to blur into those momentary isolation locks, or hands reaching out for some distant ideal, or eyes peering at that same ideal, or a small fry being tossed round by their partner like a feathered boa. The competitors all delivered in any genre they were challenged with even when they didn’t quite get the finer points of say, ballroom technique. 13-blackmonkey-03As usual Can Dance introduces me to lots of fine music. Shawn McDonald’s Over the Rainbow reinvented that song, as did Sarah Vaughn’s take on Send In The Clown; DaDaDa was reinvigorated by Kevin Aviance’s take on it; Son Lux ‘You Don’t Own Me’ wow. I’m surprised there isn’t an annual compilation cd of the music or at least an iTunes site devoted just to the music so one doesn’t have to search for it after putting the show on pause just to write down the name of the song & the performer.13-blackshoe-03I enjoyed many things about this season. The next generation was a smart idea to refresh the show and I hope they got the audience numbers for another season. I love seeing the all-stars; Can Dance, the the Food Network, gives its past contestants lots of work even if they lose their particular season. I really like the episode where the kids did the choreography.

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I did get tired of the same judges every week. I suppose that was financial decision. But I missed Mary Murphy (none of these kids could be put on the tamale train I suppose). Toni Basil was probably too old school scary for this next generation. Reinventing the show can’t be easy. What next – the Geritol Generation?

sampleDancing and Necking

Lorna and I

moved around each other

to the push-n-shove of rock-n-roll

she was 14 and I was 15

that we were awkward didn’t matter

we were happy

as long as there was distance between us

at the first waltz we sat in the bleachers

after it was over

she pulled me into the dance

where we made windmills to the music

 

the boys not dancing

feigned a disdain of everything

they claimed to want to get some chick

outside into their Dad’s cars

Lorna and I laughed at them

as we caught our breath between songs

when another waltz came up

she pulled me tight to her

she smelled of roses

put her head on my shoulder

just like a song

I could feel her heartbeat

as we turned in small circles

her breasts pressed into me

my hand moved along her warm back

felt her bra strap

the mystery of undergarments

her head moved into my damp neck

I was startled when she licked my ear

 

I turned my face to hers

before I knew it we were kissing

turning in small circles

her tongue in my mouth

mine dizzy in hers

and I sighed

finally doing something

to prove that I was as much a guy

as those boys

who would never take

me out to their Dads’ carssoon

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on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

October  6 – Thursday Toronto, 7:30 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.hotoct

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November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

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December – Thursday Dec 1st – Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.divine

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

6DC0301

Early 2017:

my first local feature in over a year: location date TBA

it came in

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –

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check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

money

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Square Root

Square Root

I wished him dead

every time I sat in his class

I wished he were dead   buried

not someone I had to face every day

 

I would only have to glance up at him

writing formulas on the black board

the drone of his voice

and wish him dead

 

he would always call on me

to read out what he had written

I picture his brain exploding

bloody cosines gush from his nose

all over his spotless white shirt

 

I wanted a sharp steel edge

on my protractor

to cut out his heart

save the class from algebra trig calculus

his stories of sailing

how he figured directions

with his slide rule

 

die die die

so we can figure out the angle

to bury you so your rotting corpse

will slump into your penny loafers

bones a jumble of secants

and underpants

 

the formula on the board

meant nothing to me

it could have been written in flame

blah blah squared

equals something degrees

 

my feet burning by the time I sat down

he would pat me on the shoulder

say   you seem to be catching on

when I was really catching on fire

his abacus belt buckle at eye level

 

I’d stare at the rubble on my page

hope his hand would stay a bit longer

hope some of his knowledge could rub off

what was the angle of the dangle

behind that zipper

 

if he were to die I wouldn’t have to wonder

about where to look

when he stood so close

 

I leave the class

can’t remember a formula or anything

all I could see was that glint of belt buckle

and that wouldn’t be on the exam

house01

This is based on memories of my high school days. The teacher is question is a merge of a couple of male teachers I had at different times, in different years. One taught English for a year & was gone, the other taught chemistry, I think, here I’m a bit unsure. I do recall the writing of formulas and the bulk of shoulders.

These two stood out because they were young men both in their first year of teaching. All the other teachers were older men & women, some of whom I really did wish were dead, or at least sick for a month or so, so we would get a substitute. Preferably male.

house02

In high school it was pretty clear me that I was into men. Sneaking glances at cocks in the shower room before & after gym classes. In memory, one of those teachers presented a nice package when he leaned back against his desk to face the class to instruct. I’m not sure if he was at all aware of it though & if he was, it was probably for the benefit of the young ladies of the class.house03Math was not my strong point. Thank God for calculators. I know now it was more to train the brain in logic than to give me information for future use. I have never had to do a trig function since leaving high school. I was a lazy thinker even then, given to losing focus easily as my eyes wandered & wonder about ‘dangles.’house04

Much of the imagery comes from the adult writer, not from the teenager. ‘written in flame’ is a reference to the Ten Commandments – it adds a Biblical resonance to growing up queer. I love the title because by the time you get to the end of the poem you know exactly what root I wanted to square off with.

money

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burnt

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Suffocating

samples

Suffocating

me face down flat on the floor

me: fifteen

the floor: high school gym

pine slats and the smell of socks

lift from the waist

me lifting sweating

I could do this much of the class

I felt safe in one spot

not facing anything   anyone

now roll over

this was a little worse

I could see the other guys in my class

but I’m still safe

in one spot on the floor

 

I dreaded it all so much

I’d arrive at school in my gym clothes

to avoid the change room

okay on your feet boys and boys

we groaned up

jumping jacks

 

I was still safe in one spot

I could keep up with this

it was basketball that did me in

where I could never remember left from right

never could manage a lay up

traveling with the ball – whatever that was

I would pass whenever I could

sometimes I’d fall to get out of the way

 

but that fear was merely prelude

to what I dreaded the most

the showers

I’d yank my glasses off right away

soft focus everyone

into naked fuzzy forms

I would slink in as small as I could

rinse down

dart back to my locker

keep my eyes to the floor – to faces

but there was always someone too close

someone I couldn’t keep from focusing on

when I was trying not to look

at hair everywhere on some of them

asses backs around their balls

 

I would dress barely dried off

rush up the stairs and outside

to breath

to keep from drowning

in the damp desires

that were suffocating me

whitewrap

take a peak

This piece comes from my project of writing sweet memory pieces about growing up gay. Sexual memories that weren’t about molestation or queer bashings. This one is 100% real.

It starts what I know to be an almost standard phys ed memory for many non-jocks, regardless of sexuality. Yes, even straight guys are sometimes non-jocks and were awkward in gym class, hated being naked in front of anyone.

whitelight

go to the light

My high-school gym teacher was a Mr. Mills, he had a brush cut, when many of us were burgeoning hippies with Beatle cuts. My physical coordination was worse when I was being watched by him. But I did excel at one sport – badminton – really. Won a few trophies.

The whole shower/locker room scene is so true just reading it takes me back to it. Our lockers were assigned for the year so I frequently had a good look at Wayne Gaudet’s cock. Mine was white, his was very dark even though he wasn’t. I didn’t know how to find out why this was either. Who do you ask? Sir, why is his dick so brown when he isn’t?

greychair

have a seat

Being blonde my hairiness was invisible, so the hairiness of the dark haired guys was pretty clear to me, even with my glasses off. I was asked more than once if I shaved my legs. But those hairy legs were great jo material for me for years after. In fact they still are. Not those hairy legs of teenage memory, but those of adult Tumblr stars 🙂

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