Nine Lives

Nine Lives

O when I was nine

I was still a child

there was no instant communication

news travelled slow

on the radio   TV news   newspapers

delay that provided an innocence

I knew about war

because my Dad had fought in one

he was a man

my mother was a woman

I was a boy child

who only knew what the culture 

of the time

reported of my gender 

 

O when I was nine

I wasn’t aware of so much

I did know I wasn’t like other boys

I played backlot-baseball

I played with dolls

I  wasn’t the son my dad expected

I didn’t like to fight

like other boys

I never understood 

why physical violence was required

to be accepted

 

O when I was nine

I had indulged in sex play

with boys and girls

looking at the differences

anatomy I didn’t understand

the boys where more interesting

I didn’t come out

but I knew shame

when we were caught

I had fear

but no closet

sex was dirty regardless

of gender

 

O when I was nine

I don’t know I was swimming

that I was making waves

as I dog-paddled from nine to nineteen

by that time I knew

these were dangerous waters

 

O at nine there was only

the fear of getting caught

not the fear

of my culture drowning me

like an unwanted litter of kittens

that were denied their nine lives


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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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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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Beat The Clock

Beat The Clock

1

moonlight so blue

it left no trace

on my skin

as his fingers

followed the flow

of the edge

where the blue

became pale flesh

the flow

where finger tips

were replaced 

with

teeth biting

 

2

this is not the time

no one will tell you

when the time is right

but when it’s wrong

you are told not what to do

but never what to do 

you’ll never be assured

because

everything you do is wrong

of course

over time

the right way becomes the wrong way

 

there is a right way

it’s for you to figure out

no one will tell you how

only punish you

for each and every mistake 

love will be withheld

opportunity will be denied

without explanation

no explanations will be forthcoming

until you do it right

perfectly

 

giving up is not an option

this is not the time

to give up

even if you don’t 

have the time

even if you don’t

give a fuck about what time it is

even if 

you don’t have anything 

to give up

you can beat the clock

but time always wins

and that bites

This piece is a little disjointed, so don’t worry about trying to make the two parts fit 🙂 They do but I don’t have the time to explain how. Both were prompted by the same rule. I wasn’t that happy with the first take so left it. The next day I took another run at. Part 1 is a sort of romantic, sensual moment that verges on gay greeting card. Pretty. In editing it I’ve made it a little less generic with the last last line. It could stand on its own.

Part 2 is a partially a play on words and partially a comment on assumptions. I have met an endless number of people in recovery who felt that when they were younger they missed the class where one was taught how to live & be happy. I often felt I lacked some key piece in the puzzle of emotionally relationships – apparently the same piece millions of people think they lack. A piece that no one can give them because everyone is looking for it 🙂 

 

Many on that search find fault with others on that search. Everyone is wrong when no one is right. We live in a culture where the ideal of the right ONE rules advertising, sitcoms, romcom – the search for the key to a last relationship. To opt out of that ‘search’ is nearly impossible. If one does they are seen as arrogant, misanthropic, and destined to be incomplete humans, failures at life. So giving up is not an option.

In editing I rearranged lines, added some, cut some and came up with an ending that is logical (to me) if a bit too clever. I like echo as a way of resolving a poem so the end of part two echoes the end of part one.


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Point of View: Camera

Point of View: Camera

I turn off the sound

mute evidence

is easier to ignore

if I could turn off

the bottom of the screen scroll

I would do that

 

I see the images clearer

when I can’t hear

the inane babbling of announcers

underlining what is flickering

I don’t want to witness 

this camera-shaped reality

any more than I want to eyewitness 

these events

 

I can’t look away though

that would be denial

I have to admit these things happen 

are happening

regardless of a spin

that results in no one being accountable 

except the victims 

it is clearly their fault

for being where the camera is pointing

 

I’m fine with that

as long as the camera

never points at me


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Shell of a Man

Shell of a Man

a woman got up 

stood at the subway exit door

I got up

stood behind her

she glanced briefly 

over her shoulder

she exited

I followed

up the stairs

outside the station

we both turned to the left

both crossed in the same direction

turned down the same side street

then another

 

I walked faster

to pass her

she walked faster

to escape me

we crossed at the same point 

she was practically running

 

I slowed 

saddened by what had happened

saddened

by merely being a man

she felt threatened

because my house

was along her route

 

this gender

this skin

is a shell that shouldn’t crack

a bowl to carry me through life

that doesn’t get questioned

doesn’t get handled roughly

directly

thanks

to my entitlement

of not having to worry

to apologize

for what isn’t my direct doing

 

I didn’t create this cultural context

in which women

fear men

yet I feel guilt

should I have taken a different way home

when I saw us walk 

in the same direction 

is her fear 

her insecurity

now my fault

 

how different from her

am I

I get the same anxiety 

when my sense of security 

is confronted 

by my assumptions of strangers

do young men alarm me

simply because they are young

how did age become weaponized

how did skin colour become weaponized

 

the world is on alert

trust no one

justify that lack of trust

by falling back on distorted news

by a history 

that suppresses facts in favour of controllers

by not acknowledging any complicity

in making them look pure 

not driven by greed

by the need to control

 

I just wanted to walk home

take my shoes off and relax

not feel the fragility of this shell

This was prompted by an actual event, or rather events, because this isn’t the first time this has happened – me and a random lone female getting on then off the subway train at the same time, walking in the same direction, as the same time. I’m always paranoid that as we walk she’ll stop, unknowingly at the sidewalk to my house, and confront me, mace me, kick me in the balls. 

So far no such confrontation has occurred. I don’t know of a way of reassuring anyone, of making myself appear non-threatening when this happens. At times I have not crossed where I usually cross but the defiance to my house is less than 5 minutes so there’s no real way to not go in the same direction. This reaction to her paranoia – I say her, as I’ve never happens when such accidentally-in-the-direction occurs with men.

I have female friends who tell me they have felt unsafe when a man walks behind them at night on the street. It saddens me. It one of the memento when I confront the this cultural context of fear. I feel very safe on the street at night, alone, but that is because I’m a man – not because I am necessarily safe – there have been shootings & stabbings all along the Danforth.

I have to admit though that I am less inclined go out at night unless I have a destination I want to get to. Even less inclined in the winter – icy, snowy, sidewalks can be treacherous enough in daylight – if slip and fall I want someone to see me asap. But the war on pedestrians is another issue.

In the piece I also look at this culture of paranoia regarding race & age. I have a black friend who still, in 2019, gets watched when he goes into a corner store. There’s a couple of corner shops in this area with signs that say ‘one student at a time.’ We have a US president who wants to build a wall to further the demonization of Mexicans (rather than rebalance the profit driven economy) – now that blacks have become a less sensational target.

Yeah a lot of that actually through my head when I’m accidentally going in the same direction as a woman. Sometimes I rather stay home at night than confront all that.


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O Patriot

O Patriot

it wasn’t a war

of ideology our defence 

it was a battle

for the sake of the economy

manufacturing jobs for profit

selecting the undesirable 

sending them off to die

to reduce the surplus population

to spare those that could

afford not to go to war

so they could stay at home

reap the financial rewards

of others’ sacrifices

 

if you were a true patriot

you wouldn’t resent their sneers

real men die

to improve the lot of others

whose lot

is already better than theirs

and are grateful for the opportunity

to prove they are good for something

 

it wasn’t a war

to prove what a patriot you were

or to make a man of you

all the thanks you’ll get

are divisive sneers

for your Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

stop being a cry-baby

it makes them feel guilty

about their profit margins


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The Pleasure of No

The Pleasure of No

this was the power dynamic

my pleasure

was to be in getting him off

that’s it

nothing was given in return

except the opportunity

to get him off

 

he felt that was enough

that it should be enough

yet it wasn’t enough

for me

after the first few times

 

when I said no

he didn’t ask what could he do

to shift this power dynamic

so I told him anyway

but he wasn’t interested

in what didn’t get him off

so I wasn’t interested

which became my fault

wasn’t his cock nice enough

didn’t he thank me enough

 

my answer was yes yes

but I wanted more

in this exchange 

when that more wasn’t forth coming

my pleasure 

was the power of no

 

 

Entitlement manifests in many ways: if you are wealthy enough rules of politeness do not apply to you; if you are white & cute enough to can get away with murder (literally). I read of one politician who refused to pay for food at a restaurant because his reputation was so great people would flock to that place eat because he had eaten there – now that’s entitlement in action.

 

This piece is about that power dynamic in dating/sexual interaction. Often I engage with men who feel that their cock size, or their sexual technique, permits them to be the centre of of my attention – yet if I objectify them as ‘big dick’ they feel used, they are a person after all. When I suggest I too have attention wants they are ‘you are too needy.’ Pointing out the paradox isn’t helpful.

I told one man that I wanted more than ‘a good fuck’ to keep me interested. His reply was that he understood, that we could become friends, with benefits (for him.) He didn’t ask – what more can I do to be more sexually engaging – he figured his dick was enough to satisfy all my sexual needs. I said, ‘you could suck my dick’ – he looked at me as if I was a fool to think he’d ever suck a dick.

 

I stopped responding to his messages. I’m not designed to be a sex educator, to be someone who teaches better communication skills to horned up men. One guy I did block opened a new profile with a new name and started messaging me again about how much his misses etc. New name but the same approach doesn’t equal entitlement. No.


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The Facts of Life

The Facts of Life

I am a man

in a man’s body

there was a time

when I doubted this

a time when gender was fixed

by cultural controlled behaviours

men felt this and only this

women felt this and only this

 

to explain

variations in object desire

people were reduced

to data that was used to explain

what didn’t fit

so that men

in men’s bodies

who desired other men’s bodies

were actual women in men’s bodies

genders misplaced

trapped and looking for release

 

that a man would desire another man

could be explained

in terms of heterosexual norms

because only a woman

could would should

have sexual desire for a man

 

when I realized I desired men

I accepted that theory

I was a woman trapped in a man’s body

though it never made sense

but it was deemed more reasonable

than man to man attraction

the data proved that

yet my human experience

refused to conform to that data

 

I tried on the dress

I pushed my butch button

swagger not sashay

I couldn’t conform

or commit 

to prevailing theories of the time

 

I changed

accepted that I am is this

undefinable entity

such is life

I am a man

in a man’s body

who is attracted

to men’s bodies

I’m not a theory

merely a fact of life


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See You Later, Calculator

See You Later, Calculator

his look

calculated my worth

the cost of my shoes

was the measure

of his interest

his respect would be gauged 

by the tailoring of my shirt

by the cut of my jeans

by what he could see

and what he saw

clearly wasn’t up to his standards

which were clearly

the only ones that mattered

 

not that he was superficial

by any stretch of the imagination

he could discuss Hegel

he knew the Chinese poets

but would discuss them

with those whose status

was equal to his

my shoes just weren’t up to it

 

even though they were new shoes

even though my sheets

were freshly washed

they just didn’t have 

the right thread count

to support my point of view

as far as he was concerned 

 

once again

being poor pays off

In summer, one of the men I see, wears flip-flops & will take transit wearing them to my place for play. The thought going nearly barefoot on Toronto’s public transit, even walking on the sidewalks, fills me with, I want to say loathing, but with trepidation.  For one thing I hate flip-flops on men, in particular, anywhere other than pool side. This digression serves a prelude to my writing of this piece.

I do judge people by their footwear. I’m not as calculating at the ‘his’ in the piece though. I’m willing to overlook footwear if the wearer is otherwise presentable. One gets used to staring at shoes in transit to avoid actually looking at people. But the wrong shoes can unbalance a nice look. I avoid snap judgments. For me nice means shoes in decent shape in accordance to the rest the attire. Construction worker with battered Kodiaks is fine – stilettos with sweats is trashy 🙂

But I have meet people like the protagonist of this piece. Some are clerks in men’s wear stores who gauge their service, or lack thereof, according to my wear. I’ve encountered participants at various workshops who do the same thing. The better tailored the shirt I wear the more respect I get. I know the power of the button.

I’ve also met men who gauge prospect sex partners by thread-count. One man I saw briefly took great pleasure in talking about the amazing penthouse condo one of his conquests lived it & the man’s satin sheets. No satin in my house, at least not for bedding. He did know the Chinese poets & was ‘impressed’ when I pulled out an anthology of them to check out his favourites. I was not impressed. 

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