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

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Cadaver Dogs

DNA Traces

did he live here

there

he tended gardens

the cadaver dogs

are nosing the rose bushes

the lilacs

he planted here

there

 

each was his place

refuge or hideaway

haven or grave

the men who know

will only talk

if their bones are found

traces of their dna

say

we were here

there

 

we now live in a digital world

symbols

of the discarded

the disappeared

never to be reported

not missed until

their remains were found

 

men with hidden sexuality

now with hidden bones

senses of self

some homeless 

before they were lifeless 

 

cadaver dogs are on the trail

some families still deny

their complicity

in a culture

denies its complicity

shaming sexuality into hiding 

long before those bones

were stripped of flesh

before being hidden 

perhaps

never to be found here

there

This is one of several pieces I wrote in response to the search & capture of the serial killer of gay men. Other pieces looked at the media response to the search, others to the denial that there was even a serial killer. Part of that inability/unwillingness was due the the social status of many of the victims. By social status I mean homelessness or immigrant. If you are homeless no notices you are gone.

As the piece says some weren’t missing until their remains were found. Some remains were of men reported missing but whose closeted culture didn’t include their sexuality. The murderer was found when he killed a white male who had people who missed him immediately. They were unafraid of immigration policies, weren’t so imitated by police, that they reported him missing.

Their insistence & persistence – putting up posters, searching themselves – lead to the eventual capture of the murderer. The murderer preyed not only on these’s men sexuality but also the shame that kept, for some of them, their sexuality a secret from families & friends. They were murdered a much by that culture of shame as they were by the actual hands of the killer.

The vicitms: Selim Esen, Abdulbasir Faizi, Majeed Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam

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You Never Know Where He’ll Pop Up Next

You Never Know Where He’ll Pop Up Next

you saw the face of Christ

in a piece of toast

yet you don’t own a toaster

you can’t even boil water

you have enough trouble

opening a granola bar

 

why was it only the face

was the slice of bread

too small 

to hold His entire body

was the holy toaster

limited to specific body parts 

 

was it the result of

ancient aliens

who after they built the pyramids 

designed a toaster

specifically to replicated

the face of Christ in toast

a face that seems rather caucasian

for an ancient alien

 

beside you aren’t the first 

to have seen the face of Christ

where it doesn’t belong

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Your Special Place

Your Special Place

we’re doing this

for your own good

think of this cell 

as your special place

a safe haven

from everyone around you

where no one is around you

no one to judge

mock

manipulate you

 

a place where you can be

yourself

regardless of how difficult 

others will find that self

they won’t have to learn

how to get along with you

nor will you have to compromise

in any way to fit in

 

isolation 

will make everyone happy

comfortable

because being comfortable 

is better than accepting change

“Go to your room.” was never a punishment to me but an escape. Not that I had anything to escape from but I was in a space where there was no direct outside force defining me expect, maybe, the need to do my homework. I fantasized at time about being in prison, based on my limited exposure to movies & novels about life behind bars, & thought being stuck in solitaire wouldn’t be such a bad thing expect for the lack of sunshine.

This piece spring from some of that but also it’s a look at the power of the ‘spin.’ How was isn’t anyone’s best interest is made to appear as if it come form a good place. Think of the colonizers who couldn’t convince native that western ideas were better than their native ways. Wear clothing your shameless savage – clothing that we will not only for you to wear but will sell you – because consumerism is good for the economy. Besides it says in the Bible you shalt not be bare-assed in the presence of the Lord.

There is a difference between isolation & neglect. Prisoners in solitaire know someone will be there daily to check on them daily. I’ve had friends who died alone in their apartments & their bodies weren’t found for weeks, months in one case & then only because the rent hadn’t been paid. No one missed them. That is a worse form abuse than solitary confinement. They, for whatever reasons, weren’t able to stay connected with the community around them because they were ‘difficult.’

One of the cunning tricks of isolation is that can become addictive, a way of disengaging from a world one isn’t comfortable with. Some prisoners deliberately ensure that they will be place in solitary to avoid having to cope with hostile environment of prison. 

This piece ends on an ambiguous note – who is that has to change? The person who doesn’t want to compromise or the culture that wants them to fit in.

 



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Nice Shoes

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Nice Shoes

1

I don’t compliment 

unless I mean it

a compliment is not flirting

a compliment is not a threat

a compliment is not a come on

is not another condescending 

patriarchal comment

based on cultural imposed definitions

of what is pretty 

handsome 

acceptable

2

I don’t compliment

it gets quickly misunderstood

misrepresented

one never knows

what damage the other person is carrying

sometimes nice smile

triggers the weight of history

nice hair

becomes inappropriate

3

I am leery of a compliment

it often has an agenda

of not-so-subtle manipulation

after all they like your poem

so it’s only fair

you read their unpublished manuscript

to decline turns the compliment

to a complaint

about some poets being

full of themselves

4

I’d rather be full of myself 

than build a sense of worth

on empty compliments

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The Keys To Sense of Purpose

Nothing To Lose

I was sure I left it there

it was there the last time I looked

I haven’t seen it

have you looked in here

have you looked anywhere 

or did you expect me to know

to keep an eye on things

without being asked

I don’t know where it is

I have more important things to do

no I didn’t move it

I didn’t see anyone take it

this is where I usually put it

I can’t leave the house without it

it can’t be replaced

there’s no reason for it to be moved

it has to be here always

it’s the perfect spot for it

it didn’t move itself

did it fall to the floor

is it under here

is it upstairs

did you even bring it with you

did you leave the house without it

you can always get a new one

it was time to move on

time to let go

of the hold of things

free yourself of objects

find a place

where there is nothing to lose

nothing to be looked for

nothing to be hidden

and everything

to be revealed

This piece is part list poem – various thoughts on misplacing something & usually not realizing until one is leaving, in a hurry but can’t got without it. I have a spot by my front door where I always put my keys, my sunglasses etc. Before heading out I have to make sure I have everything in my pockets or shoulder bag before I leave. Gone are the days of just putting a jacket & going somewhere.

 

By everything I mean phone, camera, coffee cards, credit cards, points cards, wallet (I no longer carry credit cards with my $), sometimes iPod, Kindle & something else, but I can’t remember what. If one of those items isn’t where I think I put it then I can’t leave without it. I change jackets and/or shoulder bags from day to day, so have to remember to transfer from one to the other.

 

Not too long ago I misplaced my Starbucks gold card. I searched every item of clothing I was wearing the last time I used it, shoulder bags were emptied, jacket pockets turned inside out, I checked the shop to see if I dropped it there. No where to be found. I went to the website to get a replacement but that process was endless & so I think I applied for a replacement but didn’t get even an auto-response so I must have done something wrong? 

The getting out a credit card out comes the Starbucks card stuck to it – I had tucked the card into a different part of the wallet than I usually do & never checked sufficiently the tiny tight compartment. It did mean I avoided Starbucks for a week or so, no big deal. The replacement never arrived, just as well, right.

Anyway back to this piece. It wavers between the list & a bit of a dialogue of being accused for losing whatever is lost – I didn’t see anyone take it. It take a slight philosophic turn with ‘free yourself of objects’ – to free myself of Starbucks wouldn’t be such a big thing. It delves into the mystic for the ending. What we can’t find may not be hidden or lost. 


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Snapped – Slapped

samprules2

Snapped – Slapped

some people

are just asking for a slap

you know what I mean

so I snapped & slapped 

it was so fast

I hardly felt it

but it worked

it shut them up

for a few minutes

a few scant moments of bliss

of silence

there wasn’t even an echo

of the slap

my hand hardly felt it all

you know what I mean

if it doesn’t hurt me

it surely didn’t hurt them

other than a bit of humiliation

in front of the others

I know to be slapped

is a social thing

if we were alone

I doubt if a slap would have happened

but with an audience

what else could I do

to teach them a lesson

about what I’m unwilling to put up with

boundaries have to be established

so I slapped

I would do it again

only harder the next time

you know what I mean

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Picture This 

Cast Aside

I take the picture

I point the camera

that’s it

 

the subject is usually in focus

it remains as I found it

I resist the temptation

to get it into better light

 

resist the temptation

to add to the scene

or take away from it

 

I don’t seek perfection

but let things

fall where they will

stationary in a context

that I didn’t create

 

the broken chair

the mattress still wrapped in plastic

never used

cast aside 

 

I take the picture

the subject tells the story

the picture tells you

nothing about me

 

I’ve blogged a few times about how my relationship to world was changed by my cameras. I started taking pictures when I read that blogs with photos get more hits. I didn’t want to use photos I found on  line – copyright mainly but also I didn’t want to spend time hunting down the right photo. 

 

 

I have a decent eye for composition but I am a point & shoot photographer. I didn’t want blog of typical images which forced me to be more selective & almost fetishistic in what caught my lens’s attention. Texture & pattern are my prime subjects – texture found in things usually thrown away – shoes, clothing, toys, dishes etc.

I love finding cast off doors, art, empty frames, bathtubs, aquariums, ironing boards & specially lps. Or objects one wonders why they have been thrown away, or perhaps left for the scavengers. I hav passed stuff on my walk & it was gone on my return in less than an hour. But with bed bug scare somethings just remain until garbage men remove them. 

The pictures I post on my blog are somewhat random. I don’t look for the right picture to go with the content – too much work. I figure people will make their own story around the pictures anyway. Because, as the song says, every picture tells a story. But the pictures here rarely tell you anything about me, even when they are pictures of me.


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Stop Pointing


Stop Pointing

you aren’t the boss of me

no one is

doing what pleases me

pleases me

sure others can’t get away with it

but some of us

don’t have to be bothered

with what is required

so stop pointing out

what you consider to be the right way

this way is my way

so get out of my way

let those who have to obey

obey

let those of us who are above

that sort of thing

do what ever we deem fit

and you can deal 

with the mess we leave behind

at least we’re leaving you something


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Better To Be Talked About

People Talk

people talk

it doesn’t matter about who

the truth isn’t as relevant as 

the opportunity for spite

in fact the worse the better

who wants to believe the best

about anyone

when the worst is so much more interesting

it’s important to bring the good

down a peg or two

who do they think they are anyway

they aren’t any better

than the rest of us

even if they aren’t one of us

even if we we would never

do what we say they’ve done

we see through their facade

the sooner they get caught the better

no one is innocent

merely uncaught

 

The 227 Rules for Monks are often variations on each other – who knew micromanagement was part of the simple life – as a result some of these pieces are variations too. Part of the challenge of using the rules as prompts is to push harder against the restrictions of the variations – much like classical composers or jazz musicians or improv comedy I let things spin then edit – if I ever pull these pieces together for a collection I’d edit out the the repetitions.

 

The title of this came last but it reflects the nature of  our relationship with the press, which hasn’t changed since Oscar Wilde’s day. As is made clear by the current US president who gloats ever getting all the bad press he can generate. He has becomes an easy target for people to vent at – how much of that venting is sincere & how much is merely an opportunity for spite.

 

Stand-up comedy is almost entirely based on slavering cruelty. You could take routines from the 50’s, change names of targets & they’d fit in today. All that is different the level of anatomical vulgarity – the ten mother-fucking words one couldn’t say are now words you hear on cock-sucking sitcoms today 🙂

 

The piece is also about the emotional need that gossip fulfills, giving ‘us’ the opportunity to, momentarily, feel superior to those we gossip about – though sometimes it is tinged with envy – wishing we could get away with how the President consistently gets away with it. In today’s world it seems to be better to get caught & get away with it than not to get caught.


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