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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Fault Finding

Fault Finding

what I let you to believe

isn’t necessarily true

you allow yourself be lead on

by your willingness 

to fill in the blanks 

with your own expectations

 

that resulted in this

misunderstanding

sure I could have pointed that out sooner

but you were so sure of yourself

contradicting you

seemed pointless

 

you can’t blame me

for you making it so easy

to lead you on

once I started

I couldn’t stop

you made no pause for me to stop

you took the wrong hint

ran with it

before I could stop you

and when I did

you were dumbfounded

refused to listen

you thought I was joking


now you know

I wasn’t to blame 

even if it was my fault


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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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Sleep Over

Sleep Over

no

I am not sleeping over

yes

I had a good time

a great time

I dig you

but to sleep over

is more of a commitment

than I’m ready for

besides

I don’t think I could sleep

with you so near

with you in bed

beside me

it’s challenging enough

to sleep with someone in the same room

let alone in the same bed

 

no

I doubt if I’ll ever sleep over

not if you expect

to get any sleep

I’ve tried to sleep, & by sleep I mean sleep not sex, with sex partners. I could doze off but it was not a deep sleep. When my partner & I first meet we did try sleeping in the same bed but after a week or so of crappy sleep we gave up. It wasn’t an issue for me – my parents had separate bedrooms for years. My mother was an owl – worked around the house at night, usually getting up around noon. My Dad was a sparrow up every morning. He would get us off to school, & when I was old enough that duty fell to me (but that’s another story).

I was involved in pharmaceutical drug testing for many years. The studies were always on location. There could be a group of up to 40 people, sleeping in the same room, usually in bunk beds. At one location there would be other studies at the same time so there could be up to 100 guys bunked in a room. (Women had their own sleep quarters). I did learn to sleep okay under those conditions.

I developed sleeping strategies – ear plugs, lavender infused handkerchief, restful music on my iPod. Sleeping whenever we weren’t being fed, or giving blood samples. Trust me the pay was good & the eye candy was always a bonus. But after a weekend or week or even, in a few cases, a month of a study I longed for the privacy of my own bed.

Traveling isn’t too bad. My first night in a hotel bed can be a bit restless but the rest of the nights I’m out like a light. I also use the above sleep tactics to help on that first night. 

None of the guys I am seeing have indicated that a sleep over would be welcome. Some of them would find it hard to explain a night away to their wives anyway. Others work shifts. None of them has the same sleep pattern as mine. Being in bed, to sleep, by 10:30 strikes them as puritanical. 


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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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Thine Is Not Mine

Thine Is Not Mine

they stood

all twenty or so

joined hands

to make a ragged circle 

of connection

they prayed aloud

in unison

the lord’s prayer

a fellowship of grace

that I believe is genuine

yet

as they stood

I stepped aside

hands behind my back

as they prayed

I remained silent

 

the holding of hands

is forced conformity

a kind of automatic

social codependency of inclusion

as much as I enjoy acceptance

of being a part of

it’s going to be on my worth

not on my compliance

 

I am present for spiritual connection

not physical

I remain silent

during the our father

partially out of respect 

for those who do believe

what I don’t believe

silent

partially because

of the context of that prayer

the history of

the controlling monolith of dogma

a greed driven

control fuelled 

relentless remorseless fire

that judged what it didn’t understand

as evil

a cultural genocide of disease

military power & might 

 

I’m not going to say

your pointless biblical prayer

just be grateful

I hold my tongue

& not your hand

Another piece about 12 Step recovery 🙂 Based my daily reality – no that I attend meetings daily but often enough. When I started recovery, this joining of hands in a circle wasn’t common but over the years it became de rigueur – a linking of energy in fellowship as a closing prayer was said, usually the ‘our father.’ 

I stopped saying that prayer early in my recovery for the reasons stated in the piece. At first I selected those portions I didn’t argue with but that was too much thinking so I opted for silence. But I would do the hand holding. Occasionally my silence would be noticed. Over the years the use of lord’s prayer has declined to the more inclusive Responsibility Pledge. 

When SARS hit I became less inclined to hold hands. I carried (& still do) hand sanitizer & used it regularly. Gradually I stopped handholding totally. Stepping back when possible. I saw it as a form of people-pleasing, co-dependancy. Most assumed it was my germ-a-phobia, which is fine by me. A few have asked & I’ve explained my reasoning to their blank stares. Germs they understand, my not wanting to physically link into the vibration of harmony that passes from hand-to-hand contact in the chain of humanity, didn’t reach them.

At first I was bit self-conscious but I got over that. I have had people try to pull me into the circle. I can say ‘I don’t hold hands’ without getting snippy or even even apologetic. My opinion of ‘the controlling monolith of dogma’ is not relevant to anyone but me, even when pressed I rarely go into that ‘depth’ of explanation. I’m not in recovery to school people on the history of religious damage. So excuse me while I sanitize my hands.


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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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Everyone Has One

Everyone Has An Opinion

his opinion was

irrelevant to me

not that he was

in fact I enjoyed

spending time with him

until he commented

on an item in the news

the item was not relevant

to why were naked together

 

as he went on & on

I was at first amused

then dismayed

offered a more moderate

point of view

which goaded him even further 

 

he was fun in bed

I choose to overlook his opinion

one I never asked for

& now that I knew it

there was no need to

know more about him

or his opinions

only when we might 

get together again

 

which we did eventually

and when we did

it was good

until he launched 

into an opinion

 

he spoke as one

who only listens

to those who agree with him

which I understand 

why spend time 

with people who argue with you

life is too short

 

I’m no one’s teacher

besides he knew what he knew

who was I to disagree

so

seeing him again

was no longer relevant

Sex & politics are often a bad mix. One of the traditions in 12 step recovery is that our opinions on outside issues are left outside of the room – the focus is on recovery not on who is running for x party. As in this piece, knowing too much about the other person can often change how we hear them. One things I’ve realized about myself is often I have no real opinions only smart-assed one-liners.

I don’t mind making chit-chat when I see a guy mind you but I stick to things like the weather, music, maybe TV shows we discover we both like – but I avoid politics, religion, etc. I can be judgemental when certain political, race, or even class options don’t coincide with mine. This guy, & this is a real experience, felt fine to spontaneously mouth off with his bigoted thoughts on both blacks & whites.

As I haven’t experienced the world as he has I didn’t argue but let him know I didn’t see some of these issues as he did. At least he wasn’t homophobic 🙂 The sex was great, but to be honest, that isn’t enough for me. Even in a FWB relationship I need some emotional &, I guess, philosophical connection.  He on the other had felt that because I wasn’t argumentative that we were compatible enough for his needs.

I stopped putting energy into future get togethers. Made excuses a few times, caved a few times (solely because the sex was good). I succeeded in directing conversations away from his hobby-horses. But it was more work than I was willing to put inot what was supposed to be play. That was the focus of our getting together, not me learning tolerance & patience. So I stopped responding. Such is life. 

The title is a reference to the phrase – “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.”


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Hidden Heart

samprules2

Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.

Hidden Heart

all I am hiding

are my emotions

really

no I don’t have anything

in my hands

up my sleeve 

I didn’t put anything

where you couldn’t find it

everything is out in the open

what good would it do

to hide your shoes 

so you can’t leave

hide your underwear

so you can’t dressed

hide the towels so

you can only dry off between the sheets

with me

me

who has nothing to hide

 

except my feelings

or rather my lack of them

though you claim

my claim of lack of feelings

is actually hiding something

because my door is so open you

because I have made a place

for you my life

you even have your own tooth brush here

it is out in the open too

 

see nothing is hidden

really

except how I feel

which I can’t reveal

until you open up

to tell me what you have hidden

in your heart

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Not Insulted

I’m Not Your Girlfriend

no

I’m not insulted

but

after years of being called

faggot fairy

I’m not going to put up 

with other queers

using those words 

to tease

to cut me down to size

the same goes for 

girl or girlfriend

 

it’s not that 

I don’t have a sense of humour

the only lesson I get

when you say

‘get over it girlfriend’

is that you are still feeding into

the commodification

the compulsion

of making ‘gay’ me

into something less masculine

no masculine is the wrong word

but ‘girlfriend’

is meant to be derogatory

because of the view

that ‘girl’ is lesser

no one says

‘get over it boyfriend’

 

so no I’m not insulted

merely bored

tired of people using 

the dominant culture’s language

to maintain a status quo

I don’t take myself so seriously

you can call me faggot

but don’t expect respect

in return

The climate around appropriate language is become increasingly volatile & unpredictable. It seems that if one isn’t as upset by something that another person is upset by then the problem is your lack of support, of sensitivity to their issue. Is it even appropriate anymore to give gender specific names to children?

Within the Lgbt+ community there is shift to gender neutral appropriateness. At many events one is asked what pronouns they wish to be used. Hosting shows I’ve been careful to find out what to use for introductions, & when blogging about shows I try to use as few pronouns as possible so as not to mis-gender anyone. It is creating a more nuanced use of language. 

In my post My Ass Pussy I talked about the use of feminizing language for man-to-man sex to somehow make it less gay. On a recent Gayish Podcast they talk about the use of ‘gurl’ between gay men as a playful taunt. To not want to be be called ‘gurl’ is seen as being overly sensitive & hence not queer enough.

Trans people fight for the right to choose the language that is used to refer to them, for pronouns, for respect. Blacks do the same. Yet when I don’t want to be referred as ‘gurl’ I have been sneered at by the very people who want to be so inclusive. I’ve been dis-included in some circles because I’m not accepting enough to let them call me faggot because they feel it’s okay because we are all faggots anyway, so get over yourself. I am over myself, but this sort of amusingly derogatory use of language tests my tolerance more and more. I’m not insulted but we are not amused.


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