Therapy

 

True story – Several years ago I started to see a guy & there was good chemistry between us. When he found out I had never been to therapy it ended because he couldn’t relate to someone who had never been to therapy. I thought – such is life. He made me think of people who say ‘I don’t trust someone who won’t drink (alcohol) with me.’

 

A recent Gayish podcast (119) was about the role of therapy in lgbtq+ lives. One of the hosts conclusions was that everyone needs therapy – by which they mean one-on-one work with a therapist. I have never engaged in one-on-one work with a therapist. (Please don’t revoke my gay card 🙂 ) The closest I’ve come to therapy, I guess, is decades of 12 Step meetings – group therapy of sorts – in fact the that modem of group self-help is the model for group therapy. But 12 Step doesn’t involve professionals to facilitate such groups. https://gayishpodcast.podbean.com

I’ve written extensively about growing up gay which has worked out much of the ptsd I experienced as a child & teen – the ptsd I’ve experienced from the gay ‘community’ is another story 🙂 What is worse – being bullied & belittled by the straight community for being queer or being bullied & belittled by the gay community for not being handsome, young, hung or buff enough to be acceptable? 

The Gayish episode is an excellent guide to types of therapy based on the hosts personal experience. The statistics on mental health & addiction issues in the lgbtq+ community are dismaying but not surprising. As we see greater visibility for queers in our culture I hope many of the emotional, mental issues that come from isolation, fear, internalized homophobia, will lessen. Gayish is one of the ways in which such changes continue.

Lucky

when I tell people 

I’m lucky to alive today

they act as if I’m overreacting

because in many ways

my life has been a breeze

I didn’t suffer any physical 

sexual abuse growing up

never went hungry

my parents never divorced

so what do I have to complain about

 

it’s not that I’m complaining 

just making a statement of fact

I’m lucky to alive

maybe they don’t know

that there as a time

when gay teens were put into 

mental institutions to be cured

given shock treatments

lobotomies

behaviour modification

chemical castration

so they would be obedient 

normal boys and girls

 

role models were nonexistent 

until Elton John came along 

(oh, why couldn’t it have been 

Bruce Springsteen)

 

what saved my life 

was music & writing

not writing how

‘fear was too great’ 

but writing about anything 

music never judged me

never waited outside school to beat me up

didn’t tell on you

didn’t turn away

when I searched album covers

for inspiration in words

in Jim Morrison’s tight pants 

mooning over sturdy arms 

of drummer Keith Moon

never knowing anything about their lives

 

maybe if I had known 

Jim Morrison 

was a real back door man

Moon was a bi guy

their fame allowed them freedom

but not freedom of the press

careers would have been ruined

 

yeah I’m lucky to be alive

because the help I could have used

then

would have killed me

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

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

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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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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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I Put Out


I started listening to a new podcast in April – Gayish. There has been 118 podcasts so far & I’m both keeping up to date & listening to the archive starting with number 1. Two gay cismale friends talk about stuff while having a few glasses of wine. Recent podcasts covered circumcision and French tuck (not the same thing apparently 🙂 )

 

Earlier topics included coming out, interviews with one another’s family members. Their focus is dealing with stereotypes & calling themselves out on getting caught up in those stereotypes. They actually do research & cite studies & statistics to back up their facts. They are also quite funny.

 

I have joined their FB page, follow them of twitter, also joined the Patreon support https://patreon.com/gayishpodcast. The other Patreon I support is Disability After Dark https://www.patreon.com/disabilityafterdark/. Both of which explore sexuality in a direct, fun & supportive way. Not that I live in a bubble but listening to Gayish is like having the smart, gay guy pals that I’ve never had. 

The very first was about putting out on the first ‘date.’ The open talk about gay sex, top, bottom is good to hear, in a gay culture in which bottoming isn’t seen as positive as topping. i.e. bottoms are sluts, tops are studs. They even name check two books I have read. How To Top Like A Porn Star; How To Bottom Like A Porn Star. I found both books to be beneficial. When I came out there were no ‘how to’ books so it was decades before I really enjoyed bottoming – because the first tops I played with didn’t know what they were doing.

I do put out on a first date, but I don’t go the whole hog until the third 🙂


Wide Open

something happens 

when my skin is in the same room 

as his

I don’t even have to know he is there

I can feel something 

through my clothes 

through every layer 

coat sweater jeans undies

a emanation comes from him

his eyes   his smile

his indifference

that changes my chemical structure 

that grows glows down to my toes

in fact

he doesn’t even have to be there

 

I can start to talk about him

someone can mention his name

and I feel that subtle shift

like a leaf turning the sun

his picture 

his voice on the telephone

a text

doesn’t take much

for my hypersensitive flesh

to begin reacting to him

the closer he is

the less subtle the reaction

the more alone we are together

the less subtle the manifestation becomes

those radians through the air around us

as we approach the bed

step into a shower

snuggle to watch TV

those emanation knit

pull us closer and closer

enmeshed in each other

breathe the same air

walk in the same sunshine

wash with the same soap

complete without each other

but always eager for the knit

creating those opportunities 

to mention the name

laugh about something 

we could have done

but got caught up in the shower together

got lost between the between the bed and the TV

 

I can’t say that I don’t feel 

this radian from others

there are times when opportunity

allows that awareness

I feel it first in my skin

look around the room  the street 

to see who it’s coming from

can it be returned

eyes become heat seeking sensors

who looked for me that way

whose radiants flickered over mine

I’m turning like that leaf

looking for some sun

more light 

more opportunity to share that flow

with someone else

even if it is merely to nod and smile

acknowledge not act

don’t have to act every time  

anytime

the grace of light fills us each to overflowing

no need to fear there won’t be enough

 

all I have to do is breathe deep 

and open myself to the gift

of learning another name

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

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

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Caught Hard 1971 /76

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂 This is the last resurrected poem for this Easter.

Caught Hard 1971 

1

dull dark day dawns

disparately clinging to the night clouds

little mists of mares

floating up from the budding honeysuckle

 

I am fighting so hard

for an empty room

for this trophy of glass

it can’t last

it mustn’t last

this fighting alone

on the dew wet grass

so close to home

by the freshly born

morning in some other

question box corner standing

sunrise boxing ring

 

so you’ve come to see the fight

by being here

you are the fight

another shadow boxing affair

reflecting from my bottles

reflecting on my walls

fighting for every word you speak

 

I am dying softly

the everyday death we each die

wandering from payday to payday

paying enough for the right

to live when I die

 

paying to keep fighting

in only the perfect surroundings

soundings & singers

paying & dying & fighting

fighting off the laughter

that I feel exploding

each inner pondering like a sledge hammer

smashing each unhappy stone

 

restoring sensation of pleasure

white in the night

feeling close & coming to an end

 

caught hard up in the air

without a handful go much

just loose strings of stings

& other nasty things

to keep me from giving in

to consuming everything in one last bite

2

I’ve heard the hangman many times today

if I’m not a icicle

why do I feel so cold

swinging in the summer sun

swinging to the hangman’s hot jest

 

he’s trying hard to melt me down

so I can be sold in bits & pieces

3

many times

screaming inside my skull

he cannot bear to see me moving

to any other taunt but his

up the stairs

up the stairs

no one cares

just the hangman

filling his pockets with meltings

 

I am free to fall

I am free to get up

I am free

but feel so lost

 

if I am not a fossil

why do I feel so old

if I am not a fetus

why do I feel so unborn

 

tiny & afraid

waiting in the summer sun

for someone to touch

 

if I am not wise

why do I feel so foolish

in these words

I am found by so few

yet still lost to so many

I am the end of time

drizzled with smiling sunlight

in some early morning suddenness

 

if I am not dynamite

why do I feel like exploding

every time I think of you

 

the sun can’t seem to melt into the middle

yet I feel myself slipping away

up the stairs

up the stairs

away from the sun

that needs me melted

before we can start winter again

4

the hangman has seen me crying

the hangman has been free dying

to reach out to cut my rope and end

this dangling all day in the sun

 

no confession

no confessor for me

I cannot make sense of either

though both are bursting to

functions all around

me like falling rain

as I near the end of the rope

 

postitive negative postitive negative

polarized into neither

loving nor hating 

wanting nor having

afraid of saying

so many confessional hidden sins

that everyone realizes about me

but care too much to punish me for

This is one of few pieces that went from the above rough draft to a more ‘polished’ version that was included in my book Distant Music. All those ‘d’s at the start are a bit much 🙂 I do love the overt masculinity of the piece as I box to prove my maleness as a poet. Poetry being considered un-masculine despite the fact that the poetry we studied in high school was 99% written by men.

I was buttoning it up to somehow contain my sexuality as well. Queers don’t talk about boxing but movie stars. ‘reflecting from my bottles’ a clear reference to my growing alcoholism – another of the way I was dealing with sexuality – drown it.

A gay acquaintance at the time hung himself which may have lead to the hangman imagery. Working to pay the rent was like a noose too, the strangle hold of fear.

The version that made it into print is equally as meandering but is also more focused. The alliteration remains 🙂 The revised version does have a sense of ending though. Today there is no rope, or bottle, needed to to keep me standing.

Caught Hard 1976 

1

dull dark day 

disparately dawns

clinging coldly

to the night clouds

little mists of mares

floating doggedly

over murky dreams

 

I am fighting hard

fighting so hard

for an empty room

a glass trophy

it can’t last

it mustn’t last

this fighting alone

on the dew-wet grass

so close to home

with the freshly born

morning sunrise

 

just by being here

to see the fight

you become the fight

another shadow-boxing affair

reflected from bottles

reflecting cross walls

fighting for every word you speak

 

I am dying

that everyday death 

we each die

 

fighting in only 

the best of surroundings

soundings & singers

all dying in fighting

fighting off the laughter

I feel exploding

each inner pondering 

like a sledge hammer

smashing each happy stone

 

returning sensations 

of pleasure

white in the night

feeling close 

while coming to an end

 

caught hard 

up in the air

without a sandful of much

just loose strings of stings

of other satisfied things

to keep me from giving in

to consuming everything 

in one final bite

2

I’ve heard the hangman 

many times today

if I’m not a icicle

why do I feel so cold

a-sway in the summer sun

swinging peacefully

to the hangman’s hot breath

 

he’s trying to melt me down

so I can be sold in 

bits & pieces

3

many times

screaming inside

he cannot bear 

to have me sway

to any breath

but his

up the stairs

up the stairs

no one cares

except for the hangman

filling pockets 

with meltings

 

I am free to fall

I am free to get up

I am free

but feel so lost

 

if I am not a fossil

why do I feel so old

if I am not reincarnated

why do I feel so unborn

 

tiny & afraid

waiting in the summer sun

for someone to touch

 

if I am not wise

why do I feel so foolish

out of these words

am I the end of time

drizzled with smiling sun

in your early morning suddenness

 

if I am not dynamite

why do I feel like fighting

every time I think of you

 

the sun cannot melt 

through to the middle

yet I feel myself slipping away

up the stairs

up the stairs

away from the sun

that needs me melted

so we can start winter

4

the hangman has seen me crying

the hangman has been free dying

to reach out & cut the rope 

to end my all-day dangling

 

if I am not a hanged man

why do my feet

never seem to touch the ground

 

if there is no rope

around my neck

what holds me in place

keeping me from falling down


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Dangerous Potential

Dangerous Potential 

you’ll never amount to anything

you have so much potential

you better buckle down

work harder

you can do better

you can’t be that stupid

 

that was my past

I try not to live there too long

most days I don’t

but like that scar on my knee

from when I fell

that memory will always be there

 

the fall was more embarrassing 

than painful

lots of bleeding 

while the grit was washed out 

the sting of antiseptic

the sting

of how could you be so careless

why don’t you watch where you’re going

 

teachers that told me

I’d never amount to anything 

if I didn’t buckle down

try harder

stop wasting my potential

echoed my parents

a culture

that never did tell me 

why amounting to anything 

was so important

when I felt as a queer boy

I was already worthless anyway

they didn’t know how queer I was

I was just different

and that had to be coaxed out of me

 

that damage was done 

there are moments

days

when I find myself thinking

I am useless

stupid

not worth the air I breathe

I should just get out of the way

of entitled people 

who are moving forward

making a difference

 

I never did live up to my full potential

I never figured out what that was

other than to survive that era

when chemical castration

shock treatment

were considered the natural effective 

courses to take

if one was caught

with their pants down

fulling some unnatural potential

I’ll never amount to much

more than this 

and if it isn’t good enough

you have the potential to

get over it

Some days I have look at what I’ve accomplished to realize that I’ve accomplished something. If I’m not doing my nanowrimo speed, of 1500 to 2000 words a day, I feel lazy – not living up to my potential. I’m the only one who is measuring that potential. The lazy comes from those high-school/cultural messages of what success really is. 

 

Getting an A, for remembering data, is good, getting a C+, because the data doesn’t get through the thicket of fear, is lazy. I tried my best to memorize all those trig functions, even had them written on sheets of paper hung on my bedroom walls, forced myself to read them repeatedly. I can still see those sheets of paper but not what was written on them 🙂 I squeaked through, I think. The bigger the mark rewarded the more of one’s potential one is living up to.

 

Fulfilled potential meant cash rewarding future. Opting out meant poverty or that one was a commie. I remember the back-to-the-land hippy days of anti-consumerism: tie-dyed couples selling over-priced candles, made of all natural goat’s fat, at a farmer’s markets is totally anti-consumerism 🙂 But that’s another story.

I still get caught up in this messaging to buckle down so that I can amount to something. If had I really buckled down I’d have that GG award by now, right? So that something is apparently only defined by someone else. When I define it I am being self-indulgent, lazy & ultimately in the way. One of the reasons I stopped going to poetry shows, doing open stages, is that so many were performing to knock on doors, to get grants, to promote creative writing workshops. I was there to share poetry for the love of it. I was taking up stage time that others needed. They had career potential to fulfill. 

If this post helps you buckle down, or question why you have to, you can thank me by cosine-ing my potential by hitting the like button below 🙂


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Sea Story – July 1971

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Sea Story – July 1971

1

it’s been a rough passage

lies & all the lightening skies

I keep wondering when the southbound breeze

will kick me in the head & knock me to my knees

it tries & tries

so hard to please

dangling sweet smelling smiling hope before my eyes

but I must maintain my mainsail

avoid the sacrilege

of sacrifice

bear up proud & strong

to keep sailing toward no end in sight

the trunks have been abandoned long ago on the wharf

all are empty now

looted of their costumes

I must sail with sails my disguise

I must ride the blizzard inside & out

finally realizing that time has come

to hunt down the criminal vagabond

who attacked my fine silks with spilt wine

dirtied my sparkling mirror with

the expression of his eyes

all ravaged & hopelessly left loose

lying on the edge of time

while I so calmly remained removed & longed

to keep sailing toward no end in sight.

2

sultry slow children playing

back & forth

running from the tents

to the trees

unaware of their warm ease

as the sky pans by

a million fathoms empty of stars & moon

but full of powdered blue aside

no outside

clouded sprightly &

moving the grass

whispered at last

that windows could be opened

for this sailor to peer outside for awhile

there are no mistakes to plead correction for

only moments of flight

to long reflying for

only knots to wish retying for

only by gone crying & laughing

to languish in with pianos playing

over & under every longing & wish

we feel to return to dry land

violin strings sea storm

harp winds wailing

forever & ever warm wind sailing

towards the new ending

towards the maybe loving making in some Singapore shanty

that cannot open its doors

till we arrive with no more longing

to keep sailing toward no end in sight

flashing flashing fitfully warning

with sudden outbursts of lighthouse lunacy

trying so hard to cut the night in two

hoping for some sounding to come rebounding

to warn of hidden dangers murky depth

& silent glowing slithering by happiness

luring the wary into nets of stars

flying them off at a thousand miles per minute

toward the fatal swiftness of the sun

3

we played at being hopelessly lost one dusty morning

snow like dust on the decks

spinning down from eternity

we played at being hopelessly lost

our prow pushing forward into thick air

seemed to be leading nowhere

foreward foreward

the icy wind pushed us

the sails frozen such that we couldn’t take them down

foreward foreward

steering deeper deeper into

the equator’s sunshine blizzard

foreward foreward

following the smiling nude sea

into some deathless canyon ribboned on all sides

with impenetrable sheets of snow & rain

& laughing surprise packages as we each

opened our eyes to another fine morning

here in my little room

so far from the sea

so free from the sea

so removed in anguish from the diadems

of speech that somehow I manage

to keep sailing toward no end in sight

One of the drawbacks in transcribing these pieces has been the loss of enjambments 😦 Even if I duplicate them here – they disappear when I cut & paste a version into another program – Word Press strips everything away except italics. With the old typewriters I would only have to turn the roller one line down & start without having to go back to the beginning edge.

I have to admit I was probably a bit made with enjambments anyway but I loved the way they look don the page, I loved how you drop a word down on the next line, or phrase, for emphasis so it was like an aside to what was just read, as opposed the the start of a whole new stanza.

In looking back at Sea Story I see it influences by Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker’s lyrics. There’s no denying ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ plays into this piece – it was a poem I studied in high school.    It’s hard to miss all the alliteration ‘sweet smelling smiling hope’ plus some sonic wordplay -‘the sacrilege of sacrifice.’ I lived by the ocean but rarely wrote about the sea.


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Lady of Sand 1968

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Lady of Sand 1968

awkward eventuality descends

the stairway nude & she depends

on the shock of flesh so bare

to make all her lovers care

about the little emotion she’s feeling

we only laugh & send her reeling

 

completely devoid of original thinking

perhaps her ideas have been drowned by drinking

to make her body look white & pale

so she can sell it at some discount sale

along with the little emotion she’s dealing

only no one buys & this sends her reeling

 

abstracted tomorrow’s frustration

drained her heart as we stood in the station

with her young body full but unsure

because she knows I’m not pure

taking all the little emotion she’s feeling

so I don’t wave goodbye which sends her reeling

 

so now I come back to you my Lady of Sand

to tell you that I finally understand

the warmth of your body the touch of your mind

you were the truest love I could ever find

& I see how much emotion you’re feeling

she turns her head & sends me reeling

Here I am playing with structure – six line verses, rhyming couplets, with each verse ending with a similar couplet with variations. The final couple being a twist on all that went before a supposed to a summation of all that went before.

I’ve never been that fond of forced structure or of rhyme or even meter. I’m too undisciplined for that kind of composition. If it happens it does without my trying. At times I have even edited accidental  rhymes out of piece.

Part of the inspiration of this piece was Marcel Duchamp’s – Nude Descending A Staircase. Lines like ‘completely devoid of original thinking/perhaps her ideas have been drowned by drinking’ are a reflection of my own drinking though 🙂 ‘abstracted tomorrow’s frustration’ is fine purple poetics as I use words for effect rather than meaning 🙂


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Razor Songs 1971

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s in Cape Breton. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. Enjoy 🙂

Razor Songs 1971

1

dancing in the snow

our bones clacking fixedly

in time with the dripping wax

that means our time will soon be black

& we will have to dance blind

never to see each other again

only feeling the cold slicing of the snow

through the satisfied winter air

 

in some distant hour I’ll fall into bed

roam through thwarted sleep

finding quick comfort with idle hands

now I am sleeping in a way

drifting in & out

filling cups of tea

in hopes of not looking up

to find myself stir a feeling

that feeling when I see you

shuffling through pencilled pages

mindful but busy

mindful but disbelieving

for I have lied before

am I lying now

2

words are like rain

like tears

like you

all I need are my words

the rain

my tears & you

but to have you I must

overcome my fear

of falling

into the abyss wherein lies

a pool of rain & tears

out of which no words can pull me

 

fantasy favours the wind swept tarns

sheer cliffs

sea beaten

ship wrecked

golden moors & haunted sounds

creaking doors & dangling diamonds

reality favours the sighted

 

I can see you now

reading

in a big backed chair

or in a hurry for your next frustration

happy to hear my voice as words

now know how frustrated I feel

knowing we are not in harmony

in bravery or even in person

 

I saw you then

heartless

on the edge of the bed

or between the sheets

happy to feel hands on you

happy to hear sighs of passion

knowing that you weren’t in harmony

only searching in the wrong person

for the right bravery

3

there is room somewhere for laughter

the cage cannot contain its sound

only its maker

bit I feel at times my sound

escapes this cage

only to be trapped by yours

a pocketful of laughter

spent by the time you

feel like seeing me cry

 

I’m letting myself sink

deeper & deeper into dust

no caring

for dust

like opium

removes my caring

my anxiety

replacing them with sighs

that tired aching arms cannot lift

so I must go on forever

hoping this is anger

hoping this is anger

anger to fight for fists

to beat away the anguish

of being warm for too long

but never caring enough to freeze

 

I fancy myself trapped

with dungeon rats

mouldy walls

& stagnant cistern water

waiting in anguish for the priest

but it is mere fancy

for here in this dungeon

I’m far too comfortable

to enjoy such a luxurious escape

4

an hour or so of being near

rips my pattern to pieces

I can pull together in a day or so

destroying the power the hour releases

in the form of frantic fear

I try to hand some joke line

about wanting you

when I really do

or am I lying

 

is each word

each motion

another step  in my

futile attempt at sexual conquest

before I find my fantasies

more tantalizing than the sun

on her naked body

drifting on the water

walking over hot sand

demanding that I take

it all now or sometime later

when it won’t mean as much

to either of us

I was rather fond of numbered sections thanks to T.S. Eliot who wrote several poems with number sections. I never became as reference heavy as he did though. I was also fond of long pieces which were often shorter ones strung together & then edited with echoed references to create a sense of unity. I see my fascination with images, paradox & melodrama. Chalk the title up to melodrama.

 ‘I see you/shuffling’ is an actual moment of being with one of my male ‘crushes’ – who was an artist. I’m sure my sexual longing was apparent to him but it was never directly acted upon or communicated. A fear I never overcame, at the time. 

The ‘her’ at the end, as opposed to ‘him’ was out of the fear of discovery by someone reading the piece then. I left it as written. Scholars sift though the writing & pasts of great closeted poets like Langston Hughes looking for clues that they were in fact queer. There’ll be no need to sift through mine 🙂


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Reliving with HIV

I moved to Toronto in 1979. In that first year I got sober, met the man I still share life with, and lost the job that brought me to Toronto. The second year I was working closely with gay men in recovery. The gay cancer – GRID – was already taking its toll on the community. When it first became AIDS – people were confused with Aydes: a diet candy – which went out of business partly because of the phonetic associate with the disease.

A couple of men in 12-step-recovery got me involved in what eventually became ACT – The AIDS Committee of Toronto. I attended those early board meetings as a group of men, women, gay, queer, lesbian, straight created a structure for dealing with what became a holocaust. I helped create the buddy system. Did home care for men I knew. I cycled out of committee work & became part of a meditation, healing circle. I buried more people that I can count.

That’s not a resume I care to reflect upon but recently I read “Hold tight gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the battlefield of AIDS” by Martin B Duberman. It looks at the history of HIV activism in the USA though the lives of two talented men. One white, one black. You know, I can’t recall many minorities participating in those early days when ACT was being shaped here in Toronto. This book reveals the complexity of class, race & marginalization.

Reading it I relived my own fears, frustrations & powerlessness in those years. I felt grief as each – Michael, then Essex died as a result of the inability & unwillingness of the medical community to deal with the crisis. The book also reveals in detail how the marginalized minorities were often left to their own devices to be included in anyway.

The music of Michael Callen is still available on iTunes, check him out on YouTube. More cabaret style though his days with the Flirtations and great fun. Essex Hemphill’s spokenword can be seen on YouTube as well, but be warned he is a brilliant, fearless & confrontative in ways that are still challenging today. Some made me tear up. Sadly most of his writing is out of print 😦 (I’ve ordered two of the out-of-prints via Abe Books). His poetry is breathtaking & heart stopping. His open-hearted emotional frankness has now become one of my inspirations.

Formative

she asked

are you married single 

neither

widower

nope

you have to be one those

I’ve lived with my partner 

for over twenty years 

we aren’t married.

oh, I that’s common-law

what is her name

his name you mean

oh there’s no place 

on this form for male spouse

he isn’t my spouse

he’s my partner

very well 

I’ll put own common-law 

 

now what religion are you

none

oh you don’t believe in God 

as matter of fact I do believe in God

then what faith do you practice

none

but you can’t believe in God 

and not have faith 

I do have faith

I do believe in God 

but I’m not caught up 

in any religious persuasion

I’ll say atheist then

atheists don’t believe in God 

I reminded her

but I have to have answers for this form

I’ll just put down atheist

no I am not an atheists 

is there a place there for heretic

no

 

then the form is fascist

it doesn’t allow 

for practices 

other than those it defines 

as acceptable 

I didn’t create the form sir 

I’m just filling it in

but you made that judgment call 

didn’t you

that if I wasn’t religious 

I had to be atheist 

agnostic at best

 

we can skip that  part of the form

then why is it there

for statistical purposes sir

but the only people 

who get statistically counted 

are those whom the form allows 

to be included

what about us who don’t fit 

the confines of the form

don’t we get counted

you get counted as nonbelievers

but I just told you I do believe in God

I’m just not Catholic

Buddhist

Jewish or whatever 

possible categories you have 

on that form

isn’t there a box you can check for other

no sir there isn’t

let’s move on please

 

what political party do you support

is this as relevant 

as the religious question 

or just more statistical information

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019


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

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 

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

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