My debt rests in your fur
as they light it
and it burns
and your form shrinks
from this world
your black and white paw limp against my clutching
fingers wishing you here
those images are cookie cut into my mind
called intrusive thoughts and flash-backs
I know them well
they are not my friend as you were my friend
I imagine what you feel and then recall
you no longer feel anything
though that does not seem right
without religion I am left unknowing
where you land next or if you will
awaken in paradise or remain slumbering
whether sleep or a void, if we can truly leave
and have nothing of ourselves remain
but ash and debris
it seems impossible that you were once
jumping onto the table and making me laugh
with your antics
only to be nowhere and gone eternal
I may not possess sufficient faith
to build castles in the sky but
your energy stays like stillness in
this empty house and from the corner of my eye
I still see your shadow slink just as
my grandmother’s voice is pitch perfect in my head
is that imagination or wishful?
Or do ghosts haunt us willing supplicants?
A bouquet of delusion to soothe our empty
will you live forever within me? And when I take
my turn at the Ferris wheel
our nothingness will reside near one another
I like the idea, all I have loved will
mingle as returned starlight in the ether
and touch one another with reminder
for being alone or worm food is
a cold dinner companion I wish not
to believe in
even if God turns his head from me and always has
for his man-made lack of female
and my rib is long and sticks into my gut
reminding me I am ever every man’s equal
and will never lay down to those dull prescriptions
of what constitutes truth from a man’s tongue.
Your fur was thicker than all the cats here
who grew up hot and listless on porches
you came with me in a pink plastic box
obscene in its garishness we laughed
putting it through customs
the harried lady at flight desk remarked
well there he goes as you were taken
hand delivered, to the pit of the plane
and I worried because I wanted you to be
on my knee but no madam, I’m afraid for long haul
he has to ride in cargo and don’t worry
few of them get upset, as if she were crouched among you knowing this
this seemed false as so many things do
when big decisions linger like absent friends
at the periphery of moments
too quick, too big, for staying still
briefly I wondered; Should I really be moving?
to this strange country I do not yet know and
burning this bridge indefinitely
it felt as wrong as right ever was and I stood
in the airport watching the thin man take you
behind a curtain and then as you were on your way
so was I.
You see …
I took my cue from you
and of the two of us when we landed
I think you looked less bedraggled
whilst I fought with immigration because one of my papers
was not ‘just so’ and they called and fussed because
immigrants are not very welcome in any country
and annoy those whose jobs it is to ensure
and when we reunited
on different soil with the sound of cicadas or crickets
I was not sure in those days
you were hot against my grandmothers blanket
and had peed because they don’t let animals
out to the bathroom at 30,000 feet
which was exactly how I felt, hot and wet and stinking
at the same time, in this odd place where
people were outgoing and spurned shyness or other
attributes we both possessed
following our dreams or maybe just mine
as your dreams were about mice or pigeons and later
lizards and snakes
as you learned the ways of the desert
and perhaps the tenor of your meow changed
to reflect the inflection of your adopted country.
It may seem easier but it is not easy for any of us
who come by boat, plane or smuggle, to
lands not our own, we each bring with us
that belly full of ache
and you were always able to
soothe mine with your purr and ever
reminder of our start beneath colder skies and
smaller streets with littler houses and narrow
rooms where we knew our place and here
we could only speculate or clumsily test
our sea legs against
the strangeness of being
with mistake and estrangement
our sole friends quite a while.
Unable even to drive I walked you down the road
for your first vet check and people gaped
from their large cars at the floundering Europeans
walking where no-one walks and everyone uses
big trucks to go one mile and purchase a giant
sippy cup and some Ding Dongs, things with
names that sound fun and 40 additives
my kind of humor and banter lost against
surge of habit, the vet seemed surprised I
had carried you rather than driven and tut-tutted
at your lack of dental hygiene
but remarked how beautiful your thick fur was
and how cats in these parts tend to have
snake skin, we all laughed at that, even you
cast a fish eye his direction like you
possessed the real secrets.
I remember those exploits and driving to Canada on another
exodus when stateless we began again
another groove in our fitful recording
the deep snow and your paw prints leading
me nearer and further
like ice fish we swam in our odd circumstance
always together, staring out stranger windows like
spectators at our own fair ground
in cold you slept beside me and purred
in your sleep to the sound of icicles
warming and falling into snow the
sky a heavy weight holding its breath
eventually we returned to the place of infernal heat
and sizzling side walks where no one but us
and straggly weeds dared to step and the years wound like
lost yarn beneath our odd foray
until you were old and fragile
and I barely noticing because I did not want to
believe you could quit being the little cat
in the pink plastic box glad to see me at the
first airport in our new world.
It was naive or immature of me to forget
cats lives do not echo ours and mine seemed
suddenly far too long and yours bitterly short
a terrible echo of inequality I did not
have the strength to imagine losing you
when together we always were.
Even people who wrote said; ‘Dear Candy, Dear Halo’
as if they could see the join of your fur and my
burning skin against the other
I told myself I would be there when they
sent you to that place I could not follow
despite knowing in my mind the terrible pictures
would roam long and unbidden for many years
to look into your eyes and remind you how much you mean
to me and always how I will look for you
until we are reunited and then I expect
all this will be mere bad dreams and
again we can go forward, or side ways or
whatever direction the after world takes us
but please together, is all I want
for with you gone, I wait without watch
an absence greater than anguish
for you were my best friend in this lonely world
assuaging the hard edges and frayed corners
we came here together and still I am
more lost without you than when I arrived
for your bright eyes and happy tail
gave me courage Halo and ever shall I
look for you coming into the kitchen in
the morning with your half howl of greeting
starting my day and ending it with
putting you to your bed
never once thinking there could be a time
when you were not and I still went on.
Aristotle said it best; a relationship is
two bodies one soul
that is real love
and we are floundering when absent from one another
like the ice fish when it warms up
and water is all but gone.
a day may show itself
long or near from now
where pain and fear possess no place
their greedy place at your table outstayed
came into your life, wrecking balls
fathomless of the despair they could put
as wicked times will have us ensnared
forgetful of former peace
hostages to the ease with which
sickness makes strangers of us.
Who inhabits this body of pain?
when did normalcy include such horror?
what lurks behind the shell of our discontent?
masking the urge to cry out with futile restraint
who do we hide our agonies from? Or is it that obscene need to appear
while and strong? While behind public doors we collapse in mock
no succor for the actor of their own wellness
Give me hope we clamoring souls sing in our flung prayer and rage
let me believe
find the keys, the healer, the drug, the end of
or I think I wish
I never existed
a thought I’ve had many times before
though none are without regret
some of us excel at impoverished thought.
I do not remember the me before
mornings of hurt, nights of pain
was she a creature capable of delight and desire?
did I feel alive?
Sometimes it’s hard to know
the fall is long down rabbit hole
whomever she was
a better dream
slow living just above not existing
quiet in accepted
for another grasp at hope
where fear and pain
possess no place
Many friends of mine are highly intelligent.
they talk of having to ‘hide’ their intelligence as children, to avoid scaring others
I did not fit in either, but for much different reasons
a contradiction, most who spoke to me believed me to be very bright
but the lore of the highly verbal is just that. An ability to talk circles around people
sometimes the brain is empty behind the Rocky Horror Picture Show mouth.
Unlike my very smart friends, who excelled and won prizes
and knew uncannily how to do things before being taught, even welding, and that was
unlike my first boyfriend who made all A’s whilst watching The Incredible Hulk
unlike my second boyfriend who made all A’s whilst masturbating to Farrah Fawcett
the only way I was ever on top was if I climbed, brick by brick.
I learned early on, not to compete
why would you compete if you NEVER win? If you’re always the slow poke, the last picked on a team, the one who has to ask again and again, the friend who can’t
get the gist of it and stays home reading comics.
Usually the most competitive are those who are naturally good at something and thus, recognize the taste of success
I learned slowly and badly, I couldn’t; knit, use chopsticks, play Atari well, do wheelies, skateboard or boogieboard, or vault over the box without
I had more ‘not good at that’ checked boxes than ‘excels’ and that never changed.
Some say, if you fail, keep trying, but eventually, if you fail enough sometimes you turn into
a kid who is angry for other reasons too and has found a home in building that anger into a straw man
a kid who is fed up of coming last, of repeated failures and shame in sometimes still wetting the bed
being told you are an idiot over and over again tends to sink in
so I became a rebel.
If someone said; You failed that. I would laugh. Literally take joy in it.
FUCK YOU I would shout and run to the park and drink from whatever bottle was handy or climb whatever tree was nearest
I learned, you could get more positive attention from dancing and putting your hands down boys pants than
making an effort to fail.
Part of me knew it was wrong, I didn’t like boys, so why was I spending any time with them?
They didn’t like me over much either, I was; too short, too flat chested, not enough flippin enthusiasm
Then I belonged nowhere
except under the hot lights of the dance floor, shaking out my grief or in a tree house pretending I was anyone but me
I ran so many times away from pain / I began to know the tune and hum it
in a weak moment I would return and feel-up a boy
for 3 minutes of false love
and in that wet, sticky repulsion
hate myself ever more.
sometimes even the child falling off the deep-end can see it coming
but nobody else could; they thought I was just badly behaved / didn’t ask why / didn’t try to intervene
I crashed and burned on the rocks multiple times, like a bad sky diving bird searching for her nest
wanting in one moment to excel, the next to set fire to
everything that rubbed my nose in it.
I absorbed failure like a nicotine patch
I inhaled it like cheap speed on a dirty toilet seat
when I lifted my legs to the ceiling and turned my head away
from the thrashing
the fuck you’s sounded really hollow
drugs weren’t enough to sake
my premature emptiness.
Of course, people are over-fond of
blaming the victim and saying; ‘you have choices’
which is partially true and partially bullshit, as we all know
it takes a village
or maybe just one person
to lift you to the light and when you’re 14
and saturated in pain without knife sharp enough
to exorcise darkness
it’s hard to grab on and ask someone to intervene.
When you came into my life
my first love, the one I lost everything to
including my shadows and a little cocktail sliver of self-hate
I didn’t know then, what an impact you would make
I lost my virginity in your hands and
forgot the ammonia of boys and how they’d beg
to go all the way and almost want to pay you if they had
more than a penny and dirty underwear on offer
leaving you feeling worthless and slutty and defiled and violated even if
you kissed while crossing your own legs the entire time.
In your arms I realized my own skin, the honey softness
of your touch, a new language.
You were, the girlfriend of my best friend
you loved him, you loved me (on weekends when he was away)
I was your little secret and you stripped me one by one
of all my petty rebellions
until I stood before you naked and shivering
telling me; Get your shit together, because nobody
is going to do it for you and you don’t want to be
working in High Street Stores at 40 nor do you
want to squander all your talent on
cheap cider and horny empty-eyed souls.
I laughed then, I remember it, day losing light
your face looked older, wiser, molded by shadow
I wanted to press myself to your breasts and find
that special sound you made when I delved deeper.
But you took my chin and forced me to meet your eyes
a deep blue like the bottom of my grandmother’s swimming
pool where I learned to drown
It isn’t fair, you said, it isn’t right, and it isn’t your fault
but it is your responsibility
defy them. Even if you can’t beat them, even if you can’t
ever be as good as them, defy their expectations of you
make something of yourself anyway, and for those who
things come easy, realize you are twice as strong
for matching their ease with your effort.
I admired you more than anyone I’d ever met
not just for the shape of your curls and the way you stood
short and yet louder than anyone in the room
I admired your tenacity and how you had a really dumb side
that you could laugh at and we’d sit in your friends bar
underage (me) barely old enough (you) and I could
never get enough of watching your lips move and wishing
they could be pressed against mine til eternity.
When you left me for the boyfriend you always knew you’d keep
because I was a phase in your life and you were my everything
I didn’t hate you for it. I felt the terrible absence of your
hand in mine and how life without you was colorless and
drab like someone had sucked out all the joy and left only
skeletons of memory.
But I was young, I picked myself up and tried again
the first time in years, putting aside my acting out and anger
the rebellions, resentment at having so many
impediments and not being one of the golden ones for whom
everything came naturally.
I worked so hard I ended up succeeding, but that success
never made me happy the way you hoped it would.
I still felt a fraud
I still knew, if I didn’t work twice as hard as everyone else I would never
be their equal
I knew deep down my short-comings were
who I really was and that being ordinary is never something we aspire to.
It did feel good to fight back
against things people liked to say in cruel moments
about how I would never amount to anything, how I wasn’t half
the intelligent person they’d thought I’d grow up to be
I proved them wrong.
I did not gain confidence in myself because I knew the truth
sometimes you can tap dance so fast, people start to believe
the tune you are humming, but it’s just a magic trick
and you’re as ordinary and bog-standard as
chips in newspaper and clothes on a line.
Did I want to be remarkable? Special? Unique? Gifted?
Accepting that you’re ordinary, especially when you were never told
is absolutely ego crushing
but I remembered how you laughed at yourself
and didn’t let it stop you
how you might have felt the fear and done it anyway
I took an incomplete leaf out of your book
one that I keep til this day, pressed against my bosom
remembering that people come into your life for a reason
sometimes that’s why they have to leave
for the lesson is rarely learned
love is a sadness
a mark against sun
sometimes on the best of days
you cannot find joy
love can hurt like a sting
It us better to have felt
all my pain and ecstasy
than feel nothing
and sometimes I see your eyes
graze over me
they are not present
you feel so little like a spindle
growing light of wool
It is as if you need
and in those times, I want to say
oh love me as if we were dying
love me with all of you, not just some
fall as deep as I
but you never have
It isn’t your way
sunlight hitting surface
to us beneath
the warmth barely gets through
and we grow thin
one day in the future they will come up with little pills and little bottles
to ‘cure’ this illness when it is not
but something made of fibers
unseen to the eye
that set you off galloping
one day you sit quiet and rested in the sun
and just a little thing can start it all
the discrepancy of something said
the feeling of being on the outside looking in
a lie you cannot call someone out for
because they have more lies than you’ll ever
have room for
so you turn
without even thinking
and run in the opposite direction
shut down close off
never give them a second thought
it is the protection of the flower
who must open daily
and close when it is dark
she can be so sudden in her dismissal
it’s what she knows best of all
that feeling of nothing
that familiarity of naught
and if it happens they’ll eventually
call it an illness
but it’s no more sick than
stones who adapt to water
if I happen to
switch off and stop
I won’t be coming back
and it’s only the ones who
claim the deepest of my heart
whom I cannot stand to reject
who stay with me til the end
burrowed in my being
where few can ever find
What was it about you?
let yourself right away in
demolished every rule, every tendency I had
an exception we bow asunder to
feathers gleaming against cold sunlight
I just watched the amazing film Bohemian Rhapsody. Let me ask you something … if I begin this post with; “And I wanted to talk about being gay” How many of you would stop reading? Ask yourselves, what does that really say about you?
I want to talk about being gay. Watching the story of Freddie Mercury it struck me (again) how the tiny minority of people who are gay (not bisexual) still struggle. You may ask why or point to more worthy causes to talk about …
Imagine being 1/2 percent of the population. Maybe you already are. That’s how many women are lesbians and men are roughly 2/3 percent. Bisexuality is far more prevalent, however 85% of women who are bisexual end up married to man, which begs the question, is there such as thing as ‘true’ bisexuality’ or is there just a desire to play both sides until you settle down, invariably with someone of the same gender?
Either way, ‘true’ queer women are rare. For men, those who are bisexual tend to end up being with men. It begs the question – do these stats indicate being a lesbian is not a life style many people choose or want to adopt? Or simply, that most women have a tendency toward heterosexuality as their preference?
My unscientific viewpoint for what it’s worth is; Men who have sex with men tend to be with men maybe because to ‘go there’ is almost indelible? Whereas sexuality for women is more fluid, and whilst they may like having sex with another woman and find her attractive, it’s not enough of a hook. Is sexuality and gayness a preference? I don’t think so, which means the ‘true’ number of gays is smaller than we even credit.
I personally don’t understand why more men are gay than women, as I am biased and see a lot more to be attracted to in a woman than a man (although they are harder to go out with because they are more demanding and selfish and less romantic). Irrespective, a man who is attracted to men, doesn’t go back and forth as much, a woman who is attracted to women may well end up with a man as other considerations come into play. To me, this isn’t being gay – it’s just having fun. Maybe I’m saying being gay is massively different to being bisexual.
I would imagine the negatives about bisexuality are; judgment from both sides, and that’s about it. If you are totally gay then the negatives include persecution, ostracizing, not fitting in, having no role models, no representation and most of all – feeling weird because 99/98 percent of the world doesn’t ‘get’ you and where you are coming from.
How many times have I been told by a woman that they find other women attractive but they can’t really understand wanting to be with a woman for any length of time – interestingly not because of sex, most women like oral sex, but because of the high maintenance being with a woman entails and how nice it is when a man romances you. It is true, it’s rarer and finding it with a woman, well you often end up having to do all the work and while men are good at that, women aren’t as much.
Hence why of those relationships that last, the classical butch/femme roles tend to work out best because the lesbians who are butch want to imitate a man and romance the woman and the femme is happy. I realize that’s a negative stereotyping of female-female relationships but there is also some truth.
Thinking about the AIDS era (which has never entirely left us and now that there are new drugs that people can take to reduce their likelihood of HIV exposure, where’s the incentive to continue to practice safe sex?) and how many gay men (and others) died and the terrible things that were said about them and how generations exist now that know nothing of this and how it will be forgotten …
I remember I was very young but I heard people say things like; “AIDS is killing the queers its divine justice” That told me early on that gay people were not equal and would never be treated equally behind closed doors. At one point in my life I was in the closet because it was easier and unlike a person of color, a gay person can often be in the closet to avoid prejudice. I’d not been in the closet before and suddenly I was privy to the things straight people said about gays when they didn’t think one of them was listening. I realized that this had all been said of me when I wasn’t in the closet but behind my back.
Then the other aspect to consider is the gay community and how judging and excluding it can be and how for many queers, fitting in with their own gay ‘family’ doesn’t always come easy or at all. I personally tend not to get on with gays, I have found them to often possess the worst traits of heterosexuals which deeply disappoints me. Lesbians judge you for not being queer enough, or act like swaggering men. Gay men can be such divas that they own the sarcasm and bitchiness in the room.
Does it mean you’re a ‘bad’ queer if you don’t feel in with ‘your people’? And yet … why assume just because you share one thing in common, you’ll get along? I’m sure I share something in common with Trump as well … point made.
The female gay world is divided into sections, either you’re a successful, educated career person in which case you go to exclusive things and judge those who are not on your level. You only date those who are like you, and you have high expectations as well as demanding those women you date are athletic, social and above all, status and financially successful.
The other group are the more neighborhood based gays, and the clubs teem with liars, frauds and fakes alongside players, druggies and alcoholics. If you imagine being heterosexual and reducing the number of options you have from roughly 48% to 1/2% you probably wouldn’t find someone you liked either. And let’s for not forget, if you’re straight and you see someone in the street or anywhere, you can essentially flirt with them without fear. But how can you tell when someone may be gay? Contrary to popular opinion, the gay-dar doesn’t work THAT well. So you are further restricted to mind-reading, falling in love with heterosexuals or going to gay clubs where the worst reside.
Boo Hoo right? A hard life. But not nearly as hard as many others. Combine that with a co-morbidity of higher rates of depression/anxiety (no wonder) and all the accompanying aspects that may accompany homosexuality and a life time of being shamed, ridiculed, the odd one out, and it’s not simply one issue, it’s everything.
There have been times I wished fervently not to be gay. I got fed-up of having a crush on my straight friend who wouldn’t like me if I were the last person standing, I saw how well men can treat women, I envied the heterosexual world. That’s why being gay is no choice, as most who had one, wouldn’t choose it.
That said it’s not all negative. Some of the best parts of my life have been as a result of being gay. Watching the film on Freddie Mercury really affected me profoundly because it reminded me that only a few years ago in my city there were stickers condemning gays having the right to marry, that my own life has been severely disrupted/destroyed for several reasons related to being gay, and how many gays have suffered over the years.
I may not be a huge fan of this modern world – 2018 onward – and I may hark beck to ‘better’ eras as I perceive them, BUT I know things are improving for gays and I hope one day, being gay is not something that will pull you down and give you pain. It will be what it is meant to be, a natural minority who see things differently but are in every other way part of us all.
Spare a thought for gays even as you think they have all their rights now and should stop complaining. It is not as simple as possessing rights. Gays are still more likely to commit suicide, have addictions, mental illness, be ostracized from family and be beaten up and murdered. Gays can often be very isolated, their pain not taken seriously, and feel alone even among ‘their kind’ and it really does make a difference to us when someone, irrespective of gender, befriends us and likes us for who we are, without being uncomfortable around us.
A friend for a gay person has twice the value because we never take it for granted and we always feel so lucky. After all, most of us living, remember a time when admitting you were gay would guarantee nobody would be your friend. Therefore, thank you for all who show kindness to us, and remember, compassion is the only thing that compensates for the erstwhile damage human beings have historically wrought, both on minorities of all kinds and our planet.
I dream of a world where it will be okay to walk down the street and not worry about holding hands with the person you love, when it will be comfortable to kiss someone you’re with, in public, without fearing being beaten up. Just as women worldwide, dream of walking down a street without being raped. I believe this day can come, if all of us have the patience to see the value of talking about this and not saying ‘I’m so fed up with the gay agenda or the feminist agenda’ and switching off. Until we have true equality, the only thing we can do is bring awareness and hope in turn, it produces change.
Oh, and to those bisexuals? Yeah. Sorry. But on the other hand, I’ve got a point. Can’t you sometimes choose the girl? 😉
Go see Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s incredible.