Desperation (poem)

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Desperation
is the commodity we trade in
no one needs to kneel without it
no one needs the opioid without it
no one needs the cancer cure

it clings to us like ash
and chokes the life out of our lungs
illegal in some cases
but not in all – and where it is
those who created, prosecute, when you fall

Done in the name
of the Father, Son, and the fallen soldier
don’t you dare attempt to wash yourself clean
don’t try to raise your head above the smog
stand up for the country that’ll see you shot dead
stand up gladiator! SING!

22 a day, pass by your way
3,000 with needle tracks every other three
so much death in Chicago daily, true
yet 500 were shot in Las Vegas the other week

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies
this slow paced suicide is turning America into a tomb
and now we’re deporting Mexican families.
Why, for God’s sake, it’s not like we don’t have the room?

See, Desperation hit places like Mexico first
with the moral majority’s war on drugs
and out of fear families fled in the night
only to find our politicians were nationalistic thugs

Someone please crash this system
you can’t hold someone underwater and get mad when they drown
desperation is the old rugged cross we cling to
and the golden calf at 1600 Penn Ave.
is a pagan deity with the face of a clown

America has a deadly opioid addiction. I think this lady, can help.

I recently run across a video of a woman, tattoos, kinda brash, kinda rough around the edges, with the mouth of a trucker.

And she called herself a preacher.

I did a double take.

What?

A woman preacher?

Then I listened to her story. Then I read her books, Pastrix, and Accidental Saints and through it – I found my faith again.

Her name is Nadia Bolz- Weber, she’s a former fundi Christian, turned pagan, turned drug addict, before she turned back to Christ – but her message isn’t what you’d expect to hear. That perhaps what you have heard in America’s marriage of faith and capitalism and Johnathan Edwardsesque preaching.

She preaches forgiveness.

She preaches mercy.

Charity.

Forbearance.

She preaches Christ.

With the election of Donald Trump, the opioid addiction that Chris Christie this morning on Morning Joe cited as taking the same amount of souls as 9/11 every three days, I can’t help but think this country is committing suicide.

Growing up fundi – having no sense of worth. I can see how that would happen to the individual.

Knowing how Christ has been presented to this country since it’s founding – I understand how it can happen to the masses.

Maybe this lady has the right kind of Jesus hanging out with her.

Here’s a sermon she gave recently. 

I’m a Christian -and even when i was in church, no one talked about the love of God like that.

I think she’s right. I think we were lied to.

Accidental Druid (poem)

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Inja Pavlić

 

deep shadow
has crept across the face of the world
there is a stirring deep in the bowels
of the world
a drum beat
My dreams have been disturbing as of late
familiar faces – in moments of desperation
begging for help or saying goodbye

Then there are the names
Putin, Assange, Un,
and I am where they are watching
briefly whatever business
they are up to
listening to those around them speak

I wake from sleep gasping
anxiety grips my heart
and dims my eyes
I try to break my connection
with the unseen stream of consciousness
but i can’t

I can tast the fear on the air
the anxiety shimmers in the sunlight
something wicked this way comes
comes and comes again
like ocean swells against a levee

The world is in pain
and having found no solace
in daylight nor dreams
I can feel her
She’s afraid
and because of that
I, this accidental Druid
am dying

The Irksome element in the M/M Book Genre

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Victor Rodvang

You know, I could never really put my finger on what it was about M/M romance that irks me so bad. This has nothing to do with writing.
But it has everything to do with the fighting.
I’ve thought about it. I’ve wandered around it. I’ve left it alone and let it slide. And then something else happens and suddenly there it is, once more.
Gay people have been around since Ancient Greece, Alexander, Rome, during the dark ages, the Renaissance – I mean, Michelangelo? Hello?! The reformation, the age of reason, the gilded age, industrialization, the great depression, the Civil War, Walt Whitman, WW1, WW2 – Alan Turing – the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, AIDS – and despite it all – we’ve survived. Somehow.
We are a nebulous people.
We have no place to call home. No ethnicity. No physical characteristics that set us apart from another. We don’t come from some region of the world. We are everywhere. Alive. Thriving.
But we are a people and as a people we are as diverse in personality and philosophy, theology or lack thereof as everyone else.
We have created culture, we’ve destroyed civilizations, we’ve conquered the world, we’ve been conquered by it. We’ve been taken lovers by Kings (King James comes to mind), and have created the most exquisite art when commissioned by Popes, we’ve saved the world, and did you’re hair before your wedding. We’ve operated on you, taught you, flown you across the sky, and buried your body.
WE.ARE.
Nebulous we may be but we are as old as time itself.
And we do not need you to survive.
I think this genre has had good intentions but I think it’s colonized us – or has attempted to.
It uses paternalism, the same paternalism used against women and minorities going back forever – to shoe horn us, or to create this static border around us, and define what is in fact so nebulous about us.
Like you know better than we do about who we are. America, Western civilization, and the modern world is but a glimmer of the time in which we’ve existed.
It’s like you’re trying to save us. Not only from the world at large. But from ourselves.
And in that, you drag out of every single corner of society anything with the word ‘gay’ on it and prop it up for the entire world to see, and embrace, and to hell with you if you don’t.
I resent that.
How dare you?
I have within me, the same amount of majesty, the same artistic inclination, or warring battle cries as any and all races, classes, and groups of people my gender, or otherwise.

‘Homo sumhumani nihil a me alienum puto’  –  I am human,  nothing human can be alien to me.
Stop telling us we’re wrong.
Stop telling us, no.
Stop telling us to be quiet.
Stop arguing with us about things that concern us unless you’re arguing to protect an investment and if you really want to argue on that premise – then we’ve walked into slave owner mentality.
My brother James Baldwin said back in the day, I ain’t your negro.

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Well, I ain’t your homo.
I am not, nor are my brothers, some poor pitiful homos that must be protectively pressed against your bosom.
Just like any healthy relationship out there, the dynamics of and definitions of need and want are important.
I want you in my life – as an equal.
But I don’t need you in my life to exist.
The statement of, “We want gay men to have happy endings.” is a kind and virtuous one.
But we’ve had endings. All of them.
And we will again.
You’ll give birth to us. We are your children. We will survive.

Sweet autumn morning (poem)

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Matthew Pla

sweet autumn morning
strumming guitars
sad songs and dappled sunlight
mint in my tea, a stray gray hair
conversations hushed over 
a gentle current of spiced air

wistfulness, theme
the taste of cinnamon and apple
in my breakfast bowl
dust motes dance in shafts of light
my barefeet on the carpet
fingers tapping out the heartbeats
in my study

one more laugh line
two doses of fish oil as I stretch
fingers twisting upward
swoop down, namaste
gentle on myself
as the indian summer breeze
caressing the curtains
of my windows

cardboard box, napping cat
at my feet, a napping dog
beef stew in a dutch oven
served over rice
a glass of wine
a kiss from my husband
before night descends
and we descend with it

 

I am not your homo (poem)

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Derek Owens
i am not your homo
your self promo
your private dancer
or your reason to go on

drown it in gold
its still only a cover
you cannot fathom the essence
of the material deep inside

the only way to expose it
is to expose you
when you stand inside your truth
we meet at an intersection of our
humanity

But

without that all else is caricature
a golden calf paper mache
pretty to look at but void of the inside
even when filled with candy

No god

shake it till it breaks
shatter it
bleed it out
lay it on the floor

get down on your hands and knees
and search through the mess
you still don’t get it do you?
you can’t claim what you’ve never possessed
what you never had rights to

i am not your homo
your non committal fun on a friday night
I’ve already had trick daddy days
that, should you have witnessed it,
still couldn’t articulate

I am not your homo
I don’t belong to you
he don’t belong to you
we don’t belong to you
We are ours and ours alone

Freebirds fleeing your gilded cage

Questions for Evangelicals (Pence Poem)

will you murder me?
swing, swing, from the Maple tree.
I married a man
will he swing next to me?
we said I do – in Iowa
will our ashes be spread there
is that a courtesy you offer?
thoughts and prayers for our hell bound souls

Will you murder me?
Like you allow black men to be murdered?
will there be words like, “If they just changed,”
in the debates on social media
hashtag say their name?
hashtag they were to blame
hashtag Leviticus, faggot

Will you murder me?
Will Fox News and MSNBC differ
will Rachel Maddow lament
no wait – they’ll kill her too
Will Sean Hannity be the apologist
as he tosses a football off screen

Will you murder me?
I’m ready. It’s like a slow boil
I’m ready to rock steady
but do me a favor
roll me in a grave with my brothers
when we haunt history’s pages
I want there to be a family portrait

Call yourselves what you want
spin this however you want
praise the Lord, and get the rope
regardless of rank and station
Evangelical dissertations in front of the Hague
when America is Liberated by some country
with more empathy than the geriatric voting base that voted you in
to them, and me, you’ll be nothing but killers

Fall from Grace (poem)

 

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all at once I was fifteen feet below
kicking, flailing, lungs on fire
I was dropped in the middle of the ocean
after I fell to my humanity from heaven
lead weights of betrayal around my ankles
black water all around me
I could see the sunlight just beyond the surface
turning the water above my head green

Deals with God, please don’t let me die
Deals with Devil, please don’t send me back
I found pockets of oxygen
in the beds of other men, begging them
please don’t send me away
then, I would depart on my walk of shame
down their driveway
kicking my way up

I’d used my youth, and my youth was used
and my face, and my dreams, and my body
as I discovered the truth about me
I was needy, and hungry, and lonely
and terribly insecure
I accepted these things
and the shackles one by one, broke

I kicked hard, to the surface
black spots dancing before my eyes
brain screaming at me to take a lungful
of water
the familiar taste of salt from the sea
my heart beat, thumped, railed, against
it’s steel cage – a lone drummer’s insurrection

freedom was inches from my face
until finally I crashed through that membrane
and all at once, I was free
sweet air, lungfuls, belly breaths
til all at once i came back to me
there I was floating on my back
face skyward – all alone on the sea

Trumpettes in my books ( I did Nazi that coming)

Yesterday, for the first time in presidential history, Donald Trump spoke at a ‘value voters’ summit hosted by the nefarious hate group ‘Focus on the Family.’

After promising support for LGBT Americans, he ditched them for his base.

Mostly, because his presidency sucks and he needs the support of his base.

I really don’t want to focus too much on what was said there, but he validated this organization that stands against my marriage. He told them that they their homophobia will be supported by him. Pence, a virulent anti-gay former governor, passed a law in Indiana that backfired spectacularly. Jeff Sessions has reversed the governments support for L.G.B.T people.

I’ve never been more worried for my country, for my friends, and for my own life as I am now under this administration.

Yet, here we are.

Often times when someone who is an actor, singer, writer, stands up and says something that his base doesn’t like they are told to shut up and sit down or they’re told to shut up and (______) fill in the blank with their chosen profession.

Get out of politics they say.

Well first off, fuck you.

This administration is a direct threat to my family. This goes beyond politics, this comes right into my home, into my consciousness, and it’s influencing my work. It’s anxiety, it’s fear, it’s rage, and fury.

Your political choices are also a threat. Maybe you voted for fiscal responsibility, party loyalty, or the republican party that once was – you know, the one that used to stand for freedom and liberty.

However, the failure of Trump to move any sort of policy forward, legislative or otherwise, and the narrowing of his support to his more virulent fans, has caused him to shift over to the evangelical hate groups with bullshit names like “Focus on the Family.”

logic

The amount of cognitive dissonance required by you to vote like this and then curl up with one of our books, or books written about gay people, knowing you’ve made our lives that much harder – is beyond the pale.

And yet – here it is. There are other books you should probably be reading. Mein Kempf comes to mind.

Or perhaps some poetry, one in particular by YEATS comes to mind:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Sound familiar?

There’s a lot of scared and hurt people out there. A lot. There’s no telling what this will turn into since the world has decided to lick the proverbial boots of authoritarianism. And once again, we’re engaging in a fight for our survival.

I am reminded of P!nk’s lyric, “I’m not here for your entertainment. You don’t want to mess with me tonight.”

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This idea that people shouldn’t speak out, especially those who are trying to create a brand for themselves, or make money applies to those who are more interested in that side of the equation.  And you may find writers out there who write this stuff and still think like you do. However, that’s evident in the kind of work they put out anyway and it always has been.

These aren’t just books. These are people’s lives. Fictional characters developed from running a pen over the scars people carry.

Thank God, I and so many more of us out there are artists. And Art requires that we honestly reflect the world as it is. So, quite frankly your money is no good here anymore.

Please leave. You’re uninvited. It’s just you and your hand tonight.