Banged up old car (Poem)

instagram-com-igorovsyannykov-252347

 

Instagram.com/igorovsyannykov/

 

I’m banged to shit
the wrong kind of gay for you
but i’m still here
like a car that has a bald tire
busted tail lights and a broken air conditioner
still gets you from A to B
I still cruise the night with the radio blasting

sure I may be not as attractive as the benz
you’re riding in
but my backseat lays it down just the same
maybe even better

and my engine may not be as quiet
but I liked it loud and verbal when the peddle is put down
as rubber burns the asphalt
why I even growl “mooooooooore” as i disappear into the night

unlike you’re uber
you know when you’ve ridden with me
like an infection I get under your skin one way
or another
your fingers find the impressions I make
and despite your sensibilities
it always makes you smile
now, whether you like that you smile – well, that’s you’re business

I may require a trigger warning
I may cuss when I’m not happy and I may break down
and I’m sure guaranteed to offend
the BMWs and limousine riders
and my ride might not be as smooth
but I am not here for smooth
I’m here for those who like it rough

Sure, the valet is gonna raise a brow
at the ancient upholstery and smoke tinged glass
but he doesn’t know what you know
and he doesn’t know what I can’t explain
and he can’t articulate the miles on the odometer
but you can – you know – at least part of the story

Gay For You (GFY) Revisited

jorge-gonzalez-116859

(Photo by Jorge Gonzalez)

A gay friend of mine earlier posted a semi-rant over GFY and the main point he was trying to make was that sexuality – for a lot of people isn’t fluid.
The science is clear that homosexuality is built into the genes and epigenetics of human beings.
GFY does a disservice to people – not because of the trope but because of the easy explanation of so-called sexual fluidity.
Those who’ve taken umbrage to this subset of a subset of a subset of this genre do so because they’re so used to the world outside telling them that they can change or that who they are isn’t natural – that when they see this, this reinforces that mindset.

If sexuality is in fact FLUID – you can CHOOSE to be straight.  Or at the very least be in a straight relationship.
But there is a two-pronged problem here.
The first is the aforementioned.
The second, however, is telling people what they can write and telling readers what they can read.
We run into a constant problem here.
GFY – is high fantasy.
It isn’t real and anecdotal evidence to the contrary is just that. Anecdotal.
And then people – writers- get defensive over their work, readers get mad because they’re being ignored and the entire thing descends into a flame war.
It is irrefutable that a writer can write what he or she wants. That is crystal clear.
But there is often a distance between what one CAN do and what one OUGHT to do.
GFY – as a subset – isn’t going anywhere.

The market eats those books up like cookie monster eats cookies. And to be honest, it’s a cash cow that authors have found and it would be dumb to give it up.
Screaming about that does zilch – other than causing a bunch of stupid drama and then, unintentionally sells a bunch of books people were angry over.
But instead of slapping sexual fluidity in place of actual research and understanding of human sexuality may assuage some people’s feelings about the subset and make them less angry about feeling like not only do they have to watch out for the crazy preacher down the road who thinks they can change and the ignorant author who happens to agree with them in their work.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write about gay people – it simply means that you should fear your subject. And with that trepidation approach it with respect and the dignity they deserve like you would someone of a different race.

Sexuality is as ingrain as skin color, eye color, blood type….
I can guarantee you some straight person doesn’t wake up one day, no matter how much they may like another person of the same gender and think, “I want to have sex with him/her.” Or – if a gay man and a straight man have a very close emotional relationship – doesn’t mean that they’re going to have a sexual one.
Are there sexual fluid people? Yes.

But they are not gay. They have their own special set of circumstances that should be highly respected. As do bisexual people who’ve really been done a disservice by this subset.
None of these things should be flippantly brushed aside to get two hot guys into bed.
GFY – will remain a high fantasy, especially for gay men who fall in love with their best friend. But it’s a fantasy that should be broken. Because there is nothing but heartache and disappointment down that road – unless the gay guy can come to understand that his buddy’s heterosexualness is just as ingrained in him as gayness is ingrained in the gay guy.
After all – he was born that way.
Unconditional Postive Regard dictates that we love people for who they are no matter what. Gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual etc. etc. instead of fighting over the labels and over the words – maybe we should start listening to those who say, “This is my truth,” and accepting that and being compassionate about that when we reflect it in our work.

We can evolve this into something better than it is. 

Tired of being angry.

I used to get so bent out of shape at the writers in this genre. Several months ago, I was fueled with a lot of anger and a lot of jealousy.
The books I wrote – were solid. The reviews, great.
But I wasn’t selling.
And then I would read something that was sort of what someone would refer to as ‘brain candy’ and I would get angry that they were a huge seller.
I was bitter.
I kept asking myself, how is that happening?
I mean, here I am giving people depth and great stories filled with powerful subject matter which was being lauded by those who took the time to read it.
And then I would make 24 dollars a quarter. Twenty-four bucks.
My worth was tied into the money and not the art.
And in that moment I started reading reviews of other people’s work. But only the negative ones.
I danced on other people’s pain when their book got skull dragged through the mud because I was jealous of their success.

And it doesn’t mean that some of my anger wasn’t justified. It was. I had asked a question about the way gay men were depicted in this genre and immediately was set upon by people who instantly accused me of misogyny and told me I should be quiet because I’m privileged – as a man. They completely dismissed and disregarded the fact that I am a queer man and because of that fall under a totally new set of circumstances. And because I am a queer man – when I accepted that label and in turn accepted that lifestyle – what privilege I did have went up in smoke.

Because the truth is – when you come out as gay – even to women – you’re feminized immediately and can sometimes become the butt of some white liberal’s jokes.

I had been summarily dismissed.

I couldn’t write. I couldn’t read it. And for a writer unable to write – that’s agony.

There’s a problem when you toss out words such as privilege and accuse people of things like cultural appropriation and bigotry. Those things are boomerang terms. And eventually, because all things are NOT equal, they’re going to find their way back to you. I watched it happen to an author who accused me of misogyny. He put out a book and got slammed for it, himself.

Because someone, somewhere is always waiting for someone to make a misstep. Someone somewhere who probably couldn’t write their way out of a wet paper bag is always waiting in the wings to take someone down. And Romance – a genre this is set upon anyway – is always a soft target. And so are it’s writers. There are those who do, and there are those who talk about those who do. We call them, critics.

But here’s the thing. The writer/ critic dynamic is not set apart. We are symbiotic. One cannot exist without the other. And when you have toxic writers or toxic critics – all is left is a total mess that everyone else will go out of their way to avoid. And from the outside looking in, I can see why people would avoid us, or make fun of us. Because, of course, this would happen in this genre.

And social media has made it possible to sit behind the computer in the safety of your own home and say some of the most vile things a person can say to another with anonymity. Things no one would DARE say to another person’s face.

So here’s the thing – you can please some people all of the time or you can please all of the people some of the time. But you will NEVER be able to please all the people all of the time.

So don’t try.

The pressure isn’t worth it.

Write your stories. Do your best. Because in reality, the dream of being the next New York Times bestseller is as much a pipe dream as a gay guy being able to convert his straight best friend into domestic loving bliss.

It’s a fantasy. All of it.

And at the end of the day, some people need a way out of their reality. If this election has taught me ANYTHING – it’s that some people don’t want the seriousness or the heaviness of Queer literature. They don’t to read about someone’s past, or their pain, or the road they’ve traveled. It reminds them too much of what they’ve lived through even if they’re not queer.

People are hurting – and sometimes it’s not the responsibility of artists to reflect the world around them. Sometimes it’s our responsibility to ease the tormented soul. And if werepenguin shifters, MPREG, and GFY is the way out ……I’d rather they take that road that to sit in their misery.

Straight people will NEVER know what it’s like to be gay. Ever. Just like I will never know what it’s like to be a lesbian or a bisexual or an African American. And asking me to know, 100 percent, on point, all the time these nuances of people and personality and background – is the height of privilege, ironically. And we know the difference between someone who tries and those who are in it to make money.

But at the end of the day – so does everyone else .

I’m just tired of being angry. I’ll write the world I see, how I see it, and the things that I’ve experienced. And I’ll publish it. And I’ll be waiting for those who want something more – even if that doesn’t make me a bajillionaire.

But i am done perpetuating hurt. I’m not going to junk punch everyone who wanders over the minefield of wounds this life has given me by mistake.

I’ll just be an artist. And I am totally okay with that. Maybe I’ll be famous when I’m dead. I don’t write m/m Romance. I write queer lit. And that’s cool, too.

To those, I’ve offended in the past. I am sorry.

Between Us – My first foray into the World of Self-Publishing

between-us-2

 

I am super excited about this.

Back Story: Last year, I think, I wrote a short story called “The Scarecrow” for Halloween and posted it for free on my Facebook Page, Goodreads Page, and blog. I really loved the story, I loved the freedom of writing something short and not having the pressure of sending it off to a publisher to wait the 9 weeks or so before I got word on whether or not it was approved.

I also liked the idea that I could be as crazily creative as I wanted to be without feeling the urge to have to explain myself to an editor etc.

This year, I wanted to do the same thing. However, my husband asked me ‘You work so hard on the stuff that you write, you spend hours plunking away at it, so why are you just giving it away.’ I guess he’s right. So this year, I decided to write another short story and self-publish it to Amazon.

And I realized a couple things

  1. I really appreciate the work my publisher puts into putting out novels. I had people volunteer to edit and volunteer to make cover art for me and I love them dearly for it. However, mistakes were made and some stuff was missed. It’s an imperfect book.
  2. I’m probably never going to be a J.K Rowling. And I have to be okay with that. I write a niche subset of a niche genre. And while my books are good (All above three stars in review) they don’t call to a large audience.
  3. This is something I think I am going to do every once in awhile. The Amazon experience is pretty painless. Load up this, fix this, do this, hit this button TA DA! And so, once in a while when I feel a short story going on in my head, I’ll throw it up on Amazon perfectly imperfect. Because, let’s face it, Amazon lets you do it for free, but editors, cover designers etc. are expensive. And for some, prohibitively so.

 

Anyway, if you like gay romance and spooky stories I have one for you. I am totally excited about this little story and look forward to writing more. Here’s the blurb:

When Jeremy, a tall, hunky, ladies man begins to explore his bisexual attractions, he realizes he loves his best friend and college roommate Roger.
Roger secretly loves Jeremy back but is holding on to a secret of his own. A terrible one.
On Halloween night both men are invited to a party where the truth of each other will be revealed in a horrific way. Will they survive a night of terror? Or will it rip them apart forever?

Buy the book by following the link. Thanks!

And most of all, Happy Halloween!

F.E.

Little Messiah (poem)

​There isn’t a place I’ve been that I’ve not run from

When midnight struck the clock on the wall

And late became the hour

And like the damned in fairy-tale legends

Morning set my feet to flee before the sun crest over the horizon upon the very next day
When ashes all settled from the bridges I’ve burnt

Whose broken bodies lay limp over yawning 

Deep canyons

With my fingers smelling once again of gasoline and tear drops

I bore the Weight of myriad transgressions on ever bent neck and sloping shoulders
My feet once tender had turned to stone 

My face once fat had become lean

Sweet smiles lines became deep set and turned to frown lines 

At the corners of my mouth

With ragged and raging and fearful soul

I turned my back on heaven and the son and my home
I was the prodigal son unwilling to beg forgiveness

For made up sins wrapped neatly in heavenly torment

I was Jonah who’d conquered that whale with simple reason

I was Paul and Silas bound beaten and bloody

Who instead of praying, fucked my way out of that jail
And like the damned and unrepentant third man on the cross

I thought forever my poor soul would roam

Burning bridges and abandoning beds before sun up

Unable to call any place, any house, my home
But twisted fate is always twisted and it twisted me once more 

As it Bound me over naked and afraid

Unrepentant vagabond born again hedonist 

Begging for an early grave
But then with tenderness you spoke in my ear

And upon your feet I spilled my hearts discontent

I let you know among which shadows I danced within

And repeated back to you all I learned about God
With Grace’s supernatural understanding

You took the can of gasoline from my left hand

The Zippo lighter right out of my left

You bathed the dust from off my feet with sweet oils

And for the first time, made love to me that night
You blue eyed angel with dark hair and tender faith

You’ve restored and take care of my soul

And when you love me you love all of me 

All of who and where and what I’ve been

And now that the clock is winding steadily to midnight

I lay my head upon your chest, little Messiah, and wonder at the mysteries of God.

Gay for you

John (my husband) and I were having a discussion about the origins of sexuality. Were we really born this way?

He was telling me about a story he’d read where a straight guy had a roommate that he’d known was gay. They’d been roommates for years. But as time wore on he started becoming a little bit angrier and a little bit angrier until he’d become downright mean to the guys his roommate brought home. He’d never considered himself a homophobe. He’d been pretty opened minded about the whole thing but he couldn’t figure out why he was raging against his friend’s boyfriends so much. And it had gotten to the point where his friend was tired of his shit.

Well, it bothered him enough to take it to social media where explained the situation and asked for help. And some of the responses came back inquiring if in fact, his anger may not be gay hating, but simple human jealousy. Was he jealous of these guys? So, he took his issue to his sister, who basically said the same thing.

One night while the two guys were having a Quentin Tarantino marathon *romantic, I know* the guy started to talk to his roommate about what he was feeling and what people had said about it. And then he kissed his roommate. And then suddenly realized, ‘Hey, I may be gay.”

Because now, he has a boyfriend.

We’re all familiar with this idiot diagram below.

The-Kinsey-Scale

Not for the Kinsey Scale per se, but because the scale goes from Modest to Slut in six easy steps. Like the more ‘gay’ you are the bigger hoe you are. And that isn’t true. But Kinsey does allude to sexual fluidity.
Now, if we assume sexuality can be fluid, we should also consider love to be fluid as well.

I believe love is never stationary. It’s in a state of flux.

Consider the process of meeting someone you find attractive. You meet, you talk, and maybe set up a date for coffee. You are attracted to them. You find you like them. Now let us say one date leads to two, two days together ends up, weekends together, then you give them a key, then they move in..over time like (aided by lust) slowly begins to turn into love. Now, you ‘go steady’ (does anyone go steady anymore) and suddenly there is an engagement ring, a wedding. And in that process – love- is changing. It’s, hopefully, but not in all circumstances – growing. You’re in love. The greek called this Eros. Romantic/ erotic love.

But over the years, they body breaks down. Gravity and old age set in. Maybe your no longer having sex. Or maybe you are. But you don’t look the same. But you hold hands, kiss, sleep next to each other. Very much still in Eros sure. But let us say one of you gets sick. And maybe it’s a bad sick. Chemotherapy, vomit, bed pans, maybe adult diapers, maybe even having to clean them up.

What keeps people from leaving?

I hypothesize that love, that selfish Eros, has grown up. And just like the silver in your hair, there is little strains of Agape or Selflessness now, unconditional or even Godly love. Love that allows your heart to remember when you were young and beautiful – and maintains that beauty and holds that steady.

We live in an age now where we’re slapping labels on everything. Genderfluid, homoromantic, genderqueer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, heteroromantic,- fuck a duck- everyone has a title and I can’t keep up. Today, everyone has a label. My question is, why?

Why the labels? And why are we militantly defending them? And are we really born that way?

I think we’ve said so to legitimize ourselves. There’s an innate need to defend ourselves and saying we’re born that way. It sort of removes the nebulousness of human

When talking about labels, it’s important to understand that these are arbitrary and are culturally determined anyway. Homosexual in the current US meaning didn’t really come around until the 20th century. Until then, there was a concept of same-sex behavior but not BEING gay. (Think Romanesque behavior of the Top not being homosexual because he was the one doing to fucking whereas the one being fucked, was homosexual). We can see this attitude reflected in Latino culture.

There’s an innate need to defend ourselves and saying we’re born that way. It sort of removes the nebulousness of human affection and its necessary in the age where we live. If you can delegitimize people, you can dehumanize them, and if you dehumanize them, you can do with them as you please. And most of that would come from God-fearing religious people. So I understand the why part that.

I’ll even go so far as saying the scientific community, as well as the psychological community, have jumped in to bolster this ‘born this way’ argument. Mostly, because they understand what happens to ‘other’. The usually end up hurt or worse. Murdered because of their ‘otherness’.

But the question I have, is it possible that our understanding of sexuality is as limited as our understanding as to why some couples make it into their golden years and some don’t? Or as limited as our understanding of love? Every time I hear someone say, “Love is love, I want to give them a high five in the face with a chair.”

Because, no it isn’t.

I am not saying one love is less than, or one is more than, but I think Heraclitus said it best, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

It’s human nature to want to compartmentalize. To label. And point at something and say this is this because it has these attributes.

What if gay people are not born that way? Would it matter? What if people weren’t born lesbian, or bisexual, or transgendered? Would it matter?

“Well, it would delegitimize me.”

To whom? And do they matter?

Could sexuality be as innocuous and mundane as a gentleman who prefers blondes who one day sees a redhead that knocks him off his feet?

Love is a human experience. An Asian no more loves a person than someone of African descent. No gay person loves more profoundly than a woman or a straight man. No lesbians words are sweeter, nor truer, than the depths and breadth of human language  and experience.

Is it simply preferential?

“Well ,then this becomes a sin.”

No, it wouldn’t. The sin is to not seeking love. The sin is To turn away from it. And I am not talking about hate (that is not the opposite of love), I’m talking about Apathy.

We seek love. All of us. In one way or another seek to connect to one another. Be in familial, erotic, platonic, agape, We seek to connect. It’s what makes us human.

I remember looking for ‘my origins’, trying to connect with the past. As if this was some evolutionary process. And trying to find out other people’s experiences. And reading stories about love. And how they fell in love. And when did they know and suddenly the prevailing wisdom was, ‘well, some people are born this way.” But there is NO hard proof to suggest that. There’s stuff that kinda sorta eludes to maybe , but nothing solid. Psychology, the same thing. And I don’t think there ever will be.

So what happened with the straight guy and his gay roommate? He started falling in love with him. He moved passed the gender, moved passed, the labels, moved passed the stigma. Does that make the straight guy gay or bisexual? If he sees himself as bisexual or gay, yes. That’s not a title we get to put on him. That’s a title he gets to claim for himself.

Is it possible for an absolutely one hundred percent heterosexual male to fall in love with a gay man? Sure. If he steps into love and finds the waters have changed. Because when he steps down, he finds that love isn’t the same, and neither is he.