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Church

“Show your love.”
    ~ Tuck & Patti, “Love is the Key” from the album Tears of Joy (1988)

As a child
I know a way into meditation
I can hardly imagine forgetting
When it’s been such a long session
    dawn’s breaking
    big guy
    why’re you still pinned here
    shiny dark red head goring the seat
    cattycorner from mine
His upside-down eyes roll
Focus on mine
He snorts
    you’re right
    who wants to hear your drivel
    self-pitying self-loathing
    blaming parents other growing kids a whole state
    that was your prison
    only because you wouldn’t accept
    place or person
    anyone else
    sad-sack
    now look at the two of you
    still sitting on your gorka
    holding everyone else down beneath you
    you don’t love her
    remembering all the others you struck out with
    while she keeps the place tidy
    far from home
    aren’t you holding her prisoner
    just like you used to be
    and yet remain
    the very essence
    of what you’ve always hated
The fire has long since died
The woodstove’s cold
Chill stalks the room
Creeping into my arteries
Sigh of aging platelets slowly circulating
I could drift through my own inner chambers
Just sleep
That would be that
But I’m held stationary in my cranium
By conditioned requirement to state an answer
    how can there be secrets
    unknown to our deepest selves
    you know
    everything’s known
    aren’t we all one
    even you, with your need to impress and condemn
    even this place, or a whole state, all the same singularity with every other
    even me, though it wasn’t my conscious idea to grow up generally recognized as gay
    don’t we have power to choose
    how we experience
    how we’re experienced
    so those who don’t love themselves must’ve hidden from light
    to make friends with darkness hoping vainly for appreciation there or not
    so those who’ve been neglected must’ve sought the detachment
    to share the value of respect and thanks
    so those who go to prison must’ve sought to be inmates
    to learn what freedom brings and what it doesn’t
    so those claiming a knoll can choose who comes up
    to share the visions in ways that speak to whoever’s there
    so those who let go of the girl of their dreams
    to spend their lives with someone else must love that someone a lot
    so that special someone tries to get that girl back again
    to share the spectrum of love the more freely
    so I forgive my parents
    never blamed them really
    none of my struggles has been their fault
    they always did what they felt was right
    conditioned as they were
    with somebody else’s senseless requirements
His sarcastic smile looks bizarre upside-down
    why don’t you simply admit that what you long for most
    is to bang a woman you find sexy
    and of what you claim as your exuberance and stamina
    how deep is that?
My eyes roll in spite of myself
    several inches deep I suppose
    fine, I’m a guy
    an embodied human in a life of passionate frustration
    judge away if you feel like it
    I’d rather have a complete romance
    of lasting intensity
    I’ve never known
    than one night of hot sex
    though it’s true I long for both
    and don’t know all the reasons
    a lot of it’s surely about acceptance
    isn’t it romance that establishes the sense of home
    not fantasies habits assertions friendships or rituals
    sexy is any woman who reminds me of my mother
    so romance can never be
    so long as I view that woman in my mother’s place
    demeaning and rejecting
    whether or not that’s her intent
    either way I’m left feeling unloved and pointless
    so I let go
    and what’s changed
He cackles with a horrible, haunting sound
    what’s the use of your meditation
    what you call “setting energy”
    if you can’t set yourself
    to believe the people who attract you might also be attracted to you
I pull down some positivity
    nice reminder
    which energy’s harder to overcome than invalidation
    some guys are called women’s magnets
    by women themselves
    while I’ve always been a living aggravation
    someone to be used or abused
    these years
    it’s far easier for me to believe in you
    to understand that we’re really having this conversation
    than to accept the idea that I could walk into a bar
    meet a hot babe
    and imagine she’d honestly like us to go out on some dark beach and get laid
    in theory I start to realize that’s a block
    and wonder how many of us nerdy rejects share it
    their professional moms having just enough time
    to view their kids as competing with their careers
    and their churches
    and the rest of our Earthly society that’s done nothing to help anyone get past it
    maybe you can do better
His horns dislodge themselves
Below massive mug turning upright
With a wild twist of his scaly back and neck
And a sneer
He cocks his dark red head
    you expect me to help you?
I ape his expression
    aren’t we talking for a reason?
Moving back and forth on the wooden floor
The nails of his webbed feet make rasping and crinkling sounds
As they scrape out furrows of finish
    whoever you reject
    just returns the favor
The walls of the room seem far away
I feel dominated by his weight and his harshness
His contagious dispassion
    if I get your point then America can be proud
    to have successfully convinced one of its own
    that nearly a hundred percent of its others are fake
    deadly square
    or both
He looks me straight in the eye
    who do you love?
I smile back
    there are no limits
    not in this state where you’ve caught me
    nor any other state
    nor any time
He winks lasciviously with a grin
    your libido doesn’t agree with you
    neither does your respect
    you kept her on the stand for three days
    that’s why she jumped that flight of steps
    before the trial was over
I sit cockeyed at his leaps of connection
Then grin crookedly back
    crazier things have happened
    my libido can be conditioned
    if it matters
    I suppose we could get hold of a sexy American dream
    who was always beyond reach because we were all led to expect her
    to let us down
    cold as the boundless stretch of TV-ad teasers
    who sell everything from timeshares to tires
    but not each other
    until we needingly lovingly sincerely ask
    that she fall in love with both of us
    live with us validate us
    demonstrate her desire for us both over and over
    once we finally get the girl
    learn to appreciate each other
    since as someone officially sanctioned to be sexy
    someone who can consciously crave
    as we participate
    till we do the same even unintentionally
    on our own
    we’ve already accepted ourselves
    and each other
    and the stand
    we both knew its risks in advance
    how would you prevent someone you love
    from demonstrating love’s depth
    even if it could mean death
    the doorway to another life
    right at the bottom of those stairs
    if that’s what’s chosen
    what’s in fact been
    through miracle
    was her return from a vision of hell
    that taught her better how to take a stand
    next time
    we won’t forget
    thanks for meeting her there
    thanks for being there for me too
    thanks for suggesting I think it over
His countenance closes in on itself
Wrinkling him into no more than a grimace
    you don’t show your love
    even to she who bore you and sheltered you
    and he who you’ve hardly considered
    other than to say
    that like one of his rabbits
    he never said a word
He knows how to make me feel sad
Tired
Dull
As if bound to never look away from his eyes
    maybe his silence always had a reason
    when do you tell your child
    it’s otherwise only inferrable
    a mother molested as a child herself
    so strove to ensure the experience wouldn’t be repeated
    so invalidated the child’s sexuality ably as only she could
    so passed garbage in garbage out
    so here’s a man nearly sexless yet craving touch
    so unattainable are any attractive women
    so grandfather’s lovelorn defeatism has been replicated
    so I’m lucky I didn’t become a child molester myself
    acting out my needs instead with a harmlessly childlike adult
    naïve and long-overprotected enough to only appreciate the difference
    between me and the libido-driven men she’d known before
    after years
    through whose depth of awareness she realized the trouble
    and together with the interest of finding the support
    to secure herself
    and raise children of her own or a friend’s
    in this foreign country
    sought validation for me from the women of my own soil
    as I invited a man from hers
    to whom I was always attracted
    since he indirectly taught me so much
    who with enough love could come join our family
    the better to bring up children more emotionally balanced than we’ve been
    all together
He scowls
    what do you know of children
    when you have yet to raise your own?
Upon this I ask for guidance
Rise
Give him a hug
    you’re my child
    like anyone
    aren’t you
    in love
    and maybe just in my imagination
    anyway
    why can’t parents counter their own childhood conditioning
    not by instilling either identical or contrary conditioning
    as every reaction leads to equal and opposite action
    either way recreating their very own conditioning
    in heirs of old misfortune
    but by first healing themselves
    if my parents learned insincerity from their parents or grandparents
    then I’d just be sincere
    thinking only virtuous thoughts
    since what I think becomes only too true
    feeling only impeccable feelings
    or honest ones at least
    since what I feel others feel too
    if my parents learned to spoil me with cheap material things instead of love
    then I’d give more love than material
    to all including myself
    invest my own time
    wouldn’t anyone respond
    to cheapness with cheapness
    to material with material
    to rejection with rejection
    to love with love
    if my parents learned too much of strictness and demands
    then I’d be only as harsh as the situation calls for
    not delay the backshift from tough to gentle love
    since conditioning’s in the moment
    I know you’re a beautiful soul just as you are
    my friend
As he considers what to say next
Guides
What would I do without you
Besides run to the kitchen to fetch cedar lavender mint pennyroyal oils
Return to anoint him
But he’s gone
A warmly scented mist drifts from the droplets that yet fall
From my tipped bottles lightly to the seat
Now turned to an altar by this little sacrament
It’s whole
As is the floor
Not even an old scratch to remind
How he’s spent this dark night
Programming me
In vain
If he doesn’t consider me a loser
Then who would
Besides myself
Whoever may have cast rejection
However the path may have been arranged
Whatever opportunities I may have had
To realize dearest dreams
As the time to do that came and went
Without me
No use to wait up for answers
The room’s silent
All shall be saved
He’ll return
Thanks always does

Thanks always returns

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