Tag Archives: gender

Transgression: 1967

 The scene : School bus: guerrilla warfare in the high school jungle. Smalltown Vermont. Depression and McCarthy are only now fading together. A wife is still property,  faggots are fair game. The farms are dying fast, the boys leaving; Viet Nam a patriotic war that’s coming home now.

The cast : Steve: class president, consummate athlete, whose intelligence and art are focused entirely on perfecting the highest level of sarcasm. Goes steady with the captain of cheerleading team (this is 1967, after all), but all the girls are wrapped around his so-to-speak finger. Debbie: neither part of the popular crowd, nor not. She is a being unto herself. Yet sits with him because Barbara Cheerleader has her own wheels, doesn’t need to ride the bus. Debbie is short-haired dark-eyed a mystery of silence to: Me: child of alcoholics, intelligent, viciously angry, silent, romantic poet; an athlete’s legs, farm-boy’s shoulders and between, a sensuality of girl’s curves. The rest: “underclass­men” (and further-underclass wo-men); silent, faceless: witnesses.

Debbie has just left Steve’s seat, moved to the front of the bus for her stop, next after mine. For the first time ever, I notice the swaying curve of hip as she brushes past. I rise to exit as she sits.

Steve calls out loud: “Hey Nick, Debbie thinks you’ve got a cute ass.” (remember the year, the place. we do not say these things. we do not.)

Debbie turns, caught inside a secret that has a dark shell and pink interior. Pearls that have just been cast. Cheeks burn a high quick rose. Eyes weld to mine, challenge, will not let go till I am past and off the bus.

Steve: laughs: coyote, hunting.

The rest: titter: nervous birds.

My cheeks are hot as hers.  I hate myself, that he has touched me once again.  I long to turn, and deliver over finger raised some withering repartee.  My buttocks are hotter, rising to her gaze, longing to be parted by her—or by him, with her as silent eager witness.  Jewelweed in late summer sun, opening to the hummingbird’s beak.                          How the nectar flows.

Steve, today: mildly successful salesman for an inconsequential company. Kitchen cabinets, perhaps. Still some tired charm, the anger gone, the edge dulled by liquor. Me: the poet remains; the athlete gone. Ass gone sadly flat, like an old tire. Debbie: lost, returned to the shadows she came out of. Her name, forgotten, is a fabrication for this account. I never spoke to her, not once, nor she to me.

yet her eyes dark fire  that locked would not release        
the glow that rose up the cheekbones they make of this        
prose even now some thing that writhes that will not stay        
within its lines.        

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First Words

I have long believed that writing is a shamanic art. The earliest spoken language must surely have been poetry, because word is metaphor and voice is music, and where these are combined, poetry begins. In its written form language must have been developed as a magical art of shamans. The intrinsic power of writing remains today, and like other shamanic arts, it is one by which the multiple realities of our existence may be understood and integrated, an art through which reality can be created or altered.     (more)

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She

lives inside  her head
somewhere around my heart
her head maybe  is my heart
or only maybe her teeth
puncture it

her feet sparrows balanced
on the inverse root of my cock
where sometimes
with a gleaming moonlight knife
she dances

sometimes
demure  she blushes away
from what I seem  sometimes
she bellies a raucous laugh
harpy crone coyote-woman

a splash of salted sport
over penile presumption
over pretence of potency
white lily red rose thorn she is
a drop of blood
she craves
the lesbians who trust me
she lusts  she

urges me in reluctant
pursuit of gay beautiful men
who flee  she is not
a façade a mockery a fey parade
Shakespeare in drag she is not
the sham she likes to say I am
she is the real thing honey  and oh
how her piano plays that honky-
tonk that estral rag she

is an isthmus of reality
where all that is left of me
must tread if not to wet its feet
in the tide  vestigial backbone
impaling screw  scarecrow skeleton
that my true love body
doting
flaps upon

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