Archives for category: Poem

Undetectable: A Gay Poem 2012/2018

by Duncan Roy

Don’t let climate change ruin your gay wedding.

Nor fear of deportation or student loans.  Don’t let the government shut down beleaguer your special day.

Nor think of drones killing gay men on foreign shores. Not in my name.

Dream my dear, of the $160,000 surrogate baby you really can’t afford. White eggs and spermatozoa Amex paid for.

Grown in a poor brown woman whose name attorneys erased.  She’ll never be known to the unborn child.

Goldman bonus spent on more Botox. Calm your troubled brow with restylane.  Fill the lines they put there with relentless bullying and casual homophobia.

You weren’t looking for love.  A painted finger nail emoji on your Tinder profile, hoping for a merger and acquisition.  Perfect in the Pines.  Helping him fuck another guy. Guiding him into the gaping hole like a stallion. Prepped and raw. Bare back monkey.

Hung?

Fun?

Can Accom.

Marrying a fellow American now, you need not stress, ICE officers will not be your groomsman.  Not today.

Thank Jesus Christ Almighty,

Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act is no more.

They can not stop you, nor turn you from the hospital as your husband lays dying from a lethal Fentanyl overdose. Undetectable. No longer woke.

Found in the sauna, wearing his combat boots, multiply penetrated, cream pied, still bound and dripping, eyes open, calling out another man’s name, swaying gently in the black polyester sling.

Enjoying your honeymoon in the leather bars of Berlin.

1.

They are deporting thousands of undocumented workers in the USA. Friends and family disappear. The cranberry bogs remain un-harvested. The schools stricken by grieving children. Police officers didn’t think it would be this way.  They couldn’t put a face to the men and women Trump wanted to deport. Simple, honest people caught up in the merciless trawl. They didn’t realise their friends were breaking the law. They didn’t understand the depth of hatred their fellow citizens harboured for brown and black people.

2.

Hackney.  East London finally puts paid to the ridiculous notion I can leave my car unlocked without being burgled.  Yes.  I am that man.  Regardless of the stolen cash, life in East London is inspiring. Like the first time you visit deep Brooklyn, you understand who millennials are and what they prioritize. Bushwick, going there with Paris McGarry and her boyfriend Tom. The streets were buzzin, the restaurants overflowing, the music bursting out of every window over the cobbled streets. Huge lofts once filed with machinery now house tech aspirants and what, I think, is the difference? Intellectual rather than mechanical industry.

Hackney has exactly the same energy.  Fit, bearded men cycling through the park discussing crypto currency on their cell phones.  They look insane, talking to themselves, eyes fixed on the road, avoiding my dogs who are inexplicably drawn to cycle paths. I feel alive here, which is odd as I am facing death head on right now.  I am optimistic even though I feel the curtain closing about me, taking my final bow.  I sit in Shorditch House all day drinking water and coffee and eating sour jelly candy.  I buy boots in APC and wonder why.  I mean, I don’t need anything.  I am rootless, I am free.

3.

Going to NA meetings all over the East End.  I am drawn to the drama I suppose.  I meet cool people and when they read about me are less eager to judge my life, my exploits whilst American addicts damn you forever.  You lose your grip once and Americans watch with glee as you fall from the side of the building.  Falling like a crazy base jumper.  You took a risk… it didn’t pay off.  Your fingers slip from the polished marble. The English addict is less determined to make you pay.

However, NA is not very productive in London.  The people may be kind but the programme stinks. Swimming around in their own shit. NA isn’t group therapy.  Nobody cares about your feelings. Addicts repeat their using tragedies again and again day after day.  They have no solution, grasping hold of their pain, reliving the insanity, indulgently spewing over anyone who will listen. They attend endless meetings 90/90 but will not work the 12 steps.  Of course, after a few months, they relapse then after another spectacular ‘rock-bottom’ claw their way back into the rooms… continuing the cycle of despair.  I keep reminding myself not to slip back into bad habits.  No catastrophic thinking, no indulgence.  No. No. No.

4.

I’m in Climpson’s the local coffee shop trying to write a treatment.  Broadway Market. I know the fishmonger and the book seller. The baristas know my name. I’m writing a gay Fatal Attraction. Crazy older lady meets younger gay guy at AA meeting, she’s a hoarder, he takes pity on her, cleans her house, helps her with her life, she lends him money and falls in love with him… then tries to destroy him when he refuses her advances.  It’s waiting to be written. This story, this slice of life upstate.  Donna, you crazy witch! I took Donna to a gay party, she wasn’t impressed when I talked to the other guys.  I took her to Abby Rockefeller’s farm.  She wasn’t impressed when I talked to other women.  I felt her eyes boring into me. We left.

5.

The dull thud returns, at the base of my sternum.  The pain wraps around my body from my stomach to the base of my back.  The acid reflux, overwhelming tiredness and irritability.  I had more tests.  There are problems that need resolved but the doctors are too damn eager to slice into me.  I already had my gall bladder and an isolated tumor on my adrenal gland removed.

The doctor is thorough and uncompromising.  I revisit all the horrors of pancreatic cancer.  I look at potential remedies, of which there are few.  The very worst scenario is called the Whipple procedure which is also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy, a complex operation to remove the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine (duodenum), the gallbladder and the bile duct.

They say to me: these symptoms are found in women. They say, it may be malignant, it may be benign, it may be somewhere in between.  The diagnosis isn’t good enough.  It’s too damn vague.  I lay on my bed after our long walk and fall into a deep sleep.  I breathe deeply, clearing my mind of everything I think I know.  I remind myself of the solution, the literature.  I say, what will be will be.  Divorcing myself from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.

During the day I face indecision. I may not correctly determine which course of action to take. I ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or decision.  I relax, I don’t struggle. I’m surprised by how often the right answer comes after practicing these principles in all my affairs.

Blair Thurman

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Stormy Malibu

1.

It started with a short message and ended up with a whole bunch of choices I never expected.

Not in my wildest dreams.

I’ve read what you had to say. Now it’s my turn.

Stepping away from the mess. It’s not so messy. It seems like it was planned.

This pantomime. Look at the cast of unusual, freakish characters. Look at them.

Boys and men, trans and women.

Young girls. Yes. They are here too.

So you wrote me a poem. No title… of course.

2.

We were connected .

When it expires we are expired.

The order? It was a good idea. It was a great way to formalize the end of our association. I can only imagine that you feel much the same way I do.

I wish we had never met.

Don’t you shudder whenever you think about it?

I understand why you needed to rewrite the narrative.

I took advantage of you?

You had far more to lose by telling the truth.

When assigning blame, I take full responsibility. I should have walked away.

Everyone I trusted advised me to do so. Everyone I trusted.

I didn’t.

Instead, I pinned my hopes on you. I found your interest in me all at once baffling and inspiring.

A romantic relationship was impossible.

Because I am a broken, sick man. Incapable of intimacy.

You sold me:

A big fat lie.

Yet, we never talked about my lies. Yes, I lied to you about almost everything.

Lies I had held onto for a very long time.

This man is a liar. Just like me. Did you ever think that?

So.

The last time I checked, and that was some time ago, you seemed very happy wearing your new clothes, your relationship, your job and your family.

I am delighted. You will make a much better job of being a gay than I ever could.

It seems to be an exciting time for a young gay man in the USA. Equality on the horizon, no AIDS.

Your ability to form and maintain relationships will mean that you’ll have everything you always wanted. Everything you ever dreamed.

The questions I wanted to ask… I have no reason to ask.

The truth set you free and I am very proud of you… even though I have no desire to set eyes upon you ever again.

May 6th 2013

3.

When did you have time to write that? Was it really meant for me?

Did you wonder if I should reply? Did you think I could?

There are no words left.

4.

It’s 3am.

The storm rattles the house, thunders down the drain pipes. Torrents of rain over the mountain. Hammering down onto the wide, new leaves.

Wide awake.

Make some toast and lime marmalade. Boil some eggs. Stand naked in the warm rain.

Christian 2

There is a week of mayhem to report.  A week of extraordinary conduct.  A week of moving back east.

Connecting with AA, meeting a man on the street whose face I never tire of.

I can’t show you his face.

Only in NYC.

Then, I meet a woman who KNOWS all about my film.  I mean, she knows the story like an urban myth.  But it’s not a myth.  It’s the sad truth.

“Oh, I know this story,” she said.  Her eyes sparkling with anticipation.  “I think he’s my friend on Facebook.  Yes, look…”  she pulls out her smart phone and there he is.  I push the phone away.  I shouldn’t be looking at that.

“What was he thinking?”  she roars with laughter.

Women love my film.  It confirms everything they think they know about men.  The injustice of men.

Dead five-year olds.  20 of them.

The children are shot dead by a crazed, entitled white boy.  The little bodies buried this week.  Lined up against the wall and executed.  You know they didn’t have a clue.  You know they did as they were told.

I thought about the little dog facing the lethal injection.

A horrific pendant: ten Afghan children are splattered into the mud by a drone.

Somehow their little brown faces are missing from the media.  Somehow the little white children in Connecticut are worth more.

This week has been all about mental illness and guns.   The mild wet weather.   The poem.  The fiscal cliff.  Obama.  That’s PRESIDENT Obama to you.

We asked you to vote for him, now he’s letting us down all over again.  Surprise, fucking surprise.

I saw a man being mugged on the 5 train.  Into Manhattan, a stealthy, tall, nimble black man rips an iPhone 4s out of an asian man’s hands leaving him with his ear phones on his head.  The rest of us sat amazed.

The white people urged him to call the police but he said, “I’m already late for work.”

I’m buying a parker.  It’s lined with blood-red shearling.  Like the monkey they found in Ikea.

Dinner in the neighborhood, dinner at the Mercer Kitchen with Courtney, dinner at the Standard Grill with Brock.

Dinner with Cristina who I have not seen for 30 years on the floor of her palatial Upper East Side home.  It was as if all those 30 years just melted away.   That we were friends again from last week.  Funny, compelling, brilliant, beautiful Cristina.

Dinner with new gay AA friends in cheap diners.

Dinner at Mary’s Fish Camp with Benoit.  We stop at Boxers (gay bar) on the way home.  There’s nothing for us.  Benoit peels off leaving me on the street and as I wait for the green light a handsome green eyed man says hello.

At first I wonder why.  Why is this stunningly handsome 27-year-old man saying hello to me.

Then we’re in Barracuda kissing each other.

I’m wearing that huge fur hat.

I can’t kiss him any more.  I can’t suck any more spit out of his mouth.  I can’t look into his green eyes.

I am so overwhelmed by him I walk through the rain until I am soaked to the skin.  Wondering how it happens?  Wondering how it ends up like this?

All the way home I’m humming Nature Boy to myself.

In the morning my room smells of damp fur.

 

 

 

Families come in all shapes and sizes.

 

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1.

It is dawn again. Dawn in the desert. The smell of the earth and the dew. The sounds of the chirruping birds.

The pervasive silence of the long black night coming to an end.

My night blindness is getting worse. I sat on my spectacles so am guessing, largely… where the keys are.

The days get hotter and hotter. The sun beating down relentlessly. The lawn toasting, the dogs roasting, the mountain tightens around us as it bakes.

Hot days in Dorset/ hot days in Malibu. Hot days on the sleepy ocean, lapping around me.

Coffee, editing, read the daily news. It sure looks bad in Syria.

We cruise down to the beach and play in the surf. We are tangled at night in the white linen sheets. We read side by side in silence. A familiar smell, a beating heart, the man I want but do not need.

He asks what we are. Nothing. We are nothing, I say. He struggles with ‘what it means’ to love another man.

My struggle is over. I am too old to give love a second chance.

He sees me thinking. He will read this and tell me to talk to him as if talking will solve everything. Just shut up and make love to me. Stop asking me what it means. Don’t expect me to know anything. Work it out yourself.

I don’t really care.

For all the terrible, meaningless cruelty I am still besotted with him. And, like the parent of a missing child, I wonder daily about his safety. Even though he is undeserving of my worry and considers my concern an intrusion..

I continue to fret about him, however violently I have tried to expunge the memory.

2.

I am mostly happy. I know you don’t believe me. I know that you think I am lying to you about my happiness.

Well, if you could see me… if you were the one laying beside me… you would understand.

Island Wall. The tiny cottage there. It was enough. It was perfect.

Now I lay my head down and it is enough.

Perhaps, you say, you could be happier? How much happier?

Facelifts, apparently, make women happier.

Then I realize that you are confusing your own thoughts about getting older with what you think happiness is. How can anyone be that old and be happy? How can anyone have so little and be happy?

Then, you try convincing me that I should want to be young again. Forgetting, of course, that I was never young. Always old. Always.

I have a spectacular ability to get on with what I have and be happy with it.

I don’t want more. Even in the jail. I found comfort. I found solace.

So, you think I am unhappy because you do not know what happiness is.

Could you imagine a happy person killing themselves? I could.

Come death.

3.

I had another dream about the DA. This time my thumb was in her mouth. She was sucking my thumb. Pressed down on her tongue. Like a calf. Her big brown eyes looking up at me.

Whenever I dream about her, her cheap gold jewelry tinkles like ice cubes in a crystal glass.

4.

I am writing my screenplay. Finishing it. I am enjoying a social life. I let the man beside me massage my neck.

I understand that I am in love with struggle. Struggle is sustenance.  It feeds me everything I need to live. I am alive when I fight to survive. I am alive when I feel myself emerge victorious. Even though you could not imagine what I experience as victory.

I dream that I am walking by my primary school in Whitstable. The black, tarmac playground is always empty. The lawn is green. The classrooms, I assume, are full.

I remember the boy who ate coal, the butcher’s son. He looked like a pink pig. Fat, pink, bespectacled. He drowned you know. You knew that… didn’t you? When he couldn’t take it anymore.

5.

Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cocklewomen and the tidy wives.

Young girls lie bedded soft or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux, bridesmaided by glow-worms down the aisles of the organplaying wood. The boys are dreaming wicked or of the bucking ranches of the night and the jollyrogered sea.

And the anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields, and the cows in the byres, and the dogs in the wet-nosed yards; and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly, streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs.

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This is the Lanvin hat.  Bought for him in Paris the day before my birthday two years ago.

It was subsequently abandoned and crushed.

So that I might never forget those months of crippled love,  I had the hat framed.

A Perspex box. A sarcophagus.

Today

In some weak attempt to meet someone I spoke to a prospective date yesterday.  He sounded masculine, looks attractive, seems intelligent, good job, own house…blah blah blah.

After a short while I despaired.  Why bother?

I am not going through what I went through last year.  I refuse.

I hung up.

This is the legacy of hopelessness that I am left with after my time with Jake.

I am not going to have a relationship any time soon.  If ever.  I am not going to risk falling in love with and painfully out of love with anyone ever again.

“Into love, and out again, Thus I went, and thus I go. Spare your voice, and hold your pen — Well and bitterly I know.  All the songs were ever sung, All the words were ever said; Could it be, when I was young, Some one dropped me on my head?”

Dorothy Parker

I reread his final letter to me yesterday.  I hadn’t read it for some time.  If I had received that letter now it might have meant something.  It might have put to bed every miserable resentment that consumes my brain like so many flesh-eating maggots.

I want to believe that he was sorry but he lied so often and so deeply that I simply can’t forgive him.  I want to.  I really do.

He just lied about everything.  He trapped me and toyed with me and used me then at the crucial moment he tossed me aside.   This doesn’t get any better.  Why?  Why do I remember him?  Why when every other man I ever loved can be stowed…do I remember him?

Perhaps because it was this time last year that we were in France enjoying/not enjoying out road trip.  Walking on egg shells because he had said that we were not lovers.  I scarcely touched him until he invited me to have sex.  Because he was running the show I just bought the food and chauffeured him.  I just served him when ever his ass itched for attention.

Jake this time last year contemplating

I imagine him in some chic Nantucket house with his new Daddy boyfriend.  The same one he began seeing before we went to France?  Telling him what to do.  Demanding that he take it, suck it, open it.

I imagine him with that cute blond boy he liked.  I imagine him.  I imagine him living a full life because I helped him over the rubicon…where he left me.  So I could never celebrate what came next.

Yes, he apologized for his cruel words.  Yes.  Did I believe his self-serving apology?  His fake contrition?  No I did not.

I am scarcely speaking to the twins.  I have run out of fuel.   Like a ghost in the house I tread carefully around them.  Land mines in the carpet I am that close to triggering a tantrum.

Whenever I get close to anyone, when I feel myself tip toward feeling love in any of its many disguises…I stop.  I run.  I hide.  I push them away.  That is his legacy.  I hope he is proud of himself.

Robby says, “I love you man.” and I wince.  Leave me alone Robby.  No more love.

The book continues to be written.  It’s hard.  Very hard.  Prose is a bitch.  I would rather kill gophers.  I would rather walk around the garden tending the plants. I spend all day in the garden rescuing old-fashioned tomatoes from being savaged by critters.  Consequently the garden looks amazing, like it never has before.  I spend so much time tending it.  Trimming.  Weeding.  Lopping.

The Chinese say: “If you would be happy for a week, take a wife.  If you would be happy for a month, kill your pig.  If you would be happy for a lifetime, plant a garden.”

In the novel I get to contemplate murder but the only person in real life that I want to kill is myself.  The twins will move out soon.  Perhaps, just perhaps I will muster up the courage to finally do it rather than just write about it.  I don’t want to make a mess.  I will have to take care of the dog first.  So he isn’t left alone.   He will only pine for me.

I understand now how and why Issie Blow was so determined.   When death calls your name.  When is it time to make death your friend?   I am running out of fuel, not just for the twins…but myself.

 

I had a lovely time today with you.  You must have been twenty years old when I first met you.  Now look at you.  I like when you wear your jeans tighter.  Cargo pants really don’t suit you.  I like when you read poetry to me.  I like when you crack my fingers.

Help yourself.  You can have whatever you want.  Take what ever you want.

On my way back to the United Kingdom.  Even though it is to deal with very bad situation at home.  Includes a long journey so I can travel with the little dog: New York, Paris, Calais, Dover, Whitstable!  One month before I leave-will arrive there May 30th.   I am excited.  I will stay there for three months-one of the many benefits of not having a career!

Anyway, a great deal to sort out.  Nothing much to write or worry about today.

Will make film in London rather than LA.

I found a charming little video for you to watch.

London.  I crave the capital of my Island jewel.  I am too far now from cream teas, steak and oyster pie.  Oh London and the Home Counties I miss you with all my aching heart.

I am tired of selfish boys.  Tired of his jet-black hair.   Tired of waiting.  Tired of mistress censorship.

I want to see Amanda, Tim and banter; with Simon Finch and hold my nose in the air.

I want to stroll down Old Bond St in my red suede boots, visiting Patrick in Hanover Square.

I want to smoke cigarettes in West London with Katrina.  Let me ride horses in Hyde Park with Martha; explore electrical hardware stores with Toby and Arthur.  Clandestine giggles with Joe and Adam and Eve, cottage amusements with George.

The train to Bromley and Chatham through the Garden of Eden.  Where the Thames meets the Medway and the Swale beyond.

I am tired of you because I don’t trust you, but I know very well what it is to lie to some one you say that you love.  To meet in some dark, wet guinnel, to feel your warm body under your navy blue coat.   To feel your lips and always your lips.

Oh I miss you so much my darling hometown, and wish you invited me Whitstable style.   Up on the downs overlooking the sea.  Turbines, the horizon that chased me away.   I have arrangements with banks to consider and beg that homeland security take me away so decisions are easier where no choice is to stay.  Wholesale foreclosure, redistribution of wealth.

Take me.  Take me away.

I am tired of selfish boys with raven black hair and myself in every one of them.   Just you.  I met just you.

Let me forget these people, struggling with prosperity and stemming the tide.    Seeking solution and tanning the hide.  Let me go home. Let me go home.  The 12 step recovery clichés that keep me in purgatory with less time to go than one hundred years of perfect sobriety.  Oh please send me home to smoky church halls and WI and no multi-malls.  Remind me of jet beads stitched onto her bodice, of peplums and bagels and tottenham forest.

I am TIRED of you showing me men that are hot, hotter than me or you for that matter.  I am tired of boasting to keep us alive, to stimulate interest and punish my precious child.   I am naked before you my darling creator.  This and more like it is all I can offer.

So take me away with you darling Ophelia on the Thames and the Medway and the Swale far beyond.