Wednesday, 11 February 2015

G-A-Y, Indian Summer


I will be 70 this year, but it’s not so many years since I enjoyed a one-night stand with a guy from India; there was not only a physical attraction but also a genuine affinity. We exchanged emails after he returned to Delhi until he wrote that it was ‘too risky’ for him to continue as he had been ‘persuaded’ by his family to marry a woman he ‘quite liked’. I often wonder how he is now and how he had adapted to married life…

As a result of living with prostate cancer since 2011, and being treated with hormone therapy, I am no longer sexually active. Even so, gay or straight, male or female, you’re never too old for physical affection, whether it expresses itself in sex or just a friendly hug. And never let anyone tell you differently.

Oh, and on the subject of friendship, I have met up with several readers (gay and straight, male and female) since I started the blogs and we have become friends although, sadly, none live in the London area. I live in (fairly) central London and am always happy to meet up with readers for a chat over a meal/ coffee or a few beers; simply email me at rogertab@aol.com

 G-A-Y, INDIAN SUMMER

In the autumn of my years
I lay in dry grass watching clouds passing,
laughing at us, the sun’s twinkling eyes
caressing your skin as you dropped your jeans,
pulled off your tee, lay down beside me,
under clouds passing by and laughing at us,
the sun’s, oh, so wicked, twinkling eyes
nailing my hands to the ground as you stirred
beside me, reaching to caressing my fly;
now stroking my shirt, now loosening my belt
till I felt a rising desire burst into flames
like a fire in the tinderbox grass where we lay…
watching clouds passing by, laughing at us,
the sun’s twinkling eyes unsurprised as we bared
all one summer, sharing murmurs of love,
doves favouring us with a fly-past, a sycamore’s
heavenly cheering ringing in our ears,
counting out love’s promises, making, breaking,
keeping and sleeping on them for centuries
if content to let passing clouds save their tears
for the winter of our years

Copyright R. N. Taber 2004; 2015


[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears in 1st eds. of The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sparring Partners OR G-A-Y, In All Conscience


Not so long ago, someone  expressed genuine concern that I will go to hell for being gay and rejecting a ‘decent’ way of life.

The way I see it, we make our own hell here on earth if we so choose. As for heaven…who knows?

As for gay men and women rejecting a decent way of life? Who says so? For a start, people who know no better.

SPARRING PARTNERS or G-A-Y, IN ALL CONSCIENCE

Some people say there is no room for gay
men and women in a place some  have chosen  
to call Heaven since no God would condone
the carnality enjoyed by the world’s gay men
and women. (Holy Books, manuals of spirituality,
inspiring judgment on homosexuality…?)

So who are they who rage against gay men
and women for ‘betraying’ the natural gender
to which we are born, love to pit humankind
against its own on the grounds of this culture,
that religion, claiming to fly with doves yet siding
with hawks? Blameless, just human…?

Let them speak who would rage against those
of us who are gay, relying on political correctness
to win the day (no hiding place for hypocrites);
raised voices proclaiming gay men and women
cannot be forgiven their awful ‘sinning’ in the face
of this culture, that religion

Let them speak who claim to know how God
will have his way with men and women who are gay;
no matter who, all humankind deserves a voice
since each of us, gay folks too, blessed with choice
as to what we do, where we go, and how we interpret
Holy Books on peace and love

Too many voices competing with each other
to be heard, obeyed, believed honest, fair and good,
coining the rhetoric of this culture, that religion,
paying a piper to play the tune we all love to hear
who choose to be led by the nose through passages
of time, its corridors of power

In body, mind and spirit, no finer wisdom
than offers its human host the greater freedom
to be as it would be (not as others dictate)
bring conscience and heart to peace and love
for listening to nature, sparring with its seasons,
a flower to the death

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015


Monday, 2 February 2015

G-A-Y, a Mind of One's Own


In a multicultural society, I have inevitably met gay men and women who feel they cannot be openly gay because the culture in which they remain entrenched is intrinsically homophobic. At the same time, I have also met many who have, in all conscience, acknowledged to themselves and the world that they are gay and remain determined to be true to their nature, often without turning their backs on their socio-cultural-religious history even where family and/or peers see being gay as a betrayal of all they have been taught to hold dear, and gay people outcasts.

To those intolerants I ask, should we not cherish people we profess to love above all else, and give peace and love a chance…?


G-A-Y, A MIND OF ONE’S OWN

Pausing at a bar, watching
lots of gay people having (such) fun,
long to join in, but cannot see
any way to confessing that I am gay,
leaving my gloomy closet

Walking away in the rain,
at a frantic pace, no place to go
where I can relax, feel free
to really be myself, no invisible person
on a cold closet shelf

Soaking wet, don’t give a damn,
nature lashing out for the coward
I am, the gamut I’ll not chance,
to run, demanding I reclaim mind, body,
and spirit for my own 

How can I let people down,
betray expectations of me inscribed
on tablets of stone from birth
to death if only because that’s the way
it has always been…?

Not simple at all, a complex
web of political history and culture,
bottling up human nature
for select distribution, claiming a cure-all
and calling it religion

Yes, I am gay, but not sick
or some sinner needing to repent,
and why should any God
have us deny any part of a whole they say
He created, who revile us?

Returning to the bar, watching
lots of gay people having such fun,
and join them, determined
to get a life (no matter what) not die alone
in a cold, gloomy closet

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015







Friday, 30 January 2015

G-A-Y, Suing for Peace


Some time ago, I met a refugee from Iran who recounted some horrific details of torture and worse that gay associates had met at the hands of its religious police.

Here in the West, we are, for the most part, able to move freely and openly as gay men and women. Even so, each and every one of us is only as free as our environment allows us to be.
Even in the so-called ‘tolerant’ West, as elsewhere in the world, there are gay boys and girls, men and women, whose reason for  continuing to feel they have to suppress their natural gay nature from family, peers, and work colleagues is invariably down to varying degrees of socio-cultural-religious intolerance.

G-A-Y, SUING FOR PEACE

My family,
friends and neighbours,
why despise me
because I cannot be as you
have been led to believe
I should be by those
suppressing empathy with mind,
body and spirit
or humanity gets the better
of dogma?

My people,
why can we not be as one
on the same earth,
under the same sky, from birth
till time and nature bring
all divisions to heel
in a dimension that dares despatch
socio-cultural-religious thought
to the living poetry of a common  
humanity?

My country,
why do you persecute me
for being gay…?
What can I say, but it is no sin
against God or humankind
to be, yes, human…
How can any religion condemn
the likes of me
for simply reclaiming
my identity?

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015




Wednesday, 21 January 2015

G-A-Y, Facing Facts


This is an early poem, written some years ago and only recently (slightly) revised.

While many of us may well look in a mirror and see beyond the image confronting us, how many of us, I wonder, actually go there?  It took me a good while to understand that being gay is an integral part of who I am and to deny it meant letting voices from my past dictate my future. Those same voices were already responsible for a serious mental breakdown (some 30+ years ago) and the road to recovery led to my deciding that it was high time I found a voice of my own and let it take me wherever…

G-A-Y, FACING FACTS

Looked in the mirror, and what did I see?
Tears where a smile should be;
Walked into the mirror, and where did I go?
Back to a place I used to know;
Put an ear to the mirror, and what did I hear?
Nothing I had not heard before

Looked around that place, and what did I see?
Dark shadows ganging up on me;
(Nowhere to run, hide or expect sanctuary)
Fear would be the death of me;
Put an ear to my heart and what did I hear?
Nothing I had not heard before

Such love in my heart, and where did it go?
Out of the closet I used to know
Closet slammed behind me, what did I do?
Began making things right with you;
Confronting a sorry world, what did we see?
Home truths in the grip of hypocrisy

Looking love in the eye, and what does it say?
‘Never let bigotry win the day…’
Walking out in the world, where do we go?
Wherever its kinder faces on show;
Put an ear to the world and what do we hear?
Nothing we have not heard before


Copyright R. N. Taber 1982; 2015

Monday, 12 January 2015

G-A-Y, Lighting Fires


Someone once told me that it's no good expecting to just fan the flames of love; we have to be prepared to jump right into them. True enough. Firstly, though, we all need to find someone to help get them started.

As the song goes…

‘C’mon baby, light my fire...’

G-A-Y, LIGHTING FIRES

Whenever we make love,
the heat of its passion brands
our names on the heart,
lips parting to kiss, receive
tongues of fire, conspire
with nature’s finer beauty
to reignite its spirit in the poetry
of our lovemaking,
burn us (yes!) just as witches
were once burned at stakes  
for daring to repudiate status quo,
be true to the inner self
no matter how the outside world
may (more often than not)
bury head in sand rather than let
its naysayers stand up
and be counted, content to deny
countless centuries of lying
to children about graffiti sprayed
wherever bigotry lifts
its ugly head, and loves to claim
the moral high ground

Enter me, let us join together
in ecstasy, make our peace
with a world too busy turning
on its own pretty rhetoric,
to see that love means (far) more
than wearing a badge with pride
for being, oh, so socially, culturally,
religiously, politically ‘correct’

Meanwhile, gay lovers the world over
(still) made to run for cover…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2004; 2015

[Note: an earlier version of this poem appears as ‘Pyromania’ in 1st eds. of The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004; revised edition in e-format in preparation.]


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

G-A-Y, Lines on Immortality


One of the most hurtful things anyone has ever said to me was that I would not see my friend again after he died because he (being gay) would go to hell while I (still in the closet at the time) would be in heaven. Everyone had liked my friend, including the person who made the comment.

I was clear about my sexuality at the time, but years of being made to feel some kind of freak meant that only a few people I trusted knew I was gay. I had unsubscribed to religion years earlier so the threat of hell didn’t touch me. What did touch and hurt me was the suggestion that gay people should be punished for their sexuality alone. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that this is utter rubbish. While I don’t believe in a God, as such, I find comfort, joy and spirituality in nature.

Maybe I see ‘God’ in nature but prefer to call it something else. Whatever, of this I am certain; if there is a God along the lines various Holy Books tell us, He (or She) is no homophobe. Nor is that just the poet in me speaking or because I’m gay, but what nature tells me every day.

I am sometimes criticized for ‘getting romantic’ about death. There is, of course, nothing romantic about dying. At the same time, the experience of loving someone who has died is one that transcends life, love, and even death. Various socio-cultural-religious bigots who would have us believe this does not apply to gay lovers are but demonstrating an incredible ignorance of the human condition.

We live, we die. Without love and romance, why bother? Moreover, we should remember that love comes in all shapes and sizes; partner to partner is but one form of loving albeit one of the most precious. We can make it big in the fame game or get rich one way or another. But fame lasts only for a select few and it’s no use to us once we’re dead. Nor can we take a pot of gold to the Great Beyond. 

Ah, but love…

Yes, love we get to keep, such is its timelessness.

G-A-Y, LINES ON IMMORTALITY 

You wear jeans, your shirt is white;
hair, a crown of gold in the soft twilight
like a god in fields spring green,
the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen

I watch in awe, rooted to the spot
as you chat with flowers, this tree, that bird
in a voice as sweet as Pan’s own flute,
the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard

I catch your eye, rush into your arms,
savour full, moist lips crushed against mine,
a murmuring of centuries-old charms
turning midwinter on my tongue into wine

Too soon you leave, yet sweeter my agony
for a love that lends us immortality

[From: Accomplices to Illusion by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2010]