Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Secret Heart OR G-A-Y, Finding Love


Regular readers will know that, while there is an autobiographical thread in many of my poems, just as many others have their origins in conversations I have enjoyed with various people in bars, on trains, even at bus stops. This poem takes me back to a delightful evening I once spent in the company of two young Catholics on holiday from Rome who were refreshingly unafraid to embrace God and each other…

Regular readers will also know that I am not a religious person; although raised a Christian, I found a sense of spirituality in nature that failed me in religion. At the same time, I respect anyone’s religious beliefs and refuse to believe that any God worthy of the name would hold a person’s sexuality against them, whatever their religion. Moreover, I reached this conclusion long before I realized or acknowledged (even to myself) that I am gay.

It saddens me greatly that, even in this 21st Century, many gay people across the world feel obliged to choose between family, religion, and sexuality, for appearances sake at least.

THE SECRET HEART or G-A-Y, FINDING LOVE

At a fountain in the heart of Rome,
two people tossed two coins
for the same dream, neither expecting
their lives might yet change
for the better, override generations
of secrets and lies

At a fountain in the heart of Rome,
two people eagerly flirted
with the same dream if not believing
their hearts might yet shape it
the way of all good things, overriding
its secrets and lies

At a fountain in the heart of Rome,
two people engaged
with the same dream, hiding tears
for years of battling
to reconcile faith in a God of Love
with secrets and lies

At a fountain in the heart of Rome,
two people all but denied
the same dream, neither daring
to give desire its head,
acknowledge its passion, run a gamut
of secrets and lies

At a fountain in the heart of Rome,
two people sought hope
in ripples slowly but surely lending 
the same dream
graceful flight far above and beyond
any secrets and lies

At a fountain in the heart of Rome,
two people acknowledged
each other, visibly edging closer
to the same dream,
soaring with doves expressing despair
with secrets and lies

At a fountain in the heart of Rome,
two gay people began
a journey that would one day free them
to make their dream a reality
where no God of Love rejects anyone
for their sexuality

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015














Sunday, 29 March 2015

See-Hear OR G-A-Y, Double Whammy


As a partially (not profoundly) deaf person since early childhood, I know only too well some of the problems facing those with any degree of hearing loss. It is, however, only as big a problem as we choose to make it and most of us choose not to let it interfere with the way we live our lives. Certainly, it is less of a ‘disability’ than the attitude of many hearing people towards us.

As a partially deaf gay man I have often experienced something of a double whammy since the attitude of many heterosexuals towards gay people also continues to leave much to be desired. Thankfully, attitudes - in both respects - continue to change; on the whole, for the better. Even so, while digital hearing aids have significantly improved my quality of life with regards to my hearing, living in a multicultural society does gay people no favours where many members insist on clinging to certain cultures that are intrinsically homophobic. 

Gay or straight, male or female, adult or child, whether or not we are perceived as being 'different' in any way, we are all human beings, as deserving to be treated as such as anyone else, regardless of our socio-cultural-religious background.

Whatever, life  is only ever as big a problem as we make it; thankfully, most of us choose to just get on with it, making the best rather than the worst of things.

This poem is a villanelle.

SEE-HEAR or G-A-Y, DOUBLE WHAMMY

A blur of silence all around
closing in on me…
all I sought yet never found

A yearning for the sound
of bird and bee...
A blur of silence all around

Oh, to leap life’s merry-go-round,
for a chance to be…
all I sought yet never found

Then you ran me to ground
persistently…
a blur of silence all around

I heard the sweetest sound
within me…
all I sought yet never found

Such songs this heart confound
you taught me…
A blur of silence all around,
all I sought yet never found

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002

[Note: This poem is a villanelle that first appeared in the anthology, Pure Verse, Anchor Books (Forward Press), 2002 and subsequently in First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, the same year; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.] 


Friday, 6 March 2015

G-A-Y, Streetwise OR Getting the Better of Bullshit


Like many if not most gay men of my generation, I have found myself in a few tight corners over the years.

Now, this poem is not strictly autobiographical, but so easily could be. However, it is based on a tale told to me by a one of many wonderful, anonymous, strangers with whom there was a time I would spend many a happy hour (or more)  getting merry (and inwardly debating potential for…whatever) in the heyday of London’s gay bars… (Today’s gay bars are just not the same, ask anyone over 50.)

Sadly, though, I have to say that (yes, even in predominantly gay-friendly London) homophobia is still alive and kicking. Some people are born bigots, regardless of their origins, while multiculturalism does gay people no favours either in the sense that many cultures are intrinsically homophobic, and the more deeply entrenched among us refuse to adapt to a changing world.

G-A-Y, STREETWISE or GETTING THE BETTER OF BULLSHIT

I’d be walking down a street,
and they would shout after me,
call me a nasty name
I can’t repeat because it makes me
feel, oh, so sick inside,
and there was nowhere to hide;
I’d just go on my way,
asking myself why they hate me
just because I’m gay,
do they even (really) know
themselves…?

I’d be in the local library
and they would surround me,
ape nasty gestures
I can’t describe because it makes me
feel, oh, so bad inside
where there’s nowhere to hide;
I’d just walk away,
asking myself if maybe it’s true
what some people say,
that we never (really) know
our true selves

It was in the local park,
where they ganged up on me,
pulled knives
and I was scared because it made me
feel, oh, so angry inside
and I did not want to hide
or walk away
but told them what I’d learned
the hard way
that only cowards (really) run
from themselves

It was getting dark,
as they closed in for the kill,
just for kicks,
and I braced myself for the fight
of my life, no matter what,
and I didn’t give a thought
how it might end
then someone yelled ‘Police!’
and suddenly
the gang scattered and left me
to myself

I shook my head
as if to clear it of rage and fear,
but in vain,
as through hot tears I saw you
for the very first time,
and I knew you even then
for the stranger
in dreams since just a child,
feelings running wild,
needing someone to love me
for myself

We’re walking down a street,
and people nod knowingly at us
but quickly look away
as we nod knowingly back,
smiles on our faces
because we’re going places
they cannot follow
for we’re going all the way
to where couples the world over 
let love have its way,
and being gay is okay, we have
each other


Copyright R N. Taber 2015








Thursday, 5 March 2015

Engaging with Ghosts OR G-A-Y, A Rage to Live


For any gay person who feels, for whatever reason, that he or she cannot be openly gay, it is a terrible lie to live and burden to carry. I lived that lie for years as a youth and young man (I will be 70 this year) and it not only saddens but horrifies me that in the 21st century there are still gay boys and girls, men and women worldwide, who feel they cannot be openly gay but must give the appearance of being heterosexual. Those responsible, whether within family and/or religious and/or cultural circles should hang their heads in shame for their intolerance and inhumanity. 

Lies, like ghosts, are inclined to haunt us, but not necessarily in a bad way; they can, in truth, drive us towards a kinder reality or at least one likely to invest the inner self with greater integrity than any so-called ‘reality’ we may have been led to believe (for whatever reason) is all there is…

Reality for the human being comprises a multitude of differences; differences that make people not different, just human, and deserving of respect for their humanity regardless of colour, creed, sex or sexuality. If we cannot respect each other’s differences, what chance of finding common ground on which to build a worthwhile relationship as a family member, friend, lover, colleague or whatever...?

ENGAGING WITH GHOSTS or G-A-Y, A RAGE TO LIVE

I told myself a lie,
lived that lie for years
till (inevitably?)
a day came I broke down
in tears,
and through my tears
I watched the lie
come for me out of a mist
like a ghost

The ghost revealed
the lie had run its course
till (inevitably?)
it was breaking me down
in pieces,
and among the pieces
I caught glimpses
of consequences slowly
killing me

Pieces all in place,
I saw the bigger picture
that (in spite of me)
had haunted my other self
for years
as through the years
I had given fiction priority
over reality

Reality, taking pride
of place, if better late
than never..
casting off excuses made
for years
bout wanting to spare
family and friends any tears
over me

I admitted the lie,
I‘d hid behind for years
and (inevitably?)
a day came I broke down
in tears,
and through my tears
I walked free,
embracing truth, world,
and sexuality

The ghost, it stayed,
a reminder of those years
and (inevitably?)
it rages now and then
in my ears
how it was until (finally)
I found a way
to hold my head high
for being gay

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015

PS If you enjoy at least some of my poems, please send the URL to a friend. To save browsing, I also post new and historical posts/poems (from gay-interest & general blogs) to Google + for about 5 days. 
See: https://plus.google.com/118347623673930289606/posts



















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