Sunday, 17 May 2015

G-A-Y, A Sense of Spirituality OR Love, A Common Bond

Human beings are inclined to divide rather than unite, but isn’t love a common bond, and one we would do well to acknowledge rather than be persuaded to pursue the politics of division by various socio-cultural-religious forces that so like to dominate for domination’s sake…?


Down by the river,
where kingfishers fly,
I lay with my lover
one joyful summer’s day,
passing clouds
parting for kisses
from fair Apollo,
as if reaffirming our faith
in peace, love,
and a native integrity,
nor necessarily less so
for being gay

Down by the river,
where music fills the air,
I kissed my gay lover
under eaves of a willow tree,
its leaves shimmering
like stained glass windows
as if Earth Mother
restoring Apollo’s church
to the likes of us
to worship at the altar
of passion and rediscover
its spirituality

Down by the river
summer flowers fill the air
with perfumes
conspiring to fill our church
with all the colours,
smells, sounds of love
and a peace of mind
that Earth Mother would have
a common humanity
bring to bear on each other
whatever our ethnicity, creed
sex or sexuality

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

The Road OR G-A-Y, At Apollo's Call

Regular readers will know that I am not a religious person although I like to think I have a strong sense of spirituality that I found in nature long ago. (Why should religion have a monopoly on spirituality, anyway?)

There have been many times in my life when I have been close to despair, and nature has saved me.

No coincidence then, perhaps, that the mythical god, Apollo, was reputed to have been bisexual and sunshine is to nature as love is to life…


On the road

Spirit of life draining
from me,
I lay down by a tree,
let its branches
lift me free of the earth,
sail me on leaves
through time and space
to another place
where love and peace
are no sad dreams,
joys of hope running free
for all to see

On the road

Weary leaves unable
to sustain me,
returning me to earth
(nor gently)
as autumn descending
into winter,
my life ebbing away
into a stream
of misty consciousness,
happiness a blur,
(so near, yet, oh, so far)
my way unclear

On the road

Sun, suddenly shining
calling on the tree
to do the right thing
by me,
heed Apollo’s calling,
buds awakening,
new life shaping ways
of restoring
all weariness to vigour,
defeating despair,
defying the human spirit
to turn a deaf ear

On the road

Climbing a stairway
of sunbeams
on wings of a prayer
that you’ll still
be there, waiting
in a heaven
of our own making,
Earth Mother
at our side, fair Apollo
for a guide,
urging us seize the day
for being gay

On the road

I had not flown far,
spirits of love
and peace at my heels,
when I saw you
waiting at the next bend
where I fell
into arms open wide
like the branches
of a tree, restoring me
to life,
and bringing us together

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Normal Heart OR G-A-Y, From Russia with Love

Once, I had a Russian boyfriend, but we lost touch after he returned home. I mentioned him in a previous post, and recently heard from him again. I was delighted to hear that he is well and happily married to a lesbian. It appears they are very fond of each other, but get on with their respective love lives while paying lip service to the surrounding conventions. It is sad, but as good a means to a happy end as any, I guess, in a country well-known for its anti-gay attitudes.

Since starting the blog, I have heard from other gay couples in much the same position; in India, Pakistan and various African countries, for example.  Bigoted governments, and anyone who pays too much attention to what they say, remain in denial of one of the more poignant facts of life; that being gay is down to genetic make-up and not choice.  The only choice a gay person has is whether or not he or she finds a way to reconcile their sexuality with getting on with their life, and being happy; if this means paying lip-service to the conventions in a predominantly anti-gay environment, so be it.  

Hopefully, one day, gay people worldwide will have the respect and goodwill due to every human being doing his or her best to be true to their sexuality as well the home and wider society in which we all live; family, friends, work colleagues, politicians, clerics...

This poem is a villanelle.


I will not turn and walk away
where bigots say I should
because I happen to be gay

I will not hide, by night or day
where bigots wish me dead;
I will not turn and walk away

If I must watch what I say,
I will not deny feeling good
because I happen to be gay

Bad laws may have their way
(to humanity, the last word);
I will not turn and walk away

Where faith comes into play,
I shall love, not fear God
because I happen to be gay

Let’s keep homophobia at bay
(see it fall on its own sword);
I will not turn and walk away
because I happen to be gay…

Copyright R. N. Taber, 2015

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.


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.


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
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.


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

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...?


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

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