Friday, 20 November 2015

G-A-Y, Wishing and Hoping

Hi everyone. Hope you like today’s poem. Some blog readers contact me via the comments button, but I do not post comments, good or bad. Please include an email address if you want me to reply. (I love to hear from blog readers worldwide.)

Who has not been there, sitting at a bar alone, wishing and hoping…?


He looked at me, smiled,
made my day,
and I could only wonder.
is he gay?

He was with a friend
chatting away,
and I could only wonder,
is he gay?

I smiled back uncertainly,
uncertain,, shy,
was it just a friendly smile

He did not look at me again,
my fantasy guy,
leaving me to but wonder,
can a smile lie?

They left, these two friends
I ordered  a beer,
thinking how life is a bitch,
my way unclear…

Man with the Smile returned
on his own,
grabbed a bar stool by mine,
tossed me a grin

The way his eyes engaged me,
made my day,
and I did not have to wonder,
is he gay?

Copyright R. N. Taber

Saturday, 7 November 2015

G-A-Y, Late Homecoming OR Closing the Distance

More than one person I know (gay, straight, male and female) has confessed to wet dreams about a stranger they have seen on a train time and again, but to whom they have never found the nerve say a word…


We’d catch the same train
to work, and (more often than not)
the same train home again,
alighting at the very same station,
and I didn’t dare say a word
to you or my voice betray the extent
of my growing attraction
to your looks, smile, even the way
you would idly play
with your necktie while gazing out
at the world rushing by,
unmoved by leaving us behind,
a growing, frantic desire
for you ever playing on my mind
day and night

One wintry evening, snowing,
trains running late so we had to wait
on the station concourse,
eagerly watching out for signs of life
on the departure board,
and you stood by me, commenting
on the inability of trains
to run to schedule at the first hint
of weather like this
and we chatted together like friends
me, weak at the knees,
dreading the moment we would be
as strangers yet again
and I would be left feeling even more
hopeless, helpless, alone

Suddenly, he is suggesting
we might go for a coffee while waiting
for the damn train
and I can hardly believe my own ears
or manage a shy affirmative
before we are on our way, small talk
order of the day
but more than enough for me just to be
in his company, flying high
on his voice, his smile, his everything,
taking me where angels fear
and dreamers would prefer not to wake
for the inevitable reality check
sending us into free-fall who weary
of love’s playing hide-and-seek

Over coffee, I continued to fly
on his every word, timbre of his voice
making my spine tingle
as I wondered if he was single, attached,
married, with a partner,
bi-curious, even gay although no idea
how to ask so said nothing,
feeing on our small talk as a sparrow  
on garden crumbs
after a heavy snowfall, wanting to live,
needing to survive,
yet on that same auto-pilot as nature
will have us run
in scary unfamiliar circumstances  
outside our comfort zone

We exchanged first names,
and a few (irrelevant) persona details
before an announcement
over the tannoy, our train arriving soon,
tome to be on our way,
rose to go and somehow I found words
to say I liked him a lot,
hoped we might be friends, sensing
he was in that space
beyond words and everyday temporality
where sexuality takes us,
plucking heart from sleeve, refusing
to (ever) let us go free
until we agree to keep it safe, nurtured
as (by nature) it needs to be

He suggested with a cheeky grin
we start all over again, have another coffee.
catch another train,
idly playing with his necktie, telling me
I was an unknown quantity
he wanted to know everything about,
body, mind and spirit,
but been too shy to ask in case I broke
the spell I put him under
every time he imagined us together,
ultimately, intimately…
and all my reservations abandoned me
to an incredible high,
and we'll go there together, forever,
never needing to ask why

Copyright R. N. Taber

Thursday, 5 November 2015

One to One OR G-A-Y. Here to Stay, Like it or Not

A reader once e-mailed me to say he or she found it “disturbing if not offensive” that my poetry collections include poems on a gay theme.

What can I say? We should take poems - like people - as we find them, surely? By all means, be critical…but not judgemental. We might even try to learn if not always take pleasure from them.


I’m gay, okay? And that’s me

Take or leave, love or hate;
Turn up your nose – or stop
for a chat (put this world
to rights, tit-for-tat?). No different
than you – or better, worse,
wiser, more foolish, less able
than anyone else to explain
where commonsense has gone
when push comes to shove

I mean to say, society is a mess
without Gay Rights to worry
about, must be something to do
with everyone trying to shout
at once, no one getting a look in,
finding an ear, unless they
happen to be fighting a politically
sensitive corner of course,
in which case…anything goes,
so long as it doesn’t get up anyone’s
nose who’s seen to have clout
in the spotlights of power besides
its dingiest corridors. No telling
who, when, how or why…
we’re likely to get any answers

Better, surely, to do our own
thing, go our own ways, no matter
religion and politics having
their field days, scrawling Latin
graffiti on our graves, doing
their alternate best or worst
by us, straight or gay; me, you,
all of us trying to be true
to ourselves and each other so…

Whatever anyone else may say
or do, one plus one will always make
the two of us, though a precious
humanity get it wrong, preferring
to do its sums differently

[From: The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004]

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

G-A-Y, Finding a Voice OR Ancient Woodlands: A Seasonal Magic

Now and then, I find someone to chat to in a bar and now and then people tell me stories that set off a poem in my head…

Such a time was one evening recently. I met two gay guys who have been partners for years, and they told me how they first got together. It is a reminder of how acknowledgement of and reconciliation with the inner self can move mountains...

Oh, but I do so love a happy ending, don’t you?


I asked the wind if you loved me,
but the wind could not say;
I asked the trees for a love poem
but the trees stayed quiet
and still, till I began to despair
that you might ever truly care for me
as I (so) cared for you

Two rabbits, a fine pair they made.
scampering openly in a glade…
Envied them a freedom if only brief,
enjoying the autumn sunshine
as I would with you, only I had yet
to trust your heart might ever see me
as more than a playmate

Closet ways, tearful days, loneliness
clawing away at all of me;
body, mind, and spirit now caving in
to desire, on fire, desperate
for an embrace, everyday masks
tossed aside, now, a fearful welling up
inside of anxious sexuality

You, too, were in the woods that day,
and chance would have it
we should meet, and we were different,
you and I, as if conjured up
like rabbits out of a hat, mindful
of a gentle wind urging ages-old trees
to help us find our voices

Nor does love have any need of words
to make itself known, heard;
all it took was an accidental-on-purpose
stumble against each other
and a clumsy, intimate, helping hand
transcended into an embrace for gay love
to prove to us it has a voice  

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

G-A-Y, Killing the Lie OR Taking a Chance on Humanity

I just love it when people get in touch with feel-good stories. Invariably, they inspire me to write a poem. It doesn’t even matter if readers think it’s a good poem, a bad poem or even a corny poem. If just one person can not only relate to it but finish reading it feeling GOOD about themselves, and perhaps a more kindly disposed towards that weirdly unpredictable phenomenon we call human nature, it has been a poem worth the writing.

This poem was originally written especially for ‘Roy’ and ‘Davis’ who are out to family, friends and work colleagues and ‘everyone accepts us without a hint of the hostility we were expecting.’ True to say, life doesn’t always work out like that, but isn’t it just so wonderful when it does? They asked if I could write a poem for them. How could I refuse?

In seventy-six countries, gay relationships remain illegal; in at least five, it is punishable by death. Their governments and secret ‘religious’ police (as in Iran) should be thoroughly ashamed, especially the latter who are a disgrace to their religion. Every human being is different; those differences don’t make us different, only human, and that applies to sexual as well as social/cultural/religious/identity.

Those clerics - from various religions - who insist that LGBT issues are incompatible with religious principles are a disgrace to that religion. Religion does not have a monopoly on spirituality. Even so, no one should be made to feel they must choose between their sexuality and religion. [How does living a lie conform to any religious principles?]

Here’s wishing all those gay boys and girls, men and women around the world who cannot or will not take a chance on truth – for whatever reason – much love and happiness in their lives anyway.

Yes, yes, I have said all this before on the blogs, but as my dear mother used to say, if something is worth saying it is worth repeating.

A teacher at my secondary school once commented along the lines that we should never assume the worst although it does no harm to be prepared for it. That was over 50 years ago, and I have since learned the hard way that it is a sound principle by which to live.

Oh, and by the way, people are always asking how much autobiography I weave into my poems. Ah, well, that’s for me to know and you to wonder…


I hungered for your body,
and could tell you wanted mine,
the way you’d catch my eye,
throw me an, oh, so wicked smile
when you thought no one else
was looking, trying to catch me out,
put it on the grapevine
that the rumours were true
about me and you

I longed to feel your lips
on mine, hands tearing off my clothes
while mine played copycat
with your quick, fever pitch fingers,
though so far we had only
made love in each other’s heads,
exchanging glances across
this office, that cafe, a bar popular
with hot-blooded hets

Oh, but our in-crowd
wasn’t really us, hadn’t been since
you surprised me with a kiss,
swore it was for a dare, and I might
have believed you
but for the queerest look on your face
that gave the game away,
suggesting some dreams come true
and you, too, are gay

We made love one night
in a cramped single bed at your place
(did we care?) finally resolved
to kill the lie, hold our heads high,
tell the world we’re in love,
reason with family, friends, colleagues,
and anyone else uncomfortable
with the fact that falling in love equally
applies to gay people

 Copyright R. N. Taber 2011

Monday, 19 October 2015

G-A-Y, Decisions, Decisions... OR Never be Afraid of Love

Even in countries like the UK that now permit gay marriage, coming out is not necessarily easy, especially to people close to us who think they know us through and through but to whom it has never occurred we might be gay.  Now, coming out may or may not be tough on us, but we should always remember it can be tough on family, friends and colleagues too so we may well need to give them time to get used to the idea, not automatically feel rejected and misunderstood simply because they don’t always react positively at first.

Now, I never give advice, but will always give an opinion if asked. Only (very) recently, a reader e-mailed to say he cannot live without his (closet) boyfriend but neither can he face being openly gay. What should he do?  Well, no one can make that decision for him, but hopefully, today’s poem might help him to make up his mind and acknowledge where his heart lies.


He said we must part
because I would not come out
of my safe (if scary) closet and say
this is me, I am gay

I was afraid of exposing
my all  to the world’s stark light,
laying myself open to sentiments
parading its ignorance

I should ignore the bigots
you would say and I had to agree,
but even our passion fuelled my fears
fed on unshed tears

At the parting of our ways,
I cried and begged you to reconsider
the only demand you ever made of me,
no more closet sexuality

You kissed me goodbye
and walked away, leaving me alone
to nurse a misery dark, cold, blinding,
all my senses numbing

I tried to hate you for that,
but rage never (really) stood a chance
against needing to love, be loved in turn,
reconcile with being born

So I told the world I’m gay,
not (quite) as hard as I had imagined,
even that moment I contrived we’d meet
and kissed you in the street

Now, we share words of love
for anyone to overhear, and respond
for good, bad, or not at all (so who cares?),
not our problem, but theirs

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015

Saturday, 17 October 2015

L-O-V-E: Starry Nights or G-A-Y, Night Watch

Readers often get in touch to ask why I do not allow comments. Sorry, but they take up too much space on the blogs and – good or bad – distract from the poem. However, I will always reply to emails and enjoy exchanging regular emails (about anything and everything) with readers around the world. Sadly, I do not have an ear for languages (I am partially deaf) so any such exchange needs to be in English.

Contact: with ‘Your Poetry’ in the subject field (even if you are writing about something else.)


You rarely see stars in London due to layers of air pollution, but whenever I get away into the countryside of by the sea for a time, I never cease to marvel at night skies on clear nights. Moreover, even at my age (I will be 70 on the winter solstice although I like to think I don't look or act it!) starry nights always run the gamut of my better emotions, sending my pulse racing just as they did when I first met my late partner years ago…

Gay or straight, male or female, who does not respond to feelings or love and peace above and beyond any sense of growing old…?


I have greeted chimes of midnight,
lain beside you at the toll for one,
where half-dreams flow into starlight
nurturing a life force barely begun

I have heard the clock ticking over
for the passing of happy hours
nor shall, when it stops, run for cover,
but embrace a time forever ours

I have heard sweet songs at sunrise,
watched the last stars slip away,
the dawn of time in love's bright eyes
promising us a beautiful day…

As nature pauses at stark winter’s cold,
gay lovers dream beyond a growing old

Copyright R. N. Taber 2007; 2015

[Note: Revised (2015) from the original - entitled Night Watch - as it first appeared in 1st eds. of Accomplices to Illusion, Assembly Books, 2007; revise ed. in e-format in preparation.]