Tuesday, 11 November 2014

G-A-Y, Doppelganger


I was not always openly gay, having grown up as a youth and young man at a time when gay relationships were a criminal offence and considered a sin but most religions. 

Now, thankfully, the broader-thinking West at least has learned to accept that being gay is genetic and no more unnatural than being born. Sadly, though, not everyone among the heterosexual majority shares this enlightened view. Across the world, even in the so-called ‘liberal’ West, gay boys and girls, men and women, are growing up in a gay-unfriendly environment, encouraged to believe they are the lowest of the low for being gay.

It took me some time to stop feeling self-conscious about being gay, to understand (and act on it) that we must never let anyone put us down for our sexuality, least of all ourselves.

G-A-Y, DOPPELGANGER

I once walked narrow streets
in the bitter cold and dark of winter,
body, mind and spirit
crying out to be heard, trusted,
loved, and free

No one in those narrow streets
gave me a second look or seemed
to care that I was in crisis,
duped into believing I had no right
to even be there

I paused at a bright shop window
whose lights and colours turned me
into a patched-up clown
(minus wide smile) in a circus ring,
raining sawdust

Suddenly, a burst of wild applause
for my doppelganger clowning it up
in the window and loving
every minute, soaking up applause
like spring rain

I raised a smile, a chuckle, a laugh,
and continued along the narrow streets
that seemed broader now,
people nodding and smiling at me,
a common humanity

Apollo peeped from behind a cloud
as if to complement a metamorphosis,
welcome a lonely gay man
into the human race, its prejudices
melting away

Now, as I walk those same streets
in the bitter cold and dark of winter,
body, mind and spirit
rejoice for having found a voice, love,
and freedom


Copyright R. N. Taber 2014



Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A (Gay) Poet's Take On Autumn


People often tell me they find autumn a sad month because it means winter is closing in, but as I have often pointed out on my blogs… after winter, spring.

Better, surely, to look forward to spring than dread winter?

A (GAY) POET’S TAKE ON AUTUMN

Autumn leaves

Drifting by my window
like dreams I have nurtured
with love and care
in the garden of my life
where some flowered
in their season while others
were battered by wind and rain,
never to be seen again

Autumn leaves

Whirling by my window
like dervishes in a frenzied
dance of life and death,
sustained by a rage to seize
the day, come what may,
on the battlefields of my life
where I have risked all to prove
a born capacity for love

Autumn leaves

Clinging to my window
as Apollo clings to the last patch
of blue before sunset,
bids nature and human nature
rest easy on hard won laurels,
so-brief enough reprieve before
another rude awakening to a world
falling on its sword

Autumn leaves

Ripped from my window
like pages of memory best left
to wind and rain
while I enjoy each dreamy leaf,
petal and blade of grass
found in the garden of my life
whose choirs heard singing each day
of my pride in being gay

Autumn leaves, tears of Earth Mother
for any that cannot see beyond winter


Copyright R. N. Taber 2014

Monday, 13 October 2014

Heart to Heart OR G-A-Y, a Plea for Common Sense


Several emails from readers worried sick about the reaction of family and friends to their coming out prompted me to write today’s poem.

If acknowledging to ourselves we are gay is traumatic experience, coming out to friends and family can prove even more so. Even these days, not everyone is too happy about it even if they won’t say so. In my experience, this is often because so many straight people have no understanding about what it means to be gay, not least because they have neither really thought about it nor had a chance to discuss it, calmly, objectively and intelligently either at home, school or wherever. Consequently, they remain hung up on misleading, invariably offensive stereotypes that continue to attach themselves to gay men and women in the minds of the less enlightened among the heterosexual majority.

The problem with political correctness is that too many people are afraid to say what they really think. How can we put people right unless we know what they are thinking? There is nothing worse than being tolerated. Sexuality deserves better. For a start, it deserves respect.

A heart to heart can work wonders. (Did I say it would be easy?)

G-A-Y, HEART TO HEART or  G-A-Y, A PLEA FOR COMMON SENSE

Dear family and friends,
see how, come what may,
it really makes no difference
I’m gay

I’m the same person,
that’s sharing with you
the same heartfelt conviction
love is all

If love but conditional,
where does that leave us
as supposedly more spiritual
than beasts?

I crave love and peace,
and if you loved me once,
why should you love me less
for my sexuality?

Infant, now grown
no less a Child of the Earth
or free to run with nature’s own
for being gay

Copyright R. N. Taber 2001; 2014


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

Saturday, 11 October 2014

What Goes Around, Comes Around (OR) G-A-Y, On the Long Arm of Coincidence



For as long as I can remember, Brighton on the East Sussex coast has always been a gay-friendly place. Many years ago, I met someone there with whom I had a brief fling that lasted all of one day. It was raining and we spent most of the time in his hotel room. It was my first experience of sleeping in a four-poster bed.

In recent years, I met up with an old friend who introduced me to someone with whom he had been at school some 50 years ago…who turned out to be the same young man (much older now, of course) I’d met that rainy day back in 1966. In those days, of course, same sex relationships were still illegal in the UK.

Incredibly, we recognized each other at once. Confiding some but not (quite) all to our mutual friend, we seized an opportunity later to take a trip down Memory Lane…in more ways than one.

True enough, it is a fact of life that, more often than not (one way or another) what goes around comes around …eventually.

This poem is a villanelle.

WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND

What goes around, comes around,
no matter, gay or straight
as spring seeds to wintry ground

Let time, our mistakes, compound
(love will always see us right?)
what goes around, comes around

As dogs of war run peace to ground,
see humanity put to rout…
as spring seeds to wintry ground

In all nature, no finer, sweeter sound
than love songs killing hate
what goes around, comes around

Let martyrdom, its myths compound
where light and darkness mate
as spring seeds to wintry ground

Where sexuality dares speak its mind
(or society construct a closet)
what goes around, comes around
as spring seeds to wintry ground

[Brighton, East Sussex, March 17th 2010]

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010


Thursday, 2 October 2014

G-A-Y, Win Some, Lose Some


I suspect most if not all of us have been there, when sex is (temporarily) enough and a relationship just isn’t on the cards.

Have fun, but be careful out there…

G-A-Y, WIN SOME, LOSE SOME

We got raunchy in a sauna
but didn’t get very far;
people kept interrupting
and we really weren’t
up for an orgy so we drove
into the country,
had sex among the trees,
songbirds nesting
above, indifferent and snug
as you please

Bodies kindling each other
like rolled newspapers
to a flame, plagiarizing
soap opera storylines
till dawn when we rose,
passion faded
like the moon, got real
and went home;
I didn’t ask for his number
or give mine

We both knew there wouldn’t
be a next time…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002; 2014

[Note: Slightly revised from an earlier version that appears in 1st eds. of First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002; revised edition in e-format in preparation.]

Monday, 29 September 2014

G-A-Y, Immortal Beloved


Regular readers will know that my partner and I only has a few years together before he was killed in a road accident, and that was a long time ago. I think about him every day. Yes, I am often sad because I miss him, but it is a sadness tempered with the joy of having loved him and been loved in return; it always lifts me, and rams home the message that love never dies.

I experimented with drugs in my long-ago youth until someone told me that you can never get higher than getting high on love. So who needs drugs? Oh, but that is so true. Love is the only high worth having if only because it lasts the longest, continuing to let people like me access a spiritual dimension that has nothing to do with either religion or sexuality...and why should it?

G-A-Y, IMMORTAL BELOVED

My gay love gave to me a yellow rose
so I would always recall in my heart
how love, if tended, nurtured, always grows
like the truth only wisdom can impart

My gay love gave to me an apple green
so I would recall with each eager bite
that what was, is now, and always has been,
a Tree of Knowledge shading Eden’s light

My gay love gave to me a gentle kiss
to which my heart responded with its all,
a thank you for a lifetime of summers
whose birdsong a metaphor for the soul

My gay love passed away some years ago
but ever lives on in me, this I know…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2012

[Note: This poem has been slightly revised from an earlier version that appears under the title The Truth About Love in 1st eds. of A Feeling For The Quickness Of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005; revised edition in e-format in preparation.]



Sunday, 28 September 2014

G-A-Y, a Haunting OR When Love Loses Out to (So-Called) Convention



Years ago, many gay men and women would get married or even enter a religious order rather than confront their sexuality head-on and learn to live with and enjoy it. For a start, for those to whom  it is important part of mind, body and spirit, religion should not be a path to fulfillment, not a means of escape.

It is one of our modern tragedies that gay people worldwide are still growing up in a gay-unfriendly environment and seeking escape rather than fulfillment.

G-A-Y, A HAUNTING or WHEN LOVE LOSES OUT TO (SO-CALLED) CONVENTION

When I was a young man,
I tried out dating girls because that’s what young men
are expected to do

I couldn’t understand
why I felt so attracted to another man as I’d been told
it was a sin

I tried to stop these feelings
overwhelming me, but couldn’t get you out of my mind
no matter how I tried

You haunted me
day and night, couldn’t concentrate for long on anything
but you

I so needed to know
more about your body, mind, and spirit than making love
in wet dreams

I’d hold you close,
kiss your smiling mouth, entwine with your naked body,
let it into mine

I can but remember
that starry night we had when you said you loved me too,
but being gay was not for you

At your wedding
the radiance of your smile spread like summer, won over
everyone but me

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010