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


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Past Imperfect OR Where the Road is Bare, Plant Trees


Many years ago, I had a Russian boyfriend. (I would love to visit Russia. Yes, in spite of President Putin’s anti-gay stance. One day, maybe…) His name was Anatoly and he was studying here. He answered to Nat although I’m not sure even he knew how this had come about. He was not only a genuinely nice guy but also good looking and a brilliant cook. In short, he was every gay man’s dream of a partner and way out of my league, or so I thought. Yet, somehow Nat and I became more than friends during his stay here.

Nat is the only boyfriend I’ve ever had who loved poetry. (Yes, even mine.) I missed him a lot when he returned to Russia and hoped we would stay in touch, but Fate had other plans for us. About three years later, I received a brief note that has been forwarded from several different addresses to say he was getting married to ‘a girl called Anna.’ It was just as well he hadn’t put an address or I would probably have caught the next plane to Moscow.

While my poetry is a diary of sorts. no one but me will ever know which poems are based on my own life or on observations of other people’s lives or just wishful thinking on all our parts. It is not surprising then that, as I browse my poems, faces, places and circumstances spring to mind that may be directly related to the poem or simply passing at a tangent to it. So now I find myself thinking about Nat and wondering what happened to him, hoping he is happy, but concerned that a hot-blooded young gay man should have chosen to marry. Has Anna made him happy? Do they have children? I will probably never know.

None of us are perfect nor do we live perfect lives. Yet, it is in those very imperfections that the roller coaster ups and downs of everyday existence lie. Whether or not we are feeling quite up to the ride is another matter…

As I grow old(er) I find myself looking back on the past and regretting much of it for one reason or another.  After all, where has my life brought me but to this growing old alone…and me with such a capacity for love?

Oh, but a pointless exercise, this negative stuff, I agree. Better by far to engage in some positive thinking, be glad for the parts regret cannot reach and try to be that person regret could never touch. Easier said than done, but methinks well worth the effort or old age is likely to be even less of a picnic than old bones would have it…

PAST IMPERFECT or WHERE THE ROAD IS BARE, PLANT TREES

Smoky haze on a lonely road,
rogue leaves falling one by one
like faces in a Hall of Mirrors
reflecting such multiple fractures
of times past, hints of joy
and laughter mangled by tears,
as those I have loved and lost
gazing anxiously through my fears;
a merciless naming of parts
(success, achievement…) heads
turned by the darker side
of fulfillment, tiny flames licking
at what we care to call 'soul’

Smouldering seasons lost
to wisps of smoke, scalding caresses,
half-truths let drift with a smile;
familiar faces rallying at such times 
of need as this, reassurances
once betrayed and tossed aside,
now returning to haunt
the self-centred manipulations
and errors of judgment
that brought us here, fuelling a pyre
of purpose-built paranoia;
time to put life’s illusions to rout
and its angrier fires out

Look, and find a hunchback called Pain
planting trees on New Memory Lane

Copyright R. N. Taber 1999; 2014

[Note: An earlier version of this poem first appeared in the anthology Duende, Poetry Today [Forward Press] 1999 and subsequently in 1st eds. of Love and Human Remains, Assembly Books, 2001; alternative title added 2014; revised edition in preparation in e-format.]


Monday, 22 September 2014

G-A-Y, Coming Together OR Love, Triumphant


For gay people living in a gay-unfriendly environment, being openly gay can be hard, sometimes impossible (punishable by death in some countries!). In the end, though, love and a sense of personal identity will find a way…

G-A-Y, COMING TOGETHER or LOVE, TRIUMPHANT

Come light of day
to midnight’s soul,
a love that’s gay

Dark swept away,
hearts made whole,
come light of day

Open hearts pray
(yet no glad bells toll)
a love that’s gay

Cold feet of clay,
a wake-up call
come light of day

Breaking away,
(no backs to the wall)
a love that’s gay

Let the world say
what it will;
come light of day,
a love that’s gay

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2014

[Note; Slightly revised (2014) from an earlier version that appears 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, 21 September 2014

Ebn tide OR G-A-Y, 'Dear John...'


Love is often a win some, lose some affair, and I suspect most if not all of us have found ourselves brooding over the latter at some time or another.

The trick is not to brood for too long, and be sure to go with the tide when it turns as invariably, in time, it will

EBB TIDE or G-A-Y, ‘DEAR JOHN…’

Black waves
sucking the feet, tugging the soul;
distant lights pricking
the flesh, like pins in this doll man
of yours

Ours once,
moon and stars, a night like this!
Sea breeze, salty
and sensual like a first kiss before
passion takes over

We surfed
the clouds, played in moon craters
like children knowing
that soon,  too soon, Someone
would call us home

Black waves
sucking the feet, tugging the soul;
same sea breeze, its promises
stripping us bare, a lifetime to share
gone, gone, gone

You, in another man's heaven;
me, on the mud banks of Eden


Copyright R. N. Taber 2000; 2014


[Note: This poem has been revised (2014) from an earlier version first published in an anthology, The Shadows of Life, Poetry Today (Forward Press) 2000 and subsequently in 1st eds. of Love and Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001; Revised edition in e-format in preparation.]

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Beautiful Thing OR G-A-Y, Seeds in the Wind


My poem takes its title from a delightful gay movie of the same name. It is one of relatively few mainstream movies (available on DVD) that I have seen whose story line turns on the developing relationship between two schoolboys. [Do so many parents and teachers really think gay men and women emerge into adulthood out of thin air?]

Now, parents sometimes get in touch to ask what they should so about a gay son or daughter. Do? What else, but continue to love and support them?

BEAUTIFUL THING or G-A-Y, SEEDS IN THE WIND

Though a day be my last on God’s good earth
and I regret many things I have done,
I’ll bring hopes of a second chance, rebirth,
to whatever we like to call ‘Heaven’

Though a breath be my last in Nature’s arms
and the world’s judgment upon me unkind,
I’ll submit to her dear, evergreen charms,
trusting in Peace to be always at hand

Though these eyes look their last on a bird’s wing
as it soars with grace and kisses the sky,
I’ll clasp to my heart love’s beautiful thing
that has blessed me and will not let us die

For knowing you, needing you, loving you…
Nature’s seeds in the wind, gay, free and true

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2014

[Note: This poem has been slightly revised from an earlier version that appears in 1st (print) eds. of A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005; new (revised) ed. in e-format in preparation.]



  

Monday, 15 September 2014

Love: Where Fools Rush In OR G-A-Y, All or Nothing


 “You’re a fool!’ someone told me forcefully years ago when I came out to everyone as a gay man, adding for good measure that ‘All gays are losers.’

Well, all I can say is that now I know why ‘fools rush in’ and I certainly don’t feel I’ve lost out. On the contrary, in spite of my life’s many ups and downs, I feel all the more fulfilled for being openly gay. Tragically, many gay boys and girls, men and women living in a gay-unfriendly culture and/or environment may still feel unable to do so.

LOVE: WHERE FOOLS RUSH IN or G-A-Y, ALL OR NOTHING

Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
have never mined craters of the moon
or lain with another, naked as the day
he or she were born

Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
will never have zigzagged helter-skelter
down the Milky Way into the arms
of Earth Mother

Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
may well have admired a summer rose
and pored over one season’s poetry,
but what of others..?

Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
will invariably reach for reality’s sword,
forgetting that craters of the moon
are not of this world

Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
see history’s reworking of its stereotypes
as a convenient excuse for blots
in their copybooks

Those who say any love is fool’s gold
have never mined craters of the moon
or lain with another, naked as the day
he or she were born

Copyright R. N. Taber 2009