A love sonnet

Someday the world will see our love as such
And understand the beauty that we share
No whispering (afraid to speak too much!)
No more denying what is plainly there
We know the feelings deep within our hearts
And seek out other hearts who beat the same
Such agony, such doubt! When first we start
Alone, we dare not even use love’s name.
We reach out — only subtle hints we leave.
We speak in riddles, deftly-chosen words
Which give a sign to those who would receive
Then echo back, with recognition heard.
Such little choice: to love in secrecy,
Or brand ourselves as monsters openly…

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There I can ask any question; I hear the answers, if I listen.

Sometimes I realize just how far ahead of the crowd my parents have always been on a few things, for as frustratingly out-of-touch as they were on others.

For example, when I was 12 years old, my therapist at the time suggested to them that it was probably time for “The Talk” after I asked her about something I had read in The Diary of Anne Frank — a euphemistic reference to menstruation of having found “seed” in her underwear.  Not long after, my dad and I sat comfortably in his room with the door closed, and he said to me,

“You’ll probably have some questions during our talk, and I want you to know that it’s okay to ask me anything, and it’s okay to use whatever words you feel comfortable using.”

At 12, I understood completely that he was creating a safe space for us to have a conversation about a topic that might otherwise be difficult, and that within the bounds of that space, the outside rules didn’t apply.  I knew that, had I been comfortable using the terms, I could have asked, “So… your prick gets really hard — like a bone — and that’s why it’s called a boner?”  I could have even used “The F-Word” if I felt it was appropriate.  It wasn’t an excited feeling of getting to break all the rules; it was an understanding that those rules were being set aside temporarily, because they worked against the purpose of that safe space.  Now, I also knew that even if the words themselves were allowed, that they were only allowed in context — I couldn’t tell my dad he was a prick, or to go fuck himself, and if I did I’d expect him to call me on it and for there to be consequences.

I learned the word “prick” in second grade. I knew exactly what it was, I knew that either a “D” or a “P-R” could interchangeably begin the word, and I knew easily half a dozen other names for a penis and nearby genitalia.  “Sperm” came in third grade, when I was left so puzzled by the other kids giggling at a certain species of whale that I asked what was funny… and although the concepts and details were lacking as far as how the overall process worked, I quickly picked up “spunk” and “jism” as synonyms.  Singing Oh, Suzannah became harder to do with a straight face after that!  “Pussy” — well, I’m afraid my understanding of the anatomical usage came a few years later, but I certainly knew the word… that was the one yelled as an insult to a boy who was perceived as having failed to perform his societally-assigned gender role!  I don’t recall it being hurled at me in specific, but I knew that it easily could have been.

These and many more “bad words” were in my vocabulary for years before I sat down across from my dad, and he knew I’d been exposed to at least some of them.  He spoke honestly and openly, and tried to give me that same privilege.  I wasn’t comfortable using most of them, but I knew that I could — and that was pretty damn significant.


Now, I find many places, both physical and online, which call themselves “safe spaces” or “support groups.”  These tend to follow the pattern of being organized around a particular topic, and have a standard “speak freely, ask any questions, discuss what you wish (sometimes “what you wish as long as it falls under our organizational topic”) using the language that is comfortable for you.”  In essence, the same things my dad said as he invoked that space for us.  The trouble I’ve run across, though, is that too often those concepts are just words.  “That topic is too deep,” and “this question isn’t okay” — or at least it wasn’t when you asked it yesterday… but when someone else asks, they get lots of information that you were looking for.  “Stop trying to throw your voice into the conversation,” and “those words aren’t allowed here.”

The last one is what pisses me the fuck off.  I have been frustrated to have to leave a few online spaces recently which claimed to be safe, supportive, welcoming areas set aside for discussion, because “those words aren’t allowed here.”  In each case, the posts were deleted, along with the supportive comments made by others, and I got a message from an admin asking me politely to censor myself, “because there are minors here.”  Mind you, these are online services where the minimum age limit is 13 — not little children, but young folks at or near puberty.  If there are minors present, then I as an adult would think it wise to show them the value of safe spaces — to demonstrate in actions that the words we use in creating that space are not hollow lies.  We do these youth a disservice to offer the opportunity to speak freely, only to chastise and censor any speech we don’t like.  We make those spaces unsafe when we dictate the exact manner in which expression is allowed, when it is either explicitly stated or implicitly understood that some subjects may never be discussed and some words will always be silenced.

Any space where I am censored, or asked to censor myself, is not a safe space — and I will not stay there.  Exclaiming “but think of the children!” does nothing to help me feel safe; the same smokescreen has been used to silence discussion of many other topics, and it’s equally bullshit no matter what issue you’re trying to distract attention from.  If you want me to think about the youth, I’ll think about the reason I left home — because I was not free to speak about the things I wished, using words which were comfortable.  If you want me to be mindful of young ears, I’ll keep in mind the sense of shame and guilt I attached to certain vocabulary when I was young, because the adults around only wanted to keep them out of sight and out of mind.  If you politely ask me to refrain from using curse-words, I’ll point at the button on my purse: Fuck Censorship! Then I might just follow that with “…and fuck you, too!” before walking away.

Here they take their sweet repast, while house and grounds dissolve

Already the guests begin to arrive.  All boys — that’s all the company she keeps — slowly trickling in, one and then three and soon to be followed by many more, if history and routine have any bearing on the matter.

The rich, spoiled bitch-child celebrates 20 years on this earth today, a day often used to celebrate fools, to mock and laugh at the gullible and to take glee in the guile by which we can trick those we deem more dim-witted than ourselves.

What better day for her to party?  Let the fool celebrate. The booze will flow, the weed will burn, likely other substances will wend their ways through bodies and brains.  As I left the bath moments ago, the sweet perfume of pot smoke hung thick in the air — good shit, it seemed, from the moment of scent I sampled.  Deep voices conversing, the basses and baritones carrying their banter and chilling my bones.

It does seem quite the shame, though — she may be a year older, but she’s not one second closer to growing up.  Her verbally and emotionally abusive relationship with her boyfriend frightens me, to regularly hear how she screams at him, telling him how stupid and worthless he is, almost as often as she lavishes praise on him — the “best boyfriend ever” just hours before he’s verbally lashed — “how could you do that? I told you, and you fucked up again! I’M NOT YELLING AT YOU! I’M NOT YELLING AT ALL, DAMN IT!”  It sickens me to understand completely and intuitively why he stays, too; great sex as often as he wants it?  Score.  A place to live away from his folks? Hot damn! Cost-free room and board — and no “crust of bread, cup of water,” either, but the finest gourmet that money can buy? You might hang around, too!

If it means having her laugh to all her assembled guests that “yeah, he breaks all the glasses, and doesn’t clean them up.  We clean them up, at least, because we’re not like that.” — well, what’s a little public humiliation in exchange?  If she insists that he sacrifice his health for her codependency — telling him to skip his psych meds because he is making them late for the rock concert by trying to go back and fetch them, spending half an hour telling him how dumb he is for forgetting them and refusing to move an inch until he capitulates to her every demand so that she doesn’t have to spend a single moment functioning on her own… well, again, why is that a problem?  Plenty of awesome shit to balance things out!  Besides, she’s always right… he must just need to work on understanding that, right?

Still more boys coming in, even as I write this.  Tonight will be loud and potentially very difficult — but I begin this night with wonderful preparation, with a day full of beauty and joy and fantastic good things coming to me throughout.  I’m in a good mood, and a good space.

I also have a secret weapon… acquired later than initially intended, as I had planned for it to be my birthday gift to myself in mid-February, but I now have my own Tango III vibrator — and tonight will be a good, relaxing, fun night no matter what else surrounds me.  Perfect peace amid the tempest, filling me completely… even if my toy doesn’t!

“Hugs and kisses, I’m always right there if you need to talk!”

isolation made more poigniant
your “hug” is just dots on this display
it is not arms around me
it is not warmth at my side
it is not breasts pressed tight against my own

you mean well
i know you mean well
but you wound with your well-wishes
good intent betrayed
by the breeze blowing cold across my back
by the pillow clutched in my almost-empty arms
by my heart beating slowly to its sad and solitary song

when you ask if i want to talk to you about it
the answer is yes
but not to the question you really mean

i want to TALK
to YOU

you are not a video screen
you are not a telephone
tapping on computer keys
makes a very different sound from speech
and compressing the vibrations from my throat and lips
to translate into digital bits
beamed out and back again to the little box beside your ear
cannot compare to the full sensory fidelity
of my voice muffled against your tear-wet shoulder

understand, then, if i seem angry
when you offer
yet again
the same shallow substitutes
which cannot
will never
satisfy my needs

understand
that i will not comprimise
that i will have what i need
or nothing at all

understand
and do not scold me
for knowing what i want
standing firm and unwilling
to settle for less

if you cannot offer what i ask
so be it
you certainly have no obligation
to care for me
but if you don’t fulfill those needs
then i will suffer through this

alone

as i so often do

I hear the doorbell ring and suddenly the panic takes me

I need to write.
I want to write.

But I’m balancing that need
That desire
Against my physical exhaustion
Against my minimal food intake today
Against the enormous effort that it takes
To remain outwardly calm
While the sounds from the next room
Fill me with
Irrational
Insistent
Immense

PANIC.

No, it’s not a “logical” connection.
No, I can’t explain why those sounds affect me as they do.
No, it’s not just me finding something to complain about.

I have worked over many years
Learned very carefully
Through practice
Mistakes
Refinement of technique
To appear relaxed
And pleasant
And friendly

Instead of screaming as loudly as my lungs allow
Smashing any solid object within reach
Against any other object in my swing
Stomping and smashing
Making noise and breaking things
All in a feeble and ever-failed attempt
To demonstrate to others —
But no, not a demonstration —
It’s an attempt to harm others
In a fashion that they can comprehend
To a degree equivalent
To the harm they inflict on me.

I have learned to be mute
I have learned to accept harm
I have learned to do nothing in retaliation
I have learned to turn inward and die

And I am praised for my “success” far too often
Told that I am “strong”
That I am “brave”
That I have “accomplished so much”

How is it
That so many seem to envy
This so-called “skill”
Of saying nothing
Doing nothing
Lying on the ground after being driven there again
And most of all for my friendly smile
And calm, even voice
As I am kicked again and again and again?

You value self-restraint
You value compliance
You value non-violence and avoiding confrontation
And I have learned these things you so value

But you never taught me when to stop holding back
You never taught me how to say, “Fuck no, and fuck you!”
You never taught me how to knock a motherfucker out when they come at me wrong
Or to do anything but whimper, turn, and run or better yet, stay and take it with a smile

So I have learned nothing of value at all

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