I don’t think gender issues should be so complicated. If it isn’t in someone’s nature to conform to the rigid gender stereotypes imposed on children from birth, that person is trans, but certainly no one is obligated to adopt that label for themselves. And we wound’t have any conflict about it if we just let people live their lives according to their own nature and desires.
Those who are great leaders should lead. Those who are nurturers should nurture. Those who want to wear makeup should be encouraged to do so. Those who enjoy wearing dresses and skirts should be able to go on enjoying those. And people who enjoy wearing suits should be sequestered in office blocks in the central areas of major municipalities where they won’t interfere with the rest of our lives.
We could have food and entertainment shipped in to them so they never have to leave. They could even have fitness equipment on site to keep them relatively healthy. In order to keep them from resenting life in a prison, we would call it a campus, reminding them of all the fun they had in their fraternities and sororities. We’ll make them think living in a high-rise prison is a perk of their merit, their innate superiority. They can dream of colonising Mars. We will sing and dance and love and laugh with merriment till the cows come home.
I guess some people thought (and I was one of those people) I might lose my accent after moving to the UK. I was sort of hoping I might lose it, because I associated my East Texas accent from my youth with ignorance, bigotry, and violence. And, yes, I have been assaulted more than once or twice by someone dripping with the twangy tones of east Texas intolerance.
I always knew, but tended to put aside, the fact that my suppressed accent was similar to the voices of people like Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower, John Henry Faulk, Ann Richards, Robert Earl Keen, Dr. Red Duke, Ray Wiley Hubbard, Joe Ely, and many more. Now that I’m further away from the KKK-loving shit-kickers, I often miss the sounds of home. I miss a voice I strangled more than 40 years ago.
Lately, I’ve been trying to write and speak in the voice I lost so long ago. Coming out of the closet, so to speak. I’m stepping from the shadow of shame, I guess. It turns out you can sound like that and not be a total asshole. You can be queer, embrace religious tolerance, celebrate your neighbours’ differences, and just try to be a decent but hopelessly flawed individual (just like everybody else).
I don’t think she ever loved me.
We’d sleep together, but she
never touched me in bed.
If I tried to stroke her face,
she’d pull away in disgust
with a violent shake of contempt.
From time to time, she’d run
away but return in due time.
She didn’t seem interested in
anyone else, so we appeared
doomed to share grudging company.
Maybe she was happy cohabiting
in shared shelter with no feeling.
Maybe she really longed for love,
but dreamed only of joining
a tight pack of her own kind.
I’ve seen you enveloped in passion
Entranced and wandering aimlessly
In all consuming lust as you fold
Into taut skin stretched over
A well-tuned bicep shimmering
With the sweat of ones who
Would possess you,
Confiscate your love,
Loyalty, lust, passion, devotion,
Breasts, lips, thighs,
And even your new mountain bike.
I’ve seen you capitulate to complete
Sexual abandon and forget
Your past, your future, and your
Unpaid mortgage. On some
Occasions, you switched from
Lover to lover in your bed
Like a child trying different
Ice creams at the shop with
So many flavours.
I’ve seen you soak the sheets,
Draw blood with your nails,
And shriek till the rafters shook.
You took it all in,
You put it all out.
You forgot who you were.
You looked through me,
Past me, beyond me.
You forgot I existed,
And when you remembered,
Then you shouted.
I had no business blocking
Your way to paradise.
I had no reason to be in your way.
But as you stroke my back,
I open my eyes,
And remember why I came.
You don’t have to feel so special.
We’ve all done some stuff. Lord,
If you knew half the things I did,
You’d wonder why I’m not in jail.
You can just forget about what
You done, ’cause God knows
I’d let you get away with just
About anything. It’s my weakness.
I can’t blame you for being tempted.
You’re young an horny as a rabbit.
I’m just a rickety old fool, pulled
This way and that by anger and lust.
I mean, I’m the person you done
It to, but I can’t stay mad at you.
He made a clumsy compliment,
And it was taken for an insult.
Immediately, he tried to explain
The misunderstanding, but
He was told to “stop digging.”
And so it was.
He wasn’t in love, exactly,
But he admired her
Constantly and consistently.
He spoke highly of her to colleagues
And mutual acquaintances.
Hoping to eventually mend the rift,
He overcompensated with kindness,
But she seemed to recede further
In the distance with each step
He tried to take forward.
And small mistakes can have
Grave consequences. They say
The entire universe is a mess
Because Brahma was too drowsy
During the act of creation,
Which is an important lesson
For fertile but untutored lovers.
And as the universe tends to replicate
An original error exponentially,
So relationships can create
Great webs of resentment
And confusion. Even chaos.
It was all right, of course.
He found other jobs and
Other social and vocational
Networks away from her gaze.
He found a wife, passed his
Own genes on to unsuspecting
New persons peering into
Brahma’s mistake for the first time.
After her divorce, she heard of him
And his relative success and wondered
How such a ham-fisted and socially
Awkward dimwit could carry on.
But we do carry on.
Brahma hasn’t had a nap
In eons, and light travels to our
Eyes from the furthest reaches
Of space, just so we can experiment
With clumsy compliments.