Family · LGBQT · life · memoir · poetry · relationships · women's issues · writing

A 60’s Childhood

Formative years were more destruct
than construct; contradictions riddled

the foundation of our familial structure:
one man tyrannized five females while

in the news, women marched for equality;
called the likes of him a male chauvinist.

Aunt drove a forklift truck, looked like a man,
chalked one up for women’s liberation, didn’t

talk about her sexuality; shadow of illegality
hovering around her – no one dared to ask.

At nine, I questioned the fairness of being
born a girl in a man’s world, felt impassioned

by feminist cries, yet feared my mom would
leave the nest, abandon baking, domestics;

leave us to fend for ourselves – the warm waft
of fresh-baked goods greeting us each day, gone.

Watched my sisters flaunt their womanly ways
for virile young men who flocked to see bikini

clad bodies, ripe and tanned by the sun – who
was reducing whom to sex objects? And when

my mother’s family came to visit, why were the
men’s hands so invasive, their tongues equally

misplaced, and was this what women in the streets
were crying out against? I wanted to be free, explore

my future prospects – open road ahead – but Mother
said boys will be boys, and men don’t like smart

women, and better to drop out of school at sixteen,
get a secretarial job, and be ready when your prince

arrives – so I rebelled, cut my hair, flaunted my
intelligence, spoke up about inconsistencies,

such as why is a God a He, and why Aunt didn’t
ever date – did feminist mean celibate? and why

when women were so oppressed and men had
all the power, did my father wish he could be one?

Formative years more destruct than construct;
a deviate imprint tainting normalcy’s prospects.

(A 60’s Childhood first appeared here in September, 2016.  My challenge this week is story.  Click on the link to join in.  Computer is currently in the shop – so I have set this post up in advance.  Sorry if it takes me a bit to get back to you. Image from personal collection.)

culture · Family · LGBQT · poetry · writing

Glass Caskets

What mysteries lie in ancestral roots,
what clues to illuminate the dysfunction
that permeated our familial ties, cursed
us with a pervasive sense of perversity?

We are a portrait of deviancy: still life
torsos, dismembered from birth, non-
conforming hormonal structures denied
reception in the aftermath of Victorianism.

An aunt, who despite her outer female
attributes earned the nickname Billy,
tried her best to acclimatize to girlie legs,
distracted herself with industry, could not

bear the swirl of dresses, nor the reek
of men’s cologne, banished herself to
far off lands, followed a brother – also
optically illusive – knew himself as Liz,

adapted arms and legs of steel to bury
his essence, donned military rags, and
macho outbursts, failed to escape his
inner truth.  Raised by this disembodied

woman, whose embittered cries echoed
through our hollow chambers, shattered
any attempts at compassion, we were
observers at a funeral, where the casket,

made of glass, held a lonely figure – head
and shoulders solely visible – all but dead,
suspended, like a science experiment gone
terribly wrong, abandoned in a gel-like bath –

embalmed dysmorphia on private display.
Lacked the resources to understand the
complexity of their sufferings, too entwined
to be rational – ignorance blinded by shame.

Only now, in the light of current revelations,
is the depth of our misguided conclusions
made tragic – with I could reach back through
time, adjust the settings to acceptance, but

lack the currency, have no recourse, other
than these words, to communicate the sheer
brutality of discrimination – have witnessed
the bloodied carnage of authenticity oppressed.

(Glass Caskets first appeared December, 2016.  It was published in Little Rose Magazine, March 2108.  I submit it here for my weekly challenge:  deviation.)

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adversity · culture · LGBQT · poetry · writing

In Remembrance (for Father)

I hold a photo of my father –
on that last Remembrance Day –
am awed by the person we never knew.

Just fifteen, he signed on,
joined ranks with an elite squad,

trained for unarmed combat.

He wears his Commando’s beret,
medals proudly adorning his breast –
symbols whose meanings are now lost.

They were the best and the brightest –
sleuthing out enemy stores, carrying

operative data to oncoming troops.

He cried that day, as candles glowed –
tears for the fallen – “Good men,”
he muttered, squeezing my hand.

A suicide mission, he’d called it,
armed with a knife and hands
of steel – a black pill if caught.

By day, he never spoke of war,
at night, he screamed in terror.
Why such a mission? I asked.

He’d had his own secret cause –
a war waging within him – 

bent on eradicating a tragic flaw.

War made my father – a disciplined,
regimented man of iron, intimidating,
fearless – machismo at its best.

He returned a hero, celebrated
with his hometown, and left again –

the lie still burning within him.

Father was a valiant soldier –
counted himself privileged
to serve beside the honourable.

At fifteen, a girl whose body
belied her existence, enlisted

in a fight to become a man.

(The original version of In Remembrance appeared November 11, 2015.  I resubmit it here, edited, for my weekly challenge: sacrifice.  My father sacrificed his life during the war, and then went on to sacrifice his true identity for the rest of his years. November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada, a time to honour those who fought for our freedom. )

 

adversity · Family · LGBQT · poetry · relationships · writing

Debonair and Deprived

“Is that you father?”
acquaintances would ask –
voices deep and dreamy.

Particular about his dress,
meticulous in his grooming,
Dad’s eyes sparkled oceans

his dark, wavy curls
framing a strong face,
his body tall and muscled.

I’d tilt my head sideways,
incredulous at this response,
then realize they’d fallen

for his mask – carefully
debonair, he exuded charm,
a well-rehearsed routine.

It’s his birthday today –
would be, you see, but
Dad passed over long ago.

Tortured, he was, relieved
to be done with a life
so defined by deprivation

for masculinity was only
a shell – housed a restless
spirit, a woman never seen

forced into seclusion by
a society – a family – who
could not/ would not see.

He may be free, but the tragedy
lingers – awareness now so raw
of all that might have been.

“Yes, that it my father,”
I might have said, adding
“A beautiful soul trapped inside.”

(My father was born June 14, 1924, and struggled all his life with his “secret”.  He turned to the Navy commandos at the age of 15, hoping to “beat” his impulses, and then alcohol to numb the pain.  We bore the brunt of his suffering, and were never able to cross the bridge to understanding. I have no pictures of my father, and only this one image of myself as a teen.  We looked very much alike.)

Fandango’s word of the day is debonair.

Daily Addiction is deprive.

abuse · Family · LGBQT · poetry · relationships

A Toddler’s Tears

When it comes to caring,
I’m a pro – engaged,
wholehearted, well…
except that my toddler
self joins in, and no matter

how proper I try to act –
she is such a fetching child,
bright, inquisitive – she
distracts me from purpose,
gets me off-track, and I hate

being behind, and anxiety
acts up, and the subject of my
focus departs, leaves me solo,
abandoned like the baby,
memories of saturated diapers

unattended to, and the raw
scratch of tears unanswered,
and I’m not trained to care for
inner children, essentially
overlooked, innocence tainted.

culture · Family · LGBQT · life · poetry · relationships

Family Trappings

Mother, twice married,
conveys reluctance,
exaggerates fear –
charted history
obstacles a given.

Father’s outing
perpetuates disconnection
anxiety replacing
communication
group wishes null

Sister desires crack –
living spectacle –
addiction barrier
to forgotten
privilege

Husband’s end plan
race transmissions –
dispossessed of
direction –
a dreamer

Fodder for gossip –
elaborate gong show –
we are lost navigators
memories relative
routes amusing

I visit nostalgia –
repetitive missives –
host allowances
hope for justice
a transfer point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

adversity · culture · LGBQT · life · media · poetry · women's issues

Can’t Help But Wonder

What chief is this,
whose repetitive adolescent antics
labour over inconsequential details
whilst, as novice, he plies elimination
strategies, slashing former goals;
this non-monk of a man, inciting
global waves of dissention, padding
his ego with kin, lining up officials
disinclined to disrupt his pillage?

What nation is this
who believes social standing
equates with compassion,
who overlooks subterfuge,
projects ideals into commerce,
trusts debits and credits to
a host, whose obese pockets
are lined with the sweat of others
sacrificed for golden coffers?

What consequences lie
beyond the current distractions,
when tools of manipulation are
revealed and citizens, mired in the
waste of executive orders, rise
against oppression, upstanders
demanding a difference that
promotes, indeed ignites, a more
palatable future for all?

(Image: www.sandiegouniontribune.com)

 

 

 

adversity · culture · dreams · Family · LGBQT · life · poetry

Glass Caskets

What mysteries lie in ancestral roots,
what clues to illuminate the dysfunction
that permeated our familial ties, cursed
us with a pervasive sense of perversity?

We are a portrait of deviancy: still life
torsos, dismembered from birth, non-
conforming hormonal structures denied
reception in the aftermath of Victorianism.

An aunt, who despite her outer female
attributes earned the nickname Billy
tried her best to acclimatize to girlie legs,
distracted herself with industry, could not

bear the swirl of dresses, nor the reek
of men’s cologne, banished herself to
far off lands; followed a brother – also
optically illusive – knew himself as Liz,

adapted arms and legs of steel to bury
his essence, donned military rags, and
macho outbursts; failed to elude his
inner truth. Raised by this disembodied

woman, whose embittered cries echoed
through our hollow chambers, shattered
any attempts at compassion; we were
observers at a funeral, where the casket,

made of glass, held a lonely figure – head
and shoulders solely visible – all but dead,
suspended, like a science experiment gone
terribly wrong, abandoned, in a gel-like bath –

embalmed dysmorphia on private display.
Lacked the resources to understand the
complexity of their sufferings, too entwined
to be rational – ignorance blinded by shame.

Only now, in the light of current revelations,
is the depth of our misguided conclusions
made tragic – wish I could reach back through
time, adjust the settings to acceptance, but

lack the currency, have no resources, other
than these words, to communicate the sheer
brutality of discrimination – have witnessed
the bloodied carnage of authenticity oppressed.

(Image: Pinterest)

 

 

disability · dreams · LGBQT · life · mental-health · poetry · women's issues

Internal Struggle

Onramp for freedom is just ahead
but all considered, I will not push
forward, am fragile, misinterpret
signs.  Add to it isolation – who
can blame me….

Move! Move with the throngs!
Set your intentions, correct and
change direction – take a tangent
even – future is just around the
corner…..

Wears me out; I am shattered,
descending, would rejoin life’s
celebration, be a sister, but this
disability shows no compassion…

Couple with feminism; get ahold
of yourself, move forward – there

is no wrong time – be in support
of something; leap….

This reality is disparaging; in
the aftermath, I have no fight –
lightheadedness sabotaging –
an added foe….

Be independent.  Righteousness
makes a good point of entrance…

Inability to motivate, emancipated,
confused on my own….

abandoning is not an option;
motor!  Want to do the right thing;
come on, turn the page…

…too taxing, paralyzing to
show up, catch up with friends
clueless about ME/CFS….

…don’t you care that people
are being exploited, refuges
fleeing, can’t you feel the need…

impatience possesses; I am
beaten, am legless, spinning

keep pushing….harness strength…

..faint without a stance…

…defy fear…

… desperate…

aging · dreams · LGBQT · life · new project · passion · poetry · recovery · women's issues

Clearing Corners

No more out-on-the-town bustles –
the late afternoon light fading in
my corner – focus now turned to
higher issues; try to keep company

with mindfulness – a worthy educator,
facilitating release – but my inventory
is too spun. Achieving a semblance
of completion, something to reflect

my life’s toil, would be welcome, yet
I fear my story is cooked. Guidance
might suggest I’m not alone, but
without my professional footing

I’m at a loss for identity, prodding
to find answers – a woman without
substance, grasping at what is mine.
Seems silly to think that breathing

might offer consolation for this no-
return-on-investment outcome; have
hit a wall, would rage if not numb, so
many parts of self lost in passage…

Midnight approaches and I am tapped
out – a social passenger hitching a ride
on hopelessness – flat broke, empty
(tried to dial up creativity – wrong#)

Contemplate sorrow, luck, temporary
breakdown’s, orchestrated scenes,
a lifelong inability to keep quiet (sorry
kids), a callous bitch – could never get

her to work in my corner, channel that
energy into fitness or financial success –
she just likes to stir things up, doesn’t
believe in peace of mind, jolts me awake

out of my comfort zone.  Maybe I need
her now – forgo relaxation and surrender –
to shake this inactivity, give a hand up
to those repressed, forgotten selves –

get her to lift me out this self-conscious
mire – she doesn’t care about feelings –
markets herself with confidence, breathes
assertiveness, knows her own business…

can you see me sitting up a little straighter,
composing myself in the light of this new
possibility, readying myself to relaunch –
reconsidering my stance on corners?

There’s remodelling to be done here –
and orienting to the new will take a bit,
given my age, but I’m willing to concede
that there is community to serve, and

that as long as human rights are being
violated there is a place for compassion,
and no town is immune to need, so I’d
better get my bustle on and start painting.

( Image: lokeshsomu.blogspot.com )