Masquerade Plans

I’ve been working on this story for a while, but I suddenly realized that it was perfect to post for Halloween, so I pushed myself to get it finished. I didn’t quite make it, but two days past isn’t bad.

This is a story of budding romance between two men. There aren’t any sex scenes, but there is some kissing, and some cussing. Hope you enjoy!


Cameron

Cameron had the perfect plan. After three years of planning, it should be perfect. No need to talk, check. He couldn’t screw this one up by choking on his own tongue. Unfortunately, that had actually happened on several previous attempts. Simple logistics, check. Nothing that could melt, burn, or otherwise required precise timing, which he had also learned from previous attempts. Easy escape if it failed, check. He was fairly sure he could pull off the “Oh, that was you? I totally thought you were someone else” excuse. Even if it wasn’t entirely believable, Enrique would probably let him get away with it. It would be awkward of course, but he doubted that kind of awkward would be any worse than the awkward he was currently suffering.

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First Date

I’m hopefully meeting someone new today. We’ve talked a little, but never met in person. I really like the little bit I know. Here’s hoping the rest is just as good!


You’ve got me planning
Planning how to primp
How to dress
What to say
I want you to like me
I want to show you who I am
This is me
Wild hair and smiling eyes
Glowing knowing I’m alive
Crazy about everyday beauty
Loving nature-made art
Not just that sunset
All of it
I hope that when we meet
You can ignite a different passion
That all this planning won’t be wasted
This time
I hope you like me
I hope I like you too

You Lured Me In. What Changed?

Content warning: This is about an abusive relationship. It’s not particularly explicit, but if you are easily triggered, you may want to skip this one.

I wrote this on July 29, but I waited a while to post it to make sure I was ready.  This seems to apply to a romantic relationship, but it does not. If you want to know more about the story behind this poem, please check out my post Do you know what abuse looks like?


You lured me in
Building on our shared history
Memories and nostalgia made you safe
If only I had known
You offered me protection
An escape from my frustrations
You offered me companionship
I wouldn’t be alone
I never expected it to be easy
But you made it easy at first
What changed?
I thought at first you did
But maybe you were already changed
Maybe the scars you gained in our years apart
Reshaped you
The scars I couldn’t see
Maybe all that really changed
Was your veneer cracking
Your twists and damage showing through

Thank goodness I was never in your power
Never dependent on the things you offered me
I may have seemed so to you at first
But even if I had been
I like to think I would have found a way
To escape

At the first sign of my independence
You became cold
Did you truly believe that I was the cause of your pain?
Did you in some way believe I was yours?
Your doll?
Why was my independence so threatening?
I am not your enemy
You did that to yourself
I tried to play your game
But I am done
I will not be your verbal punching bag
Your feelings are not my fault
And every time you tried to explain
It became clearer
That your rationale for blaming me
Was not rational at all

If you must twist yourself in knots
To feel justified
Have fun
I am walking free

Do you know what abuse looks like?

I started this post as the introduction to You Lured Me In. What Changed?, but when I realized that the introduction was becoming longer than the poem, I decided to make a separate post for it.

The poem came out of the aftermath of a relationship that went from mutually beneficial to abusive in a short span of time. A common misconception about abuse is that it only occurs in romantic relationships or between family members. This was not a typical abusive relationship. It was in no way romantic, and neither my friend nor I wanted it to be, but she and I had known each other since kindergarten, and there was a lot of history between us. I lived with her for most of a year in 2014-2015, and near the end of that time I decided that I couldn’t live with her anymore. At that time, things were still fairly good between us, but she had started smoking (again), which I have had a strong aversion to my whole life, and she was planning to relocate when the lease was up. She wanted me to move with her, but the new location would be very inconvenient for me and though I considered moving with her, in the end I decided not to. Read more

Aeschylus Wrote

I was inspired by a quote from Aeschylus, which I found here: Aeschylus Quotes

Written August 4, 2016.


“My will is mine,” he wrote.
“I shall not make it soft for you.”
And I, across two thousand years
Feel fire in my blood.
How can I be
As sure
As strong
As honest
As those words taste?
They stand so tall alone
Spread wide
Like branches
Like wings.
The beauty of the hero’s might
Woven into black on white.
How can I make them part of me?
How can I be
That thought?

For S

I make friends in weird ways. This was made abundantly clear to me as I prepped this poem for posting. This was written on September 21, 2009 after S, a then-acquaintance, went on a rant, in large part as a result of a mutual friend having a melodramatic pity party. S, for whom this poem was written, has been on the short end of the stick a lot. I didn’t know how much when I wrote this, though the tip-of-the-iceberg problems I heard about during the aforementioned rant were pretty intimidating on their own. Two years after writing this, I found things coming full-circle with another rant, and the perfect time to share this poem with her. S is now my closest friend, and we have shared a lot: international travels, strange edibles, learning, teaching, dressing up, dressing down, pants-free zones, and so much more. With much love…


You say you want to get off your knees
You are tired of begging
A little bit of help, a little bit of Understanding
The world seems to say they cannot be yours
I want to hold the world back for you
But it washes through me to batter at you
As though I am an insubstantial ghost
I want to be your anchor
I want to hold you back
As you look over the edge, prepared to jump
You do not know me well enough for that
I have faith in you
One day you will look over the edge
Not at death
But at a chance to spread your wings
One day you will soar

The Writing Battle

This might come as a surprise, but writing has been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember. It is one of the few activities in my life that brings out all of my insecurities. It’s not that I get hung up trying to impress you all. I don’t know you, and I have learned that I can’t make people like me. I was prepared to receive negative comments, cruel and unhelpful criticism, and general lashing out. I have seen plenty of that online. I set up this blog and started posting despite my expectations. Read more

The Speaking Tool

This was written after attending an open-mike-type event on October 10, 2008. One of the performers did a really nice spoken word piece about women. I think. I don’t remember the topic particularly, but I remember getting caught up in the way rhyme was used in the piece. It inspired this poem, which is not much like my other work, but is only a tiny bit like the spoken piece that inspired it. It does work better aloud though, in my opinion.


It wasn’t what you said that made me cry
I’ve heard it all before a thousand times
Sometimes in rhymes
Beating on my ears
It was the way you made the words dance
And entrance me
New beats that don’t align
Twist the same thing into some new thing
That surprises
Your words
Dragged my words across my tongue
Dragged me along
Who cares where we end up? It’s all about
The way we walk the whole while we’re walking there
Talking there
Talking is our locomotion
Motioning us to take a stand and stand up
Who are we standing for?
Sitting for?
Who monopolized my mind
Into their own personal, extra special, all-the-same box?
Who allowed me to allow myself to forget
That language is a tool?
Take it out of that dusty tool shed
A tool is only a tool when you use it
And you make use of it to make me think
To take me to the brink
Of knowing
But you make me talk my own walk
Those last few steps across the line
You make me make this mine
It may take time
But because of you
The way you do
This word-game tap on my mental shoulder
Because of how you use the rhyme
And reason
And timing
I’ll talk across the line
And I’ll be free

Camus’s Question

This one was a homework assignment: Pick a specific poem format, and write a poem in that format. It had to be something with a specific structure, not a freeform poem. This was not the first time I wrote a sestina for a homework assignment. The first one was about frogs. I don’t know where that one is, but if I find it somewhere in my piles of papers, I’ll definitely post it for you all. I really like the cyclical structure of the sestina. I recently read that it was most often used for a complaint poem back in the day, which makes some sense, since whiners tend to repeat themselves ad nauseam. I haven’t ever used the sestina for whining, but I’ve certainly found that it’s not suitable for every topic. You have to find a topic that naturally has a cyclical feel.

This sestina is based on an internal debate I had after talking to a friend who thought she might commit suicide. Fortunately, she’s still alive and kicking, and more emotionally stable now. This was crafted over a two-week period, and finished on October 6, 2008.


Camus once said the only question
worth asking is Should I give up?
Does this world have depth of meaning,
and is that meaning now enough
to keep me in this world and living,
or should I just let go and die?

I know a girl who wants to die,
to answer that important question.
She says she cannot go on living,
it’s not worth it to keep this up.
The things she has are not enough
to keep this life enriched with meaning.

Before I never questioned meaning.
I haven’t had the urge to die.
The things I have are just enough.
With confidence I answer the question.
I watch the sun go climbing up.
I have no reason for not living.

In fact I find such joy in living,
in everything I find a meaning.
Every day I’m climbing up.
It’s not that I’m afraid to die,
it’s just that, facing this big question,
I don’t see why it’s not enough

She says she cannot find enough
of joy or meaning to keep her living.
She hardly dares to face the question,
‘cause after death there is no meaning.
I think that she’s afraid to die,
but wants the pain to give her up.

She struggles with just giving up
and tells me I don’t know enough
to understand her wish to die.
She cannot understand why living
carries for me the ultimate meaning,
how I rejoice and Camus’s question

Came once asked a question about giving up
I find that life has meaning and that it’s enough
I have reason to go on living until it’s time to die

You distract me when you’re gone

Written February 28, 2008. Yes, right after Feelings that are not mine! That does happen occasionally, though usually with poems so close together, one or the other isn’t worth posting. This is about an almost relationship, during the time when I thought it was going to become a relationship. It still amazes me how true this poem was.


You distract me when you’re gone
It’s silly
Really
I have no problem focusing
When you’re sitting next to me
When you’re gone
I want you here
Everything reminds me of you
And I spend more time staring into space than working
It’s silly
Really
You should be more distracting when you’re here