Monday, December 13, 2010

Feed Me

Blessed are the hungry, for they shall be filled

Oh, my belly groans, moaning to be filled

McDonald’s French fries
Super size
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Mmm, finger lickin’ good
Oh, yeah, Pizza Hut
Super Supreme
Hold the anchovies please
Thick crust
Extra cheese

Yo guiero Taco Bell
(The only Mexican I know)
And Caramel Apple Empanadas

But all I really want is a slice
Of the Great American Pie
And all I get is a fried lie
Shaped like a brick
And you know, I eat them up
And stack them high
A teetering Tower of Babel
Just read the label—
Calories, cholesterol,
Sodium, sugar, and fat…

My life, this fast food drive through
Ravenous and raving
Craving a quick fix
I’m addicted

Fast food for a fast life
Eat fast, die young
And leave a bloated corpse—

At least my belly will be full
Chemicals, additives, artificial flavors,
Artificial colors, artificial sweeteners
And Red Die # 9
Embalming me
Dried by all the preservatives

The cemetery, like a city dump
Full of disposable diapers
Taking centuries to decompose
Frozen, the cycle of life
No more ashes to ashes and dust to dust

So what’s the half-life of plastic?
Well, at least a part of me will achieve immortality

But isn’t life more than food?

A man shall not live on bread alone
So said Jesus to the stones
When he was alone in the wilderness
Tempted by desire

He resisted the world
The riches of the kingdoms
In all their glory
But I can’t even resist
French fries
Fried apple pies
Milkshakes and McNuggets
They tug at my soul
And I can eat a whole bunch of that
Sitting in my car
Waiting for the traffic light to change…my life

I see a guy in the car next to me
He’s eating a taco

The woman behind me
She’s stuffing a Carl’s Jr. Burger in her face
Dripping shit all over the place

The guy up ahead
He’s sucking on a straw
A Big Gulp of soda
And a Snicker’s bar

I know it’s not against the law
But shouldn’t we eat at home
And not alone in a car?

And then I began to understand the man
What Jesus said
It’s not just the bread
And it’s a whole lot more than the wine
It’s the time
We spend together
Sharing and caring
Daring to be an assembly of love
The truly healthy diet

Give me a piece of that pie
And I will give you a hug

Oh, I love hugs.
They have no calories
And yet, they feed me

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Heroes Survive...

The Highest Price

Why would a guy throw himself on a grenade knowing he would die?

Greater love hath no man than this
That he would lay down his life for his friends

For Love…Dedication...Duty...Honor...Country...

In a rice patty, a desert plain, a city street

Khe Sanh

Beat the drum slowly to echo the final fleeting beat of a heart
So noble, so pure
To endure the pain of death for friends

In battle warriors win honor, respect, and the title hero
They display valor above and beyond the call of duty
Most of them, posthumously
After they paid the highest price
The Highest Price

Heroes get awards:
Congressional Medals of Honor
Distinguished Service Crosses
Silver Stars
Bronze Stars
Purple Hearts

We put their names on walls for all to see
For all to grieve the loss of valiant souls
Then, they are laid in graves
Their secrets, sins, and fleshly desires
Their lust and passions, failings and flaws
All washed away the moment they died a heroic death

Purified by sacrifice

To die like that
A glorious way to erase the stain of human frailty
To be hailed a hero for all eternity
Unstained by controversy

Because everyone loves a hero
Especially a dead one

The highest price?

Some heroes survive…
Outliving their glory, becoming has-beens
Shadows of their own brilliance
Burnt into the sidewalks of pedestrian life
Where their legacies are trampled upon

Maybe they should have retired in their primes
Maybe they should have faded away
So they could stay immortal to their admirers

These heroes…
They don’t know why they survived
They envy the ones who died
And, if you ask them, they’ll tell you
Why a guy would throw himself on a grenade knowing he would die

The Highest Price

To reach the pinnacle of admiration
Only to topple because people can’t bear to see
The humanity embodied in a hero who survived

Sunday, October 17, 2010

For Those Who Remain Silent

I Held the Coats

Pelted with stones, ragged and worn, bleeding and crying
Stephen looked to heaven, pleading to God
A merciful rock struck his head

“I think he’s dead,” someone said.

The men, soaked in sweat, glowed with righteous pride
Satisfied one of those blasphemers died

Saul was happy his hands remained unstained with blood
He’d only held their coats and watched
The man lying on the ground, dying for what he believed
What had they achieved, justice?
Only God would know


Michael glared at Monty
Nose flared, lips curled with disdain

“You’re a fag,” Michael said.
“You don’t belong here, queer.”

A crowd gathered
A chant rose among the voices
“You don’t belong here, queer!
You don’t belong here, queer!”

I was there, standing next to my locker
Holding my coat
I knew Monty from drama class
He had talent, expressive and cool
Now, only a fool would be his friend

I could’ve shouted Michael down, yell he was a liar
But I just stood there, aware of the tears welling in Monty’s eyes
Red cheeks betraying his stoic disguise

He had to walk down that hall
Every day for the next two years

I didn’t chant the words or yell a slur
But I’m sure I bear the guilt of persecution

Because –
I held my coat and stood idly by


I was in the Army
Basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia
There was a guy in my platoon
His name was Fleer
Soft spoken, articulate, generous and helpful
I wondered why he wanted to be in the Infantry

The word got around fast
“Fleer is a queer”
Even the Drill Sergeant uttered his name with distaste

Suspicion about him came to a crest
Before we marched to bivouac, they gave him two shelter halves
He had to be in a tent by himself

Odd man out
Drill Sergeant threw me another half, also
I cursed the added weight, the extra item
I had to cram into an already crowded rucksack

I knew I could’ve lightened my load, lightened Fleer’s as well
If I could’ve said, “What the hell,”
Volunteer to be his buddy

I didn’t say a word
I hoisted my ruck, bent over from the load
Fleer’s face told me he carried a burden heavier than mine

I could’ve been a friend to Fleer
But people would’ve thought I was queer

He didn’t make it
Dropped out the next week
Rumor was, he told the company commander
He was a homosexual
Everybody laughed

I didn’t gossip or go along with their views
I didn’t say anything
But I do bear the guilt
I held the coats


After work one night police officers gathered for “choir practice”
On the roof of the old Wonder Bread building downtown
Drinking beer, laughing, unwinding
We were having a good time

Somebody assessed the turnout
Impressed, he said, “We all made it, all but one.”

“Ah shit,” came another drunken slur. “He don’t count.”

A third voice broke into the fray, harmonized with the other two
“He’s so sensitive,” he said, limp wrist and lisp

The crowd, aroused, soon took up the tune
They crooned, “He’s not one of us.”

They sang their diatribes, voices corrupted to cries
Spreading the lie that fags deserve to die  

I tried to smile, pretended to laugh
Just playing along, I didn’t sing their song

I knew Joe’s reputation was damaged by this
A voice of reason could’ve reversed the sting
But I couldn’t sing on Joe’s behalf

I remained silent

I held the coats


Now, I stand here, labeled as queer
I walk my own gauntlets, now
I know I’m a hypocrite when I ask you to speak in my behalf
If you should hear people cursing my life

Throw down those coats, don’t stand idly by
Say something, take action

Someday you may know the pain of persecution
The price of cowardice
When intervention can shift their attention
Away from you

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Struggle of being Queer and Christian

Be Not Afraid 

Oh God, I want to be so good
I want to be a vision of purity
But you see, God, I’m afraid you won’t come near
Because the world would call me queer
If they knew the secret I’m holding deep down inside

I try to abide, God
I try to compensate for the hole I feel
Deep in my soul
I try to walk on water, Dear God
Because I want to be perfect
I want to do all the right things

God, I work hard
I stay clean
I brush my teeth and fix my hair
I try always to be pleasant
Offering an ever-present smile
I do what’s expected of me

I try to walk on water, Dear God…

I sing for you, God, in the choir
Lifting my voice higher and higher
Hoping my songs are twice as nice as ordinary prayers
My voice especially pure
Penetrating the heavens to reach your very own ears
So you can hear my pleading
Wipe my tears, calm my fears
By providing relief, fortifying my belief
With an answered prayer

God, I don’t want to be queer!

I’m trying to walk on water, Dear God…

I volunteer for you, God
I joined the Salvation Army, and I ring a bell
Is it true what people say
Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings?
Well, I’m ringing my bell
Trying to avoid the smoldering smell of hell
I’m ringing my bell for you, God
Like a fire alarm

I am trying to walk on water, Dear God…

I got married, God
Oh God, I got married
Because I wanted to prove my fidelity
You know, one flesh, one spirit
Not necessarily for eternity
But merely, Until Death Do Us Part

But the days of my life
A daze, bedazzled and confused
I really thought I could be happy, God

But I felt the squeeze of truth
The pressure, cramping, contracting
Giving birth
Pushing me, forcing me to come out

Now dear God, I must confess
I Am Queer
And I don’t feel blessed
I can no longer contain this stain of blame
It won’t go away

I am trying to walk on water, Dear God…

I’ve set my feet on a stormy sea of uncertainty
I can manage a step, maybe another
But then I shudder
A wave of rebuke rises high
To crush me
I cringe and fall
Sinking into a vortex of doubt
Paralyzed by fear

I am drowning, Dear God

They say your life flashes before your eyes
When you’re about to die
And I see it
The lie

The life I planned before I could understand my own truth
This pious little life I tried to live

So God
How do I hold on to faith?
How do I find courage?
How can I be a person of integrity when no one will believe me?
Even though I finally told the truth

I’m sinking into the deep darkness, Dear God…
Into the deep, cold blue
Nothing left to hold on to

Lord Save Me!

Miracles happen every day, I believe
And now I can see how God has blessed me

Like when God commanded the land to rise up
Out of the waters of chaos
God extended a hand toward me
Saved me from drowning in sorrow
Gave me hope for tomorrow
With three simple words

Be Not Afraid!

Suddenly I gained buoyancy
I began to rise

I still can’t walk on water, Dear God…
But I’m learning how to swim
I’m treading water
Holding my head up, looking forward in faith
I can see the mist evaporate in
The brilliant light of the Son

I got a glimpse of the Promised Land
A place of dignity and respect, equality and love

But the waves keep coming, Dear God…

I’m learning to go with the flow
Riding them high and low
And though I may not always be able to see
The promise of eternity
I can still breathe 
That’s enough for me to know
I Am Still Alive
And, with your help, God
I Will Survive

Be Not Afraid

Sex and Sex

Our Big Gayborhood

Friday, October 8, 2010



Today, I was disinherited by a Kiowa man on my beat who I've arrested time and again for public drunkenness. Last year I encountered my friend passed out in one of the alleys off SW 25th and Walker in Oklahoma City. It was the morning after a drastic weather change in early December. And if you know Oklahoma, you know temps can drop from the mid sixties to below twenty in the space of an hour or two. He got drunk the night before when it was still fairly warm, passed out in the alley, and was freezing to death when I found him. I called an ambulance, and they tried to revive him, told me he might die. They loaded him up and went code-3 to the nearest hospital.

I didn't see him for a few weeks after that, had assumed he died, but one morning after New Years, I saw him walking a dog down the street, a dirty yellow stray with bitten ears and a mangy coat. He grinned at me, thanked me for saving his life and told me he put me in his will. He told me he had a lot of money because his tribe built a casino on his land near Anadarko. He boasted that I'd be "shitting in some tall cotton" if I treated him right.

Needless to say, I had to deal with him officially today. He had several warrants and was very drunk. I took him to the Oklahoma City Marshall's office. He was very angry, yelling at me the whole way. He chanted a song and called me "Atunga" which he said meant the "Other Side."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Over Three Times the Legal Limit

I arrest a lot of public drunks, everything from weekend revelers to daily derelicts. This morning I arrested a guy on SW 25th street in South Oklahoma City. He had soiled clothes, was unshaven, and reeking of Listerine (the drink of choice among my regulars).

Nothing unusual happened. He was fairly happy and easy to handle. I took him to Detox where he blew a .245 on the handheld breathalyzer they use during the book-in process. Over three times the legal limit, .08 in Oklahoma, and yet he was relatively stable on his feet. He kept insisting he wasn't drunk, that he'd slept it off from last night. The drunker they are, the more they insist they're not intoxicated.

Tomorrow, I'll patrol the alleys on my beat like I always do, and I'll probably find the same guy, take him back to Detox and start the cycle all over again. He'll ask for beans and bread, fall into bed and dream of scoring a bottle of real liquor, the good stuff, Kentucky Deluxe.

Drano - A Short Story

The Legendary

Sunday, October 3, 2010

One of my Slam Poetry Pieces

Restroom Politics 

I’m tired of making a political statement every time I have to use the restroom
Ladies and Gentlemen
Men and Women
Boys and Girls

I stand before you, living proof
Biology may not be destiny
Gender is not a binary
We are not as simple as it looks

Life is a spectrum
A prism of perspective
Like a rainbow

They are not the binaries they appear to be

If right and wrong were so obvious
Why do we have so many lawyers?

Okay, a day –
Begins with darkness
The AM changes to PM
Marches through the afternoon
When the evening beckons the night
In the failing light
Blue blushes pink
Deepens to purple and fades to black
The swirling stars
Twirling in the sky
The moon – full, half, quarter, new

There is no stark change from day to night and back again
Day and night are not binary
They are diversity
And so am I

Yet, every time I stand before restroom doors
I have to hesitate
When all I want to do is defecate
Trembling with trepidation

So, you know how I go?

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe
In which restroom should I go?
Kind of reminds me of Jim Crow, you know?
Eeny Meeny Miny Moe
My mother told me to pick the very best one
And this one is it…
Oh shit, here I go

You know, sometimes civil rights movements start in restrooms

For you, and for me

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dirty Laundry - A Short Story


We Don't Get Out of this Alive

I checked an abandoned building, an old hotel in the Capitol Hill district on the south side of Oklahoma City, the other day. I didn't find any transient squatters residing in the maze of rooms, but I did find dozens of dead pigeons.

It made me think of bodies and spirits, souls entombed in flesh like wandering birds looking to roost in a warm place only to find themselves trapped inside an old building, if only for awhile.

A Woman Called Dad

Our Big Gayborhood

The Hubris of a Writer

When I visit a book store, I see hundreds, thousands of books filled with millions, perhaps billions of words, and  I feel like I can write something unique, something notable, something people will remember.
Such hubris.
But, I can't stop. Compelled by passion, deluded with hope, no matter what I do. I must put pen to paper, grope for home on the keyboard and make more words: essays, stories, and (if I work really hard) poetry.
Here's something for the ages, I think, but likely, it's a momentary burst of creativity, a minuscule, microscopic speck of insight, flashing for a millisecond, then gone.

Miss Paula Sophia

Courage, Flex It Like a Muscle

Our Big Gayborhood

Friday, October 1, 2010

Three Feet Deep - A Short Story

Girls with Insurance, GwI Webzine

Stained Glass

I guess I'd be a good Catholic, at least when it comes to confession. I have a confessing spirit, but I'm not satisfied confessing to a priest in a shadowy booth, masked by curtains, an obscuring screen. I want to be transparent.
That's not to say I'd like to be invisible. There is a difference.

The invisible are ignored, neglected, illegitimate. The invisible inhabit a world of shadows, deception, and obscurity. Sometimes they like the dark, but often, they just hide there afraid of discovery, afraid to stand in the light of scrutiny.

The transparent let the light flow through them, and by doing so, they help illuminate the path for others. Of course, the light gets altered by culture and history, identity and perspective, contorted and changed by movement and distance, but the light shines through them nonetheless.

I like to think of humanity as a grand mosaic of stained glass offering the many colors of truth. Here, I offer my own sliver of experience, hoping to contribute to something that adds to the greater light of being.