My mom has this awkward
reputation in my hometown. It makes it hard
to look her in the eyes when I go over
for Sunday dinner.
My whole life, the image I had of her and my father
was as tender and loving high school
sweethearts. I built all of my ideas of love
Until I found out
that whenever a couple in town
is having trouble, they call my mom up.
She’s not a surrogate or engaging in some weird cuckold shit.
I don’t know the details and I don’t
really want to, but if you believe
the local gossips, she can literally speak to dicks.
Make them hard.
that make a man virile and full
of thick, syrupy cum.
Some real dark arts kind of stuff.
I’m not sure which part of it I find stranger:
that my mom gets paid to engage in
penile witchcraft, or the fact that
even in her 60s, she still calls it
is in the hospital, on life support.
You probably think that I should be
with her, instead of writing bad conceptual poetry:
it’s Valentine’s Day, after all.
I bet you take me for that one big cloud
on a sunny day, just a massive asshole
without the capability of living like a decent human being.
That I don’t care.
But I do.
She used to tell me that she had an anxiety
surronding her final days.
The tubes. The monitors. The thoughts
She made me promise that I’d never visit her
while she was in that state. She didn’t want me
to get lost in the percentages of whether she would die
holding my hands or recover
and have tea on the stove in a few weeks.
In her mind, there wasn’t anything honorable
to be gained by standing beside the dying.
was a far worse
way to spend your day, than writing bad conceptual poetry.
about gender bending, I learned
from my uncle Trevor. For a hot-blooded,
American male, he sure had one hell of a
I remember the weekend
when my aunt Hillary caught him watching gay porn.
It was crazy, man.
The whole family—like 28 of us—had planned
to visit their house, to celebrate my cousin’s 4th birthday.
Hillary—we call her that now—
was screeching so loudly, that you’d swear uncle had declared
bankruptcy or slapped
their daughter in a fit of drunken rage. We could hear her, even from the driveway.
It’s weird, when you think about it, that she didn’t call to cancel.
My dad couldn’t decide
whether we should go inside or drive home. It was only after
a five minute break in the noise that we decided to make sure
everyone was still alive.
I’m not sure if he knew we were there, but
I’ll never forget the first words I heard him say
in response: “Just because I like to suck a little dick
from time time, doesn’t mean I can’t love you.”
It was in that exact moment, that I became aware
of the complexity of sexuality and gender presentation.
the Chunk Lover concert, you told me
that you needed to have a little
sex, even just a blow would do.
You promised that you had a
tongue cleaner—lemon flavoured—
back at your place that I could use.
I know you weren’t necessarily trying
to be an asshole, but this was a stark departure
from our previous talks, where we debated
the merits of soft leaded pencils versus
The only way I could react
was to give you that weird look, which I regret
because now I seem like the maladjusted one.
But it wasn’t enough that je t’avait dit non.
Just a little sex, you insisted.
Je t’avait dit non, and that wasn’t enough.
So I had to bring up the fact
that you smelled funky.
And that wasn’t enough.
Just a little sex.
Just a little…
And it wasn’t enough.
Have you seen the Northern Lights, dude?
I swear I was frozen in place for at least six days while it reassembled everything I thought I knew about being a human being.
It made me question why I got so much pleasure focused on trivial things like, outdated notions of discipline and dietary needs.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m humble now, but when I wake up in the morning, I no longer worry about who’s going to love me, leave me, take everything of value that I’ve got—I’m sure they’ve got an app for that these days.
I’ll let the computers worry about that.
That way I can work on more noble pursuits, like fucking with the government and all that good feminist shit.
I spent six months figuring out
how I could make our signal better, across the board.
I’m talking grand gestures, not just
that bullshit that Mark calls “primary gland secretion.”
It wasn’t until the third Tuesday in July
that I figured out that it all boils down
and tiny little transittors, made by real Italians.
You know, the kind
that are easy to make fun of and will still work hard.
It’s strange the things that come to mind when
you’re staring into the pit that your life has become, convinced that
when she said
“On ne changera pas,”
she really did mean that she wasn’t ever going to call again.
That she couldn’t transfer her emotions into a tangible form
for me to hold onto and keep myself warm at night. I was almost ready
to spit into that void, call her a bitch, and move uptown, but then
those honeyed thoughts came over me.
The answer is bees.
They’re going to
the way we see
I can feel it in my sternum.
The last time I visited
my mom, we sat around
and watched Citizen Kane all afternoon.
I was so bored, I kept dozing off.
She scolded me. Told me to stay
at home next time, if I was going
to treat her like my ex-wife.
Dad isn’t so judgemental.
He only knows about 30
words and phrases now, so he isn’t so hung up
on “the classics,” or reminding me
about my failed marriage.
He’s softer now.
I hate to admit it, but it’s really
helped to break down social barriers
between us. I’ll make him some nachos
and he’ll laugh at my jokes
about how he ever managed to stay with a woman
Even if he doesn’t really understand
what I’m saying, it’s nice. It’s the closest,
I think, he’ll ever come to being able
to say, “I love you.”