Sex & X-Ianity

Corner Coffee, Minneapolis, MN
Once again, my colleague Maria Francesca French invited me to be part of an event she hosted called “Sex & X-Ianity” – she asked me to participate by reading my poetry for the spoken word portion of the event. The event was centered around the incredibly damaging effects of purity cult(ure) within certain forms of Christianity, like Evangelicalism. Here are the pieces I wrote and read along with some photos from the event.    

Greetings and thank-you…
 
I would like to invite all of you to a place not too far away, a small one-bedroom apartment dimly lit by candlelight, an open bottle of Beaujolais and a Leonard Cohen record playing quietly. While you are sitting alone looking out the window as the snow is falling and you wonder how you got to this place in your life, who would want to hear your story, share your bed, find comfort in your arms? 

"A crisis of faith - when you seriously question whether what you believe, how you see, what you're committed to is actually true - is a good thing. It's not pleasant. It hurts. The ground goes wobbly. You may be reaching for sleeping pills or alcohol or a lover to get you from 2 to 4:30 a.m. each night.”
~ Kent Annan, Author
 
 
That Year 
 
He took lovers that year
Like brilliant novels
Reading part way through
Without finishing 
Before starting with the next
He wanted nothing 
But a new page to turn
Until he forgot what he was reading
Andriana Lehr, Musical Guest
Maria Francesca French, Speaker
Brandon Meland, Emcee
Christopher G. Fletcher, Spoken Word
Riddles
 
She desired a poem 
A portrait of 
a man...
Who could have sex with her soul
While tasting her thoughts
As she read books to him wearing only the breeze  
a man...
Who could unravel riddles with his tongue 
As he watched her words turn into moans
She desired a poem
 

"A morning of awkwardness is far better than a night of loneliness."
~ Hank Moody
 
 
Waif
 
Narrow hips
Small breasts
The waif walked into the bar
Ordered a tequila without training wheels 
Sat down and shot it
Turned to me 
And asked, “who the hell are you?”
I replied, “no one.”
As I winked and whispered, 
“Your eyes have smitten me.”
She snickered and said, “I thought it was my ass? Whatever it is buy me a drink.”
“Sure, for now it’s gin and tomorrow is already here.”
“Fuck tomorrow and maybe you later” she yelled for the whole bar to hear over the din
Okay I said, “blow jobs are like fist bumps now - let’s drink to that.”
 
"Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional. This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements. Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession. It becomes a bore. You are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood. If you nourished your sexual life with all the excitements and adventures which love injects into sensuality, you would be the most potent human being in the world. The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. You are watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all of the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine."
~ Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume 3; 1939-1944 
 "My reputation as a ladies’ man was a joke 
that caused me to laugh bitterly 
through the ten thousand nights
 I spent alone.”
~ Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing
 
 
Inconvenience
 
Sex dripping from bathroom walls
Gin stained hearts
Smoke filled dreams
You start out ragged
And end up halfway distinguished
Smelling like a secondhand store
Wearing ripped black nylons
Smoking Lucky Strikes
Looking across the bar
For inconvenience
To wash loneliness away for the night
Pouring pain out of a low ball into an empty stare
Ink
 
We write stories
On our bodies
In ink only our eyes can see
In a language only we understand
Exhausting our imaginations
Until the last word
In our flesh is carved
With silence and prowess
Indistinguishable lines from one to the other
Fluidity of writhing
Crashing waves
Reverberating thunder
Wild eyes illuminated with phosphorous
Contorting fetishes in secret wells
Deep reservoirs of unknown pleasure
Stories to loud to be silenced by fear
I will sleep with you
We will be without borders
Surrendered wills to prophetic tantric trances
Closer and closer and closer
Acquiescence
Then again close
On the tingling edge of climax
Then the shaking and violent release
Of the storm clouds over the valley
Fermented grapes aged with alchemy
A sweet river of ecstasy dripping from the vine
Onto waiting lips and open mouth
Quiet sighs and worn moans
Soft rain on cotton sheets damp with sweat
Washing the night out of opened doors
With eyes closed the story is written
The ink is dry
Our bodies lost on unknown skies
 

“I will remember your small room, the feel of you, the light in the window, your records, your books, our morning coffee, our noon’s, our nights, our bodies spilled together, sleeping, the tiny flowing currents, immediate and forever. Your leg, my leg, your arm, my arm, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again."
~ Charles Bukowski 
 
 
My Lover
 
Perfume and Passion 
Naked poetry on blank sheets of desire 
As love falls like mist on skin 
While the morning light awakes 
Rising over entangled bodies 
Wrapped in magic 
Spellbound in love 
Warmed by words, fragrance and desire 
Oh, lover 
How long ago was forever 
Before the day you walked in the door 
As yesterday faded beyond the horizon
 
 
I Love You
 
I love you
With candlelight
Soft music and wine
Tender kisses
Sighs beneath the weight of the world
Six degrees away from eternity
Lift me up to your eyes
Erase yesterday with your smile
Curl up next to me
Against the night
Until daylight
Refreshed in your presence
An angel singing
Turning tears into warm spring rain
Resurrecting love
Excavating hope
The blooming of forever
I love you
At the beginning of the evening Maria asked if I would create a poem in real time as the event was unfolding and then read it at the end of the event. This is what was created. 
 
 
After our shared stories
Purity past
Yearning for connection
After the lies our parents and pastors told us
Fear of desire
Virgin tears on pillows
Embodied/sexual/ethics
Inside/outside/beyond marriage and labels
“Nuns run bald through Vatican halls, pregnant, pleading immaculate conception.”
Fucking the mind
While the body remains untouched
Desire dripping kindness
Fucking/masturbating/ethical orgasms
Sinful acts
Without context
Without relationships
What about the fucking judgement of others
Use your body when you do it
Tell/experience/taste
Feel your sex stories
Outside of power constructs
Counter cultural bodies
Dancing their truth to power

Outsourced

Corner Coffee, Minneapolis, MN

My colleague Maria Francesca French invited me to be part of an event she hosted called “God and Other Outsourced Things” – she asked me to participate by reading my poetry for the spoken word portion of the event. Here are the pieces I wrote and read along with some photos from the event.

Maria Francesca French
Abishag Eyes
 
The barstool prophet
Looks down the long dark road
At all the empty glasses
All the forgotten names
Listening to words not spoken
Feeling what is not given
Moses with his staff and broken speech
Elijah calling down fire and hiding in his cave
laughter ~ deserts ~ loneliness
friends of prophets
Noah plants a vineyard
Ruth uncovers her lovers’ feet
The scarlet cord of the whore dangles for us all
salvation out of Jericho
Jesus turns sewer water to Roman wine
While Magdalene finds comfort in the carpenters arms
pain drowns in the flood
blood waters the garden of anguish
emptiness fills with a tender touch
Broken beaten abandoned
Raise the cup
Drink deeply the healing tonic
Spill the wine
David write another psalm
To soothe aching souls
Absalom
Absalom
Absalom
The barstool prophet buys another round
The hangover proves you're still alive
New songs for old hearts
Resurrected from cold tiled bathroom floors
To dance and leap
in
Rebellion against resentful gazes from windows on high
In Michal and her sisters’ eyes
All the stolen Judas kisses
In back alley dive bars
Can't turn around the broken promises
The barstool prophet turns to the girl on his left
at the Red Sea Tavern
David's old friend Abishag with burning eyes
He says baby, "my bones are getting colder each night - winter is coming soon"
Be my promised land
Take my hand
Be my muse
"One more drink,” she whispers
"For the fallen and misunderstood
In captivity tonight
Who write graffiti on wailing walls
And then...
I'll love you forever...
But forever hasn't happened yet..."
Christopher G. Fletcher
Love and Sex
 
I wanted to know love
And I found sex
I wanted to have sex
And I found emptiness
Now I am tired
Now I am weak
Now I want a friend
No
Now
I don't know what I want
The acrobat without balance
The acrobat with vertigo
I dream and I am lost
On a sea
In the night
In a bottle bouncing
I am the message
But the paper is blank
Nowhere is out there
But it is somewhere I am looking for
Where do dreams come from
Where does time go
Be careful what you look for
Love becomes a lie
Sex a game
People pawns
In the hands of fools
Remiss and tangled in nets of our own making
Waking up alone
After a nightmare
Still tired
What is the answer
To the unknown question
Red Sea Tavern
 
Abishag and the Bar Stool Prophet
Sit drinking gin at the Red Sea Tavern
Sharing exploits of all the ones
Scattered across the horizon of the earth
Losers, vagrants, misfits, distressed, in debt and discontented
Seeds blown by winds of compassion
Falling on fertile soil
Searching for the lost penny
Abandoning the ninety-nine for the one
Seemingly crazy
At odds with Empires, Caesars and Institutions
Prophets speaking truth to power
Subverting the status quo
Chasing life not nostalgia
Transforming not worshipping dead men
Drinking in metaphors like fine spirits
Abundant exuberant experience
Breathing stories in liminal complex space
Offering cups of water to enemies
Walking another mile
Napping during storms
Then bringing calm
Eliminating spaces
Between the sacred and profane
Breaking rules and bread
Sharing wine while eating with outcasts
Overturning tables
Befriending whores and foreigners
Lepers and the forgotten minor characters
Touching the untouchable
Turning hate into love
As easily as water into wine
Resentment into forgiveness
Inviting the uninviting to wedding feasts
Waiting for prodigal sons
Washing feet of kings, the forsaken, the forgotten and the deplorable
Both despots and saints
The Remnant sprinkled like rain upon the earth
Watering the love parched, broken, beaten and wretched hordes
 
 
Tattooed Heart
 
Fear tattooed across his heart
Love chasing him
Through a forest of his dreams
During the night
She swam in his eyes
As he drowned in hers
Love curved around the bend
Out beyond his sight
Where there was no light
She wasn’t her
Who wounded him
Deep with a dark knife
Not fully healed
The scar ached
His calloused soul limped
His lover traced fingers over his body
Finding the tattooed pain
The way into his life with light
Her lips on his
From her lungs through her mouth
She breathed beauty into him
He…so afraid
Another betrayal
Would end his life
He loved deeply
They moved in and out of each other
Healing one another
“Give me everything,” he whispered
All the lost and broken pieces
So, we can stitch them back together
With love
 
 
Kairos Street
 
The wait for love is as long
As the search is endless
Out of the cauldron of loneliness
Wafts an aroma of hope
A happy accident on Kairos street
(a reflection or a shadow ~ through a window)
Stepping into nothingness
Off a ladders last rung
When she walks out the fog of exhaustion
(down an alley)
Catching you
Before you crack the ground
Reaching for love
A brush with fright
Touching of fingertips at midnight
When all the clocks have stopped
 
 
Running to the Edge
 
Running to the edge
of what we write and rewrite
screenplays in our minds
Doors closing behind us
While we jump through open windows
into holes
in bruised hearts
Blank spaces on dance cards
Looking for what we we already have
Varicose veins of misunderstanding
songs we already sang to
Miscarried hopes in broken silence
On insomniac nights
Screening moving pictures filled memories
On white walls of emotion
Running to the edge
Of the noble fictions
better than the bitter truths
Of where we were
And never been before
 
 
“We all have our broken pieces – emotionally, spiritually. In this life nobody gets out away unhurt. We are always trying to find somebody whose broken pieces fit with our broken pieces and something whole emerges.”
~ Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars (Movie)
 
The Price of Admission
 
The price of admission,
Is wild and is real.
The price of admission is love,
In accepting yourself,
In accepting the other.
It is not good to be alone,
This is the exquisite mystery of companionship,
To write a story of life together,
To be known fully and to be held through both,
The darkness and the light,
Becoming each other’s favorite hiding place.
The price of admission leaves space for sadness,
It is a madness filled passion.
So, remember:
Resentments bolt the heart closed,
Forgiveness opens the lock.
“Two hearts are better than one”
Two hearts beat stronger together.
In spite of:
Incidentals
Incompleteness
Irresponsibility
Irritations
Limitations
“True love leaves no traces”
The price of admission is love,
To relationship
Communion
Family
Community
At the beginning of the evening Maria asked if I would create a poem in real time as the event was unfolding and then read it at the end of the event. This is what was created.
 
 
Outsourced 
 
New Fashioneds
hope and story and parables
of a different life
an unknown future
of new love
past, present, future
ghost lovers
outsourced passions
without risk
with nothing to lose or gain
love in liminal space
looking and looking and looking
for the next open place 
to be part of something
humanity
yearning, searching, desiring
new radicals
native eruptions
evolutionary clusters
hermeneutical justice
beyond nostalgia
after yesterday
before tomorrow
now! 
today!
love in a new country song
stylish love
style like Jesus
outsourcing is easy
style is hard
god needs a makeover
her mascara is running
crying for humanity
all the pain and loss
“what do you want me to be?”
she cries
“you have turned me into a chameleon of your fears”
what is a human?
what is a machine?
what is a god?
love rescue me
turn the tide
love come in from the storm
love rescue me

Hawaii – Tools of the Trade

A methodology for observing (being a flaneur), wandering, observing, collecting, interacting, creating, learning, sharing, communing, tinkering with life (bricoleur). As a result of these things discovering and being part of communities, finding and being part of new stories, ways of seeing, knowing and existing.

(My) Tools of the Trade:

Zebra Pen

Moleskin Notebook

Keen Shoes

Nikon D5300 Camera

18-200mm Nikon Lens

35mm Nikon Lens

iPhone 11

Backpack

Passport

Coffee

Books

Jacket

Hat

MacBook Pro

iPad

Senses – all of them. Touch, taste, feel, listen, look, and see using instinct and intuition.

Questions, questions and more questions…

Reflection and reflection and more reflection…