Thursday, November 7, 2013


He’s like riding a bucking bronco—
There at the Chase County Fair
Cinching the saddle, getting ready

Then the gate opens up—
And all hell breaks loose and
Just hanging on is everything

RFD Poetry—
It’s like riding a bunking bronco 
Sometimes you just gotta hang on

Sunken Garden

The Sunken Garden

“I only give you back
what you imagine”
—D. A. Powell
“The Fluffer Talks of Eternity,”
Useless Landscape

Just call me poor Alma—
In Tennessee Williams’ flick

There in the Sunken Garden

It was a lot more sunken then—
Back then in the late Fifties

I sank to my lowly knees—
Worshipping Earl Holliman types

Lots of bushes and privacy—
For those of us in the know

That’s where I got to meet—
Myself in the lovely night

I got to meet myself—
Alma Winemiller in the dark

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Summer and Smoke


Is there any way to describe it—
Alma there in SUMMER AND SMOKE
Dealing with her pent-up love-life?

Geraldine Page as Alma Winemiller—
A straitlaced Kansas minister’s daughter
Una Merkel not helping out very much

The same with hussy Rita Moreno—
Putting the make on Laurence Harvey
So tres typical of closeted Kansas yuk

Like with other Hollywood films—
Sitting there in the Granada Theater
The classic old film palace knew all

Tennessee Williams knew even more—
Reading my beads as if he were there
I became Alma & Alma became me…

To Kill a Meadowlark


To be out here—
Out here in the middle
Of Fly Over State Nothingness

Back again I suppose—
Not really wanting to be
But then here I am standing

Looking down this—
Gaunt lonely country road 
Here in Chase County

My lover buried here—
In the Cedar Point Cemetery
My young now old lover boy

Saturday, November 2, 2013




Waking up, another day—
Urging myself to get going
Pulling the sheets back again
Covering myself once again
How strange it is for one’s 
Heart to be loveless in the
Cold Arctic Kansas morning


A slinky shadow rules me—
Cocteau’s chauffeur takes me
For long evening dream drives
His gaudy Cadillac convertible  
Cruising late at night there 
Downtown on Commercial St
From college to the tracks


Nights are for dreaming —
Beneath the glowing lights 
The Dream Bijou marquee

No more Sat matinees—
Like back when I was a kid
Virgin in the Strand balcony

Elegant Granada Theater—
Not a dead Film Palace anymore
Movies & class reunions


All I wanted was to be alone—
Alone in my back room with its
Bamboo shades and books

The rest of the house—
I left alone, my parents dead
I was left alone back then

Family photos tell it all—
Divorces and grandchildren
But I stayed single

Beneath it all obituaries—
My job as a college librarian
A desire for oblivion


Sometimes I wanted to just—
Shrug my shoulders & leave
Quietly without a goodbye

I hated home I guess—
And having to be there
The same little town

But everybody died—
Moved away, so I became
A male Miss Havisham

I’ll die someday anyway—
Reprehensively perfect
They’ll say so knowingly


The sun’s occasional light—
Down thru the naked twisted
Elm branches along the street

Small college town full of—
Retired folks & old widows
Brittle and stiff as reeds

Each little home full of grief—
Along unhurried one-way streets
Like Constitution Street

Many of my teachers lesbians—
Their minds like drawers of knives
They were the less deceived


Flying high over Kansas—
Sighing and sipping my martini
“Emporia, that’s where I was born”

Smiling my friend said:
“Where you grew up and
where you had your roots?”

“No, just my unspent—
Youth and most of my manhood
Finally I couldn’t get out of there”

It was like dying down there—
Boys all biceps, girls all tits
Lonely wheatfields forever

Nothing much happened down there


I digress though however—
I never did get out of there
I stayed there instead

Same sky, same streets—
The highway glutted with trucks
Railway tracks heavy with freight

Midwestern towns that way—
Rotting away from the inside out
Slipping down into oblivion

And above it all hanging—
The long summer nights
Nothing but prairie silence


Swerving east and west—
Gaunt Highway 50 moving
Through the little shithole town

Past grain elevators, haystacks—
Scarecrows, muddy snowy
Downtown spectral streets

Dead-straight thru town—
Isolate dingbat little hellhole
All the way to Colorado

Cheap suits, kitchenware—
Sharp knives, old brick
Commercial Street ruins


Loneliness clarifies everything—
Because there’s nothing left
But Flint Hills nothingness

Purple-bluish dead horizon—
Ending the land way out there
The range doesn’t talk much

Everything is out of reach—
Here cattle roam the range
Old limestone fences 

Silence ruling everything—
Negating anything human
Stoic Kansas prevailing


Saying anything at all—
Means nothing to the ones
Living out there in Hills

Birth and death come—
And go slowly like seasons
Life is one long silent dying

Cattlemen like Jones—
Z-Bar Ranch Millionaire 
In Prairie Grove Cemetery

People in Strong City—
Don’t remember him much
They only think of the rodeo

Friday, November 1, 2013

EHS Fifty Years Later

Emporia High School Auditorium

Fifty Years Later (1962-2012)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gay American Gothic


“We didn’t need 
dialogue. We had faces.”
—Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard

The lovely Kansas couple—
Posing for the gay painter
Grant Wood recently

The older gentleman farmer—
In his bib overalls stoically
Holding his hayfork

He’s the RFD sugar daddy—
Standing there with his young
Gay nelly farmwife partner

The New Depression’s here—
Foreclosures are dime a dozen
Way out here on the Great Plains

A couple of Fly Over State fags—
Posing with down-to-earth dignity
Silently staring at nothing

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ghosting Collages

Laurie Hoffman, “Red”


Very nice. Tres spooky. Coming or going? What a mood you must have been in. "Red" is like the other collage with the boy on the bridge. Your collage ghosting almost makes me want to do a story about it. But then, you could probably tell a much more interesting story about the haunting picture than I could. 

Laurie Hoffman, “Boy on a Bridge”

I got into the Red Riding Hood fairy tale thing through a kind of circuitous route. My online astrologer is psychic I think. 

Actually, I'm pretty sure of it. He’s uncanny… but also I've noticed his coincidences and synchronicities help my intuition to grow in ways I never quite anticipated...

He's a Jungian astrologer into dream analysis, fairy tales, intuition. He did a couple of horoscopes for me and CD disks that pretty much predicted my 2009 open heart surgery episode. His daily horoscope page is synchronistic with his intuitive insights right into my "now." He's not updating right now because he's working on a grant for a book on his Astrology Theory. He's an M.D. in Chicago. 

Anyway, his read on fairy tales and dream interpretation appealed to me & still does. He stresses "intuition" and how to develop your own intuition via synchronicity, coincidences, etc. 

Making the Red Riding Hood fairy tale 'relevant' to my life (growing up in Kansas), the Red connection goes into this poem "Telemachus" giving my parent's divorce a Greek-Fairy Tale twist...

It's about the way I felt back then when my father returned from Korea in 1954, found out his wife wanted a divorce & didn't want to take us all back to Japan where he had an assignment as a military attache in Tokyo. 

It wasn't a pleasant divorce. Me and my 2 brothers got whisked away from Emporia and dumped up in Republic County in Belleville where my father's parents lived. My stark lonely memory of being stuck out there on the High Plains prairie not knowing what was going on...  

It had a bizarre nightmare fairy tale twist to it that encapsulated the Red Riding Hood fairy tale. Kinda. Off to Grandmother's farm. Kidnapped by the Big Bad Wolf in his sportscar. Stuck out there in the middle of Nowhereville. In the middle of winter. Nothing but snow and endless flat Kansas prairie. It was just awful.....

I'll probably never go back to the Midwest... but still my Kansas bildungsroman will probably never leave me either. A kind of reverse Thomas Wolfe "Look Homeward, Angel" trope... with the exception being one can never go back home again... but also one can never 'leave' home either. I'm stuck with growing up back there. A sort of sweet-and-sour sauce predicament... :-)

Jungian fairy tale analysis with archetypal interpretation is interesting. My lifestyle back then... Even tho difficult, I can still imagine a gay doppelganger double of me still living back there. 

Ending up a gay librarian or high school English teacher and pretty much a Homonormative recluse like me now. Maybe not a gay published poet... but still back there in that little college town. A couple of blocks from the KSTC campus. Weird, huh?   



“Oh Pallas Athena—
my goddess guide!"
—Francois de Salignac
de La Mothe-Fenelon
Les Adventures de Telemaque

After beating her up—
My so-called Odysseus
Distraught father didn’t
Know what to do

Back from Korea—
His wife wanting a
Divorce, his honor
Lost and his family

So he dumped us—
All in his Corvette
And sped to his
Parents place

Young F-86 pilot—
Not knowing what to do
Except dump us three
Boys and then what?

Adultery is nothing new—
How many Odysseus men
Have gone thru the same
Thing as war-torn husbands

Homer does his hero-trip—
Whether Iliad or Odyssey
The blind poet telling his
Classic story for whoever

I was too young to be—
Telemachus only in the
Fourth grade and there
Wasn’t any Pallas Athena

There’s nothing more—
Spectral and incredibly lonely
As an evening in the high plains
Of Kansas with no parents…

The Prairie leaned down us—
I couldn’t sleep I couldn’t think
I couldn’t do anything except
Exist in the lost RFD moment…

There was nothing to recover—
My boyhood was over and I
Didn’t exist anymore other than
Pretending night was day

I challenged myself—
In the only way I knew how and
That was my own journey into
The darkness that he went thru

The Nothingness of Exile—
From one generation to the next
Marriage after marriage failures
With or without Trojan Wars

Monday, October 21, 2013

Prairie Queer Fiction




“Might it not be that all the
people we know are only
what we imagine them to be?”
—Sherwood Anderson, A Writer’s
Conception of Realism

It seems like a—
FICTION to me now
The Fly Over State

Here I am—
Out here on the
Pacific West Coast

Going thru photos—
Old scrapbooks and
Prairie memorabilia

Did I actually—
Live way back there
In the Kansas Midwest?



“For Theodore Roosevelt,
rural men and women
represented the very “stay
and strength of the nation
in time of war, and its
guiding and controlling
spirit in time of peace.”
—Colin R. Johnson, Just
Queer Folks: Gender and
Sexuality in Rural America

But not just that—
Rural America provided
Soldiers & fighter pilots

To fill the ranks—
Of all those world wars
And overseas conflicts

Going back thru some—
Old photo albums that are
Decaying into Forgetfulness

I came across this pic—
Entitled rather adroitly
“Welcome Home Hero”

Yes, my dears—
There I was with Daddy
And all the relatives

Nobody knew then—
I was a ditzy queen…
Queer RFD incarnate


“Queer activists and queer
scholars have little use for
“benevolent toleration” these
days.” — Colin R. Johnson,
Just Queer Folks: Gender and
Sexuality in Rural America

Things changed though—
Once my nelly faggotry
Became quite apparent

Yes, Daddy Dearest—
Once I told him way
Back then in college

He cursed me just—
Simply awful, refusing
To ever talk to me again

To my great dismay—
I had a rather nasty
Nervous breakdown

Becoming the victim—
Of a near fatal bleed
Nasty peptic ulcer

So much for str8t—
Small town Kansas


“Indeed, many of them
understandably question
how “benevolent” toleration
can ever really be in a
society that is structurally
heteronormative as American
society is.” — Colin R. Johnson,
Just Queer Folks: Gender and
Sexuality in Rural America

Actually, my dears—
Growing up in a Midwestern
Small college town wasn’t

That much different than—
Being a fag farmboy out
There in the Kansas sticks

FFA Boys in their butchy—
Cowboy boots and blue
Corduroy tight jackets

They didn’t much like—
Faggots any better than
Daddy Dearest did

Animal husbandry—
Was totally, completely
Hetero, honey

No fucking around—
At the County Fair &
Gawd NO at the Rodeo!!!


“This is partly because
seeking to be “tolerated”
hardly constitutes a
particularly high bar for
meaningful social
—Colin R. Johnson, Just
Queer Folks: Gender and
Sexuality in Rural America

For a nelly little queen—
Nothing I did could ever
Justify any kind of tolerance

I suppose if I’d have been—
A flaming queenly queer
High School Cheerleader

Like Jimmy Stevens was—
I could’ve got away with
Lots of hanky-panky stuff

Scoffed at and tolerated—
As just a dizzy nelly fag at
All the basketball games

Sneered at sarcastically—
As just a Pom-Pom Queen
Nothing but a Circus Clown

Harmless, of course—
Just one of the local girls
Having a funny dishy time


“But it is also because
toleration usually ends
up as strained détente—
a highly compromised
form of “freedom” and
an arrangement that
arguably helps to bolster
the social and political
legitimacy of the dominant
faction.” — Colin R. Johnson,
Just Queer Folks: Gender and
Sexuality in Rural America

One could become a—
Queer hairdresser, maybe
A queer church organist

Perhaps a gay jewelry—
Store owner specializing
In nice str8t wedding rings

Maybe a nelly pianist—
Mincing about there in the
Local little teacher’s college

But still everybody knew—
Especially all the married
Kiwanis small town members

Mocking the bachelorhood—
Of those that stayed behind
To endure the chastisement

The lucky faggot few—
Who didn’t have to tolerate
Nagging wives and brats


“Unfortunately dominant
factions are often
responsible for creating
conditions of intolerance
in the first place.”
—Colin R. Johnson, Just
Queer Folks: Gender and
Sexuality in Rural America

There was this rather—
Effeminate grocery store
Long-time gay employee

Who had to tolerate—
Once a year the prejudice
And effrontery of Str8ts

At the tacky local—
Emporia Kiwanis Club
Evening get-togethers

A small-town rendition—
Elitist British Men’s Club
Snotty Str8t Snobbery

They’d sing this special—
Song to their one and only
Unmarried Faggot Bachelor

Snarky singing their—
Haughty trashy superior
Homophobic intolerance


“Thus, queers who openly
express suspicion about
the notion of “tolerance”
are probably justified.”
—Colin R. Johnson, Just
Queer Folks: Gender and
Sexuality in Rural America

After our gay cheerleader—
Jimmy Stevens died of AIDS
In New York City early on

Yours truly tres realized—
Surely gays were doomed
Whether they escaped from

Small-town tacky Kansas—
Or whether they lived in gay
NYC or San Francisco

So much for gay Tolerance—
Hundreds of thousands of
Gays dropped dead like flies

Even now with safe sex—
And new anti-viral advances
The Band Still Just Plays On

Big City Gay Liberation—
Wouldn’t it be safer to be
Small town KS closet case?