The ways you look at me

There’s a way that you look at me
when you sit at my dining table,
right before you start eating,
when I’ve cooked something you like,
that tears my heart open.
There’s a way you look at me
sitting up in my bed, reading
when I come in the room
the light in your eyes
says, I’m yours always
There’s a way you look at me
tilting your head up
hair on my shoulder, soft and thick
your hand across my chest
when you say, I love you, Daddy
There’s a way you look at me
when we are skin to skin
your eyes getting wider
your voice a little hoarse
and you call me Daddy then, too


There are ways you look at me
and every time, no matter where
or when or why or how much
it tears my heart open, and afterward
it’s just a little bit bigger

Meal Prep

You’ve been on the road 5 1/2 hours
driving back from a board meeting
at your family ranch.
I can see you are road-weary
so I lead you in, sit you in a chair,
make a rye old-fashioned, not sweet,
and sit with you as you debrief.
I remind you it is our third anniversary tomorrow.
Your eyes, over the rim of your glass,
are full of desire and exhaustion.
I stand and lift you by the hand
and take you to my bed, as most times,
it’s about focus, intensity,
a very slow pace, often barely touching
whispering in your ear and feeling
your body relax into my described scene
your energy moving
connecting body, heart, throat, mind energies.
After, you doze, and I
begin our anniversary meal
and suddenly, standing there,
knowing you are in my bed naked,
knowing our relationship stretches out
ahead of us infinitely, deepening
and intensifying with each time we meet, I expand momentarily
beyond the room, beyond the house;
looking back, I see myself standing, knife in hand
in front of a cutting board, the simple
pleasures of chopping tomatoes,
onions, feeling them cool and liquid
under my fingers as you were
warm and liquid to my fingers earlier,
I am still expanding, all time is now,
for one moment I am back
to the Unity I had 40 years ago
connected to everything by love
and then I am back in my body
brought back by onions and garlic,
making a meal for you, love
made visible; later, you sit in your robe
wine in engraved crystal, my elegant plates,
sterling, my tiny table barely able
to hold everything, my heart
barely able to hold everything.
You tell me that it is delicious,
Unity now just hanging close, over
my right shoulder, the energy
from your heart to mine, your eyes to mine
an unbreakable strand.

Defiance 4/20/20

I’m lying in bed, texting with my Princess,
I tell her I am so in love with her;
as of yesterday, 39 people here have died;
it’s been a month since her head
rested on my shoulder, hair in my face;
the epidemiologists say, take confirmed cases
and multiply by 100, so, 101500 cases here
in reality; not quite 10% of the population,
I probably know someone who is sick,
maybe without symptoms; reality is where I want to live
and reality sucks, missing her is aching
in my chest, worried that those I love
will fall ill, so many large and local talents
have already left us, and its not like
that doesn’t happen every day usually;
I measure my desire against the length
of time I can expect to have left;
another lover’s young cousin is recovering,
he says take the regular flu and make it
ten times worse, and that’s what this was;
in my back yard, a patch
of bright pink evening primroses, planted, no doubt
by birds, not by me, sprang up two months ago
I mow around them so they can reseed;
I see photos of workers loading bodies
into refrigerated trucks, they get paid
the first day in case they are too sick to come back;
mass graves being dug in other states;
I am digging holes for my plants and vegetables,
killing weed roots, enriching the soil;
gardening is hoping in the face of doubt,
waiting for something miraculous,
the first green shoots breaking the dirt,
at first weed and flower indistinguishable;
allergy attacks and coronavirus at first
often indistinguishable, death mimics pollen;
in my daily life, texting with a new person
suddenly realizing they are a new bloom,
so many weeds pop up from dating apps
that a real connection is as unexpected
as volunteer wildflowers, or the mint that resprouted;
every day now is unique, the gift of reappraised mortality;
I sit on the piano bench during our worship recording,
church done by 4 people with an empty sanctuary,
feeling in my body the absence of the assembly,
realizing that the Sunday after Easter this year
is the 10th anniversary of my last time
presiding at the table for communion,
being ordained a deacon took away
being able to do sacraments in the Methodist church
that I was able to do when merely licensed, a weird system,
getting kicked out of the ordained club was only one loss;
driving home, 5 or more colors of wildflowers
are blooming in the highway median;
life continues, with mine on a deep pause;
I am learning small things matter most,
longing to stand at my stove cooking for her
while she sits up in my bed studying;
I am able to see one of my lovers, and that connection
deepens and morphs, skin and heart and vision;
today I will plant the antique roses that were shipped
from a farm in east Texas, an act of defiance
against the real possibility that I will get sick,
against everything that is fucked up in our world;
an act of raising my middle finger to our liar-in-chief;
an act of planning for the near-time, maybe in weeks
when one of these will bloom, amazing fragrance,
one bud, cut, filling a room with rose scent,
and putting it next to her side of the bed
when she will once again be there,
her head on my shoulder.

Quarantine connection

I’m touching my nipple with my little finger, she said.
We were lying in bed, late night, not in the same bed.
We had met a week and a half ago
on a dating site that has not been particularly useful
but just in this past week pointed three women my way,
all of them very sub, all of them intelligent.
She was the most interesting, right up front
being very clear about what she wants
even if we can’t go there yet.
We have talked on the phone every day,
sometimes for hours, I’ve sent her pictures
of my toys, describing in detail
the effect of each on bare skin; she sent me a picture
of her mouth on her current Dom’s cock.
She says she is very oral, that she can orgasm
simply from giving her man oral pleasure.
It’s more than kink lining up, more than the chance
to really, REALLY, let my sadist out to play,
which I can’t do with any of my current partners:
it’s also an instant connection, the kind that leaves you feeling
as though you’ve known this person your whole life.
My princess said, when I sent her this woman’s picture, she’s hot.
She has short hair; I can almost feel it under my palm
when we talk about how I can use it
to give non-verbal instructions. She called me sir,
and I corrected that, I hate titles, please use my name;
I’ve been to too many events where pretentious 20 year olds
called themselves Sir and Master and Dom, then
told stories that make it clear they have no clue,
told stories about routinely violating their sub’s consent.
I can’t stand that icky stuff, and I hope someday
those guys get what they deserve from a sub they push too far.
Using my name is also clandestine: my sub can ask permission
when in public without anyone knowing she is, just by including
my name in her statement or question.
So we are in bed, naked by my direction, she in her house,
I in mine, and she is describing to me what she is doing,
how it feels to touch her nipple, what that does
to her pussy, to her energy, to her desire
I tell her that is as far as she can go right now.
She has permission to give herself an orgasm later
but not now, we aren’t yet intimate enough
for phone sex, for hearing each other’s climax;
if she does self-pleasure later she has to describe to me what she did.
She agrees. I read her a poem about my other sub,
about holding space, and I hear the energetic arousal in her voice,
how it drops into little-girl intonations,
how she speaks, with almost no words, her desire
to please and pleasure me.
Finding a true sub, someone whose nature is this
and not just a persona they put on for play or fantasy,
is transcendent, it energizes all of me,
I feel every inch of my skin alive, energy pouring through.
Another partner asked me once, how do you know
you are Dom? This is how I know; the connection, the polarity,
her sub to my Dom, her surrender to my power,
it’s got nothing to do with the outward trappings,
and yes, she wants hard play, hard and stingy impact,
pain and being put into the sub-space pain causes,
but none of that is essential; in this moment,
lying in bed, her openness and surrender to my desires,
to my direction, to my power, this is all that matters.
Someone once asked, What is the true nature
of Dominance and surrender? This exchange,
her energy flowing to me, her desire to serve
fueling my desire to direct and encompass.
This is the true nature of surrender.
The rest is, as they say, commentary.

Princess, maybe not for a while again

You are sleeping in my bed;
I am loathe to wake you,
torn between moments I need
and your need for rest.
It had been seven weeks since
the last time, and now,
will be months, your life
circumscribed by uncertainty
Searching words to fill this space,
not wanting to admit
not seeing you will be best,
anger at the circumstances
and people who leave us here
The way you touch my face
the way you ask for me
the way your body art
feels under my fingers
subtly different than bare skin
The taste of you, your sounds
the feeling of your hands in my hair
your desire pulling me in
I knew I needed this
now I am uncertain how
I can go without
Lying in bed yesterday, laughing
at some guys inept response
to you on a dating app
smiling at kitten pictures
laughing at our silly mispronunciations
outside, the sound of wind;
as you lie sleeping I let myself expand
aware of my yard, the plants
in containers on my patio
the scent of flowers not yet formed
However long it is until this is again
is too long, however long it is
until I know that I can bear uncertainty
is too long, however long it is
until you come into my arms again
is too long
the world is patient but I am not;
my roses will bloom whenever
the conditions are right, but I will not;
plants flowering, possible fruit and food
will come when the seasons allow,
but I will not, my desire for certainty
wars with knowing it is futile
I only hope, against fear,
against the sinking in my belly,
against whatever old pattern
sucks me down into despair,
that there will be this again:
you sitting at my table, you in my bed,
you on the phone and in my thoughts,
and when I am too old to hold you
I will still see, inches away,
your eyes, in a radiant smile.

Last Straw

John Prine died today
and that was the last straw for me;
I’m watching videos of him
and crying: come on home, he sings
no you don’t have to be alone;
but I am alone, we go through days thinking
there’s always tomorrow, sliding into
the ease of open arms;
it’s all a lie we tell ourselves
because the truth of unknowing
is too terrifying to face daily

Tonight is a supermoon, silver fuzzed by clouds;
the world goes on, humans
are mostly inconsequential to the orbits of moons;
one lover at her home watching Moonstruck,
another outside looking at the moon
with me, but not with me;
the sweet sad songs run through
tears clean my eyes
an owl’s cry pins me into this moment

I want never again, though I know I will,
to displace now for tomorrow,
never again to dissociate
when a lover repeats a story,
never again to dismiss
the precious distinctness of each moment.


Supposedly a sword, my tongue
but really not even a dagger
it is best dipping into you
leaking pleasure, spiraling, twisting

so many places intersect:
my benchmark for a taco house
their lengua, soft and rich
gravy on my tongue;

my inability to persevere
in learning another tongue,
the one she desires to hear
soft, romantic, boleros in the air;

my tongue gliding along skin,
intent on tasting arousal;
my tongue tied, abashed
unable to express expansion;

too many tongues, not enough;
words plastering my ears back
and finally, silence, savoring
the end of all speech and sound,
as your tongue meets mine
hearts electrically connected


I can wait to get back to normal
normal was destroying the earth
normal was destroying my soul
in unnoticeable tiny bites

maybe what matters is now
the now of seeing you on screen
the now of knowing I am not alone,
that many beautiful humans care

outside my window in the morning
birds sing on, the same songs
they have had as long as memory
memory being so fickle anyway

soon enough we will again directly
see each other’s eyes and smile
I only hope we remember
the gift of quiet, the sound of breezes


I’m driving to a lover’s house
during what should be a full lockdown
but most people aren’t doing that
we are, because to do less
seems irresponsible towards everyone
who might die if they get ill
I drop what I was taking her
on the front porch
and retreat halfway down the walk
she opens the door and her dog
is going crazy on the other side
wanting to see me and lick my hand
all this tears my heart open
not petting him, not holding her
not knowing if we will be ok in 3 months
i cry foul curses on all those
who elected our national clown
who could have slowed this and lied
i cry foul curses on all those
who have put their personal profit
ahead of the good of the world
I am not good enough
to love them or their ilk
if there is a Divine
may They have mercy on us all

Heaven is not a place

When I was a pastor and sat with people 
who were actively dying, like Anna,
by her hospital bed, holding her hand,
sometimes they, or their children,
usually a little timidly, as if it was something 
they should know and had forgotten,
would ask me, what is heaven really like?

Now, I don’t personally think
heaven is a place, but a condition of existence
but that’s not the time or place for metaphysics,
so I would tell them, I don’t know,
but I can imagine, because if what I imagine
isn’t true, then it’s not really heaven
and I wouldn’t want to be there;
and I would tell them, you can also imagine
because your heaven will not be the same
as mine, but they will have in common
that all the goodness of our lives
will be distilled into one continuous infinite joy:

everyone I have ever loved will be there
close by, even the ones with whom
it ended badly, or who died before
I could ever tell them I loved them; 
I’ll get to now. My parents will be there,
arms open, and we won’t ever have another fight
and they won’t ever again irritate the holy fuck out of me.
My brother will be there reminding me 
to joke them if they can’t take a fuck.
Every cat I’ve ever known will be rubbing against my legs
my Dittocat climbing my leg as a little kitten
Cringy the stray dog licking my hand,
all my lovers surrounding me in their arms, 
somehow all at once.

I don’t see any reason that we would see God 
any more than we do now and it doesn’t matter
whether there even is  a God or not
if I have all my feline and human loves again:
my heart will have no limit to how big it can be.
I will cry freely every time I see someone I have missed,
it will be a continual rediscovery
of everyone who ever passed through my life
and love will go on and on without end.
I realized, as I was sitting there,
holding Anna’s hand, that sometime 
while I had been talking, she had stopped breathing
a beautiful smile on her face,

I want us all to hold closely, 
in easy times and in difficult ones,
whatever we think about a divine or not,
that there is always a point to love,
always a reason to be profligate with it;
the promise, independent of any doctrine
but rooted in our bones and flesh,
in the knowledge we have 
that we don’t know exactly how we acquired,
is that no love is ever lost or wasted.

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