Vibrators and Misinformation Again

  

  

The Guardian article, “A vibrator is not a substitute for a partner. But how do you tell men that?” by Tracy Clark-Flory fortuitously appears this relaxing Saturday after a week focusing on the vibrator and women’s orgasm on the blog (here).

The article’s content in large part has been covered on this blog previously, the major take home ideas being as follows: sex toys are still a taboo subject despite 43% of heterosexual men having used one with a partner, men feel intimidated by vibrators while women feel insecure about speaking up in light of men’s insecurity, and the unwillingness of couples to speak honestly about introducting the vibrator into the bedroom is due to culturally-reinforced misconceptions of penetrative sex as the cornerstone of sexual fulfillment.  

In light of that last persistent, patent lie, the most significant reason for repeating material is to disseminate sexual truth and keep the discussion ongoing, so that some day that report–that there exists “the cultural expectation that women orgasm during and as a result of penetrative sex” despite the ample research that “shows that most women simply do not climax from penetrations alone”–will no longer be fact. The “culture” needs to stop expecting that. Such misinformation leads to couple insecurities, which Clark-Flory writes “makes for really terrible sex.”

Get over yourself America (though the article is directed to a wider audience, American attitudes about sex are majorly dysfunctional). Men, stop thinking a penis is all you are, the end all and be all. Women, stop thinking your role in life is to be “pleasers and soothers, above all else.” 

Vibrators are not replacements for men, not necessarily intercourse substitutes, and men who think so need to be disabused of that notion by curative cultural “normalization” of the facts. Women, take the lead on this (except for those women who really do prefer vibrators to men). You are the life bearers, the stronger sex. Be bold. Be honest. Tell him what you need, respectfully. Or else, keep supporting the sex-toy industry. Apparently, the options for bigger, bendier and both-partner accommodating vibrators are abundant. 

Above all, have fun. 

Peace,

the Gaze

Nature’s Nature

image

Cedit: bhaktifest.com

Barren landscapes whooshing by in the night give eerie silk to headlights passing blindingly by.

In a sun bleached desert morning, the dew dissipates in an hour’s half, measured in pinches, wet epitaph.

Does the rocky sand ache for the sea?
Does the Joshua tree lean west in search of company, no grassy wheat washed field at its feet?

A star-speckled spread of sky edged upon the mountains’ shadow imbues the blue of night in echoed song sung in endless open muse:

The ocean’s deep remembers me. I am complete.

A Little Perspective

Teaching Amy Leach’s You Be the Moon (Sail on my little Honey Bee) today in class, I cannot help but think of David Eagleman and his brilliant TEDtalk on posibilianism. Though the made up term is interesting enough, I am completely enrapt with this twenty-three minute talk for its first three minutes when he reveals what the deep field Hubble experiment yielded several years ago. My jaw no longer drops because I have shared this talk with my classes semester in and semester out for the last few years but my mind’s jaw still does.

Posibilianism is also a fun kind of idea too.  Enjoy.

 

A Touching Tale of Healing Touch


Evan was not my first love. My heart framed in poetry books, I sought love early. By fourteen I had had my first heartbreak and by sixteen, I was initiated to the world of embattled sex my mother fear-burned into me:  woman as fortress and men as invaders.  

 

It was the 70s and free love was the slogan but not the practice. I was not the only young woman who paid the bodily price of losing what I did not understand I had–self-love, real love. 

 

So when I fell in love with and married a French man a few years later, love was permeated with heady visions of Romantics like Byron and Wordsworth, but sex was informed by the attitudes of Plath and Sexton, hardened and cynical. 

 

In my mind, love and sex were distinct and only the former was indispensable.

 

I loved Jean-Marc, but we were not so much “in love” as we were good friends. To me, that was more important. 

 

Besides, it was clear I was not his physical type. He had had a girlfriend when I met him in college, a French goddess of natural beauty, as if she emerged from the heather, golden smooth skin delightfully coating her delicate bones and showcasing her eyes of sea blue. 

 

She was the essence of what I deemed poetic femininity at the time. And I was nothing like her, not delicate, soft, supple, petite or graceful. I wasn’t French. I was New York, bookish and big. 

 

But several years into our marriage, I grew thinner, more athletic. I struck a lean, tall figure with improved grace and balance from running and tennis. I had transformed the book worm smoker of pubs and diners around New York to an outdoorsy athletic competitor in California.

 

When I separated from my husband, I was in the best shape of my life, 28 years old with a hard body everyone noticed but me. 

 

That is when I met Evan.

 

Evan taught me to love my body. I met him after my husband confessed that he was in love with someone else, a friend he had grown up with in France. Even though that relationship did not pan out, both of us needed time to sort things out. 

 

In reality, the separation between us occurred long before, had been growing inside me. Jean-Marc’s vision of me affected my own. I was a rebound, the consoler and good friend when the goddess dumped him one New Year’s eve. 

 

I was no beauty, but I was comfort.

 

His eye for aesthetics and style were distinguishing features of my attraction to him but also the very features that attracted him to others, beautiful, lean, olive-complected men I later came to find out. 

 

So why did I choose someone who could not love my body? Over the years, I have considered that question. 

 

Perhaps the body-mind division I fixed early on, prioritizing the intellectual over the physical sublimated my bodily emotions–etched the picture of an unlovely woman in my mind.

 

But I imagine, poor body image grew out of many seeds: my parents’ relationship, genetics, cultural dictates, social influences and my own love relationships. 

 

Though Jean-Marc and I shared a love that made us grow in the comfort and safety of that umbrella love of young adults, he could not love me intimately, the way a lover sighs at the sight of his beloved’s nakedness. And we couldn’t talk about it for the pain and the guilt. But the elephant in the room nearly crushed me. 

 

Eventually, I was flattened. I no longer had desire–until Evan. 

 

I fell in love with him in a cafe in New York. He spoke soothingly about presence–being present in each moment–and though I had read my zen and Heidegger, I was witnessing the words rather than thinking about them. 

 

He warned me beforehand and then he touched my hand and said, “You’re a writer; describe the experience of my hand.” Of course I didn’t know what he meant; I only said I wanted to be a writer, and I was off balance with his touch.  

 

So I described how I felt uneasy with a near stranger’s touch. To which he asked, “Does it feel warm? soft? rough? Can you feel the arced tips of the nails unforgiving yet pleasantly smooth?”

 

I hadn’t even thought of the physical sensation. I never did. All passed through my mind first and the physical was always sublimated, denied or ignored. Probably why I rarely saw a doctor, going about my business trying not to think of what ailed me.

 

Later, his first touch of studied tenderness opened my eyes and aroused passion I buried long before I knew its heat, its colorful flavors. He touched me, what was before his eyes, not a projection of me. 

 

And then he took me on a tour of the secret vales and rich verdure of my body. It blazed real love.  

 

Love–true love–is presence in touch; it needs no longing, fantasy, style, grace or poise–merely acceptance in being. 

 

When I embraced my own beauty, uniquely my biological experience, replete with singular angles and curves, scars and splotches, I learned to be heart-wise loved by someone who could love me–all of me–and confirm I was worthy of another’s hand softly sweeping the hair off my brow. 

 

My feminine, I learned, was desire—being—in touch.  

 

How can we ever know how others sense the world? The question should evoke a yearning to find out without the hope of ever doing so. However, it is the practice–the focused being of and with others–that matters. It’s how we connect, avoid loneliness, while maintaining our own integrity.

 

It is how we find love, real love.

 

Touch led me from interpreting the world to experiencing it. Getting out of my mind, possessed with others’ formulations of love and sex, and into the moment–breathing presence; it brought me the fullness of acceptance, as a body, my body, with someone else’s.  

 

No, Evan did not teach me acceptance by his touch; eventually, I was able to receive his touch by my own clarity–of space, moment, nearness of another’s presence becoming my own.  

 

He taught me to “see” like the scientists and philosophers and lovers we are–empirically, intellectually and emotionally.  

 

I wasn’t rushing headlong into someone else’s story for me. I had learned to better integrate my body and mind, which took examining inherited perceptions: those of my mother, husband, authors, and culture.  

 

It took practice to own my body. It still does.

 

And being in the precise moment recalled by someone’s touch–healing in its grounding.

 

Evan lies next to me now, his pillowed head in the shadow of mine. I am reading, elbow-propped, turned away. 

We are prone, bare, having just settled into bed for the night. Humid heat of a New England summer makes flannel impossible and silk torturously sticky. We sleep this way most nights four seasons long.

His body is serpent shape mirror of mine with inches of space between us, creating the comfort of a cooling air canal. We are art in symmetry.

His hand, open palmed, smooths across the contours of my hip, waist and shoulder, smearing heat like oil upon the line of curvy seas in the imagination of his hand–port to starboard to port again. The slow rhythm of his caress lulls my lids to half mast as the warmth and tingling skin sensors combine, dance me to lullaby languor. These are the moments.

I stop reading to softly lower my head to the pillow, ever so slowly, avoiding the slightest ripple in the water of his soliloquy wave. I hold my breath the whole way down.

Releasing, exhaling in measured silent wisps of warm air through my teeth and the pebble O my lips make, anchor hits bottom, the sync of his hypnotic oar undisturbed; it continues to brush the still of my anatomy’s ebb and flow.

I breathe just enough air to live, causing not so much as a flutter-by in the sheets. If I fill my lungs too deeply, selfishly, I will signal sleep’s onslaught, killer of this powerfully peaceful moment of breath, body and hand. No dream could be better than this. I own it–to the coral depths of fibrous memory. 

Hearing to the Heart of What Matters



Tripping on sounds of birds outside my window, I can hear them over the swish-throb of my own heartbeat sounding in my ears, a pulsing slightly alarming and soothing all the same. I can also hear the clanking of a dish outside the closed door of my room emanating from the kitchen where I imagine my mother is sitting, skeletal and serene, in her wheelchair, gazing off through the filmy stare that inhabits her face now, the cataracts of her mind’s eye reaching some unknown space outside or inside her head that swirls and lulls the cerebral juices to twitching stillness, her jerking to and from that space in seconds like recognition of a face, an idea, a musical slice of song, a voice…. 
I imagine her waiting like the baby bird with beak wide open in anticipation of its mother’s nurturing tongue, depositing the meaty worm of egg or pear.  

Where are you, Mom?  I miss you hard like a crowbar to the back of the head. 

My thoughts cannot stay on task. My self-imposed inspiration today is directed to my ears. Listen. It is nearly impossible to hear the murmur of soft utterings spoken outside my closed door, cooings enmeshed with frenetic blather-blurbs of television banter of I know not what over the din in my brain. 

I hear her dully, though. She calls my mother’s name over again sweetly, as if to a child, “Doris…Doris…Are you hungry?” The answer is unintelligible, but of course she is hungry. Her mind does not remember satiation. She, who ate more for comfort than survival, dieted constantly, losing hundreds of pounds over her lifetime, and is now, ironically, the weight her doctor claims befits her small frame no one knew was there. She always felt fat, was fat because she said so, and my father confirmed, except for the time she lost fifty pounds and he said she was too skinny so brought donuts and candy home for her to eat, the very same items he would chide her for eating when he reminded her that she was a “fat ass.” His love was always a savage love.

You are a saint. I cannot blame you for checking out, Mom. I want to be where you are only too often, though I am afraid of dementia’s detritus. You are braver than I ever will be.

But back to my exercise of listening to the sounds, right here, right now, this moment. It’s no use. I cannot hear distinctly above the rhythmic swoosh in my head. It’s my heart. The sound of a moving dish slid across a wooden table, rumbling and ceramic shrill, draws me to her again and again, outside my cave haven door, tended to by caring voices and hands that are not mine, sitting alone with feet, arms and hands moving about her, tending to her every need in studious care, while her husband sleeps off the night’s numerous calls to relieve himself of the plaguing piss of the swollen prostate that stems the flow of sleep and slows his 82 year life ever so much more, each pace a step from bed to toilet to table to television. 

The soft pings of my electronic devices notify me that someone has me in mind, has read something I wrote and appreciates or takes issue with it. The whistle of “hey, answer me” has sounded also from my phone and I know that I must answer that one, feeling it in my bones and the back of my neck, even though it is just playful pointless slinging ping pong balls of inanities. I somehow believe I need the nonsense, like my bread and butter banter, countering the angst of imagined life sentences I carry submerged like an atomic sub awaiting the directive to fire.

But now I can hear the dogs bark outside in the distance, loud enough to distract me from the door bell ringing  from my phone–simple email notification of stuff like yoga newsletters or soccer updates that can wait–and the murmur of my heartbeat in my ears, backdrop to the dish washing, sing song lullaby caress of Mom’s caretaker and the chirping tree creatures and the people’s pets next door and the insensate stream of yak yak from the tube and my mother’s babble, my father’s snore and my daughter’s running out, late for school, clomping down the stairs and slamming the door. I don’t actually hear but the anticipation of that last sound because her noise is not announced yet and should be–a human-made ping in the nerves from a mother’s consciousness of time, responsibilities and household goings on.

I am told it may be high blood pressure or blocked ear canals that cause that murmuring metronome reminding me that I am seething flesh, a mere mechanism of pumps and cogs and wheels of spongy muscle and sinew. I pay the tellers no mind. I like my heart beating and so the sound comforts me, synchronizing my outers and inners, recalling the always-at-hand task of staying here now with me, with us, with it all, embracing what is: the fauna and flora, birds, dogs, people I love, strangers, trees, leaves, sky, wind, vibration of the telephone and the sky, the stirring of creaking beds and limbs that dash above my head in squeaking pain of wood stretched to capacity by age, use and disrepair, this old house of ours, in our circle of suburban secret burrow and peek, safe seclusion of sound and stare. 

I hear the circle of my heart. And it hears me. The world begins and ends in the heart of creation, imagination, the bonds that tie and break, the ebb and flow of living matter, all in a day’s work, in a disciplined moment of timeless listening–to life living me, us.


“To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before…” 

 
The women who have unfolded life to me, staid songs all,
mother, grandmother, sisters, neighbors, friends, “some girl”  
and poets with words that floated my time through trouble.
Some few I obeyed, with others I played, and others still
I listened to, cried with, cried over, watched, watched over,
dreamed with or about in silent admiration but under cover.
All were so much more women or girls than me in all ways
But how to compare? An endless envy I kept hush in place, 
and sometimes in pure pleasure of the witness and stare.
My sisters, blood, life and ancestral lines laid open, bare,
for a life time, bonded by parents, their words and deeds,
a clan of ever entry, acceptance, toil, care, planted seeds.
Unlike them at all yet so much part of them, nonetheless, 
a neighbor calling my sister’s name at me, all dark brows
sparse thick hair embracing eyes hazel gold, hazel brown
and deep chocolate of our mother and father’s x’s and y’s.
We share a lingo and secret codes, a joke, heirloom ties
but not our dreams or destinations, only occasional days
lunch together for birthdays, breaking bread on holidays
and our parents’ care til they disappear from days above
our visions so carefully cultivated in long despair and love.
Each carries a piece of them in a glance, a coiled up tress,
a corner of a smile, a glint in the eye, a gait, the gawkiness,
an agility or stomp, a chuckle or optimistic smile or a frown 
dart of the shooting lookaway or a shuffle in the step down.
We laughed together at each other, appearing like friends.
Boyfriends and husbands have come and gone, bookends, 
children were born who had children who we all adore too 
as us, part of our tribe, our lineage of so strong women who
love, are loved and are love, the kind through a mother flows
who showed it in her doting cleanliness of spotless clothes
and insistence on politeness, disciplining by guilt imposed  
savagery we practiced among us, the untidiness of a home .
We were wild weeds growing among the crab grass alone,
the trees that our mother planted alongside shrubs in rows 
and the lawn she lay so many years ago seeded still grows.
Our destinies are tied though we drift ever apart as we age
and memory and the loss of connection as we disengage
remove to the space of living within as we live out carrying
out the business of breathing and working and soon dying
just like our foremothers behind us staring with thick brows
watching us dance, fret, forget lines, and take our final bows.

Is that a vibrator in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?




What I treasure most about blogging is the many contributions from readers whether in thoughtful or supportive comments, or suggestions of what to “gaze” at as today’s content donor put it. It makes my day when someone sends me a bit, a piece, an image, video or an article, some snippet topical to the blog’s thematic interests. Today’s gift is an article in the New York Times paying tribute to Dell Williams, former actress, advertising executive and army WAC, who started Eve’s Garden, a Manhattan sex boutique opened at a time when openly flaunting female sexuality took some daring. 

The story goes that she opened her sex shop after a humiliating experience at the hands of a young “pimply faced” clerk/interrogator when, in 1974, she purchased a vibrator. This spurred her mission to establish a place where women could purchase sex paraphernalia in peace. This kick-ass entrepreneur spent a majority of her life defending the right to open acceptance of women’s sexuality, something perhaps taken for granted today as more of a given than in her lifespan. 

Though it is still not a given even today.

While attitudes about female sexuality have progressed from denial by the patriarchal societies of Western Civilization to acknowledgment that it exists, there is still some distance to go before female sexuality is fully, openly celebrated, let alone discussed, by men and women. 

Thanks to vibrators, and women like Dell Williams who fought for freer access to them, there is an interesting history from which to start a conversation about women’s sexuality that does not seem so contrived, cliché or awkward. In fact, I used today’s research to pique the interest of my 15 year old, a sly engagement of her unsuspecting provincial sensibilities, to talk about sex, something she is loathe to do with her mother.

It turns out the vibrator is the tool that has not only traveled well through the centuries but also one that has propelled female sexuality and feminism into its current state of the question I have heard of late: Do we even need feminism any more? While the answer is yes, for many reasons, economic equality access being only one of them, that is a story for another day. The advent of the vibrator is a story of patriarchy, capitalism and power.

It begins with Hippocrates in 4th Century Greece, or at least he was the first on record to theorize that hysteria, a condition ascribed to women who displayed symptoms such as fainting, nervousness, and bad temper, more commonly known as “dry womb disease,” which seems to me as overall unhappiness most probably due to a lack of sexual excitement (read: not pumping out the lube) or fulfillment with men and the “normative” practice of penis-penetrating-vagina sex, what Rachel P. Maines in her book The Technology of Orgasm terms the “androcentric standard” of acceptable sexual practice.

The medical treatment Hippocrates and generations of physicians thereafter–until 1952 when hysteria was no longer diagnosed–for women experiencing hysteria and dry womb, was manual manipulation of the vulva by physicians to hysterical paroxysm, the medical condition better known as orgasm–in other words, getting women off. This treatment, an ongoing therapy, took up too much time for doctors to make enough money from other patients and was a routine and rote task that clearly could and should have been the work of midwives but for physicians not wanting to forego the income, prestige and power over the female body. As such, devices were developed to facilitate that “chore.”

Coupled with attitudes that women should not be touching their own bodies or have pleasure outside of marriage and what men could provide–androcentric sex–the vibrator was kept in the hands, so to speak, of the medical establishment until 1902 when Hamilton Beach patented the first take home vibrator, a large and noisy (we can heeeeaaaar you) apparatus. The hush of sexual repression quietly deposited these household objects from the hands of doctors into locked drawers, despite their popularity. According to trojanvibrations.com, these early vibrators emerged as one of the most common household electrical appliances invented even before the electric iron:


By 1917, there were more vibrators than toasters in American homes, claiming to cure everything from headaches to polio, deafness and impotence. Some ads for vibrators even claimed to be able to put a glow on your face.


In the radical feminist 70’s, the vibrator came out of the closet and into the hands of women trying to bring all things woman into the forefront, but particularly her sexuality as her power and her own.  Today, approximately half the American population uses or has used a vibrator, according to a survey of statistical findings I conducted on the web, only one of which is livescience.com.

Maine’s first chapter of her book mentioned above is available online and is a fascinating detailed history of the vibrator in context of sexual history from 4th Century B.C. through the Victorian era til modern times, citing wonderful hysteria treatment tools like horse simulators and other early curative devices designed for women’s orgasm, wickedly delightful apparatus to an unappreciative audience, my guess.

The covert manipulation (pun intended) of attitudes toward women’s sexuality–sexual pleasure that demanded more than male vaginal penetration as well as women’s ownership, participation and education (To know why, see Huffpost’s 13 Reasons Every Woman Should Masturbate Regularly)–derived from what Michel Foucault, French philosopher and author of the History of Sexuality, deemed the male medical establishment’s “hystericization of sexuality” (using their authoritative power to keep women’s sexuality as well as homosexuality in the realm of disease vis a vis the normative sexuality of the culture), patriarchy and capitalist greed.

Thank you Hippocrates for taking the time to notice, for kickstarting the vibrator’s journey to women, promoting sexual health for both men and women, and for getting all those women off, a trend that persisted even if disguised as medical treatment (wink, wink). He was hip to the truth he and his cronies kept mum, I suspect: most women, producers of the only organ designed for pure pleasure, maybe don’t need men so much to get off once they figure out what they have and how to use it.

The Only Organ for Pure Pleasure



An interesting short read accompanied by a HuffPost Love & Sex podcast, Carina Kolodny’s The Power of the Clitoris reminds us that this powerhouse of pleasure is not only often overlooked but most unfortunately misunderstood and misplaced. Hey, it was a revelation even to decades old me when I recently read how long that seemingly small pleasure piece actually is and how far it extends into another key erotic zone.

The podcast features the author, Kolodny, and Noah Michaelson, a professed gay man (even he finds this bit amazing) who advocates spreading awareness of the clitoris, the only human organ with its sole purpose as pleasure, by talking openly about if for not only sex education purposes but for reminding us sex is not purely utilitarian and circumscribed, a predisposition this organ’s mere existence challenges:  sex is not just procreation, procured exclusively for marriage, but exists for the pure enjoyment of it. 

While some may scratch their heads in puzzlement wondering why that is notable, there is still a consciousness among some and a subconsciousness among more that sex is confined to those traditional milieus: procreation and marriage.

And then there’s Freud…

A Caged Notion:  Sarcophagal Love 




When a notion, 
a flash, 
becomes flesh, 
enacted, 
the creative act animates, 
wields powerful revelation, 
a reflection of will, 
aching in wistful want, 
the small voice of a wounded child, 
more an intention to reverberate, 
ripple through others and move, 
affect or make them,
inchoate breath.


The containment you imagine me is pure pleasure palladia, 
mutual fantasy of possession and punishment, 
our sado-satisfying masochistic me in it for your admiration, 
a prize for you to paw.  
We dream that cage together, 
get off on it in our sleep, 
its bars of steely glares and grim reproach
spaced wide enough for you to grope your grapey lust, 
take what’s yours to take.  
Inside, 
the space is so small,
almost nil, 
no room to parade or pace, 
just enough to set upon all fours and wait and watch, 
captured in your gaze, 
electroreception,
anticipating your designs. 
A rectangle of caged space 
inside a rectangle of shut in space 
inside a locked staring searing eye is meta murder, 
again and again.  
You slay my spirit with suffocating enclosure, 
arms wrapped around me in my sleep, 
nowhere to avert the sarcophogal stare, 
nailed to a phone pinging and ringing your intentions, 
mind manacled to your roller-coaster moment and measurement. 
The cave of your desire, 
crated me, 
still closes out the bogey man of freedom, 
choice, 
all burden of the untied.


Like the neo-fascist caged desire, 
bully-beaten youth grown cruel, 
craving corrective counterblow, 
bursting from their cells (non-cognitive) of scarred safety, 
pummeling the impenetrable,
un-crumpled equanimous content,
our cage, 
pale to compare, 
private,
keeps out the unwanted. 
Only in those other confines, 
the downtrodden,
the losers at the starting gate 
crawling into empty spaces 
in the walls of ice-just, 
inside homes of the muddled mind-less classes, 
with Cerberus as their keeper, 
ferryman to their burning holes, 
here and there 
in courtrooms and classrooms and barbed wired buses and wanton walls. 
They are safe inside, 
terra firma, 
havens of co-caged meat, 
their fists and teeth, 
sinking in their terror, 
angst, 
despair and connection, 
conjunction, 
a merging of all the shit shared from drug-addled parents,
pimping lovers and duplicitous lawyers, 
witch doctors, 
robed wardens and baton’d judges. 


And one of them shouted at me, 
in chains, 
walking the long hall of dungeoned malice
after the debacle 
after an irreversible sentence to a life’s shackling stain, 
a broken destiny, 
“Why you cry?!! 
Why?!! 
Why you cry for?!!” 
As if shouting, 
commanding could make it so:  
one human being sharing agony with another, 
seeking consolation and empathy from parallel worlds 
sealed off from one another by impenetrable soundless walls. 
Your lips moved but blood splattered the walls of my unending walk
with utterances of the caged, 
the animals you molest and shove and grab and spit on.  
You, 
who just do your job like boot-and-bayonet-brave Nazis.
Your cage
my compassion
their circles
our cells
one DNA
dream.

Malice in the Mirror:  Through a Suburban Looking Glass


Who am I to play the ponderous observer, 
sitting here on the patio of a plush restaurant, 
having eaten an overpriced salad, 
imagining my calories sumptuously slide by 
in smug gustatory content, 
and getting buzzed on craft beer 
while watching suburban life pass, 
above the plashy roar of a flawless fountain? 
This is not LA. 
This is not a methadone withdrawal 
or a return to the streets 
after the sync of incarceration’s rhythm. 
This is a frightening freedom squandered by the free.
You are not free.  
You and I walk in tremulous chains, 
cybernetically sealed to another, 
the system, 
the great opaque that wants to nail us 
gripped to rusted metal and splintered wooden cross 
of slamming bars and broken people, 
dragged down the rabbit hole 
of small minded manicured degradation 
and gargantuan monstrous hate.  
I want to scream at them as they stroll by, 
selfies for two underneath the fountain:  
You don’t know what seethes beneath you, 
around you; 
everywhere there is misery abounding!  
The ignorance of bliss astounds me.  
I was there.  
I have returned there.  
What can I do to keep them a’wing, 
those born to suffer and cycle their lives 
through bars and pain and hurt, 
knowing nothing but blind beatings 
of bedraggled flightless wings, 
rejection and disengagement, 
love lost and forlorn, 
never gaining a step ahead of themselves?  
Desperate yowling dogs hound me, 
howling out my name–Impostor.  
I hear it and cower, 
hiding beneath the blankets of my lonely comfort 
of a solitary bed in the safety of my unkempt room 
like the mind of its inhabitant, 
overgrown wilderness, 
unattended, 
abandoned.  
I want to transcend but cannot muster it.  
I see the will in its distant form.  
I feel the stirrings.  
I smell smoke and I cave, 
whipped with carcinogenic wickedness.  
I cannot contain myself.  
And thus, 
I am not the wrong target 
for systematized paralyzed equalized 
misfortune of the sick and tired, 
the sick and poor, 
the sick of it all.