The most tragic error into which older people can fall is one that is common among educators and politicians. It is to use youth as scapegoats for the sins of their elders. Is the nation wasting its young men and its honor in an unjust war? Never mind — direct your frustration at the long-haired young people who are shouting in the streets that the war must end. Curse them as hippies and immoral, dirty fanatics; after all, we older Americans could not have been wrong about anything important, because our hearts are all in the right place and God is always on our side, so anyone who opposes us must be insane, and probably in the pay of the godless Communists. Youth is in the process of being classed with the dark- skinned minorities as the object of popular scorn and hatred. It is as if Americans have to have a “nigger,” a target for its hidden frustrations and guilt. Without someone to blame, like the Communists abroad and the young and black at home, middle America would be forced to consider whether all the problems of our time were in any way its own fault. That is the one thing it could never stand to do. Hence, it finds scapegoats. Few adults, I am afraid, will ever break free of the crippling attitudes that have been programmed into their personalities – racism, self-righteousness, lack of concern for the losers of the world, and an excessive regard for property. One reason, as I have noted, is that they do not know they are like this, and that they proclaim ideals that are the reverse of many of their actions. Such hypocrisy, even if it is unconscious, is the real barrier between them and their children.
I know that look…I have and had seen it many times before. When I returned home from receiving that “Look” my partner knew of which I spoke. She had seen that ‘Look’ before too!
Let me describe for you the ‘Look’ and perhaps, some of you will know what I’m talking about, as well.
Description of the ‘Look’
The facial expression is never any different whether it is on a woman or a man! It is a scowl coupled with a hatred born from ages of tyranny. The disdain and repulsiveness is not from the scowl but from the eyes! Again, it is never any different whether it is from a man or a woman. The eyes, be them blue, green, hazel or brown, become black slits. Almost invisible to those of us without twenty twenty vision. Yet, none of ‘Us’ really need to look these people in the eye because we can sense the ‘Presence’.
The ‘Presence’ is remarkable in that it only carries one tone; vanity mixed with ignorance lacking charity.
What happens when you turn your back on the ‘Look’ that denotes a ‘Presence’ of popular majority? I can only describe the ‘Feeling’ which is aroused!
The ‘Feeling’ retreats way back into the archives of my younger years. A sense of sadness. A notion of not being good enough, ridiculed, scared and more importantly, alone!
The ‘Question’ is always what follows the memories of ‘Feeling’ a ‘Presence’ of a ‘Look’ that I’ve known for so many years:
Why was I born this way? Why don’t people like me? How come I feel so different? And, for those of us older than Rainbow flags and Pride Parades, who can I talk to?
Let’s face it, I’m gay. Many other out there are, as well. We don’t want to walk into a church, a store, a job interview, a business meeting, with our ‘Pride’ on our sleeves. We do want to walk on our city streets, into our town hall meetings, our Earth Day celebrations, without the ‘Look’.
The ‘Look’ that has caused 1 in 3 homosexuals to take their own lives. The ‘Look’ that won’t allow us to openly care for each other. The ‘Look’ that claims we are deviants to society though, most crimes are committed by middle class, heterosexuals white males.
If I were granted just one wish it would be simple:
To never feel reduced, hated, sad, misplaced and unwanted by the ‘Look’ ever again!
I could have marched for peace
I could have prayed for community of love
I could have
I could have
I stood out of the closet…that had been the most difficult prize for me
I could have been ‘turned’ around…or so men thought.
Turned in thorny ways…in bed…but not all can be bought.
No matter where I lay, to rest is always challenged.
I lay my politics aside by the nighttime table
I lay my words near my lover’s adornments
Sex is far removed from my inner drive
The field of change…yellow, blue, red, and rainbow…keeps what I offer far and above, alive, alive
all is the same
but everything has changed
a lost traveler, lucid
nonetheless growing old
i have an opinion,
never do as the sold are told
‘that is just the way it is…’
I watch you say…through my native eyes
Just a private conversation with kindness and hate
How long before…
‘that is just the way it is…abates?’
A generous thief…this loathing
But when all is said and not done…
I say to hate, it does not pay to live like that…
With both feet in the past