Legislative surveillance of citizens.

Photo by author.

Just last week, for the first time in US history, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of workplace protections for LGBTQ people.

The decision was based on Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Despite that Act’s prohibition of sex-based discrimination, LGBTQ people in 1964, and for decades thereafter, would continue to be fired for their sexual identity.

In the decade before Title VII’s enactment into law, 1950s America saw the rise of related panics, the Red Scare focused on Communists and the Lavender Scare focused on queer people.

The Lavender Scare, less well known than the…

On the parking lot and the city park: a poem.

Photo by Katerina Kerdi on Unsplash.

I wander through the city park,
its child-call game fields now bare,
the joggers few, the changes stark.
No half-hid lovers anywhere.

The grocery stores’ car parks are packed,
but not their shelves, those too are bare.
No more canned foods artfully stacked,
our accustomed bounty — nowhere!

I think of the supplies I’ve squirreled
away the last few panicked days,
the plenty I’ve plucked from the world,
unthinking, disrupted by delays.

But in City Park the squirrels run,
Their tree-larders full, their bellies fed.
A pond turtle sprawls in the sun,
a bright blue jay sails overhead.

As I…

On a love outlived: a poem.

Photo by cottonbro at pexels.

Of a youth who loves me and whom I love, silently approaching and seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand -Walt Whitman

The secret had not yet begun to strain,
was thrilling still — I, slipping, silent, shushed, smiling,
on my own but not for long — selecting the cineplex’s
lone art-film screening room or maybe a cartoon
for really little kids where our friends would not be —
and I waited, while he worked — he, taking tickets or filling
Cokes, and I waited, the screen filled with drama never
so intense as my teenaged own or filled…

A young Mexican television star gives fans the courage to be themselves.

Joaquin Bondoni. From his Instagram.

Just in the last couple of days, the young Mexican entertainer Joaquín Bondoni has taken the lead in voting for the LGBTQ community’s Queerties Awards in the “Game Changer” category.

And just in the last couple of years, the 16-year-old Bondoni has burst upon the entertainment world as an actor, singer, model, fashion icon, and — perhaps most importantly — an inspiration to LGBTQ youth throughout Latin America and, increasingly, the world.

Though Bondoni has been acting since early childhood, he came to prominence in the popular Mexican telenovela Mi Marido Tiene Mas Familia in 2018. …

On picking a part, and picking apart: a poem.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

Queer people don’t grow up as ourselves, we grow up playing a version of ourselves that sacrifices authenticity to minimise humiliation & prejudice. The massive task of our adult lives is to unpick which parts of ourselves are truly us & which parts we’ve created to protect us. — Alexander Leon

I. Third Grade
“Pick a part,” the teacher said,
“bring to life heroes long dead.”
Off we dashed my peers and me
calling out who we would be,
jumping in the costume bin,
frantic, grabbed treasures within.
Finding mine, I danced a jig!
A mile-high, posh white wig!
“Who’ll I be, oh you can bet
The Queen! Marie Antoinette!”

On reading a way out of trauma: a poem.

Photo by Freddy G on Unsplash.

We real cool. We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We
Jazz June. We
Die soon. — “We Real Cool,” Gwendolyn Brooks

I. The Good Boy

The Good Boy learned to love
the sounds of pretty words, alone
in his room or sitting in the crook
of a tree, swaying in the summer
wind. Pretty words by Shakespeare
What light is light if Silvia be not seen
and funny words by Dorothy Parker
Their pooled emotions wouldn’t fill a teaspoon
And witty words by Noël Coward
I don’t know what London’s coming to —
the higher the buildings the lower the…

And what that means for people who didn’t, or can’t, have any of their own.

Photo by Gary Butterfield on Unsplash.

“There are 1.1 million fewer children living in the U.S. today than there were at the start of the decade.” — Axios.

On seeing the future, perfect

Few students clamored to take a class called Advanced Grammar, so I tried to make the class as relevant as possible, and, despite the sentence diagramming, sometimes fun.

“By the time I am thirty,” a student named Ellery, who occupied the front-row-center seat, said, “I will have been married for a year and given birth to my first child, named Sidney-with-an-I if it’s a boy and Sydney-with-a-Y if it’s a girl.”

I chuckled. “Oddly specific response,” I said…

The vanishing outside the window: a poem.

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

Down under we’re told are dogs and dingos
the dingo got my baby, and the like
but Grandfather, visiting there as a boy still
saw something doglike outside his window as the
train rolled on (moving so fast but with the task
of covering those great outback distances the
train never seemed to make up much ground —
chug chug choo choo)
He saw outside the window of the fast-slow
moving train the doglike tasmanian tiger
and grandfather was lucky for seeing it,
among the last few who ever would.
(RIP-Thylacinus cynocephalus, last seen 1936; declared
extinct, finally, in 1986)

When the buck doesn’t stop here.

Photo by Ernesto Velázquez on Unsplash.

Matt shouldn’t have been eavesdropping, but he couldn’t help himself. The guy sitting a few stools down from him, a new guy at this bar, was talking, loud, with the bartender. Sheila, who’d been tending bar there for a year, was giving New Guy lots of attention, though Matt had a feeling her attentions might just be in vain.

“I’m back in Texas after three years,” New Guy said, downing a draft of sudsy beer. “All I wanna do this season is go out deer hunting, but my buddy lost his lease, so I’m stuck without a hook up.”


Brian Fehler

[Taking a little break!] Storyteller/Scholar/Rhetorician Twitter: @brianfehler (He/Him)

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