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Andrew Parker May 14
Clumsy Gazelle Poem
10/??/2015

Dear Dad,

The last time we spoke, was spent walking down the sidewalk together in some metropolitan area.  There was a tunnel up above, I guess we were in what you would call an underpass and a giant graffiti'd dumpster was awaiting our passage.  You pulled on my arm with strong resolve and guided me into the street, as if the cars would dissolve in front of us as we inched farther away with our feet.  I felt like a modern day Moses, it was magical.  Once we reached the other side of the Chevrolet sea, you pointed out to me that our sudden death match with the traffic was a tactical maneuver.  There was a gang operation being run no sooner than just beyond the trash bin... I woke up from that dream and immediately knew what could have happened.

I took a trip to Chicago this summer, the first of its kind.  I felt like you were watching over me, keeping me safe the entire time.

I can't recall too many words you've said to me, but I have quite a few for you.  Like to start, here's two.  I'm gay.  I wonder all the time, if maybe you already knew.  You always called me by the nickname Cool.  You told my mom that when I grow up I would be a ******* and a big drinker too.  You got one-and-a-half of those right.  

I inherited your hair and your goofy smile too.  Neither of those are all that great, but I guess they'll have to do.  I've heard the story from your poker pals about the time you won at pool.  You got up on the table and in your most graceful pose and poise, the pool stick struck, and as the 8 ball sunk, gravity grabbed and you fell.  Once you stood up, you addressed the **** up and said, "Like a gazelle."    

I've made my own leaps too, but every gazelle has its gaffes.  I've fallen in front of friends but made it out of every situation's extremes. It seems that when gravity pulls me down, all I can do is laugh. I'm glad I got that from you - I'd rather be a 'clumsy gazelle' than a 'graceful giraffe.'
Andrew Parker Nov 2018
How Does Happiness Happen Poem
11/25/2018

I once heard that happiness is like watching the sunrise.
That when its golden shining rays meet your eyes, their solar power can bring the darkness its demise, by summoning a radiant, dazzling smile--that's how I thought happiness happens for a while.

Someone else said that happiness just takes some time, while living in the present. That its like you wake up one day and suddenly things seem more pleasant. In other words, it should feel like the cut scene of a Disney movie--but my movie writers must have missed the memo.

I've also been told that happiness is a habit. That you tell yourself kind things in the mirror, and then they'll stick to you like a jacket you wear covered in positive patches made of hearts and unicorns and stuff--although my jacket never seemed to keep me warm enough.

Some say that happiness is letting go of the what if's and why not's, the whose its', what's its, and the what nots.
That it's the power to accept what you cannot change.
They all say that happiness starts within, but what if happiness is not in me? What if my body doesn't know how to make happiness happen?

Because I've been through sleepless nights to watch the sunrise, but its shining rays must have stopped before they hit my heart. Instead of a super smile, all I could muster was a lukewarm shoulder shrug and tired yawn and thought to myself, "Well, I guess that's all," as I watched the sunrise, and felt my hopes fall.

I've tried living in the present. I've patiently waited and wished to wake up one morning and be over this. I know they said that happiness just takes a while, but it's taken so long that now it's the ******* future and I've stopped believing in that fool's rumor.

How many mornings have I spent saying sappy affirmations in the mirror? Telling myself, "You are smart," "You are kind," "You are fine, fresh, and fierce," "You will be happy someday." By now, those words I once wore like a jacket have outgrown me and they no longer fit.

Maybe my soul is like a sapless flower, a ship that sinks, or a staring contest filled with blinks... ****, that stinks.
Maybe my brain chemicals have leaked, or my allotted amount of happiness has already peaked.
Maybe my stress and anxiety disagree with me being happy.
Maybe my happiness frosted, the first time I fell in love and lost it.

Even after all these things I've seen and done, I can't comprehend why my happiness is still long foregone.
My smile's corrosion has continued unspoken -- so I've issued a new one with permanent pen.
But I couldn't concoct a formula for the happiness potion -- one that would raise my happiness quotient.
I haven't unfrozen my heart out of fear that it's broken -- and thawing it out will release the emotions.


But I do know one thing that's true -- it's for certain.
If my happiness is broken, then by the principles of inversion, it can be rewoven.

There is no guarantee that it will come promptly,
but until then, I'll keep my pursuit in motion,
and continue to believe in the notion
that someday happiness will just happen to happen to me.
Andrew Parker Jul 2018
Bones for Breakfast
July 2014

Bones are like peanut brittle.
Gnawed on til toothless,
by us old mangy mutts.
Tastes sweet tender as a drop 'o dew,
Feels soft in a bride's whisper, "I do."
But speaks crunchy crackles of Tic-Tac language,
instead of ******* out bad breath breathe shards in.

Although bones may break,
become buried under archaeologists' noses,
slip through crevices cracked and crumbled.
They were once anything but brittle,
covered only by skin yet to be bruised,
backs yet to be battered,
blood yet to be spilled,
faces yet to witness the history yet to be written.

I do not believe we are supposed to eat bones,
but we break them down into shreds of paper-back tidbits,
consumable by children during the snack time called 'history class.'
Our teachers are creating cannibals,
consuming culture on textbook platters,
but pay no mind while wearing bone bibs,
they leave out the thickest cuts of meat and just eat the ribs.

History is a living thing, dressed to deceive those who blindly believe.
I remember reading George Washington's claim to fame,
"I did not chop down that cherry tree."
But Mr. President, what about your enemies?
Because every revolution needs people to die for the revolutionaries.
Ain't that a sweet piece of cherry lie pie?

I learned Genghis Khan sure got it on with many women,
but didn't read about Alexander the Great's great ***,
much of it involving a same-gendered mate.
Wait, was that a mixture of patriarchy and hetero-normativity?
Words that weren't worth the pennies to print?
Who hired these fact checkers for the publishing industries?
I'll give you a hint,
Learn who has the most to gain from condemning intellectual content and corrupting it with a corrosive lack of social conscience.
As textbook reps tell professors, "Buy our books with cute new features."  But since when was that what made good teachers?
And so, these chapters get served to us on poo poo platters,
passed off to be refreshing as fresh mint pours in for corporations like Pearson Education.

I surveyed the lay of the land in Egypt,
purveying the literature of pharaohs.
Pyramids meant to portray a portrait of powerful people,
not a foolish riddle.
"Who built them," we ask.
But not of curiosity for whose backs broke building.
Its whose bones mummified beneath are made into mythological creatures along with Sphinx features.

I was taught the Holocaust was a unique horror story,
along with the catch phrase "never again."
Yet those 600 pages neglected to educate about the "re-education campaign" against the Cambodians.
Where was I to learn of the Rwanda civilization's tensions and exterminations?
Perhaps those pages were buried in the mass graves and dirt ditches, deserted and desecrated like the indigenous individuals we now call Native Americans.

Tell me more about art again.
It conveys a message about the historical humans experience,
but I think that message got lost sometime in the Renaissance Period.
When men had beards and wore colorful clothing,
but now that is either unprofessional or deemed gay as a bad thing.
When women were depicted full-bodied as that meant social status,
but now they are painted in photo shop with air brushes and slimmed slick.
We've created a glorious new empire of gastrointestinal bypass Groupons, and have either **** out or surgically removed all the bones we swallowed to get here... So, who's ready for lunch?
Andrew Parker Dec 2017
Out of Place
Date Unknown

I once got swept up in a tornado and landed in a pretty place.
There were trees along the sidewalks and bike paths on the roads.
The people looked like flowers, all their petals in full bloom.
But once I got a closer look, the perfect hair and perfect teeth didn't look quite as pretty underneath.

Smirks and Sperries couldn't hide the scary scars
of people who put so much effort into hiding who they really are.
The world map wall decor marked with push pins of places traveled,
at first glance appeared like a fairy tale, but slowly became unraveled.
You see, these things were shallow.

My steps couldn't be traced, so instead I tried to recreate.
By the time winds subsided my thoughts had become divided.
Too late to second guess, take a chance, change my fate.
The decision had already been made.
When you land in a foreign space
sometimes its natural to feel out of place.
Andrew Parker Nov 2017
Written on 11/20/2017

That awkward moment when someone flirts with you on a dating app and says "I like that you look masculine."

You see,
I never saw masculinity as a part of me.

My identity was always flamboyant,
wearing pink shirts and sashes,
crop tops with styling gelled eyelashes,
sparkling headbands and dazzling bandannas,
snapback hats featuring giant bananas,
I dressed with the raging flamboyance of flamingos!
Sporting a certain type of femininity that only a gay man knows.

All the trimming and cutting, and shaving and nairing,
for hours,
as time and body hair intertwined in the showers,
washed masculinity off my body down the drain,
Experienced electrolysis burns, but the pain
had infected my thoughts,
like each hair is unnatural.  

Purge it all,
Scorch and torch it all,
Leave nothing at all!
No trace
of evolution's flawed attempt to grace
me with an adaptive advantage to take on the world's harsh climate.  
I admit,
this hair entangles me and strangles me,
it also oozes out of me like pimples from a pore,
a ***** to testosterone,
poor me - a victim of nature's masculinity.
What a hairy situation I've gotten myself in.

--

Femininity.
Its bestowed upon me by society.
When I sashay or say hey gurl hey,
society recognizes these things as girly and gay,
not a very masculine way to walk or talk.  

Stereotypes about *** and gender are so easily manipulated.
Like a circus performer on the tight rope,
the suspense keeps people wondering where will I fall?

But hold me under a microscope and you will see it all,
a million molecules that makeup my femininity.
I wear skinny jeans and tank tops,
then get complimented on them by dude bros,
like yo that's tight- where'd you get it boss?

I bought it in the girl's section at Ross.

My toe nails painted and displayed for public view,
flip flops emboldened with matching turquoise hues,
Femininity is worn on me like a fabulous armor plate.

--

Fast forward to a fateful date during No-Shave November.
I remember,
growing out my ****** hair for the very first time,
I wore it like a mask,
portraying a fictional character who was masc-uline.
Bathing in manliness at this masquerade.
It was through this charade,
that I grew
... temporary happiness for me from all of you.

The compliments they poured in.
My once smooth canvas of a face,
waiting to be crafted into the Mona Lisa,
had been turned into an artistic masterpiece,
'Gay Man with Amnesia',
of who he used to be.
A painting of someone society wanted,
someone whose masculinity was outwardly flaunted.
But inside, I felt taunted,
each time they complimented
me and my newfound masculinity.

--

Then, it happened on Grindr,
a gay dating app.
This masculine mishap.

A stranger's message read, "I like that you look masculine."
It sounded even stranger in my head.
Their profile description read,

"Masc 4 Masc
Masculine man seeking other masculine men to hangout with."

That's when I felt it.
My mask had made me masc.

This particularly manic morning brought me to ask
myself in the bathroom mirror,
"Who the hell am I looking at?"

In sheer terror, I teared-up,
scanned the portrait of 'Gay Man with Amnesia',
and then decided to tear it up!

I grabbed my electric razor,
grum grum grummm
as these blades grazed my face and chin,
I was offered sweet, soft, porcelain skin - my absolution.

pause

heh heh
When I came to and snapped out of the amnesia,
eager to see results of this restorative procedure,
the mirror was fogged with steam and slop.

I tried logging in to my laptop's webcam,  
for naught.  
The ****** recognition feature -- didn't recognize me
... but finally, I did.

Once again, I see the man behind the masc-ulinity.
Andrew Parker Mar 2017
3-2-2017 (unknown date of origin)

Something's wrong... you don't belong here.
I said, looking down at the pineapple on my pizza.
I said, looking down at the ketchup on my macaroni.
I said, looking down at the cream of mushroom soup on my meatloaf.
He said, looking down at me and my boyfriend, holding hands in public.

Like I'm a creep.  I'm a ******.
What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here.

You see there's these things that we learn at the dinner table.
When we're kids we have certain items served to us on our plates.
Whatever doesn't end up there, isn't a part of the discussion.
After all, they say if you don't have a seat at the table, you are likely to be on the menu.

So, when ****** orientation and gender identity aren't seated at the table of childhood, they get served for the first time in unexpected places.  

Like an avante garde celebrity chef's designer meal, prepared for critiques by the food bloggers.  

They get served in college classroom debates or in dorm rooms with freshman roommates.  

They're on the menu in in some movies but served with a side of stereotypes and silly trope toppings.  

They get grinded into glitter dust sprinkled on the annual PRIDE Parades like an overly salty seasoning mix.  

They're on the menu in workplace diversity trainings, but too little too late - they get lost in the marginalized buffet.  

They get served at the oppression Olympics, or actually at the Olympics unwillingly by a journalist who only pretends to eat a well-balanced diet, but really has LGBT food allergies,  if you know what I mean.


In reality, these should be staple dishes consumed by commoners, consumed by you and me, consumed by children along with their healthy daily dose of broccoli and cauliflower, squash and zucchini, even eggplant.  

They should be in every ******* cookbook with pictures and all different kinds of recipes!


I want every child to have gay on their dinner plate, lesbian lunch, gender nonconforming on the brunch menu, and bisexual breakfast.  

And everything in between in the queer spectrum served during snack breaks.  


I want every child to look down at their plate and see pineapple pizza and say, gee that looks great!  

I love all of the pizza toppings, no matter whether gay or nay.
... except for anchovies, of course.
Andrew Parker Oct 2015
Sharing Hate Poem
September 4, 2009 (I recently found this poem I wrote years ago)

Trigger Warning - Abuse

Sharing Hate

He keeps me locked up in this room daily.
He calls me ugly, then starts to beat me.
My bruised and battered body lays there numb.
I think, "Don't worry, help will one day come."

He took my teddy; it was my mommie's.
The other girls here look just like zombies.
Dad always said, "Find the silver lining."
But the rare ray of light's all I'm finding.

He told me, "Tomorrow you'll be famous."
I asked, "Why do you blame your hate on us?"
He said, "You don't get it... I'm just like you."
"When I was little, I got abused too."
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