Saturday, January 31, 2009
By Philip Cairns
Copyright 2009 by Philip Cairns
The plump English man looked at me
And boomed in a smug, superior voice,
“I’m a little bit homophobic,”
As if he were proud of the fact.
I was shocked and angry but attempted to make light
Of his disgusting, appalling bigotry.
Other people heard his putrid words but no one came to my defence
Or even attempted to shoot down his slurs.
There were jeers in his voice,
During the rest of our conversation.
It seemed obvious that he thought I was shit
And that he was vastly superior to me.
What if I were black and he’d said,
“I’m a little bit of a racist”?
Surely that would not have been socially acceptable behaviour
In enlightened, polite company.
We were in a room full of poets.
The stereotype of a poet is that we are lazy, indolent drug addicts and alcoholics
Who want to party all night and sleep all day
And occasionally write epic poems.
Is this an accurate depiction of the life of a typical bard?
The answer is that we come in all shapes and sizes
And live many different lifestyles.
William Carlos Williams comes to mind.
He wrote poems on prescription pads
Between visits from his medical patients.
We all have our prejudices.
I am one-quarter English
And have to admit that I am not fond of English men.
Many of them are macho bigots
But this, too, is a stereotype.
I’m not proud of this bias of mine
And continually fight against it,
Yet that homophobic writer certainly lives up to this image.
My English uncle, who was a bit of a macho bigot,
Once said to me, as we were driving in a car,
“Real men use a stick shift. They don’t drive an automatic.”
I thought it was one of the most asinine things I’d ever heard.
I imagined poets to be open-minded people
With their fingers on the pulse of the world.
Words of wisdom flow from their pens
And they love all humankind.
Now, what if I were a celibate homosexual
Who never engaged in sexual activity?
Would this zealot still despise me
Because of what I stand for?
I still remember the sneer in his voice
As he kept on interrupting me.
It seemed that my words were totally unimportant to him.
The look of contempt on his face!
I don’t buy bigotry and intolerance of any kind,
Either mine or that of other people.
I had to fight the urge to hit him over the heard
With a baseball bat and tell him he was a piece of shit.
We’re all just human beings fighting to survive
On this treacherous planet full of land mines and spilled blood.
If this ugly little man thinks that what I do in bed is disgusting
Then I have to surmise that his own sex life must be pretty boring,
With the missionary position being his #1 favourite.
After all, in the pitch black of the bedroom,
It could be a man, a woman or a succubus giving you a blow-job
And you couldn’t tell the difference.