(A Bitter Poem)
pumped up with ego
they mimic the others
and visibly balk
at signs of disbelief.
They remember you and
they'll claim you.
They don't care:
they forget what it's like
to be alone at night
without their ailurophobic wives.
They come in the dark.
Cling to your memories:
it's all that they'll leave you.
And dream –
they can't stop you.
27 November 1983
Who are they? They have been lots of different people. They are still lots of different people. No one knows how many of them there are. They’re in the government. They’re in the church down the road. They’re in the schools our kids attend. They’re next door and across the street. They’re in the heavens above. They are nameless and faceless, mostly nameless and faceless. The only thing we really know about them is that they’re there. They always have been. They always will be in some form or other. And they will always disapprove of us.
I went to school with K. She was a tomboy, rough and a bit butch if I’m being honest but nice enough. She’d used to play football with the boys rather than hang around with cissy girls. After my first marriage fell to pieces I went home and thought I’d give religion another try. In the intervening years K. had also decided to give God a go. As it happens she picked the same one as me. Would never have imagined that but there you go. K. had a friend, a best friend, a girl who we all called Totie but not because she was small but she was sweet. They saw this and made a note. And kept watch. And in time they decided that K. needed a talking to. Just to keep her on the straight and narrow.
When you join any religious group you willingly agree to accept its god’s laws. The difficulty is finding a religion that believes what WE want. An excerpt from my new book:
They think they can get to know [God] by studying holy texts or consulting self-appointed swamis and gurus. And if these don’t exactly paint the picture they’re looking for they just up sticks and try elsewhere or, if all other avenues lead to dead ends, form their own cult, sect, schism or, in the case of Henry VIII, full-blown state religion. Which is messed up but one can sympathise.
The Bible talks a fair bit about homosexuality but not so much about lesbianism. The only scripture I know about is Romans 1:26: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature…” I don’t mind God making it wrong—he made eating pigs wrong when the mood suited him—so he can pretty much dictate what we do and we either take it or we go our own way. In the end I chose to go my own way. Forming my own religion seemed a bit too much work.
Carrie and I were watching a programme on TV a week ago where a kid wanted to go to summer camp and the mother wasn’t having it. The kid asked for “one good reason”—not an unreasonable request (very adult of her)—to which her mother replied, “Because I’m your mother.” She did have a reason and she thought it was a good reason and so why not explain? In all the years I knew K. she never did anything to confirm or deny her sexuality. Why did they have to jump in and assume she had designs on Totie? They destroyed their friendship. They probably destroyed her faith too.
I’m not sure if “to claim” means the same elsewhere but here in Scotland if you claim someone then you’re saying you’re going to fight them some time in the near future: you’re claimed.
Ailurophobia is fear of cats although the woman I’m referring to didn’t so much fear cats as she hated them so I suppose ailurodiumia would probably be a more accurate term. I can understand people being afraid of cats—makes as much sense as being afraid of spiders—but I really have no time for anyone who hates cats.