Saturday, 26 August 2017

Living With A Gay Teen Is Hard: Living Without One Is Harder: A Short Story


"Henry! What in heaven's name is this supposed to be?" Henry's mother had burst into her fifteen-year-old son's bedroom, holding a photo of Henry and his best friend embracing in a particularly sexual way.

The slight, red-headed kid with freckles and an easy manner's heart began beating wildly, threatening to burst out of his chest. He couldn't formulate any words or sentences and merely kept sitting on his bed.

"Answer me, Henry." Henry and his mother had always maintained a very difficult and accusatory relationship with her youngest son. His three siblings, Wesley, age 16, two sisters, Annie and Constance, 17 and 19 years respectively. They all lived with a now middle-aged single parent. Their wayward father had deserted the family years before, when Henry was just three years of age. Gerard Harrison hadn't wanted children right from the get go, but when Susie got pregnant, he knew he had to adapt and do his share of the work. Children are expensive, but Gerard had a great job that paid a small fortune. There was always plenty of money, even if they were to bring another Harrison baby into them into the family.

Henry's arrival, barely a year after Wesley's was too much for a selfish man with a raging gambling addiction that he had successfully kept secret from his family for the past twenty years. Lone sharks were nipping at Gerard's heels, growing more serious by the minute it seemed.

Susie had noticed that Gerard was out very late on the weekends and spent less and less time with the kids . The money wasn't coming in and she was angry. Confronting her husband with the bank statement that had shrunk dramatically. Why didn't you tell me about all of your gambling debts? For that matter, why did you tell me anything at all? You've gambled your way through five hundred thousands dollars, Gerard. Five hundred thousand over the space of three years."

"Well, you went ahead and had Henry, adding another dependent when we already had three--when YOU already had three."

"I can't believe what I'm hearing!" Susie spat, What is wrong with you? You've financially driven us into the ground!"

Gerard left for good this time, leaving his wife and kids to deal with what had become a nightmare of a marriage. But she had it much, much better than a fallen man with no integrity, who'd become a deadbeat dad of the first order when he let an extremely selfish, monumental debt. In short, the Harrison family were dead broke. Susie was forced to go back to work for the Chemical Bank as a teller, in hopes that there would be a big enough salary to adequately raise four children.

As soon as Henry was old enough to see that his mother always looked tired and pallid, he feared that if he hadn't given birth to a fourth Harrison, it must be Henry's fault. Daddy ran away because of him. And when Henry turned thirteen, this horrific fact had cemented itself in his already guilt-ridden beliefs, was, indeed, not just his warped vision at all: Henry had been the cause of the fall of the family Harrison all along. That depressingly fatalistic view would never abate or lesson and he knew it.

So here he was, two years later, sitting on his bed in a beautifully sun-drenched afternoon, feeling his life had become the nightmare of a downward spiral into hopelessness.

"Henry. You still haven't explained this photo."

"Do I have to? What will happen? Will you finally tell me I was a huge mistake you made having me? Will you finally come clean, Mom?"

"Oh so it's MY fault you're queer? Because that's what I'm assuming from you and some guy you're getting cosy with. Someone really has it twisted the wrong way, doesn't it, Henry?"

"I'm getting out of here, Mom. "I know I will never really get away from you altogether--at least not your refusal to give me any love or any kindness anyway." Henry was close to tears by this time, grabbed his jacket and headed for the front door." Bye Mom." It was 5 o'clock in the afternoon and the spectacular sunny weather had been obliterated by a growing greyness that would, within minutes, bring a huge thunderstorm. Henry was drenched in seconds. Water gathered in puddles and as a car approached Henry, he was engulfed in spraying muddiness. "That's nice," Henry said to himself. He refused to hollar at the driver, but instead called out "It's okay that you're such a crappy driver."

************************************************************************************************************************

It was just past midnight when Susie Harrison heard someone knocking on the front door. Who could that be at this hour? she wondered and parted the living room curtains. She saw two police cars parked outside. That Henry's in trouble--I just know it!

She opened the front door and saw two police officers standing on the porch. They had their hats in their hands. "Is this where a kid called Henry Harrison lives?" The taller of the two asked?"

"I knew it!! That boy has been the bane of my existence from the day I gave him life! What has he done?"

The smaller of the policeman responded, "We need you to come with us."

"Why? Because he needs bail money?" Susie's behaviour confused the men.

"No ma-am. You have to come down to identify a dead body at the station."

For the first time, Susie's heart skipped a beat and something made the hairs on the nape of her neck stand on end. "What's going on?"

Instead of responding, the two officers got her inside the squad car and closed the door.

In a matter of minutes, Henry Harrison's world shattered and splinters into a million jagged cuts. She was taken down to the morgue. The drawer opened and there lay her fourth born, still, expressionless and as Susie placed her hands on his face she began wailing and screaming. "What happened to my child? What is he doing here for God's sake?!!?!"

"Your son was involved in a bad car accident. Since it was dark and a severe thunderstorm was going on, your son's car slid over an embankment and fell hard on the freeway underneath."

"How could something like this happen?" Susie could feel something squeezing her heart and shortening her breath. "My God! Somebody must have hit the back of Henry's car-----that has to be the reason. My son is an excellent driver." She was soon babbling incoherently and was led out of the morgue. It had finally sunk in: My baby's dead. Why didn't I try to understand him?"

There aren't many ways that a parent reacts to the death of a child. The pain and guilt are overwhelming. Susie Harrison's world had splintered into sharp, little pieces and there would be no rest or distraction from this nightmare. Was it an accident or a suicide? Nobody knows and likely never will. Perhaps it's better to believe the young man perished in a nasty car crash, instead of deliberately ending a life he found too painful and lonely. 



Here's another bridge on a rickety pier that ends leading to a brilliant white light.
This bridge could pass for a deck on the doomed cruise ship, the Titanic. Though there are  lit lamps on the left and a row of empty benches, the end of this pier is shrouded in thick, grey fog. It's this fog that obscures any shred of hope of a glorious healing light. You can see that there's a figure at the end of the pier. Or is it? It's very hard to tell.
Very wise words that were spoken by Martin Luther King Jr. The world lost a terrific man who was violently cut down way before his time. He was a martyr in every sense of the word.
This is a depressed kid who represents the confusion and the misery of being gay and banished by his or her family. Sadly, most of them end up on the streets. You would think people would accept their son or daughter's coming out, but it hasn't really changed, has it?



The Two Sides Of Neil Tennant & Other Poems

                                                         
The Two Sides Of Neil Tennant

                                       
Your pain is overwhelming you. 
To the point where you cannot
And will not vanquish this millstone

That is crushing your self-esteem.                      

Spirits won't squelch the negative thoughts
You should have found another saviour.

Don't hide in an empty pink restaurant
You go there every night. It looks perfect
You let no-one in.  It's your home, right?

Trust: A  word foreign to you. For all you know
A hot meal may be served. You see food
As the breeding ground. Accompanying freedom.

You turn your back on me. 
Climbing onto the ledge on an infamous bridge
You soar like the wind. Wafting winds on a February morn


You have flown away at long last. Sailing into hell I hope.
My job was to make certain that the man who betrayed me
Would never see daylight again.  

Rule Number One: Never turn your back on a stranger.
My first assignment has been a burning success!
And the kid never saw it coming. He was a loser anyway.

I'm finally free! No longer anyone's puppet.                                      

..................... I hate it.

Lonelyheroine. 2017



                                        

Pulling At the Seams

Haunted one,                           
Wearing a bodice
Full of sharp, angry buttons.

They enclose you
Holding sweet, mortal pain
Close to your swollen chest

Struggling to free yourself
The outer casing rips
Tearing a ragged hole

Where your heart should be.         `
                             


Frustration Overload


I tried to tell you this was so wrong.
But you went ahead and did a lot of it.
Are you proud of yourself now?
Does it make you more of a man?

It's not enough that you killed my dog.
Though that alone would cost you dearly.
You destroyed all that I worked so hard for.           
And you wore your sense of entitlement

Am I angry? Furious & livid beyond belief
These emotions fit me like a freshly ironed shirt
Guilt's a veritable cornucopia: You kissed the Pope
Or so you say. You're not even Catholic!

As if absolution would cure you. Nice try.
What's truly inside your withered body
Wrinkled beyond comprehension?
Here's a mirror you've been hiding behind.

Why should I be your saviour? Why not the Pope?
Look, I could continue this laconic litany of insults
But I'm tired. Break the damned mirror you coward
Because you hate the image you see reflected back to you.

       





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The gifted, kindly
And compassionate souls
 Are the ones who pay the heavy price
Of being different. It's been going. Forever.

But, you knew that millstone existed

All too well 

That hatred and bigotry have accelerated
To the point where an apex has been reached.

We love you. And that love carries no expiry date
Unlike many others, only hanging around you
Because you're famous. Those  talons
Are  squeezing you like the jaws of death
    
So eager to draw celebrity blood from 
Just about everyone whose faces
Are tattooed by the Master himself

The only way you can take back                                                 
 Your dignity and search 
For that precious, coveted

Anonymity.

Lonelyheroine 
2017.
                                              






            Negativity Overload

Sadness, the painful enemy of joy                                   
Depression will take over any remnants
Of happiness that may have lingered
Do I make you angry? Am I hating you enough?

Shame is a wool sweater, soaked in alcohol
If you wrap it around you--a man swathed in rags
Will rip it off, twist the sweater tightly
And put it to his lips, extracting any booze

That may linger in the strands. He feels no shame
But you most certainly do.  You thrive on melodrama
You want attention. It couldn't be more obvious.
Someone who would have to be blind, deaf and dumb.

To waste fleeting time pandering to your noisy desperation.
It's as if reality has fled the scene.  One-way ticket to nowhere.
And now I see you've donned a patchwork quilt. Won't your
Granny be cross when she sees all the blood on her handiwork.

Lonelyheroine 2017.




             Tough Love

Please, I know when you are lying
You wear it like an old tie-dyed shirt.
Living in the past has been trying
But you're the only one that got hurt.

You may have fooled them all
You should have won an Oscar by this time.
Did you not realise that you'd take the fall?
Your naivete got you nailed for the crime.

One day, if you ever come up for parole
You'll shake off your shackles for good.
How do I know? We both own the same soul
And, like it or not, we're from the same neighbourhood.

How is it you never stand up for yourself?
Just what would it take to afford you self-love?
There should be more than just dust on your shelf.
Will you allow me to give you a much-needed shove?

Lonelyheroine 2017.
                                         
A scene from the video for Domino Dancing. A beautiful piece of film to accompany a song that's been used as what I call, "A Politically (In) Correct  bone of contention. I'll stop here and get off my soapbox.
Here's Neil, Chris and George Michael in this touching portrait. RIP George.
I've always been a bit spooked by this picture.  Freaky. Can you see what I mean?
Everyone needs a helping hand to bring them back to life before they die.
I like this picture, so I'm putting it here.



       
                                            
I don't know who the child is beside Neil, but it looks as if there's some kind of keyboard  lessons going on here.


Thursday, 24 August 2017

My Brother's Keeper

This past year had been extremely stressful and exhausting for Neil Tennant. It was 1988 and he was thinking that he was beginning to regret getting into the music business. Sure, there were a lot of perks that accompanied musicians who have what it takes to be a pop star, but the unending pressure and record company demands take some of the fun out of it. The sleepless nights are no picnic either. Damn you're a pathetic piece of work, Neil," Neil was standing in front of the mirror and talking to himself.

It was autumn, Neil's least favourite season. Everything was slowing down and dying: Tree leaves, which had the ability to be both brilliant and crumbling--bursting with beautiful colours that, seemingly overnight, tumbled to the ground, losing their lives and acquiring an ugly brown shade with the consistency of paper mache  Talk about a bubbly optimist.

 Neil glanced at his watch and realised that he was late for the music studio-----He was supposed to be an hour early, not the opposite. Chris met him at the door. "Have a rough night, Neil?" He noted the sun glasses and the very obvious sings of being classically hungover.

"No more than usual, Chris." Neil replied. Let's get to work."

"Work on what, Neil?"

"Erm, aren't we supposed to finish the album?  Shouldn't we get to the recording studio?"


"Who told you that?"

"Nobody had to say anything, Chris. Is this some twisted Abbott and Costello routine? Neil's nerves were starting to slowly shred.

Chris was annoyed and losing patience. "What are you talking about? You mean that comedy team from the dark ages of TV?"

"I'm done with this ridiculous conversation." Neil got up and left the room and the witty repartee  came to a close--for now anyway.

What Chris and everyone who knows Neil can attest, he had been acting strangely over the past several months now. He was demonstrating odd behaviour that was completely out of character.

Neil had grown ever more distant and introverted. Never a gregarious type to begin with, he was slowly realising that something might be wrong with him after all but had no idea what that was or how to fix it. He couldn't say anything to Chris, as he was quite annoyed at what he saw as an immature kid on the verge of a tantrum.

The next week, Neil appeared  less distraught, but still wasn't doing much of anything but sleeping most of the day and refused to talk to anyone, even Chris and his worried family. Chris had begun to refer to Neil as having "a zombie persona". It was rather mean and insensitive, but Neil didn't care. He didn't care about anything as the weeks clicked by.  He wasn't shaving or showering and often wore the same clothes for a couple of weeks or more.  He looked as if he slept in the park. Chris knew that Neil couldn't go on like this for the rest of his life and needed some kind of intervention. But Neil wasn't having it. Chris, look after your problems too instead of focusing on me."

Chris left, put off by Neil's obvious retort. It was the beginning of a terrifying journey into madness and Chris really didn't want to get in the way of whatever was quickly overwhelming his friend's crumbling psyche. That's it. Take the high road as always, Chris. Run for the hills. There's a madman around." Neil spun around and walked the five miles to his flat, only to find that he'd been robbed. Feeling as though his heart had taken a dive into his shoes, Neil just stood there and had no idea how to go about getting his belongings back. Instead of calling the police (which wouldn't serve any purpose anyway) Neil simply chose to ignore the whole mess and went to his unmade bed, diving beneath his quilt and staying there, away from everyone who had been talking behind his back and had likely been the bastards who robbed him blind as well. "I'm just going to keep the world as far away from me as possible.  I don't feel that society and all the crap that goes with it has much to offer me anymore, if anything."

End Of Part One

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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Don't Leave Me Twisting In the Wind



Toby Meyers had just turned sixteen. A happy and engaging young teen, he was blessed with an outgoing nature, good grades and a witty, if not dry, sense of humour.  Toby had the world by its tail, to quote a well-worn phrase (that should have been retired, along with "happy camper" "Don't go there" and "at the end of the day", to name a few. Good looking (albeit perhaps a bit too strikingly so) with large blue eyes, full lips and was tall and skinny. Aren't those positive traits, particularly because they are enviably big pluses that pretty well guaranteed a place at the popular kids' alter. So what went so terribly wrong? "The Most Likely To Succeed" followed him everywhere: The high school halls and the shopping malls welcomed Toby with wide open arms. That is, until it was disclosed that he was gay. The "kiss of death" for students who had pretended to be straight, happy and well-adjusted.  And it didn't take long before Toby was outed, by a relatively influential, "cast of demiGods who operated under the radar and sparked an all-out plan of attack."


Why does this keep happening? It's getting to the point where these suicides are becoming so
prolific that they don't have the alarming reaction of the media that  they did even ten years or so ago. What rankles me is that the wake-up: Teen suicide is an epidemic has been going on for decades, but not much is being done about the sad position we now have-- declining access to school counselors,  parents who ignore the sad fact that they may have ticking time bombs living under their roof , as they're too busy living their own lives and selfishly ignoring the cries for help. Why is that? Have we come to the uneasy conclusion that children are raising themselves? It certainly appears that way. I'm not saying that every mother and father out there are guilty, because that just isn't the case.  
****************************************************************************   

Yes, this is  very sad and disturbing and the worst part is that these attacks on gay kids are just getting worse. Now that social media has burst on the scene, the bullying and violence has reached epidemic proportions. Camera phones that take permanent pictures of gay youth and plaster them all over their school lockers. It's as though no progress is happening at all. The Stonewall riots have seemingly been for nothing. Online attacks on vulnerable and self-loathing girls and boys have escalated and will only get worse. Yes, I am being brutally honest. But, no matter how dark and hopeless the gay teens' lives have become, there is some modicum of relief and hope: It's not too late. 


Everybody Hurts
When your day is long
And the night                                      
The night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough
Of this life
Well hang on
Don't let yourself go
'Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes
Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone (hold on)
(Hold on) if you feel like letting go (hold on)
If you think you've had too much
Of this life
Well, hang on

REM






Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Reflection?

Do you hear that pitiful scream?
Or did it fly in and out of your ears again?
This dangerous dance we've been
Doing has worn out your welcome                 

Tired and disappointed.
Disillusioned--I'd have to be
The definition of wool-pulling
To have any compassion left for you.


Twisted and matted: Your heart's
Been in need of washing out by now
And stop the doe-eyed manipulation.
You need to learn, once and for all

That the world doesn't like to be tamed.
For years and years, I looked after you
Was tied up for years and years.
So what can you offer me? Nothing.

Self-absorbed---but not letting anything
Sink in. You're not a stupid person.
You simply lost the plot and now
That brittle landscape's already turned yellow.



After staring at his reflection in disgust and hatred

Neil grabbed a large rock and pitched it
Into that reviled and despised object of rage
Having done so. he then shattered into a thousand pieces

Leaving the mirror smugly intact.

**********************************************