Choosing My Battles: National Poetry Month, Day 22

This morning I opened the door to a man whose name I did not know. I met him a week ago when he & someone else brought a twin-sized mattress + box spring, bed frame & headboard into my home and proceeded to put it together. One stood in the doorway while the other quickly put the bed together. He left sawdust under the bed (& didn’t bother to tell me!) and the bolts on the bed were so far out from the bed, I though another piece of wood was meant to be there.

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I complained to the owner. He graciously sent the doorway hugger back yesterday, who profusely apologized, brought new bolts, a new work partner, and a great attitude. I asked him if he did side work. This morning, he came over, dressed to the nines: gleaming white cowboy boots matching white cowboy hat and cologne up the wazoo. He has to be hitting on 65 & he wears a wedding band. I had my “I have a beau whose moving here from Place X”-story ready to go. I asked him how his birthday went (his birthday was yesterday) and he proceeded to tell me how his birthday dinner at Red Lobster was ruined (1) because the food was cold and (2) and, most importantly, because the waiter was gay. “I don’t have anything against gay folks but they not serving me my food.” I kept out of it. He later returned to the ruined evening to say, “I had to call the manager & the manager was gay. Damn! I couldn’t catch a break!” He told me has a gay brother & he works with a lesbian. “I just don’t understand,” he said. I kept out of it. I hired him to put together some bookcases and a crib. I didn’t have the energy to fight with him or to “come out” in my home. Besides, what would he do if I told him the truth: “I’m queer and polyamorous.” No thank you.

A few weeks ago, Harvey L. Hix invited me to participate in a project in which he asked poets to respond to a quote by Adorno and one by Auden. I sat with these quotes for weeks, wondering if this was a battle I wanted to fight. I did. & I did. Here is the outcome.

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