Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Like a Road Through Mountains"

This poem came out of the February 6, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] erulisse, [personal profile] manglefox, [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] mama_kestrel, and rix_scaedu. It also fills the "complex" square in my 1-31-18 You Are card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Damask thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Like a Road Through Mountains"

[Monday, October 6, 2014]


It's hard enough get a grip
on all this sex/gender stuff
when there's only one of you.

When you share a body
with five other people,
each with different tastes,
it's a whole lot harder.

Me, I like men well enough,
but it takes time for me
to get comfortable with
them, and college guys
aren't exactly made of
patience, so I haven't
gotten very far with it.


I just don't see what
all the fuss is about, myself --

a soul is a soul,
and the body is
no more important
in love than the clothes.

Well, I suppose that
some people care
a whole lot about
clothes, but I don't.


I know what I want,
the long clean lines of
another man's body

and I know how I want it,
hard and fast and heavy,

and I don't want to read
too much into it, because
my life is far too complicated
for words, let alone relationships.

The problem is, gay men want
a man's body too, but what they
can see me wearing is female.

Maronna mia! Who wants
to get mixed up in this?

So I'm not getting any.

Mira has gotten lucky
a few times, though,
with girls who like girls.


Even I like to be seen
sometimes, so I have
dressed up and gone out
to the coffeehouses where
all the Gender Studies
students hang out.

It's simple enough
to find another lesbian
who wants a quick fling,

or a college girl who hasn't
figured out what she is yet
and wants to indulge
her curiosity a bit.

Nothing wrong with that.

Maybe someday I'll want
a real girlfriend, but not yet,

not with a week-old baby
howling the house down in
the wee hours of the morning

and my nemesis-cum-housemate
cuddling up with Heron in
a relationship that not even
they can make sense of.

Our lives are nothing
if not complex.


When I think about sex,
I think about women,

but when I think about kink,
I'm not that picky, and

I think about kink
a lot more than
I think about sex.

For me, sex is a want
and kink is a need,
something I require
to keep ahold of myself
and gather the energy
to fuel my abilities.

I miss Pain's Gray,
because Urbanburg is
a long way from Motor City,
so we can't see each other
as often as we'd like.

Maybe someday that'll change.

My headmates may not
like what we do together --

they never like it when I
work with pain, unless
it's for their benefit --

but they won't go up
against Pain's Gray,
because he is formidable.

I don't have everything
that I want or need,
but I have hope,

and sometimes that's enough.


Even though being stuck
in a female body bothers me,
it's not as much of a barrier
to my personal life as it is for Ham.

I want men too, but I'm not
interested in sex, only romance.

Dace is taking a class in Figure Study
this semester, and he keeps inviting me
to come to Sketch Club with him at
the Frances Gearhart House.

They have an art studio in
the front room alongside the kitchen,
plus a reading room and multipurpose room
in the basement where they host
the Sketch Club meetings, and
then the bedrooms upstairs.

It's mostly artists and a few
of their friends, so they always
need more people willing to pose
instead of wanting to draw.

I don't mind sitting for
Dace and his friends, even if
I wish he could see the real me.

It helps to have friends, though,
when life seems like an Escher drawing
and you realize that maybe you are not
who or what you thought you were.

It's fun to hang out with artists,
who are colorful and energetic and
careful with where they put their hands.

I've even been up to Dace's room
a few times, where I've admired
the colorful paintings all over the walls,
some done by Dace and others by his roommate.

It's romantic to snuggle up beside
the fireplace in the living room
after the sketching is done
and pass around the popcorn.

I think Dace might ask me if
I want to pose nude some time.

I think I might even say yes.


There's nothing simple
about us or our situation.

It can be hard, and scary.

Sometimes my headmates
freak out about it, or each other,
or our love lives, or lack thereof.

As for myself, I am reading
A Streetcar Named Desire
in our Queer Theatre class,
and so I know better:

"A line can be straight, or a street,
but the human heart, oh, no, it's
curved like a road through mountains."

* * *


"What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains."
-- Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947

A Streetcar Named Desire is a famous piece of queer literature by Tennessee Williams. Queer theatre has a deep history and many modern examples.

The Frances Gearhart House is a small building run by the Art Department at Urbanburg University. It has dorm rooms on the upper floors and function space on the lower floors. The basement includes a reading room and a multipurpose room. On the main floor, the dining table is off to the right side of this picture. The living room is beyond the dining room and kitchen. The art studio occupies the front of the house alongside the kitchen. The second floor landing has a sitting area. This is Dace's dorm room.

maronna mia! – oh my God! (madonna mia!) [maa-ROAWN-aa-MEE-uh]
-- American Italian Dictionary

Figure study and figure drawing involve making art about the human body. There are simple and more detailed instructions for figure drawing. Here are some images for exercises.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, romance, weblit, writing

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