Love is Time.
No doubt about that. To take someone else’s Time can be criminal.
In graduate school, and in life, I am always so conscious of occupying too much of someone’s Time. When someone gives me a ride home, I bolt out of the car before it’s even stopped. I don’t want to linger over a good-bye. I want the person to be free. No regret about the Time it took to drive me from Point A to Point B.
I do a lot of walking. Which is good; I need to lose twenty pounds.
In graduate school, I rarely made appointments with my poetry writing teachers. I envisioned them seconds before my appointment, scanning my manuscript, thinking “Didn’t he get enough feedback in workshop?” Once I would come in, they’d eye the clock every couple minutes, waiting for my cue that it’s OK to stop, to take his Time back. It didn’t matter if our conversation was useful. He had given me an appropriate amount of Time; he had given me love.
Perhaps my issue with Time is why I never became a painter. With poetry, you begin with the title and continue reading until you reach the last word. You know when it’s over. Same thing with film. You begin with the first scene and then finish with the ending credits.
Looking at a painting messes up the issue of Time. When does the experience end? You never know when you should stop looking. How long are you supposed to look at it so that you achieve the full aesthetic experience?
I never know. Years ago my partner and I went to an art galley together to see a new exhibition. I looked at him looking at the painting.
He got annoyed.
I tried to explain: “When do we know that we no longer need to spend any more Time with this art?”
“When your boyfriend walks away,” he said. And then he walked away.
Straight people need to understand the issue of Time is different for gay poets. A lot different.
Gay poets have less time to create the art they need to show the world. Almost all of us took Time coming out. We started late figuring out who we are. Or at least part of who we are.
I know I always feel like I’m making up lost Time. It’s as if during our adolescence, sometimes even longer, Time had stopped. And even after. Think about what we as gay men have to deal with. Negotiating our disclosure with family and friends. Securing our own comfort with our sexuality. Dealing with the less attractive aspects of the gay community. Finding a man who can offer a loving relationship. Or a string of successful cheap tricks.
That’s an incredible lot. And that’s not to mention how we deal with our Art. How does our new identity affect our writing? Even if we choose not to write about explicit queer material, things change. Change only occurs after Time. And Time, much to our own anxiety, ignores our pleas, refuses our Desire.
New poem in The Cortland Review
1 week ago