Christopher Michael, gay, gay poetry

from sorrow to serenity

Nice Normal Family

I always wanted this story to have a different protagonist
where mom went to the looney bin
dad went to jail
sister did go to Italy
got knocked up by Vietnamese guy
had an abortion
all real hush hush, she was the good kid
I was inky black bad sheep
bah bah black sheep
we were so self-righteously decent
trying too hard to be white-bread Jews
in a not Jew world
why couldn’t mom have had a nice
middle class nervous breakdown
but…that’s my story

dad was a worker alright
gave his life to his accounting firm
him and mom slaving away for decades
taking vacations to get away from drudgery
trying to enjoy it while they’re young
being respectableputting those dollars aside
til they becomea substantial trust
left to me to spend fruitlessly
why didn’t dad just do crime
go to the joint?
at least it would have made a good story
I did it for him

we lived in a middle class 50s modernism tract
the model house for the ideal family
2 kids, a garage, no pets
working parents, crippled grandmother
I like to forget about her
that 5th wheel that doesn’t fit the plot
they were so normal
their neighbors gamboling way-too-late-in life pregnancies
their friends having affairs with their friends
we had slightly rampant alcoholism
workaholism and me
bah bah black sheep

we had assorted furnishings til the bank account grew
a client, a decorator lady and her gay assistant
turned our home into a nightmare of color
yellow, blue and orange
an orange carpet for fuck’s sake
all the wood furniture painted white
striped drapes with a daybed to match
this is Ozzie and Harriet on acid colors
it was very hip for middle class 2nd generation
Russian bourgeoisie
I look back at the garish nightmare colors
my own room a sanctuary where little
boys grow up to be little men
not ready then
not ready now to
face the oncoming parade

everything I know happened before I was born
Anne Frank was dead before I was born
the Americans liberated the Nazi death camps
before I was born
anti-Semitism was a long unpronounceable word
like antidisestablishmentarianism
all dead or dying before I was born
the dregs of that hate lasting me into this moment
hate still exists, fags try for normalcy, I
gave up everything to live this life
coming close to death, begging death to set me free
over and over
all that has nothing to do with being a nice Jewish boy
looking for a nice Jewish boy


One thought on “from sorrow to serenity

  1. Normalcy is relative. Trying to appear a little less queer is best achieved by blending in, even if that means redecorating with nightmarish colors. As odd as it all seemed back then, now you can see how it all interconnected.


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