Gay Writes

Three poems

By Richard Clegg

Today I threw your slippers away
They’d slipped astray
Until I found them tucked away
Today       and
I recalled far away that day
I failed to slip them to your feet

You tipped askew
Instantly I knew
You’d slip away
From out my grasp
From out my wiles      and
Fall crumpled helpless
To the ice cold toilet tiles

We couldn’t win

You had to go        so        I had rolled
You to where we’d gone a hundred fold

You slipped

Now shit

Was everywhere
For I had surely failed your care
Failed to slip the slippers where
They should have been

I freaked!
A meltdown of Chernobyl proportions
Up shit creek
I flailed
I wailed
Bemoaning our misfortunes


Like a pup
I cleaned you up
With a tug
Pulled shorts up
With a rug
Wrapped you up

Warmly with a smile
Shielding you from the icy tiles
For what seemed an eternity before
Another helped lift you from the floor


I could roll you back from whence we’d come
To our slippery universe of unexpected shit
Of brain cells fried
Our rudderless ship
Of funeral talk
Of Dickenson and dirt naps
Of simple facts
Of love

In spite of all our pleas of “peace be still”
God’s will was done

You slipped away         and
At long last today

Like you
For good I slipped your slippers away


Befuddled old man mumbles on the bus,
Addressing someone, some think us.
Just a crazed aged geezer living his fuss.

He natters away with that visage he sees?
Elegant claws talk from long tattered sleeves.

Now smiling at someone, hair all a muss.
His eyes are elsewhere, that someone’s not us.

A radiant face, one cheek a soiled smudge.
His skin seems so silky, do I dare touch?

I now befuddled, hands not yet claws,
A death still raw and searching for cause
I mumbled myself while living my loss.

“Joined at the hip,” some said. God, we had fun.
A trip that at one point fate declared done.

While straining for truth in, “From dust to dust,”
He joined me from elsewhere there on the bus.

Crazed, I addressed him, one check a moist smudge.
Could he have responded, had I dared touch?

Amongst the wild wheat, clover, grass,
And dandelion remnants some time I did pass.
A dog barked, the birds sang the breezes did cry.
The sun bathed my body while naked lay I.

Webs spun, their work done, sweet spiders did dance
To their own silent music while I in a trance
Gave tacit approval as they flicked cross my face,
I sank, drank in drunkenly their sacred space.

My reverie broken, by what I thought a fly,
I plucked naughty grass blades who played with my thigh,
Honey bees hummed, Sunday church bells were run,
The gnats, like clouds swirled hiding briefly the sun.

A chopper thundered loudly, purpose unknown,
Joined with the gnat clouds and passed with a drone,
“Crime!” cried a car alarm far from my hill,
A reminder that other land waits for me still.

Gay Writes is a DiverseCity Series writing group, a program of SLCC’s Community Writing Center. The group meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, 6:30-8 pm, 210 E. 400 South, Ste. 8, Salt Lake.

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