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AC Benus

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Everything posted by AC Benus

  1. Hi and Welcome! This is an open thread, intended for poets to help one another on GA. It's not tied to any one piece, but a forum where we can exchange ideas, get feedback on a project we're intending to post, or one that's already up. Questions and advice are always welcomed, so don't be shy about stopping by now and again to say 'hey.'
  2. Gay Song One – quelle tragédie Note: for this series of postings, the term 'Gay Song' refers to music written to/for/by or about Gay men or women. A second category also deals with music identified as Gay because it speaks to the heart of the Gay Experience. So to make this easier, I will call them Gay in the 1st Degree (to/for/by/about), or Gay in the 2nd Degree (like Judy Garland singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow). --- My first selection is definitely Gay in the 1st Degree! We tend to think that LGBT issues were so taboo, regarded as so 'dark' and 'sinister' by straight-dominated society, that even the mere mention of 'it' would send people running for shelter and the soothing grip of their stolen motel-edition bible. Not true! The proof…? A little 1948 gem of a novelty song known as Queer Things, by Ruth Wallis. Please listen, and the conclusion is still the best advice today So, what do you think?
  3. Thanks for looking at my Gay Song series on my blog. I was just thinking of doing a fresh one today, a James Taylor tune ;)


    1. Zeke Pine

      Zeke Pine

      I took that trip back in time on the blog. Thanks.

  4. AC Benus

    Chapter 33: An Abject Low

    If there's one thing we've learned about Kohl, through the adventures of all these chapters so far, it's that he needs help making the 'right' decisions. Hmmmm, maybe a certain dirty-faced rustic god has been up against the same problem. interesting....
  5. Here's the semi-final draft of the poem I'v been working on. Eventually it will be the new No. 12 of the Lyrics for Kevin collection. Ballade des sens Sometimes a lost breeze will bring you to me, Simply because of its kinship to scent I find well-known; whose cleanliness can free The place in my mind where I keep you pent – Where your manly smell’s allowed to present The joys it feels like to be pulled to you Before any drop of passion is spent, So I might fall into your arms anew. Sometimes a guy will laugh a certain way – Settled, his bass resonance like your sound – Shimm’ring as lure in the manner you’d say It was time for us to be bedward bound; For there that note would great music expound From my framework ringing all through and through, When once my deepest parts your voice had found So I might fall into your arms anew. Sometimes the mere brush of the sheet’s enough To centralize memory’s closed sensation And your touch return, both tender and rough, Gripping me to heightened meditation, Ready to take your profoundest stroke too Where our pulses join in expectation So I might fall into your arms anew. Sometimes my eyes close to see more clearly, And when they do, I spy your little smile, The one you make and bite your lip merely To whet the edge of my want for awhile, Letting me watch your pleasure spread in style Hov’ring over my mouth, those eyes to view, Pausing as you enter to gauge my trial, So I might fall into your arms anew. What taste then over-washes my senses, Primal and fresh; primordial and bold; The essence of you without pretenses Sinks into me now like the days of old, Slaking my thirst where our lips are ensouled, But instilling a need that must make do When you flood only recollection’s hold So I might fall into your arms anew. Envoi: Kevin, my heart with your past seems all blent, But my sixth sense always trusts what is true, Knowing the light of your love never went So I might fall into your arms anew. _
  6. AC Benus

    Chapter 33: An Abject Low

    . Chapter 33: An Abject Low “You. Did. What…?” I held up the five one-hundred-dollar bills; they’d become moist lying on the blanket under the almond trees. “Half-a-grand, honey….” “Geeze. Un-fucking believable.” Despite my husband’s shock and anger, I couldn’t help but notice how cute he looked in his elotes uniform. The desert twilight, enveloping Crotones as the fiesta mellowed into an outdoor drinking symposium, bathed my boy and me in the room of our third-story posada. The town leaders had put us all up in a three-hundred-year-old hostel in the center of the city. “Look”—I tried a reasoning snicker on for size—“no point in getting yourself railed up. It was a flop encounter anyway. And. I’m sorry….” He paced the room, nearly glowing ghostlike as Gordon silhouetted his profile against the light of the open window. “It’s don’t get riled up; riled.” “So it’s ‘run out of town on a rile’…?” “No. Run out of town on a rail.” I blinked. “Same thing, right? Or close enough.” “It’s not.” He sighed. “Even what we perceive of as small differences matter.” “Um—” “It’s like this. So a cop pulls over a driver. ‘Sir, you failed to come to complete stop at that stop-sign back there.’ Driver laughs. ‘Big deal, officer. I slowed down, didn’t I? A slow-down is as good as a stop.’ The cop starts punching the man’s shoulder as hard and as fast as he can. Man says ‘Owww! Quit it!’ Cop says ‘Now, you want me to stop, or just slow down?’” I chuckled. “Cute story, babe.” “Oh, my God.” The frustration got the better of him. He placed hands on his chino-clad waist and strode up to me. His beautiful brown eyes were so full of hurt, I had to look down. He lifted up my hand with the cash. “Kohl, what the fuck. We don’t need money in this place, and we shouldn’t be hustling out in the open in such a small town. You’re exposing us to danger.” A part of me knew he was right. My boy – my wonderful man, my spouse – had always been much smarter than me. “Um—” “Don’t give me any more bullshit. I need to know what you are thinking.” I blurted in a well-rehearsed stream: “You’re right. It was for more than cash. I needed to see if the god cursed my dick for women too. I want to ‘prove’ myself, and maybe Priapus will allow it to work when—” My tirade had slowed with every single word until it came to an abrupt stop. The withering look of ‘cut the crap’ in Gordon’s eyes made me hesitate. “Kohl—” “It worked on Doris! I was just wanting to see if Estallida could give…yours truly a”—I had the distinct displeasure of realizing I was saying way too much—“blowjob, like on Catalina…behind Lloyd’s house.” He let go of my hand. Back to pacing, he exclaimed to the exposed rafters, “Unbelievable.” “But, I did. She was able to—” “Kohl.” There were nearly tears in his voice. “Let’s be truthful with one another. For God’s sake – the real, absolute truth.” “I don’t know what you mean, honey.” “I mean, for example, there is no way in hell Alcibiades rose a virgin from the philosopher’s bed, despite all the fake-ass whitewashing, and moralizing, and using it as an example of a bull-shit purity that does not exist.” “I get it. But, I told you my—” “Spare me the diatribe of ‘your truth,’ the one you’ve made up in your mind to make you comfortable – like Socrates’ supposed lack of a sex-drive. So, I’m asking you one more time to not give me the sanitized ‘truth,’ but to give me the real stuff and tell me what’s going on.” I sighed, hearing him completely and giving up my embarrassment. “Gordon, I wonder what part of me is still a man. Without that part of me, how much of me is real…? I’m desperate.” He lifted my chin to face him; the light framed the back of his head like a halo. “Being a man, Kohl, doesn’t mean, isn’t defined by sleeping with a woman. It’s shown by being a faithful person to the one you love. To the one who loves you – who has given up everything to be with you.” He started to cry, but his tears of rebuke were angry ones. “How right is it that you walk around, accusing me all the time of being a slut, when you’re the only one with real faithlessness in your heart?” “Gordon—” “No. No!” He regulated his thoughts and took a step back. Wiping his tears, he said plainly, “You wanna be a man, then let your husband fuck you. I need that connection too, Kohl, or maybe there is no you and me anymore. You won’t let me love you all the way, and yet you pimp your ass to some random woman! That’s disgusting. It makes you gross.” Internally, I agreed. I felt utterly disgraceful. Our door suddenly burst open. Behind it was female laughter; Cáliza and Squiffy sauntered in, the perfect picture of relaxed familiarity. “This is not a good time,” I told them. Ignoring me, and only smiling more broadly, both approached us. Squiffy held up the maid’s hand. In it, a plastic baggie held half a dozen little blue-green pills. It was the first time I’d seen a genuine expression on the TV cook’s face; a happy one. “What’s that?” Gordon asked tersely. “La mosca española.” I asked Cáliza, “What?” “The Spanish fly, my boy!” Wellington was so excited, he was ready to burst. “Here it is at long last.” “El Señor Esquiffy is right. This is the real estuff.” She opened the bag and displayed two of the encapsulated aphrodisiacs in the palm of her hand, telling me, “You must take it and wait twelve hours. Get a good esleep for it to take effect.” My husband asked, “What is she talking about, Kohl?” The maid copped a businesslike scowl for Gordon. “My mistress has already epaid and esspects eperformance in es-change.” Gordon turned to me, more anger flaring. “You agreed to see her again?!” “Oh…” I stammered, and then smiled. “Didn’t I mention that…?” Caliza said, “Have esex with her or epay back double the money. That’s what you esaid.” “Steady on,” Squiffy said in my defense. “No!” exclaimed Estallida’s servant. “It’s eput up, or eshut up time.” Gordon talked reason to Cáliza. “We’ll get you the money. Kohl, give back the five hundred now.” I hesitated, fingering the dirty wad of lucre still in my south paw. Glancing at my man, tragically, for just the briefest of moments, I lunged for the pills in Cáliza’s palm with my right hand. A split second later, they were traveling down my throat with an unpleasant burning sensation…. Because…I had swallowed them…. I couldn’t look my Gordon in the eyes. ˚˚˚˚˚ The next morning found me determined to make my re-scheduled attempt with Estallida a success. In my hand was a piece of paper Cáliza had given me. I checked the address again for the hundredth time looking for the place of my rendezvous. The house numbers were actually house names in Spanish: Casa cuerno de rinoceronte; Casa bulbo de orquídea; Casa filtro muscari. The sounds of the third day of the fiesta drifted to my ears. It seemed uncomfortable reminder of how mad my husband had been last night, but he was made even more so when I kicked him out of bed, explaining that I was worried the fly would kick in all of a sudden. I didn’t want his errant tickling of my side undercover to sap my strength, if indeed any had returned. I felt I had to prove myself, thready pulse and pounding headache be dammed. At last, I turned the corner and found the Casa de las ostras. Cáliza met me there with a wicked grin. “How is El Señor Pena today? The mosca help?” She glanced down suspiciously at my fly. I shrugged. “It feels, tingly,” I said, but then so did the rest of me. The maid took us to a darkened room with no windows and only one door. All the walls were draped in pleated black fabric; a single bare bulb hung from the ceiling. She sat me at a little table. On it were strange things to eat: a jar of honey still oozing from the comb; a plate of oysters; sliced avocado; figs stuffed with hunks of chocolate; watermelon; and most strangely of all, a bowl of red-hot chili peppers. Cáliza poured me a shot of tequila. I downed the glass, becoming aware of the maid putting something on my wrist. It was a broad leather cuff with sturdy stainless-steel rings. She poured me another, and I drank it while she did up my other wrist. Cáliza pointed to a stack of clothes. “Eput those on.” She left. I stood and discovered the term ‘clothes’ had been generous. All that was included was a pair of ankle cuffs, a leather harness and a pair of cod-less short-shorts. Dressing in the ensemble, I tried to stay focused on my agenda, but afterwards, felt funny about my dangly bits dangling out in the fresh air. I pulled my boxers on top of the fetish-dudgeon lederhosen. There was a sound behind me; Estallida. “Well – my deedless dandy, my featherless cock, my smothered flame – have you brought all of yourself to play with today?” The woman was in a black spandex one-piece: long sleeves, but cut low in front. The floor clicked beneath her knee-high stiletto boots, strapped with a half-dozen buckles, each. For accessories, a silver and turquoise belt hung loosely about her slender waist and broad hips. Around her neck was a string of black pears. I chuckled. “Do the best of your work, señora. Don’t ask me to tell; rather give me a try for yourself.” In truth, the charm of this seductress I’d felt under the almond blossoms was greatly diminished in this dingy sex vault. ‘Stay focused,’ I reminded myself. She picked up something from a bench. “Be careful what you wish for. Present your neck.” Gulp. I did, and the matron placed a studded leather collar on me; a chain was attached, and she maintained a firm grip on my leash. She tugged it and drew me backwards to the wall. “Um—” She lifted one of my hands, and clipped the cuff to an iron ring revealed beneath the wall-fabric. “Um…. Maybe—” “Do you believe in fate, Kohl?” I couldn’t answer; couldn’t think. I simply watched her as she attached my other wrist to the wall. “Um—” Estallida laughed sharply and clapped her hands. Cáliza entered pushing a rattling medical cart. On it were ‘toys’ of the most non-innocent type: clothespins; a leather flogger; dick cages; a dildo chastity belt; an e-stim apparatus with dangly wires and sticky pads for the skin. However, most sobering of all was down below, for taking up the entire bottom shelf was a bullwhip coiled like the devil himself around the tree of knowledge on the day of Creation. It lay in wait for its mistress to unwind and use its multi-forked tongue on Man – on me! “Um. This is not what I had in mind. You can let me go now—” “¡Silencio!” Estallida screeched in full dominatrix mode. The women bent down and attached a wooden bar between my ankles, clipping it in place and making my stance uncomfortably wide and helpless. Estallida then picked up a huge pair of scissors, like the kind used to shear bolts of tailoring fabric. I didn’t want to look as she strode up to me, but tugged my chain hard and forced my head down to her task. “Don’t….” I felt the frigid bite of metal against my inner thigh. She cut away my drawers. She stepped away, leaving me relieved but also as cold as Greenland in spring down there. “Let me go. This is not the way to rouse yours truly.” “No? This is the way normal men get turned on, when an estrong woman takes control.” Gulp. ‘If so, then those poor straight buggers,’ I thought. Funny thing was, this woman – who in dappled sunlight rose ‘magic’ enchantment in me – now became a bruja of horrifying ordinariness. She was older and more wrinkled than I let myself see in the beginning. This was no Doris II; Estallida was the kind of girl a guy marries in the blindness of lust, and then gets home only to discover the girl’s mother has moved into his bed. She came up to me, applied her lips to mine and aggressively pushed her tongue in my mouth. I again had flashes of Prussia projected on the back of my closed eyelids, but they didn’t help! Estallida’s hands were like potato mashers against my chest, tummy and thighs. The fury of her sloppy smooches became vacuum-like and robbed me of air. I grew light-headed. At long last, foreplay at an end and me gasping, her palm laid on my noodle, which was as flaccid as any Republican’s moral stance. The woman was furious. She stood back, akimbo, and berated me. ”¡Puto! You esissy man – or half an esissy man! You disgust me, faggot.” Cáliza took her mistress’ hate-speech hard. Through welling feelings of anger and self-loathing, I held Estallida’s stare. “You’re right. When I agreed to try and have sex with a woman, it’s about the gayest thing I ever did in my life! So excuse me, Hautia. If I can’t get it up for a harpy slut, it’s because I’ve hurt the one I love to even try to fuck a publicly traded commodity like you!” The woman was stunned, grumbling: “¡…el puto malo…!” Estallida picked up the cat-o-nine-tails with slow deliberation, stroking the long tendrils of punishment. Each leather strip was tipped with a cruel-looking metal stud – a pointy cone facing up, and flat metal rivet on the back. She struck me. The stainless steel dug into the flesh of my lower back on the left side, and then raked forward to the searing stripes she had just raised on my tummy. She went at me again, this time doing the same motion, but breaking the skin over my right kidney. I wanted to flinch, become angry at the injustice, but I couldn’t. Instead, as Estallida grew more reproving with each flog and hit me harder and harder, I glanced up and held my tongue and tears. In my mind’s eye, I saw my Gordon doing this to me, and accepted every bitter lash as a mild form of retribution, considering all the pain I’d put him through. The woman’s breathing resounded with exertion as she cracked me the hardest yet. She’d moved lower and hit my upper thighs and backside. Cáliza looked distressed now and cleared her throat. Her glance to Estallida caused me to hold my tormentor’s eyes as well. The boss-lady appeared furious. “Why don’t you cry, puto! Why don’t you act faggotty, whine and whimper like all the rest of your kind and beg for me to stop? You think you some kind of man and can take it!!” I swallowed the lump in my throat, knowing I was not going to snivel for the likes of her: a stranger, a meaningless nobody to me or my story. Nevertheless, I did tell her the truth. “Do your worst. My penance is not you, but to my beloved husband. Whatever misery you cause me, I know I hurt him worse.” “All right,” Estallida said like cracking ice. “You want to hurt worse, I can help you with that.” She frowned towards the bullwhip, letting the bloodied flogger drop to the floor by her stiletto boots. Cáliza arrested her employer’s motion to the cart. “Enough, señora. You knew he was a-gay right from the beginning, so just let him go.” Estallida, more incensed that ever, made a clicking sound with her mouth and bent to pick up the whip anyway. Cáliza immediately snatched it out of the other woman’s grip. “I esaid no! This low-aclass man whore is epunished enough. Now, let him go.” She curled up the leather snake and hid it behind her back. The dominatrix retorted sarcastically: “Want me to let him go…. How about this, eh, Cáliza…? I let you both go. Get out. You’re fired!” Estallida plodded out of the room, her heels sounding loudly on the hard floor. At the door, she paused and shouted at the top of her lungs for more servants. Cáliza quickly undid me, but not before four burley men of the casa pounced and dragged us to the front door. A horrible thump later, we were lying in the middle of the street, and one of the men dumped my clothes into the muddy gutter. Still in the fetish gear, bruised, bloody and nearly naked, the passersby howled with laughter while I crawled over the unforgiving cobbles to find my trousers. ˚˚˚˚˚ An hour later, the sounds of the town’s fiesta still drifting in through the window, I was back in our room alone to lick my wounds, both physical and those to my stupid ego. I tried to drive the repulsive notion out of my head that this is how poor straight bastards feel every time they have to debase their pure manly energy just to copulate with a female. It was enough to make me shudder, so I did. Once thrown out of the Casa de las ostras, a tearful Cáliza moved off mumbling something about the washed-up TV host; I didn’t pay too much attention, for she was gone quickly. And hurriedly was the way I had to dress in the middle of the street too – just slamming my clothes over Estallida’s bondage outfit. Then I ran as best I could to our inn barefoot. At the front desk, the woman seemed concerned, pointing to her cheek, so I guessed there was a cut on mine. I told her I was sick and asked everyone to stay away. “¿El Señor Grayson también?” “¡Sí! Especially him….” I ran away before I started bawling from shame. An hour ago, I had wiped the blood off the nick on my cheek, and stripped to finally be rid of the woman’s restraints. I saw plenty of bruises starting on my body, and was relieved to think they, like my internal anguish, would be easy enough to cover. Now I sat on the floor, wearing a set of sweatpants and a tee-shirt, and gaping mindlessly out the window to the desert-blue sky. The weirdest notion yet entered by beleaguered brain; I scrambled to my knees, folding hands together, and casting meek eyes to the all-seeing ether, prayed: “Oh, you – powerful god – if it was faith You sought to drive home in my heartbeat, I humbly beseech you to hear my plea. Priapus – delight of Bacchus and Nymphs, Still secretly adored in wooded places Where your power has never been questioned By the mistrusting minds of modern man – Great Blue One, lend attentive ears to me, For though nothing about me is sinless, You have feebled me, drove me as exile, For an affront I did not mean to give, And are not the ignorant meant to be shown A loving leniency once the lesson Is taught, and the supplicant shows remorse? Such a one am I. Debasement now beats Throughout the shambles left of my being, And yet, I cling to hope for one reason; That the joy so long delayed between me, And the boy who so patiently endures, Will be rewarded in ultimate bliss. For that reason, not for my own selfish Outcome in this miserable twilight Of being only half a shell of a man, I say: ‘Do your worst, but after, forgive. The only hope of Man is that our gods Are more absolving and perfect than we.’” Settling back on my haunches, I began to feel angry. What injustice never leads to frustration and spite? Where’s reason now if by complaining we ease our discomfort – but do the blind curse their feet; do the lame, their eyes? Do actors on stage cover their ears when they see a horrible sight? Do dentists speak of moral decay into their patient’s mouth; the shamster preacher of the importance of flossing to his flock? No. So why blame god when my prick is at fault; why pretend I have anything to blame other than the offending member? I pulled down my waistband, exposing the object of my disgrace. After smacking it a few good times, I addressed it thus: “And you, coward, who at one time I could depend upon to stand Suited up and armed to the teeth, Ready to charge into battle; You who cried courageous mottos: ‘Hold back and fire only when The whites of the eyes you can see’; ‘Damn torpedoes, full steam ahead’; And no divebombing Zero could Rend the air with a more frightening Shout of ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’” I beat my Benedict Arnold some more. “But now see your disgraceful state! How like a Sherman tank are you: One with its gun turret pulled in; Or like a cowardly army, Sent into total disarray, Retreating into the safety Of your all-protecting ‘helmet.’ Your stiffened spine has now become Limp macaroni, so I should Pluck and stick a white feather in your cap, Set you on a pony and give a slap.” A key sounded in the door. I quickly crawled into bed and pulled the covers up to my chin. Gordon entered with a tray; he was in his roast-corn uniform. He set it down, and said while closing the door, “They told me you are sick. I brought soup and some bread.” He sat on the bed. Never was my husband’s caring nature on more annoying display. He touched the top of my hand. “You want to eat?” I shook my head, drawing my hand out of his grasp and placing it below cover. Now he looked concerned and a bit of a shield appeared. “How did it go with that woman?” Gordon must have already heard about my public humiliation. Was he just rubbing salt into the wounds? Angry, I said, “Fine. You’ll be happy to know I could not perform—” “Kohl. Please.” “No. You asked. You should get the details.” “I don’t want details.” “Then what do you want?!” I demanded to know. “I was wanting to be left alone.” He was silent for a while. A tear formed, which oddly only hardened my heart. “I’ll go then—” “Tell me one thing though.” “Anything, Kohl. I have no secrets from you.” “That night – the night – you ran away from yours truly to fuck around with Assauer, was he content to leave you alone, or did he take his pleasure away from you by force?” He stood up, shocked and unhappy. As he paced, one hand was on his beltline while the other shielded his eyes in a gesture of disbelief. My inquiry had sapped all the good humor out of the boy who’d arrived so jovially. “What exactly is it you think you are doing, Kohl? I know this can’t be easy on you, but how much do you think I can take? Look around. I’m the only one who cares enough to be in your life anymore.” I sat up in bed, pissed off and picking road-dirt out of my nails. “Maybe it’s your devotion to me that beggars the imagination.” “First of all, it’s ‘buggers the imagination,’ and secondly, is that your honest opinion? Really. You can’t understand why I’m here?” I shrugged. “Does opinion really matter?” He walked up and looked over me in bed. “Well, what I think is you’re playing a game, trying to mislay blame by acting the fool. And trust me, there’s nothing more deceitful than a ridiculous opinion.” My silence made him stomp off. But as he was leaving, he paused in the doorway to tell me, “And by the way, to answer your question – no force was needed.” SLAM! Tears came. I wondered what in the hell I was doing…. Just heaping more hurt onto my boy…. I’d come to an abject low, not knowing how things could be worse, or which way to turn. Then, in a sudden, inexplicable flash of clarity, I realized why Crotones’ spring church had always been vaguely familiar to me. I rose out of bed, drawn by the drifting smell of good food and the sounds of fiesta music to stand by the window. Through my blinding tears, I could look across town and see sunlight glinting off the structure’s dome. From this distance, the building atop its manmade hill, I was able to recognized the place from my Priapus dream. ‘Maybe,’ I thought, as I wiped my eyes with a forearm, ‘he has been leading me to this spot the whole time.’ _
  7. A holiday-worthy O. Henry Short Story Prompt is now live! :yes: ;) :yes:



    1. Parker Owens

      Parker Owens

      I saw it! No ideas yet, but a great stimulating holiday prompt...

  8. AC Benus

    Chapter Three: Know Thyself

    Fascinating. So, Mike and Shelly were friends during the time Mike's memory was wiped? I assume that was he was in the house when Rocky arrived. That seems pretty close for exes to be together, and more importantly, must have been emotionally rough on Shelly. Another well worked out installment, and I'm still curious about all the relationships. Looking forward to the next chapter
  9. Just completed a very special O. Henry story prompt for the upcoming holiday season. Be sure to look for it; it'll be up soon :yes:

    1. Mikiesboy


      Yay...are Canadians allowed? Hehe

    2. AC Benus

      AC Benus

      *scratches head* don't Canadians have Christmas...? ;') 

    3. Mikiesboy


      Hmmm i thought you meant thanksgiving 😁

  10. AC Benus

    Dead-Composers Society

    Following on the heels of our 'Live-Poets Society' over in the Writer's Corner, I thought we'd do something similar with classical music. The goal of this thread is to share videos on classical music we like. The idea is to introduce our fellow enthusiasts to pieces and composers we may or may not have heard of. Post a link to a video with a few words of introduction; mainly along the lines of who and how the piece interests you personally. Naturally, I encourage feedback on what others post, and suggest we all keep an open mind [[needless to say, the composers do not have to be deceased, lol, but it may help]]
  11. AC Benus

    Dead-Composers Society

    Something for a Sunday Allegri's miserere mei
  12. AC Benus

    Salix Bablyonica 3 - Cracks Appear

    Sorry, Cole. I need to get back on track with my reading, first and foremost with "Willow."
  13. AC Benus

    LGBTQ Anthems

    Verse 1: What'd you expect? War of cultures, everyone disgraced by it, shown disrespect, torn by vultures, locked by their own kind to it, category, or coterie, slammed by the law just for it, told how to feel, told it's not real, told to just grin and bear it? But never mind, for we're proud, and enjoy being loud! Chorus: We're in the Life, marching to our own drum, while they plod by, lockstep to appease, ignoring the world's wonders for scum, stuck in a sty of banalities. We're so lucky, our feelings walk with rights and never have to act that dumb, for we love the thrill of purple nights – In the Life, marching to our drum. Verse 2: Then let us be, keep your moral flame, on yourself just use it; we, you hear me, were born the same, so go agonize about it. But anyhow, string us up now and you'll come to regret it; we're brave and will dance on your grave, 'cause soon, you hear, it'll be worth it. When we've taken our rights like all the others, we'll end our pain like true sisters and brothers! Chorus: We're in the Life, marching to our own drum, while they plod by, lockstep to appease, ignoring the world's wonders for scum, stuck in a sty of banalities. We're so lucky, our feelings walk with rights and never have to act that dumb, for we love the thrill of purple nights – In the Life, marching to our drum. _
  14. AC Benus

    LGBTQ Anthems

    Das lila Lied https://www.gayauthors.org/story/ac-benus/pride-month-and-other-haibun/6
  15. AC Benus

    Chapter 24: “Fish, Flame or Worm”

    Thanks for leaning into this chapter... It seems life is a SOB sometimes...well, almost all the time. The adventure continues, as you say. Another hug for reading
  16. Thank you, Twisted. I wanted people to feel as if this were happening to them. That way, in my opinion, it makes Gordon's words and actions all the more real at the end. I was going for a big climax. Thanks again for reading
  17. How indeed.... *wink, wink; nudge, nudge*
  18. "Coming this October to the Kern Theatre, it's Jason, the Musical! Get your tickets now."
  19. Almond groves in full bloom
  20. Poetry dribbled from her lips like drops of pancake syrup:


    “Jove, just a ray of golden light,

    Fell upon Danaë’s tender skin;

    He, the mightiest bull in sight,

    Europa’s resistance wore thin;

    While to Leda, a feathered kite,

    He sailed a swan to her chagrin.


    Thus each fell prey to mortal sin,

    But sank through heavenly delight.” 



  21. AC Benus

    Chapter 32: High-Life on the Public Peso

    . Part Ten – Spanish Fly Chapter 32: High-Life on the Public Peso BANG! A little black powder singed the air, for it was fiesta time in Crotones. The sounds of the fireworks punctuated the dance music and stomping feet coming from the main stage. The crackle of light in the sky blended with the colorful flashes from the costumes in motion. Sadeeq, Squiffy and I stood watching from one end of the public plaza in the center of town. It was a good place to observe sights, sounds and smells, for indeed, luscious scents drifted our way from the adjacent food concessions. “¡Bienvenido amigo!” The nine-hundredth person of the day hailed Sadeeq as wonderful. The poet had been continually glad-handed by hungry-eyed men drifting past us as they got closer to the dancing and festivities. Sadeeq turned a sly leer on us. “This place is amazing! All the locals are throwing their daughters – and sons – my way with prospects of marriage. Although being married to my Art as I am, I know what a tricky spouse I’m already committed to. Poetasters, who would rather flirt with it than bed down with it for the long haul, jot down a few lines and smugly think they’ve changed the world. Sadly, the urge to poeticize has led many a young man astray.” I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, you would know all about being a stray.’ I changed the subject. “So, Squiffy, how goes the search for the Spanish fly?” “It’s proving very elusive, old chap. Everyone keeps harping upon the fact that it can kill, as if that has any bearing on my obtaining it.” “People are like that,” Sadeeq added, apropos of not very much. He probably wasn’t listening anyway; I hate it when people do that. The dancing crescendoed. Applause followed, and then the master of ceremonies went to the microphone and raised his hand in our direction. Sadeeq was being called forward to the stage. Several hundred faces from the crowd turned to us, and Amergin copped a ‘humble poet’ attitude, complete with a double-handed clutching at his heart. He savored the moment as he made his way through the adulations being piled on thick. Once on stage, he said “Gracias,” and started to recite in Spanish. It was a companion piece to his Reykjavik Rainbow called the Berlin Wall Across the Mexican Border. I was glad I did not have to hear it again in English. “Oh, there’s nothing I abide with less leniency,” muttered the has-been TV chef. “Bad poetry?” “No, no, dear boy – false modesty.” He had a point there. Squiffy continued, “Do pay attention. You see, I’ve gave it some thought and found the perfect analogy.” I waited for him to address his own rhetorical point. “Dogs.” “Dogs?” I asked shrewdly. “Like the kind that seem to ‘hound’ you everywhere you go?” “Precisely. Witness how I lived in a tequila vat because it was cozy to me. As long as I have a wee dram to tipple now and again, and a dry place to bed down eventually, I can eschew the trappings of success – house, car, clothes, family, wealth, fame, fine food – women – you name it.” Out of the corner of my eye, I observed one of the Crotones strays drifting through skirt hems and ankles, slowly making his way to my philosopher-savant companion. “And the dog part of it?“ I inquired mildly. The hat came off for the briefest of seconds, just long enough for him to slick back his badger hair. “Do try to keep up, young man. The canine contingent of the aphorism is this: Humans overthink all the best gifts of Fortune, Nature, God – you name it. But in contrast, dogs live at ease in the present, without anxiety. Thus, they have no use for money, medicine or ‘psychopathic help,’ bless ‘em. Dogs are a shameless race, not because they know they are superior to all modesty, but because it’s no show with them.” The wondering homeless mongrel arrived as if on cue to sniff at Squiffy’s heels As I knew he would, this cynic shooed the mutt away with a tidy little kick, muttering, “Be gone, you worthless blighter.” He rambled on with more of his sophisms, but I tuned him out, just as I had done with Sadeeq’s poetry over the loud speaker. Instead I surveyed the lay of the land. The spring church was on a hill to the right; steps looking suspiciously like the recycled stairway of an Aztec temple led up to a stuccoed edifice surrounded by a wall. All painted in white, with coral accents along the cornices and central dome, it shone in the desert sun. The plaza where we stood was tidy and roomy enough for the whole community to gather, like now, for the Fiesta del El Azul-Verde. I considered how well we’ve been treated the week we’ve been here. Gordon and I used Gay soap-opera worthy aliases – my boy becoming the adorable Grayson Hewitt, and me, his husband, Mason Hewitt. Why Sadeeq and Squiffy didn’t cough up fake names the minute we got here, I shall never know, especially seeing how the poet came up with a grift. Our town’s hospitality is based on Amergin conning them into thinking he’s waiting on a huge insurance payoff because of the shipwreck. If caught, I’m sure the poet will point fingers at us faster than a crow can fly south out of town. And now I thought about it nervously as I spotted Gordon helping out at the grilled corn-on-the-cob stand. ‘When you live outside the law, you’re just waiting for the other flip flop to drop.’ Finally one of Sadeeq’s endless quotables came in handy. Again, this one was from his beloved Burnaby: ‘Heavens! How ill it fares with wicked lives; They ever expect a fate they despise.’ Squiffy interrupted my musings. He jostled my elbow and gestured out over the sea of people. “They’re all biting their tongues at Sadeeq’s horrible Spanish.” He laughed. That was the teapot calling the toaster black. However, I was glad I didn’t speak Spanish so I could avoid the mad poet’s ramblings for at least half the time. Among us, Gordon’s language skills are the most natural, because he grew up with it as a necessity for the nursery. Sadeeq’s ability was good enough to make people groan and roll their eyes behind his back, which, let’s admit it, is exactly what people did with his English. To his face, these Crotonesians praised him effusively, or at least enough to make him exclaim: “¡Respetan a los poetas aquí!” Gordon translated it as ‘They really do respect poets here.’ The irony was that Sadeeq – a grifter himself – was oblivious to all of these pretend artsy-fartsy types just grinning and bearing with his babbling because they were counting on a payday. I glanced back to the failed TV celeb. As for Squiffy Wellington, his was the worst among us, speaking a ghastly Queen’s English type of Spanish that made even me cringe. I told Squiff, “The con is one thing, but I wish Sadeeq hadn’t told the town to put us up on the public peso, and in exchange, he’d make Crotones famous with his verses on the internet. The people are seeing tourist dollar signs anytime they spot one of us.” “And, dear boy…?” “And, attention is not always a good thing.” He gaped wide-eyed at me like I’d just blasphemed. The truth was, this curse was like an excess of divine attention, and I longed for the day when ‘the gods’ went back to not giving a flying fuck about yours truly; I much prefer the bog-standard godly apathy that we’re so used to. Such hopeful thinking again brought me back to Gordon. His job was simple: once the corn was grilled, he brushed on white, American mayonnaise from a jar, liberally sprinkled with crumbled dry cheese – rather like a mild Mexican version of Feta – and served the elote to a smiling customer. It makes my boy happy to be useful, and thereby fills my heart with joy. For a lark, I quizzed Squiffy. “What do you think of elotes?” His face contorted into a sour pucker. That’s what I thought he’d think, but none the less, it’s real and honest Mexican food, which contrasted sharply to the haute monstrosities served at Tre-Princely Knight’s dinner. Sadeeq on stage came to a particularly dramatic lull in his epic recitation, and paused for the captive audience to gasp/applause/whatever. A few did, and he was satisfied. Squiffy and I scanned the faces of the crowd for sport. Most appeared bored and had plastered-on smiles as they faced the bard on the boards. One exception was a very old woman who leaned on a broom of acacia switches and openly derided Sadeeq’s performance with expressive arm and hand gestures. “Look at her,” Squiffy said close to my ear. “Bless her, the hoary old harridan. I bet she’s seen the likes of us come and go by the score – i.e., as the Yanks might say – she knows the score.” While we were thus watching, a pretty girl approached us through the assembly. She came to a rest by my right side, hands immediately going to her hips as she candidly appraised me up and down. “Why, ¡hola!” Squiffy said, oil dripping from his tone as he reached across my chest to shake her hand. She did not take the philosopher-savant’s mongrel paw. Instead, she told me flatly: “You look like acheap man-whore.” “What?!” “Yes, yes…” Her accent wasn’t Mexican, it was more elaborate and spicy in the vowels. “Look at you: no hair out of eplace; eyebrows epainted on; acruising looks; estudly gait like you got huge cohones. You’re a hustler walking, and I acan espot your kind a mile away.” Getting hot under the collar, I retorted: “You’re mistaken, sweetheart.” My non-chivalrous companion simply said, “Squiffy Wellington, at your service, señorita. And what might your name be, most bewitching creature?” “Cáliza. From Puerto Rico. Don’t aconfuse me for one of these Mexicanas.” She resumed taking my measure with disapproving eyes. “I work for a rich family here, and my ama de casa – my how you esay, mistress-lady-boss – she has a taste for gutter trash.” “And what’s that got to do with me?” I wanted to know. Her eyes grew round with mirth. “Oh! El señor e-fiesty. Bueno. She’ll like you. Esee, esome women have the wild extravagancia to be in love with filth. They acan’t help it. For them, when the bullring is full of men on esaturday, they achoose the rough lover of the nose-bleed eseats, with his dirty face and oaken estaff, over all the gentlemen in the boxes with their metro-esexual”—she wiggled the tip of her finger—“tooth-epickers.”[1] I shrugged. “I don’t think I’m what your lady-boss is looking for. Just tell her I said I’m unworthy.” “No, no. I am her maid, and know what she likes. You’re eperfect. Acheap and acheerful. You esee, when you will esay ‘I am unworthy,’ you turn my lady on even more. The more a estreet-walking boy, the better. If you are eselling what she wants, we are a buyer. If you are rich and giving it away for free, eshe’s waiting in line already.” “Um—” I started “As for me, I epersonally only esleep with wealthy men, esoldiers above the rank of acorporal, and…” She drew out the end seductively, laying big brown eye-flutters on Squiffy for the first time. “Los acelebrities.” The TV host immediately straightened the lank frame in the slack confines of his linen suit, and twisted his dusty tie a tad. Warming to the comedy afoot, I grinned and asked Cáliza, “Now tell me the truth, are you the one really so in love with me?” She doubled over with laughter, leaning across me to get support from Squiffy’s arm. Our personal noise and commotion was enough to draw the attention of Gordon. Seeing his questioning glance raised a spark of a notion in me. I gently latched onto Cáliza’s shoulder. “And is she ready, this lady of yours?” “Sí.” “Where?” “Not too far. We acan walk.” “I’ll want $500, up front.” The shred maid pulled up a fat roll and peeled off five hundred-dollar bills from the top. “Dear boy,” Squiffy said, sounding genuinely alarmed. “What about your hus—” I hushed him silently. When we turned back to Cáliza, she’d taken out her phone and sent a text. "Bueno. You acan follow me.” “Me as well?” inquired Squiffy with hangdog sincerity. The woman’s brows flared. “Sí.” She led us out of the busy plaza, with me giving one final, compassionate look to my boy. As soon as we left the center of town, the streets were completely abandoned. Everyone was at the fiesta, and the sounds of the renewed dancing hovered in the still air like an ambient haze. She took us to a bolted door set within a high adobe wall. Knocking three times in a certain way, the iron-strapped portal opened from within, and a security guard let us in. To my amazement, the wall I’d just passed through surrounded an immense orchard of mature almond trees. Right now, delicate white blossoms filled the blue sky to the horizon, and along with high desert clouds, bees buzzed in the air as if already drunk on pollen. The maid took us to a patch of grass not too far from the entrance. The older man at the gate had returned to his rickety chair, pulled his hat over his eyes and snoozed again. Cáliza stopped. “Señor Wellington and me will wait here. You go on.” “Go on, where?” She gestured vaguely, towards the deep run of trees. “Just estart out. Estallida, my mistress, will find you.” I reluctantly left, wondering if this was a set-up of some kind, mystical or otherwise. Starting to venture beneath the canopy of blossoms, I shed one final look and saw the firecracker maid settling down on the grass with the washed-up TV presenter. I moved slowly amidst the tree bark, straining my ears for any sound not coming from the sky-echoing festival. Around the bend of one tree, I spotted a cloud of white fluttering close to the ground, and went towards it. A woman – and what a woman – was dressed in lace and reclining with legs tucked on a large blanket. Enchanted by her beauty, for such I felt, each step bringing me closer to her filled my head with notions of how the arts would fail. Painting: would fail to capture her animate spirit in oils. Sculpture: would come short in portraying her noble bearing. Poetry: could only mangle her beauty on an unworthy rack of gilded words – and I’m fucking Gay! Almost as if in a dream, I glided down and sat on the picnic blanket across from her. “Estallida, what are you?” I asked. “Just a woman; a woman who fancies a strong young man.” She smiled, and it was like the moon breaking free of clouds in all her beauty. If I had looked around the groves for statues of men frozen in action, I would now have been surprised. However, my eyes never left Estallida. A shadow of doubt obscured her face. “But the young man I desire is, alas, already married to another. I would not be homewrecker to the lovely Gordon for all the world, Kohl.” My mind reeled a second; she’d caught me off-guard. “But,” I said at last, “I imagine you are married as well, and – well, and, what the gander does not know won’t hurt the goose.” “How exceedingly clever you are.” She moved closer to me, stalking my wilds like a jaguar on her knees. “I have grapes, and walnuts, and wine too.” She plucked a sweet yellow grape, the dewy blush still upon it. Reclining, she drew my head into her lap. The lapis sky above her dark hair was no match for the openness of her downward gazes. She fed me – motherly, I suppose – and made me imbibe a sweet red wine too, allowing all my mellowness to come to the fore. Poetry dribbled from her lips like drops of pancake syrup: “Jove, just a ray of golden light, Fell upon Danaë’s tender skin; He, the mightiest bull in sight, Europa’s resistance wore thin; While to Leda, a feathered kite, He sailed a swan to her chagrin. Thus each fell prey to mortal sin, But sank through heavenly delight.” “Brava, Estallida. I ask again – which goddess are you…?” “No god am I.’ She chuckled, slyly hiding her face a moment. “Perhaps you are my”—her fingers walked down my chest, to my waist, and then, to my crotch—“my god of love. My tempting fate….” Her tone tailed off. Then her palm roughly palpated my soft-as-a-sock trash. “What is this?!” Her voice was completely different. “I don’t turn you on?” I sat up. “Um…” I fell back on the hustler’s best friend; the excuse of: “This has never happened to me before. I swear.” Suddenly she got mad and Latina in one swift kick. Her accent started to come through to my otherwise honey-drenched ears. She stood. “Is this the way you treat a high-class woman like me?!” “I—” I got to my feet as well, defensively. “No, no.” She wagged a scolding finger at me. “No esscuses.’ Estallida pulled out her cellphone, fumbling over a harried-typed text. I asked sheepishly, “What is it you are doing?” “E-see for yourself. Sending instructions to my maid. Here, read.” She held up the screen. All it said was: “Bring the stuff.” [1] Cáliza’s ‘oaken estaff’ vs. ‘the metro-esexual tooth-epickers’ is modeled after Burnaby. _
  22. AC Benus

    like hope begging to dream

    Thank you, Def. Major kisses for you
  23. AC Benus

    Chapter 31: A Journey Inland

    YAY about the ranch name!

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