Pariah

I’ve always been
Outside the norm

I never quite fit in
Never fit neatly enough
Into any of the boxes

Despite being a straight, white male
Somehow, I always still manage
To be the different one
In every crowd

I believe in science
But I’m also an occultist

I’m entirely too rational and skeptical
For a great many in the occult community

I hold disdain for those who think that
White light is the solution for every problem,
That all things are possible through magick
And that crystals, sage and essential oils
Will cure absolutely anything and everything

I’m what is known as a gray magician,
Equally comfortable with
Angels and demons
Blessings and curses

But I’ve always been
A little too “light and goodness” for some
And a little too “dark and scary” for others

My acceptance of atheists,
As well as agnostics and Satanists
Gets me odd looks from the
Holier-than-thou clubs

And my complete lack of
Any bitter hatred of Christianity
Makes the Left Hand Path people
Somewhat suspicious of me

But the fact that I believe
Spells can cause change
And that it’s possible to
Communicate with unseen entities

This gets me automatically pigeonholed
By anyone in the scientific community
As either a lunatic or a charlatan
Or both

I’m too Ceremonial for the Witchcraft crowd,
Too witchy for the Hoodoo crowd,
Too Hoodoo for the Ceremonial crowd
And so on and so forth, ad-infinitum, ad-nauseam

I have kinks that get me labeled
As a pervert, by many

But I usually found that
I was something of a disappointment
To a lot of the kinky people I met
Because I wasn’t a submissive male
Or because I wasn’t bisexual
Or because I wasn’t whatever else
They were hoping that I would have been

Of course, they’re always happy that I am
Open and accepting and loving
Of all orientations, gender-identification, etc
But I’m still a straight, white male
Which is, to many of them,
Still sort of boring, sort of a letdown
And I get that, I really do
It’s OK, I’m not offended by it

I play chess and I listen to classical music
I both listen to and play jazz
So, I’m a bit too “uppity”
For many rock-and-rollers

But I’m only a decent chess player
And a mediocre jazz guitarist
So, I don’t get to sit with the really cool kids
At any of those tables

I also listen to punk, speed metal,
Gangster rap, blues, rock, pop
As well as dozens of other genres
And somehow, it’s still a surprise
When someone else likes the same bands as me
I’ve never really figured that part out,
Seems like there’d be more commonality
But there you have it

I write poetry and hell…
Everyone hates that

But even among the poets,
I don’t stick with any one, single genre
So, none of them really gets me, either

When I branch out into things like horror poetry,
That freaks a lot of people way the hell out

“What the fuck is wrong with that guy?!”

Sure, they love Stephen King
They don’t bat an eye at The Walking Dead
Or movies like Hellraiser or Saw
But I write one little, horror poem
About cannibalism and suddenly
I’m weird

OK, so it was more than just one

I play guitar, sing and write songs
But my style is all over the map
So it’s just too this or that for
Almost everyone

I was even told as much, by a friend,
A guy who had helped a pop artist,
A one-hit-wonder, to get a gold record
Yeah, I was close friends with a record producer

It didn’t help me one bit

He said “You’re a very good singer
And you’re a good guitarist but…

“People want catchy songs”

“And they want to know
Exactly what they’re going to hear
When they come to a show.
You are all over the place.
I had no idea what you’d play next.
Pick one style and stick with it.”

“You can be a genius, later.”

That wasn’t good enough for me
I always wanted to do all of it

I wanted to do all of it, now

I’d play rock, blues, folk, funk, metal,
Country, pop, weird, avant-garde stuff
And psychedelia

However, most people seem to be more
Chocolate or vanilla or strawberry
But not all of the above

So, somewhere along the way,
I’d lose the crowd because I played a song
That was just toosomething
For their tastes

I don’t play or follow sports
So, there went any conversation
With three-fourths of the
Male population, right there

I’m accepting of all religions
But I don’t belong to any
So, I don’t have any of the neat, lapel buttons
To get me into those meetings

I hate bullies
So, I never get invited to the hate crimes
Instead, I’m the idiot who will
Stand with the guy who is outnumbered,
Just because he’s outnumbered

But I think everyone is fair game
When it comes to rude jokes
Especially me
Because, if you can’t laugh at me
Then, who the hell can you laugh at?

But I sort of suck at political correctness
So, I piss off most of the woke crowd

It’s OK, the feeling is mutual

I don’t get into cosplay or anime
I’m not a Star Trek guy, though I like the show
I don’t collect or read comics or manga
I don’t keep up with most television

I advocate healthy eating but I’m not vegan

I can dance but don’t really like to
I can cook but don’t really like to
I can small talk but don’t really like to

I only comment on politics
When it looks like my country
Is about to shift into fascism;
I’ve talked way too much about politics
In the last four years

I’m no fan of hatred
So, I don’t get to sit with any of
Those guys in the white sheets
Or the black boots, bald heads and suspenders

But I’m a little too strange of a white guy
For most minorities to feel
Totally at ease around me

It’s probably safer to have
“Normal” white friends
And I actually get that;
I don’t take any offense to it

I’m not fluent in any other languages,
Despite having taken both French and Spanish
So, I don’t get to play interpreter for anyone

I think the climate crisis is way more severe
Than nine out of ten people do
Want to clear out a room fast?
Bring that up and watch them all scurry

I’m not a cat person
So, that rules out about three-fourths
Of the female population, right there

But I can always talk about dogs
With other dog lovers
And there’s a saving grace, for certain

I’m into martial arts and that’s too violent
For many people
But I’m not a black belt in anything I studied
So, I’m not important enough to listen to
In those groups
And even the style I’m most into,
Jeet Kune Do, is controversial,
Because it’s extremely eclectic
And it thumbs its nose at any type of
Tradition, purely for the sake of tradition
So, that pisses off a lot of people
Who practice traditional styles

I’m not a Right-Wing nut job but I support
The second amendment and I own guns
So, I just ostracized myself from
Both the Right and the Left,
Right there

I don’t surf or skate or snow ski
I’m not a connoisseur of fine wines
Or fine cuisine
I don’t read anything on best-seller book lists

I’ve always been either
Lower class or lower, middle class
So, I can’t get into any of the swank affairs

But I’m a bit too odd to get invited to
Most of the cool kids’ parties

It doesn’t really help that
I don’t smoke weed and I don’t usually drink
The lack of these habits raises many eyebrows

I don’t fit hand-in-hand with most, other people

Even my closet friends,
Dear, dear, beloved friends
Would readily admit:

“Yes, he’s an odd one.
Oh, we love him.
We just don’t claim to really
Understand him.

We think it’s probably quite enough
To just love him
And let it go at that.”

And with that statement, I’d completely agree

I’m perfectly content to be
The black sheep, the odd man out
The different one

But all this lack of fitting in
Has helped me, in one, very clear way

It has compelled me to develop
A desperately needed survival skill
And that is

Good listening

Because I learned early on
That if I was going to last
More than ten minutes
In any conversation,
In any room,
Anywhere

I did much better if I
Kept my rather strange opinions,
Beliefs and attitudes
To myself

But I did even better, still

When I could repeat back the opinions,
Beliefs and attitudes that someone else
Had just expressed to me

Everyone appreciates being
Truly heard

Not everyone needs to be agreed with
It isn’t even everyone who
Needs to be appreciated

But everyone
Likes to know that you were
Actually listening

And if they say anything at all
About music, martial arts, chess, poetry
Or anything else I’m interested in
Well, I might have just bought myself
Ten more minutes of friendly conversation

And when all else fails,
When I’m talking to someone and I can’t find
Any common ground… at all

I can always punt
I default to the saving grace of
Dogs

But if it becomes clear
That they don’t like dogs…

Well, then it’s clearly just time to leave


©2021 Kevin Trent Boswell


Photo by Arianna Jadé

Magus72 on Patreon

parody

in the sixties and seventies,
everyone went over the top

musicians wore outlandish costumes
and behaved as if they were invincible

sometimes, they believed it

but mostly, it was because they had
seen through the facade of the system

they did lots of psychedelic drugs
which taught them that everything…
and yes, i do mean… everything
is utterly ridiculous

there’s literally nothing you can say,
think, feel, believe, wear or do
that isn’t… just plain silly

rather than take ourselves seriously,
why not revel and delight
in the temporal, inane
shenanigans that are
our lives…

ourselves

these days, everyone is
up their own asses,
again

everyone is busy, twenty-four-seven,
trying to convince everyone else
that they’re the coolest, that they’ve
got it all figured out

“if you’re into disco, you’re not cool,
because disco was silly and they just thought it was cool, before everyone knew better”

or

“if you’re into _______,
then you’re not cool, because ________.”

put whatever you want in there,
classic rock, polka, country, surf music…
whatever

someone is going to be
actually offended
that you like it

“if you’re into that, then you’re not cool,
because that’s not what i’m doing
and i’m pretty much the only one
who’s doing what’s cool.”

it only tells us
how terrified you are
of our opinions
of you

and that’s really
the only thing
that sets you apart as being
truly ridiculous

it’s the
not knowing
that you’re ridiculous

that not knowing
is what makes you comical, farcical

acting cool is cool
but believing you’re cool…
well, that just makes you
kitschy instead of campy

but if you start right out of the gate,
convinced that everything about you
and what you’re doing
is utterly ridiculous,
with the intention of milking that silliness
for everything it’s worth…

then it’s not ridiculous at all,
however ridiculous it is

and it is

for the love of god,
please stop trying to convince us
that you’re cool
and that what other people are doing
isn’t

it only makes you into
a sad caricature,
a parody

you see, we really don’t care
what you do,
as long as you do it
with all of your heart
and soul

put on a ten gallon hat
deck yourself out in wild makeup
wear a smoking jacket
sing out of key… in pig latin
play bongos while tap dancing
do the tango to speed metal
dress in leather and do opera
dress in drag and do gangsta rap
wear a suit and tie while you
sing outlaw country music

just know
beyond any shadow of doubt,
that before,
during
and
after

that you were,
you are and you
always will be

ridiculous

and we’ll absolutely
love you for it


©2021 Kevin Trent Boswell

Support the creation of more ridiculousness by Kevin Trent Boswell, at:

Magus72 on Patreon
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