The author and the soul of Scarriet.

As we scanned the internet recently, devouring the recent controversy gossip bubbling up from the bowels of the morally outraged by collisions of race-consciousness with the niceties of polite literature, we were struck by a passing anecdote that blew our minds. We are still laughing with philosophical joy at it, for it has opened up one of those passages of human inquiry as interesting as it is unseen. No one, in all this group-think mania, sees this open door. But we do. We’re super-excited.

Oxygen has invaded the room; fires of race-outrage are everywhere. Indignant POC (people of color), living embodiments of centuries of wrong, are roaring. Burned are even astute, politically correct, leftist elders like Vanessa Place and Ron Silliman.

Amy King, the smart and brilliantly cool, the current Robespierre of the revolution, merely links or makes a few remarks—and terrific shame follows.

Never before has a poet been published in the BAP (best American poetry) and immediately felt like Donnie Moore.

History really is being made in Letters RIGHT NOW.

Poetry is finally realizing what the internet can do for it.

The Washington Post is talking about Jim Behrle, for God’s sake.

As for the anecdote. While perusing a mass frenzy of indignation on the web about Carol Muske-Dukes’ defense of Red Hen publisher Kate Gale’s joke about cowboys and indians, in which politically correct Gale attempted an ‘oh come on, the director of the AWP isn’t racist,’ (big mistake!) we came upon the following (in a Facebook thread):

In observations related, yet not, Gale was rebuked for being a “30% dabbler” in terms of being a lesbian—in the context of an incident in which a 100% gay student wept in a counselor’s office. We asked for clarification on the FB thread: none ensued; perhaps my question was looking to take the whole thing in a different direction. Gale was further a villain, I asked, because a 30% can have more lovers and be more carefree than a 100%?

It was the numbers—and the fascinating combination of love with politics—that woke my scientific and poetic curiosity. The Edgar Poe in me, for the moment putting aside the easily observable moral outrage, was alerted to something even deeper and crazier.

Gale’s fatal mistake had been to intentionally downplay An Issue Which Cannot Be Downplayed, Especially In A Gently Humorous Manner.

We now intend—without humor, without downplaying—to look at the issue of homosexuality, leaving race behind. We are white. Interesting to others, perhaps, but boring to us. (We have that luxury.) Sexually, we are boring, too. But we find the latter far more personally and philosophically interesting—for reasons which should require no explanation.

We find homosexuality more philosophically and scientifically exciting than the primitive views commonly held, for instance, by advocates of “gay rights,” by the squeamish and hateful, or by the beautiful woman, the target of so much undue attention, who simply feels more relaxed around a “gay” man.

We plan to pursue the question, “what is gay,” in the most rigorous and philosophical manner possible. We are scientifically curious that way. Or we are just crazy-curious. Who is to say?

First, how is someone 100% gay? Can we even say that? That would imply that one is sexually attracted to 100% of those of the same gender.

Don’t we need two numbers? And the key number in this case would be: the percentage of opposite gender attraction? Which would be zero?

As we contemplate this, we’ll pursue the subject in a more rambling, discursive manner:

Let us start with the transgender: a “man” who, to various degrees, becomes a “woman.” It is a curious fact that when an individual changes in this way, they cannot help becoming more aware of the two genders—far beyond nature’s simple “breeding agenda.”

The truly “genderless” person—if such a thing exists—would not embrace transgender change, for such a change cannot help but embrace gender and its idea, while being “genderless” entails a kind of simple acceptance of whatever gender one happens to be born into.

Let us admit, at once, that we consider ourselves to be this type of consistently “genderless” individual: your author is a “heterosexual male,” I am as straight as straight can be, and, since puberty, have never doubted this, or regretted it, or been troubled by this fact. (I have that luxury.) I am not particularly macho, and it isn’t troubling to me to admit that my very gentle and intellectual demeanor has led some to perhaps wonder: is he gay?

No, I am not.

But I am a poet and a philosopher, a philosopher who perhaps foolishly exults in the truth, and has no trouble imaginatively identifying with others.

So is gay about the exclusion of one of the genders?

Sexually, at least?

Can the whole issue be isolated in this way?  Certainly the surface definition we commonly use reflects this reality.

Some may object: Embracing X is not about rejecting Y, but let us put this objection aside, granting it is impossible to solve this dilemma within the dual context of the whole reality itself.

The logic is irrefutable, even if it is troubling, and the philosopher has no choice but to affirm it: lack of desire for a person of a certain gender is a positive indication of sexual identity.

Interesting question: Is “genderless,” as we defined it above, the merely “naive” straight person, or, is it the gay person, who excludes a gender, and by this fact becomes essentially non-gendered, or “genderless,” too?  How can ” genderless” refer to both straight and gay? How is this possible?  It is actually quite simple: straights do not desire a certain gender; gays, also do not desire a certain gender.

Lack of attraction is the common trait in the straight/gay duality.

Lack of attraction—this is key.

Desire—and lack of it—for actual individuals—cannot be escaped as the criterion for the whole phenomenon itself. Purists may object—but in terms of logic, they object in vain.

But here is why the transgender individual is particularly interesting.  Two genders are involved, even as one is sought over another. One gender “existing inside another” is philosophically powerful, to say the least.

If a man, seeking satisfaction with men, seeks to become a woman in doing so, here we have a “gay” phenomenon which brings both genders to the table—a “gay” behaving in the opposite manner of how “gay” is traditionally defined.

The philosophical lynx eye seeks logical and legitimate social examples of  the “gay which is not gay.”

So, the fearless philosopher continues to ask, even if it seems naive or crude: what is gay?

I would be remiss if I did not use myself as a means to scientifically wonder.

Pondering the man-becoming-a-woman question, of which I, personally, have not the least practical desire to attempt, I nonetheless imaginatively think: if I could snap my fingers and turn myself into an exact duplicate of the sexy woman I love and desire and make love to her—as her—the breasts I love, in duplicate, pressing against each other, as I (as her) make love to her, I, as a straight male—who deeply desires this woman—I would be happy to enact becoming her, and making love to her, “for kicks,” as it were, or out of “complete love,” and, in this act—would I not be “gay” (leaving out a gender) in body, even as “I, myself,” am “straight?”

Would I not, if I could do this, enjoy myself to such an extent, that I might be eventually unwilling to return to my “own body,” since it is her body I desire, and not my own? In this frenzy of desire enacted for the female body I desire, might I eventually become so acclimated to this “ideal” love, that disgust would set in that I use my own body—which I do not desire—as a tool in making love to the one I love, and would eventually come to vastly prefer being her—whom I love?

It might be opined that she would not be interested in “making love to herself”—most likely not—but since when has sexual identity depended upon whether the other desires you, or not?

But in as much as I would prefer to remain in my own body—and make love to her as my straight male self, am I not, in identifying with my own male body next to hers—am I not, to a certain degree, “gay,” in that celebration? Is this not proof of a certain crude and unspoken degree of gay within straight?

Our mind experiment—in which we uncover the existence of “gay but not gay” in a philosophical manner is all part of the wonder which exults in pure philosophical speculation, even as it flies in the face of “people’s feelings.”

There is a certain type of person who needs to think of gay and straight as certain. They are not philosophers. They probably dislike Socrates. I defend Socrates.

I, too, appreciate social certainties; obviously they are extremely useful.

But when the philosopher quietly steps into the next room to practice his speculation, I will always champion that practice.

Now we are ready to make our final speculative grievance. The true philosopher does not expect any topic he may encounter in the world to necessarily “make sense;” the philosopher (and some may find this arrogant) is confident that the philosophical argument is the only thing that need “make sense,” not any “fact” or tradition found in the contingent, rough-and-tumble world.

I, as a straight male, experience constantly and consciously, the following: feeling no attraction whatsoever for numerous women, even women who my straight male friends may have crushes on. At these moments, am I “gay?”

From what has been said so far in this article: Absolutely. In these moments, according to how “gay” actually exists, and is defined in the real world, I am “gay.”

Do males exist who are attracted to 10% of all females and 1% of all males, and would it be safe to say these males are “straight?”  Or “gay,” depending how “things fall out?”

I am 1% and 0%, which makes me straight, even though I am attracted to 1% of females, not 10%. Perhaps it is lower than 1%. Perhaps it is .001%. I am discriminatory. Or idealist?

The 0% (nothing) is the key to the positive existence of sexual identity. The first number merely has to be more than zero, even by a very, very small amount.

Ideally, perhaps, this number should refer to only one: the beloved.

Heterosexual attraction, based on the greatest hyper-selectivity possible—is this, in the eyes of nature, in the eyes of heaven, even in the eyes of hell, the ideal story?

If we do not admit Time to this ideal? Or if we do? And when we do, does not this take us all away?

Does a 30% gay person have an advantage, in terms of love and dalliance, in breaking the heart of someone who is %100 gay?

Can the heart be characterized this way?  Does a 30% have less heart? Are they less sincere?

Here’s another inquiry worth pursuing, and we feel all these questions clarify even as they confuse:

Are straight women really gay men within? And straight men lesbians within?

In other words, is a straight person straight because they love what is opposite?

Or do they love the gender—of which they are the secret example within?

Is love better realized in loving what is not itself, or what is?

Is my attempt at deconstructing what is socially understood as gay in this essay merely a whim?

Is it scientific?

Is it perverse, or wrong?

Is there always a way to undermine whatever is established, and is it part of reality that whatever is established exists to be overthrown, and is this the dynamic at play here, and not any articulated truth about this subject?

Am I hopelessly intellectual?

And why am I not gay?

And why am I attracted to you?

Even as I radically question everything?













  1. Anonymous said,

    September 12, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I want to be a man so I can be with a man

  2. September 12, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    I always found it fascinating that gay couples look alike, and wondered how that dynamic plays in terms of Narcissism, wondering if they fell in love with an image of themselves?

    I am European-descent straight male, but I am attracted only to a specific image of feminity, the red-skinned woman with long black hair, which describes my Indonesian wife.

    My wife is the opposite of me in so many ways, and the dynamic tension causes the fertile attraction. We have two daughters we named for Goddesses of Wisdom, Saraswati and Athena.

  3. noochinator said,

    September 12, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Donnie Moore, OK, I didn’t get the reference — he was a baseball player blamed for the loss of a big game, much as Bill Buckner was blamed (and in the same season!):

  4. September 12, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Desire for the beloved opposite other
    sparks desire to perpetuate the self
    when two bodies reincarnate the third self.

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