Sex, School and Saul

On my first day of school

Saul Williams is in my ear:

And when my fears arise I blow them out

Blow them out

Get it out

Blow it out

He’s whispering, shouting, provoking

Daring me to only bob my head

On this crowded BART train

My morning commute

Once again a moment of reflection

I raise both arms to the bar

As I choose to stand in the aisle

Rather than fight for a seat

My hands above my head

Allowing my body to sway

With the movement of the car

Let it out, blow it out, spit it out

Get it out


Saul is encouraging me.

His voice has become a surrogate

of friends and lovers not by my side.

Sex, I study sex.

I am a confirmed, outed, sex enthusiast.

It’s a human right to be sexually fulfilled,

to have a sexuality not defined

by abuse or oppression.

And I’m on this train

speeding toward the City

sliding beneath the Bay

to earn a Masters in Human Sexuality

Break the cycle, break the chain

break the hurt and break the pain

I study sexuality and now

Sensuality is everywhere

Always a fire lapping at the edges

Of my scholar’s mind

Will that be a problem, I wonder

Am I supposed to differentiate the two?


I don’t want to.

Hearts in two-step beat


Dance work whip pray


Neck jump back kiss


Ashes, dust, kill, crush


And if I don’t want to, I know I’m not going to.

I feel one side of my mouth start to curl

I’m looking down at my feet

The way my satchel bumps against my hip

Feels good to me

The lengthening of my back,

the strain in my upper arm muscles

I’m thinking about Kwan’s riding crop

He bought it just for me…

Deep breath, keeping my balance

in conjunction with the train

it’s all sensual to me.

Let it out, blow it out, spit it out

Get it out


Saul feels me

Both sides of my mouth are lifting

Away from the usual thoughtful pout

Of introspective repose…

Let it out, blow it out, spit it out

Get it out


Back in Oakland

A woman asking for dollars

at the top of the stairs

leading down into the station

had said, “There’s a girl

with a lot on her mind,”

as I passed her by.

It’s true: method, theory, sex…

Airial is planning something.

Let it out, blow it out, spit it out

Get it out


I feel someone staring at me

I lift my eyes only

Still with the slight grin on my lips

I don’t want to lose my train of thought

My ideas are too precious and precocious

To be derailed by the attention of a stranger

Dark brown eyes, slightly bloodshot

I feel I am being appraised

Too late, I beat you to it

I was just more subtle

Mid-40’s, taller than me

business suit that needs pressing

thick black hair, graying goatee

Let it out, blow it out, spit it out

Get it out


It’s shocking to me

That people who came of age

In the 1980’s

Are coming into power

But they’re still bemoaning the Boomers

A whole generation with

A massive younger sibling compleX

I shake my head at that.

By the horns and get it out

Cough it up and spit it out

Get it out

The polite thing for me to do

is pretend I don’t notice

his eyes resting on me

be another object on the train

Sorry, but I don’t feign ignorance well

He’s not that slick

And I have no poker face

My eyebrows raise…

A challenge, a question, a recognition

he looks away.

Should I change the way I’m standing?

Am I making him uncomfortable?

Social conditioning threatens to take hold of me.

Nope, I’m keeping my body relaxed

I like swaying with the train.

Break the cycle, break the chain

break the whip and break the pain

Besides it’s my thoughts that are provocative,

I’m studying sex for you too,

Hyper-masculinized, over-sexualized

Black guy who I don’t know.

We’re so in this together,

Or at least that is what Saul

Continues to assure me.

All my doubts and all my fears

break the spell that keeps me here

Through the tunnel

Emerging in Embarcadero

I swarm with the other commuters

I go to school Downtown

In a high-rise office building

A suite dedicated to sexuality research

My new nest for challenging the norm,

Hatching revolution.

Let it out, blow it out, spit it out

Get it out


Sex, School and Saul
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