ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the May 5, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] redsixwing. It also fills the "best friends" square in my 12-17-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Scrambling for Crumbs"


The Gene Leahy Mall was busy
on the warm spring day, with people
jogging or strolling or lounging on the grass.

"I'm hungry. Are you hungry?
We should get some food,"
Stan said to Lawrence.

"I could eat," Lawrence agreed.

"I'm always hungry," said Fiddlesticks,
and Hefty nodded. They were off-duty,
but that didn't slow anyone's metabolism.

"I smell cupcakes," Stan said happily.

"Great, we can get ourselves mugged
by pigeons scrambling for crumbs,"
Lawrence said with a smirk.

But the cupcakes turned out to be part of
a bake sale under a GenderCops banner,
meant to raise funds for an alternate spring dance
so that high school students could be protected
from the "gay menace" at school events.

Lawrence wore a distinctly unhappy expression.

The vendor took one look at Hefty and Fiddlesticks
in their Omaha Police Department t-shirts and
tried to entice them into buying. "Surely you
support youth morality!" she said.

"Yes, I mentor gay youth," said Hefty.
"They need older gay role models."

The vendor wilted visibly, then
then turned to Fiddlesticks.

"Don't look at me," Fiddlesticks said.
"I may be straight, but my best friend is gay,
and I'm not supporting anything that disrespects him."

"Also gay here," Lawrence said.

"And I'm bi," Stan said,
"so that's me out too."

"Thought you were hungry, though?"
Lawrence murmured.

"I'm not that hungry," Stan said.

"There's another booth up ahead,"
Fiddlesticks pointed out.

That one turned out to be for Camp Everybody,
an inclusive summer camp outside of Omaha,
and they were making burgoo in a large grill.

Stan's stomach growled a demand,
quickly echoed by Fiddlesticks.

"We'll start with four," Hefty said as he
stuffed money into the overflowing tip jar.

"Excuse me, I need to empty that again,"
said the boy manning the table. By the time
he got the tip jar emptied into the lockbox
and the order rung up, his sister had laid out
four steaming packets of aluminum foil.
"Here you go." Hefty paid for the food too.

"You look busy," Lawrence said.

"Yeah, the GenderCops are finally
good for something," the boy said, grinning.
"Pretty much everyone who's not over there
scrambling for crumbs is stopping here
to buy meat and potatoes."

"Leave room for dessert," the girl advised.
"We have Campfire Apple Crisp
and Banana Boats too."

"Dibs on buying dessert," Stan said quickly
before Hefty or Fiddlesticks could.

They claimed a picnic table and began
carefully picking open the foil.

Sometimes when you came across
trouble, all you really had to do
was walk away from it.

* * *

Notes:

Gender policing is a pattern of harassment or abuse based on people's gender presentation, often intersecting with homophobia on the premise that women are "supposed to" desire men and vice versa. This harms children and adults in many ways. The results are even worse when uniformed police get involved.  Most of the time, Terramagne has better ideas than here, but sometimes they have worse ones; in T-America, the gender police have become an actual hate group  that routinely hosts exclusive events.  There are ways to fight back.

Being gay poses many challenges for teens. One is discrimination at school dances for wanting to wear different clothes or take a same-sex date. Such discrimination is not legal at public schools, although people often try it anyway -- so people have hosted private, alternative dances where they can discriminate. Conversely, some youth have demonstrated that orientation is not action, choosing a date across lines of sexuality.

Mentoring is a useful leadership tool for cultivating the next generation. Gay youth especially need mentoring programs. Here are some good tips on mentoring.

Privilege theory has value in raising awareness, but also some serious drawbacks. One of the latter is that it makes people feel helpless by claiming that privilege is inescapable. It's not. All you have to do is what Fiddlesticks did: decline it, whenever someone tries to entice you into discrimination.  This kind of support matters, because accepting privilege is a major driver for bigotry.  That's just one of many ways to be a straight ally.

Summer camps often segregate children by ableness, sex/gender, and other traits. Happily, some camps make their inclusivity explicit, like this: "Durham Parks and Recreation strives to make all programs, services, and facilities accessible for all individuals and families, regardless of race, color, age, religion, gender, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation or ability level."

I always heard of campfire foil packets called "burgoo" as any combination of meat and vegetables thrown together. When I looked online, I found burgoo referenced as a stew and foil packets listed separately. So take your pick. Here are the campfire dessert recipes.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-11 08:39 pm (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
:) I enjoyed this very much. Especially Hefty's response to the "youth morality" remark.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-11 10:14 pm (UTC)
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
I really like the character development in this thread.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-12 03:08 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
I've always heard of burgoo as a stew similar to gumbo, just from Appalachia instead of the southern coast.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-12 03:10 am (UTC)
mdlbear: (poly-heart)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
I liked this a lot.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-12 07:13 am (UTC)
curiosity: A close up of the right half of a cat's face, shaded blue and green. (Picto: Blue Paradacsa)
From: [personal profile] curiosity
I enjoyed the simplicity of their solution and the camaraderie. A scene from a random day, ordinary troubles, and no explosions required. Just common sense and basic sense of decency. Wish it were longer. *grin* But that's true of all of the poems, hehe.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-14 05:41 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
I like the way the inclusive group sets itself up as an alternative to the hate group -- and they seem to be more successful, too! In an odd way, it reminds me of the kid a few years ago who made a "voting booth" costume for Halloween, with two treat buckets labeled "Democratic" and "Republican".

That burgoo recipe is a somewhat more complex version of the one I learned as jambalaya from a friend. I've already observed that their jambalaya wasn't very similar to the kind you get in Louisiana, but this is the first time it's occurred to me that their being from Kentucky may have been part of the reason.

LYSSA'S MOM'S JAMBALAYA

2 choices of meat from the following:
- 2 lbs. chicken or turkey breasts, with bones and skin
- 1 package (1 - 2 pounds) Kielbasa or other cooked sausage
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined
- 1 lb. beef or lamb stew meat, diced

2 15-oz cans of tomato sauce, or equivalent in other sizes (unsalted preferred)
1 small can of tomato paste
1 large onion, or 2 smaller ones (white works best for this)
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 whole bay leaves
To taste: salt or garlic salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper (Cajun spice works better), Tabasco sauce

Cook raw meat(s) and garlic in a big soup pot with water to cover. Core, seed, and devein peppers. Chop vegetables and cooked meat(s) into conveniently-sized pieces. If using poultry, remove from water; discard skin, shred meat into bite-sized chunks and return to pot. Add chopped meat(s), vegetables, tomato sauce and paste, and spices. Bring to a rolling boil, then drop back to simmer and cook down for 1 - 2 hours, stirring periodically to prevent scorching. Serve over rice. Best made a day ahead, or at least in the morning for dinner that evening.

Note: This can also be eaten without the rice, as a spicy tomato-based soup. And if you add an extra small can of tomato paste, it comes out more like tomato-based stew and doesn't need any substrate.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-16 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lone_cat
It sounds like the hate group can see that people are passing them up in favor of the inclusive group. I doubt that it penetrates, but I wonder how they react to that?

As for the recipe, you can have my lifetime supply, given that it has tomato and jalapenos. ;)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2015-05-16 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lone_cat
>> As for the recipe, you can have my lifetime supply, given that it has tomato and jalapenos. ;) <<

Don't look at me, I'm having the apples.


Sorry, that was for [personal profile] stardreamer -- but the apples do look delicious.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-31 05:55 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
The jalapeno is optional, as is the cayenne/Cajun spice and even the Tabasco. But I'm afraid there's nothing to be done about the tomato base -- that's the support structure. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-11 10:48 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
GenderCops my fuzzy little bear butt. Serves'em right.

I dunno whether the pun on "meat and potatoes" (I.e. vanilla) was intentional, but it works. ;)


Thoughts

Date: 2015-05-11 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> GenderCops my fuzzy little bear butt. Serves'em right. <<

Yyyyyeah. 0_o Even good places have some very bad ideas sometimes. This is one of those.

>> I dunno whether the pun on "meat and potatoes" (I.e. vanilla) was intentional, but it works. ;) <<

They're counterchanged, actually. Contrast with "muffin" or "muffing" slang, also sometimes references to lesbian oral sex (aka "muff diving" or "eating muffin").

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2015-05-11 11:20 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
*wince* and of course the GenderCops have NO IDEA... ;)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2015-05-11 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
True. But these are the same people who don't realize that preaching "abstinence only" and trying to block access to birth control is making teens far more interested in anal and oral sex.

It's kind of like watching someone throw a boomerang and hit himself in the back of the head.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2015-05-12 01:44 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
*double wince*

Clue-boomerang??

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2015-05-12 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Yes. It works much like the boomerang bigot phenomenon.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-05-16 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paantha.livejournal.com
Glad to see more of these four together.

Am I right in thinking that this is one of the first times Stan has publicly claimed the label 'bi'?

Thank you!

Date: 2015-05-16 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>>Glad to see more of these four together. <<

Yay!

>>Am I right in thinking that this is one of the first times Stan has publicly claimed the label 'bi'?<<

Yes. It may be the first time he's said it that way. I think the previous examples have been more about claiming Lawrence as his boyfriend.

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