Spiritual Awakening

It's that situation we've all found ourselves in where someone serves you a food you absolutely fucking hate. You are assured that obviously someone hadn't "made it the right way" for you yet. That kind of bullshit is never true, because now there you are, sitting in front of a giant pile of something you hate, except 'this time' it's served pureed with a sprinkling of pine nuts.

I'd come to the beach to attend to a 'Spiritual Rebelfest' on the recommendation of my friend Fran.

11. October 2019

know love

The note begins, 'to anyone who needs hope', a simple message scratched into the wall. I ran my fingers over the immortalized text. "Always love. There is so much hurt and anger in this world you don't want to leave without love in your heart."

I liked the concept of you leaving the world, but knew that the author was in some small part - supporting the bursts of optimistic green grass that has determinedly find themselves growing in the floor of the sanctuary.

11. October 2019

Purple

It's an interesting thing to have not known a time without her. Her armor-penetrating laugh has been the same since my family moved in across the street in the fall of 1973.

She sat across from me at our breakfast table with that impossible smile. Her first question for me was "what is your favorite color?" - I told her with great confidence green was amazing, but she preferred purple because it was the mix of two colors she didn't like that formed the perfect color,

"Blue and red on their own are boring, buh' combeened day make PURPLE. look at it - PURPLE!"

11. October 2019

Ward 7

I woke from a rest to see him sitting patiently in the chair next to my bed. He let me wake up, pulling myself up in the pajamas and tangle of sheets. He reached out and took my hand, gently tracing the IV taped to the top of my hand.

They'd found me passed out in the shower. The doctor told me I was lucky I hadn't drowned. I had a nasty dark bruise on my face from the fall. The next door neighbor called 911, and I'd ended up here on the 7th floor. The fucking 7th floor.

11. October 2019

This American Choice

It seemed like the longest silence that had ever existed. Dadaji staring at me in the quiet of his study.

"This American choice," he finally asserted,"It is not Indian choice. not a choice for a Sikh. You are a Sikh, so you must follow our traditions."

10. September 2019

Cookies can change the world

"OMG. 9 - 1 - 1   YOU MUST COME TO THE BAKERY AISLE RIGHT NOW - the text had read.

Bill pushed the cart into bakery to see his husband standing with a handful of the splendidly besprinkled sugar cookies. 

"This was the emergency you 9-1-1'd me all the way across the store for?"

"LOOK AT THEM - these are the solve for so many of the world's problems! right here."

"sprinkled sugar cookies, how so?"

"imagine how it would change EVERYTHING, particularly religion!"

"Religion?"

10. September 2019

the little disturbances of men

I was an eleven year old boy the first time someone left me alone with Father Thatcher. St Louis in 1850 was a rough place. If diseases didn't claim you, there were plenty of unscrupulous people waiting for you to show a sign of weakness. So the way of the time, was to never to do so. While Pop had died while I was young, at least he'd taught me never to look down at my shoes, never show a sign of weaker character. The moment you do, someone like Thatcher, or worse, would prey on you like a wolf in the wild.

2. January 2019

the bell would ring

The first breezes of fall fell upon our small town like a salve. The collective sigh of relief was palpable, as the summer had been hot, even brutal. I was eager to trade in my hard worn harvest boots for a pair of oxfords, and a return to the single room schoolhouse.
6. October 2018

completely intact

It wasn't something I'd chosen intentionally - the current of the exploration simply swept me up on it's way westward. Once word got back to St. Charles that the wagon train that had left the following spring had reached the Oregon Territory pretty much intact, it passed from the realm of fantasy into something that felt accomplishable. The west presented something new for everyone. It presented a way out. It was an escape from the lure of the city, a strike out at the unknown.

26. July 2018

About death

I had a good business there on the waning ends of the Missouri, teaching would-be-wagoners about death. Here in the young city of Saint Charles, we were an odd mix of union soldiers, families and grey-coats who were looking to erase their lives and start over. We all had reasons for wanting to head west. Mormons were convinced that a promised land lay out there past the horizon. Some figuring that if gold sat in streams in California - it figured to do so in streams all up that coast.

8. July 2018

Well alone

It had been weeks now since sharing the bed had gone from necessity against the night's cold towards an air of embrace. We had both surrendered to the truth that we really wanted to be there together. Neither of us had a word for what was happening between us. I would wake up some mornings and he had been watching me sleep. I could feel against my hip that doing so pleased him a great deal. We would both remember these first few nights in our snowed in escape. "I love you," I said rather suddenly and softly.

8. July 2018

The Moment

Where were you at the moment when your sexuality became part of your adult good self and not something to find a private place to practice it in hiding? Priests and Protestant preachers teach us to be ashamed of it all from the moment you are capable of free thought. It’s a miracle we’ve got a population if you ask me. Comes right down to it, its a messy business — and nothing you want to do with any gentleness when you are out in the wilderness in a wagon or your thighs have been wrapped around a saddle all day long. I’d learned in my slow sojourn westbound to just conceal it.

15. June 2018

Water to Ice

 
We’d cleaned up, but not properly bathed, in our bed clothes when he spied me trying to figure out a sleeping arrangement by the fireplace.
18. May 2018

Independence Rock

The trail was a grotesque mixture of dirt, manure and ice. It simultaneously crunched and slid under your boot. We'd spared the womenfolk - putting them up in the wagons. That was part of this life, this journey we'd chosen. It was a life of dirty, thankless work.
15. May 2018

átawit láp'ulp'ul

The phenomenon is known to the Nez Perce as átawit láp'ulp'ul - the ashes of love. The remnant of someone burning like an ember in your subconscious. For a long while I found it comforting. I would lay down at nigh, punishing myself for past transgressions. Like a salve I would brush up against, his voice would come into my head and show me the fallacy. I would imagine us walking in the woods like we always had. A spectator would conclude that I was living in the past. But I was very much living in the present. My present. About a week ago his voice faded.

14. May 2018

Carol

 
I walked into the apartment, pulling my key from the doorknob. I crossed the lushly carpeted living room and thats when my feet made the first tell tale splush of wet carpet. Oh gosh there was a lot of water.
8. May 2018

rose garden

The garden returned each year more beautiful than the previous. It sat on a quiet corner a few blocks from me. Every year I would see the signs of pruning and preparation for spring, the glorious first blooms and explosions of colour until it all fell to ground defeated in piles of delicate petals come fall. The home was a unique time capsule for me. You could always know what time of year it was by the state of the garden.
6. May 2018

jubilant

“I don’t even remember taking this shot,” he said incredulously, "It’s beautiful and almost frighteningly perfect. My assistant thought it was photoshop until I showed him the negative.” “Crazy how jubilant they are so happy surrounded by war and such horribleness.” “Well you remember when you were a kid, you could find happiness in the smallest of situations. Piece of paper? World War 2 fighter jet. Overripe tomato?

28. April 2018

artifacts

I like toys. No not that kind, well yes that kind but that's another story. I like playful toys. Bobble-heads seem to dominate as well as artifacts. a ruby slipper, a coffee cup key-chain, a detailed model of an air stream trailer, a surprisingly cheerful fake bush planted like a topiary, my old dog's collar and tag, paintbrushes, a children's sized tiara with a blinking star. a pair of hand blown cocktail stir sticks.

26. April 2018

Sleazy Corner Leatherbar Light Kit

 
It was 4pm in the afternoon at the old downtown Eagle. It was one of those visits to the bar where it's simply for a cold beer. Anything but sitting at home in that apartment.
24. April 2018

Cinema

"Nothing worth doing is every easy," my father used to volley at me, in between puffs on his pipe, "You need to realize that approaching everything from laziness is going to get you nowhere fast." Forty-two years later, and that conversation plays in my head like it happened this afternoon. My mind will play a litany of failures - and these uninvited reminiscences happen right before slumber. Terrible romantic breakup conversations played like I am experiencing them for the first time.

23. April 2018

malaise

It was a strange kind of cool October morning. As Big Ben chimed 6am so proudly across the Thames, you could almost see the fog part as the sound waves collided across the hazy morning malaise. I had been daydreaming, but the sounds of the chime brought me back to focus. Daydreaming is an interesting thing, isn’t it? A doctor would tell you that daydreaming is stimulus independent thought, or a Buddhist might say it is thought about something other than events that originate from the present moment, away from mindfulness.

30. March 2018

Quiet

You could hear the afternoon rains echo in from the alley behind the theater. Curses in French from the house master echoed in when people would linger, letting the offensive humidity in from the outside. The strange dust of the old playhouse frolicked in the softly lit stage. After an hour of unremarkable college students churning through grossly under-prepared auditions, I was growing impatient. "Next please," the stage manager grunted methodically. She shuffled into the light and began. She stood rather plainly.

13. March 2018

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom: The South of Market Gym

" 'ere in ze gym south of mar kette - is the cruisehr, " he spoke with a hushed horrible fake Jacques Cousteau accent, " 'eh does two reps out on ze floor and zen reuturhns to ze showehr 'oom to zee if anyone is hot enough. Notess how 'e grunts at you if 'eh tinks you are worth of his sexyehness." He paused for a moment as a large muscular bodybuilder passed him, naked, returning from the showers.

3. February 2018

Come Sunday

"Whatchya doin'?" "Watching the Superbowl!" "You warned me when we met that you would always be the butch one, and you've never proved me wrong." "It is really excellent, close game so far!" "Who are you rooting for?" "I love rhetorical questions." "No seriously, I have no idea who is playing." “Philadelphia and New England" "Ah, well, then I guess you are rooting for Philly.” "That would be correct!" "So should I root for New England just to make sure the testosterone is even in the house tonight?" "So how about a wager?" "A wager?" "Sure, if you leave me alone and let me watch football an

2. February 2018

Rand McNallly

Forty years in finance had been done. Dutifully, exactly - like a scarlet-lettered penance - and the rest of his life suddenly lay ahead of him. He spent the first chunk of his retirement on a retrofitted volkswagen bus which he'd meticulously detailed out. A mobile home, a gourmet stove, a safe, a soft mattress, and a special shelf for a particularly tattered Rand McNally road atlas. He remembered coming home with that road atlas as a senior in college - his sails filled with dreams which parental and professional expectations quickly deflated.

2. February 2018

Remembering Nicki

I'm not always completely clear on how exactly I chose her. or maybe she chose me. Nicki. and her sparkler. We’d met freshman year of college and fell in such love that school seemed to hardly matter. Held her on my shoulders as Prince serenaded to her. We’d stolen booze from my parents liquor cabinet and gone drunk camping, laughing into campfire light. So many stories - so many adventures. I'd bought her that ring with money my parents sent me to pay for a quarter of college. A year later I found myself in the U.S. Navy bringing Nicki's photograph out my wallet -- telling our stories.

2. February 2018

Floor Show

"Fluffy Puppy, you're the one!," he sang to the little dog in the sink getting a bubble bath," The one that makes bathtime so much fun! Fluffy Puppy, joy of joys, When I squeeze you, you lick my face!

7. January 2018

Glass of Scotch

On Christmas Eve, I had killed someone. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. I can still recall the sound of the glass of scotch in his hand breaking with his wrist. I can feel the swing upward with broken glass, and the smell of flesh being torn aside. He stepped back from me reaching for his throat, his eyes wide with the realization these were his last moments. “I am not sure what happens when you die, but I’m satisfied to stand here and watch you find out,” I said to him matter-of-factly. He involuntarily knelt. He was very intimate with fear at this point.

28. December 2017

I think it is completely unfair how beautiful he is

She broke out the compact and started applying blush. Her trained hand moving with the weave of the commuter train. The same technique for the soft rose lipstick. Even the mascara was applied precisely despite the oscillating train car. “That is real skill,” said the man across the aisle. She looked over at the man. mid-thirties, strong cheek bones, and almost inhumanly perfect skin.

22. December 2017

Ho Ho Ho

The silence and wonderment that the first snow creates made the early morning crime all the more unsettling. Sticking out from behind the dumpster like a holiday version of the Wicked Witch of the West, were two boot clad feet, followed by the tell tale fake fur and red velvet of a Santa. The flakes of snow danced across the dirty face of the deceased.
13. December 2017

Wormwood and Rue

She runs away into the woods, wormwood and rue cascading around her feet in the autumn woods. The smell of the end of summer, the decay of leaves sticking to her like judgement. Does she notice accidentally falling in the water, simply neglecting to save herself from sinking? Her garments pull her down, as if they had a mind of their own. It is simply the way she'd lead her life: doing what her father and brother — and boyfriend— tell her to do, rather than making decisions for herself. She'd been seen with him was proof enough.

28. November 2017

a proud people

Ginger Men are a proud people. We are bread in deep, surprisingly peppery, cultural origins. It is in our prime ingredients to know that our time here is measured in hours instead of days. Baking at 400F for ten minutes, we all have the chance to dream of that moment when we are set on a plate next to a hot cocoa. We lead simple, tenderly baked lives, always knowing that we immediately start going stale from the moment we are set out in the world. Don't feel pity for Ginger Men - know that we accept our place in the circle of life with a glad heart.

20. November 2017

Dear John,

DEAR JOHN, "These letters have gotten a LOT more complicated than they used to be.", she thought to herself, letting the Johnny Walker work it's magic on her tongue. -“It’s not you - it’s me”- nope - it is all about him
-"I want different things now"- like a solid witness protection program -"I've grown and well...."- you haven't.
13. November 2017

Rendered Invisible

I was in an angry, hurried rush. Who calls a 7am meeting on a Monday morning anyway? I was madly sipping a coffee, and rushing to meet the train in the park. That was the first time I saw him - a 15th century friar sitting in the park watching the dogs play. He seemed like a very robinhoodesque character to be sitting amongst playing dogs and their owners busy instagramming only the cutest pictures before getting on with their day. The doors pulled mechanically shut on my train and I stared back at him sitting so blissfully in the park.

28. October 2017

origami

He came to a rest under an enormous California oak. The arms of the tree disappearing above him into the last hints of daylight. The pack peeled off his back with a thud. The weight coming off allowed the deepest emotional sigh escape with his breath.
17. October 2017

Bitter Bottoms of Baltimore

"Even food shows are angry these days, with women throwing stuff and calling each other bitches... it's awful... and then they cut to an interview in the 'truth-booth' where she says 'I'm doing this for my kids'. Does she realize that her potty mouth and horribleness will soon be out on high definition blue ray for her kids and grandkids to enjoy forever? , a classic childhood moment." "yet, you continue to watch it each week........"

1. October 2017

A Toast

The wedding dinner settled down as he tapped his glass with his fork.  He took a card out of his suit jacket. He'd practiced, and learned the best words for this moment. He took a big sip of water, took a glance at the newlyweds, and leaned forward to speak into the microphone. "When I was a kid I didn't have much. I just grew up in one of those families where the only things you looked forward to inheriting was sorrow - the future I saw in front of me was workin' at a shit town Pick and Save in a wrinkled red schmock dreaming of the day I'll get promoted to Assistant Manager.

12. September 2017

no.

A few dvds, a pair of earphones, and some neatly folded tshirts and underwear sat there. Every night when I came home the small box of stuff taunted me, reminding me of all of it. He had changed his Facebook profile to read "engaged to" - so absolutely sure he knew all the answers. He'd posted photos for all our friends to see of the engagement ring.

11. September 2017

Time Capsule

I hardly recognized the young boy in photo, walking in the surf, letting the late summer waves frolic with his hands. That beach. It had felt like the very definition of liberation when I visited. I remember trembling with excitement when I stood at the rail, my first trip on a Fire Island Ferry. All that thick black hair waved, shined in the sun calling to men like a siren from Greek mythology. The twinkle in my eye lead to humid late summer days of cruising, relentless sex, strong cocktails, sin and scandal.

2. September 2017

How Did We Meet Again?

“I’m sorry…I guess I’m just nervous. I’ve never been taken home to meet someone’s parents before, let alone conservative parents who come with a pre-prepared list of forbidden conversation topics.” “Well, those are for your safety, not theirs. My family is very passionate about being on the wrong side of history in every situation.

31. August 2017

highly tuned and manufactured culinary expression of dullness

I broke through my hangover to clean up from last night's party. There in the bottom of a large bowl was a single triscuit. I sat there starting at it. Poor Triscuit. All alone in the world. The party is over Triscuit, sorry, you missed it. What does it mean to be this highly tuned and manufactured culinary expression of dullness? What is it worth - until - until you add cheese, or lox, or a thin slice of fig - then pile on goat cheese and honey and .... you see my point.

27. August 2017

Every touch, every conversation, every sigh of pleasure was a salve.

He was the softest, most tender person I'd ever met. Every touch, every conversation, every sigh of pleasure was a salve. He rode into my life on a large adult sized shiny pink tricycle. He was wearing a matching pink "fur" vest and ridiculously oversized top hat - pulling a trailer of little pink wrapped gifts. His nose was pierced with the largest gauge pink metal ring. He was mesmerizing. He broke the silence by offering me a small pink package. It seemed so magically out of place. It was six-year-old little girl birthday party perfect - out in the middle of the dusty dirty desert.

17. August 2017

and just where do you think you're going...

We met on the old wooden stairs of the old DC Eagle. It had this big dramatic landing between flights of stairs, with enough room for a couple of people could stand and watch the parade. He wore a pair of tight blue jeans, big boots, and a green tank top with the word "DADDY" across the chest. He had that not quite 5'oclock shadow thing going on with this his beard, but the thickest most amazing mustache I've ever known. I literally stopped in my tracks the first time up the stairs walking past him.

16. August 2017

unrepentant reflection

टायर टायर, उज्ज्वल जलते हुए, रात के जंगलों में; क्या अमर हाथ या आंख, तुम्हारी भयानक समरूपता को चौड़ा कर सकता है (Tyger Tyger, burning bright In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? ) He closed the small leather book and let out a weary sigh. Tapping his chest, he confirmed that his papers were in his coat pocket. Papers that would ensure safety. Between his legs, the frantically packed suitcase. Thousands of people just like him had arrived at the station with their ragged bags of belongings.

9. August 2017

because I didn't know better

"You're a bastard, you know that? Fuck you!" were the last words I ever heard her say, as she slammed the door. I can't say that I blame her. I had brought home the clap for the third time. I was horrible to her. I left her alone on nights when I could have been there for her. I "worked late nights," I had told her when she knew I was with other women. I wasn't being such a wreck deliberately, but because I didn't know better. Suddenly, there she was in a cross walk. The light was red and I nearly hit her. She slammed her hand on the hood of my cab in indignation.

31. July 2017

4th of

We celebrated our own unique independence in the dark alley away from the summer revelry. I ran his shirt up, exploring his firm muscles and curiously thick back hair. He slicked his tongue from my mouth onto the curve of my neck. Looking over his shoulder I spied a woman watching us from the street. She leaned against the drain pipe, letting out the softest sigh. The kind smile on her face told me how much she approved. I earnestly smiled back, but then shut my eyes getting lost in the little French sailor I'd met in the bar. He smelled so good. I needed him to be mine.

28. July 2017

new voices: my terrible idea

So many things have a beginning. and so it was with the idea. It just seemed to be there one day. A terrible idea. It scared me so much at first. It would disappear into the minutiae. Then  gently the idea would return. To be considered. To befriend. To become comfortable. To become acceptable. I sit imagining it with my eyes closed so gently as to not damage the beauty of it. I lay down at night and it is my last thought. I awake, suddenly, in a single gulping breath. I panic to do the mental inventory. I rush about in my mind to see if the terrible idea is still there.

18. July 2017

new voices: tone

She walked into the studio. I looked up, finding her gaping up at one of the large canvasses. "This is so beautiful, but the inside of your mind must be a horrifying place," she said to me, as if I were a light fixture, without turning to address me. No breezy hello. No..... courtesy. I left her standing there. I studiously took a brush full of a golden yellow and gently smeared across the canvas in front of me. I let the silence build. I let her think that perhaps I wasn't the artist after all. "What was your name, again?!" I said, dismissively, looking up at her.

17. July 2017

layers of an onion

She died in the manner that she'd been in life - with not a single thought to how it would affect other people. I was the dutiful daughter. It wasn't complicated. The house sold. The prized possessions with new hosts. All of it was completed without a trace of drama. Everyone expects it was like some multi-layered emotional onion from an Amy Tan novel. I don't believe in the afterlife as a reality, but I believe in the afterlife as a metaphor. There is a romance to think that our ancestors live on through us - the painstaking result of countless generations before us.
16. July 2017

new voices: the one equalizing moment

Now for some, it is instantaneous. Perhaps a piano falls on you like a doomed cartoon character. Perhaps shot on the battlefield. Perhaps you are at the end of a long, beautiful life clutching the hand of someone you love. I am not reliant on the promises of a heaven or the special planet of my own in a universe far far away. Death has never held power over me. It has always seemed like an inevitability. I have always said it is the one equalizing moment that every human being will share. Granted - we don't get to sit around and talk about it.
14. July 2017

new voices: follow, follow, follow

'You were chosen to do something special in this world'. A phrase used not-so-innocently by unprepared parents as emotional novocaine. "Struggle hard, my love, for you, are chosen! Precious. Special." So you buckle down and work hard, you finish school, you marry a beautiful bride and start up a family. There is a sense that there is a prophecy to be fulfilled, there is a Chosen One to do it! If there's an adventure to be adventured, it is just waiting for you to take up the cause.

11. July 2017

new voices: 99 problems

Sometimes a murder is on your mind for so long you imagine it every way. Such primal fury and passion, with a dash of luck. But before you put your Poirot and Jessica Fletcher proof plan into glorious action, how to do it? You could pay someone else – but everyone with cable TV knows how well that goes. The busted dumbass check writer (who pays for murder with a personal check?). Not Venmo either. How about cash. Jesus! Then you are on the six o’clock news with that “What happened, how did this not go my way” look as you are lowered into the police cruiser. You’re angry, not stupid.
11. July 2017

new voices: All there was anymore

The event happened suddenly with no warning. An audible snap and everything changed. Everyone knows where they were when the event happened. The lives they used to live, the people they used to be. Now, ten years on - those kinds of reminiscence had stopped, and the reality of how to survive was at hand. When the event happened and commerce stopped, the great migrations began.
9. July 2017

new voices: surety

The reasons I left are immaterial but it strikes me strange that nobody has asked me why I've returned.  Once they figure it out it'll all be finished anyway.
Therapists, the armchair psychiatrist - they will tell you that you can choose who your family is. While I suppose that's true, your original parents and siblings create you to a great extent. They create the first glorious, delicious moment where you go from loving to compassionless in seconds.
4. July 2017

Bravery

I had driven by the place a dozen times over the past few months trying to get the nerve to walk in. I remember the relief discovering there was a back entrance so I didn't need to come from the main street. As nonchalantly as one does their first time in an adult store, I strolled passed the glass cases of toys and insertables. After a lot of stuff not meant for me, I finally found the section I was looking for. The black and white simple magazine I had heard about was right there on the shelf, as if people came looking for it every day.
2. July 2017

Nap

"That was the hubby," he said setting the phone down on the table, "Just reminding me that we wanted to nap before the dyke march tonight."
25. June 2017

pieces

He wasn't sure how he was going to put it all back together. He's been home six months now and it was clear that nothing was going to be the same. Worse was that nobody here was someone he could expect to understand. Nobody here in little town Oregon had to sacrifice for Vietnam at all. Most everyone here had been able to play it safe. It was the poor sons of a bitches with no College and no hope of escape from the draft that did.
25. June 2017

magic

They warned you in training that the desert could be cold. Having grown up in Puerto Rico, it was what he feared the most. So he made sure he was an ace at starting a fire and always took the breakfast shift. His biscuits were the legend of the squadron. Fluffy perfect biscuits over a campfire. Grits and butter, oatmeal that didn't taste like spackle. Flexible yet crispy bacon. Flapjacks on Sundays. He knew the barest idea the horrors some of his mates saw and perhaps even did themselves. Afghanistan was an unforgiving angry place.
25. June 2017

Only for You

A dear friend of mine died this week. As is my habit - I am not a public griever - and I usually turn to my journal and write and write and write. A child of the 80s and 90s - and the gruesome reality of the AIDS holocaust - I am no stranger to death.
3. June 2017

every one since the fall of 1972

Mornings are like a blessing handed to us directly from God. I have been awake for almost every one since the fall of 1972. You walk out into the darkness with your light and sit by the fire as the coffeewater boils. As you finish your cuppa, you mount up - and lead by your light, you leave the safety of the campfire. Within a few feet, Orion makes itself visible, it's belt straddling the northeastern sky. You can feel and see your breath - thankful for that coat ya got. You blow out your light, strap it to your saddle, as you look up, it begins.
1. June 2017

boil until trouble

She re-read the spell carefully. All of the spells so far had been excellent, but this one was the most complex yet. Eye of newt. Dried Owl nail. yes, yes. perfect. boil till trouble. yes. oh crap. really? Where was she going to find a plump child in this neighborhood? Rents were too high and families didn't live in the city anymore. really? It's 2017 - couldn't they find some kind of magical vegetarian substitute for a plump child? What if the child wasn't plump and she had to keep it caged and fed on lemon meringue pies and snickerdoodles? This spell is too much work. TOO.
20. May 2017

The Girl in 9A

"Chopin. Again," he thought to himself, listening in the night as the woman in 9A practiced piano. She always fumbled at the same place. He had seen her in the hallway. A hurried cloud of ennui, she never seemed happy. He wondered when the tsunami had hit and left her so. He imagined a day job where she played the part of a happy young person full of promise and youthful energy. Or whether she was so outrageously happy somewhere else in her life she had no more to share elsewhere. He wondered if her time at the keyboard made her smile.
16. May 2017

You have too much beauty for me to keep it all to myself

"Today will be fool of awbsome", he said somberly. "Today will be full of awesome, mon spécial," Celeste affirmed. "I donna understand why I can be with you unstead," he softly protested.
"it's time for new adventures for both of us - you, " she said. She straightened the primary school name tag. She leaned into his hoody and traded a nose kiss. "...and for Mommy...." "I will miff you." "Oh lovey, I will be back after and you can tell me everything. New people and things. Sammies and juicyboxes?" "and you go to the .... work," he said.
9. May 2017

Arata

She was on the beach - surrounded by friends. They caught me looking, and their laughter disappeared to giggles behind their hands. She gazed back at me with an intoxicating mixture of shyness and confidence. We would officially meet later that weekend. I had come out to watch the sunrise, it seemed the rest of the world was forever asleep. Except for her.
Her name meant "fresh and new" in the oldest of Japanese. Arata.
25. April 2017

the dream

He woke up from the dream startled. "How did I get back here, what is this? oh, I'm in my room and it's Thursday. and I'm still. I'm still here." He touched his face, confirming his conclusion. It had all been so real. "It all lasted only last 34 minutes", he thought to himself glancing over at the digital readout on the nightstand He spun his mind into a slow reset. The room was still that strange color blue. He was not married, did not have a pair of great kids. He did not have a desk job. He had not spurned them by seeking wealth and power. He had not hit her.
25. April 2017

singularity

It is interesting how these events stick in us, every detail. The photo was a singularity.
20. April 2017

Tempest

He'd come up the path seeking forgiveness, only to hear impenetrable, uncomfortable silence. The kind that tears into the soul laying all it's faults to bare at his muddy boots. Every mistake played over and over, every hesitation, every obstacle to allowing himself to be happy pounding in his ears. The forest around him seemed to drip regret in collusion, still bent by the will of the springtime storm that had come through the night before. He had walked to this trail so many times over his broken life, a creek to the ocean as his constant metaphor.
10. April 2017

God and Carpeting

How could I be normal? My parents' values were God and carpeting. In the spring of 1975, it was installed. A blinding beige shag. If we weren't Mormon, it could have been the scene of an amazing neighborhood discotheque. However, God was involved, so it was to be kept pristine. Shoes would never see the inside of that house again until 1992. Both of my parents had planned carefully for the day the shag arrived. Mom had returned from KMART with a WesselWork Shag Rake. It was a new fangled vacuum that had been specially designed for shag carpet.
4. April 2017

Someone Who Listens


Today is week 1 of the '150-Words-A-Week Club' - using a "muse" photo as a jumping off point - writers are writing a 150-300 word post about whatever comes to mind. :) This photo is this week's photo.
1. April 2017

pork chops

The butcher always had signs of sweat and hard work about him. I put little colored pencil gold stars next to the ingredients I’d need from his counter. Ordering pork chops made me so goddamned nervous while simultaneously making me smile involuntarily for hours afterwards. He always tells me how nice it was to see me again, and then wreck me with that soft, irrepressible smile. Instead of telling him how beautiful he was, would he like to join me for dinner? Would he hold my hand while he toured my garden?
29. March 2017

WombMates

Reimagine the womb as this rocking New York high rise apartment. Lots of space, unlimited food. Two men having these long conversations together. They'd play invented games and speak their own personal language. They'd become so synchronized their hearts would beat at the same moment. After nearly nine months of hanging out without a care in the world, one of the twins suddenly announced he was going to leave the womb to get fresh air. It never occurred to him to do so until that very moment, but it seemed like the natural thing to do.
26. March 2017

just a little longer

His back against the big oak tree, he could see the entire lake. The splatter of wet red and yellow leaves suspended in the tall grasses made him smile. He liked the solitude available here in fall and winter. He tucked his scarf into his coat, and smiled to himself. In summers, the field is mowed and packed with picnics, mobs of kids playing tag, and kites on the afternoon wind. The inner waterway and the mountains beyond it opened up just for him this morning. Behind him was the city and the sound of appointments, the stench of responsibilities, the ghosts of regret.
23. March 2017

strings of gray

We put away our suit jackets and put the ties back on the hanger in the closet. He came to me silently and retrieved the cufflinks from my shirt. I went to the bar and poured a scotch, dropping a couple of ice cubes. I left it on the small side table next to his chair in the living room. I went back to the bedroom, put on my favorite sweats and a ratty t-shirt. Returning to the living room, I found him laid back in his chair.
10. March 2017

when it becomes important enough to you.....

"When it becomes important enough to you, you'll figure out how to change it, but only then," he said to me suddenly. He sat across from me at another table, drinking from a small porcelain espresso cup and simultaneously smoking a hand-rolled cigarette. It was like he'd actually punched me in the chest the impact of his words hit me so hard and he could see it, too. "Obviously, this thing?
4. March 2017

awaken...

The man looked around the room noticing the overwhelming sameness. It was a round turret shaped room with stark white walls, white sheets, white dresser, multilayered white window dressings. Nothing in the room but the simple dresser, the bed and a ridiculously oversized floor to ceiling mirror. A silver tray stood alone on the dresser with a bottle of perfume and a set of stainless steel matching ladies grooming tools. He'd woken up in the middle of a Joan Crawford set piece instead of someone's bedroom. He was struggling to remember much of the night before.
14. February 2017

Come Here

He had this incredibly gentle way of navigating the world. In retrospect, it is not surprising he was the first gay man I felt in love with. I was at a church social and I spied him speaking to someone across the loud, chaotic room in ASL. It's just about the rudest thing you can do to a deaf person in that situation, stare like a teenage girl getting a peek at Bobby Darin. It was the first time I got a glimpse of that silent snarl of disapproval. I quickly moved on in the party, and figured I'd totally blown it with him.
5. February 2017

Flame On!

"I think Stan Lee is gay." "and what do we base this amazing revelation upon?" "Just look at his body of work, sculpted abs on beautiful men leaping around and doing good things. and pretty costumes. Just because they've never drawn Wolverine and Dr.
25. January 2017

an entirely inappropriate smirk

It was the type of morning that would inspire the dreariest Emily Dickinson poem. The moon hung in the sky, shining through a slurry of fog. He mumbled veiled curses while defrosting the car lock on his pickup with a hairdryer. The family across the street burst from their house like a clown car at the carnival. He counted them. Brat Junior. Bratette. Baby Brat. Mom followed them out heading for the minivan.
"Good morning, Harold!", she chirped in the morning air like a Disney Princess. He waved wordlessly while wrapping the cord around the hairdryer.
6. January 2017

context

"I've seen you at the gym and at a few parties. It's nice to see you here." "Why is that nice?" "Well, at the gym I'm with a trainer and working hard and just catch a glance here or there.
2. January 2017

normal, comfortable places

A broken champagne flute, a holiday tradition it seemed, was stuffed, defeated, in the corner. The small home still smelled of roasted turkey - and was splattered with the wreckage of the party with friends he'd hosted the night before. Someone was playing something or rather by Saint-Saëns on the radio as he wandered around in his pajamas gently started putting things back in their normal, comfortable places. The bell tolled down in the village, it meant that morning services were letting out. The kettle on the stove whistle an answer back.
25. December 2016

the woods at the end of town

From my view across the coffeehouse, what I noticed most though, were the dark tattoos covering his hands. They reminded me of the kind of runes that Queequeg might have worn aboard the Pequod. They were hard to see in the sea of black and grey hair on his arms. He wore a red flannel jacket with the sleeves pulled up. It was the kind of ritual jacket that had fought all the wars alongside him. Buttoned up underneath, an unremarkable gray long john top like you'd expect to see on a grifter panning for gold in a California stream.
22. December 2016

Be The Glitterbomb You Want To See In the World!

“How could I have known she’d start crying and scream ‘rape’?” “You have anger issues. ‘Hate the sin, love the sinner’ is what they say, right? Why decide to take out your anger with the Salvation Army on that poor woman?” “Oh, you. Fuck that ‘live and let live’ crap. To say that she doesn’t know about the organization she represents is naive.
20. December 2016

...how could you want to miss this?

The dream broke suddenly and I was awake. I glanced over at the clock reading 4:30 a.m. I stumbled in the kitchen in my boxers and robe. The coffee maker sat in the same corner it had for 40 years, accompanied by a pair of fiesta ware blue coffee cups. Everywhere I looked, memories flashed and seared back at me. I’d sat at that same old oak dinette admitting to my parents that I was gay, and that Harold was more than a roommate. She’d responded with cool hardness. I was simply never welcome there again. The worst of it was that Pop and I simply weren’t allowed.
17. December 2016

on our sleeves

By 1988, there had been 61,816 deaths in the U.S. alone. I was twenty-one. Two years later, nearly twice as many Americans had died of AIDS as died in the Vietnam War. By the time I was thirty? 234,225 deaths. Forty? Nearly 600,000 deaths.

Just consider that for a second.

Six-hundred thousand dead.

1. December 2016

Keep what is worth keeping...

I had some really good conversations today with my husband about post election feelings and relationships. He talked me out of my need for closure - writing people letters to ask "what about Trump was so attractive?" or which was it - the misogyny or the xenophobia that made you vote Republican - or was it both? As David says "If the relationship with you/us means something to them - they'll come and talk about it with you.
25. November 2016

Lift Toolkit #1 - Responding|Reacting

Whether you’re in the U.S. or not, the results of November's election can bring up some strong feelings — maybe outrage or depression, maybe elation and shock, maybe contempt for others. Perhaps, like some people I know, you are angry about the outcome, and can’t believe your fellow Americans would elect the person they elected. Perhaps you’re feeling vindicated, and are unhappy with the way your fellow Americans have steered this country for the last eight years.
10. November 2016

How do we find the compassionate path in the next four years - and the years that follow?

I don't know about ya'll, but I woke up this morning pretty shell-shocked. I hear a lot of folks touting the fact that Hillary won the popular vote. She won the popular vote by 207,000. (basically the population of Boise, Idaho) or in a more digestible # - .006% of the votes counted so far. That's hardly a victory by any standard. A majority is usually 50+1% and this figure doesn't equal a victory - it equals a tie. Let's not be poor losers to the fact that Donald Trump played the Electoral Vote game better than the Clinton Campaign.
9. November 2016

You've Got Mail

"Does it mean I'm old when the latest cool thing baffles me?" "Keep in mind, you've said previously that you miss AOL. So your reviews of technology are already suspect." "I miss hearing 'you've got mail' when I login. Email used to mean something." "Darling, today? Today its about skype and twitter, startrek is here. Twitter is meant for people on their phones fat finger typing. The guy that invented it is a gabillionaire." "I don't get twitter, the whole thing depresses me. It seems like people only tweet power-snark, as mean and cutting as possible in 140 characters.
28. October 2016

The Call of the Wild

"You know in the old west, they'd cook on the campfire and sleep by it all night. It was the center of their social circle. Wouldn't it be fun to be with all our friends in such a purposeful way, with the stars above and all?," he said, gazing into the flames in the the fireplace, "I mean in those old museum western Remington paintings? The guys all seemed to enjoy it so much." "You mean, recreate the wagon train? Actually, go camping?", his partner asked. "Get dirty? oh no no no no no no.
22. October 2016

Then? Then he gave me the look.

I was sitting in the airport. It was the usual whirling dervish of people moving in every direction. I stared down at my boarding pass with dismay. 6pm flight the day before Thanksgiving, what the hell was I thinking? I was already regretting not stopping at the bar for a beer before reporting to the gate. "A Cardinal fan, eh?
18. October 2016

like a secret

I sat riverside watching the river flow by, skipping rocks across the surface. The cottonwoods were shedding and there was a soft stream of puffs gently wafting down towards the river. The cotton would almost get violently grabbed from its soft descent into the brisk current of the river. 'Beautiful day,' said a voice from behind me. I turned to see a man standing in the path along the river. He stood, wearing a large hunting pack from his back.
15. October 2016

He didn’t even know I was there.

It was a rainy night in the neighborhood, when I saw him through a restaurant window. He didn’t even know I was there. I stopped for a moment, staying off at a distance like a ghost. Here we were, 22 years later. His beard still a soft black. He still worked out. His ear still twinkled with his taste for sparkling earrings. He still had impeccable taste in clothes. I wondered if he still made fantastic omelets and strong thick coffee on Saturdays. He was with a stocky bear-type guy and a straight couple. He poured wine, and broke out mid-pour in his hearty Russian laugh.
14. October 2016

rehoboth

I'd rented a car for the first time and escaped to Rehoboth. I was stationed at Norfolk. I counted the miles between me and the naval base outloud as I drove north.  Thinking what it would be like to be somewhere I could step out and see what other gay men were like. The restaurant was in the Damron guide I'd been hiding in my stuff. "I didn't think there was another gay man that liked football," he said appearing next to me, letting his hand leisurely drop on my back.
12. October 2016

Tankyou, Unka

The young girl examined the vegetables. Being shorter, she felt most attached to the carrot on the bottom. She didn't realize she'd bring the whole display down upon her, resulting in a falling cascade of carrots, pelting her. She was about to erupt in tears when he seemed to appear out of nowhere. He knelt down whispering comfort in her ear.
9. September 2016

Town House Cocktail Lounge - August 3, 1986

I stood across the street where the bus had dropped me. I looked both ways before crossing the street, checking traffic and to also double check if anyone saw me. I am not sure what I thought I'd find there, but I was determined. A blue cigarette haze greeted me as I scrunched up my eyes coming in from the midday sunshine. The jukebox played Steely Dan as I hopped up on the bar stool and confidently ordered a soda pop. "A Soda pop?
1. September 2016

Chia

"He's so hairy he should be wearing a full body hair net. I think he should have to manscape before before working over food." "I thought you liked hairy guys?" "I do.... But look at him , he looks like a chia pet he's so furry. I'd better not get a curly chiapube in my tuna special." "First, we'd have to see way more of him for curlypubes to end up in our entrees.
26. August 2016

Sweater Weather

I would ask each Saturday morning of September if it was time yet, even if it was 80 degrees outside. One quiet Saturday morning we'd wake up to the sparkle of the first frost of the season on the grass out front, with the ocean's fog dancing across the surface. It was like Christmas came early for six year old me. My mother would retrieve the box of sweaters from the attic that we'd carefully folded and put away the spring before. Finally, I was reunited with my favorite pullovers, button ups, vests and my favorite, the cardigans. I would pull out each one and look at it.
16. August 2016

Can I be your fag hag?

I love lunches with Martika. When she'd come to work for me, I was the first real-life homosexual she'd ever met. I've tried to represent my subspecies well. She is a shy Indian woman with a wide-eyed interest in all things different than her marriage and family life. She wondered how other 'families' worked. "Can I be your," she said, pausing to get her words right, "fag hag?" I chortled, telling her that fag hag wasn't the most complimentary of terms, and how about we just be friends.
15. August 2016
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