Robert McDiarmid Blog

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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...

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 –...

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...

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.” “Wow, you guys are so romantic – you...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

Sugar Tomato and White Peach Chutney

I adore chutneys – and here is a quick one that is made with seasonal white peaches and sugar tomatoes. It comes together quickly, but for the flavors to really explode when served –...

Tuna Sashimi with Curry Oil Flash

  I saw this trick tableside at a restaurant in Las Vegas. So easy to do at home and SO delicious.   1/2 pound Ahi sliced into cubes 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder, toasted...

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...

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,...

singularity

It is interesting how these events stick in us, every detail. The photo was a singularity. The little girl with the perfect Shirley Temple curly hair, introduced everywhere as ‘Daddy’s little girl.’ It was...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 their own personal language. They’d become...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

…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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Kiss a few frogs before…

“So we had a nice dinner out together before the movie, at that noodle place on 14th?” “Oh that is a good one!” “And as always the sing along Grease was a scream.” “Well-a,...

complicated multiracial power names

He set the glass down and watched the wine slosh around in the glass. NPR commentators with impossibly complicated multiracial power names rattled on about some soundbite of the day in the background. He...

Visiting the Emerald City

Blaine was 21; this was his year. It was time to march in the parade and then make a beeline for one of those $10 margaritas. He caught the Muni train, standing next to...

adventure shoes

Tossing newspapers into front yards for months finally had its reward. He loved those shoes, the old-fashioned hiking boots with bright red laces. They were almost too pretty to wear when they first arrived....

a spider lives in my desk

There is a spider living on my desk. The first time he introduced himself I leapt away from my desk and screamed like a three year old. I ran out to my husband reading...

generational stories

He hummed a small chant reverently as he labored in the small cabin. He returned affectionately to the window sill. He held the small dusty bottle up to the light triumphantly. The leaves had...

grains of sand under his feet

The world left behind, he sat by the campfire. Thick Pacific fog held the beach captive around him. His coworkers had called him a bit crazy for doing this trip. Who takes a vacation...

Magic

The sunrise spread over the urban meadow as he walked quietly along behind his cart. His brown clothes hung like Buddhist monk’s robes. This one had a drinking fountain, he could refill his bottles....

MFFIT

“Welcome to MFFit, how can I help you?” “Yeah – I saw you guys had opened and figured I’d come in for a tour, and see what you have to offer.” “Bitchin’”, barked the...

Seasons of Glove

The bar manager approached me apprehensively as I was setting up the sound equipment. Thursday nights the bar hosted ‘Beareaoke’ for the local bear club to come and drink beers and sing. “We have...

Thick

He stared at himself in the mirror – a comfortable black tshirt, brand new blue jeans and engineer’s boots with an obvious history. He clipped on his keys and headed down the block. The...

The Ringing

You know that ringing in your ears after a loud Springsteen concert? The one where he sang every song you love and covered a few others. The one where you sang along to every...

for yourself

He stared down at the ocean spreading out below the plane as he daydreamed. Two years in the south pacific helping island nations use technology for sustainable farming practices sounded like Klingon to his...

Cruella gets her coffee

They stood in line in the coffeeshop. He glanced at the clock, 645am. Plenty of time. The woman in front of him stepped up to the cashier, pulling out of her purse what looked...

Shelby

What was she doing there? She sat in the classroom, somewhere she hadn’t visited since her twenties, which is roughly what she guessed was the average age of the other students in the room....

Toast

For each day in March 2016, I’ll be writing these 150 word essays based on a sentence provided by a Facebook or Google+ follower of my little essay-lettes. Today’s is from Rachel Unger who...

Vibrations

Arriving early, as always, I was the only patient in the waiting area. The old school receptionist tapped away. Her large Lee press-ons exaggerating the click of data entry. She wore glasses, held to...

lingering facial hair inadequacy issues

For each day in March 2016, I’ll be writing these 150 word essays based on a sentence provided by a Facebook or Google+ follower of my little essay-lettes. Today’s is from Brett Cook-Snell in...

The Girl from Ipanema Has A Cough

For each day in March 2016, I’ll be writing these 150 word essays based on a sentence provided by a Facebook or Google+ follower of my little essay-lettes. Today’s is from Kenny Hill in...

Singularity

For each day in March 2016, I’ll be writing these 150 word essays based on a sentence provided by a Facebook or Google+ follower of my little essay-lettes. Today’s is from Stuart Gaffney in...

Hello, my name is….

He sat on the 24 bus heading to the Castro, fumbling with note cards in his hand. He’d been asked to speak. He always knew the day would come where he could share his...

Sleeping Beauty

He sat with his head leaning against the glass. White earphone cords lead across his flannel shirt to his pocket. Eyes shut, he nodded slowly to the music as a contented sleeping smile swept...

relativity

“Doesn’t this Utilikilt look great on me?” he asks. So not fair. In nearly 30 years of cultivated faggotry, I’ve only ever seen one man that looked good in a Utilikilt. I mean, even...

Party in the USA

“Hi. My name is Mark, ” I paused, speaking into the microphone, “and I like Miley Cyrus.” Instead of the expected support group auto-response, the silence in the room was deafening. After a few...

when the zombie apocalypse does come

“Mom, I’m scared of Ebola.” Her mother rolled her eyes. “There was this report that some guy caught Ebola and died. Then like three or eight hours later he came back to life* “So...

amongst peers

He’d left the crowded national park parking lot, and he’d hiked determinedly up and away from them to reach the silence. He couldn’t hear car horns, he couldn’t hear people talking loudly on cellphones....

Lunch in my mind with SBG

My mind is a scary place. No – it’s not ‘state the obvious’ day again. (hands on hips) It is just that with an alarming regularity my mind, more specifically my subconscious has hired...

Bob’s Mole Style Stewed Chicken

2 dried Ancho chilies 3 dried New Mexico or Guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded 1/4 cup sesame seeds 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds 6 black peppercorns One...

Fiberliscious

“Fiberliscious?,” he said tapping the shopping list “Fiberliscious.” he said matter-of-factly, “The name brand gives me gas so I get the more expensive Fiberliscious.” “Can you tell a big difference?” “It’s not like I...