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

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, well-a, well-a, uh! Tell me more, tell me more Was it love at first sight?" he sang in a horrible high pitched wail. "Well it was all going great till we get to the bar and we have a beer." "Oh no. drama? Oh honey..." "yeah - there were no other clues. no swooning. no closeness. no attempts at handholding at the movie. Not a drop of romantic chemistry at all.
12. August 2016

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 stared over at the pile of mail with a sigh, a pile of advertising since nobody writes handwritten letters anymore. He closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh. "You'll hurt your neck sleeping like that," the voice said, "Albert, hey..." He slowly opened his eyes to find his husband leaning over him, still dressed in a bow tie and suit for the symphony.
14. July 2016

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 a man in a shirt and tie. “God, he must be at least 35,” Blaine thought to himself, “but he still works out. Big pecs.” “Going to Pride?” the man said, making eye contact and interrupting Blaine's daydream, smiling through a gray mustache. In a bright pink tank top and shorts, there was little doubt, so Blaine chirped out a , “Yep!” “I gotta work. I’ll miss it.
19. June 2016

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. He waterproofed them and cared for them like nothing else. He’d sit in the classroom daydreaming of the next hike to plan. He’d circled all the waterfalls on the map. He’d bust out of bed at sunrise on a Saturday. While his siblings watched cartoons around the television, he’d pull his schoolbooks out of his pack, and fill it with a lunch, a water bottle and his leather diary.
18. June 2016

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 in the other room, "There is a giant spider on my desk!" As usual, he calmly stared me over his reading glasses. "Look how big you are!," he said pausing and giving me that you are being a silly little man look, "Stocky, nearly six foot tall, bearded.
17. June 2016

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 macerated since the last full moon. The sun had indeed turned it all into a lovely brown concoction.

29. May 2016
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