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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. To know how to identify a spot you won’t be found that is all your own. Even then it never is.

I was showering that morning, the sun peaking through the trees — and the jury rigged outdoor shower felt like my own private waterfall. I don’t know where my mind wandered to — during and after spraying my lust out in the modern air , before I realized he’d been standing there. Possibly the entire time. I wasn’t sure how to respond. He was there in his shorts, clearly as aroused by the morning light as I still was. The look in his eyes was a softness I’ve never seen matched. I remember trying to brush it off, while trading places and getting myself dried off.

“Its nothing to be ashamed of, “ he said quietly. I looked back at him expecting him to be covered in lather to find he had his now completely erect cock in his hand, at a slow measured use.

“Really. it’s not. I see the way you watch people… or don’t. I’ve seen how the ladies and their way don’t bring your eyes. I know what does…. I’ve been out here a long while, and I know things…. and well, if’n you’d ever like to do it with someone in the morning sun. you’d just need ask.”

I gathered my things and didn’t say a word in response. I headed out in the pasture to the day started, our conversation sticking and repeating in my head all day long. We saw each other again as suppertime rolled around. The small cabin with the fire going, felt unusually quiet. We were scraping through some stew when, without really thinking much more about it, I spoke quietly.

“That suggestion you had this mornin’…… “ I said with a small awkward pause, “Well, I think I’d like that. I think I’d like that very much.”


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.
“First off, you are one pine spark away from waking up in the night on fire that close. Second, it’s a lot warmer in the bed and its just sensible.
I’m not going to get fresh on ya or hurt ya in your sleep. It’s going to get cold, even with the fire. so you’ll sleep in the bed.”
I was too exhausted to muster up a complaint. We had come in off the trail, racing in front of a snow front. You could smell it in the air, the change from water to ice. Before we’d fed the horses and headed back up to his small cabin to make supper, a light snow had turned into a steady one. You could almost feel the cabin ache as the temperatures dropped further after dark.
So there I was hours later, listening to him sputter and sniff in the dark. It is strange, that soft and foreign sound a man makes when he’s sleeping. He was a big man, but by no means a loaf. He’d earned his muscle and size from forest work. Logging, hauling, and hay bailing in the fall.
He had that beard that meant he wasn’t committed to growing it out proper, but wasn’t all that committed to shaving either. As he breathed out he sputtered subconscious gibberish that sounded like they could be whispered spells from around a witches caldron.
In a flicker of firelight, I noticed some thick scars on his neck and upper back. A man’s body tells stories that he can’t hide. Worried he might catch me staring over at him, I turned my back and tried to get back to sleep.

Independence Rock

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.
We'd left the preacher, and his never ending line of kin, back at Independence Rock. Apparently all there was in his life was praising God and fucking his wives.
I'll admit there were nights when they'd all batted down, that I was a bit jealous, thinkin' of him having his pick of who shared his bed out on the trail on a late winter's night. But there was always a next day where what you left behind the night before - was standing there waiting for you. No life on the journey was easy, even if you had God to play at the gambling table.
He was going to set up a church on the prairie - thinking that someone might appreciate a little Jesus in the wilderness. Figurin' he'd make his mark out on the frontier rather than joining the rest of the Mormon folk at the Great Salt Lake.
The thing with religion though, is one man's savior is another man's sin. I smiled occasionally at the thought of him saying or implying the wrong thing to one of these Plainspeople Indians. Him violently and completely meeting his maker, so much sooner than he'd originally planned. His kin blowing the wind to the west and the south. That was the truth of life out here, don't plan anything to awful into the future - ya never know what 'right now' is waiting behind a corner.
Our Sunday stroll, as we'd come to call it, proceeded down the west face of the Rockies. We'd arrive at Pocatello in another couple days. There, these families would decide on California Gold or the unexplored Northwestern woods and rivers leading out to the new ocean.
For me, I'd get my pay and sit a spell. All them unknowns would still be there when I'd made up my mind. A rifleman could make a living on any of these trails. For what it was worth, fear still paid a really good wage.

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. I can't say that I reached out to keep it from going. It just felt that he'd naturally probably outstayed his welcome as it was.

Knocked out of the thoughts in my head, I noticed out the window that I could see campfires out in the valley below. New settlers were arriving now that the snows had thawed in the Rockies. The Umatilla grass it's unnatural fresh spring green.

I smiled imagining small children who had never known the old world, whose first steps had been in a Wyoming prairie town where their wagons had stopped for the winter. Now they were running in circles of play, never realizing they were the first of their kind.

I'll put on my old hat, mount up, go down 'n introduce myself to them in the morning.



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.
I walked gingerly through the master bedroom and could hear the water running. Walking into the bathroom - there was a rush of rose water scent as it wafted up from the bubbles covering the floor. They'd started moving out onto the bedroom carpet like a Hawaiian lava flow. I reached down and turned off the water and looked back at my great aunt.
For someone who had been assuredly dead for a few minutes to an hour - she looked miraculous. Carol always had a flash for the ridiculous. Rather than be ashamed of it, she always enthusiastically embraced it. She was famous for arriving at parties in her latest ridiculous fashions. She'd stop in the doorway and announce herself.
"This!", she'd say motioning down her body, waving with her hands, "This amount of staggering beauty is a lot of work."
She sat there in one of those fifties neon flower shower caps that represented every color in the rainbow plus a few colours not really found in nature. Immortalized in her right hand was a half full glass of bright crimson red wine. On the tray in front of her, a now soggy national enquirer open to a page about the stars. She loved her Hollywood gossip. Her stars. Her cosmos.
At 94, she looked like a starlet herself. The tiniest hint of expensive blush and the latest, trendy loud red lipstick. She'd talk wild romantic fantasies of what she'd do if she could get only "her grubbies on that Italian stallion at the Maybelline counter."
I loved the idea of Carol going this way. There she was in the midst of her favorite past-time, enjoying a beautiful California red and maxing out on every possible idea of glamour.

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.
Thing is, I've never seen a human being at the house. Cars park in the driveway, the yard and home are clearly maintained. It's strange in this little corner of suburbia how alive and frighteningly vacant the house is in the same breath.
I have ideas about an old man stuck in a wheelchair inside watching me through the blinds. He sees me come by each spring and photograph and marvel at his roses. He sees me when I pinch just a little tiny piece of fresh rosemary off his hedge and roll it around on my fingers, inhaling the aroma in a sacred act. I wonder if this brings him joy. Or does it bring resentment and anger that he cannot do so as well?
I imagine him as a younger man out in the garden tending to his children. I imagine exuberant conversations with passers by - and his happiness that his work in the yard brings his neighbors such happiness. I imagine him playing peekabo between bushes with a two year old name Margarie who is walking by with her parents. I imagine him cutting a rose off a bush one ridiculously clear spring morning and handing it to the man with whom he'd spent his entire life. I imagine so many things for him. He feels like someone I know - a friend for whom time always stands still.



“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? Bomb to be dropped on an unsuspecting car as it drove by.”

“With all due respect, I don’t remember having a childhood where my mother walked three miles for rice rations each day. and kids a few months older than this started in Kathy Lee Gifford’s sweatshop to pay for their siblings schooling.”

An uncomfortable but requisite silence fell between them, both continuing to stare at the photo.

“I suppose not.”




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. the Buddha over here to the left, I can't decide if his eyes are closed in contemplation or I've caught him in sculpture at mind head swing, 'oh no no no, what have you done?' It has been suggested that perhaps my method of surrounding myself with random objects of whimsy is an external projection of how my mind works, little snippets here and there, placed out on a working surface always trying to consider how I can bring them all together somehow. Perhaps the toys help me grounded in my history and hint at my hopes for what I can still accomplish or explore in myself or with the help of another. It surrounds me with things that are comfortable and real, despite their origins. Many of my favorite items remind me of a very specific moment. I have a stone figure - a Peruvian fertility goddess. it was given to me in love by someone for whom I didn't love. or at least the way he wanted me to. Having always been the googly-eyed boy who fell in love on the first kiss, that had been new territory to tell someone that I didn't love them the way they wanted me to. There was a time where I really hoped I did, but I did not. Love and history are strange that way - full of moments of triumph, of failure, of neither.


Mindfulness Exercise

"Well, I'd call butt sex a mindfulness exercise."
"Wait, what? Buttsex? I'm going to call Reeses Peanut Butter Cup here. You are getting your mindfulness in my buttsex."
"But what if they work together? and your re-'butt'-al is useful for my point."
"no more puns or I'm hanging up.... okay Budda butt?"
"Deal. although if you present a gorgeous opportunity I may not be able to help myself."
"So - how is buttsex and mindfulness like chocolate and peanut butter?"
"Our routine, our habit, is to be off in our heads somewhere mulling over negativity and struggles of the past, or becoming anxious and fearful of the future. Seldom are we fully 'here'. and to learn to be in the moment, I think sex has lots to offer in the way of opportunities to let go of everything else and be in the moment. I mean, lets be honest - sex can be frought with those tapes - the negativity - times when sex just doesn't work. or the future fears of 'what if he's a lousy lay' - or worse, 'what if I'm a lousy lay?' - - and my point is all those things are an example of falling outside of mindfulness."
"But when i'm enjoying buttsex, I'm enjoying buttsex, its not metaphysical."
"Oh but it is. You're going to tell me that you never let your mind wander during sex? you are absolutely in the moment. no thought of anything else?"
"I don't think anyone can just shut off their brain - whether it's sex or any other activity. I don't want to think 'oh no! i'm not being mindful' while I'm trying to enjoy sex."
"I think it gets easier as we get older, we worry less about the imperfections showing themselves, because we all have them in common. You get naked with someone and it's not "oh - I wish he had this or that" - I think we're more comfortable in our skin - therefore making sharing our skin and admiring someone elses a lot easier.
I'd just like to suggest that when you feel your mind wandering during buttsex - to bring yourself back to your body - and the body of the man or woman you are with. Look for the beauty in that particular moment. We're all human - we are going to be distracted. but I just thought discussing mindfulness from the point of view of mindful buttsex might frame it in a context that could help you understand and learn more about what it means."
"I do love buttsex."
"We all do, darlin' - we all do."

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. I was consigned to my solitary beer, when he walked in.
He ordered a beer, exchanged small talk with the bartender, then moved into one of those top-lit corners that every leather bar seems to manage. (Does it come in a kit to be installed? Sleazy Corner Leatherbar Light Kit, $9.95! Act now!)
He had a thick Sam Elliot mustache and a sailor's gait. He wore a seasoned white tank top, body hair sticking through it like netting - and a pair of jeans I wasn't sure had ever been washed. In other words, he couldn't have been more my type, if he tried to be.
I kept stealing glances at him from across the bar in my way. It was useless going up and talking to him. I mean, I was a pseudobearded college student studying art history - and he was clearly a man of experience.
Besides, I just suck at small talk, the approach - - all of it. I suck at it so badly, that I just skip it, relieving myself of the torture. Particularly in leather bar settings, I just had nothing of interest it seemed. I literally had a guy say to me once that I needed to practice some more before ever speaking to him again. I'd been laughed at by groups of men I had tried to introduce myself to. It was just easier to dream about what I'd do if one of these men actually talked to me versus the damage to my ego in the attempt.
I headed to the restroom to get rid of the $2 beer, lingering a little bit listening to the music from the jukebox speakers. I returned to the bar to find Mr. Tanktop had relocated himself next to my backpack and coat. I walked up cautiously, and he spoke first.
"Wouldn't want anyone taking your things while you were in the head, figured I'd protect it all while you were gone." he said with a wide smile, a slight northeastern accent. He put his thick hand out in a handshake and we were soon lost in conversation.