Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Whatever is ailin' me is still ailin' me. A sweet boy I know through GMSMA offered me seven days worth of Flagiol, an antibiotic. I asked him to let me consider it and hold them for me for a while.

Y'know, I can't help feeling that what's going on with my body is a purging of sorts. I started to have these cloacal issues when Boss Sunshine flipped out for the first time. I remember at the time doing a web search on Irritable Bowel Syndrome and finding out that it was caused by stress. And now, I'm flushing Boss Sunshine (in a way), and I think it's appropriate that my body is doing its damndest to rid itself of these various and sundry toxins.

Now, I don't know that I really believe that. I think what's happening is a microbial infection of the lower GI track, and hopefully a round of Flagiol will be sufficient to knock it out. But there is an appealing synchronicity to this that appeals to me.

And another thing. To balance the list of 'What I Look Forward To In Moving to Bucks County,' I think I should do a list of, 'What I Will Miss About New York City.' By no means exhaustive...

  • Spending a summer afternoon sitting outside of the Factory Cafe scoping hot boys;
  • Bear Blast Sunday's at the Dugout;
  • The New York Sun;
  • Knowing all the in-jokes in the New Yorker;
  • Watching Daniel Liebeskind's tower go up on the World Trade Center site;
  • My gym, which I've come to love pretty quickly;
  • Those great New York Fuckin' City Moments when you feel yourself to be a part of something not only much larger than yourself, but something really, really great;
  • Watching the Yankees at Ty's (What will I do when the World Series rolls around???!!);
  • Thai? Vietnamese? Malasian? Sushi? Re-interpreted Tex Mex? Cajun? English? Russian? Indian? What's your dining pleasure?;
  • Bendix Curry, at Bendix on First Avenue and Tenth Street (since we're talking food);
  • Everything being open 24 hours;
  • Having my laundry done;
  • The Leatherman on Christopher Street;
  • Such easy access to airports;
  • So many people who--however much I try--I'll probably be seeing less of;
  • Running into Special Guy, in particular;
  • Relatively stable cell phone signals;
  • Brunch...

    And no doubt more that I'm not thinking of.

    Anyway, I've got the chills again, so I'm going to bed. Here's the poem. I realize I've fallen short of my Thirty Poems/Thirty Days quota, but be assured that here at the home offices of Singletails, on the lofty upper floors of the Singletails Building on Park Avenue in the 50s, heads will roll as a result.

    This is the obvious poem. Obvious to me, anyway. When I first heard it read in 10th Grade English, it blew me away. Our teacher, Mr. Jimmerson (an old hippie who started the year clean shaven and let his hair and beard grow as the year progressed... and was such a sweet man), read it to us as an example of what a poem can do. It always has seemed to me to be just that: everything that a poem can do.

    Just don't ask me to translate the Italian. I only had a three semesters.

    Eat a peach!

    The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
    By T. S. Eliot

      S'io credesse chc mia risposta fosse
      A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
      Questa Gamma staria senza piu scosse.
      Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
      Non torno viva alcun, s'i'odo il vero,
      Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.

    Let us go then, you and I,
    When the evening is spread out against the sky
    Like a patient etherized upon a table;
    Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
    The muttering retreats
    Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
    And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
    Streets that follow like a tedious argument
    Of insidious intent
    To lead you to an overwhelming question....
    Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
    Let us go and make our visit.

    In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michelangelo.

    The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
    The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
    Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
    Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
    Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
    Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
    And seeing that it was a soft October night,
    Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

    And indeed there will be time
    For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
    Rubbing its back upon the window panes;
    There will be time, there will be time
    To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet
    There will be time to murder and create,
    And time for all the works and days of hands
    That lift and drop a question on your plate;
    Time for you and time for me,
    And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
    And for a hundred visions and revisions,
    Before the taking of a toast and tea.

    In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michelangelo.

    And indeed there will be time
    To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
    Time to turn back and descend the stair,
    With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--
    (They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!")
    My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
    My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--
    (They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!")
    Do I dare
    Disturb the universe?
    In a minute there is time
    For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

    For I have known them all already, known them all:
    Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
    I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
    I know the voices dying with a dying fall
    Beneath the music from a farther room.
      So how should I presume?

    And I have known the eyes already, known them all--
    The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
    And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
    When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
    Then how should I begin
    To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
      And how should I presume?

    And I have known the arms already, known them all--
    Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
    (But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
    Is it perfume from a dress
    That makes me so digress?
    Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
    And should I then presume?
      And how should I begin?
    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .
    Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
    And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
    Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?

    I should have been a pair of ragged claws
    Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .
    And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
    Smoothed by long fingers,
    Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers.
    Stretched out on the floor, here beside you and me.
    Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
    Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
    But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
    Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald)
    brought in upon a platter,
    I am no prophet--and here's no great matter;
    I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
    And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
    And in short, I was afraid.

    And would it have been worth it, after all,
    After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
    Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
    Would it have been worth while,
    To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
    To have squeezed the universe into a ball
    To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
    To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
    Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"--
    If one, settling a pillow by her head,
    Should say: "That is not what I meant at all;
    That is not it, at all."

    And would it have been worth it, after all,
    Would it have been worth while,
    After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
    After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts
    that trail along the floor--
    And this, and so much more?--
    It is impossible to say just what I mean!
    But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
    Would it have been worth while If one, settling a
    pillow or throwing off a shawl,
    And turning toward the window, should say:
      "That is not it at all,
      That is not what I meant, at all."
    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .
    No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
    Am an attendant lord, one that will do
    To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
    Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
    Deferential, glad to be of use,
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
    At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--
    Almost, at times, the Fool.

    I grow old ... I grow old ...
    I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
    Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
    I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
    I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

    I do not think that they will sing to me.

    I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
    Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
    When the wind blows the water white and black.

    We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
    By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
    Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

And her shoes were number 9

Today in the office, we are plagued by two individuals whom I will name. One is Lloyd van Prague. I swear. That's the guy's real name. How would it be possible for anyone to take someone serious named Lloyd van Prague? It sounds like something out of a W.C. Fields movie. "Ahhh... What a euphonious appellation!" Lloyd is described by Staffaella, who has been fielding his calls, as never ever using pronouns, but referring to people by their full names

The other person is named Dar-Lynn. She pronounces it with the accent on the second syllable, but Staffellina, who has been on the phone with her all day, is a native of New Orleans, and can't stop herself from stressing the first syllable. In effect, referring to this woman she's never met as "Darlin'." And that that word is just bringing out her long suppressed drawl. So there she is, "Wha thas fahn, Darlin', Ah'll make sho-ah to fax that t'you raht away. Y'hear?," sounding like a sketch on the Carol Burnett show. I respond by breaking into a Huckleberry Hound-esque "In a cavern, in a canyon, excavaaaaating for a mine, lived the minor forty-niner and his darlin' Clementine..."

Softball on Saturday!

If the weather is with us (an how many consecutive Saturdays can it rain before it's off the charts probability-wise and softballers have to conclude that the weather is now under the control of a softball-hating minor deity?) the Ballbreakers (that would be my team) will be playing the Noreasters and the Dragons. Tragically, the first game is at 10 am, which means we meet up at 8:30 am, which means that I have to be awake at 7 am on a Saturday morning. If'n your in the mood to cheer us on, we'll be out on Randall's Island at Field #1 and Field #3. If memory serves, Field #1 was mudhole city last year.

Dum dee dum.

Can I go home now?
And stay there?
And not come back?

I've been reading with keen interest lately the blog of Bryan. I ceased reading a few weeks ago when it got to be all about him and this boy who had moved in together and were deep in the throes of domestic bliss. (Cynic that I am about such matters, I turned over the egg timer and watched the sands begin to fall through the hourglass.) I've always enjoyed Brian's blog. He worked as a photographer for NEXT and was all about the drag queen and dj end of New York nightlife.

So's anyway, so's I point my url in Brian's direction the other day, and what's this? He and the BF have separated, and he's now back with his parents in West Texas, working on demolition of little houses on the prairie, contending with bull snakes, and dirtying up his cowboy hat so it looks better.

How to make the case to my therapist as to why I want to move to Pennsylvania?

Here are some initial thoughts...

  • Swimming in the Delaware River off the Wing Dam in Lumberville;
  • Long long walks with my dog down Sladek Road and Swagger Road
  • Putting in a garden;
  • Grilling in the back yard;
  • Driving into Philadelphia on Saturday nights to have dinner with the Baron and scope hot boys at the Bike Stop, which is, y'know, a Leather bar, and New York City doesn't have one of those;
  • Perhaps getting to know better fellow Pennsylvanians and Chicago Hellfire Club Associate Members Frank and JP, whom I like a lot, but with whom I haven't had many dealings;
  • Buying sweet corn when it comes in from the fields;
  • Playing the NYC mystique for all it's worth with the local gay boys;
  • Perhaps seeing more of Security, who lives not far from where I'll be living;
  • Wake up, have tea sitting on the front porch, eat some oatmeal, spend the day writing;
  • Chopping down trees, splitting firewood;
  • Practicing with my whips in the lush green grass of the front yard;
  • Being able to use my Shur-Shot anal douche without having to worry about contracting the nasties that proliferate in the Jersey City water supply, as what's coming out of the faucet there will be good, clean, pure well water;
  • Independent films at the County Theater in Doylestown, Pennsylvania;
  • Giving friends in the city a taste of country living for summer weekends;
  • Having a great Christmas tree;
  • I know all the back ways down those beautiful country roads;
  • Reconnecting with people that I haven't seen in twenty years;
  • Meeting up for ice cream with my high school French teacher with whom I was friendly;
  • No noisy kids hanging out on the corner below my window when I'm trying to sleep;
  • Hanging in Rittenhouse Square watching the boys with the Baron;
  • The first frost of the season;
  • Seeing if the pear tree that grows right outside what will be my bedroom window is still giving good fruit;
  • If I were able to find a slave, I could devote a lot of time to training;
  • As Diabolique pointed out, I have Unfinished Business with my father;
  • I'd have to spend serious amounts of time there when my step mother shuffles off this mortal coil, regardless;
  • It would be ideal to look for a job without the threat of starvation or eviction hanging over my head;
  • Things could possibly work out as I dare to dream that they might, and I could very well end up supporting myself by writing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

My session with my therapist went much as I expected it would. She reacted to the news that I've decided to leave NYC as though I told her I had decided to go live in a pile of mulch in the park. Alas, she gave no specifics as to why she thought this would be a bad idea, just that native New Yorker alarm when anyone suggests that life is possible beyond the Five Boroughs.

However, I think I've decided that it would be a good idea to sell my place in Fort Lauderdale. Since I bought it, I haven't been able to afford to go down there and enjoy it. The maintenance fees went up this year, and it's making less and less sense. My outstanding mortgage is $54,000. Coincidently, the broker I worked with in finding the place called me today to 'chat' and to 'see how it was going' with me. I have no doubt that she'd be telling me how the market continues to go up. If I were able to sell the place for $95,000, that would give me $41,000 clear. Well, not quite that much since the seller pays the brokers fee and some of the closing costs. But, that would essentially mean that I would never have to work ever again and I could have everything I ever wanted and I'd be happy all of the time.

Wouldn't it?

Anyway, something to consider.

It would be nice to have a healthy bank account again.

I seem to be on the mend from the food poisoning. After my session with my therapist, I stopped in the West Village. It was a beautiful Spring evening, and I felt like wandering around a bit. I risked a fruit salad from Factory Cafe, and after that, actually felt sort of hungry. So, I went to Anglers & Writers and had some chicken, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. So far, so good.

Not sure if I mentioned this or not, but Brother's Wife related how she was talking to the nurse that takes care of my step mother three or four days a week. BW asked her about how much time my step mother has left. The reply was, "I'd say June or July." That said, she seems to be doing 'better' lately, and this is a woman of whom it was said a year and a half ago that she probably wouldn't make it to Christmas.

Speaking of mortality, let's hear from Gerard Manley Hopkins, whose dying words were, "I'm so very happy."

God's Grandeur
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Sick as a Dog

I was feeling a little out of sorts yesterday at work. After work, at the gym, I just had no energy. I chalked it up to not enough in the way of protein lately. Then I started to get chills. By the time I made it home on the PATH train, I was feel really awful. Feverish, chills, and I couldn't get more than five feet from the toilet. I put myself to bed early, hoping that a good night's sleep would make me feel better. And indeed, the fever broke in the middle of the night. And this morning, I thought that I could pull it together enough to get into work. That plan lasted until I had to run to the bathroom the first time, leaping over the dog. Today, there would be no PATH train travels.

It's food poisoning. I would like to blame it on vegan eatin', but when I did the food poisoning test--thinking back over everything you've eaten recently and seeing which one makes your stomach lurch--the culprit was found to be the caviar that I had on my vareniki at the cafe where I ate with Brother and Brother's Wife in Brighton Beach. So, it looks like my caviar eating days are over.

Of course at this point, it feels to me like my eating days are over. The idea of food--putting it in your mouth, chewing it up, swallowing--just sickens me. I can't quite bring myself to swallow Tylenol and water for my headache. I want to subsist on oxygen alone, purging my body, making it pure, squeezing all of the bad stuff, the gunk, the contamination out through my bowels. Until water runs through me clear and pure, coming out the nether end as unclouded as it went in. Then I'll foul up the works again. Maybe.

Yeah, I guess I'll have to if I want my worship at the Temple of Physical Culture to have any payoff. Alas. Not counting the creatine potion I drank at the gym yesterday evening, I haven't had anything to eat since two slices of pizza at lunch time yesterday. It astonishes me how easy it is to forgo eating. I think I would be more successful in my efforts to quit eating than I have been in my efforts to quit smoking.


Well, here's the poem. The selection is pretty obvious selection, isn't it?

Fever 103
By Sylvia Plath

Fever 103º
Pure? What does it mean?
The tongues of hell
Are dull, dull as the triple
Tongues of dull, fat Cerebus
Who wheezes at the gate. Incapable
Of licking clean
The aguey tendon, the sin, the sin.
The tinder cries.
The indelible smell
Of a snuffed candle!
Love, love, the low smokes roll
From me like Isadora's scarves, I'm in a fright
One scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel.
Such yellow sullen smokes
Make their own element. They will not rise,
But trundle round the globe
Choking the aged and the meek,
The weak
Hothouse baby in its crib,
The ghastly orchid
Hanging its hanging garden in the air,
Devilish leopard!
Radiation turned it white
And killed it in an hour.
Greasing the bodies of adulterers
Like Hiroshima ash and eating in.
The sin. The sin.
Darling, all night
I have been flickering, off, on, off, on.
The sheets grow heavy as a lecher's kiss.
Three days. Three nights.
Lemon water, chicken
Water, water make me retch.
I am too pure for you or anyone.
Your body
Hurts me as the world hurts God. I am a lantern--
My head a moon
Of Japanese paper, my gold beaten skin
Infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive.
Does not my heat astound you. And my light.
All by myself I am a huge camellia
Glowing and coming and going, flush on flush.
I think I am going up,
I think I may rise--
The beads of hot metal fly, and I, love, I
Am a pure acetylene
Attended by roses,
By kisses, by cherubim,
By whatever these pink things mean.
Not you, nor him.
Not him, nor him
(My selves dissolving, old whore petticoats)--
To Paradise.

Damn, I love Sylvia Plath! Back when I wrote poetry, I avoided Plath, because reading her poetry made me want to break the points off every pencil in the house and drain all the pens of ink: I would never ever ever be that good.

Not long after I moved to NYC, I read her book The Bell Jar. It is the story--largely autobiographical, but at the same time, not autobiographical at all--of a young woman from the country trying to make it in... New York City. I remember vividly when she is out on a date with a simultaneous interpreter who works at the United Nations, and she cuts her ankle. The blood runs down her shin and collects in her shoe. It's such a great image, her pump filling up with her own blood.

I never have a fever--this recent bout included--when I don't think of my head as being a glowing japanese lantern, and feel myself to be incandescent. That's what a good poem does: we are drawn to it because it describes perfectly some interior state, and forever after, we use those words to describe that interior state to ourselves.

I'm going back to bed now.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Sorry. No poems tonight. Whilst at the gym, I started to feel pretty crappy, as in fever and chills and a bad stomach. I blame all the vegan eatin' I done been doin'.

Seriously, Brother and Brother's Wife (she's a vegan, he goes along with it a lot of the time) fart like no one else I know. I mean, repeatedly, they're just letting fly with these big old show stoppers. That's what comes from eating all of those vegetables.

So, I'm gonna get to bed and hope that with a good eight hours sleep, I'll be feeling better tomorrow.

Criminy. I don't need to be sick right now.

Gave the news here at work about my departure. Everyone looked like the passengers on the Titanic must have when informed that just as a precaution they were asked to wear life jackets. Who am I to say? I defer to Boss Sunshine's political instincts.

So I think I'll go down to Florida next weekend, leaving on Friday morning, and getting into Fort Lauderdale on Saturday night. Stay on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday...maybe longer, we'll see. I wonder if I can coax the Baron von Philadelphia into coming down with me. Or just go solo. Me and my dog. We shall see.

Odd. I'm noticing guys again. I haven't been recently. Not sure why. But there was a hot man from the electric company I passed on my walk to the train this morning, and just now a way hot boy I saw when I ran out to get pizza for lunch. Huh.

I think it would be nice to get a job post-relocation either working with dogs (I'll check in with the local ASPCA) or working outside, as in doing construction of some kind. The only downside of construction (and it's a big one) is that you have to be up and at'em at around 7 a.m.

Greetings from work!

I feel sort of giggly and I've-got-a-secret. During the apex of the dot-com economy in NYC, there was a terrific article in the New Yorker about a guy who walked into a dot-com and pretended to work there. He spent a few weeks just going and hanging out in the office, taking part in the free massages and moccachinos (moccachini?) and such. That's sort of how I feel. In the world, but not of the world. Pretending. Hee hee hee .

This last week of fulltime working is something of a doozie, too. Tomorrow morning I'm testifying at a City Council hearing and speaking at a press conference beforehand, then winding down the day with a union rally. Thursday is a Second Avenue Subway Task Force meeting, and then in the afternoon I'm meeting with a new police precinct commander. Busy busy busy.

I'm sort of nervous about making the "Ahem! Could we have a brief staff meeting?" I'm kinda nervous about it. When I made The Announcement at my last job, I pretty much knew what to expect. I haven't been here long enough to get to know these people really, although I like them, and so I can't really gauge what their reactions are going to be.

I doubt that Boss Sunshine has thought this through. Staffeena left the office last month to move to LA, and her replacement doesn't start until the end of May. Staffetta's last day was Thursday, as she went to do NYC area fundraising for a Presidential campaign. So that leaves Staffella, Staffila, and Staffano left holding down the fort. And, there's a lot going on right now. I asked Boss if he had someone in mind for my replacement, and he said he didn't. That is probably true. No one who knows him would come and work for him .

Tomorrow night I have my session with my therapist. Somehow I think that she is going to blow a gasket. Separation anxiety, maybe?

Sunday, April 27, 2003

The Frost poem below makes me think of a very odd thing that happened to me once while I was visiting my parents several years ago. It was summer. A warm and humid night. I wanted a walk. So I headed out the door, down the road, and turned onto a narrow, poorly paved road that runs above a quarry near them. There are few houses on the road. There was no moon. It was very dark.

So there I am, walking along Swagger Road, when I think I hear something... it sounds like... someone playing an organ. Or, at least, listening to organ music. I walk on. At first faint, it grows more and more distinct. Yes, it is organ music. No, it's not. It's 'kitten on the keys' organ music... no, it doesn't sound quite like that.

I waklk on. It grows louder and louder. Then, it seems that it's just about in front of me. I don't see the lights from any house by the road, and yet it seems to be coming from nearby.

I didn't see him until I was on top of him. Standing in the middle of the deserted country road was a man making whatever sound he could (it couldn't be called 'playing,' as there was no skill here) an accordion. I startled him and he startled me at about the same moment. I said "hello" and he said "hello" and I walked on.

Bucks County is interesting in that way.

I'm way behind on the poems, aren't I?

Apologies for that. I'll see what I can do to round out the offerings between now and Wednesday.

Here's a couple.

By Emily Dickinson

We grow accustomed to the Dark --
When Light is put away --
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye --

A Moment -- We uncertain step
For newness of the night --
Then -- fit our Vision to the Dark --
And meet the Road -- erect --

And so of larger -- Darknesses --
Those Evenings of the Brain --
When not a Moon disclose a sign --
Or star -- come out -- within --

The Bravest -- grope a little --
And sometimes hit a Tree --
Directly in the Forehead --
But as they learn to see --

Either the Darkness alters --
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight --
And Life steps almost straight.

And along those same lines...

Acquainted with the Night
By Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

Spent a nice day with Brother and Brother's Wife. We had lunch at a great Vegan (as in no meat, no fish, no dairy, no eggs; not cuisine of Las Vegas) restaurant at 6th and Waverly called Gobo. Then, we headed out to Brighton Beach via the Belt Parkway to commune with all things Russian. It was fun. I ordered for us in Russian at the Cafe where we stopped for yet another meal. Then, back into the city. We drove around for a bit, and then ended up at Zen Palette on Union Square for yet another Vegan meal.

This Vegan thing has not been kind to my bowels. I pooped something like six times today. Maybe it will clean me out or something, and I'll once again be in the happy land of firm, regular bowel movements. Maybe.

Brother actually used the phrase Prodigal Son to refer to me. And he also warned me against letting our father take advantage of me. Apparently, he has an expectation that things will be done for him at this point. That actually could almost be okay with me, if it meant that I didn't have to pay rent, but rather that my father would ohhh... pick up my car payments or something.

Sadly, I briefly talked to my father today. He's been scanning the help wanted ads in the local papers. He was very excited to report that there are a lot of ads for 'Administrative Assistants.' He said something like, "that's the kind of work you do, right?" I responded that that was the kind of work that girls recently graduated from high school do.

I had another realization today. I'm going to have to move. What I mean is, in order to get to Bucks County, I'm going to have to transport all of what I lovingly refer to as 'my stuff' there. What an ordeal. I actually know a really good mover. But, alas, I think to get me from Jersey City to Bucks County they're gonna charge through the nose. I wonder if I could possibly get them just to load up the van, and see if my brother or my Dad can arrange for some guys to unload the van once I drive down there. Hmmm. That would mean I would need someone to follow me down, driving either the van or my jeep. (Any takers?)

Perhaps ambivalence about all this is setting in. But, I remembered that in Bucks County, all of the hot men seem to be straight. And I don't have a 'thing' for straight men. But most of the gay men in Bucks County are attired in International Male catalog attire and look like they couldn't lift a bowling ball. That may have changed. I hope that changed. From their website, it looks like there's nothing in the way of Bear events at The Cartwheel or the Raven.

Hmmm. Should I join the Raven Pool? Hmmm. Y'see, there's this hotel called the Raven. The bar in the hotel is pretty much a homo bar. and it's usually where I go when I go out. Out front, they have this pool. My sister used to take me there. It's quite the scene. In its heyday, every summer they would hire a recent high school graduate (usually one who played football) to cook hamburgers and hotdogs. And starting on Memorial Day, a sort of contest ensued to see who would bust his cherry and how long it would take for that to happen. That may seem like it's confirming all of the right wing extremists ideas about homosexuals recruiting, but consider this: what sort of hunky recent high school graduate takes a job flipping burgers at a gay bar wearing only a Speedo? Anyway, that could be an amusing diversion.

So, it seems that I won't be hanging with Brother and Brother's Wife all week. Alas, I will be seeing them on Thursday night. A friend of theirs who is a jazz enthusiast is coming into town, and the plan is to go to the Blue Note. I'm going along. I hate jazz. Well, I enjoy Coltrane and Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis and such, but just the standards. Listening to some obscure combo play music without words for five uninterupted hours, doing that improv thing, which to me means playing the same thing over and over and over again, only with different instruments, is just unbelievably tedious. And there's that whole afficionado thing, the pursuit of unbelievably rare recordings. Luckily, it's a work night, and I'll have to excuse myself around midnight.

Mostly what I don't like about jazz is the elevation of the musician. In my experience, musicians tend to be cut from the same cloth. They are gifted with an ability to play an instrument well. But somehow, they come to the fallacious conclusion that they themselves are exceptional people, and should be regarded as such. No. No. That is not the case. The alignment of your jaw enables you to play the trumpet. You're genetically inherited ear and dexterity enable you to play the violin. You have a great voice. That's all. You're just like the rest of us, putting your shoes on one foot at a time. And thinking otherwise is a good recipe for assholism.


It's late. I will blog but briefly. Spirituality Special Interest Group: Really really good. A great group of guys and some powerful discussion. Afterwards, I went for coffee with Diabolique. D. was affirming of the move to Pennsylvania. Agreed with me that I had some unfinished business there. And, he pointed out that it's the next place on the itinerary, not the destination itself. Then I went to the gym, and did shoulders and back. Then off to Factory where I placed phone calls to Baron von Philadelphia and UnFortunate to let them know the news of my planned departure. Ho humm. Now what to do on a Saturday night with no LURE to go to? I went and had eggs at Manatus, and then was inspired to darken the doors of El Mirage.

I wouldn't go so far as to say it was just what I needed, but I did have fun. Diabolique, working the door, was kind enough to comp me. Luv that! Had some trouble getting into the swing of things at first. There I was, getting a blow job, and two boys working each tit with their mouths, and I was sort of thinking of phone calls I need to make. Not really, but I didn't quite feel into it. I wanted to connect--albeit at some minimal level, given the locale--with a hot man. Then I found one. He was sort of a hot Brooklyn Daddy. Gold chains, very hairy, kept burping really loud. Perfect. So I'm just having a blast with him, when over his shoulder I see this guy wearing a rubber vest, and with a really enormous penis. REP, it turns out, had his sites set on Brooklyn Daddy. There was a moment of hesitation, and Brooklyn turned his attention towards REP. That, it turns out, is when things got really interesting. REP had his act down. First, he gave some mouth action to Brooklyn, and then, when Brooklyn was very turned on to his ass, gave him a really good ploughing. Observing, I had no problem bringing myself to the verge of cumming, and staying there. Brooklyn, satisfied, moved on, and I sort of tracked REP. And REP did it again. Same deal. Then, REP spotted his third conquest (that I saw anyway) of the night. Sweet blond muscle boy. Actually, I spotted Sweet Blond a minute before REP did, but REP was quicker on the draw. They did some hot and heavy making out for a bit, tweaking each others tits, that kind of thing. Sweet Blond tried to satisfy REP with a blow job, but REP, of course, had some other ideas. He started diddling Sweet Blond up the butt. But, when he turned him around and started knocking on heaven's door, sweet blond thought better of taking it raw. But, REP had him get up on the upholstered bench, and started with the rim job. Sweet Blond was getting very, very, very hot.

And so was I. Tension was building. Would Sweet Blond allow himself to be barebacked? Would desire win out over caution? REP made his move... Sweet Blond--agonizingly--got to his feet, and turned and faced REP. Right at this moment, a very hot boy I had played with a little earlier, who was getting ploughed and blown, decided he needed a wee bit more in the way of activity, and his mouth went for my (sore, tender, sensitive) nipple. Blammo! I shot. Not even touching my dick. Thanks REP. Thanks Sweet Blond. Thanks hot boy.

I got my stuff from the coat check guys, and headed home.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Dang. No softball today. Rain rain rain.

So after the many excitements of the previous weeks, I'm feeling a wee bit down tooday. No specific reason. I think it will lift.

I wonder what it will be like stopping to get gas at Stump Road and 202 whilst wearing chaps and a leather vest? I actually don't forsee much in the way of a problem. For one thing, I'm nice. Deferential, sunny disposition, and friendly. Part of this is the same strategy that comes from growing up in the country and doing a lot of hiking and bike riding, which inevitably bings you into contact (or did then) with vicious dogs off the leash: show no fear. For another thing, Bucks County, the Land of the Dog in the Back of the Pick Up Truck shows a high degree of tolerance for freaks. Abbie Hoffman lived out his last years there. There's lots of bikers, which will probably be what most people assume when they see my leather. There's not a lot of closed mindedness for the most part.

At Dilly's in Centre Bridge (best hotdogs, best coffee milk shakes ever), they have a little notice board where people can put up adverstisements and such. I remember--verbatim--one I read a few years ago that to my mind perfectly sums up the Bucks County ethos:

"Wanted: Someone to care for my animal companions (4 intuitive, intelligent cats) for a period of two months while I visit several organic farming communal living situations prior to making the decision of which organic farming communal living situation to which I will relocate."

See? It's that kind of place. Interesting how a snatch of writing can perfectly sum up a place. I remember years ago my friend Sapphire, whilst visiting San Francisco, ran across the following written in magic marker in the women's restroom of a public library: "Great cunnilingus! Be in the outside dining area of Cafe Flore any Tuesday afternoon at 3 pm reading a MAD magazine."

Homos in Bucks County can, of course, be a different thing altogether. Do you dream of fabulous dinner parties with a vast array of silverware spread out to either side of your china plate and lots of salacious gossip about deceased actresses? You'll do fine there. I have heard tell of a few dungeons in the area, and there are a couple of guys I've run across on line over the years that hail from Bucks County. And back when I was with my Ex, we were having dinner at the Riegelsville in in Riegelsville, Pennsyvania, and out the window I saw two guys in full leather come out of their house across the street and get into their car. But some rural gay men can be a wee bit emotionally underdeveloped. Kind of stuck in perpetual adolescence. Not to say that one doesn't run into that in the Big Bad City, but you run up against it more out in the sticks.

Anyway, time to get across the river for the Spirituality Special Interest Group.

Friday, April 25, 2003


Oh well.

I had a good talk with Boss Sunshine about my departure. He's willing to pay me through June, and isn't too concerned about how much time I spend in the office between now and then. (Hellooooo, Fort Lauderdale! Helloooo, San Diego!) That left me sort of juiced about this whole moving to Bucks County thing. So, I decided to take a risk and jump the gun and give a call to my Dad, asking him how he would feel about me moving into the tenant house next door to him. I closed the door to my office to make the phone call.

The phone call went well. He would be thrilled to have me. I didn't get him to commit to rent free. That will be another conversation, and my Dad can be weird about money. Comes from being raised in the Depression.

After I got off the phone, Staffella and Staffetta had a conversation. I could clearly hear every word.

So I guess the cat is out of the bag. Which is not the worse thing that could happen. And fits in well with the "Official Reason" I'm leaving ( spend more time with my family. Isn't that an appropriate political swansong.)

Anyway, Boss Sunshine said he'd be happy to sing my praises when it comes to looking for a job in Bucks County, and he said that if it would be possible for me to collect unemployment in Pennsylvania, he'd be willing to tell them that the reason for leaving was 'internal reorganization' or one of those Unemployment-collectable reasons.

So, it seems that I'm retiring to the country. For the time being.

I wonder how my brother is going to react. There's an odd aspect to my relationship with my brother. He was born in 1949, and my sister was born in 1951. They both grew up together. I was unplanned. Totally. I came along in 1964, when my sister was thirteen and my brother was fifteen. Then, when they were 18 and 20, our mother died. So my Dad lavished a lot of attention on me when I was growing up that had been divided between the two of them. Also, my mother had been a strict disciplinarian, so there was a lot that I was permitted to do that they weren't. So there's some jealousy going on. ("Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!!!")

I think my brother compensates for this by doing his damndest to be The Good Son. Always there, always reliable, always dependable. And, the more he feels me to be the recipient of undeserving approval, it just gauls him.

Since my parents' health situation took a turn for the worse, he's been there big time. And he views with disdain the fact that I've pretty much stayed away. Now that I'm usurping his role of caretaker (and honestly, I'm not. That's why my parents have home healthcare and a home attendant that comes as often as they need it), I could see that things might get tense.

Or not. I like my brother a lot, and he likes me. Since my sister died, we've gotten on pretty well.

Oh. As I mentioned, the house is a two bedroom. There's a little bedroom and a big bedroom. The little bedroom will be where my bed goes, and the big bedroom will be the dungeon. Not much of a dungeon. It's a large bright sunny room at the front of the house. I'll need to get some good heavy curtains.

If indeed there are local men to whip, I'll be ready for them.

I guess I'd better get a lock for that door, too. Not that my parents will be over there a lot, but when they are, I think that might be a little much for them to take. Or, maybe not. My step mother won't remember it two minutes after she saw it, and my father can usually be a reasonable person. If he was able to come to terms when I got a mohawk, almost flunked out of highschool, pierced my ear, got a tattoo, told him I was gay, met my partner and allowed us to sleep in the same bed when we stayed over, and all the rest of it, I very much doubt that he's gonna be freaked out to learn that I enjoy whipping men who enjoy getting whipped. There ought to be something like PFLAG for people into kink.

I am totally going to suggest that the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (or somebody) do something along the lines of a National Coming Out Day for kinksters. The idea behind National Coming Out Day (October 11th, I believe) is that for lesbian and gay folks, you use that day to tell someone who doesn't already know that you're gay. Or lesbian, as the case may be. It makes a personal issue into a political issue, and rightly so. To a large degree, the increases in acceptance of homosexuality over the past three decades have been the result of more and more people knowing someone whom they like or love, and who they also discover is gay: "Well, Bob is such a nice guy, and he sings in the church choir with me. I like him a lot. I think it would be bad if he lost his job because he's gay."

So it would be a good thing in terms of society's acceptance of people into safe, sane, and consensual S/M if more people went public about what they do. Hmmm. Something to think about.

Oh. One more thing. With everything going on and my life in major transition, this would not be the good time to take part in the Mr. Northeast Leather Sir contest, regardless of the benefits and drawbacks of doing such a thing.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Jiminy Crickets! Stopped into Ty's as I had to drop off a check to pay for playing softball this season. Stayed to watch tonight's episode of Will & Grace with a guest appearance by Madonna. M. did a great job, and the writing was really, really good. I laughed out loud several times. Anyway, whilst there, I said hello to a fellow player who works there, and he introduced me to a new member of our team I haven't met yet. The guy was a total knockout. Here's the good news: he's not very good, so I don't have to worry about not having a chance with him when he sees me miss a fly ball coming right at me. I felt that certain energy between us, so he's definitely going on my To Do list.

I'm feeling more and more like Bucks County would be a good move in so many ways. Softball might be tricky, only in that some of our games start at 10 a.m., so we meet at 8:30. (Like this Saturday.) I do not know that I'd be up for setting off for NYC at 7 in the morning as that would require getting up at 6 a.m. There's only one 6 o'clock in my Saturday, and it's not that one. However, I could possibly bring a sleeping bag and spend the night with a team mate.

So I would like to make something happen in the getting laid department sometime soon. I'll see about making some booty calls tomorrow night, see if I can't scare something up for the weekend.

Oh, and I may not have a lot of confidence in my prowess between the sheets, but here's one area where I'm fairly secure: I'm a good kisser. In high school, we used to play spin-the-bottle. (Relax! Of course we recognized the irony!) Anyway, I was once talking to a group of the girls I used to hang out with. One told me, and all agreed, that I was by far the best kisser. I've heard it from several men I've kissed, too. I love kissing. Kissing a man is pretty wonderful. Feeling his stubble, sending my tongue as deep as it will go, sucking on his tongue, tasting his spit... Love that. Perhaps liking it so much is what makes me good at it. I'll take that insight to bed with me the next time I'm sharing my bed.

Had a brief on-line exchange with Roman Cool tonight. He's hot to play. Same here. Alas, both of us are really busy, so timing is an issue. (Although in my case, that could change in the not too distant future.) I'd like to make that happen.

Here's the poem. It's a nice one. I haven't read it in years. I thought it was by Elizabeth Bishop, but it's by Anne Sexton.

The Fury of Cocks
By Anne Sexton
There they are
drooping over the breakfast plates,
angel like,
folding in their sad wing,
animal sad,
and only the night before
there they were
playing the banjo.
Once more the day's light comes
with its immense sun,
its mother trucks,
its engines of amputation.
Whereas last night
the cock knew its way home,
as stiff as a hammer,
battering in with all
its awful power.
That theatre.
Today it is tender,
a small bird,
as soft as a baby's hand.
She is the house.
He is the steeple.
When they fuck they are God.
When they break away they are God.
When they snore they are God.
In the morning they butter the toast.
They don't say much.
They are still God.
All the cocks of the world are God,
blooming, blooming, blooming,
into the sweet blood of woman.

Okay. I am really finding it hard to come up with a good reason not to move back to Bucks County. In my mind's eye, I'm touring the little house next to my parents' house, thinking about the plantings I could do at the front door, seeing myself running down to Dilly's in Centre Bridge for hot dogs and their amazing coffee milk shakes, going to the County Theater for independent films, heading into Philadelphia to hang with the Baron, driving up to NYC on Wednesdays for GMSMA meetins and softball, cutting firewood, keeping the lawns up, painting, throwing away all the crap my father tends to collect, meeting people in New Hope, hangin' at the Cartwheel, heading to the Jersey Shore...

What is it I'm not thinking of?

For one thing, I could very well get sucked into to the world of my parents. They can be pretty needy and manipulative. But I think at this point--given the fact that I went four months without so much as a phone call and pretty much got away with it--I think I could parse that alright.

Would my brain rot? I can't see that. Not if I have to be in NYC six or seven times a month anyway for GMSMA stuff. I've made the trip to my parents in an hour and fifteen minutes. It's not that bad. People who live in that area of Bucks County commute to NYC for work. And, since the LURE closed, it's not like I need to come into the city to go out.

What if I get stuck? What if I somehow get stuck in Bucks County and I never again get to move back to New York? Somehow I don't think that will happen. I like whipping men too much. I would never, ever be able to leave that behind. I can't imagine that NYC would ever be out of my orbit, and I think at the first opportunity, I'll be back here. Or off to LA, or somewhere.

Bucks County is my home. It really, really is. Driving along the Delaware River as the sun is going down gives me the feeling of being just where I'm supposed to be.

Also, looking over my schedule, there's not a lot to keep me here in the city between TES Fest on May 13th and Leather Pride Night on June 7th. Sounds like enough time to travel somewhere interesting. Maybe... just maybe... I'll take this opportunity and fulfill a lifelong dream of driving across country with my dog. Oh. My. God. Wouldn't that be great. I have really and truly always wanted to do that.

There must be something I'm not thinking of. What could go wrong?

My brother is in town for the next week. He arrives on Saturday. I'll talk it through with him, see what he would think. I can't imagine what his reaction will be.


Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Here's the poem.

Portrait d'une Femme
By Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea,
London has swept about you this score years
And bright ships left you this or that in fee:
Ideas, old gossip, oddments of all things,
Strange spars of knowledge and dimmed wares of price.
Great minds have sought you--lacking someone else.
You have been second always. Tragical?
No. You preferred it to the usual thing:
One dull man, dulling and uxorious,
One average mind--with one thought less, each year.
Oh, you are patient, I have seen you sit
Hours, where something might have floated up.
And now you pay one. Yes, you richly pay.
You are a person of some interest, one comes to you
And takes strange gain away:
Trophies fished up; some curious suggestion;
Fact that leads nowhere; and a tale for two,
Pregnant with mandrakes, or with something else
That might prove useful and yet never proves,
That never fits a corner or shows use,
Or finds its hour upon the loom of days:
The tarnished, gaudy, wonderful old work;
Idols and ambergris and rare inlays,
These are your riches, your great store; and yet
For all this sea-hoard of deciduous things,
Strange woods half sodden, and new brighter stuff:
In the slow float of differing light and deep,
No! there is nothing! In the whole and all,
Nothing that's quite your own.
Yet this is you.

Blood has such a good effect on me. Clears the mind. Sharpens perceptions. Calming and invigorating at the same time.

The GMSMA program on cutting was excellent. Just wonderful. As good, I think,as a program can be. Informative, titilating (sp?), and intriguing. Mr. Strona was a phenomenal presenter. And, I met a very hot (as in gasket-blowing) whipping bottom boy who traveled all the way from Boston to attend the program. I hope he makes the trip again soon. And a very solicitious Puno (that's with a '~' over the 'n') was there. I like that man a lot.

So I've calmed down some. Although I don't doubt that I'll be having some visitations from the Demons of 4:30 a.m. sometime soon. The events of the day were more than enough to invite them in.

Here's what I'm thinking though. I have options.

Among the things that Boss Sunshine and I discussed was the possibility of me staying on and doing what I'm best at: issues and policy work. Perhaps I can do that on a part time basis, working 24 hours a week. And, I could see if I could pick up another job--bartending, or perhaps I could get a job at a certain Playground for Men--that could round out my take home pay.

Boss Sunshine also proposed that he would give me six weeks to find another job and I wouldn't have to come into the office. I could perhaps do that, get a job at the Playground for Men or elsewhere off the books, live frugally, and that plus unemployment and the off the books job could allow me to get by. And, with the free time, I could devote myself to finishing up the book I'm writing (almost at 110 pages!) and see about publication. That could give me some extra income, too.

And there's always the Bucks County option. The house is next door to my parents. It has two bedrooms and lots of light. In return for 'taking care of' my parents, I could possibly arrange to live there rent free and get some kind of a part time job somewhere. Largely, I would still be able to get into NYC several times a month to fulfil my GMSMA commitments. And, perhaps Bucks County isn't the wilderness absent of BDSM that I think it is. And, Center City Philadelphia (for what that's worth ) is exactly 32 miles from my parents driveway. My buddy Philip, who lives in St. Louis, bought a farm in the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania and lived there for his last few years in New York. He got into the city as much as he wanted to. I could have a garden, grill outside, practice with whips in the back yard to my heart's content, and entertain houseguests for weeks on end. It wouldn't be a lot different than when people spend the summer at a country house.

In many respects, this could be the jumping off point that I need. What have I wanted to do for a long time is to have the time available to me to write. There could be that in spades. The problem is, I had this damn job-thing that kept me busy.

Frank Strona had an interesting aside during the program tonight. He mentioned the illusion we have of being in control of our lives.

Uh huh.

There's another sort of icky pragmatic aspect to this. My parents are very old. Their will is written so that my brother, my step-sister, and I receive equal shares of their estate. It's counting unhatched chickens (a serious stay in a nursing home could take most of it), but if I were to inherit something that would allow me to buy a condo in dear old Jersey City outright, I could get back into the Greater New York City Metropolitan Area and still not have to be burdened with a full time job in order to support myself if my mortgage was minimal.

The last time I was fired was one of the best things that ever happened to me. When I moved to NYC, I got a job working in the General Counsel's Office of Ernst & Young. As in, wear a tie every day, work sixty hour weeks (longer when a case I was working on went to trial), deal with lawyers all day long. It was awful. It was so wrong for me. I was doing a lot of volunteer work for the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. A job came open. I applied. I didn't get it. I wanted to throw myself off a bridge after that. Spending a lot of times thinking about doing work I enjoyed and then having that pearl snatched away from me made it all the more miserable. So, I started to care less and less about work. I joined a gym, and began going religiously. I took vacation. I made sure that I traveled at every opportunity with Ernst & Young footing the bill. Alas, in the economic downturn during the first Bush administration, there were staff cutbacks at Ernst & Young. One Friday afternoon, I was called into my supervisor's office. We didn't get along. She was talking, and I was sort of looking around the room distractedly. It was Friday afternoon. I wanted to finish up my work and get out of there and get my weekend going. Then, it dawned on me what was happening. There was a panic so brief that no chronometer devised by human hands could measure it. That was followed by profound relief: "I didn't have to come here on Monday!" I was filled with jubilation. It was over. The Governor had signed the pardon and I could get out of prison.

In the months that followed, I collected unemployment, got a consulting gig, did some of my best work for ACT UP, and had a blast. It was absolutely sublime. Eventually I found a job working for Boss Sunshine the first time around. That, of course, was one of the best jobs I've ever had. I did great stuff. Tangible stuff. Changing the law in New York City.

(Oh. By the way. Among the things I was responsible for. Several times lately, I've heard that possession of handcuffs is against the law in New York City. I don't think that's true. While I worked for Boss Sunshine back then, he was a member of the City Council. In a flurry of activity, the Council did a review of the criminal law statutes, getting rid of unnecessary and outdated laws. We all sat pouring over the criminal code, looking for things to eliminate. I ran across the handcuffs law. My thought at the time was more about the fact that handcuffs were employed not infrequently in civil disobedience... handcuffing yourself to some bureaucrat's desk when you occupied his or her office, for instance. That went down on my list. My boss raised it in the council, and another councilmember, who was gay but fairly conservative, and who represented the Lower East Side... let's call him Antonio-yay Agan-pay, rose up in righteous indignation and fulminated about my boss making handcuffs a gay issue because that was a sick thing to do. All the other members of the city council totally didn't get what he was going on about. What he was going on about was handcuffs bondage. Somebody had some issues. But, if memory serves, his attempt was unsuccessful, so possession of handcuffs was de-criminalized. Now, the tricky thing is that when something like that happens, the top brass at One Police Plaza don't exactly send a memo to all police officers letting them know that. In fact, few people outside of the room know about it. So, it is entirely possible to be arrested for handcuffs possession in NYC, but you wouldn't be prosecuted for that when it comes to trial. I'll check on that though.)

But anyway, it was a very good thing, and the start of many more good things.

In the meantime, if anyone hears of any job openings--and as I put it earlier tonight, I'd take a job with the transit authority hunting rats in the subway tunnels if I could thereby make my rent and car payment--do let me know.

Hoo boy. I'm reluctant to blog about this, because I'm sort of staggered by it.

Anyway, Boss Sunshine made a rare appearance in the office today. We were talking, I was updating him on various and sundry issues. I actually can't recall how the conversation turned--I suppose we were talking about the impending departure of Staffetta--but he said, almost tentatively, that it would be good if I found another job...

So I've been fired. Sort of. I mean, he stressed that he wanted it to be an okay thing publically (he doesn't need more enemies than he already has), that he'd do everything he could to find me a new position, and that it was not at all based on any performance issues (I'm pretty blameless there) but more in terms of my temperament. He was hoping for me to be more of a firebrand, and I'm "too even tempered."

Where did this come from? As usual with him, I have no idea. A few weeks ago he was saying he was going to get me a raise. It probably has a lot to do with the departure of Staffetta. She's young and idealistic and enthusiastic and energetic (everything that I'm frankly not) and we worked well together, balancing each other out. He probably suspects--and not incorrectly--that after she's gone, it's unlikely that I'll suddenly be inspired. And, Staffetta reacted to his cynicism by goading him ("What do you mean you don't care about this? You have to care about this!"), whereas I just find confirmation for my own cynical tendencies.

So I'm sort of stunned. I mean, it's not at all like I'm unhappy to leave here, which was not the best move to make in the first place. And the conversation I had with Boss Sunshine was... how do you say... warm and amicable. It's just that I've got rent and car payments and food and such to think about. Ay. There's the rub. A perusal of the usual jobs sites confirms what I suspected: the economy is in the toilet, and there are no jobs out there. Nada. Boss Sunshine suggested a colleague of his who is looking for someone. Alas, her office is in Southeast Queens, by the airport. That would just be a horrendous twenty mile commute every day from Jersey City, and I'd have to wait until after 10 a.m. to get through the Holland Tunnel because of the single passenger car restrictions.

If all fails (and this would have to be totally all, as in everything, as in, 'having dug the last penny out of the car seat'), my parents have a tenant house on their property. It's two bedrooms. My Ex brother-in-law's cousin has been living there and paying about $500/month in rent for the past several years. He's moving out in June. It's only about an hour and a half from New York City. My dog would like to be out in the country with a yard. I, of course, would rather lick 8th Avenue clean. But, knowing that there's a safety net of sorts is kind of reassuring.

Dang. I actually had a really cool idea for a blog today. But you will have to content yourselves with this one. My powers of concentration are severely diminished. That will have to wait.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Dang. I just did a search (not exhaustive) for my poems. I wrote most of them while I was in college and in the few years afterwards. I can't imagine where I squirreled them away. Here's one from memory. I'm pretty sure I have this accurately. Amazing how the words are just etched in my mind after all these years.

Demon Lovers

You were drunk when you told me of your demon lovers.
One was a smiling blond, who would surprise you sprawled on the rug, waiting and compliant.
The other, a long lashed fascist, who would issue commands simply for the pleasure
Of your obedience.

They would enter on the breeze as dandelion
Seeds, and ignite into fleshforms in the corner.

So we devised an exorcism. I sat by your bed while
You slept, and kept watch in your apartment while you were

After a few weeks I noted that we seemed to have
Succeeded, you told me you remembered an embrace: One arm crooked
Around the nape of your neck, forcing your face to his, you smelled the sulphurous stench of his breath; the
Other arm down the small of your back, his hand in your crotch giving the
Sensation of insects.

You stared silently into the middle distance, and then
Suggested that tomorrow, to celebrate the coming of Spring, we go
Or something.

Yo. Damn good GMSMA program tomorrow night. Frank Strona, flying in all the way from SF, will be doing a presentation on knife play, cuttiing, and bloodsports. Festivities kick off at 7:30 p.m. at the LGBT Center on West 13th Street.

But what's that you say? You're a girl and they don't allow girls at GMSMA meetings? Well, remember the episode of the Little Rascals when they formed the He-Man Woman Haters Club? And they let Darla become a member at the end? Well, tonight (Wednesday, April 23rd) is for the Darla's of the world. All are welcome.

And be sure to say 'hi' to that handsome guy with the checkboook. Taking off your shirt and showing him your back will get him all hot and bothered. Boot service will make his night.

Do this without fail. Go here, and scroll down until you find the link for 'You.' It's something that Edge wrote. It's sublime.

What are you waiting for. Do it.

Just want to clarify something with respect to the blog entry below about getting laid. Or more precisely, about not getting laid. Not two weeks ago I was the recipient of the best blow job I've ever gotten in my life. But, like our former President, I don't consider that to be getting laid. Don't get me wrong, blow jobs are great, but I don't think of them as getting laid.

Do you have any inkling of the sacrifices I make for you people? Do you??!!

Last night, when I typed the preface from the Roman slavery book, I had to take it out of my bag to do so. Consequently, I left it at home today.


Keckler--who may soon win himself a plush suite of offices here in the Singletails Building on Park Avenue in the 50s as the Director of our Fact Checking Department--points out that English Christian Folklore has it that it was not Simon of Cyrene (who was compelled to carry Jesus' cross as he walked to Golgotha), but Joseph of Arimethea, identified as a wealthy man who gave over his tomb for the crucified Christ, that was believed to be Jesus' uncle and took him to England as a boy. Keckler also has a line on how the Holy Grail might have found it's way to England, too. Something about which I don't know too much.

Tit(le) Torture

Everybody is giving me guff about my pondering a run for Mr. Northeast Leather Sir-r-r. Thus far, my therapist is the only yes vote. Edge argues that the whole sash thing is passe and useless; Diabolique feels that it's inherently exclusionary, and inclusion is a value he feels worth fighting for; Sweetheart Sir has had it up to here with the swollen empty heads that seem to grace the winners circles and the exploitation of those swollen empty heads by coniving bar owners. And everyone seems to feel that the whole deal is basically a ludicrous beauty pageant that is beneath me. (I'm flattered by this, but as I've pointed out before to anyone who will listen, I am a shallow person with a frighteningly fragile self-image.)

I want to correct a common misconception, though, that being: I'm hoping to get laid more. That is sooo not true. Nothing is clearer to me that pursuit of a title would be a fool's crusade. Ain't nuthin' gonna gain me any ground in that territory.

I never get laid. Well... not never. But the last time I got laid was at MAL. That was January. Three months ago. Am I happy about this? Would I like to get laid on a more regular basis? Yeah, I guess. But there are obstacles I face.

Relationship-phobia If'n we're flirting and I get the impression, correct or incorrect, that you're looking at this as being the start of something beautiful, you will see me disappear in a cloud of bobby-pins like Witch Hazel in Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Thermo-andro-phobia Aka, a fear of Hot Men. If a hot guy comes on to me, the wheels start spinning. "He's so out of my league! I must be misreading those signals. He's just being friendly. No way could he be wanting to get me in the sack; he could have anyone he wants!" And, also, the deep seated fear that somehow I've managed to disguise what I perceive as being my flaws, and that if he ever did see me naked (even though I might already be naked, so, 'naked really close up') he'd realize what a huge mistake he's made.

Geography I live in Jersey City. If traffic is not bad in the Holland Tunnel, I've clocked it at twelve minutes door to door from the LURE on West 13th Street to home. I can't imagine that if I lived on the Upper East Side I could get there more quickly. So that's often a problem. But I can't claim to be mystified by this reluctance to cross a river, because I'm the exact same way. When I'm home, I need a lot of encouragement to stir from my hearth, especially if it will mean driving around for forty-five minutes looking for parking.

What you just said This could be anything. I have this fear and dread of foot fetishists. I totally don't get it. (And this from a person who can appreciate scat, even though I can't claim to be into it or particularly turned on by it.) And then there was the guy who said that he was only eating raw vegetables right now to clear himself out. That same fear and dread of foot fetishists also extends to people with heavy food things going on. New-agey neo-pagan religions prompt rapid detumescence, too. An old boyfriend was a pagan. It got to the point that I wanted to phone in bomb threats to Enchantments, the witch store he would go to on East Ninth Street. And what deity are we worshiping this week, Sweetheart? I am so sure that those crystals you just forked over half your paycheck for are going to do a lot to clear up your complexion. Didn't you have to take Biology in high school? And then there's that whole gay thing about connoisseurship that drives me apeshit. And anything that could lead me to believe that you have a drug problem is probably not going to go over too well, as I spent a significant portion of my professional life working with people who had drug problems.

Timing If it's 11:15 and I have to be at work tomorrow, we probably can make it work. If it's 11:45 and I have to be at work tomorrow, I'll take a raincheck. And I'm a really really really really busy person. By my estimation, sex takes about two hours, not counting travel time. Chances are, I don't have two hours just sitting there in my schedule.

Shy? Stupid? Stupidly Shy? Shyly Stupid? So I see a hot guy out at a bar. Standing there drinking his beer. Not talking to anybody. My strategy: position myself in his line of vision--repeatedly if necessitated by his moving around in the bar--and see if he notices me. This, of course, is a strategy that is virutally guaranteed to never ever ever work ever. What is my problem? What??!!! What prevents me from walking over and saying, "Hey what's up?" I mean, chances are he's not waiting for a bus.

Now, I've actually had a good amount of scene play recently. In that department, I sure can't complain. I used to think that getting off was the point of S/M, but that is so not the case. There are so many simpler ways to get off. Although I find S/M to be unbelievably satisfying on so many levels, I don't know that it's entirely a replacement for sex. For instance, I'm good at doing a scene. I've always had the sneaking suspicion that I was sort of a wash when it comes to having sex. I think I'm downright bad in bed, selfish and self-conscious, prone to all sorts of technical difficulties and I want to go to sleep immediately afterwards. S/M is never like that.

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough. But suffice it to say that trying for a sash has totally nothing to do with me wanting to get laid more often.

Monday, April 21, 2003

There's this guy. I've known him for about ten years. I'm one of the few people that would say they like him. He is--bar none--the most sour individual I've ever known. Totally Oscar the Grouch. Don't let a little sunshine ruin your rainy day. Always look on the crappy side of life. He cornered me tonight on the PATH train. Usually, I focus in on his dry sense of humor and the vulerability he takes such pains to mask, and it's fine. He just drove me batshit tonight.

Ah well. I earned a crown in heaven.

In other news, I found a book on It's called 'Slavery and Society at Rome,' written by Keith Bradley. From the author's preface:

This book is concerned with what it was like to be a slave in the classical Roman world, and with the impact of the institution of slavery on Roman society at large. it shows how and in what sense Rome was a slave society through much of its history, considers how the Romans procured their slaves, discusses the work roles slaves fulfilled and the material conditions under which they spent their lives, investigates how slaves responded to and resisted slavery and argues that, paradoxically, slavery as an institution became more and more oppressive over time under the influence of philosphical and religious teaching. The book stresses the harsh realities of life in slavery and the way in which slavery was an integral part of Roman civilisation.

Didn't know I was a history buff, didja?

By way of explanation for those unfamiliar with English Christian folklore, it was believed that Jesus' uncle, Simon of Cyrene, took Jesus on a fishing trip when he was a boy, and they found their way to England. So that's what Bill Blake is talking about in the blog below.

And, along the same lines, here's another poem by William Blake. Most people know it as a hymn, and it was popularized recently by Billy Bragg in a beautiful rendition.

Several years ago, I took part in an ACT UP demonstration against Hoffman Laroche Pharmaceuticals, as they were stalling on their development of the then very new protease inhibitor. The preliminary results of some of the early clinical trials was less than promising, and fearing that they would not make anything like a profit, they were considering abandoning the research. ACT UP, working in concert with the breakaway group TAG, planned to shut down the campus of Hoffman-Laroche in suburban New Jersey. The problem was how to do that. The facility was huge, and there were something like nine different gates in and out. And it was January. So here was the plan. We would work in affinity groups, each group taking on a different gate. Each group would employ essentially the same tactic. We obtained steel pipes, about five or six inches in diameter, and around three feet long. We would link ourselves together with our arms in the pipes. On each wrist would be half a handcuff that would clip with a carabiner to a metal post welded into the middle of the tube. The idea was this. The police would assume that we were all handcuffed together inside of metal tubes, so there would be no way that they could get us apart. If we were just... y'know... lying there, it would take them all of ten minutes to haul us away and the gates would open up and everyone would be able to get to work without much of a problem.

Oh. It was January. So for several weeks, I was preparing to spend several hours out doors with my arms akimbo in metal tubes. Preparation involved buying lots and lots of layers of outdoor gear and adult diapers (getting out of line to answer the call of nature was not an option), and working with my affinity group--we took the name Anger for Breakfast--so that we could deploy in about fifteen seconds, spilling out of a van, lining up, and hooking up. And, I was getting myself mentally psyched for this whole drama. It was pretty scary. What if your fingers went numb from the cold? What about frostbite? What if the cops decided to be really brutal to get us to unhook ourselves? It was during this time that I committed the lyrics of Blake's Jerusalem to memory. I would sing it to myself all the time, that stridency and the militancy were what I needed.

So how did it turn out? Not so bad. We indeed did shut down Hoffman-Laroche for several hours. No one got in our out. At our gate, we noticed that a disused service entrance nearby had been cleared, and Hoffman-Laroche employees were zipping in. This was kind of dispiriting. We caucused, and decided we would break our human chain in half, and that five of us would make a run for the now opened gate and shut that down, too. I was one of the five. When we were almost there, the cops caught up to us. We had 'come apart' during our sprint, so we were now three and two. They were therefore able to load us into a van and we were put under arrest. (Was I kind of happy to be in a nice warm paddy wagon, on my way to a nice warm jail after standing out in the cold in 17 degree weather? Yeah.)

I was used to dealing with the NYPD, and they were used to dealing with demonstrators. But these guys (in Nutley, New Jersey) were a little freaked out by us. When I was locked in my cell, this guy came by and asked if I "had the AIDS." I told him that he was out of line for asking, and I wasn't going to answer. And so he said, "Suit yourself. I'll just assume that you are." And he put a big sign on my cell that said "Infected by AIDS." No foolin'. And, they had made up special rubber stamps for all of us, so that all of our paperwork was also stamped "Infected by AIDS."

While I was sitting there in my cell, I softly sang Blake's Jerusalem to myself.

by William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

Okie doke. Here's another poem. W.H. Auden is another one of my favorite poems. He lived out his last days in the East Village, a few blocks from where I spent my first years in New York. He used to attend Church at St. Mark's in the Bowery. He hated this poem, considering it maudlin and far from his best work. But I love it. The title of Larry Kramer's play, the Normal Heart, comes from this poem. I used to think of it a lot during the tumultuous times of the peak of the AIDS crisis. It speaks to me of eternal struggle.

A long time ago, I had the verse that begins "These faces along the bar clint to their average day..." as the incoming call greeting on my answering machine. It's not infrequent that the lines run through my head when I'm in a gay bar. I think Auden was probably in a gay bar when he wrote them. Anyway, here it is.

W.H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
'I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,'
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Okay okay okay. I owe youse guys some poetry. I'll get going on that.

In a big way, my thoughts are caught up in the Spirituality Special Interest Group. So much good stuff came out of that. I just keep turning it all over again and a again and again in my mind. Thus, I'm not thinking along the lines of, "Yo! I should blog about that!" or "That would be a good poem to include."

But here's the poem. It's good old Robert Frost again. This is actually the poem I'm most likely to quote in conversation. I've lost count of the number of times in job interviews when I've said, "My goal in living life is to unite my vocation and my avocation, as these two eyes make one in sight." I try to say it so as to conceal the fact that it's a rhymed couplet. In fact, talking with Sweetheart Sir on my way back from my parents I believe I slipped it in. And, during April, whenever someone says, "Gosh, it got chilly all of a sudden," I'll probably respond by saying, "That's how it is with an April day: the sun comes out, it's the middle of May. Then the sun goes behind a hill, and you're two months back in winter's chill."

So here we go.

Two Tramps in Mud Time
by Robert Frost
Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake; and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn't blue,
But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut's now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don't forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The time when most I loved my task
The two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You'd think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip of earth on outspread feet,
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.

Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
The judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man's work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right--agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.

...and it's about chopping wood. Before there throwing whips, there was chopping wood. Same kinaesthetic value.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Where the heart is

Just back from visiting my parents for Easter, a trip I was dreading but one that turned out to be not so bad.

My step mother was asking the same questions over and over and over, but thankfully, none of them involved my Ex. I brought my dog, and we took a really long walk together down the roads where I road my bike as a boy. He enjoyed it, and so did I. I made ham a center bone ham, dee-lish), greenbeans sauted in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and yams with honey and soy sauce. Simple and good, and well received. (Everybody ate; my stepmother didn't have to leave the table to vomit as is often the case.)

Here was the best part of the trip. After I made myself lunch upon arrival, my Dad says to me, "Want to sit on the porch and smoke a cigar?" That never happened before. When he said it, it was like I've been waiting all my life to hear those words. I haven't, really, but for no good reason, it seemed mythic, a slice of the relationship I've always wanted to have with my father. I said yes, and so we did. The two of us, father and sun, sat out on the porch smoking cigars and reading the paper, occasionally muttering something about what we were reading.

For example:

Dad: "George Bush is such a two-faced phoney. I hope he doesn't get re-elected to another term."
Me: "Who do you like for the Democrats?"
Dad: "I guess that guy from Vermont. He's been around a while. He doesn't seem like a politician, even though of course he is one."
Me: "Howard Dean. Yeah, I think there's a lot to like about him. He's a New Yorker, y'know."
Dad: "How did he end up in Vermont?"
Me: "He's a doctor. He went up to Vermont to do his residency."
Me: "Do you remember Sea Biscuit?"
Dad: "Of course I do. Great horse. War Admiral was the horse that was always going up against Sea Biscuit. They made a few movies about him."

That kind of thing. Two men enjoying cigars and the paper in the early Spring.

Thank you, Dad.

Oh. Another interesting thing. My brother and his wife are going to be in Manhattan all next week, Saturday to Saturday. I invited them to come and see me play softball, and they said they'd like to do that. Can't wait for them to meet the team! My brother, by the way, is a former homosexual. No aversion therapy or religious conversion involved. He just happened to fall in love with the woman who became his wife, and she was not in possession of a penis. That was twenty years ago, and they're happy. Meeting the Ballbreakers (my team) might be a little much for him to handle. There's not a lot of subtlety there. And speaking of subtlety, in the event that they get across the river to my apartment, I am not planning on dismantling the St. Andrew's Cross and stowing away all the floggers and whips. It will be what my pedagogical friends and acquaintances call "A Teachable Moment."

Speaking of which, at the GMSMA Spirituality Special Interest Group, it was mentioned at one point that so much of what is wonderful about S/M is beyond words. And that's why we have such a hard time explaining it to relatives and friends. I'm not even going to bother trying to prepare a little explanatory speech for them. I know (according to my sister) that back in the days when my brother was gay, he used to tie himself up and jerk off. So it's not altogether foreign territory for him. But, given the fact that he's now of the heterosexual persuasion, it might set him off a bit. I hope he has a therapist, and I hope the therapist is not a bad one.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

I am in a very foul mood. I've been talking with this boy through the wonders of the World Wide Internet. He lives six blocks away from me. From his profile, he seemed to be fairly experienced and serious. We exchanged pleasantries, and, if memory serves, he said he wanted to play. Now that shouldn't be too hard, seeing as he can walk to my house. We agreed to meet up last night at 11 p.m. When things looked like they were going to run later than that in my work on the books with Current President, I called at 10 pm to say I wouldn't be home until about 11:30, and asked if that was too late for him. He had no idea who I was when I called him. He said he it was not inconvenient if we rescheduled, because he had to work early the next day. I asked what he was doing tonight, and he said that tonight should be fine. Great. I said I'd call between 6:30 and 7:30 to firm up plans. I called. Again, no idea who I was. He said he was on the other line. He said that, "Uh... actually I think I'm coming down with the flu. Yeah. Fever. Chills. I think I have the flu."

Now, it could very well be that he does have the flu. But I doubt it. I think he's a flakey boy. Why can't they all just go away? What is it about the internet that gives people permission to act this way? The vast array of experience he cited was no doubt in his masturbatory fantasies, as opposed to other people being involved. Y'know, that's fine. If he was upfront about that, I would have gone much more slowly, meeting on neutral territory, talking him through it, no pressure. And if he was in fact not available (like, because he's straight and married) then I would actually not have a lot of problem with talking to him--on line or in person or whatever--and letting him use me as fodder for the aforementioned masturbatory fantasies.

But listen up, boyW, you're an asshole and I hope your dick comes off in your hand the next time you're jerking off. Loser.

It's Holy Saturday, the deep breath that observant Christians of the more liturgical sort take between Good Friday and Easter. Softball practice today was at 3 pm, so I had to excuse myself. Y'see, I'm participating in a Special Interest Group on S/M and Spirituality that Diabolique is doing for GMSMA. Pretty appropriate, I think, to set off on that journey today.

I'm really looking forward to it. It's exactly what I've found in S/M. It's a spiritual path. That sounds high-fallutin'. Let me explain. In the Eighth Century, a man named Benedict gathered around him a group of other men. They decided to live apart and pursue a holy life together. Benedict was a very bright guy, and he realized that after he was no longer around, these guys would need something concrete to continue this pursuit. So he wrote a Rule, governing how they would live. This was the foundation of monastacism in Western Christianity. I love the Rule of St. Benedict. During college, I spent a lot of time at a Benedictine monastery in St. Louis, Missouri. Benedict's chief insight was holding work and prayer in balance, Ora et Labora in the Latin. You can't work too much, or you neglect your prayers. You can't spend all your time praying, or else you tend to... well... go batty. So the two must be in balance. They bleed into each other. Hard, repetitive work, like tending vineyards, sets your mind free to wander. After an afternoon in the hot sun, sitting in a cool chapel and chanting ancient psalms comes as a welcome respite.

A few centuries later, a young Spanish soldier, Ignatius of Loyola, also gathered a group of men, fellow soldiers, around him. He took a sort of soldier's approach to spirituality, and devised what he called 'Spiritual Exercises' in order to guide one deeper and deeper into holiness. A lot of what he was doing involved meditation on passages from Scripture. I like Ignatius because he was very literal minded, as I am. So, his method of meditating on the Wedding Feast at Canaan, where Christ performed his first miracle by turning water into wine, would involve imagining yourself to be at the wedding feast. What are you doing? What are other people doing? Do you see Jesus there? What is he doing? What does he look like? How does the food and wine taste? What does it smell like? Is there music? What does it sound like? Ignatius founded a sort of Army of Jesus, what he called the Society of Jesus, and his Jesuits have sort of always been just about poised to take over the world.

Both of these, though very different in structure and temperament, contain a framework on which you can hang a rich, full life, a life that is lived deeply and fully.

I feel that S/M, if done right, holds the same possibilities. It's all there. The practice, study, community, and experiences that give easily to reflection. It's all there.