A visit to a lake

•18 July 2018 • Leave a Comment

When I was 11, my parents took my sister and I to Zion, Ill. to walk the white sands and enjoy the Midwest’s sea. In preparation for a beach visit, I tried to lose weight. I quickly learned that’s not possible in a 24-hr frame. So I resorted to reading. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and on the way and at the lake, “Hamlet.” It’s cliché to say it, but that changed my life. I realized what transformative literature, what books could be and do. I don’t remember that beach or that crystalline lake. I remember those books, as I was never the same.

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Learning

•17 July 2018 • Leave a Comment

I first realised I’m gay when I was eleven, in 1996. He and I were climbing this dirt mound outside what was then a supermarket. We hadn’t slept together yet — that came later — but he was my best friend. And climbing up that hill, drinking Surge, I realised that I loved him. Not just in the bff sense, but in the bf sense. I was raised baptist, did anything to avoid church (including — I kid you not — drinking milk with lemon juice to convince my parents I was sick), being queer wasn’t really a viable option. Of course, it was a “choice” then. I’m out and — as you likely are aware — proud now. Coming out was not an easy journey, but, though it took some time, was a worthwhile one.

The Slow Fade of Love

•13 July 2018 • Leave a Comment

She taught me once to sing

A quiet tune, always

The contours of her body —

Indescribable but known to tongue and taste.

I suffered for music.

My ink speaks my regret.

RIP Anthony Bourdain

•8 June 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’m terribly saddened to learn of Anthony Bourdain’s apparent suicide. Since first reading “Kitchen Confidential” years and years ago, I was drawn to his confessional irreverence and colorfully lucid style, which, with its peppering of profanities, influenced my own. I enjoyed traveling the globe, sampling its cuisines and meeting its motley of fools with him. I recognized in him also the cold familiar friend, the profound darkness whose enveloping company we shared. In his writing and on his TV shows (I preferred “Parts Unknown” to “No Reservations”), one could always detect the undertone of that dark, though one was buoyed by his irrepressible joie de vivre to hope that he — though at cost, as it must always be — had clawed his way out into some vague light beyond the utmost bounds of human thought.

But, tragically, it seems the price was too high.

One can only hope that the suicides of two very public figures within days of each other can bring the uncomfortable epidemic of depression and self-harm further into the public discourse (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/06/07/617897261/cdc-u-s-suicide-rates-have-climbed-dramatically); only by acknowledging the pervasiveness of this disease — simultaneously intensely private yet incredibly deleterious to public health — can we combat it, adequately treat it, help those many of us suffering silently from it recover and hopefully prevent it.

I’m alive today because I had timely access to the emergency and critical care I needed at certain points in my life, and to the medication, professional and interpersonal resources and networks required to make it through. I’m here day or night (but definitely night) if you or anyone you know could use someone to talk with or confide in. I can also help direct you to professional resources. And (US only) please call the national suicide prevention lifeline 24h/d at 1.800.273.8255 (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/).

We are stronger together.

“To Allston”

•30 May 2018 • Leave a Comment

there come times when I miss you, Boston.

lured by your unending twists and dead ends,

survived inevitably by pigeon shit

and delays on the B Line.

The a/c unit in the window is rigged to

focus on me, and me alone.

she, like the BC students next door

watching the Celtics, whooping cries of war

When they scored, as if two titans —

not pretend, but this time real — drew swords and hammers,

Churning the ground beneath them,

As if they were nothing more than

marooned stowaways.

No god reigns here.

Shortly past Griggs stands a Russian market,

i don’t speak russian, but believe in icons;

Icons and pickled eggs — ah!

that is what I stopped here for,

Though headed to the common & its horrors

a bidding war of factory nobles.

I think of that which lays behind me,

broken glass and drunk sophomores,

trying in agony to reach that status.

”Deflowered” is new to their vocabulary.

even now I think on Allston,

So much of me forged in that;

i hold it dear.

Just For Fun

•26 May 2018 • Leave a Comment

I take a detour.
Among husks bold and acute,
I seek the answer.

Many a prophet came before,
Preaching heaven to the high minded.

I want none of that,
Just a blanket of starlight and gauze,
Wrapped around an immortal truth.

The time for that is long past;
You cannot redeem spent time,
The red task is heavier than Heraclitus’ ask.
“Symposium” is a play of riddles,
Plato the inept magician.

I read elegies of those who fell
In far lands whose syllables unwillingly
Grace the tongue and palate.
Learning to pronounce “r”may be hardest.

A caterpillar creeps along the waxy skin;
It does not know it will become a butterfly —
A jumble of colors and light,
A hurricane of blues and oranges,
Destined only for capture and enshrinement.

 

Indelible Memory no. ?

•14 May 2018 • Leave a Comment

Unconcerned at the moment with an unclear future, void of goals or intentions — a poor excuse for a future scholar, lawyer, journalist, physician or whatever high-status job that awaited my 21-year old self after graduation — focused only on the road leading from Logan back to my haunt, the lone pine above her, to classes i’d learned to bullshit my way through to an “A” or “A-” with minimal effort, an education spent working through 8g at a time of the Northeast’s finest, learning who the Bad Brains and Mission of Burma were, Deleuze and Fellini. Sitting on the same gaudy 80s-era rainbow on grey themed seats so many asses before had rested upon, listening to “Heaven or Las Vegas,” having visited neither; — since, I’ve found that both are vastly overrated, gazing in a perfect imitation of thoughtful repose, not really thinking but just watching the late March filthy snow clumps and the eternally unreal pines. A landscape someone with real talent, unlike me — an Eliot, maybe, or a Lowell in his lucid moments, would have found true majesty among the menacing pines, ragged in their malevolence. The journey would end predictably — those of us who were students would collect our luggage, return to our respective sororities or fraternities, reorient ourselves, and prepare for a night of which (as with so many) we would not remember the end. In a day or a few, our girlfriends or boyfriends or — as for many of us, both — would return to perpetuate the lasting charade, that we were the best of the bunch, the tide against which to swim, though we knew the truth: to join the tide was to swim against it. All is fair in the end. We win.

 
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