Saturday, June 25, 2011


It's hard to describe the feelings I'm having this morning; joy, relief, satisfaction, disbelief, justification against denial and censure, justice, and surprisingly, even a little melancholy. Last night, after tedious delays and endless yammering on about religious exemption amendments, the New York Senate passed the Marriage Equality Act with a vote of 33 to 29. This ground-breaking and momentous event makes New York the sixth and largest state in the nation to legalize same sex marriage, and ultimately transforms the gay marriage debate nationwide.

The timing is quite serendipitous, as tomorrow is New York's Gay Pride Parade. And as the parade marches down Fifth Avenue, I can only imagine that this year tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of joyful and proud LGBT New Yorkers and their supporters will celebrate like never before.

For the last couple of years I've avoided the parade as the over-sexualization, product placement, celebration and encouragement of unhealthy life choices (drugs, alcohol, prostitution, etc.) presented as an accurate, all-encompassing representation of gay life has made me more than a little uncomfortable. While the Pride Parade has always been a good excuse to don one's feather boa or black leather harness and hot pants, I remember the Pride Parades in the 80s, when it was much smaller and acted more as a showplace for the bravery and pioneer-ism of the community; gay cops, firefighters, teachers, PFLAG, AIDS organizations, etc. And while those groups have never fully disappeared, they seem to have taken a back seat to the more visually sensational groups of leather men, rent boys, drag queens, go-go boys, celebrity DJs, etc. However, my guess is that last night's victory over statewide legislative discrimination will likely bring some political urgency back to the forefront of the festivities.

As for the surprising and nagging melancholy, I can't help but think of those who have been lost over the years, those who weren't even able to see this fight take shape, let alone witness its victory. Those previously mentioned boyfriends, for example - what might they have thought of this historic legislation? And what might it have meant for us as young lovers had the idea of marriage been a possibility at the time? What measure of profound difference would it have made had the state given our relationship the kind of legitimacy that would've allowed us to be viewed as full citizens, whole people. Bittersweet memories mix with pride of country and hope for future generations.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Almost every morning just before eight, a woman rides her bicycle through Riverside Park with a Siamese cat on her shoulder. This morning she rode slowly by me in the rain, and as she passed, the cat turned it's head; its blue eyes fixed on me as they continued north round the path, and disappeared.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am as a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.

Love of art -
Or of nature or of food or of style or of form or of goodness.
Is it enough?

I'm guilty of often entertaining a romantic notion of what my life might've looked like had those contemporaries who left too soon still been here to share it with me. Perhaps we'd have drifted away from each other with either indifference or bitterness. Or maybe we'd have grown closer - our mutual fondness increasing with time, even as we recognized in each other the inevitable wear and decay of our earthly vessels - remembering fondly what we once were; taught, virile, urgent - loving what we had become despite age and physical deterioration.

I never got to see Tom with a potbelly or receding hair, nor was I allowed to make amends for the selfish behavior of a youthful fool. I never saw Greg go grey or watch the skin around his eyes go slack and wrinkle - never was able to tell him how much I loved him; too afraid. I never imagined there wouldn't be time. (I miss showering with him. Holding hands. Talking.) They left too early - them and others too. They will always be young - always beautiful. Lucky to have missed their own physical degeneration - unfortunate not to have experienced their own maturity. I'm lucky to hold my youthful loves forever as they were - hapless not to be able to hold them as grown men.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I ask to be useful - that my experience might help others. I ask to have my difficulties lifted so that I may be of service. I am willing for this to happen. Sometimes it happens - often it does not. I allow the willingness to wash over me just as I allow the discomfort to wash over me. I sit with it. I walk through it - discomfort, sadness, doubt; a hundred forms of self-pity and self-delusion. I endure it knowing all things pass. This too shall pass despite feeling that it will go on forever. What seems insurmountable will undoubtedly prove frivolous with time. Tuesday - Thursday - February - June.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:

The cat's blue eyes burrow holes deep into me as it recedes into the rainy distance on its mistress' shoulder. All-knowing opals; able to see behind the layers of make-up that's taken years to apply.
"I see you, you self-centered fuck. There's no hiding place down here."

Still, fruitless, I wait with an adolescent appetite for a vampire kiss. Bite me, suck me in and govern me. Always a top, never in control. Swallow me. Steal me. Own me. Bridle my potential as you see fit. Make me all that I could never imagine for myself, all that I am not. Good. Whole. Change me. Not gentle; no time for gentleness - the wait has been too long for gentleness. Times a wasting - swing your partner-dosey-doe. Too much has gone unused, untapped, impotent. Open, willing, unable to manipulate any longer, I've surrendered. Take my hand before it crumbles to dust. The sadness and promise of everything that could have been chokes me with remorse, with loss. Without loss I fear I am nothing.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

In tongues of angels and demons and bicycle cats, I blather on the noisy gong, the insistent clapper of a recalcitrant bell. Hear me, hear me, I somersault the antiseptic halls, the blue
institutional day rooms and settle in grace. Grace that allows me to be accepted as I am, not the person I imagine myself to be. I may fail more than succeed - again and again and again. I may be weak, messy, irritable, unhappy, sloppy, intensely human. I remain, nonetheless, cradled in the hollow of God's hand - swaddled in unmerited favor. Flawed and forgiven. Encouraged and protected.