Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Agency, near and far

The national election is coming up in just three weeks from today and I posted a missive about how scary and even terrifying the next weeks and especially months will be, and a good friend of mine posted in response that there's nothing we can do about it, so don't worry. I understood where he was coming from in one sense of course, but I also was rankled by his comment, in that it reeked of complacency and even some kind of nihilism. Sure enough, I can't change the outcome of the national election directly. That really is beyond my personal control. But I can and should be active in changing the environment around me, both interpersonally and even beyond that to my local and regional area. I have agency in that regard. YOU have agency in that regard. No flood ever existed apart from the droplets of water. Vote (especially down ballot). Talk to one another. Talk to yourself in affirming and critical ways. And whatever you do, never give into complacency and a defeatist attitude about your own voice and place in this world. You really do have agency in your attitude and actions. NEVER let that go. I know from my own life experiences that one life can make a huge difference, even if on a personal scale. But sometimes those scales can tip the whole world. Make a difference and excercise your agency.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

I Shaved Last Night

Every evening I wonder what to do. I look older when I don't shave. But sometimes I don't mind that look. The gray beard and growing mustache are a good look sometimes. Honestly, I don't mind that look nowadays. Do I want to look older or younger? That's still an open question to me. I like the naked face look, I won't lie, but the gray follicles have their own sexy gravitas. I just wanna have sex. That's really the beginning and end of my story.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Inescapable Sexuality

I can't help but think of you. You penetrate my mind. You sing into my mind with melodies that slide. I think of you all the time.

I'm yours all the time.

When I walk through the brush I think of you and us together surrendered to the forest.

The idea of leaning into you makes me happy. That is my sexuality.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

I Crush Easily

My relationship with women has always been complicated. I was mostly raised by my very complicated mom, with her addiction and mental health issues, and my older sister, the same, and my beloved grandmother on my mom's side, a professional seamstress, who, though born and raised in West Virginia, was a thoroughly modern woman of fashion. I grew up with my face in dress patterns and fashion magazines after all. Various thread spools were my play things as a child. My grandmother was a hoarder as was my mom, and I have to resist that strong temptation every single day myself. The Great Depression has lasting effects on generations after all.

But this is but a few puzzle pieces of the puzzle that is my life. Especially as it relates to my relationships with women. I love women. I adore them. My first crush was my cousin Betsy, a beautiful redhead a few years older than me. She looked like Jean Harlow. Every guy was crazy about her. She hilariously blew popcorn all over the kitchen in NJ as a young teen when she took off the tin foil on a Jiffy Pop popcorn container before cooking it. Later, when I lived with her family in NC, she showed me her pot plant in her bedroom and occasionally walked around late at night topless as I slept in the living room. She also taught me to overcome my fear of taking showers since I almost drowned as a small child. In many ways, she was my first love.

I can't not mention Karen, my best friend as a child. Her mom and mine were best friends, often commiserating over their respective terrible husbands over the phone and in person. Karen and I were pretty much siblings in everything but blood. We bathed together as small children, played house together and even discovered my older brother's dirty magazines from underneath his mattress, and were curious about what we saw. If my mom and I hadn't moved to North Carolina when I was turning 12, she would've been my first sexual experience. But it was not to be. I've since recently learned that she's a professional photographer and does amazing work in NYC and elsewhere. She's an amazing woman. Who knows. Maybe I'll reconnect with her some day soon.

But this post/essay isn't about these early life histories, it's about my adult relationships, friendships, romances, more often than not with women (and a few men) who I became attracted to over the years.

I was born wounded.

That's both true physically and emotionally. I was born with a cleft lip and pallet and a functional heart murmur. And my parents separated only months after I was born. It's only in recent years that I've come to terms with the likely fact that my birth probably precipitated their separation and eventual divorce. My "defects" as it were, obvious to the eye, were fuel to the fire of my parent's already deteriorating relationship. Amazingly enough, I've never blamed myself for this turn of events. Neither of my parents laid that trip on me, nor did my siblings, all of whom were incredibly protective and loving towards me in the way they could.

All told, I was incredibly fortunate as a child. I had love all around me.

Lynn, my older sister, exposed me to the arts and sciences from a very early age. She was, in many ways, my dream weaver. She always bought me art supplies as a kid and teen and encouraged me in my own artistic pursuits. She lived in the West Village and worked at Party Cake, an amazing pastry shop next door to Crazy Eddie's. I got my first posable art mannequins thanks to her. I posed them in gay stances, much to her chagrin and her coworker's hilarity. She wasn't anti gay by any means, she just thought that my pose would be offensive to them. They were fine. They knew I was an innocent child expressing my creativity.

I've loved the Village ever since. I would live there in a heart beat.

But women, those breasted of every size, vaginal creatures I was born from, nurtured from youth, near and yet so distant from me, lo those many years ago to today. Yes, I crush so easily. I love you, but you smile at me from a distance.

I love you. My motherly wings hang down over you, protecting you from danger, from men like me. Because, after all, anything posable can be re-posed. Do not be afraid of your femininity. Do not be afraid of your masculinity.

I do crush easily. I just hope I don't crush anything, anything tender, including you and me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020


Being on the spectrum is a blessing and a curse. You sense more than the average person, both for good and ill. You see, hear, smell, taste, feel things most people don't, but it can and often is very overwhelming. That's why order and a tight schedule is so important. It's more than a little easy to freak out at the avalanche of sensations flooding you from all directions. Folks on the spectrum are also misidentified as being aloof and even uncaring, but it's most often the opposite. The level of empathy experienced by those on the spectrum is so strong that it's deeply painful many times. Sometimes you feel both trapped inside yourself and standing outside of yourself simultaneously. Your own skin, ears, eyes are your frenemies, pulsating with overloaded sensations. As an aside, stimming helps alleviate that overload. It allows you to focus your attention on one thing to the exclusion of everything else bombarding you.

The term idiot savant is now a term we don't use because of its offensive nature, but it's one I still think can be useful in one sense (pardon the pun) in that it connotes accurately that someone can be incredibly talented in one area while being limited in most others, especially socially. I think we all know someone who's a great mathematician/coder/chess player/musician who struggles with interpersonal interactions. Seeing, or maybe better put, sensing patterns is an amazing thing to experience. But of course that can easily go awry. Obvious examples are Bobby Fischer and John Nash. Both geniuses who also struggled with serious mental health issues throughout their lives. I guess I kinda know these people. I see a little through their eyes. It's why I considered working in the intelligence world three different times. For my own mental health's sake, I'm glad I never, figuratively, pulled that trigger. It can be a very dangerous rabbit hole to go down.

No wonder I loved Sherlock Holmes as a kid. He was definitely on the spectrum, even if he was fictional.

Thursday, March 26, 2020


We had learned, expertly, to avoid the security cameras. We only looked at each other with furtive eyes a few times, but it was obvious that we were playing with fire. But we eventually didn't care. We had lost all dignity anyway at that point, so there was nothing else to really lose. Honestly, I'm not that attractive. Neither was she. But she has beautiful blue eyes. And she's funny. That counts for a lot. The coat room, no camera. The ice room, no camera. Behind the outside cooler. Sure a neighbor or two might see us, but still no hidden camera. It's amazing how much fear drives us in so many of our actions. Her lips are beautiful if potentially deadly. Thinking of her makes me smile. None of this ever happened.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Preaching the Word

It's been years since I preached. It wasn't often, but I did preach several times a year back in the day.

I love Jesus, and I love preaching about Jesus.

I still believe that He is the Way, Truth and Life, capital letters and all.

Strangely enough, I'm still a thoroughgoing supernaturalist. I believe the miracles stuff. Ya know, the virgin birth, loaves and fishes, bringing people back from the dead, he died, was buried and was resurrected on the third day and ascended to heaven stuff. I can gladly recite the Apostle's Creed without question or doubt.

And I say this as a deeply doubtful person.

But I believe.

But I'm also a skeptic.

And that's a good thing to me and to everyone I know.

I grew up a child of the post 60's, a 70's child, spiritually untethered by any institutional structures. It was the zeitgeist I guess. All spiritual options were open back then, and are again today. We really do live in untethered times once again.

How do we ground our being? How do we find a center, a core, a Way that gives us a sense of Why, How and Who?

I mean, this is a wibbly wobbly kind of question which leads to a need for a spiritual Dramamine.

The Incarnation.

God became flesh. God showed up through a virgin's vagina and became a child with a penis. Is that too vulgar to you? Are those body parts offensive to you? Apparently God thought otherwise. In the beginning, God thought all of those body parts were good and very good. And remember folks, they were initially intersexual and betwixt. Apparently, God has a side splitting sense of humor. Pardon the ribbing...

Meanwhile, God showed up as a vulnerable child in a far off land, in a part of the Empire that most had forgotten. Inexcusably dirty and poor. Parents running away from death squads. Trying their best to escape to a new life somewhere else.

The baby showed up, slimy and wet, but exquisitely beautiful, in the town of bread. Both Miriam and Joseph cried tears of joy. Even the animals nearby seemed to lean low in adoration at this beautiful sight. This little baby, unexpected in so many ways, rang out in cries the Universe Itself sang in response as a Holy Echo.

And God in Christ pooped and cried out in need of his mother's milk.

And that's OK. Physicality is not our enemy. It's our friend and close neighbor. It's us, in fact. It's you. It's me. It's we.

This is what it means to be enfleshed and holy, physical and spiritual, intellectual, emotional and sexual.

God in Christ saves ALL of this. This gives me comfort. This gives me hope.

Friday, October 25, 2019

When Blindness Smiles

When blindness smiles I can feel the curve of your lips.

When blindness smiles I can hear the wrinkle of your eyes.

When blindness smiles I can smell the whisper of your tongue.

When blindness smiles I can taste your pores as we nestle.

When blindness smiles I can see you and you can see me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Glint In Her Eye

A young woman with deep sadness in her eyes served me this evening. I haven't told her that I've been praying for her in her semi hidden struggles, but I have. I just see the heaviness in her affect each time I see her and it weighs me down as well. I guess I am an empath after all. I don't see prayer the way I used to, sending some secret message to a sky god micromanaging every infinitesimal detail. I still believe in God, but not in the way I used to. I now see prayer as a common bond binding us to each other, helping us to know we're not alone in our struggles and battles.

That kind of prayer makes a miraculous difference.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

True, If You Can Believe It.

An elderly follower of Jesus, half mad with hope, writes on parchment on a prison island, revealing the hidden. He remembers back, lo those many years ago, to when he, or maybe someone by his namesake, walked alongside a hard scrabble rabbi in the dusty roads of Palestine, teaching, learning, walking, talking and listening to what was and is yet to come. No longer hidden unbiddden images flood his eyes failing from age scribe by his side not quite believing what's being told.

Sunday Religion

I was talking with a young man who works with me at the farm about religion today. He mentioned that his father is moderately religious and attends services pretty regularly, but that he and his mom and his siblings go to church maybe once or twice a year and that his friends are exactly the same, almost never attending religious services. This conversation came up because of the influx of customers to our farm store around noon into the early afternoon. I shared that in West Michigan the Sunday routine is still largely governed by church going folks, only showing up to stores after services let out. Here in Cape Ann I'm more likely to see Starbucks packed full at 9am Sunday morning with people reading their NY Times sipping their barista tended drinks. He saw no reason to go to church, especially with everything in the news about the various scandals and corruption.

Nape of Your Neck

I lean in and kiss you and we embrace, smelling each others' skin and hair, neck against neck, breathe against breathe. Our heads kneel into each other as we escape into embrace, but for each other and ourselves. Beloved and struggling with love.

I will always love you Gwenn.

Monday, August 19, 2019

White Straight Jacket

I was born into a white straight jacket
trying since birth to untie the twisted knots
invisible at first, unbeknownst to eyes untrained
seeing nothing but flinching every muscle straining
to be free, turning and unlearning the yearning
bestial at best, certain the cloak worn
held a dagger to my breast.

Fantasies of freedom cut away from straps buckled
tightly to my sides just out of reach untouched
teaching treading settling for a buckle here and there
loosened by persistence undaunted and galvanized
by hatred and love intermingled together tangled
like strings impenetrable to the naked eye spying
loose threads as beginnings of an ending
unseen as yet.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?

Sheltering child within, womb covered by belly, bolts of cloth sewn to exact specifications, shielding the holy in the sacred darkness of human form. Forming child growing and groaning within, knowledge of the holy only known through mother's fluid bathing and breathing and resting, hearing only the echoes of an outside world, muffled brightness sounding like light wrapped in a warm moist blanket. Holy songs sung from without to ears only beginning to form. The light is sheltered in the holiness of shadow dwelling in solitude but never alone, presence permeating every ounce of being moving breathing not yet air, swimming in the womb of mothers' love secure.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Puppets in the Laundry Basket

Hand sells propaganda festive fetid astrid dimensions
Exclamations point to destinations festooned with pliable girdles
punching monkeys till they're deaf inflicting pinching noises on their noses
wrist bands holding back the pain flailing impaling and staining the brain
followers ever standing astride glancing sideways to elide
any misanthropic misgivings

Sensing reason might barge in glamour clamors onto center stage
random iterations gather up into explainable systems zeroing in
on the ones and toos and also rans spliffing to and fro
until the system is digested and dissected into oblivion.

Emblazened jackets snatch up packets of tea and cocaine
reputable upper crust with the lip getting thinner by the day.

Gnawing moths reminders of old worn uniforms formless and void
stained with invisible blood not your own.

Thrown in the basket and hung out to dry.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Soap and Toothbrushes

If soap and toothbrushes for children in cages aren't a part of your baseline of human needs, you've dehumanized yourself already.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Rain Coming

The scent of the deluge is in the air and the leaves are even turned inside out.
Charged particles caress my skin as chill breezes slip through the night air.
Blending my senses into the scenery surrounding me and all those within.
Partaking in nature solitude permeating the breathing air.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Prison walls dripping with tears. Cell block 1, always full. Empty but full of cacophonous screams unheard. Blame bounces like a tennis ball around and around and around. Dust gathers on immovable recriminations. Just waiting for the handcuffs. The hole is already dug. The key is in my pocket.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Freedom's Prisons

Tired and empty. Sober at least. I made two meetings last week, so that's good. Most of my dreams are still nightmares. Especially anything having to do with my family. So much anger and hatred hidden away, lurking in the shadows. So tired of this shit. It feels like it's never gonna go away.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

When the Water Runs Out It Stops Whistling

When the water runs out it stops whistling.

That's the second most terrifying sound I can imagine. There's no one there to take the kettle off the burner. The metal is burnt black along the bottom edge. The calcified remains inside are white. The water around here is hard. All the faucets around here, at least the ones that work, keep the waste water treatment plant running constantly. The water is my friend and yet my enemy. I hate it with every ounce of my being. I guess suffocation runs in my family.

Nowadays they use the anodyne acronym ECT to describe what used to be the almost barbaric therapy of electric shock therapy. If you're lucky it scrapes away the bad parts, leaving that area tabula rasa. No moon landing, no RFK assassination, no MLK assassination, no miracle Mets. All gone, swept away, an empty vacuum. It didn't matter how many times I asked about those years, the answer was always the same. Nothing to remember. Ask others about it.

Nightmares don't happen in a vacuum. But sometimes the vacuum is the nightmare. It's kinda like Nixon's tapes. The absence is the proof of the crime. It's funny. She remembered all that. But that was after the therapy sessions were done and they relied on the drugs. They were never enough of course. Half a gallon Gallo Port was the almost daily mantra I quickly came to hate the sound of coming from her mouth to the local liquor store owner. He was always friendly to me. I hated him and never said a word to him.

The kettle is whistling again. Time to turn it off and make some tea.