My Father, The Ideal

Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may. — Plato

Jack, in his capacity as my father, is the ideal made real and the real elevated to the ideal.

It would be easy to say that I never appreciated the fact until I was an adult; however, that would be not only trite, but also untrue. I always got it. Seeing that, that is what has always been easy.

His love, for all of us, remains downright blatant, unswerving. His heart, so genuine it sometimes breaks mine. His genius, a gift not measurable by academics, but obvious within moments. His soul, the soul of perhaps every father who ever was, every grandfather whoever was, inhabits this man.

When he began his role as grandfather, I was 20 years old. The new angle provided by my ringside seat on his fathering skills (as opposed to being directly in the path of it) did not teach me anything I did not already know about him, just that all those wonderful things I did know continued to be true, and that I was right all along.

The core of my humanity comes from this man, and of course, from my mother.

The gifts of the Mother include incisiveness, self-confidence, analytical intelligence. The sole gift of the Father is the reminder that those things can often fail you, but that all is not lost if you hold tight to your own strong sense of place, something defined by the generosity of spirit given and received in abundant exchange by those you love.

I love you, Dad.

Porky & Bess…

My pal Ggreg Taylor is throwing a big danceclub/benefit/costume ball for the San Francisco Opera. Tonight. I have been spending all day being more of a drag-thing that I have ever been, buying up all the pink whatever I could find, in order to put together the official Coming Out of Pleasure Piggy.

Pleasure Piggy is something my freakishly-miraculous friend, FTP, calls me just so he can watch me blush. He enjoys teasing me because, as he says, a) it’s so damned easy to get me to blush and b) I am good-natured about humor, especially when it’s myself that’s the target.

I take it as a compliment when some I care about has such good aim in teasing me. It makes me feel all tingly inside (I loves me my Fred)

Without further ado, I give you……Pleasure Piggy!

A Casual Profundity

I am a frighteningly lucky man.

How many of us get to say that, or more to the point, how many of us are willing to say that, seeing as how it creates a vulnerability, or at least constitutes a tender admission?

Yes, Gentle Readers, I am prompted to speak (again) in such abstruse abstractions because of a specific, very clear, concrete experience: an old new-friend has come back to San Francisco for a visit.

This is a man who traffics is good will and smiles and conviviality. I have not seen in quite a long time, and it’s an even longer time measured by when I met him: quite a few of us were out at the Edge for Friday Happy Hour (or, as I call it, “Church”) and I had come to the realization that most of these men I had met only last August, just ten short months ago.

“Nuh uh!” I said aloud (and then again immediately to myself, just for effect), as it sunk in.

Now, this usually would be no big deal—I meet new folks all the time—but you have to understand the simple loveliness of these guys. The group contains within it, old friends (as in, back to high school, maybe even grade school) and new friends (as in me, back to August 2002). Some memberships last, some are just now-and-then, but all in all, a cohesive, friendly, supportive, funny-as-fuck group.

They are all of those good things we know exist out there, but are rarely reminded of. I consider myself reminded.

Made Of

Made of leather, stretched on bone.
Made of meat, in between.
Fashioned out of better metal
Than earth they will not ever be.

Made of spirit, snatched from ether,
Made of soul, queerer stuff.
Trapped in cages, better metal
Forms the bars that keep it in.

Made of fibers, connecting each.
Made of language, connecting all.
Stupid in groups and smarter alone.
Better with others, lesser alone.

Made of light, shining through.
Made of spark which zaps and burns.
Ions animate their worlds,
And illuminate the blackness.

Beer for Breakfast….oh, and Lunch…oh, and Dinner…

So there’s something luxuriously naughty about guzzling down a cheap beer (in my case, Rolling Rock) before noon. Not to mention that fact that we were the young hotties in Daddy’s Bar at that time. My GOD, how long has it been since I was one of the youngest in a place like that? (eds: do the math, Skippy. 39 - 21 = 18). Zoinks! Remembering how young you used to be can make you feel old.

Go figger.

We didn’t end up crazy-sloppy-you’regoingtohavetoPOURusbackupthehill drunk; instead, we maintained a rather fashionable beer-buzz the entire afternoon, spilling into the evening. Lots of great conversation between ourselves and some with others, and eventually some seriously inconsistent pool playing by yours truly.

All in all, a terrific day; we’ll call the experiment a complete success—with no need to ever ever EVER do it again.

Sheryl Crow & The Replacements

Time for some levity, methinks. My good friend—the one who just graduated from medical school—and I are about to embark on a new experience for each of us, something we have been planning for a few weeks but are only getting around to today.

We are setting out to answer the age-old question (or it’s age-old at least for us). What IS it like to have “Beer for Breakfast”?

Look for answers later today, folks! Cocoa-spelling-facilities of Mac OS X willing, I won’t be slurrrrrring my typing.


The End of a Long Streak

The long, lucky streak of nothing but acceptance, joy, relief or at least polite tolerance from those I know and care about since I came out in 1992 has ended. The rather adult words “U ARE A FAGGOT” were delivered to me by a boy who is not yet a man. He ended a streak of positivity that began when he was a child who was barely even a boy.

Some back story: I grew up in what can only be called an idyllic household; I have two parents who to this day love each other, make each other laugh, and often showed simple affection and just a general liking of each other in front of us kids. My strong, personal sense of abundance comes not only from their constancy, but also their consistent encouragement and optimism towards the Future. No, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we had enough, or at least we were shielded from the bulk of the worrying about not having enough.

Sometimes I think that having had three children (all boys) in four years might classify them as insane, but it would be a fun, zany, kicky kind of crazy and not the vituperative kind of crazy my family has been facing of late.

As the rest of us bear witness to (and bear scars from) the breakup of my brother’s marriage, our suffering is nothing compared to what my brother’s children must be going through; it was one of my nephews who uttered the personally historic words, and for reasons I cannot fathom. It smacks of powerful inducement.

One might think that living 3000 miles away from their Ground Zero—and having almost no contact with their family except for giving them reassurances that my relationships with each of them would not be significantly altered—would earn me Neutrality in the War of the ‘Boses. They’ve always understood that the only side i choose is the truth.


Instead, I’m tossed upon the pyre along with everyone else, to be burned in effigy.

I wonder if my soon to be sister-no-longer-in-law will sell tickets to the bonfire. It should be quite a spectacle: we flamers burn especially bright.

Fashioning a Doublet

A Moment for Us

The empty room; the crowded mind;
the wish to leave the one behind.

And is the leaf to end begets?
The tree, the branch cry “no regrets!”

Lifted, twisted, tilt and lilt,
Toward skies of gold, dipped and gilt.

The mountain knows, the trees discern,
A child of earth attempts to learn.

To cast without a circle drawn,
Once Were Witches, forever gone.

And so we go away from Now,
Not fixed: betwixt what is allowed.

To Future’s End, a toast to Time
Unstuck abstract, adrift sublime!

Show Me, Don’t Tell Me.

I went to a friend’s graduation party last night. He’s almost the same age as I am, and just finished medical school, an enormous feat by any standards, but even more so in his case because he went back to college after many years, and then onto medical school. I’m going to have a difficult time of it, reconciling my awe of him and my friendship with him. But as I told him at the party, putting him on a pedestal just makes it easier to check out his ass.

His party was jam-packed with his family, with his partner’s family, and with his social family (including myself, luckily). There was much mirth, and nothing of the clever-bitchy-patyourselfonthebackforyourscathingwit variety. Just good times with good people.

There were tears, as well, tears of gratitude from my friend to his partner, to his parents, his sister, his children, his friends. Tears of joy, obvious joy, at his good fortune in having such a wondrous constellation of people in his life.

Tears for being overwhelmed by it all, it seemed.

In a city and in a culture that does not value the long-term view, nor much of anything you can’t immediately see or see in a mirror, I was reminded that the long-term still exists, that so many things are worth building on, and that at the end of the day, week, month, year, life, the only thing we have is our own lovely, sublime humanity.

I thank them without limit for inviting me into their lives.

Poetry is…

Just a pleasant little ditty I wrote years ago. Actually, a character in the novel I wrote, wrote this. Having just rediscovered it and liking it quite a bit, I thought I’d put it out there. And remember, as Eddie Izzard says, poetry is like a song, only with more words and no music.

Reckoning of the Dying
Lips long gone from red to gray,
Skin far gone to clear
Ashen faces, once a-bright
Ponder endings near

The end was many chapters past,
Dénouement wears thin
Afterwords have all been writ
Silence quashes din.

To wit: to point, to make, to build,
Infinitives asunder.
Gauntly stares beyond the veil
Drain merriment and wonder.

The situation sedimented.
Complacency is testamented
No want, no need, no spark, except
The drive to stay impedimented.

Breath and time do worsen thirst,
Do desiccate the succulent.
No cries for moisture issued forth,
Accepting, never truculent.

Oblivion to be assured,
A short step off the ledges.
The mortal coil so inured
Has weathered off the edges.

Absolutes are not off-limit,
Divinities not thanked,
But blamed instead for lack of mettle,
Sullying the sacrosanct.

Absentee Father not in heaven.
Neglectful Mother gone away.
They soiled the nest they never built.
There’s no one left to pay

For sins against the supplicants
For contradicting their creation,
The charges all come down to one:
Gross disapprobation.

The Natural Order was suborned
To serve the Egos Mythic.
They sent to hell who did refuse,
Made sycophants prolific.

Pleased with their Bifurcated All,
The Good, the Bad: there are no others.
Unthinking Good ignore the Bad:
That which comforts also smothers.

The Godly Goal? Ubiquity.
Curse the thoughtful with iniquity
And trivialize what doesn’t fit
as Parlor Magic or antiquity.