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.

Nope.

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.

Leveling Drift

Of course, the nature of human affairs, of human sophistication, is suborning the “natural” to serve the “intended”. But why?

It struck me, in reading a pal’s megablog (it’s a blog! it’s branding! it’s a blog AND branding!), that it’s not so much we humans have a need to categorize and label the things around us but rather the need to categorize ourselves, each and together. And it’s that self-categorization that leads to categorizing other people and other things in the interest of establishing our own individual sense of place.

Astrology works that way, to my way of thinking. General clusters of traits that are abstract enough to appeal to a critical mass, and we each take care of living up to, down to, or generally towards that expectation set for us by “our stars”. I am an Aries. This is what Aries are/do/say/feel/think. I am destined to be/do/say/feel/think similiarly.

Fatalism as a cultural directive.

Anecdotally, I have seen great license taken in categorizing others as clever or stupid or sappy or cold or self-loathing or self-aggrandizing. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but it’s the implication of exclusivity that bugs me.

Not to mention the haughtiness of such an exclusion. How do we convince ourselves we’re not pompous assholes as we’re jabbing our push-pinned labels into the foreheads of others?

The “great license” I mention above comes from a sort of self-effacement that happens first: believing you are humble/realistic about yourself is the provenance of excusing yourself from being an asshole. “I’m a bonehead, so I feel ok in calling others a bonehead.”

Which is bullshit. There are so many other reasons to resort to self-flagellation. A strong sense of fairness is not high on that list, not usually.

So abnegation leads to prejudice, and categorization leads to prejudice. “I know that guy’s a homophobic fag. I can call him a fag because I call myself a fag. Only I can handle being called a fag and he can’t handle it. Therefore he’s self-loathing. Therefore I already know what kinds of movies, what kinds of songs, what kind of writings will set him off. I know how he lives his life exactly because it’s not like me.”

So people gravitate towards the guideposts, towards the labels, the categories, bending their own selves to fit the words. And some of them even perpetuate the categories, lighting a candle not to beat back the darkness, but to illuminate the labels.

Big World, Small World…

  • Say you have an ex-boyfriend (nuh uh!).
  • Say that every time you see him, you’re reminded of how stupid you were for putting up with his lying and cheating and control-freakishness for too, too long.
  • Say that’s he’s charming and, at first blush, seems like a “nice guy”.
  • Say that suddenly, after a very long time, he shows up at nearly every social situation in which you participate.

In Carrie Bradshaw fashion, the question must be asked: Do you let your friends know what a dickhead he is, or do you let them get dicked?

Latter-day Me

“These endless days are finally ending in a blaze…” — Buffy, the Musical

Sometimes I get in this mood, this place, where i get a true sense that today, I am living as the Latter-day Me.

There’s a shocking implication here, that one talking thus might consider a ‘desperate outrage to himself’ but it would be wrong to assume that that’s the only implication.

I don’t mean a foreseeable end of me; on the contrary, at times like these I fail to foresee anything.

Consider the age-old existentialist question: Is this all there is?

Well, yes.

This is all there is. I don’t know what next week, next month, next season will bring. Mostly I don’t want to know these things, but that’s usually when I have a good idea of what might happen.

These latterdays give no comfort, and yet there’s going to be something happening. There always seems to be.

And that’s a great place to start, isn’t it?