Categories
Auto Biography Gay Queer

Friends

I used to be a Quaker, a member of the religious organization also known as The Society of Friends.

I went to my first meeting when I was 13 years old, primarily to get out of British boarding school Sunday morning chores.

My headmaster John Lampen and his wife Diana were running the small independent school near Shrewsbury called Shotton Hall.  They were both very enthusiastic Quakers.  They radiated that peculiar peace for which Quakers are renowned.

When everything at school seemed chaotic John would provide, in retrospect, a different kind of solution.  I was drawn to him yet baffled.  Nothing seemed to annoy him…and he knows I tried.

His alternative Oxbridge way of thinking both irritated and inspired me.   He was self-assured but never smug.

He had something I most definitely wanted.

I asked if I could go to their Quaker meetings.

Sunny Shrewsbury Sunday morning.  The meeting was held in a regency building set off the High Street.   Cobbled streets, plane trees, red sandstone peculiar to the region.

I was an unruly, difficult child.  At my first Quaker meeting I felt immediately accepted.  This was an inclusive church.  One where a young gay boy might find solace rather than damnation.

I heard, “There is that of God in every man.” and I was sold.  The God I knew existed.   No longer dressed in extravagant robes, tradition, canticles or phony ritual.  A simple room filled with love.  No more priests or clergy to funnel God into me like a goose choking back the corn, but there I was a 13-year-old boy looking within to find God in my heart.

I started going to meetings regularly, sitting silently for an hour, attempting to find and nurture a God of my understanding.   “Like a spec of gold.” Diana said.  If moved to share, a Friend would stand and speak.  Sharing whatever God Shot was on his or her mind.

This was revolutionary!  We were all priests.

It was as evident to me then as it is now that this was how human beings, focused on a power greater than themselves connected with their ‘God’ and each other…found joy.  Without the myths and tales and dogma of organized religion it was here that we set aside our differences and focused on thinking our way into right action.

I knew instinctively that when I sat quietly in a room of meditating humans I was probably doing something that we had learned to do millions of years before.  On the tundra, in the shadow of Stone Henge.

Some of us.

Reflection and God-consciousness does not suit every man.  It is apparent that not all men are created curious.

My years as an active Quaker were perhaps the happiest times of my life.  I loved the room.  I have never been frightened of old people, different people, sick people.  Perhaps that’s why I get into so much trouble?

I left school, striking out on my own into the dramatic new world of my own creation.  I left the tranquility of those Quaker meeting houses behind me.  I left God behind me.  Nearly twenty years later, smashed to pieces by my own bad choices I would once again seek out some fundamental truths and a relationship with a God I knew was indeed in every man….including me.

I did not return to The Society of Friends but to the rooms of AA where a healthy relationship with God is essential for an everyday peace.

Yesterday was my birthday and hundreds of you wished me well.  One of the great benefits of Facebook: we can celebrate our lives with an extended community of friends and acquaintances.  Amongst the notes Kevin Sessums wrote to me.

He said, “Happy b’day .. have a special day with special friends not just FB ones …”

I wondered if friends on Facebook were any less special than those I met in the real world.  I have never met Kevin yet I enjoy our Facebook friendship.  I don’t know if I would necessarily enjoy him more if I met him.

Pen Pals we used to call them when I was a child. People I wrote to in different countries who would tell me about their exotic lives and I would live vicariously through them.  Facebook is no different.  I like to engage as I do in the real world.  I like my ‘friends’ to see what I am up to and like when they comment.  I like when they share their holiday snaps, their location and trial and tribulations.

I have several real communities that I keep up with virtually.  Whitstable, Sydney, New York.  I have friends in all of those places (Jake cruelly called them my sycophants) and Facebook allows me the opportunity of enhancing and deepening my ties to those disparate people.

Real people disappoint me.  Facebook friends rarely do.  I have no expectations of those I meet on-line.  Enter my world or my house and I may not know you for very long.

I had lunch with Jennie Ketcham in Venice.  We hadn’t seen each other for an age.  She looked great.

Later that night Toby threw an impromptu party for me at his house and many LA friends arrived to wish me well.  Were they special friends?  The ones I know from AA and SAA most certainly are.   I have a deep connection with those friends with whom I sit quietly, go in peace and share a common interest in God.

I didn’t take any pictures.

Regardless of any drama that may or may not be unfolding in this real world I recognize at my core a stillness that I learned as a teenage boy from long dead Quakers on quiet Sunday mornings in Shrewsbury.  It is to you that I give thanks this morning.  Thank you Joyce, Priscilla, Raymond, Susan, Diana and John.  Thank you.

If I hadn’t met you, if you hadn’t shared so humbly what you knew to be the truth about God I don’t think I would have celebrated this last birthday nor many, many before it.

Categories
Gay Money NYC Queer Rant

Fuck You Ken Mehlman

There are certainly occasions in one’s life when one wishes for a different outcome. Yesterday was one of those days.

Most of the day was just fine. Dan headed upstate to see his father and I was left with vacuuming duties. I walked the dog, made calls, wrote my blog. I enjoyed the beautiful spring morning sitting outside Mud cafe drinking their pungent coffee.

I sat in the steam room with Brendan and his buddy. Ian turned up for tea at 4 and we watched a little of the Kentucky Derby festivities on the roof of Soho House. Women in large hats and men is suits with white carnations pinned to their lapels.

After a short nap I changed into a very slimming Helmut Lang suit and headed up town where I met my friend Zack, his friend David and Austin. We ate huge New York steaks for dinner. The conversation centered largely around new incidence of HIV infection, our irrational fear of contracting AIDS and what these fears really mean. Remember, I was convinced in 1985 that I was dying of AIDS. I was so certain that the doctors who were giving me the negative results were lying to me that I ended up having three or four tests a week in clinics all over London.

I ended up in The Henderson Hospital in Sutton, Surrey.  A total wreck.

The conversation shifted to how gay men in the USA tend to just fight for the issues that directly affect them and not for the community of gay men with all its various needs. It infuriates me that a) the gays are constantly worried by what their enemies are thinking about them. b) they are frightened to be seen to fight for their rights. c) The gays who are shaping whatever equality legislation is being shaped are so arrogant that they can’t begin to accept any outcome other than the one that they have defined. Gay MARRIAGE for instance. Nothing less will do…even if it means nothing at all.

After dinner Austin’s husband Jake turned up looking great and we all headed over to Ken Mehlman‘s apartment. Why? Birthday party.

Austin and Jake had the right idea, they left immediately.  I waded into a vat of fascist molasses.

The level of discomfort I felt is almost impossible to articulate.  200 gay men who usually wear suits now dressed in overly tight tee shirts, chinos rolled up to mid calf and brightly colored accessories.

In the very heart of this wasps nest I saw Herndon Graddick a creepy representative from the absurd, self-congratulatory, gay organization GLADD. Another smug, gay clique that gives out awards to straight people for being our friends. Why do we give straight people awards for being our friends? Because we are so damned grateful. Thanks straight people.

Anyway, when I arrived there was Herndon Graddick sucking up to Ken Mehlman. Apparently I had fallen out with Herndon years ago. I couldn’t remember why. Apparently I sent him nasty text messages. He probably fucking deserved them.

Ken Mehlman’s apartment was so devoid of personality I thought maybe it was being staged for sale. His sterile bedroom was decorated in brown and beige and the bed looked like it was cast in concrete. Like him, his environment was hostile and ugly.

He is perhaps one of the most repellent individuals ever to come out as gay…apart from The Penguin. It made my blood boil that he had selfishly put his self-serving career ahead of his own needs as a human being or the needs of others (like the Penguin) and cruelly turned his back on his gay community, the same community that now sat around drinking his vodka served by a grumpy straight boy.

Ken Mehlman is morally bankrupt yet, because he has money, these vile, insipid queens flock around him with gay abandon. Ignoring that he betrayed every one of us.

He is like a Jew who relished throwing other Jews into the ovens at Auchwitz.

To my knowledge he has never apologised, he has never acknowledged his part in the ongoing homophobic carnage during his tenure as chair of the RNC.

True, this vile man acknowledged that, had he come out of the closet earlier, he could have impacted Republican efforts to pass state initiatives and referenda banning same-sex marriage. Fuck you Ken Mehlman.

NOT ALL CLOSETS ARE CREATED EQUAL!

His guests were just as disgusting.

Met this small, Jewish man who works for some gay rights organization. He was so fucking naive. He told me in all seriousness that they had found out through a ‘study’ that most straight people site ‘love and relationship’ as the reason for getting married and not (as the gays are always demanding) for rights and benefits. Hey buddy, tell your gay friends to start asking for their love to be recognized rather than a bunch of nebulous rights and we may very well get our message heard.

He was trying to persuade me that his mission was to get Ken to convince George W Bush to come out in favor of gay marriage. Think about that for a moment… think about it.

The same dwarfish, Jewish kid mocked the British for their Civil Unions. I was simply appalled. What a CUNT. I should have punched him.

As we left Zack and I decided to say goodbye to Ken and thank him for having us. Zack said, “You are my hero.” Ken made him repeat the line three times.

We left the party. Headed over to some deserted bar. Met up with cute boy from last night. I was so fired up by the inequity of the evening that I walked home, took dog to park and went to bed.

Categories
Film Gay Money NYC Queer

Fire Island Pines

Fire Island Dawn

NYC streets once again. I am staying until Sunday then I am going to Fire Island for a few days. I love it there at this time of year. Wandering around the deserted Pines, exploring the unoccupied houses.

I imagine that everyone who had a house there when Joe and I lived on Bay Walk… well they must have long gone.  Tommy Tune, David Geffen, the kindly big guy whose name I can’t remember who lived opposite. The lesbians next door who never really approved of Joe.  Joe would call out to Geffen when we saw him on the board walk, “You’re the best looking billionaire in the world.” Geffen would smile and pass on by.

Joe and I spent an entire winter together in that house on a deserted, frozen Fire Island. Nobody does that. Just the deer to keep us company. Standing silently in the snow, staring at us in the house going about our business. Warm, well fed.

I can tell you stories if you want?

It must have been this time of year that I was there with my difficult boyfriend Jamie Page and Bryan Singer and Brandon Boyce turned up with a bunch of friends (including a very young John Krokidas).  It was wild. I remember laying in bed, listening to men running over the roof.  I was drinking and taking drugs in those days so Fire Island… the gay bit, suited me just fine.

One bright, spring day I remember walking from Cherry Grove through what they called The Meat Rack or The Judy Garland Memorial Park. Why did they call it The Meat Rack? Why did they call it The Judy Garland Memorial Park? This well trodden scrub grew on the bay side of the island separating Cherry Grove and The Pines.

It was prone to mosquitos and cruising.

At night, after the dancing was over or the drugs were leading the way, the gays would high-tail down the boardwalk into the swampy thicket, the vacant dunes.

The sea pounding on the sand, night birds singing in the moon lit wood.

Here the revelers would remove the very little that they still had on and laze naked, like nymphs, will o’ the wisp. Smoking cigarettes. Checking each other out with the slightest blaze of light.  I only ever went to watch this very unique sexual theatre. Even when I was totally fucked up.

Being a terrible prude I did not let them touch me because they were patently no use. They were so inauthentic. I need men to retraumatise me…not play act. Easily resisting their insistent hands and breathy suggestions. As dawn broke over Fire Island, piercing its way into the meat rack, I would watch men grope and kiss and suck and fuck, often unable to cum as they had taken so many drugs.

Dawn breaking over their ripped and muddy underwear, their blood-shot eyes (as if they had been crying) their blood and cum and shit…like so many rape victims shamefully dragging themselves away from the scene of the crime.  It amused me that the very same men who would not go near me as they danced in drug induced congas around the stinking dance floor would be all over the ugliest trade in The Meat Rack.

As we know, after a few drinks one is not so choosy.

After a sack full of cocaine/crystal/mdma these men didn’t give a flying fuck.

Occasionally straight men would meander down the beach to The Pines, try a little something different from what was available in heterosexual Ocean Bay Park. Turning up in baggy khakis and polo shirts. We knew what they were there for. What they were looking for.

I would dream of these doe eyed nuggets turning up for me to mine.

I remember walking back from Cherry Grove one day and wandering into The Meat Rack for no better reason than it was a shorter route for getting to The Bay than walking along the beach and traversing the island…anyway, it was usually deserted during the day, mid-week, off-season.

I didn’t expect to see a soul.

I had a bag of groceries. I was 31 years old. I saw a young, blond man…no more that twenty. His sun bleached, tousled hair, baggy shorts and flip-flops betrayed him. When I said hello, the fear in his eyes, his deep voice confirmed my suspicions. A straight boy on the turn. I set the groceries by a tree and without a word I touched his face. He bit his bottom lip and let out a tiny gasp.

I let him undress me.

Boys! I had a body in those days. I looked fit! I loved the gym.

He tentatively touched my chest and ran his fingers over my biceps of which I was very proud. Guiding his hand into my shorts he cupped my balls and kissed me. He loved me so.  He was pleased to suck my nipples, he did it gently like a calf. His soft white skin, the delicate filigree copper hair on his forearms.

I pushed his fringe from his forehead so I could better see him sucking my cock. He was passionate and greedy.

I am benevolent.

Looking up at me with his flawless blue eyes. I smiled down at him, pulling the back of his neck toward me so as to better fuck his throat. He gagged slightly, his thorax constricted around my penis. The effect was very pleasing. He pulled away, a string of saliva briefly attaching us. I rolled my cock over his distended cheeks. Flushed from the recent choking.

Thanking him for his attention to detail as he set too again, as he sucked and kissed my balls working his way toward my ass.

I knelt on the leafy, forest floor and he spread my cheeks so he could better lick, probing me with his tongue. I let him work on it. Licking me, pulling my balls and cock between my legs. He ran his hand up my back. I pulled myself up so I was no longer kneeling, his face completely obscured by my thighs…as if he were being born out of my ass. A fully grown boy being born out of my ass.

He stopped for a moment and said, “Have you got anything up there for me?”

Realizing that this perfect boy wanted to eat my shit I pulled up my shorts, gathered up the groceries and didn’t look back.

Be careful what you pray for.

20110505-091940.jpg

Enhanced by Zemanta
Categories
Gay Queer Rant

FULL DISCLOSURE

I was with a man last week, a friend of mine.  Married with two kids, good job, comfortable life.  The only fly in the ointment being his insatiable desire for other men.

He had always known that he was gay but fell in love with a beautiful woman.  He still loves her, loves his children and his comfortable life.  When I met him he was in pieces because he was about to tell his wife the truth about his other life.  The life he could no longer contain, compartmentalize.

You know, whether it is another man or another woman the deceit is just the same.  However, his wife, the woman he had been with for twenty years utterly trusted and loved him.  She described him as the center of her world.  Now, after therapy, he had decided to tell her the truth.

You know I am in two minds about FULL DISCLOSURE.  Depending on how it is handled it can be a great thing.  The truth, as we all know, tends to set you free-but at what price for the wife?  For the children?

Is it possible to love and cherish a woman yet have a secret gay life?  I have written on these pages that I believe that it is.  That men think differently about monogamy than women.  Judging by just how broken the man is he really loves his wife and finds his gay life unexplainable.

Of course we do not live in the 1950’s when society was less tolerant of homosexuality but we must not underestimate two things:  firstly, the desire for a regular life of marriage and children with a woman and secondly that the love that develops between a man and a woman regardless of orientation is still real.

The gay lifestyle is not exactly my cup of tea, the bars and clubs, the endless hooking up-found in urban gay life.  Gay men don’t do a very good job of advertising the better part of our lives.  Anyhow that’s another story.

I have loved women during my life and whilst I loved them I was not hankering after men.  The emotional commitment that I had was just as valid as that that I had with men.

Having sex with a man is far easier than telling a man ‘I love you’.

Sexuality and relationships are complicated and whilst some relationships do not fit the norm we should not discount the love that exists there.

My friend desperately loves his wife and children, their lives together have been rich and varied.  Has he been more dishonest than a man who cheated on his wife with other woman?

Can a man still love his wife and have sexual relations with other men?  My friend tells me that he can and does.  Just like Darwin who believed both in God and evolution.  When asked how this was possible to believe in God and his theory of evolution he replied ‘because I do’.

I rather like the Victorian model where gay men married and had children and had affairs with men on the side.  This may not suit the out and prouds or the uber hetero but may suit some people an the middle of the Kinsey spectrum.  We are not all one thing or the other until we say we are.  We are not gay until we say we are.  When we say that we love someone why should this not be believed just because our sexuality is more complicated or in the words of Derek Jarman less ‘common’.

I have loved many women and whilst I have always been honest about my interest in men they seemed to not care as long as they were or felt loved.  Women have a huge capacity for love, for tolerance and forgiveness.

Categories
Dogs Gay Hollywood Queer

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

I needed to stay in home alone tonight.  I feel sad.  Sad about Kristian, sad about my friends who died this year and sad that once again I am on my own:  the vacuum left behind after a wonderful weekend with a great friend.

I have always had and certainly will continue to have a serious problem with goodbye.  Saying goodbye permanently or even temporarily brings up huge feelings of loss, vulnerability and then the anger-the anger overwhelms me.

The genesis of these feelings: I was ripped from my mother’s breast and put up for adoption.  These are primal fears of life and death.   The most profoundly affecting goodbye after my mother’s abandonment was the death of my Darling Big Dog.

When my dog was violently killed the resulting anguish unleashed a torrent of sadness, a great wave of misery that may have resulted from not ever having said goodbye-ever to anyone I loved.  I did not go to my grandfather’s funeral nor my grandmother’s.   I have rigorously avoided any ritual goodbye and for that I am a lesser man.

Whenever I leave a party I just slip away as if saying goodbye will somehow humiliate me.

The same feelings overcome me now after the deaths of three friends in as many months.  Yet the very act of writing about them lends me immediate solace.

The end of relationships causes me unrelenting heartache.

Stoically accepting the end of a relationship?  No, not for me.  Nearly all of the relationships I have had have ended badly.  I never, it seems, get to write that scene in the movie of my life where two people say a dignified goodbye.

The end of my relationship with Joe ended thus:  I knew that I was going to leave but it took me 2 years to end it and when I finally did I tried to do it with tenderness and compassion but he was so angry that he made my life miserable for a full year after I left him-ending up in court fighting over property.

In my mad head I forget that I have choices, the choice to remember that the past no longer runs the show, choices to say goodbye without the reenactment of traumatic and ruinous scenarios.

Today I waved goodbye to a new friend who has come to mean a great deal to me.  Whether there is any romantic future between us is really not up to me-unless I behave in such a way that he would never want to see me again.   This morning I began to get angry, angry that he was leaving but knew that it was for the best.

Even though I was only momentarily angry-until I could identify what was going on in my mad head and break the cycle of abandonment and despair by telling him that I would miss him, that I was feeling sad, that I had no mechanism for making those feelings go away…and by telling him the truth I was freed from behaviors that would alienate him from me forever.

I will say goodbye to Kristian this week, say my heartfelt adieu.   His death has brought up all sorts of STUFF.   I sorted out pictures of us today and will post them as soon as I can.

IMG_1988 IMG_1964 IMG_1963