Sunday, July 5, 2015

As we two stood thus in sorrowful talk, weeping freely, up came the ghost of Achilles, son of Peleus, with Patroclus and gallant Antilochus. Also Aias, the handsomest man and goodliest figure of the Danaans —except for Achilles himself, that swift-footed descendant of Aeacus, whose spirit recognized me and gloomily flung out: 'Ingenious son of Laertes, Odysseus of the seed of Zeus, daring unhappy soul! How will you find some madder adventure to cap this coming down alive to Hades among the silly dead, the worn-out mockeries of men?' So he questioned, bitterly, and I replied, 'O Achilles, son of Peleus, mightiest man of valour among the Achaeans! Of dire necessity I came, to hear from Teiresias how best to arrive back in rocky Ithaca. In all this time I have not neared Achaea nor seen my country. Ill luck dogs me everywhere. How I envy your lot, Achilles, happiest of men who have been or will be! In your day all we Argives adored you with a God's honours: and now down here I find you a Prince among the dead. To you, Achilles, death can be no grief at all.' He took me up and said, 'Do not make light of Death before me, O shining Odysseus. Would that I were on earth a menial, bound to some insubstantial man who must pinch and scrape to keep alive ! Life so were better than King of Kings among these dead men who have had their day and died.

- T.E. Lawrence's translation of the Odyssey
We were so different and in our difference so dangerous to each other that if anyone had tried to calculate in advance how I, the slowly developing child, and you, the full-grown man, would stand to each other, he could have assumed that you would simply trample me underfoot so that nothing was left of me. Well, that did not happen. Nothing alive can be calculated. But perhaps something worse happened. And in saying this I would all the time beg of you not to forget that I never, and not even for a single moment, believe any guilt to be on your side. The effect you had on me was the effect you could not help having. But you should stop considering it some particular malice on my part that I succumbed to that effect.

- from Kafka's letter to his father


Sassy Steve! Awesome Tasha! SAM! Evil Redford! BUCKY OMG, SebStan's eyes are like half the size of his face and they communicate worlds of gorgeous pain. Sam doesn't die! I am amazed Sam doesn't die every fucking time I see this (which by now has been....a lot). I probably will be amazed Sam doesn't die when I'm ninety-five.

ELEVATOR FIGHT: //is awesome
MOI: I wanna see that again. //rewinds
T: ....Can we see that again?
ELEVATOR FIGHT: //is still awesome three times in a row

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Leonard Cohen - "Everybody Knows (live 1988)"

New York Gay Pride Parade 2015, Todd Heisler/The New York Times (red shoes!)

Paul Cadmus
Manikins, 1951
Egg tempera on paper
13 x 16 inches

Saturday, June 27, 2015

In a lot of ways, I am at my core a golem of popular culture. I built my self-concept out of the books that shaped me, and even though it can now walk around on its own and eat dinner and fall in love and have opinions and all the things an organic creature does, if you rubbed out the magic words it would collapse into a pile of dusty tomes. When my authors die, I have to mourn.

- "In Praise of Good Omens"

Friday, June 26, 2015

From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. The lifelong union of a man and a woman always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life. Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.

....The petitioners acknowledge this history but contend that these cases cannot end there. Were their intent to demean the revered idea and reality of marriage, the petitioners’ claims would be of a different order. But that is neither their purpose nor their submission. To the contrary, it is the enduring importance of marriage that underlies the petitioners’ contentions. This, they say, is their whole point. Far from seeking to devalue marriage, the petitioners seek it for themselves because of their respect—and need—for its privileges and responsibilities. And their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment. 

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
I really did not think I would live to see this. Holy fucking wow.

Thursday, June 25, 2015



Get on your knees and pray, baby! We are coming in on a wing and a prayer, God help us.

- Tennessee Williams on the staging of a late play, 1962

someone said to me yesterday

"Oh, that's right, I forgot you express affection through books."


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

There is no war on drugs because you cannot have a war against inanimate objects. There is only war on drug addicts. Which means we are warring on the most abused and vulnerable segments of the population. You can see left and right of the war on drugs and you can see it is not working.
But you know what, I have a different point of view. If decade after decade, after decade, after decade, if the intentions of the policies are not being realized; in fact the opposite is what is happening … maybe it's serving some purpose, the raison d’etre of repressive apparatus is that it can be used against the people when the need arises. Is it really a failure or maybe it has a function of demonizing a certain section of population, that justifies more repression. Maybe it has a function of keeping the legal apparatus going, maybe it has a function of making a money for a lot of people, maybe it has a function of fueling the privatization of incarceration industry.
So maybe it is not a failure at all. And from that perspective, was the Vietnam War a failure? No, not at all. It was militarily. But, the end result was that US took control of the economies of Southeast Asia. Is the Iraq War a failure? Well, it is for the people who died there, for a half a million Iraqis who died it is, but it is not a failure for American oil companies. So that everywhere we have to be careful before we call them failures. Somebody wins. The somebody who wins are the same people who destroy neighborhoods, communities. It is the same system that undermines human health, that undermines dignity, that undermines human connections and makes life less tolerable on this planet. 
Now, we don’t have to agree on what the solutions might be. And that’s okay. But what do we agree on is the importance of speaking for truth,  but what we do agree is on importance of people getting together and struggling in a healthy way for different life.

Raymond Chandler on writing

Monday, June 22, 2015


We’re waiting on the storm to hide the wake
Bringing you up to the surface
Dragging you up to the shore
Holding you up to the sun like "Is this yours?"
It’s yours
Last December my friend Stacia’s fiancé committed suicide. As friends and family gathered immediately to her home I waited until the right moment to pull her aside and listen to her pain which at the time was so bone-crushing that I thought her tiny frame would collapse beneath the weight of it. I held her as she sobbed and screamed and pounded her fists into her thighs, a wailing, “WHY!” punctuating every sentence. I did not know about that quote at the time, but I did finally pull her close and say, “I know you are angry and hurt. And you’re going to be angry and hurt for a long time. But I know where he had to be to do this to himself. I know that kind of pain. I have lived with that kind of pain, and I know that you loved him so much that if you had the tiniest glimpse of the agony he must have been feeling in that moment that you would grant that he did not do this to himself. His depression and suffering did this to him.”
Stacia and I have always been close since we met in 2009, but since her fiancé’s suicide our friendship has become one of the strongest I have ever had. I have spent many nights with her listening to her cry, holding her as she continued to ask why, as she talked of the plans they had made, the memories they had already created. Early on in her grief while listening to the anguish in every word that she spoke I had a sudden realization that if her fiancé could somehow witness this devastation, this ongoing trauma that will last for years, this haunting unknowing that will come back in waves throughout the rest of her life that maybe it would have been the one thing that could have pulled him back from that edge. The grief you might cause when you think about suicide is very abstract. It’s not a real thing, at least not in the confines of your compromised brain. Often you have convinced yourself that no one will miss you.
If he could touch her grief with his hands would it have mitigated his own?

"Vixen," W.S. Merwin

Comet of stillness princess of what is over
       high note held without trembling without voice without sound
aura of complete darkness keeper of the kept secrets
       of the destroyed stories the escaped dreams the sentences
never caught in words warden of where the river went
       touch of its surface sibyl of the extinguished
window onto the hidden place and the other time
       at the foot of the wall by the road patient without waiting
in the full moonlight of autumn at the hour when I was born
       you no longer go out like a flame at the sight of me
you are still warmer than the moonlight gleaming on you
       even now you are unharmed even now perfect
as you have always been now when your light paws are running
       on the breathless night on the bridge with one end I remember you
when I have heard you the soles of my feet have made answer
       when I have seen you I have waked and slipped from the calendars
from the creeds of difference and the contradictions
       that were my life and all the crumbling fabrications
as long as it lasted until something that we were
       had ended when you are no longer anything
let me catch sight of you again going over the wall
       and before the garden is extinct and the woods are figures
guttering on a screen let my words find their own
       places in the silence after the animals

"Somewhere It Still Moves"

I was having dinner with my friends Howie and Francine.
The restaurant was old, maybe five hundred years:
whitewashed walls great black beams on the ceiling,
no windows. We felt we were in the midst of history.
As Americans, the past seemed absent from our country.
The waiter kept knocking his head with his fist, trying
to explain something. The only words we knew were Pivo-
beer and Dobro-good. Hitting his head like that,
he seemed to be telling Howie he was stupid. First
he would form his hands into a circle, then he would give
his forehead a smack. The waiter wore a white jacket,
black pants. Perhaps he was twenty-five. Okay, said Howie,
sure. Bring it to me, whatever it is. This was Sarajevo,
the spring of 1989. A week of poetry readings, meeting
other poets, strolling with ice creams, attending the Saturday
night dance at the old hotel, no different than dances
I had attended in Iowa or Pennsylvania or Detroit.
Near the Princip Bridge a pair of bronze footprints
were set into the sidewalk. We each placed our feet
into these bronze souvenirs. This is where Princip stood
when he shot the Archduke and his wife. When the waiter
bought our dinner, there were our plates and on Howie’s
plate a paper bag., like the bag in which a schoolboy
packs his lunch. Howie opened it carefully. Brains
in a bag, lamb brains cooked in a paper bag. We recalled
how the waiter made a circle, then knocked his forehead.
This was Howie’s dinner, He was delighted. He could
barely breathe for all his laughter, We all laughed
and drank red wine. The other tables were filled
with happy people, men and women eagerly discussing
the subjects of their passions. When the door opened,
there was music from the street and a warm breeze
smelling of foliage and the dust of a thousand years.
There was the constant clatter of silverware on dishes.
The waiter laughed with us. He is probably dead now.
Killed by a sniper as he crossed a street or stood
by a window. The restaurant, the entire block, has been
transformed into rubble, so many rocks at a crossroads.
I’ve seen pictures in the papers. And those other diners,
those easy eaters, those casual laughers? Some
on one side, some on the other, some blown to pieces,
some shot in the head. Scattered, scattered.
But all that came later. On one particular evening
The waiter brought his tray with a paper bag on a plate
And we laughed. A fragment of that sound is still traveling
so far out into the dark, and arrow perhaps glittering
in the flicker of distant stars. Somewhere it still moves.
I must believe that. Otherwise nothing else in the world
is possible. We are the creatures that love and slaughter.

-- Stephen Dobyns

Sunday, June 21, 2015


I love my neighbourhood

As we were coming back from the grocery store, we passed one of the local Big Gay Bars on the way home. I overheard the female bouncer asking a bunch of guys with bristle cuts and very good posture (looking pretty fit in T-shirts too), "Are you guys military?" They said yes. She said, "If you show your military ID card at the bar, you get a discount, just so you know."

That made me very, very happy.