Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Remember when we were younger, and
we used to think our teachers lived
at school? I always pictured oversized
desks where they could fold themselves
up at night, packed nicely in among
their books and pens and apples. This
is how I envision you - folded up inside
my cell phone, your voice coming from
somewhere among the buttons and wires.
Occasionally I'll open up the
back and peer in, wondering it you're
really there - longing for the day
when you unfold yourself from within
and come to me. You will unfold to me,
only to be folded again into my arms,
and I'll no longer have
only your words to keep me warm
on days that I am feeling lonely.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

songs my mother gave me?

I decided that, for my mother's side of the family, I may put together a group of my poetry, about my mother, and her passing, and give them to my aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I think they will appreciate the sentiment, and something tells me it might help some of them push through and do the moving on that is so necessary in times like this. I plan on titling my collection "Songs my mother gave me," cliche as it sounds, only because I hammered out the following introductory poem (and I welcome constructive critique - is the meaning clear? does the metaphor work?). It is slightly cheesy, perhaps, but I think it serves its purpose, and my family will appreciate it:

To the Reader:

The time to sing is now -
Our grief slowly lifting, the tears painted over
with all the smiling faces of those she left behind;
It's true, she's gone - but
when the time comes, we could all lament
that we, too, were plucked early from this life,
forgetting that the most important purpose for us here
is simply teaching other people how to sing.
And my mother, she taught me many songs.
These are songs my mother gave me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

a poem of silence a la e.e.cummings

m (fa (words) il) e


We speak, therefore, we are -
all space and body is lost to us,
and we, the word-wielders, the wordsmiths,
shouting "love" across great distances,
wrapped each night in proverbial arms --
we, built on words.
How odd, for us, to desire that moment
when words disappear.
When the touch of your hand
and the warmth of your flesh
becomes the wordless opening chapter
to the book of my happiness,
and we become the text, realized,
and relish the moment when we
don't have to say anything, at all.

inner rooms

There's something quietly romantic about the thought of you.
The halls of my mind, my inner rooms, become porticos, breezeways.
I become large, doors to you opening, I realize my space and my
potential and connect with you in the very stillness of our words -
and real distance, and real time, and all the corporeal distractions
that people think should matter more, tend to melt away - our bodies
melt away as we become just voices, spirits, ideas, imaginings,
perfect golden beings walking hand in hand along the sunlit
porticos and breezeways that link my inner rooms to yours.

love can build a bridge.

I remember middle school, singing songs
our parents taught us,
no longer swinging on swings but holding on
to everything the older kids taught us was cool.
The wiggers, the skaters, the preps, the freaks.
The misfits. The marginals. The empty spaces.
The empty chairs. The kids that wanted,
but couldn't. The glass window separating us
from the haves. The have class. Have style. Have
I suppose, looking back, that I can be greatful
for fortitude.
I can appreciate me now, for the me I was so long ago.
Then why do so many people assume the position
of complete regret, for the years
they spent in solitude?
Those of us who couldn't laugh our way
through puberty
look back and attempt to erase it, and make those empty
and empty chairs
an empty memory.
Perhaps it's true that I can learn and grow.
I know I did.
Regardless of seeing how far I've come...
Does anybody like to look back at where they started?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spatial dimensions and overheard conversations

"the words of built space, or at least it substantives, would seem to be rooms, categories which are syntactically or syncategorematically related and articulated by the various spatial verbs and adverbs - corridors, doorways, and staircases, for example - modified in turn by adjectives in the form of paint and furnishings, decoration, and ornament .... Meanwhile, these 'sentences' - if that indeed is what a building can be said to 'be' - are read by readers whose bodies fill the various shifter-slots and subject-positions; while the larger text into which such units are inserted can be assigned to the text-grammar of the urban as such" (Jameson 105).

If you know me, you'd know that such examinations of the textuality of space really enthrall me, and caused me to pause my rigorous reading of Jamesons' mammoth text, to sit back and examine the text of my own surroundings. If we're to render the space a text, however, we would have to examine the actual text that exists in these surroundings - namely, overheard conversations of my particular location.

Sitting in Panera, Jameson's lecture on the capitalist notion of post-modernism as it relates to space and architecture is remarkably telling. Panera's text is an incredibly sumptuous and inviting one - yet one that speaks to that certain economic bracket that is a step above fast-food, and, perhaps, a step below the average sit-down gourmet restaurant (after all, Panera is anything but dimly lit). The menu speaks to those who wish to eat healthily, which unfortunately, in our consumption-driven society, speaks once again to a higher financial bracket. Strange, how health becomes a commodity. If the text of the place, and its advertising, invites a certain financial bracket of capital wealth, this might be reified in the conversations I've overheard while sitting silently in the corner, munching on my four-cheese egg souffle and whole-grain bagel, sipping on my coffee.

At one table, a family of four (man and woman, of course, with two children), were visiting with who appeared to me extended family. All well-dressed (must have just come straight from church - amazing how church-dress exhibits its own examples of capitalist commodification...). A few things overheard, regarding Christmas:
Wife: "I need to get some new shoes" (shoes current state of shoes)
Extended relative: "Oh! Yes, you do!"
Wife: "I've had them fixed once before, but I don't think they'll last much longer"
Husband: "And we just went to Harold's to find some - can you imagine some of the prices on those shoes? And I consider myself having a decent job!"

At another table, I noticed two women discussing church matters, and they even prayed over their food. Their conversation seemed to center on helping some person with one thing or another. Now, I'm not against religion. I'm not against church. I'm a spiritual person, and try to go to church when I'm able. So allow me to attempt this into an objective critique, relating to the spatial implications of the clientele. They are extremely well dressed, and the tone of the conversation allowed me to speculate that they occupied a privileged place in society. The religious connotation of Jameson's concept of po-mo and capitalism sends my mind spinning at this point. I just overheard "The church told him 'we're not getting enough new people, so you're out of here'," regarding someone apparently responsible for a budget, or "revenue." How telling is this regarding the importance of commodification and capitalism within our very religion?? Commodification of religion within commodification of image, within commodification of place/people/wealth/space. The language of Panera does, in fact, reify the notion of commodification - proven by the clientele that surrounds me.

As a disclaimer, I know it's rather odd for me to be eavesdropping in conversations. But, reading Marxist theory, the mind is prone to search for any and every distraction possible :-). And, of course, this doesn't ring true for everyone that comes in here (I'd love to consider myself exempt, but I'm not sure if I can). Just some interesting thoughts I thought I'd write down, so I wouldn't forget I had them ;).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My grief observed:

He was right; you went away,
slowly at first, but faster and faster
with time, with memory, with grief,
I exhale your absence more and more
until there is nothing left
to breathe but air, and
My writing becomes a flashlight shining
back into your empty spaces,
now my empty spaces,
the voids you will no longer fill,
the maps you wrote into existence
that still hang on the walls of my
history, still asking me to follow them
after all these years, even when
you are no longer there to point your
finger in the way you felt I ought to go.
You’re gone still, and even the writing
seems unreal, and even the thinking
and pondering and dreaming you back
when you cry in my sleep that you
didn’t want to let go,
you’re still gone, and it’s not you here
it’s nothing but me
and my empty pages, shining lights
into empty spaces.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Being Gay": A Response to Conservative, Religious Ideology

The following is a series of responses I gave in a debate with a conservative Christian on my feelings towards the right-wing view of the "homosexual agenda," and how conservatives view homosexuality. I strung them together to form a coherent narrative for the sake of my blog...

'Tis a sad state to be in if you realize that the life you were born into (read: I did not choose this), is a life that God is keeping you from. I don't buy it. I think it's easy for people to say "well, I can choose to act or not to act on my own temptations, and so can you" but then when they agree that being attracted to the same sex isn't a choice, they're essentially stating that they have an "easy way out," as in, God legitimizes heterosexual relations, but regardless of the fact that I may have been born with this, I either have to conform to heterosexual norm (which God knows I've tried), or remain celibate for the rest of my life, even though (let's be honest), I've been created as a sexual being, the same as every one of us. It's a precarious oxymoron that I intend to study and pick to pieces as much as I can (I'm the analytical type), because nothing, in my opinion, is as black and white as it may at first seem.

The fact that so many right-wingers are coming to the realization that people don't CHOOSE to be gay, they only choose to be honest about it, reveals an oxymoron, or conundrum in our society. What corner, what niche, has been carved in the norm of heterosexual society for the likes of myself, and people like me? Where do I fit in, except to be told that, though many agree I was born this way, I don't get to enjoy the fulness of life planned for those who were privileged to be born heterosexual?

Furthermore, if it's not a sin that I'm a homosexual (i.e., agreeing I was born this way, and that my existence as a gay individual isn't a "sin"), but God's made a way out of my being a homosexual, through those "pray-the-gay-away" support groups, because it's sinful (let's face it, why else would there be those support groups?), then isn't that obviously contradictory? Either being a homosexual in and of itself is a sin, and there's a "way out," or being a homosexual is not a sin, and I'm caught in just a really sad life-long predicament, according to conservative ideology. That doesn't quite make sense. Also, going back to my last statement, many people are claiming that God trapped me in this -- if I was indeed born with it -- with no hope of experiencing the same fulfillment of life as the heterosexual crowd, because I wasn't lucky like they were, to be born heterosexual. So we should either agree that I'm just out of luck, so to speak, as I was born this way, or believe I wasn't born this way, and that being attracted to men at all (aka, being gay) is intrinsically sinful. Unless there's something in the conservative point of view I'm not seeing.

I'm not as confused nor as frustrated as many religiously conservative people might think I am. I'm very solid in my beliefs in God and what he has planned for my life, even though it's been turned upside down so recently. I certainly don't consider myself a "lost" sinner. I know a lot about where I come from, what I believe, who I am, and the basics of what God expects from me. Any doubt or confusion I feel is part of a growing experience to bring myself closer to who I need to be. Furthermore, to refute the conservative argument, I don't regret what I've been purportedly "dealt." My only problem would be for those arguments which I don't quite think are as founded as they need to be. I don't feel bad, knowing that I've been created as a gay human being. I feel bad for those that hypocritically reject us and treat us as sub-human. There are obvious detriments to acting on alcoholism, which is a common argument to explain the sinful nature of homosexual actions - but what are the detriments to being actively gay? Most argue it is "unnatural," but then, if the natural relations of man and woman occur because of procreation, then anyone who uses birth control is sinning - and using the argument, "well, because God says so," is blind faith, which I don't condone in any one's spiritual walk, and I may disagree on that point with others. Some might argue that gay sex is sex outside of marriage, and that's one reason it's wrong - but gay people aren't allowed to get married, so we don't even have a fighting chance to begin with.

The scripture in Romans, regarding the "unnatural lusts" associated with homosexuality, infers that I'm gay because I turned my back on God. If others agree I was born this way, then again, are they saying I'm "out of luck" based on the sins of my fathers and forefathers? Didn't Jesus negate that argument when the disciples asked him, regarding the blind man, "Who sinned? He or his parents?" I don't know if I can accept that those scriptures are telling me that I'm gay because I turned my back on God. I'm very much still a moral, upstanding person of faith. What, then? Others bring up 1 Corinthians 6, and we can argue the semantics of Paul's passage, and the greek word he uses that we translate as "homosexual," and what that word referred to in the original greek. There is much debate over the 1, 2, 3 verses (?) that target homosexuality in the Bible. And please, let's not point out Leviticus, either. If we no longer stone our children for disagreeing with their parents, we can't really use it as a valid argument against present-day social practices.

Abstract food for thought, of course. I enjoy being theoretical.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

le destitute

I could never clean my plate of
all the poetry you dropped onto it.
I could never take the words you
gave me and mold them into something
that could feed as many as you always
did. I could never take what
I was given and make it beautiful
enough for me to care as much
as you could. I could never finish
my portion of words, put them
together fashionably enough
to sell at gourmet restaurants
like stringed beans: metaphors,
similes, hyperboles, comitatus.
Do with them what you will, I'll
remain the child outside in the
sandbox, making mudpies with
my words that will always fall apart
as soon as my fingers are lifted.
Because I never saw myself as good
as the master creator you showed
yourself to be, when you gave me
the first words I ever spoke.

On Saying Goodbye.

Airwaves said it better.
back in the sixties when television stations
would end transmissions with a glimpse of
the american flag, and a recording of our
national anthem. I don't have either of those things,
but my static runs just as loudly as
any radio station to which you'll never listen.
No one listens to white noise anymore,
but it's the easiest way i know to
tell you that I'm leaving. That I'm still here.
That words are never substantial enough
to fill the silence that I would rather share
with you. With my thoughts. With your thoughts.
And whenever you turn on your radio
you will hear my arms coming through each empty
broadcast. Each time you turn the dial away
from the static, you'll hear me backing away,
arms open. Waiting for you. Leaving you behind.
Because I can't share silence with a man of words.
I am a man of words. And I don't have the words,
or the strength, to truly say goodbye to you.
But I'm saying goodbye. I'm saying please,
Don't touch the dial. Please, don't say goodbye.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Letter from a Canyon: trois

I am made of this stone.
It took nature a million years to
carve these canyon walls,
just as it took a million years
for nature to carve me. Perhaps,
I am made of all these
missing pieces, the sand and dust
swept away long ago into some
mysterious corner of the divine,
before forming the limbs and
flesh that sprouted from my
mother's womb. Perhaps, traveling
here is not an arrival, but a
return home, the missing pieces
finally placed together - the
dust and stone from all our inches
of flesh, the living reminder of
the void now left behind, unable
to be rebuilt, undesiring of
the attempt, undaunted by the
return to such insignificance.
I will remain small, smaller
and smaller, as the
earth grows large around me,
towering above all these pieces
of stone and flesh, wanting
to be reabsorbed yet told to leave,
seeking a new life in the vibrant,
living world outside these
ancient, breathing walls.

- 7/14

From the Canyon: A Love Letter

You came into me here, stranger,
beneath my pines and sculptures;
You combed your fingers through my trees,
breathed my breath, traced my paths
with your strong legs, drank from
my springs with thirsty lips and gazed
at my stars with watery eyes;
beside me, you became my lover for a night
before you left me, leaving only the pieces
of you buried inside me, and the footprints
across my chest,
only taking with you my air in your lungs
and the memory of my face, like a postcard
etched behind your now-heavy eyelids.

- 7/10

Letter from a Canyon: deux

How many of you, half-gods, planted
and harvested here, before we, the gods,
arrived? How many years, decades,
did you wait for us to bring you
our deadly wisdom, abandoning your
primitive temples for our tabernacles
of gold and steel - was this what you
went in search of, when you left the forests?
Did we bring you your heaven? Would you
laugh if you knew we looked back at your
letters and landmarks, searching somehow
for those secrets you held that elude us now -
those divine secrets that show us
how ungodlike we've become?

- 7/8

Letter from a Canyon

Your water eludes me;
the water that, piece by piece,
tore the hearts from these valley giants,
leaving petroglyphs of ancient races,
and ancient waters; the same water that
carves our road carves out my heart,
carrying it too, piece by piece,
millions of miles away
to blend into the vast, unreachable
expanse of the Universal.

- 7/8

Transcription from Lake Powell: July 7

Two glorious days have passed, remarkably, as it seems both a longer and shorter time. The hike through the Bryce amphitheatre was stunning, and towards the end of our ascent back to the car, the heavens opened and we received rain on the trail, and hail. Ouch. Next, we drove to Capitol Reef National Park, and hiked 4.5 miles up to a 360-degree panorama of the park and its canyons. It was magnificent, and we ate dinner and watched the sun set from atop those mountains, hiking for nearly an hour after dusk, and witnessing a beautiful scene of moon and stars in the open sky before falling asleep in the car. This was our second night of sleeping in the car, after having to do so at Bryce Canyon because, much to our chagrin, it began to rain at our campsite, and our tent's cover was not adequately keeping out the water. Last night we were merely unable to find a suitable campsite on the rocky trail, but I slept better. In the morning we attempted unsuccessfully to hike on of the washes at the park, but we still got amazing views of wildlife (albeit some cows as well), before driving to Lake Powell. Ricky drove most of the way, and it took us a while to get situated in a small motel (we could not find any campgrounds near the Lake), but swimming in the water was wonderful, and just what our tired bodies needed after our strenuous journeys.

A lot of poetry runs through my head in all of these places, but I can't seem to write anything down. I think I'll copy down the Keats poem that, for me, perfectly describes this trip, with Rick.


I proceeded to copy, in my journal, that same Keats poem, "Oh, Solitude!", that I had copied down here in my online journal only days before. It's interesting, looking back, on how that Sonnet so followed my mind up until that trip, only to be the poem to best describe my experience. Keats, you are indeed my lover.

Transcription from Bryce Canyon: July 5

"The dawn is my Assyria; the sun-set and moon-rise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faerie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams"
- R.W. Emerson, Nature ch. 3. (Emerson's reference to England is a nod to Hobbes, while Germany is a nod to Kant)

What is it about Nature that causes men to be men again, as Emerson claims? What is it that revitalizes us? Perhaps it is the reconvening with our true Mother, with God, with the Divine. I wonder how much these people [read: tourists] do not see. The eye is the best artist, and if we could forsake all and be the transparent eyeball, perhaps we'd understand.

Rick and I are now at Bryce Canyon National Park. Yesterday, on the 4th, we were still at Zion National Park, and hiked through "the Narrows," literally in the river. I stayed in the water as much as I could, trying to become one with the water as Rick became one with the air, as he commented, "I feel as if I'm breathing with the canyon." It was a fantastic, transcendental moment. We hiked for ten miles before leaving the Narrows and hiking back up the three thousand foot ascent to our campsite.

This morning we packed and said goodbye to Zion as we drove up to Bryce, at an even higher elevation, stopping at a small local restaurant for lunch, local beer, and homemade pie. Unfortunately, we're camping at a campground here, surrounded by people, and this park, or the area in which we'll be sleeping and hiking tomorrow, seems way too populated - almost commercial, which begs the question, "how much of this Nature do people actually see?"

The view from Bryce point was phenomenal, where we'll be hiking tomorrow, hopefully with fewer companions. The sight was overpowering, and so Romantic (capital R, of course). I'm glad I've been sharing all of this with such wonderful company.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh, Solitude!

Transcribed from my personal journal, written late 6/24 into early 6/25:

"Oh, Solitude," as Keats once wrote. It's strange here, here in this void lacking of people, the cats my only companions. It is now, as I write, that I feel the strength and overbearing presence of the over-soul the Universal, like a silent guardian leaning over my shoulder with a candle, akin to a Romantic portrait, lighting the inner workings of my mind. It is in these moments that I feel my intellect reveal my age and maturity - as if I am that much closer now to unlocking the secrets of my life and of this world. A shame, that such solitude in the sunlight often renders me into a state of depression, though not always. Of course being a Leo, one would thing that I would be less "in my element" at night, but like Keats, I seem most apt to tap into my inner self and inner strength come the wee hours of early morning, in that transitory period where one still says "tonight," even though the morrow has already begun.

Strange, too, how I should call that place "where" as if it were an actual temporal location in space, as opposed to a mere state of time. Perhaps I'll ponder this.

Don DeLillo - White Noise

White Noise is the quintessential postmodern novel of the 1980's, as one of my old professors noted upon gifting me the book. God bless DeLillo for reawakening my passion in literary theory, to which I am very anxious to return in the fall. I am thrilled to be reading his novel, as it is a vast cornucopia of intellectual musings that delight the very fiber of my being. Consider the following conversation between the narrator and his friend, Murray, on the contemplation of a tourist attraction known as the most-photographed barn in America:

"No one sees the barn," he said finally.
A long silence followed.
"Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn."
He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced at once by others.
"We're not here to capture an image, we're here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies."
There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.
"Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. This literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism."
Another silence ensued.
"They are taking pictures of taking pictures," he said.
He did not speak for a while. We listened to the incessant clicking of shutter release buttons, the rustling crank of levers that advanced the film.
"What was the barn like before it was photographed?" he said. "What did it look like, how was it different from other barns, how was it similar to other barns? We can't answer these questions because we've read the signs, seen the people snapping the pictures. We can't get outside the aura. We're part of the aura. We're here, we're now."
He seemed immensely pleased by this.

This passage might explain my skepticism at tourist attractions as being anything more than oversized kitsch for those uneager to experience the reality of different locations of the world. Traveling to India and refusing to spend a day in the poverty of the outer cities would be an example of the "religious experience" of tourism, worshipping at an altar of self-service and naivete. Note, also, the line "taking pictures of taking pictures." When we are told to hold some thing or some place in a higher regard, it does not take long before the "religious movement" of tourism (read, naivete) enhances this image and brands it upon that certain subject. I'm reminded of the concept of Utopia, and Louis Marin's book on Utopics comes to mind, and his essay on the map of Disneyland. If we are not told that Disneyland/World is the happiest place on earth, would it be? Would it's textual map read the same way?

We see what we are told to see. Shakespeare's Tempest also comes to mind, in regards to its presentation in traditional Elizabethean style. No one "sees" the island of the Tempest on the empty stage. As the audience, we are told what to see. An interesting concept, yes? This novel is full of such delights.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On Comets

In sleep I dreamt of you,
unsure of who you were or who we
could be, but moving towards you
more and more, as a comet travels
toward its sun forever curious
and drawn to such a vibrant body;
you are elusive, mysterious, and
I'm sitting here underneath the
curve of a clear sky knowing that
you share the ground I walk on,
and that somewhere hundreds of
miles away, your work and your day
and your soul are continuing,
and I hope very soon to hurl
myself through space to join
with you in all your brightness.

Written while in Denver, 6/12

Keats on Solitude

O Solitude! If I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep, -
Nature's observatory - whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavilion'd, where the deer's swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refined,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

- John Keats

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Attempting to Capture Denver in Free Verse

No kickstand, I took Denver
by the handlebars, my gear
ratio lessening with each step
of my pedal; I poured my
blood into this city, and
drank with the gods of
beer and bicycles -
Anti-hipsters with their
cutoffs and indie music,
PBRs on the front porch with
vegan burritos, I was part
of this collective,
worshipping around the vibrant
center with so much family,
so many like-minded people.
I have family in Denver because
I shared my blood with this city
and traveled here with my
own sweat and muscle, hoping
to impress no one,
expecting to uplift myself.


I traveled through Denver with my bare hands
I gave it my muscle, my own sweat and blood
took me through those busy streets.
I was intimate with Denver. It took my moisture
and in return, I voraciously consumed it
and its people.

Denver ponderings

Written from my friend's apartment in Denver, 6/9

Every breath I take on the opposite side of the door through which I just walked causes me to ponder just how sheltered a life I had been leading. It's okay to see what is outside, to advocate it, to sponsor it, support it, verbalize it, write about it, but upon stepping outside, you realize you know almost nothing about it, or how to handle yourself inside it. I'm almost ashamed of myself for my fears and anxieties based on insecurities and ignorances I've coddled all of my life - but realizing that millions and millions of people in this world are still being coddled by the same narrow-mindedness that helped keep me inside the closet for over ten years makes me very angry. Paul Monette called these people his "brothers," and I don't know them. I don't even know them as friends. And yet, I still stand in trepidation, once more hesitant to act. Why?

Perhaps it is nothing over which to be ashamed. A close friend of mine told me to be aware of and to cherish each conflicting emotion, each hesitancy - every step I take should be carefully examined, and I should rejoice even in the conflicts I experience. Perhaps I need to know myself more. Perhaps that is what this summer is for. I still kick myself when I fall into the act of mere contemplation of life when I could be outdoors living with it. I don't understand why I still live my life with a blinding fear of taking risks. I was always scared of everything as a child. Of course, I can't always force myself, because it's okay not to be comfortable with some things, but where do I draw that line? How do I know what I can handle?

Denver is so beautiful in many ways. It is a vibrant city with life, with people. True, at this moment, "people" is the one thing I want to get away from, but I can't ignore the fact that a lot of beautiful people share this earth, and breathe the air. If only, if only I knew how to approach them.

On the Road

Written on the way to Denver, June 9th

On the road to Denver, stopping in western Kansas on I-70, I passed a giant farm of wind mills, and it was awesomely majestic. The flat land of Kansas was so vibrant and green, speckled with occasional yellow prairie flowers. The terrain began shifting and molding into gently rolling treeless hills, so inviting, and the sky! The vast, heavenly expanse of clear blue sky - the prairies hold a beauty so intrinsic to itself, from atop one of those hills I glimpse an amazing, universal panorama of the Kansas horizon, akin to a glimpse from space, or at least higher atmospheres.

It made me sad to be driving inside a car rather than running and frolicking among those sloping hills, leaving my cares locked safely inside this smoking mechanical beast carrying us quickly, too quickly, through some of God's most beautiful creation. Perhaps, if I sat atop on of those hills, and pondered in tranquil recollection, I could grasp the words of Keats as he wrote them atop his own hills, or wander with Wordsworth, lonely as a cloud. Ah, to be as free and vibrant as those hills. I hope the places to where I go prove as open and as green as these lands through which I now traverse.

Friday, June 6, 2008

How Every Moment is a Memoir:

upon reading Paul Monette's book, Becoming a Man

I remember first reading you at twelve,
Your letters sweet in my mouth, even when
I couldn't vocalize your name. My every thought
was for the literariness of what you would
become a decade from then, now a brushstroke
of my pen, countless nights of tears
comparable to endless drops of ink
as I write this. I cannot paint what
then I was
, wrote Wordsworth,
but then I can look back and see how
every letter of every name of every
man I ever loved had burned itself into
this journal, this paper, long before I
ever picked up my pen. How, as a child,
every searching moment was one more
stroke of ink to this moment, how painting
what I once was is not what I do now,
but what I've been doing, from the very first
moment I cried my sins to God to the
moment when I realized that God would
let me Live, and let me Love.
How I started spelling transcendence
before I learned I could truly speak.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


I'm pulling things together, hoping to start compiling a memoir - or perhaps it will be two memoirs: the two closest people in my life thus far whom I've lost. Jonathan, and my mom. It's strange. I hadn't gone back and visited that insane year of 2003 in a long time, in my livejournal, in my journals, all the e-mails, the IM conversations. I have so much of it saved. And I hadn't looked at it in a long time. I finally came across the last "chapter" to the memoir, about Jonathan, that I had been writing for my individualized writing class. Ha, he had even written a letter to the other students in the class, thanking them for being interested in what I had to say. He was a wonderful friend.

In 2003, in the span of nine months, I both met and lost a very close friend of mine, whose face I never saw, whom I never met, even though so many nights he would be sitting in the next room, just out of reach. It's the craziest story I've ever heard, and I'm even in it. That's why it needs to go on paper. When, when will I have the courage to pull it all together? The fear, the mysterious letters, the late night conversations, the games, the hiding, his agoraphobia, our loyalty (the "posse," he called us), his and Bonny's tumultuous affair and marriage, the brain tumor, the blackouts, the tranquilizers. That Josh Groban song that still makes Megan and I cry our eyes out. That memorial service, when hardly anyone came, but we didn't care. We had his violin on display and a million words on our hearts. So let the world not believe that he existed. We knew he did.

And now? Now, who remembers? Bonny, Megan, me. Who else? Who else remembers our affair with the agoraphobic, the technical genius, the phantom of Judd Theatre, the Black Rose?

Today was the first day I've cried over his memory in many months. It's hard to face death, and realize you'll never stop missing them, when they're gone.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I am a Rock

I recently purchased a Simon & Garfunkel album, forgetting how much I loved listening to them. There is one song that has always been a favorite of mine, though now I feel it holds a special resonance with me at my present state in life. At least, at times, I feel this way:

I am a Rock
(P. Simon)

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock;
I am an island.

I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock;
I am an island.

Don't talk of love,
But I've heard the words before,
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved, I never would have cried.
I am a rock;
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock;
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

God of Letters

These bones and sinew
God of Letters, don’t spell me
Like l-i-f-e spells life – because
Life in all its letters spells
Existence for everyone who reads it,
And b-o-n-e-s could spell anyone.
Even my name, each letter sounding out
A word I’ve heard in my ears
These 23 years, would do no more on a page
To reflect who I am, my own identity,
Than c-o-l-o-r reflects the brown of my eyes.
No, my letters and my names are not
What define me; but these words that I am writing,
God of Letters,
Spell out my soul in immortality the way
It did once for Shakespeare when he penned
Immortal words: So long as men can breathe,
or eyes can see, so long lives this, and this
gives life to me.


You and I talked about death over cake and hard liquor;
You’re to kill him tomorrow –
The beeping machines and IV piggybanks

attached to a name that will be too hard
to pronounce when you pull out the tubes.

He’s not yours, no, not like you are mine,
but week after week someone else captures
your heart, your sympathies, and

Week after week someone else has
to be let go; to move on, move away

and will it always be this hard
each time? You ask –
I couldn’t say –

I’m only the poet, you’ve told me,
and all I know to say is words

never get easier, names never get easier
to pronounce when they’re forgotten,
but emotions can look just as strong when

they’re staring back at you between
lines of ink on a page.

Those who understand will read this
and cry with you,
and nothing will ever get easier.

April '08

She's Gone Now

I've been searching through old journal posts in hopes of compiling a memoir. Of course, I read through all that I wrote when my mom passed away. I found this, which I wrote three hours after she died:

The wonderment of life.
She left, and I was still thirsty
Body-ment, hungering, searching
I was the beating, the heart
Thumping, mellowing
Feeling, touching, I was left
And something shadowy touched Me
and all around we
Crouched, we kissed her feet
We cried
Bayed to the moon of our hopeful
Wishes still left for her
But prayed in her peace
As she found cooling-comfort
For the burning world
That still revolves
Even in the empty space
Of her radiant absence.

Friday, May 23, 2008

To Smaller Cities in Northern States: A Letter

I am not of your world, with its cold,
its gardens, small towns, and independent coffee shops.
Of course, we have those, too, but I never knew the
owner by name, nor could walk down every street
at night feeling safe inside my own skin
inside my own city. Your world has snow;
My state tries it, every now and then,
and people still freak out as if it's the
first time they've ever stepped on ice.
The wind can't make up its mind, either,
and while I could imagine you have cold
wind, too, there is always the added
element of demons from hell that accompany
our winter wind, which makes it one hell
of an attraction. Pun intended. No,
I don't suppose you'd ever want to come
back to the land of wind and dirt,
But if you did, I'd attempt to find
the most beautiful flowers and loveliest
fountains, to prove that even in one of
the largest cities in the middle of
nowhere, people like you and I can still find
beauty, and maybe that was meant to impress
you, but it's enough for now just to call you
friend from a distance and wait a while
longer before I can show you my side
of Oklahoma.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Medusa

I wanted you
to know, Medusa, that I had nothing
against you, or your attempts at love and
conversation. I never meant to
look into your eyes in the first place,
or promise myself to you, because we
never should have worked out from the start.
Is that what they said would happen? What was
it they said that our love was supposed to be,
Medusa, my twofaced, snake-charming sweetheart?
Did they say it would be like us, like this,
our wounds still bleeding from our last battle?
Or did they just simply forget to give
me my mirrored shield, my rite of passage
as a man, so that I would have to
look at your screaming face and let my heart
turn to stone like this, against you?
You were beautiful once, too, my Medusa,
beautiful without love, without my sword
piercing your body, but now you’re headless,
your hair misses your body, and I am stone.
I wasn’t prepared to protect myself against you
and I destroyed you in the process.

Monday, May 5, 2008

God of the In-Between

This post will reveal things of a personal nature I have not yet shared openly with most people. Be forewarned, I'm not going to spare words:

I have to write. I have to write it all down. How else am I going to remember? To be able to look back at this time and understand myself and my journey, who I am? And who am I? I oft feel like I’m not a “me,” but a “him,” as if either this confusion, or my attempt at being objective about this confusion, has caused me to completely “other” myself into some disconnected third person. That can’t be healthy. Is that a sign of something? I’ve found myself asking that question more often. Too often. I’m looking for signs everywhere – I don’t know which way to go. As the ghost in one of my dreams the other night asked me … “which way?” That scares me – that even my dreams are echoing my confusion. Ghosts. Rooms. Doors. Three main occurrences in my mind at night, as of late. Tormented, trapped, wondering which way to go, which way to God, literally. Does God sanction both paths, both choices I have? Half the world says “yes”; Half the world says “no,” and here am I, caught in the middle. In between two worlds. Am I schizotypal for thinking it all rests on me? But it does, in my mind, doesn’t it? If I deny my own homosexuality, say it’s unnatural, aren’t I condemning massive hordes of people? And if I embrace it, aren’t I saying that everything I was taught, the world in which I grew, was wrong? One half of me is wrong, one half of me is right. And what’s interesting is, in the choosing, in the in-between space, no one is wrong. In the liminal space, no one goes to hell. All are loved by God. Isn’t that right? Believing in someone’s condemnation is the same as their being condemned, am I right? If I believe someone to be going to hell, hypothetically, then I know they are going there, and in some way, am in control of their fate – in my eyes, only, of course. But in my perception of my faith, my eyes equal God’s. We can’t deny that. As Descartes (a Christian) said himself, that’s really all we have to go by, isn’t it? Of course, there’s a God outside my mind, but I also have to take into consideration that I must use my limited mind to contemplate and make my own judgments about God. That’s what makes religion and philosophy so debateable. How could no one else see that? The arguments arise because we see ourselves as right, so then we are right. But with so many view points, whose right is “right”? Isn’t the act of agreeing with someone the act of taking some other’s view for our own? How do we reconcile that? How do we commune with God on our own, without outer interference? Without people saying “no, that’s wrong”; outside of the noise, what is God saying? God, who is a god of the in-between, holding the Universe together. The moderation of it! The balance of it! The beauty, the beauty! He is the glue, Wordsworth’s Universal, Coleridge’s Incomprehensible, Poe’s non-matter (that, if not scientific, I believe to be aesthetically accurate). We know that there is space between every single atom that is holding us together – so how do we not fall apart? Because of God – the God of the in-between! The God of Unity! Or by natural laws, some say – but that, too, is God! Science is God – what else could it be? How do people not see that? Our God is both gray, and black-and-white, because He is all things. We come to Him differently, each of us, because we are different, each of us, but He is unchanging, as Science is unchanging! He and Science are both was, and is, and is to come, because He is unchanging! Of course, granted, God is so much more than just “Science.” He’s in-between Science. “In the beginning was logos (logic, reason, order), and logos was with God, and logos was God” (John 1:1).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Father, have you ever killed someone and
felt them suffocate, their life flowing out?
Maybe you may have seen the death, the dead,
as you pry hopes and unfulfilments out from
their rigomotised grasp,
or maybe you were the one that
prayed the eulogy over the lowered body
addressing the tears of a congregation
with your own reverent stoicism,
or perhaps still, you might have used your deadly
name and made the call, to give the order,
letting us know it was time to pull out the
tubes and let another go -
but could you yourself ever, actually,
after all of that,
be the one to pull the plug?

Poetry 2/10

You closed off your microcosm -
who said that you or I or we
were not a sum of parts but a whole? -
and your part, your minor part to mine,
is closed and will remain until you choose
to open that wall to me or to yourself.

We could claim irreconciliable
or we could admit that walls prove
the worst to talk through - each of us
having built around our own microcosm;
and we are not irreconciliable, but rather
indifferent, and if I chose a different
path, it would be because you closed a door
and I chose not to find a window -
we'd prove to be separate then, in macrocosm -
it's said that you and I and we
are not a whole but only a sum of
separate parts.