Vagabond Valentine

Lounging lazily like
a Fort Lauderdale lizard
on this Florida lanai
I listen thirstily
for the luscious
tones of salty, crashing
warm, winter waves

They drown
my silence-starved brain
with relief
– distraction
from the constant pulsating
electronic pitch of
pounding in my ears
and lull my thoughts
into peaceful states of
quiet suspension

The ripple of wind chimes
breaks my trance
your name lights up,
and I smile.

I listen
to the tension
rise…
in your sweet, raspy voice
you drink a breath, then sigh
you swallow, jolting me
your words trumpet
into my ear
the buzzing baritone dissonance
of utter
and complete frustration

Like a brilliant silver bolt
the quivering image
of Munch’s muffled Scream
flashes ‘cross my mind
like a dream…
your staccato speech
betrays your struggle
to harness the power
in your pain

Is it perhaps, because
you want more
to swallow it?
than to disturb
your vagabond valentine’s
precarious, fleeting
imperfect peace

You Do love me.

And I Do so
love you too

Money & Muscle in the Bathroom at La Concha

I met a very good looking, glistening buff Black man in the bathroom today. He said hello and started up a rather awkward conversation. I was standing against the wall waiting for the young Asian man, who’d beat me to the only available stall, to finish. The tall, handsome, 40-something Black man, now frenetically washing his hands at the high-end designer sink with a purple orchid posturing proudly on its pinkish porcelain surface, asked directly with a pinch of arrogant insistence: “Why don’t you go ahead and use the urinal? – no one else in here.” I waited an awkward minute of quiet indignation releasing a long muffled sigh before responding and told him I needed to use the toilet. “Ah…” he said sheepishly, “Gotch’a…” with a sinking intonation revealing his embarrassment for the misaligned presumption. This felt a smidge uncomfortable, a tad too intimate a detail – to discuss my bathroom needs with a complete, but very sexy stranger. Mostly, men tend not to speak to one another in the men’s room, where straight men want to assume everyone’s on the same team – his, and gay men fantasize the same, bar the occasional eye-avoiding smirk, nod and grunt: “What’s up?”
“Man, it’s 11:30, just woke up!” he randomly announced. “Sounds like a good sleep” I laughed. “You like this place?” he prodded, nose wrinkled as if smelling something foul. “Yeah, few problems, but nothing too bad overall.” He started: “It’s too hot in my bedroom – doesn’t get below 68 degrees, at home I crank the AC to 67 – year ‘round, and the ceiling fan’s going – constantly. Here, I wake up at 3, 5 – two nights in a row, then I can’t go back to sleep, at 6 I’m already late for the gym and I need to start making calls, the market’s already opened and closed by 6 in Japan.” Feeling the pull of empathy and wishing him the ability to find some peace, I thought to myself: “This mania for ceaseless production is truly a curse, an American epidemic – not even a tropical paradise get-away offers sanctuary to the manic pursuit of money and muscle. Relaxation and contentment elude us when alone we compulsively focus on output to measure our worth; misery assured is all we can count on in this ironically self-defeating philosophy of success.”

Actresses

Expertly managing the cunning of a used Subaru car salesman, teeth clenched in a Cheshire Cat-like grin, she gushed: “Oh no, I like him very much!”, in a vain attempt to mask her intention to pawn the rhetorical lemon off, on this skeptical one man audience. Daily theatrical masterpieces of mistruths and soul-selling, ‘till’n entire addled lifetime has passed when she’d realize: she’s never actually said quite exactly what she really means, only slick verbal abstract representations of what she believed the situation called for. Plainly insisting on my tacit collusion in her pseudo-feminist philosophy, she pressed: “Well we can’t simply all go around saying e-x-a-c-t-l-y what we’d really like to, now can we love?”, in her best-affected, forward-thrusted lower locked-jaw, nasal New England drawl. “Can’t we though?”, I think as my thin, closed-lipped, ironic grin and muffled groan reveal my masked disapproval. “After all, we women have had to learn to communicate in strategic ways, indirectly – with men I mean, it’s how we get things done! – to get the things we want, eh need – for our children, I meant to say”, she added with an awkward mix of pride and regret after’n uncomfortably protracted, sufficiently pregnant pause. “For yourselves”, I mentally interject, when suddenly, a piercing sliver of silver light reflected off the crest of jewels sitting atop her diamond, sapphire and green emerald encrusted right middle finger, momentarily blinding my vision. I’m often happily reminded of the gratitude I forget to feel for the double-edged sword of the complicated, but fundamentally more authentic life I’ve been required and more importantly, teemingly squired to live as a mostly happy gay man.

The Goal and the Meaning of Life by Joseph Campbell

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.

Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.

– Joseph Campbell was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience.

Wanting

Wanting
is the problem.
it so often turns
into a no-holds-barred
– chase
to possess an itch
that cannot be scratched

Yet all the while

there is in fact
nothing ever
wanting.

Every object of our passions
– worthy of the effort
to seek it, touch it,
give it birth
lies within painless
ready reach, but

To clench it first
with mind
in jaw, in tooth, in fist
is to annihilate
the spirit of love
that lives within it.

Glimpsing
for an instant,
in the eyes a reflection

a sudden rush of the familiar
a sensation of home

self’s true nature

recognizing it
in another, then
thoughts of its possession

– a fleeting illusion

for love
will not have this.