Saturday afternoon.  A Saturday when there’s a Cub’s game so the platforms are crowded with people who seldom ride the Red Line.  A mix of people, including the regulars.  

I’m waiting on the northbound platform at Fullerton.  Across, on the southbound platform is a typical Chicago man.  Typical for a non-work day.  Ball cap, sunglasses, backpack, headphones, t-shirts, gym shorts.  Dark hair.  Olive complected.  Latino maybe.  Arabic perhaps.  

He’s pacing a bit.  Not along the length of the platform but rather in place.  I can see he’s freeballing because the head of his penis is defined by the shape of the corona and it’s creating a dick print in the flimsy fabric of his gym shorts.  

I sense that he’s slightly aware of this himself because he flexes one leg a bit while the other is kept slightly bent and this keeps the draped cloth in a state of flux. It’s this back and forth with the legs that gives him the appearance of pacing.  

Freeballing is a thing in Chicago summers.  Likely because winter keeps us cooped up, bundled up, and essentially hidden behind multiple layers of clothing.  Most likely, however, because it feels so good having nylon fabric caress the shaft of the dick.  Even better when the flaccid penis pushes gently against this fabric, when the most sensitive part of the cock is stimulated by something so innocent as one’s own clothing. 

Occasionally he looks down at his feet so that as he brings his head back up he can evaluate his own crotch and how prominently, or not, his dick print is showing.  He has no idea that I’m evaluating this myself from the opposite platform. 

What was at first barely noticeable is now enlarging and more visible.  It’s caused by the alternating movement of his legs and how the nylon fabric is creating arousal for him.  The head of his cock is now more pronounced, a result no doubt because of the turgidness of the shaft.   This relationship exists, the relationship between the head and the shaft because the head is transmitting the sessions to the brain which is sending the signal to continue and prolong the state of arousal. 

The four minute wait for the next train is now less than two minutes.  All of this activity of a stranger on display during the short window of time that is synonymous with city living.  Four minutes being an eternity for passing pedestrians in a city where fast-paced walking is a known commodity.  It’s funny actually, that the most efficient method of movement, the trains, creates pockets of time where we are more motionless.  

He’s dialed up something on his iPhone that’s desirable – music no doubt, because he’s now moving with a rhythm that’s metered and syncopated.  Though I cannot see his eyes, he’s entered a state that’s more euphoric.   He’s feeling the beat.  His head and his upper body move in a way that demonstrates he’s enjoying himself and less concerned with those around him, though still reserved because he knows this is a public space.  

This state, the state of intake from the senses…. the warm moist air of an August Saturday, the music delivered via his headphones, the nylon fabric brushing his cock, and the slightest bit of exhibitionism leaves him standing there is a state of glory and self acceptance.  

As the outline of his dick becomes more prominent still, my train arrives and blocks my view.  I contemplate waiting for the next one so I can watch him some more.  But a southbound train will be arriving and he’ll soon be whisked away in the opposite direction.  


Only recently have we acknowledged one another.  There’s been no need to in the past and there is no need to now – though  we’ve reached the point where I suppose it’s considered a courtesy.

I don’t recall when I first saw him at the gym.  He’s there every night that I am there and has been for the past two years.  I do recall however, that the first time I took notice of him.  I suspected that he was one of the Russian guys that tend to socialize with the other Russian guys there.

Russian.  Croatian.  At the very least, Slavic.  Because he has that way of carrying himself and moving about like that of a recent arrival who wants to reclaim his former social position in a new city without being questioned about how he got here.  Shoulders back.  Head up.

He’s solid. Well built.  But not over done which might expected from someone who is at the gym every day.  And unlike others who spend their nights at the gym, he is not there to overtly show off yet he is only slightly devoid of this trait.

He is well groomed and tidy but not coiffed.  His shirts are never sleeveless and he seldom wears shorts but instead opts for the new style of sweat pants that cuff mid calf.  Never grey like what might be of a typical gym-goer, but of more modern fabrics and colors.  Unlike many, his shoes are not a priority.  The style, though he’d never use the term himself, is unique and there is a slight bit of determination on his part to maintain this.

I tend to arrive at the gym earlier on weeknights than he does because when I am on the elliptical he passes me on his way to the locker room.  Most often he arrives with a friend, though it is almost always with someone different which seems nearly impossible because at this small neighborhood gym, there is a standard group of men that are the regulars.

When he arrives with a friend there is a casualness about the way the two interact that indicates a familiarity outside of this limited social environment.  One would guess that they’d been texting one another earlier in the day about meeting up later.   On the rare occasion when he doesn’t arrive with a friend in tow, he’s no less convivial and he scans the room looking for a familiar face, which he inevitably finds.

It’s for this reason that the gym may be his preferred social outlet and also why he is not overtly built considering the time spent.  It is a social engagement that brings him and the physical results are secondary.  While a brief chat is common he does not converse at length.  When he is using the weights or on a machine there is a stone cold look of ambivalent determination.  Not forced.  Not exhibitionism.  But concentrated.

During the winter months when I take time to sauna after a work out he’s been in there with me on occasion. Most men wear a towel in the sauna.  He wears his sweat pants and a t-shirt.  Unlike other men, he doesn’t avoid eye contact nor does he seek it.  He’s simply observant.

Once I sat with him in the sauna when he was shirtless and his chest was less developed than I had expected.  He shaves his chest hair but it is not groomed.  Rather it is likely a monthly once-over with the electric clippers.  It would be plentiful otherwise.

His time in the sauna is always solitary in that those with whom he socializes do not join him.  He’s relaxed and quiet, as though he knows how the sauna is meant to be experienced.  As though he grew up with this idea – like a Baltic man might.   Respectful.  Yet another nuance about him that I find so curious.

The first time I heard his voice was the first time that he greeted me as someone he now knows as familiar.  I was making my way to the showers and we both approached the glass door at the same time though from opposite sides.  He stepped aside as I made my way through and smiled slightly.

“Hey man, how’s it going?” he said.

That phase, an inevitable utterance in a locker room that is the neighborhood gym, was said with only the least accent.  Subtle if any.  The words are significant though because he looked me in the eyes when he said this.  Perhaps he startled himself by the familiarity we now have with one another.  It was sincere none the less.


He stood by the door of the train looking down at the screen of his phone.  One glance at him and I Immediately I thought of Russ, whom I hadn’t thought of in decades.  His slightly-better than scruffy beard and the shaggy hair that fell forward over the cliff that was his forehead was strikingly similar to the way that I remember Russ.

My friend Mark was attempting to date Russ when I first met him.  Mark, in fact, brought him by the house one night – likely for a glass of wine.  It’s what we did then.   Russ preferred beer, however.  I was happy to oblige.

When Mark grew tired of chasing Russ I stepped in.  Simply offering the invitation brought Russ around again and again.  Likely because I provided the beer.

Tall.  Bold.  Broad shouldered.  Fair skinned.  A hint of auburn in his hair.  Just the slightest lilt of an accent from being raised in Alabama.   Enough to make him seem unique compared to the local population – but only upon close inspection.

Russ and I made plans to spend a week in Hawaii but our travel plans went afoul by the time we reached San Francisco.  It was either spend the night in San Francisco and wait for the next day’s flight or try to get to Los Angeles in time for a later departure.

In the thick of trying to determine what to do next, Russ became agitated.  Panic stricken almost.  Most of my energy was spent calming him down, which diminished the time I had to enact a plan.

We decided to scrap the trip and instead rent a car and drive to Palm Springs.  It was already late in the evening but we made our way as far as Santa Cruz.  Parked at the beach and searching paper maps under the dim light in the rental car, Russ stripped down to his briefs and made a dash into the ocean.   In and out – washing away the anxiety, he emerged with a more practical mind and seemingly refreshed.  We took a motel room not far, spending the night here.

In the morning we drove south, stopping in Pismo Beach – an odd little beach town that Russ loved.  We had breakfast at a sea-side diner and then headed south with a stop in Thousand Oaks for a brief visit within his aunt and uncle.

A few hours later we were in Palm Springs.  It was late afternoon. We found a hotel – one of the gay clothing optional resorts, of which there were many.  The long drive combined with the short night prior led us to take a nap by the pool shortly after our arrival, an attempt also, to catch the last rays before the sun fell behind the mountains.

Russ’ fair skin, long limbs, and bikini briefs – the tiniest available and thus barely hiding his big dick, made him the center of attention at the pool but I don’t think he noticed.  His unawareness of things, in general, made him that much more attractive.

Earlier in the day a phone call confirmed that my aunt would be home that evening – she and her husband lived in Palm Springs.  I hadn’t told her that I’d come with someone and it wasn’t but a quick hello visit that was expected.  No need to complicate things.  Up from my lounge chair, I kissed Russ on the cheek and told him I’d be back in a couple hours.  I made sure my affection toward Russ was visible to the eyes that were still upon us. I liked the way that felt – all those men watching me kiss my boyfriend prior to heading out.

Later that night Russ asked to use the car.  He said that he wanted to stop by a friend’s house – someone that he’d known from another time.  He said he’d stop by the liquor store on the way back so that we’d have booze for the next day.

He was gone for hours.  Long into the night.  I was worried about the rental car – not that I didn’t trust him with it, but still.  Even more so, I was worried about “us”.  His plans had seemed sudden, almost escapist.

Russ returned sometime around two o’clock a.m.  He confessed to going to see an former boyfriend only after repeated questioning. I suspected there was more to the story, but left it at that.

The fact was that Russ was not my boyfriend.  It was just an illusion to those around us.  But mostly it was an illusion to me.  I had thought that if I acted as if we were a couple long enough it would eventually become the truth.  That patterns would become habits, and habits would become momentum, which in turn would become inertia.

Stored away in the back of my memory.  The details hidden far away.  Nearly forgotten until the man standing in front of me on the train who so closely resembled Russ brought the memories rushing back.

Minutes later I arrived at work after having taken a mental journey thousands of miles in the past.


I saw him through the spaces between the slender white trunks of the birch trees.  Against the mustard colored stucco and in the warm glow of the late evening sun of August.  Behind a low rock wall teeming with moss at the edge of a green lawn.

He stepped delicately over stones as he moved to the chair.  Thick pale legs connected a pale torso, interrupted by black briefs.  And then to broad pale shoulders.  With the slightest shade of pink due to the heat of the sauna from which he emerged.

The light and colors, first absorbed and then reflected by his moist skin.  The masculine build softened by the glow.   He sits comfortably, mostly naked, and now clean and carefree.  From the distance I can sense the calm – and I wish to join him.  Not to say something. Not to do anything.  But just to be.

Later I’ll do the same.  Then sit out back to cool off.  I’ll Inhale the nearby forest.  Listen to the silence.  And sense everything.

From Behind Glass

On the way to work I ride in the second car of an eight-car train.  It is strategic.  Because when the train arrives at the station where I depart the stairs up to the street are at the far end of the platform.

The train is crowded when it reaches my stop and I must wriggle my way out.  Tucking, bending, and darting between others just to step across the threshold.  On the platform and as the doors close behind me I look into the car where I was seated to see the faces of those who were in there with me.

As the train pulls out of the station it moves past me as I walk in the opposite direction.  I look into the window of each car as the train accelerates forward.   The distance to the stairs means that every window of the train passes beside me.  I look to see if anyone is looking out at me.

Doing so gives me a rush of optimism.  Will I see a familiar face?  Will I catch someone’s eye?  Will someone see me?

I want them to see me.  I want them to wonder who I am.  And I know that they can only for a moment because they are moving away from me.  I want them to hope that they’ll see me tomorrow and the next day.  And the days after that.

When those that see me decide to want me even more, I want them to adjust their commute so that they’re with me in the same car.  So that I might have a chance to sit next to them.  So that I might have a chance to converse with them.  They need to be aware of me to make this work – so every day I follow this routine.

I bought an apartment in a high-rise that is across the street from two other residential buildings, – both are twice as tall as mine.  My exterior walls are windows and thus look out – and up, to 500 other apartments and they too have walls made of windows.

My window coverings are designed to keep the sunlight out.  But at night I open them fully.  I want those who might be looking to see me.  I want them to wonder about who I am and what I might be doing.  I want them to study my activities, though they are common.  Walking into the kitchen.  Answering the telephone.  Reading on the sofa.  Or talking with guests.

I prefer to sleep with the windows uncovered because when the sun rises it illuminates my bedroom fully.  I want those who may be watching me to see me asleep.  To see me roll over and face away from the incoming sunlight.

I want those who are watching to see me getting dressed.  They should see me when I arrive back at home each day.  They should think about me.  They should look for me – and then to want me more.

The fact that I am possibly being watched makes me feel alive.  Safe even, because I am anonymous behind a sea of glass.  I have always strived for this and now I have it.

Being an object of desire is something I’ve always wanted.  And now I construct it daily.

Once in New York I was an object of desire.

It was late July and I left my apartment for walk during the night.  And though the sun had long since set, the city was still searing.  Sweaty.  Dirty.  Dirty because I lived in Hell’s Kitchen adjacent to Times Square.

The sidewalk along Eighth Avenue emanated heat as the concrete released what it has stored all day and it penetrated the soles of my shoes.  Eighth Avenue emanated a lot back then.  Dingy theaters emanated the lust inside, attracted by the films noted on their marquees.  The flashing lights of strip joints and book stores pulsed like the blood in my veins.

Desire is inhaled and exhaled on nights like this in New York.   The walk didn’t calm me but rather created lasciviousness that percolated up inside of me.  With a few dollars in my pocket I entered a book store and fed them into a slot below the glass screen in an arcade at the back of the shop.  Pornography.  And the sounds emanating from the other booths.

Back on the street I paced for a few blocks in either direction.  Not necessarily looking for anything but rather looking and sensing everything.  My white t-shirt now soaked from the heat.  I rounded the corner on 42nd Street to head east, then decided against it almost immediately turning back towards Eighth Avenue.

A man walking towards me caught my eye.  Dark thick hair.  Handsome.  Swarthy.  In a manner that seethed of the environs.  As he passed I turned to look back at him – one last chance to inhale his presence.  We locked eyes as he looked back at me.  A nod with an upward movement of his chin and then we slowly stepped towards one another.  Carefully and metered.

It was a dance of infatuated zeal.  One I knew instinctively how to maneuver.  We uttered a sentence or two to one another.  Comments about the heat.  He took a step closer as though he were ready to whisper something to me.  Then he did.  “You want to…..?”

Yes, I wanted to.  Though I walked away.

I have friends who are photographers and cinematographers.  I ask them to shoot me.  To film me.  I follow their direction.  Doing so allows me not to have to think and to only stare into the lens.   My mind is cleansed.  So much so that I crave this.

From raw photos I am transformed into images they create.  I become what they see.  And then I am visible through glass again – on computer screens and mobile phones.  It offers the slightest bit of control – but only until I’m clicked.  Liked.  Reblogged.  Retweeted.  Now I’m traveling.  Faster than a train.  Faster than a plane.

The fact that I am being seen makes me feel alive.  I have the ability to construct this.  But I am living life from behind glass where there is no requirement to be heard.  No requirement to be touched.

When I stopped wearing glasses leaving the house felt strange.  And while I still wear lenses, the visible barrier is gone.  I feel exposed.  Vulnerable.  I begin to adjust to the new truth.  It is the first time in decades that I am – and that my soul is, visible out from behind glass.

As I begin to be heard and to be touched, I do so from behind glass.  You are reading this on glass.  It is the medium to which I am accustomed.


photo by:  Studio Bema

The feeling is as if I’m in high-speed dream that lasts for five hours.   It is elongated.  Both in time and in distance.  My body is moving forward and my mind is racing backward.  Inside I am stretched.

Remnants of the past race by.  I know them.  I’ve been there in context.  They are quiet.  Sleeping.  Waiting.  The vast blankets of snow light them subtlety.  I want to leap out and be there.

Doing so would destroy the illusion.  It exists only because I am moving.  Because if I were the subject and not the viewer I would be lost and unidentifiable.

These places predate me.  Small streets.  Small towns.  A single sign illuminated as a designation that someone, a few, are actually there.  I can’t see them.  But I know.  I wonder about what they’re saying to one another.  They must be speaking.  It is what people do.

I myself am silent as I move first towards them, then away from them.  I can’t close my eyes.  If I were to, everything would vanish.

Occasionally the train stops and people exit into the darkness.  I watch their faceless shadows.  Had I known them first they would connect me, but I don’t.  They too vanish as the train departs.

Later and eventually I step out into the darkness.  I am now the subject and am being viewed.  I stand.  Wait.  Elyria, Ohio.  It is real.  I have been here before.  I could walk the streets and no one would know me.  That would change in a few days.

I would take a room here and come every so often.  Not to live but so that I could observe.  It would become my reoccurring dream.  One that I never tire of seeing.