Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

SaunaMan

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

DSC_3350

photo by:  Studio Bema

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

He boarded the train a couple stops after I had.

The nearest open seat was between two commuters and in it he squeezed.  Those on either side adjusted themselves accordingly.   He was glossy eyed and unshaven.  He wasn’t a commuter on his way to work though it appeared as if this may have been a fairly common routine.  A green ball cap covered all but the fly-away gray curls that sprung forth around it’s circumference.

In his hand he carried two things. Carol O’Connell’s book Shell Game and a beer wrapped in the plastic bag.  Shouldn’t it be wrapped in paper?

Click. Schuup. Tick.   Then he raised the can to his mouth as foam encircled the opening and took the first sip.  His hands shook as he placed it between his legs, securing it as he opened his book to a dog-eared page.  From his pocket retrieved his reading glasses.

With the exception of the beer and his shaking hands, his actions were completely normal for this hour of the morning.

I changed trains at Belmont and boarded a Purple Line Express that was now making local stops through Old Town.  At Sheffield serval more passengers boarded, including two women who, at first glance, fit the Lincoln Park Trixie look to a T.    Yoga pants, t-back sports tops, running shoes with florescent soles, one with pink and the other with lime green, and each with an expensive bag over her shoulder.

Both women had their hair pulled back into pony tails, both wore large dark sunglasses, and both were carrying their Starbucks cups and somehow avoided smudging their sparkling lip gloss.

The two women were classic Lincoln Park Trixie, except for one thing – they were pushing fifty.  It was their somewhat thick ankles that first caused me to give them a second look.  They did not have bony hips nor did they have petite waists.  I was standing close enough to them to see behind their sunglasses and it was apparent that they had had their eyes done.

Though the train was somewhat crowded, the two woman pranced playfully in place as they talked to one another.  A little too made up and a bit larger than the others, their movements reminded me of full-sized poodles on short leashes who had just run into each other again this morning at the entrance to the dog park.

Read Full Post »

On Wednesday the 18th I begin a day and a half journey that I’ve been waiting years to experience.  It’s said to be one of the most beautiful American journeys, particularly during the winter months.  It is the Amtrak ride through the Rockies to Salt Lake City.

The trip is scheduled for thirty-four hours each way.  By Thursday morning at 7am the train is scheduled to arrive in Denver.  After an hour in Denver the train begins its ascent into the Rockies and arrives fourteen hours later in Salt Lake City.  Only half of this portion of the trip will be during the daylight hours, and I intend to be glued to the windows, either of my room or in the observation car.  I suspect there will be plenty of competition for seating in the observation car.

I’ve reserved a sleeper car for the trip, paid for with Amtrak points I accumulated during my commutes to and from Ohio prior to the move to Chicago.  While Amtrak’s coach-class seating is ample for a journey such as this, and very reasonably priced, being able to sleep in a bed and having access to showers and complimentary meals in the dining car seemed to be a more comfortable way to go about the journey.

I’ll attempt live updates from the train, be that on the blog or via Twitter.  Data coverage will be spotty at best as this segment of Amtrak does not offer Wi-Fi service.  I look forward to sharing this trip with you.

Photo by Ann Owens

The entire trip will be completed with the use of public transportation.  From my flat in Chicago I’ll travel by bus to Union Station, board the train and once in Salt Lake City I’ll have access to the Utah Transit Authority’s buses and trains.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »