Monday, October 20, 2014

Madonna - "Rain"

New York is a beautiful place. I left work tonight in midtown, walked across 42nd Street, walked down 5th Avenue, passed the stately NYPL, autumn night, things crisp, chilly but not too cold, and took in the sight of these buildings at night lit up, streets for the most part clear of the worker crowds that fill them during the day. And I walked and walked, taking it in, looking at shop windows selling sweatshirts and name license plates.

I am broke but happy. I bought a bottle of wine yesterday with quarters. Bought a dozen eggs with dimes. I don't get paid until the end of the month. I am trying to make it. New York in some ways has the same feel to it that it did a decade or so when I first moved here. I am hungry. I want it. Things seem possible, and in possibility there is beauty. Without that sense that something could happen, something new, you don't look at things the same way. You, in fact, don't really look at things. You just go through the motions. I am looking at things, at people, at the city, at buildings, at imagined futures. It's a new city to me. Everything is open, a potential path. I am trying to start again, to make a new life.

And I am drinking lots of coffee because it's free at work. And I am smoking lots of cigarettes, not that they are free, but they pair quite nicely with a caffeinated state.

And I am listening to music and dancing around my room, dancing in place at my desk at work, headphones on, feeling it, this thing called life that music does such an amazing job of making startlingly present.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Janet Jackson - "You Want This"

He shot his load on to the fogged glass shower divider separating our two showers.

I had left the steam room, delirious from the heat, from trying to sweat out everything bad in my body, had stumbled to a shower stall. I could hear someone else leaving the steam room behind me, and then saw that they, despite other open showers, had opted to go in the one next to mine. I knew what was coming.

For a straight gym, my gym has some of the most homoerotic gym showers I have ever been in. The shower stalls have fogged glass separating one from the other, so that you see the outline of the person showering next to you, see a blurry vision of a naked male next to you, one of those scrambled porn channels that you would try to unscramble mentally as a kid. I usually peek out of the side of my eyes, so as to be somewhat discreet, as I watch guys shower next to me.

There was the usual coyness of the two of us washing our cocks and our assholes for way too long, some way of saying that we were cruising. He would put his ass closer to the glass separating us. For a moment, the scrambled cable station, comes into view. For a second, I see a late night softcore movie, the volume turned down so my family doesn't know what I'm doing, trying my best to mentally hold on to the image, to save it for later, to eventually have enough of these snapshots to assemble into a short movie, one that will be projected on to the screen of my childhood sexual imagination in moments in locked bathrooms.

He turns around. I get a good view of him stroking his cock. I stand closer then, giving him a view of me near the glass, me stroking my cock.

I watch underneath the glass, the view of his sexy toes digging tighter and tighter into the floor tiles as he gets nearer and nearer orgasm. It's about to come. He puts the head of his cock against the glass and I watch with all the hunger in the world as his semen paints the glass between us. He towels off and leaves the stall, not bothering to clean this huge streak of cum from the wall, not bothering to rinse down the drain the drops of it on the floor. For a moment, I dream of how good it would feel, how good it would taste, to wipe up the drops on the floor and put them to my mouth, my tongue. I wish I could reach the streak of it on the glass between us. He has left to get dressed and I watch his cum slowly ooze down the glass in slow motion and am so turned on by this, by this now absent man, by his swagger, by his lack of care. Something in his failing to clean up his cum, to leave it there for whoever to see, his exhibitionist qualities, push me over the edge. I cum. I wash mine down the drain and watch his on that glass keep sliding down as someone else steps into that stall.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Eliades Ochoa - "El Carretero"

To tell you about my weekend, to tell myself about it, to tell whoever it is that these diary entries are written for, let me say this: both Friday and Saturday night, I found myself at bodegas shortly after four in the morning hoping that the folks working would still sell me beer, heading on my way to some impromptu after-party, and being successful in the attempt, purchasing it, raging, living, being up until seven or eight in the morning hanging out with folks, chatting, smoking way too many cigarettes, hooking up with folks, having fun as they say.

Both nights were filled with booze, with drugs, with dancing, with flirting, and with Metropolitan. Little sleep has been gotten, fun has been had. One night, Friday, ended in that way that sometimes nights will end when you are steered by the strong arm of horniness, a steady driver, but one that drives you places you probably would never venture to if your rational self was the one driving, hooking up with some dude from Scruff at seven in the morning, another person holding on to the last bits of the night, him hungry too, him not ready to say goodbye to anything yet, to even put it on pause for a few hours for sleep, another lonely person in the night still wanting to rage, and having sex in your bed, telling him not to ring your buzzer, to text when he gets there, so that you don't wake up your roommates, who, like most decent people of the world, are asleep at that hour. Not me. Instead, I gratified something that I wasn't sure I needed to as soon I came. Instead, I wanted him gone, and he left. I was left with the smell of his balls in my throat, which lingered well into the next day, way too long into the next day despite numerous tooth brushings. 

Saturday night, last night, was different. I hooked up with some cute boy that I wanted to sleep with, and which was the best part, this gorgeous body that held me throughout the night, that I I fit so nicely against. I wanted him to stay, to linger. I never wanted to leave my bed, stayed there until one or so, one of us in the other's arms, cuddling, and rubbing our bodies against each other.

My room smells like smoke, like the memories of sexual encounters, and like Fall, me having kept my windows open all day to try to air out these various smells. It will soon smell like Mexican food, as I am about to place in order for some, to try to fill the hungriness of a hangover, to try to squash it all with hot sauce, cheese, fried meat, and tortillas. They will all mingle together, these smells, and soon I will sleep underneath the fog of it all, getting ready for my first day of work together, dreaming of these things, of other things, of so, so many other things. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cheryl Lynn - "Shake It Up Tonight"

When the white's all done, then you move on to the red. Or, whatever else you can find in the kitchen.

I hung out with Nik last evening, worked off a hangover with the best cure anyone's come up with yet: the hair of the dog. We drank some Charles Shaw and had a double feature at my apartment, watching The Birds, which was fairly underwhelming compared to the other Hitchcock movies I've seen lately, and then Before Sunrise, which was, as always, amazing, and left me, as Linklater so often does, fingering the memories of old failed romances and feeling real, real sentimental. Blame Charles Shaw too probably.

Nik left. I ate some flan from Gran Morelos and somehow conflated my love of flan, which is very strong thing these days, with another infatuation I am feeling these days, this cute guy Nick. I was drunk and the two swirled around in my brain. I was blasting Janet Jackson and writing insane messages to people on Facebook. Luckily, perhaps too late to save me from my own self-sabotoging impulses, Diego came home, and that's when I started drinking red wine, and we hung out in our backyard, it late September and feeling like mid-summer. We are all going to die, the world is - one of us said this. Him, I believe. Global warming and all. We talked about life and food and wine and work and aging and all the things people drinking wine out in the night are prone to talk about that have known each other for quite a few years.

This morning, the hangover, which I had outrun for a bit, was back, back in full force. I went to the gym, spent about two hours there, trying to outrun it again, sweating everything out, trying to forget about my love of this person, my financial troubles, my hangover. Run, run, run on that treadmill. Escape it all. Exhaust yourself until you're nothing but a body, a human body in motion, sweating, struggling, a machine. It felt amazing. My body felt so good afterward and I told myself that I was going to cherish this feeling, to treat my body kinder, to feel this way all the time, to feel healthy, in control.

And here I am drinking an energy drink mixed with vodka before I go out again, someone texting me to go to Bath Salts with them, and me, full of energy, aware that this is my last week of unemployment, my last chance to go out on weeknights with zero cares about work the next day, said okay. I said okay. I also said: Try to get your dreamboat roommate to come.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tennis - "Never Work for Free"

A week from tomorrow, I start working at another ad agency. It's a paid intern position that should hopefully turn into a full-time job in a couple months. I am beyond excited.

The past month and a half of being unemployed has been fun in that I can live this life of leisure and poverty and go out late on weeknights and sleep in as late as I want, however I was starting to get worried. I was starting to worry that the dream I had set up for myself wasn't going to come true, that my hopes of doing copywriting weren't going to pan out, that no one was ever going to hire me, and that I would probably soon find myself working in hospitality again, driven by the very real need for a paycheck.

Which is why when on Friday immediately after I got off the phone with this agency, I was jumping up and down and dancing around my room, so, so happy. 

And I have been jumping up and down since that phone call, having so much fun this weekend. I went to some fun parties on Friday night, seemingly walked all over Brooklyn, met some cool people, and ended the night in my favorite way - ordering a sandwich from my bodega and having a long talk with Lucky about life. 

I spent yesterday binge-watching Scandal, getting caught up to its current moment, before going over to a friend's house who lives a few doors down from my first home in New York - not my first apartment because those were month-long sublets that I hopped around from before settling here for about four years - 424 Grand Street. When my friend texted me the address he was at, I was really excited to go there, to go to this block I rarely go to anymore, stretch of Grand Street right by the BQE. There are ugly, expensive condos on the corner that didn't used to be there and the blocks around it all have changed so much, however this little stretch of Grand Street, this one block seems fairly unchanged. I stood underneath my old bedroom, looked up. The windows were dark. The gingko trees in front of the building. I had forgotten how in love with them I used to be. Wave after wave of memories rushed over me. 

I called my friend to let him know I was out front, stepped as much as I could into the present. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hiss Golden Messenger - "Southern Grammar"

I was walking home, drunk but more so hungry, walking home down Grand Street from the Pat party at Union Pool. I passed bars, familiar sights, this line of buildings that I feel so at home walking past. I looked up at the sky and told myself, told the sky, there is no place, not one other place on this entire planet, I would rather be.

I stopped into my bodega for a roast beef sandwich and started chatting with Lucky, the guy who makes the sandwiches there, the guy who I think is amazing and who I have had so many late-night drunk conversations with. "Where have you been?" he asked. He told me he had just been talking about me earlier, wondering why I haven't been there in a while.

The reason is because I have been eating lots of bagels and peanut butter. The reason is because I am trying to eliminate unnecessary expenses since I am unemployed. The reason is because I am broke and should not be going to various bars buying drinks, let alone buying sandwiches drunk afterwards. I didn't really want to go into all of this with him though.

He started asking me what's new, what's been going on in my life. Not much, I said. A lot of the same, nothing's really changed. And he asked if I had a girlfriend or a new job. He told me some saying that one of his uncles has which I am failing to remember now, but it was something like happiness is having a nice girl, a nice job, and a nice house. And how his uncle could never seem to get all three, that when he got one, he would always lose the other, never able to achieve his idea of happiness, one piece of the tower always falling away before the thing could be completed.

He asked me why I didn't have a girlfriend, what type of girls I liked, whether I liked Spanish girls, black girls, Indian girls. I just laughed. I didn't tell him that I don't have a girlfriend because I like sucking dick. I didn't want to scandalize him. I am not sure what I was afraid of. He told me he could set me up with some Indian girls but that they only spoke Punjabi, that we'd have to use Google Translate anytime we hung out. Again, I just laughed.

Somewhere near the beer cases, some man was saying something about some faggot.

Lucky wrapped my sandwich, smiling ear to ear, one of the most consistently happy people I have ever met, saying, "Have a good night, my friend." This is one of my favorite language quirks of immigrants, this habit of addressing people as "my friend." There is something so beautiful in that practice.

I walked home, smiling, happy to be here, happy to soon consume this sandwich.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Taxi Zum Klo

We smoked some weed, the local news on mute in front of us. He just wants something on, he says. You know, he says. He doesn't really ask this, just says it. I nod my head even though I actually don't know. I don't know why anyone would have a TV on just because.

He soon put on music. The silent TV stayed on. We got naked and fell into his bed making out where I couldn't see the images on the TV, just its shifting lights, glowing brighter than dimmer, than brighter.

At some point, while he was giving me head, I started rubbing my foot against his ass, knowing this guy has a foot fetish. He sat back more and more, his face making that "fuck yeah" face that is one of the most beautiful things to see, to see someone lost in pleasure, to know that someone is feeling it. He kept leaning back more and more, rubbing his ass against my foot. He reached for the lube and soon was riding my big toe.

Afterwards, I rode the subway home, thinking of how good a burrito would be. I bought one. I ate one.

I watched Taxi Zum Klo and then Getting Go, the first amazingly good, the second one really not good at all.

Taxi Zum Klo is one of the more honest gay movies I have seen. There is no melodrama - no struggles of a man coming to terms with his identity, with coming out, or with exile from his family or community. There is none of that boring egotism of gay men trying to make their own overblown insecurities a narrative worthy of a feature film. There is also none of the moralism that seems to also be in too many gay films - that there is something sinister or depressing about cruising. Instead you have a movie that depicts something vaguely resembling a reality that feels familiar to me - a man who manages to balance a professional life with a life in which he parties hard and seeks out sex everywhere. That this movie came out in 1981 is pretty amazing to me. It's really funny and really honest. The film opens with Frank Ripploh wiping his ass after taking a shit. That right there announces everything - that this movie you are about to see is going to give it to you real, warts and all.

Then fast-forward some nearly thirty years and you get the shockingly conservative Getting Go. The filmmaker's attitude toward sex is so Victorian and prudish. Compared to the movie I had paired it with, it felt dishonest, all the more so because its framing device is that it's an actual documentary being filmed, though really just a conventional love story. The filmmaker/narrator follows around a go-go boy he is infatuated with under the pretense of making a documentary about him. When he interviews the dancer about go-go dancing, he does so with questions that make it seem as if there is something depressing and degrading about it. It was actually a maddening film to watch. Some really saccharine clips of romance, of him and the go-go boy together at last, and all paired with a patronizing attitude towards not only go-go dancers and sex workers, but toward the idea of sex and sexuality itself. It had potential, but it was just really bad. But it's got a lot of company. Put a pretty naked boy in your movie, dumb as it is, and apparently you now have a distributable gay movie. The number of bad gay movies I have seen is way too many, which was why Taxi Zum Klo was such a joy to watch.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Strangers on a Train

He was asleep on my bed. He had made some joke about getting into my bed when we were about to start watching the movie, about how happy I must be to have him in my bed, my desire for him not very well concealed. I was on the couch next to my bed, a friend in between us.

The three of us were watching Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train. I was watching the movie and I was not watching it. I kept on looking over at this guy asleep in my bed who I have such crazy desire for. My heart was racing and the thing he joked about was too true. I was beyond thrilled to have this cute guy asleep in my bed, to imagine sleeping there next to him, to imagine even lying where he was later in the night and having some second-hand contact with him through the sheets. The thought of lying where he was, of trying to catch some whiff of him, catch some bit of his essence that may have lingered - this is what I was thinking of during the movie.

I would look over and marvel at his legs. Again he was wearing knee high socks. On this person, this look turns me on so much. There was the stretch of tanned skin between these socks and his shorts, the hair there blondish and sun-bleached. I imagined being at his feet, looking up, feeling those legs, those socks in my hands. I imagined what it would be like to suck his dick.

There is a really great scene in the movie that I did manage to catch despite this sleeping beauty in my bed that I kept staring at. Bruno, psycho crazed stalker that he is, stares straight ahead at Guy from the stands of a tennis match. It's a great visual that Hitchcock does here, the heads of the audience turning in sync right and left, right and left, following the action of the tennis game, but in the center of it all, you see Bruno, eyes focused on his target, straight ahead, ignoring the action everyone else is following.

It is only today that I am aware of the analogy between my own behavior during the movie and Bruno's during the tennis match. My eyes were focused not so much on the movie, but on this guy who I have had a huge crush on now for a while, a crush that has swelled and swelled to nearly unbearable levels recently. And last night, toward the end of the night, after bottles of wine were drunk, cans of beer were consumed, and weed was smoked, then, after sitting next to this guy in my bed, this guy that I wanted so bad, that the swelling pushed and pushed against the seams of my heart. He left to go home and it exploded. I sent him a text message that destroyed the game, that ruined the tension and the flirtation and the tease that I had enjoyed so much these past weeks. I made things that were only hinted about explicit. I turned on the lights at The Cock at 4am basically.

"You are so fucking cute ps. Slash beautiful. Slash I want to have sex with you."

I am just going to preface anything I might soon say by first reminding you, dear reader, and also reminding myself, that I am in my thirties now, that I have done stupid texting while drunk on too many occasions to even think for a moment that it might possibly be a good idea. It is never a good idea. I have learned this lesson time and time again, but apparently not well enough as last night is proof of.

And he responded with that word that is a knife in the heart when you like someone: friend. I have heard that word so many times from guys I have liked and it doesn't get any less painful no matter how many times you hear that.

It is what it is though. He's a nice guy and hopefully I haven't made things weird so that we can still be friends, which I think we should be.

In the film, there is a chase scene on a carousel where the movie resolves itself. The speed crank gets pushed forward and the carousel spins and spins, furiously out of control, faster and faster, the riders holding on for dear life, the two main characters fighting it out on the carousel, trying to knock the other one off to their death. The carousel eventually comes to a grinding halt, people injured, the wooden horses broken, the thing a complete mess. You can't make a carousel go that fast without ruining it apparently. Enjoy the leisurely ride, the ups and downs of the horse. Don't wish for things to go faster.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"toast to cliches in a dark past"

I had a temp job that lasted two days this past Thursday and Friday, my first time working in a month. It was fairly fun and I'm bummed it was only a two day assignment because 1.) I am really broke and need to be working more, and 2.) because it was really easy and I worked with a queeny gay boy and we just gossiped about gay things for those two days.

To celebrate the end of the workweek, my whole two days of working in a month, I raged on Friday. I went to some event at Tao where I drank a ton of free fancy booze before having an impromptu pre-game party at my house before heading off to the new neighborhood gay bar. It was awful and I wished that I had stayed at my house partying. This bar is so tone-deaf to the neighborhood it is in. It is wildly out of place and tacky. I have trouble seeing this bar lasting for very long. In some ways, it reminds me of Fun, a short-lived Williamsburg gay bar that tried to have the same classy (read: tacky/douchy) Manhattan vibe. Probably that they had bussed people in from Hell's Kitchen was a large part of the problem. There is a glowing sign behind the bar that says "More More More," and that sign says everything you need to know. If you can read, you should run, run, run. I was surrounded by awful Hell's Kitchen gays, one of whom grabbed my drink and guzzled it cause he was under the impression that he was some real cute thing. Everyone was suffering from this delusion there. Consumption is what is celebrated - the sign glows More, More, More. Egos sadly unchecked. You own everything, or want to. No thanks.

Everyone I was with quickly fled to Metro and I walked up to Greenpoint to hang out with some friends. I stayed up until 9 something in the morning, hanging out, chatting, getting wasted, and slowly watching daylight appear outside their living room windows as I smoked cigarette after cigarette and drank Coors Light. I walked home, stopping at the now open grocery store to buy some eggs. I fried up some eggs back at my apartment and talked to Diego about boys, about one boy really, and about life, all in the overly theatrical ways that a wasted person will do at 10 in the morning after not sleeping. 

Needless to say, I did not do anything yesterday.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Goodbye Horses"

I got off at the 1st Avenue L stop last night to head to Linda Simpson's "Drag Explosion" show at the Wild Project. I walked over to A and was shocked by the empty space on the southeast corner of 14th and A. Had it been that long since I have walked around the East Village that I didn't see the process of these buildings come down?

I know those businesses had slowly been bought out and vacated - the gritty bodega on the corner where years and years ago I bought beer to bring to Erica's apartment when she was living in Stuy Town; the fantastically divey Blarney Cove; and a 99 cent store I believe. However, it was still shocking to see this expanse of openness where buildings used to be, where buildings that were maybe three or four stories tall stood, blending in with the rest of the neighborhood. It's not the emptiness so much that upset me but thoughts of what were sure to fill it. I haven't seen the plans for what's going up there but I have a pretty good idea - the same type of ugly, giant condo complexes that pop up everywhere, erasing slowly parcel by parcel the character of this city, probably too tall for the neighborhood, probably made of glass and metal and not the brick that everything else in the neighborhood is made from.

I walked down A thinking of bars that used to be there, of Boysroom when it was on 13th and A, where there is now some straight beer bar, one of many on the block. I thought of the Cock when it used to be on 12th and A. I walked past guys in suits that made no space on the sidewalk for me. I walked past young professional women that were hanging outside of an expensive looking wine bar, Cork n' Fork. I hated them. I hated this East Village. I hated these people responsible for this. I walked past an entirely too bright 7-11 and nearly lost my shit at that point.

I soldiered on, buying a pack of cigarettes at a bodega to steady me.

Linda's show was good and it paired all too well with the thoughts I had been having on my walk there about the changes that have happened to the East Village in the 11 years I have been here. She took it back much further, took it back to the eighties, and mourned the changes since then. The show was an elegy for a period of time, a moment, and a particular culture that doesn't exist anymore. She showed relics from this place, snapshot photos she had taken over the years presented as a slideshow. It's always such a treat to see visual evidence of these times, to get a glimpse of what things were like. Linda called this time B.C. (before cellphones) and joked about how it was such a more fun time because people actually went out to meet people and have fun. She joked about it because sometimes that's the best way to deal with tragedy, with the loss of something so essential and beautiful. I am often sad that I didn't live more in a time before cellphones. I didn't have a cellphone until I moved to New York in 2003 and even then it was a shitty flip phone and those years before the iPhone was introduced were my favorite years in New York. Bar culture was so different then. Everything about life was. It was before everyone stared at screens during any moment of boredom, during any moment in which chance encounters or something unknown might happen. Protect yourself, close yourself off, quick, look at something on your phone.

In the photos she showed, you could see what a fun time it was. That joy in seeing these moments of creativity and fun in an earlier New York, the one I think all of us dreamed about when we moved here, is paired though with a bit of heartbreak, knowing that in some ways those moments will never be again, that that level of camaraderie and shared fun while going out isn't possible in our current technological culture. Because even if you are not continually distracted by a piece of metal in your pocket, even if you can claim to be unaware of its pull, of that world in your pocket, other people certainly are. There will probably never again be a time when people are fully engaged in the present, in their surroundings.

Despite its disjointedness and tech hiccups, it was a beautiful show, a drag slideshow that in ways both explicit and not so explored the passing of time. There was a really sweet moment toward the end when Linda dedicated the performance to her friend, Kathleen White, who recently passed away, remarking that that's the hardest part of getting old - losing the people you love.

She ended by showing real (and surprising) vulnerability by asking what her life might have ended up like if she had put just as much energy into her male self as she had put into her female self, where she might be, where he might be.

I have always loved Linda's presence and humor. She hosted one of my favorites parties in New York years ago - Slurp at the Cock with Michael Magnan and Telfar. I would try to make it there just about every Wednesday. There was a great energy to that party. It often had really great performances and blended those seamlessly in with the dance party. She was a large part of the reason I would try to make it there. She somehow had the voice of an earnest, slightly corny woman, but also at the same time could throw off clever one-liners in the same voice showing how over it she was. It's a fine balancing act that she somehow does so well.

And that's why the way the show closed, with Linda showing real vulnerability on the stage as she looked back over her life and wondered what if things had been different, was so powerful. It was so different than the voice I have known seeing her host various parties around the city in my time here. You see the person behind that voice.

I walked back to the L train. I passed the Phoenix where a group of people were inexplicably playing accordions in front of it. I had zero desire to stop at this bar that I used to love when I first moved to the city. In Brooklyn, I went out to Bath Salts at Don Pedro's, which made me happy, gave me a feeling that I was still in the city I had wanted to live in. New York didn't die. Maybe the East Village did. Maybe I never go out there anymore. But there is still a scene happening of weird gays doing weird shit and having fun.

I kissed a boy on the neck and asked him to come home with me. He did.