Friday, December 30, 2011


I got my hair cut yesterday at Astor Place after getting off work, thinking I might have a job interview on Monday afternoon and knowing that I probably would have had no time to get it done other than yesterday, the haircut, the trimming up of hairs around my ears in an attempt to make myself seem well-groomed, the type of person you would want to hire to work in your establishment. I was walking up Broadway toward the L train home and feeling really alive in a way I hadn't in a while, that I was on the cusp of change.

I walked past Grace Church, a thing I have done countless times in the many years I have lived in this city. I used to work a block north of it at the Strand bookstore for a couple years and this has been a church that I have always admired, thought was this beautiful old church that had survived time, tall buildings built up all around this church's plot of land. I have always wanted to go inside this church. This has been on my to-do list for years. I have walked past this church innumerable times and each time I have thought how soon I should stop inside to actually look at the inside at the church. A simple thing, a task of a few minutes I have always put off despite my desire to see this church. Yesterday, when I thought how I should soon pop in to look at the church, I realized the laziness and the silliness of my behavior. I walked back to the church, pushed open the very heavy door and finally saw the inside of this church. It has gorgeous high ceilings, lovely stained glass windows, and that heavy weight of incense, shadows, and quiet that have the ability to make you slow down and attempt to show respect with your suddenly renewed sense of decorum. The church is also in serious need of some refurbishment. Most of the painted walls are peeling and uncared for.

I left the church not five minutes later and could not believe that it had taken me so long to look at the inside of this church I used to walk past daily for years. There was that, and then there was also the feeling, even more pronounced, that change was possible, that I held it within my hands, that I could make choices to do things or I could keep talking about how I am going to do them soon. One is walking past a church wondering what the inside looks like. The other is stopping inside to see what the church's interior looks like. I stopped inside Grace Church finally and the decision felt momentous. I was aware that in the narrative version of my life that this was a metaphor. Perhaps conscious of that, constantly trying to construct a narrative for my life, that is why I stopped in on this day, a couple days before the end of the year, bringing about change to coincide with this change in the years.

Once home, I got an email asking me if I could actually come in today instead of Monday for an interview, that she wanted to interview me as soon as possible and to introduce me to a few people. It's another hotel job, working with someone who used to be my boss before. Despite my stated desire to escape the world of hotels, it is at least escaping my current one, the one that I have been at far too long, three years now. I became quite giddy about the thought of change, a thing that has been absent for my life for a couple years now, steady with the same boyfriend, apartment, and job for a couple years, feeling too settled. Throw that rug up into the air and let the furniture resettle. Maybe the room will look nicer. The dust will be cleared at least.

I went with Jacob to MoMA after receiving this email to see Melancholia. I am sure I bored Jacob with my inability to quit talking about these developments, me thinking them through out loud. The movie quieted these thoughts and concerns for its duration. I really dislike Lars von Trier and imagined that I was going to really dislike this movie as well. The first half of the movie was awful to sit through. His misanthropic worldview combined with his tendency toward cruelty and melodrama was really making me itch with anger. Quite a few people started to leave. I wanted to join them. I wondered why it was that I continued to see this director's films when there hasn't been one I have liked, that they always leave me very angry. But then the second half of the movie happened and I was so happy that I had toughed it out. It's actually a very gorgeous film that gets at the terror of death and what it means to exist for a brief short period of time in this massive universe in a way that I don't think I've ever seen another film tackle. The movie wrestles with these terrifying truths about life that used to make cry and give me panic attacks when I thought about them restless in my bed at night as a child. It is a fucking scary, scary thing to contemplate that this is it.

I have learned to stop thinking about it because things like this happen: I am starting to get a panic attack again now. But the second half of this film really is beautiful and terrifying and honest about what life means in a way that art normally shies away from for good reason. I left the theater really in awe of what I had just seen and very surprised that this was a von Trier movie that was so good and delicate. I am not sure the film should work. The structure and concept seem clunky when I think about them in the abstract, but it all comes together in this very poignant and engrossing way.

Grace Church and this film had similar effects, effects that aren't entirely definable - vague feelings of joy and sadness brought about by the mysteries time and the universe present.

My job interview went pretty good today. I am fairly certain I could be hired at this hotel to do front desk/concierge stuff, though what I had hoped for was something sales related or managerial. The hourly pay would be less than what I make now but there would probably be more in tips, there would be more chances than I have now of moving up to another job, and there would be the very great benefit of working somewhere new, seeing new faces, seeing a different part of town every day, and knowing that I am still capable of change. The place is still a construction site and it was cool to be able to walk through it and see these unfinished spaces, to wear a hard hat. I'm supposed to go back next week and talk with the general manager. 2012 is happening in just a little over 24 hours, a new year. I am really going to try my best to actually make it one, to make it new.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I slept on a couch in Delaware this morning, a couch in the living room of my mom's new condo. The couch was too small for my entire body to be able to stretch out on. I slept in a curl, the shape of a letter that changed throughout the night, a restless tall person sleeping on a too small couch, a performative version of a Ouija board, what the letters spelled out I am not entirely sure but I think I figured it out on the train ride home. Last night, I also wasn't high for the first night in quite a while, which surely added to the restlessness. It wasn't the best night's sleep, but, because of that, was a good night otherwise. My mind was on fire, feeling reinvigorated in the way that it often is on journeys to my mom's living room. I rode the Acela down with my sister on Saturday morning. She slept most of the way and I looked at the faded industrial landscapes of northeastern cities and towns, thought about this world, the places I have lived, places I have been to, places I would like to go to, clearly both literally and figuratively here. I projected the path of my life along that of this train route, particular towns, their decay, a type of beauty I wanted to see in my own life, me aware that the town's residents moved elsewhere, wondering what directions my life should head in, where the residents of particular towns, if they were smart, if I was, would relocate to. There is a particular poetry in chemical plants and warehouses with broken windows that inspires all sorts of thoughts about the nature of America and life and what one is to do with their place amongst this mess of things.

I don't know. I never do. But I gets hints of it sometimes, often on train rides, whispers of what it is that things mean and what I should be doing with this knowledge.

At my mom's house, we watched a lot of rented movies that we had walked to a nearby Blockbuster to rent, one that was somehow still open, but one that was basically closed, the last day that they were renting DVDs being Christmas, the store soon to close. I wasn't sure why these employees would bother to come in on these holidays given that the store was about to close. They were all nerdy people though and talked loudly in too nasal voices and with too much enthusiasm about movies. I couldn't imagine where they would be with this place closed, understood in some ways why they were here still working holidays even though they would be without this shit job in about a week. When I was on a break from college once, my dad dying of lung cancer, I worked at a suburban Blockbuster with a friend I didn't really like that much from high school. Their reality, its sadness, was a little too close to home. I thought that I had escaped that, realized perhaps I did not. I thought about the job I still do, how it's not what I want to do, how it's still shit, how it's still a service job, of being servile to people with more money than you. Though a part of me knew I didn't really wish for it, the more reckless part of me wished that my job was also ending in a week like these folks' , wished someone would force that change upon me.

I got caught up on a lot of movies I had wanted to see. I nearly finished off a bottle of red wine while my mom nearly finished off a bottle of white wine while my mom's husband sipped a beer while my sister drank a Coke Zero. We ate and talked about things, usually talking about things via talking about television shows that we liked, movies we enjoyed, trying to find some common ground via halting, easy steps, particular television shows shorthand for particular values, ways of looking at the world.

I woke up this morning shortly after six having to pee, but held it because I didn't want to wake up my family yet. I got up and folded the sheets from the couch, played on my iPhone in ways that I would like to do much less of I have decided. I saw a red line on the horizon outside my mom's third floor condo, small town Delaware outside, an uninterrupted horizon. Dawn broke in the most beautiful fashion and when I realized how beautiful this thing was I grabbed my glasses and saw clearly the light frost on roofs below that had formed in the chilly night, the smoke coming from just a few rooftops, and a beautiful line of fire at the edges of one end of the sky. Day was breaking. It was Christmas and it was an absolutely gorgeous sunrise, the type that I could never see in the city, despite having seem some beautiful sunrises down Montrose Avenue as I walked to the subway station early in the morning; this was a beautiful widescreen sunrise. A long stroke of red forged its way against the night sky that was pushing back against it, saying not just yet.

This had a really stirring effect on me. I was moved for the first of many times this day. There would be many more deep impressions made today. Rewatching The Trip, parts of it deeply, deeply touching to me. I cried a couple times today reading and rereading one particular story in the New York Times Magazine, the entire issue stirring emotion and strivings to live better in me, though this one really digging that knife in deep enough to provoke tears once in my mom's living room and again when I reread it as I was passing somewhere through the New Jersey landscape on the fast Acela, towns blurring past. This was eight right before or right after passing a sign on a bridge over the Delaware River which made me very emotional for its truths about life on this planet, a sign saying in very large letters: "Trenton Makes - The World Takes." I decided I am getting a new job. I don't know what. I thought a lot about how I could work on boats. I wanted to do something with my hands. I don't want to work in the service industry any longer. There is a certain indignity about having to satisfy the needs and moods of a consumer that I find too degrading when I think about it for any sort of actual period in a real fashion.I watched the first few episodes of Louie on my sister's recommendation tonight with Jacob, and, holy shit, what an insanely fucking brilliant and harsh and truthful show. I am deeply impressed with what I have seen so far. I haven't seen a television comedy so honest before. Louis C.K. talks about the terrifying aspects of life, that we age and that we then die, really talks about how terrifying and sad and cruel life is, but because his truths are so real, so depressing, there is nothing else to do other than to laugh really, really hard, because to do otherwise would be to perhaps lose it, that the only way to face such sadness is with laughter, that it's the only successful defense that leaves one both alive and able to get out of bed and continue to go about our lives.

I came home and Jacob and I exchanged presents. We put a turkey in the oven to cook. While it was in the oven, we fucked on our couch, had dirty sex, the Christmas present I was too timid to ask for but that one I wanted more than anything, just real, passionate fucking, the type that we used to have constantly, but now which happens pretty rarely, us way too domestic and coupled, boring. He slapped me with his dick and I sucked on it, forced it down my throat until I gagged, wanting all my sensory feelings to be consumed with a hard dick, for that to be all there was on this planet, my mouth bobbing on a cock. He rubbed his dick against my ass as he sucked me off. I fucked him. I was covered in both of our cum. We took a shower. We ate the turkey and drank Bordeaux.

Trains provide this fast narrative, clear and linear, which then make it seem like life should unfold similarly. I am back in New York again, sadly aware of this, wondering how to continue this barreling drive, how to pass through scenery fast, how to reach intended destinations.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

what size do i get him?

I am listening to old Snoop Dog songs. I am listening to George Clinton, who I love. I am listening to Alicia Myers' "I Want to Thank You," which is an absolutely amazing song in every way, and which I heard on the radio today, and I remembered again, like I do every time I hear it on the radio, what a fucking fantastic song it is, and I turned up the radio really loud and briefly entered a period of bliss that was enabled by this song and lasted for just slightly longer than the song's duration.

I am sick, which seems to be a recurring thing this winter. I have been recovering from one bout of sickness only to come down with another bout. My back is still in pain. I have eczema on one of my hands. I am an old man.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hey Jealousy

On Friday night, Diego came over for some drinks before we were to head out to a bar to go dancing. A friend doing that thing, casually asking about gossip he heard concerning a friend, he said to me, "Wait, so what happened with you and Jacob and C?" I was embarrassed that he had heard about this, had pretty much forgotten about it. I think it was at this point that not only my night, but my entire weekend, began to take on a different course than it otherwise would have. My head started to throb with anger. It was basically a scene from Kill Bill where the Bride sees an enemy, red flashes over her eyes and "Ironside" playing. The beer I was drinking wasn't strong enough to stifle this anger I felt coming over me. I took a shot of whisky immediately. I tried to act casual, asked, "Wait, what did you hear?"

The answer was something along the lines of: "Nothing, just that Jacob and C had been hooking up and you got really jealous and freaked out." I explained what happened to Diego, asked him how he heard about this, heard that C told some person who then told Diego. More flashes of red, "Ironside" blaring.

The reason I was getting so angry is because Diego knew more about this than I did, that it seemed a few people did. I was very angry because Jacob had clearly lied to me when he told me the one time I did freak out on him via text message that C and him were just hanging out, that I was acting crazy. C is a person that we had a threesome with early on in the summer. Jacob continued to have a crush on him after the fact, which I was vaguely aware of in the way he continued to talk about him and the fact that they would often text each other. I was a bit suspicious that there was something more going on, but also didn't really want to know for sure. But a month or so ago, he told me he was having dinner with him at the Indian place that we always went to. That sounded too much like a date to me. It also made me insanely angry that it was at a place the two of us often went together. I was high I believe and stared texting him nasty things, things along the lines of "Have fun hanging out with your new boyfriend." He came home many hours later and told me that they had just been hanging out. I knew he was lying. I know that that Indian place doesn't let you linger post-dinner at your table, that they rush you in and out.

So to hear a story from Diego that contained details confirming Jacob had been lying really, really upset me. Diego and I got very drunk and watched lots of Beyonce videos on YouTube. We did not end up going out. At some point, Jacob came home from work and Diego stumbled home. I asked Jacob why I would be hearing this story from Diego, how he would even know about it, was quite angry that Jacob had shared my feelings with this guy, C, very, very angry that this was now making the rounds of gossip for New York queerdos. Again, he told me that C and him had just been hanging out. I was very drunk and I started yelling truths I knew, told him he was lying, that I knew they had been fucking. He admitted they had been. And it came out, finally, some honesty.

I was angry and felt sick. Something had been broken that I cared a lot about; a schoolyard bully had just stepped on an art project I had made with popsicle sticks. We were supposed to be honest with each other. We had an open relationship, yes, but we were also honest with each other, were supposed to be. This was deception, lying, cheating. I told him that I didn't want to be with him anymore, that he should fucking call C and move in with him. Lying is a huge deal to me and I was quite heartbroken by this. I wanted to go back in time and allow honesty to try to occur, that now and always our relationship would not be capable of total trust, that now I would always have reason to doubt, that I had already been lied to. The thing had been broken, stomped on.

Yesterday, while he was at work, I wondered if I was still supposed to buy him a Christmas present, if we were going to be together or not. I tried to figure out what I wanted, kept wishing I didn't need to, kept wishing he would not have lied to me. I cried because I thought this was something different, because I didn't want to say goodbye to another person close to me, didn't want to have another person floating around in this city that I used to be so close to and now never talk to, a beautiful past conjured with seeing them out at bars, and that contrasted with the sorry state of present things, saying hello and quickly moving past each other. Over texts, we agreed we should talk last night.

He came home and we talked. We ate Mexican food and played on our respective Apple products. Later, I asked him if I should turn off the lights in our bedroom when I saw him asleep in bed, book fallen to his side. He said yes, and told me he also wanted a hug. We hugged and I told him that he couldn't lie to me anymore, ever again, that this other romance needed to end. I turned off the bedroom lights and went into the living room. I read David Remnick's excellent piece about Russia in this week's New Yorker, often having to reread certain paragraphs, his narrative blurring with my own, that despite my eyes scanning these lines and reading them, my mind thought about this boy asleep in the other room and my relationship with him, about what one is to do with life, how one best goes about it, the things we endure.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I was on muscle relaxers and Benadryl. It was in the middle of the night when we stopped at the Canadian border, the bus driver delivering instructions to us over the loudspeaker that I was still too groggy to entirely comprehend as real and not as a voiceover in a dream. Giant, stadium-like lighting lit up the place a clinical white, this large stretch of asphalt out in the middle of nowhere. Jacob and I answered some questions, showed our passports, and soon were back on the bus. A bit more sleep and then we pulled into the bus station at Montreal around five in the morning. We dropped our bags off at the hotel, a room not ready, asked the guy at the front desk if he could recommend a place still open that served food and where we could hide out from the cold. He mentioned the McDonald's a block away.

We consulted our guidebook instead, not traveling to a frigid Montreal, eight hours by an overnight bus, to eat at McDonalds. We found a 24 hour diner, La Banquise, famous for its poutine. We walked past the McDonald's, past the bus station, and through the pre-dawn streets of Montreal, observing the exterior staircases on many of the buildings, the French signage all around us, and very slowly, light started to appear at one far corner of the sky. Some early morning joggers passed us as we walked along the edge of a park, matching up street by street a physical city with a street grid presented to us on a map.

The diner was playing Belle and Sebastian. This was a sign as sure as there needed to be that this was the place we should be in at this moment in time. We split an order of poutine and a breakfast plate, had some coffees, discussed what we could do during these early morning hours in a city we didn't know, and watched the sky lighten outside the window we were sitting against, a city coming into being. Despite the vomit-like appearance of poutine and despite the fact that it is a plate of fries covered in gravy and cheese curds, it was actually quite good, much more so than I expected.

With food and coffee in our system and nothing still open yet, we walked to Parc du Mont-Royal, and hiked to the top of the "mountain" that gives the city its name. There is a gorgeous view from the top of the city below. We took it in, took some photos, thought about extending this specific moment in time into future moments, this a memento to look back on at some point when scrolling through pictures on my phone or when looking at photos I have posted to Facebook.

More wanderings around the city, tiredness setting in, not much sleep had on the bus, and around one in the afternoon, we checked into our room and took a long nap. We woke up around happy hour time and had numerous drinks at a couple of the bars on rue Sainte Catherine. We took the subway a stop and ate dinner at cute bistro, L'Express, and then took the subway back a stop and went right on back to drinking in the Gay Village.

We went to Campus, a gay strip bar I had wanted to go to for quite a while. There seem to be a large number of porn stars that I really love that have come out of Montreal and this was a bar I had frequently seen listed in appearances by some of these porn stars. So there was that and there was my love of seeing naked men, really the same reason I believe, and so the two of us went to this bar quite drunk and eager to see naked flesh.

There is a stage up front and then tables surrounding the stage, right up against it, and then a bar behind these tables where you could sit and watch the stage with a very clear sightline. For whatever reason, there were many Christmas decorations up on stage, reindeer with heads that moved back and forth. I am also imagining a giant candy cane, though I could be wrong about that detail. Gay strip clubs barely exist as such in much of the US and so I was very excited to try out the numerous strip clubs Montreal has. Washington, DC used to have a really excellent gay strip club scene but most of the bars were razed a few years ago to make room for the baseball stadium they built in Southeast DC. The first strip club I went to, probably when I was 18, was Wet. This bar, mythic in my memory, is now gone. DC is very liberal with its liquor laws. Most states have laws that don't allow liquor to be served if a bar has full nudity on stage. DC does not have such laws and so had a really thriving gay strip club scene for a while. Montreal also has no such laws and so Jacob and I sat there at a table against the stage, pretending to fan ourselves, mouthing "So hot" at all the sexy flesh on display, at all the beautiful dicks that made their way across the stage.

We wanted to try out the other big strip club in Montreal and so walked a couple blocks down to Stud, which charged a small cover (unlike Campus) and which was also much larger of a club. For this reason, there were some insanely hot men that made their way across the stage, but it also felt at a further remove than the set-up at Campus. After watching some insanely sexy man play with his cock on stage, I found him afterwards and bought a lap dance from him for Jacob and I. He brought us back into a curtained off tiny little room and sat us down on a couch against the wall. He got naked and writhed his body against us. We felt him up as he danced for us, touching his ass, his back, his chest, his cock, wanting to have more access to this body, a frustration and also a pleasure had in the remove, in the distance preventing us from being able to suck his dick or for him to fuck us, that this is what it was, this lap dance where we could touch him, and the longing for more stoked our desire, made the thing almost unbearable. Jacob and I left soon after to fuck each other back in our hotel room, the horniness too much to further suppress.

The next day, we wandered around the city more, ate more food, napped again, and then found ourselves wandering drunk down Sainte Catherine looking for fun. We went to Unity on the advice of several cute guys, but the club was awful. There were what appeared to be some seriously underaged boys there, some boys looking barely 14. And, okay, maybe I can look past that. But what I cannot look past is terrible music. When they started playing Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," that's when it was time to go.

We decided to hit up another strip club, Taboo. This was one of the most amazing bars I have ever been to. It was like walking into a shady strip club in the 1970s. Coming to this bar after hitting up Campus and Stud did this bar no favors. Both of those are very nice bars with insanely sexy men. There is something very sad about Taboo, off a lonely side street. The audience was mainly old men sipping their waters. The bar was run down but in such a beautiful way, a small long stage surrounded by a few tables, red lights as the main light source, a small bar in the back. It would be a great set for a film about a sad strip club or a photo shoot. Everything about the bar was absolutely perfect and despite the fact that it probably wouldn't be my first choice if I were to return to a gay strip club in Montreal, there was something so hypnotic about the place. The strippers were definitely the B team of Montreal strippers, guys that could not make it to Campus or Stud. Their bodies were not on point, their dance moves were definitely not on point, and many of the guys were wearing old, saggy briefs that did them no compliments. A French-Canadian boy felt up my cock when I was peeing in the bathroom. I looked at him and he said he did not mean to offend. I told him he did not offend. I think he was embarrassed though and left the bar soon after. As much as the two of us were fascinated by this train wreck of a bar, we eventually wanted to see some sexy naked men again and so headed back to Campus.

I am now in my thirtieth year on this planet and still no closer to being bored by the sight of naked men than I was when I was a young boy and looking at the naked men I would occasionally see in gym locker rooms. That there are things that can still manage to hold my interest after so many years and in such an intense way is a great thing.

There is a table for me in a few decades at Taboo, where I will be hopefully drinking something stronger than water. The pleasure I got from seeing these audience members was that of a kinship and of a knowledge that this is something that will never bore me, that when everything else does, there will still be young flesh to gaze upon, the human form to admire, bodies to long over.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I bought a Powerball ticket for last night's game. Not one number matched. My lower back hurts in a way I'm not sure it has ever before. Bending over to pick things up or getting up from a sitting position is almost comically painful. I play the part of an old man, moaning and sighing over little tasks. I woke up this way. I'm not sure what brought this about - perhaps sleeping wrong, perhaps working out wrong, or perhaps a sign of aging. Maybe some combination of all three. I kept on taking naps today because it was about the most comfortable thing I could do and because also there was some part of me that imagined, hoped, I would wake up and it would go away. That I could blink my eyes and it would disappear. Click your heels three times and dream of home. Something like that.

I am listening to Smashing Pumpkins and drinking coffee. Soon I may look at jobs to apply to. Probably not, though. Later, after I fail to look for jobs, I am going to see Erykah Badu sing some songs in midtown with Jacob and I cannot wait.

I have been trying to read Murakami's 1Q84 for the past couple weeks now, have had in my possession for that long at least. It sits in various rooms of my house, either by my bed or by my couch and every few days or so I will remember that I want to read it and attempt to, but the weight of the thing really makes it an awkward book to get comfortable with. Today, bed-ridden, I took up the thing again. I am listening to Smashing Pumpkins and reading Murakami and going to see Erykah Badu and it could easily be ten years ago I suppose.