Saturday, June 29, 2013

What America Runs On

I am not sure what turns my night would have taken had I not run into this guy, P, on the street in front of Phoenix, though I am certain my night would have headed off in vastly different directions, probably more fun directions, probably directions that involved getting laid, probably directions that did not end at a Dunkin Donuts out in Bushwick ordering a breakfast sandwich and hash browns at three in the morning, though that last point is pure speculation.

P and his friend were about to head to Eastern Bloc because they didn't want to deal with the line to get into Phoenix. I convinced them they should wait with us and come to Phoenix. Other pursuits, other men, other bars I had planned on maybe going to, all blurred to a white fog. The only clear thing was the thing I was pursuing, P. I talked to P and his friend for a while. I hit on P very blatantly. At some point, I kissed his neck. He is always receptive to these advances, seems almost charmed by them, but always ends up trying to tell me why I don't like him. I keep on telling myself that I just need to push through, keep trying, that I think this guy does actually like me but has some weird block on getting romantic with me that I am determined to clear from the road. Last night, he told me that I only liked him because he looked like my ex, Jacob. I countered with maybe the reason I liked Jacob was because he looked like him, since I had hooked up with P before I even knew Jacob. Neither of which is true, but I was trying to prove his arguments false, trying to get to the point where he would make out with me.

I eventually went with P and his cunty friend, who became cuntier and cuntier toward me as the night went on, to Eastern Bloc. I ditched my friends at Phoenix, never said goodbye. Laser focus in effect. I saw a friend by Tompkins Square Park and stopped to chat to them for a bit and cunty friend led P off to Eastern Bloc. I caught up with them and there was a long line to get into Eastern Bloc, but I dragged them in with me ahead of the line since I was there earlier and the doorman remembered me. It was insanely crowded in there and I pushed my way to the bathroom, having to pee so bad after pounding back drinks for hours. After I left the bathroom, I couldn't find P and his terrible friend anywhere, and figured that they had left. This really bummed me out that he left, but even more so that he left without saying goodbye - and yes, I am aware of the irony here in that I dipped out of Phoenix without saying bye to my friends. But the clear thing in my night was gone. Everything was now just fog. I walked back to Phoenix, didn't see anyone there I knew in the fog of people, also was no longer feeling so buoyant, drunkenness and sadness beginning to collide. I took the L train home and took pictures of the guy's legs I was standing over. They were all tatted up and beautiful. I was in love again. It was short-lived though. He got up soon. I took his seat and took the train to a little place called Dunkin Donuts. I ordered a breakfast sandwich and hash browns. I walked home with this brown bag of sadness, eating from it the hash brown nuggets along the way, not dropping the crumbs, not wanting to create a path back to that place.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

take 2

Another Scruff hookup last night. This was the opposite of the one the day before. We told each other our names. We engaged in conversation. He was cute.

It was just what I needed. It was sweet and nice and dirty. He rung my buzzer. I went downstairs to let him in. I was very pleasantly surprised in the way that I rarely am when I open up the door for an online hookup. Rather than his pictures looking better than he did, it was the reverse for once - this person was way more attractive than I had thought. I walked up the stairs ahead of him to my apartment, a huge smile on my face he was unable to see. I offered him some wine and we sat on my couch and talked as Kurt Vile played in the background. We smoked some weed at some point and kept talking and talking.

This is what turns me on, conversation. I was stoned and smoking a cigarette out my window when I told him this.

We eventually started making out. Clothes were shed. We had sex in my bed and the air conditioning on the other side of my apartment was doing little against the heat of the summer night, little against the heat of our bodies pressed together. I buried my face in his armpits, in his ass, in his neck. I inhabited various worlds, lost myself in smells and moisture.

So this guy is close to my age, really cute, likes dirty sex, doesn't wear deodorant, listens to good music, and smokes weed - can it get any better, you may be asking. Well, yes, my friends, it can: he is also the type of guy that brings poppers with him.

Monday, June 24, 2013

open windows

It is back on, the romance between me and New York. It has its ups and downs, but the past couple weeks have been great, full of lots of ups. The summer always makes me fall hard for this city. It becomes that place I fell in love with even before moving here, the sights I see, especially in Bushwick, are the sights I used to see in photographs, older ones, specifically from the 1970s of this city. Large swaths of Bushwick are frozen in time, could easily be scenes from 70s or 80s New York, which is why it kind of breaks my heart whenever I see some organic grocery store open out here or large condo project made from gray bricks and lots of glass. I spent the evening tonight, walking around, looking at barbershops, and exploring my neighborhood. There were families hanging out on their stoops, the weather outside cooler than lots of apartments right now. There were open fire hydrants and kids running through them. There were hand painted signs for storefront churches and restaurants. There were shirtless, tough looking teenage boys riding around bicycles on Knickerbocker. And there was the sun heading toward the horizon, still out at eight, giving everything a beautiful orange glow.

I didn't get my hair cut. I just walked around and thought about how much I love this place. 

I had just fucked some guy from Scruff and it was actually pretty fun, though after it was over, I was very eager to get him out of my house. He was this Polish or Russian seeming guy, older, stockier. It was fun. At first, I was holding back a little, aware that this wasn't the sexiest person. But then some common sense came over me - that coupled with him kissing my neck, my back - and I submitted because I realized (thank God) that there is no point in having sex and being distant, in being too cool, that by doing so you only shortchange yourself of the experience, that there is no one else here to impress, no one that will think you are cool for appearing distant, above it. I rubbed my hands all over his sweaty chest, his sweaty back. Both of us were dripping sweat. It had been a couple months since I had last had sex and I forgot all the pleasures of touch, of what a comforting feeling it is to have someone touch your body, to touch someone else's.

Earlier, I had planned on getting my haircut after I went to the gym, but at the gym, I saw this man that I have jerked off with a couple of times in the steam room. He was lying on his back naked in the steam room alone, this sexy exhibitionist. We started to jerk off, but I got nervous that someone would see us through the glass. I went to turn on the steam but then a couple of other people came in. The moment was gone. We exchanged eyes as we were changing. I wanted to give him my number, to tell him how much I wanted to suck his dick, how much I wanted to worship that gorgeous body of his. It's a pretty straight locker room and so I couldn't really do this. I went upstairs by the exit and hung out there for a while, thinking he would be coming up soon, and that I could tell him these things. I waited and waited. I went outside and talked to my mom. Twenty minutes later, he still hadn't come out, and now I feared I would seem creepy to still be waiting to talk to this man. I left. I did not get my haircut. I wanted to stop at home to pee and to jerk off first. That led to cruising Scruff, which led to this nameless Eastern European on my bed.

I got a meningitis shot this afternoon. My arm is sore. I was cruising guys at the Chelsea STD Clinic. I feel safer now, like I should have sex, could have sex.

This weekend, I biked around the city for the first time in a long time and I had forgotten how much fun it is, what a thrill it is to bike around these streets, how much more beautiful everything looks from a bike. I hung out at the piers one day. I hung out at Riis Beach the other. I saw a porn star finger a guy on the beach. I asked to see his dick. He showed it to me. It was a beautiful thing, absurdly long and thick - the type of sight that makes your jaw drop open and language halt, that you don't even know what to say. But I was drunk and stoned so I said something soon enough. I swam in the Atlantic Ocean, rode some waves, did handstands underwater, and crashed my arm into a rock while swimming against the ocean floor. It's scrapped and swollen. 

I have eaten way too many burritos. I am boy crazy. Nothing is new and yet everything is.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dekalb and Wyckoff

When I used to live off the Jefferson stop years ago, one of my favorite parts of living there and something that continually amazed me was the view you had when you got off the subway. If you looked down Wyckoff Avenue, you could see the big city made small, the Empire State Building off in the distance, other tall buildings less easily identifiable out there as well.

Years have passed and I now find myself living further out, now off the Dekalb stop, but the train still runs along Wyckoff Avenue and there is that same view and despite having lived in this city for a little over ten years now, I am still wowed by the sight of the New York skyline off in the distance just down the road, this dream of a city, which soon with just a quick subway I would be in, that skyline. I live here, there. Those silhouettes of skyscrapers and what they represent - that is my home. 

This past week, the view has become even more full of magic. I find myself getting on or off the subway right at that perfect moment when the sun setting behind that skyline, the city emitting a glow, burning red and yellow, the sky around it full of blues and purples and the grayish clouds in the foreground throwing these colors into relief, the sky on fire. I don't plan things this way and never even realize what time of day it is, sunset time, until I emerge from the subway staircase and see that gorgeous view down Wyckoff Avenue, making my heart race with joy, knocking the air from my lungs. 

I spent the early part of the evening today in the Park Avenue Armory viewing Paul McCarthy's show, "WS." The show, among many other things, was about getting back to the idea of home and what that even means as an adult, what it means to trace your way back to your childhood home, whether such a thing is possible, when the journey back is now haunted by a pornographic imagination, that now there is a desire to jerk off on your old front porch, to shoot your load there, to bring one time period into another, and whether that is to bring your current self back to that time or whether it's to drag that time into the present and show those memories that this is how things are now, that is less clear. There is a lot going on in the show. There are some real moments of beauty that happen if you allow yourself to engage with the video pieces in the side rooms. The pieces really get at something, and though that something is hard to articulate, these pieces make you feel like you are on the cusp of articulating what these things might be.

I rode the train home and thought about how happy I would be to never see another breakdancing troupe on the L train ever again. I got off the train and was wowed by the sunset, again for a moment feeling on the verge of articulating what things are about, what things mean. I came home and thought about one of the video pieces, "The Prince Comes," a video of studly princes fucking a giant doll and jerking off outside of McCarthy's childhood home. I jerked off to memories of the brunette guy in the video, a hunk of a man. Again, in that moment before I came, I knew what things meant. Saying them, putting those things into words, making those moments of insight last, that is another thing entirely.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Arrow's "Hot Hot Hot"

It seems like whenever I am leaving Spectrum early in the morning, late in the night, where the line meets between the two, I always just miss the subway and am told it is 20 minutes or so until the next train. It happened again last night and so I flagged down a car on the street to take me home, that wait seeming horribly and painfully long at that time of the night. The driver was some Caribbean dude with a really thick accent who was blasting "Hot Hot Hot" (presumably Arrow's original version of the song). He turned it down long enough to ask me where I was headed and for me to ask how much the ride would cost and then once we were on our way again, he turned up the music again really loud, blasted it. This made me incredibly happy for inexplicable reasons.

The driver told me his brain was his GPS. He tapped the side of his head as he made this statement. I smiled, nodded my head, and continued to bop my head to the music as I watched the things outside the window pass in a blur.

32 is going to be the year. There is no reason not to be happy, no reason not to go out, no reason not to talk to someone. I am letting everything go, trying to, every fear, every grudge, and embracing what there is to embrace, the things in front of me.

32 is also bringing me much better luck with boys. At Metropolitan last night, I talked to this guy who a  year or two or three ago (time blurs like that), I had hit on at Mattachine and gotten nowhere with. It was clear that he was really into me last night, and that felt really good, but also weird. I wondered what had changed, but only for a little, because 32 is not going to be the year about worrying about such things. We exchanged numbers and I left to go to Spectrum. And then at Spectrum, some crazy British guy, quite cute, came up to tell me that I was really beautiful. We chatted for a bit before starting to make out. He said a lot of things, at one point saying he wanted to bend me over and fuck me. Real romantic stuff. Despite how I was not looking to get bent over and fucked by a cute British guy, by anyone really, last night, I let him drag me into some bedroom where we made out for a bit. He tried closing the door, which wouldn't close. The door bouncing back open each time he tried to close it was a sign, a signal from someone to walk back out that door. I told him I was going to go dance, that I wasn't looking to get bent over and fucked. I danced around to some songs I didn't know, songs without words.

The comfort, the joy, in that car ride home came from not only recognizing this song, but also from hearing words, from a human voice giving order and shape to the world, things feeling hot, hot, hot because the voice said it was so. The driver hummed along and the world could not have gotten much better then in that particular moment.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dekalb and Knickerbocker

I turned 32 sometime last evening in a club on the westside of Manhattan and it was a beautiful and fun evening. I went with some friends who love to dance. It was inspiring to see some of their dance moves, their joy in movement. I drank various vodka drinks, smoked cigarettes, and danced and danced. The main room at Westgay seemed to have barely functioning air conditioning. The air was thick. Sex seemed more in reach. Bodies glistened with sweat. I would dance in this humid room until it became too much and then would go dance in the backroom which was nice and cool, but only for a little while before again longing for whatever effects heat produces in gay men packed into a room together.

At some point, I was waiting in the bathroom line, playing on my phone. The guy ahead of me, unprompted, told me that we could share the bathroom, that I could pee because he just needed the bathroom to do a bump. While I was peeing, he asked me if I wanted a bump. I said yes.

I talked to some boy about fades and about the pros and cons of various barbershops. He was really cute and I don't remember his name. There was another boy I was staring at all night, hoping to talk to, and opportunities seemed to continually elude me. He was wearing a sleeveless denim jacket. I was finally about to talk to him but got sideswiped by his friend he was with who started talking to me about my tattoo, mentioning Leaves of Grass. I was looking past this guy talking to me about Whitman, to lost opportunities, to his friend walking away.

I put singles in the jockstraps of the go-go boys, let my hands slide down their thighs after placing the money in their waistbands. Shudders travelled from my hands through my arms and down the length of my body, a pleasure brought about by physical contact, brief as it was, with a desired body.

I made out with some guy who had just moved here from Columbia, somewhere along the coast. He lived near me, off my subway stop. It seemed like we were going to go home together, the night having reached that point in which the people looking for sex were now grabbing what they could before the club cleared out. He told me he was going to go pee and to wait for him. I told him I would be right back, that I was just going to go smoke a cigarette outside. Outside though, I did not light a cigarette. I hopped in a cab, not necessarily wanting that boy, or any boy really, not wanting anything other than my own company. The cab driver knew the intersection I told him I wanted to be dropped off at in Bushwick and did not need me to give him directions. I took this a great sign.

Dropped off on my block, I stood for a long while in front of my building and watched the clouds emerge from over the roofs across the street and pass quickly overhead, the speed with which this world spins very obvious to me in that moment.

discovering Adeva's debut album, a beautiful birthday present that is making me so giddy

Monday, June 10, 2013

N 32

I took a psychology course in High School. The teacher of the course, his name which unfortunately I can't remember, was this guy in his thirties who seemed like he had never evolved from what was probably his high school jock personality. He called people losers a lot in this humorous bro way. He was very impressed by his own jokes in the way that certain people are whose conception of their own intelligence is quite exaggerated from what it actually is. He was the assistant football coach and for some insane reason he was teaching psychology.

I don't know why but the memory of what an absurd situation that was flashed over me while I was taking a piss in my bathroom just now. He had a big picture of Charles Manson taped to the front of the classroom and he would talk about Manson's eyes a lot, how you could see the scariness in them, the craziness in them. I now think this teacher might have been taking some sort of speed workout supplements - Stacker 3 or something. He talked about serial killers a lot, circling again and again throughout the class to the eyes of Charles Manson.

On the wall in my apartment, there is a calendar of handsome Roman priests. Mr. June is kind of bonkers. I just looked at him not too long ago and got distracted from whatever direction this narrative might have been headed in. Every morning, groggy, I walk into my kitchen to make some breakfast and am always made a bit more awake by the sight of this priest. I get nervous, I get shy, like there is some really cute guy in the room that I have a crush on and who I am working my courage up to talking to.

I am listening to Eleanor Friedberger's new album and it is so, so good - everything I want and need to hear right now, and there are words, lovely strings of them, that accompany perhaps an even more lovely backing rhythm, and together, the two of them together, look out. Smoke a little weed and if you don't see what I mean at this moment, you surely will during that one. You are welcome, by the way.

I swam in the ocean again yesterday. Today, at work, I wanted to dive again and again beneath the water, to let a wave crash against me, to feel the shock of cold water, to be immersed in something, to really inhabit mentally and physically the same place for once, a rare thing these days, my mind and body often in very different places, different countries, different decades, different beds.

A couple days ago, I saw Richard Linklater's Before Midnight. Saturday matinee screening, a barely filled theater. I sat in a row to myself and let the tears every now and then fall from my face, not bothering to wipe them away. The acknowledgement of this sadness, this release of it, felt good. Give in to it, feel sad, let the tears fall. You will feel better and you will reach for that cigarette in your bag when you get out of that film with all the ardor to exhale, the ardor to enjoy this moment of calm after a release that couples on film so often show, the camera cutting to the moment right after sex, the reach for those cigarettes, the exhale of smoke a substitute for the moneyshot the filmmakers couldn't show and still get commercial distribution. I smoked this cigarette and walked around downtown, taking in life, the stuff that happens around me, these people, many of them cute, walking around, being alive.

On Wednesday, a little more than 24 hours from now, another bingo number will get called and you can feel the nervous energy in the room knowing that the game is nearing its end, that someone had that number, they announce it, and they follow that annoying announcement with an even more annoying one, saying that they only need one more, one more 'til Bingo, while meanwhile you still need four numbers and are not going to win the thing, unless the next four numbers called are somehow all your numbers and only your numbers, but you can feel it, that it's another notch towards the finale, the tension rising more and more. And clearly, that analogy is overstretched and dramatic, but sometimes when you're a little stoned and drinking wine and listening to Eleanor Friedberger, you tend toward the dramatic, toward what might make the better story, or the easier one at least. I am turning 32 on Wednesday and it has me bummed out in the ways that birthdays always kind of do. I have never actively celebrated mine the way some other people do with weeklong festivities. I go out and I get drunk and I invite some friends to come out and dance with me but I do this because I want to go out and have fun - it's a fun independent from a celebration of a birth, that were I really to contemplate the thing, to do what I would like, I would take a hot bath and drink some wine and listen to Gillian Welch and think about all of the possible turns I might have taken at various points with various people. But then there are other times where I do just want to go out and stuff singles down a go-go boy's g-string as I jump around to some song I really like, some song that I am so happy the DJ is playing, am ecstatically happy about, yelling in your ear as I shake you up and down that no one ever plays this Bjork song! I waver between these two poles all the time, but every year as my birthday approaches, these swings back and forth quicken, become bigger and bigger, the lunges in opposite directions.

I look at the wrinkles that appear around my eyes more and more. I look at my body sometimes naked in the mirror as I jerk off, taking dirty pictures of myself for boys on Scruff or for my own benefit. I wonder about my body, sometimes try to assess its attractiveness. I think about relationships. I think about living alone now and I think about living alone when I am 40 and I think about living alone when I am 60 and the thought becomes somehow more and more depressing the older I get in these imagined scenarios, and I ask myself why, but only engage the question for a little bit because there is Mr. June greeting me every time I wake up, greeting me every time I look for a late night snack, this smile, this encouragement, the sight of this man bringing about the knowledge that certain things do in fact exist in this world, somewhere out there, and even if maybe it exists perhaps only in Italian seminaries, there is still the knowledge that it at least exists there, somewhere.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wilco - "She's a Jar"

I want to see what their fingers like, the shape of their hand, the length of their fingers. The proportions of this body part when just so turn me on so much. I see something, some idea of a man, in the shape of a hand.

It is June and even though I find it a little uncomfortably warm in my bed at night already, even still, even in this still blossoming heat that has me kicking sheets off me in a fit of warm sleeplessness, even though my sweat is sticking to the back of the couch even more so than normal, I find myself wanting someone to cuddle with at night way more intensely than I have felt in months.

I spend embarrassingly long stretches of time at night not reading, not writing, not watching a film, not hanging out in real life with other human beings, but rather in some horizontal position, curled up with my phone talking to boys on Scruff, talking to them sometimes on Grindr, though more often talking to no one, but rather just looking at various boys, imagining why this person might be really cool or imagining why this person is probably incredibly annoying. Needless to say, I haven't actually been meeting up with anyone on there for sex, or anything really. It's this boredom and loneliness that masks itself behind some rapacious sexual desire on these various hookup apps. I encounter other people wearing these same masks and we pass each other in the hallway, pausing briefly in our act to look at one another before we again resume character and continue our cruising act down the same maze of hallways in some sex club on some floor in an anonymous office building, a way to pass the time, a compulsion because we knew at one time that this was a thing that gave us pleasure. 

There is the beautiful sound of rain coming through my open window right now, cooling breezes every now and then finding their way through the window and across the kitchen to me on the couch, a touch I am grateful for.

I have a fingernail that I cover in nail polish because I smashed it with a weight a while ago and now it is just a black nail that I hate to look at. I look at other people's hands closely and have a hard time now looking closely at my own, this one painted nail ruining some sense of symmetry - that it's indicative somehow of a broader disharmony. Finding a nail polish color to paint your one bruised fingernail that will match your unpainted fingernails is not an easy task in case you were curious. I hate looking at my one fingernail covered in nail polish. The symmetry is off.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

a red diamond on by back, the spot my hands, the sunscreen, touch, did not, could not, reach

I knew the water was going to be cold, ice cold, but I didn't care. I didn't hesitate there at the edge where the water laps against the shore with each wave of water rolling in and rolling back out, dipping my foot in slightly, stepping back from the wave, and then gingerly making contact again with the ocean - there was none of that. In its place was a focused determination, a walking straight on out until it was deep enough for me to dive under. There was no flinching, no pausing, even when I felt how insanely cold it was. I knew that I was going all the way in no matter what, that there was no point in delaying the inevitable, of putting on a show, a dance at the shore's edge for no one's benefit other than your own neuroses or for your own desire, weird as it may be, to appear full of neuroses, a conception of cuteness now in vogue that values a quirkiness that feigns neurosis. What I am saying is that I knew that no matter what I would end up in this water, submerging myself into something else, completely erasing the world outside of this water. And so I dove under.

My heart stopped. The cold was bracing, something else. That feeling of discomfort and pain was something I knew to be false. I tried to let it go, those worries about how cold the water was, so I could let other things go.

I dove under again and my entire chest retracted in, heart and lungs shocked by the cold, a pause to my being, a moment to consider the paused image on the screen, a step back from the movie you are watching as you run to the bathroom or to get food and you pull yourself out of the narrative you have been immersed into until you hit the pause button, and you, now outside the narrative, are able to see in this scene frozen on your television screen, a beautiful tableaux that had been eclipsed by the plot's forward momentum.

I stayed out there, floating on my back, in love with the contrast there, the cold water underneath my legs and back, and the warm sun hitting my chest and face.

The couple other folks who had braved the water soon retreated back to their towels, and for a long while, I had this little stretch of the ocean to myself. I was thankful for this still cold water, thankful that it was a little painful, that because of this, most people weren't going in the water, and I was able to float with endless water around me, feeling like I was alone and yet also because of this (only out here in the water) feeling like I was complete. I was surrounded by the elements in a more tactile fashion than I normally am. The press of water against your skin is more felt, for whatever reasons, more sensed, than that of air. It felt so nice to be embraced wholly by the water, by anything really if I were to be truthful.

Eventually I came back to the shore and wrapped myself in a towel, another embrace. I lied down, the sand underneath my beach blanket also an embrace. And I let the sun hit my cold skin. I stayed cold pretty much the rest of the day after that. Nicky and I drank vodka mixed with some cheap Ariziona drinks, coconut flavored ones, while I pointed out all the people on the beach that I was in love with. I was boy crazy and the sight of all this beautiful skin was overwhelming for me.

I smoked a lot of cigarettes. I wanted contact, wanted to feel physical sensations. I pointed out how much I loved that person, how beautiful their body was, or how I loved that person in the black shades, black baseball cap, and black swim trunks. The cigarettes were what was within reach and so I kept on grabbing for them. The roils of smoke that danced around my lungs and throat were an easy and available form of touch, of physical sensation. It was a substitution and also a salve for the longing I felt for these other sensations. It was why earlier I had taken so much pleasure from diving again and again under the incoming waves, of lying on my back out there in the dark rippling blue, glints of a reflected sun making everything else seem dark, losing myself to the sound of water around me, to the wide blue sky above me, and to the happiness felt to be present in this setting, to be so embraced by these elements, to be aware in such a strong way (which I will admit I so rarely am) that I am not distinct from this beautiful world, and to be so happy with this knowledge.