Sometimes (not often) the hangover is worth it. I had a great time with a few friends in New Orleans on Monday. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities, but those hurricanes will kick your ass. I felt it yesterday morning. It didn’t help that I had to drive back to Alabama when I got up that morning. So I felt a bit like the guy in the picture above. Thank God for Starbucks Vanilla Lattes, LOL. Oh well, sometimes the hangover is worth it. There is nothing quite like sitting on a patio in New Orleans having drinks with friends.
Monthly Archives: March 2012
How does a person say “I love you” in our post-ironic age and not sound greeting-card vapid? In “You, Therefore,” Reginald Shepherd (b. 1963) manages the trick. He doesn’t avoid romantic clichés: you’ll find the moon and stars, scads of flowers, a rain-speckled bower, the heaving sea, strawberries, and a soft-focus snowbound bedroom vignette. Shepherd takes these hoary materials, however, and presents them with the awkwardness, stuttering, and pseudologic of a man choked by passion. The poem is a single meandering sentence with peculiar repetitions (“if I say to you, ‘To you I say’”); faulty grammar (“you” are “a kind of dwell and welcome”); odd puns (“you . . . have come to be my night”—oh Lancelot!); overheated sound play (“like the sea, salt-sweet . . . trees and seas have flown away”); and attempts to qualify or take back things just asserted (“the snow was you, / when there was snow”). The style saves the subject by roughening and skewing it, giving it the feel of authenticity (a little like antiquing a piece of furniture, perhaps). Shepherd conveys persuasively the way somebody can “fall from the sky” into your life and renew it utterly, giving you the home you’d been seeking for years.
By Reginald Shepherd
For Robert Philen
You are like me, you will die too, but not today:
you, incommensurate, therefore the hours shine:
if I say to you “To you I say,” you have not been
set to music, or broadcast live on the ghost
radio, may never be an oil painting or
Old Master’s charcoal sketch: you are
a concordance of person, number, voice,
and place, strawberries spread through your name
as if it were budding shrubs, how you remind me
of some spring, the waters as cool and clear
(late rain clings to your leaves, shaken by light wind),
which is where you occur in grassy moonlight:
and you are a lily, an aster, white trillium
or viburnum, by all rights mine, white star
in the meadow sky, the snow still arriving
from its earthwards journeys, here where there is
no snow (I dreamed the snow was you,
when there was snow), you are my right,
have come to be my night (your body takes on
the dimensions of sleep, the shape of sleep
becomes you): and you fall from the sky
with several flowers, words spill from your mouth
in waves, your lips taste like the sea, salt-sweet (trees
and seas have flown away, I call it
loving you): home is nowhere, therefore you,
a kind of dwell and welcome, song after all,
and free of any eden we can name
Reprinted from Fata Morgana by Reginald Shepherd, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2007 by Reginald Shepherd.
Source: Fata Morgana (2007)
Poet and editor Reginald Shepherd was born in New York City in 1963 and grew up in the Bronx. He earned a BA from Bennington College and studied at Brown University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first collection, Some Are Drowning (1994), won the Associated Writing Program’s Award in Poetry; his fourth, Otherhood (2003), was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and his last book, Fata Morgana (2007), won a Silver Medal in the Florida Book Awards. Shepherd’s work is known for its elegance, beauty, and critical acumen. As Ron Silliman wrote in a tribute to Shepherd, who died in 2008, “Shepherd took from all schools and created something entirely his own.” Shepherd was the author of a book of essays, Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry (2008), and the editor of two anthologies, The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (2004) and Lyric Postmodernisms (2008). He was also an active blogger, helping to shape an emerging forum for poetics.
1To, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
10I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
14I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
15That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
16And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
17I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
18I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
22Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
So you think St. Patrick’s Day is all about obnoxious straight people wearing green and drinking beer in public? Well, yes—but there are some very queer things indeed about the holiday.
Herewith, are the top five reasons LGBTs should care about St. Patrick’s Day, happening Saturday, March 17. (And be sure to check out all of the best gay-themed St. Pat’s events listed on our sister site, GayCities):
1. The streets are awash in completely wasted, highly suggestible straight boys
It’s no secret that St. Patrick’s Day is basically an enabler of daytime alcohol consumption. There’s a reason the parade’s slogan is “Kiss Me I’m Irish”— it’s all about getting lucky!
For you gay guys and gals whose deepest fantasy is turning out a Hibernian hetero, St. Patrick’s Day is your chance. Boys: Find an outdoor area full of straight bros and see if one of them won’t smooch your Blarney Stone. And, ladies, straight girls are all about being exhibitionists. Buy them a few shots of Jameson, bribe the DJ to play “I Kissed A Girl,” and let the party begin.
Heck, if you go to a wild enough St. Paddy’s Day event, two dudes might even break-dance naked in front of a huge crowd, like Irish hip-hop brothers Jedward did in 2010 (link NSFW-ish).
2. It’s the one time us gays can stop caring about what we’re wearing.
“I think St. Patty’s day is a really good excuse to dress like a tool,” style maven and reality star Brad Goreski told Queerty. And it’s true: So long as it’s green and relatively unstained, you’re safe. (Fun fact: originally the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue.)
3. There are lots of famous gay Irish and Irish-Americans to raise a pint of Guinness to.
* Oscar Wilde (1854-1900, right): the quotable author and playwright spent most of his adult life as a dandy-about-town in London, but was born in Dublin.
* Francis Bacon (1909-1992): Perhaps the greatest artist to emerge from the Emerald Isle, Bacon was known for his abstract figure drawings and intense relationship with his muse and lover, George Dyer (played by Daniel Craig in the film Love is the Devil)
* Rosie O’Donnell (b. 1962) and Daniel O’Donnell (b. 1960): Rosie is the one-named talk-show host (obviously), but her out older brother Daniel is the first openly gay man elected to the New York State Assembly.
* Graham Norton (b. 1963): The UK’s version of Jay Leno, but gay—and actually funny—Norton hails from County Cork.
* Sinéad O’Connor (b. 1966): Though she’s bounced around the Kinsey scale, the controversial Irish singer announced she was a lesbian back in 2000.
* Christine Quinn (b. 1966): The influential New York City Council Speaker has all but announced her bid for mayor in 2013.
* Stephen Gately (1976-2009): One of the two lead singers of the popular British boy band Boyzone, Gately came out in a blaze of publicity in 1999 and wed his partner five years later. Sadly, Gately passed away in 2009 from an undiagnosed heart condition.
4. The St. Paddy’s Day parade is essentially an Irish version of a Pride parade.
Back in the 1800s and early 19oos, Irish immigrants suffered serious discrimination in the U.S—denied jobs and access to schooling, caricatured as uneducated alcoholics, and in some cases deemed an “inferior race” in comparison to Anglo-Saxons.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade was a way for Irish-Americans to stand up and basically say “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” Only, y’know, without the whole “queer” party.
Of course LGBTs aren’t always welcome at St. Patrick’s Day parades: In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled that the organizers of Boston’s parade could turn away an LGBT group based on the First Amendment. (That’s okay, it also means we can ban anyone we want from a pride parades, too!)
New York’s queer population has bitten back at the homophobic organizers of Manhattan’s exclusionary march by organizing “St. Pat’s for All,” a parade in Queens where gay marchers are welcomed.
5. The life and legacy of St. Patrick himself is kinda gay.
Ah, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, about whom so little is known but so much legend is legion. Only two of his letters remain in existence and one, Declaration, concerns charges made against him by fellow Christians during a trial. Historians don’t know what the charges were but Patrick made a point of returning gifts offered by wealthy women and paying for the sons of chiefs to accompany him on his sojourns. (Was he the Ancient World’s answer to George Alan Rekers?)
Plus, the two miracles most closely associated with St. Pat are pretty darn phallic when you think about it: Driving the snakes out of Ireland and turning his long, hard walking stick into a tree.
I’m just saying.
Thanks to Writer, here is another collage image of Rick Santorum, but this time it is of two men kissing and pictures of Santorum make up the collage.
I have always found these collage pictures to be fascinating, but this one comes with a twist. This photo collage of Rick Santorum is made entirely of gay pornographic images. The enlargement of this image is NSFW, so be forwarned. The pictures are still quite small if you click on the full image. I find it quite funny considering Santorum’s homophobic and religiously conservative political agenda.
Yesterday was the primary elections in my state. What an eventful night it was! First of all, I have never lived just around the corner from the courthouse before, and in a rural town like mine, it is the place to get the local results. I live less than a block from the courthouse, and it was rockin’ last night. There were parties all around the courthouse square.
So let me back up a bit and explain what had happened the previous two hours before we got there. Apparently, this guy had become real friendly with my friend’s husband and they had been having a good time. I suspect the guy is in the closet and has not had enough experience at 21 to hone his gaydar skills, because there is nothing even remotely gay about my friend’s husband. Growing up in the rural South, you develop a good gaydar so that you don’t hit on the wrong guy, and mine has never failed me. Though my friend’s husband is quite attractive and has one of the finest butts in the country, if not the state, the stranger had barked up the wrong tree with this one. My friend got pretty mad about the whole thing until I explained to her that he was obviously a closet case, who was drunk and had been raised to be a prick (this particular political family are all pricks, if I told you who they were you would understand immediately). Once she realized that the real reason that he was rude to her was not because he was looking down on her or anything, but the fact was he had gotten cock-blocked by the wife and didn’t like it. In fact, he was probably a bit embarrassed. My friends husband is a bit clueless about these things, but he had never figured out that the guy had been hitting on him for the past two hours. And if you are wondering what tipped of my gaydar, there were a few stereotypical things about his mannerism, but the fact that he never once looked at my friend, even though he was talking to her, but checking out the husband and then evaluating me to see if I was worth moving on to, but he didn’t get quite that far. Even if I think he could have been a fun little fling, the only thing I would have gotten out of that deal was to be able to say I screwed “insert asshole political family here” instead of them screwing us as they have for nearly twenty years.
Every so often, we hear a news story about a teacher who was fired after their (often minimal) porn industry past caught up with them. The ratio of male to female teachers fired for their on-camera escapades is disproportionate; there are far more female teachers who have been fired for appearing in porn than male teachers. Is this because there are more female teachers who have appeared in porn? Perhaps. Similarly, though, the men that are fired for their dalliances are usually ones who have worked in gay porn. Is the stigma placed upon the performer dependent upon their sex/sexuality? Perhaps the stigma that is placed upon women and gay men who have worked in the porn industry comes from the concept of permissiveness or deviance that heterosexual males–frequently the insertive partners in porn–do not carry with them.
There are many reasons that people go into porn. While one can never assume why someone is in the industry, many fall into it when they do not have the means to do other jobs. When they get the means, or are done with the industry for whatever reason, and would like to find employment outside of sex work, they are turned away or fired from jobs because they did porn. Have you looked at the price of tuition at FIU or Miami? FIU is roughly $20,000 per year for undergraduates and Miami is nearly $45,000 per year for graduate students. No wonder he went into porn, with that body he could definitely use it to make money to pay for his education.
How can former members of the porn industry, which employs roughly 12,000 people a year in California alone, be denied jobs because they are “morally abhorrent”? Where is the line of demarcation that decides when a part of someone’s past does not “reflect credit?”
As LA Weekly is reporting, Shawn Loftis will not only be permitted to teach, but will also be eligible to apply for a permanent position as an educator. He will, however, reportedly remain on probation for two years.
Loftis, who had been working as a substitute teacher at numerous Miami area schools when he was dismissed last year after a principal discovered his films on a website, praised the Florida Education Practices Commission’s decision to overrule his termination. “This is my past and I left it behind,” he told LA Weekly, noting that his work as a porn actor and director was not illegal. “I can use my experiences in life to teach kids. The key point is that they said when you go back to the classroom and a student brings this up to you, you will be able to handle that. I thought that was highly progressive of them.”
Loftis’ case mirrors that of Kevin Hogan, a Boston-based English teacher who was placed on administrative leave after Fox News broke the news that he had acted under the pseudonym “Hytch Cawke” in gay pornographic movies like “Fetish World” and “Just Gone Gay 8,” which were released in 2010. In addition, a California junior high teacher was reportedly placed on paid administrative leave earlier this month amid allegations that she appeared in a pornographic video, the Associated Press reports.
I personally am pleased that Shawn was given his job back. He is well educated, and besides, I’d love to have someone this hot teaching at my school.
- “Shawn Loftis, Former Gay Porn Star, Allowed To Teach After Being Fired For X-Rated Past” HuffPost Gay Voices.
- “Should former porn stars be allowed to teach?” By Karlee Johnson, Daily Sundial.