Monthly Archives: June 2013

Love/Hate Relationships

Sometime, men just suck, and not in the way I’d like them to suck either.  I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with men.  As a gay man, I am obviously attracted to men and the love the idea of finding a man that I love and who loves me and settling down for life with that man.  Then again, it seems like all of the men I know or have met are a bunch of lying assholes.  When I was younger, I will admit that I was all about the sex, but dammit, I’ve matured (at least that how I think of it) to the point that I know I want something more than a one night stand or a f*ck buddy.  Though, since it has been a while, sex would be nice.
I also have a love/hate relationship with the South.  I love the beauty of the South, the manners of the people, being near family, the food, but the South has its drawbacks.  It’s not a good place to be a gay man.  There are no gay bars around where I live, not that I have ever found bars to be a good place to meet someone.  There seems to be no places for primarily gay men to socialize or even for gay men to meet each other.  Then there is the Internet, which is always a disappointment.  If you look on Manhunt, Adam4Adam, or Grindr, there isn’t a man in a twenty mile radiance. I rarely log onto online hook-up sites, and when I do, it’s generally because I have gotten a notification of a message in my inbox and I check it out just so I can stop getting those annoying notifications.  It’s also fun to see who’s out there on occasion.  Nothing is ever there (well it’s always the same people on there), but I still look.  I also think it is a terrible place to look for a relationship.
On a few occasions, I have had someone message me while I was on there.  We begin chatting, have a good rapport, and begin exchanging texts back and forth. All seems to go well, then you decide you want to meet and just like that, they are gone.  He will seem so excited to meet up, then when you try to establish a time, he just quits answering you. I don’t know if the men around here are just scared, married, or what, but it just never seems to work out.
Quite honestly, I am sick of it.  Why can’t men be honest?  Why do they just want to play games?  If you like someone, why not meet for coffee or dinner.  If you get together and there is something physically unappealing about the person, does it mean that you can’t be friends?  I would love to have some gay companionship.  It doesn’t have to be all about the sex.
I am an intelligent human being.  Most people think I have a great personality and sense of humor, and I’ve been told that I am, and I quote, “damn cute.”  Yes, the older I get, the thinner and grayer my hair is, the more receding my hairline is, and the more expanding my waist is.  The first two, I can do nothing about, it’s genetic, but the third, I try to work on, but I have always struggled with my weight.  I’m not obese, but I am overweight and it’s something that is difficult for me to change.   I am a loving, caring, and compassionate person.  I am also a fabulous cook, part of the reason for that expanding waistline.  Why do looks matter so much to so many gay men?  Then again, maybe it’s not looks, maybe it is something else: personality, distance, or maybe I’m just boring.
I know I am ranting and bitching about men, and though many men I have known fall into the shallow category, not all are that way.  I was a bit shallow in my twenties, but I dont feel that way anymore.  i dont care about looks.  its the person that counts.  Some might say that I am not shallow any longer just because I have less hair and more fat.  I don’t think that is the reason.  I have worked hard to mature as a person and to not be judgmental.  I am who I am, and I want a man to be himself, not someone’s idealized version of a man should be.
I believe a lot of you guys who are reading this are probably exceptions to the description I have given of men above, but you all live so damn far away.  I know of one particular man, who has become a great friend of mine.  He is selfless and gives and gives, expecting nothing but friendship in return.  He is a wonderful human being, and I would be his friend regardless of anything else.  I am truly blessed to know him.  The truth is, I love him very deeply.  He’s older than me, but that doesn’t matter a hill of beans to me. I like a man who is mature, and the age different is really not that much.  The fact is, if he didn’t live so far away and if he would even have me, I’d marry him in a heartbeat.  By the away, gay marriage is not legal in his state, but civil unions are.
There’s a saying that “the good ones are always gay,” but for me it’s more that “the good ones are too far away.”  I guess the grass is greener on the other side.  Someday, I hope to find that someone out there, but until then, thank goodness I have my straight friends for companionship and my right hand for well…I think you can guess what I like to use it for.

Timothy by Greg Herren

Greg Herren is one of my favorite authors.  I try to read everything he writes, including his books written as Todd Gregory and I will be reading his short novel which he wrote as GT Herren.  He’s a fabulous author and I love all of his books.  I first began reading his Scotty Bradley mysteries and then his Chance MacLeod mysteries (or vice versa–I can’t quite remember which I read first).  Needless to say, I fell in love with him as an author.

One of his newer books is Timothy which I just finished (I’m currently reading his book Murder in the Irish Channel (Chanse Macleod Mysteries) and Who Dat Whodunnit (Scotty Bradley Adventures) will be next.  I don’t have a whole lot of time to read during the school year, so summers are when I am able to catch up.  I read before I go to bed and when I have to be away from my computer, which is where I spend most of my time trying to finish my dissertation.

Timothy is somewhat of an updated, gay version, of the classic, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, which I admit I have never read but was originally published in the 1930’s.  after reading a synopsis of Rebecca, I can understand the similarities.  Timothy is described by some reviewers as fanfiction and while that may be true, it does not read as such.  You know going into the story (if you read the blurb or anything about the author in advance) what you will be reading so you should be prepared.  This was written much better than most fanfiction I have had the pleasure and displeasure of reading.  Some reviewers, who had read Rebecca previously, found this to be a wonderfully updated version of the old story.

Timothy is another in the stream of books from Herren that I’ve enjoyed. This is a gothic romantic suspense, and I loved it.  From a narrative perspective, Timothy tells the tale of a young man who is very much a fish-out-of-water in the big city of New York, and the whirlwind romance that leads him to Spindrift – a beautiful looming estate in the Hamptons that he is to share with his new husband. But the man he has married was married to someone before, the eponymous Timothy himself. Timothy was gorgeous – physically near perfect – and successful and suave and everything that Herren’s character feels he is not.

The cast of characters – the rich, the servants, the husband, Timothy’s former friends – all twisted around the young man in a tangled snarl that leads him to wonder more and more whether anything is as it seems in Spindrift, or if Timothy’s legacy is one that will not leave any happiness behind.

The tone is wonderful. Herren’s young protagonist (who lacks self-confidence in the face of Timothy’s seemingly indelible presence) loves his husband, and the huge Spindrift as well (the home itself, as is the case in most gothic romances, is nearly a character itself), but lives in a constant sense of uncertainty in nearly everything around him. The suspense rises, and every time the young man has a conversation with someone who knew Timothy, the truth seems less like what he has been told, and the danger grows nearer.

Once I began reading this book, it was hard to put down.  Like most of Herren’s books, you have to make yourself put it down so that you can do other things, such as sleep, because if you don’t, you will find that you have spent all night reading.  If you have not read anything by Greg Herren, buy one of his books, read it, and you will love it.

What Is True

What Is True
by Ben Kopel
one must be one 
to ever be two 

and if you 
were a day 
I’d find a way 

to live 
through you 
  
About This Poem
“It’s a love song because they’re all love songs, and I mean every inch of it.” 
–Ben Kopel

About This Poet
Ben Kopel is the author of Victory (H_NGM_N BOOKS, 2012). He currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he teaches creative writing and English literature to high school students.


Man of Steel

More so than most anything, I have a bit of a Superman fetish.  Maybe it is the dream of being swept off my feet by a strong, handsome man, but it probably has more to do with the fact that the actors who play Superman in TV and movies are consistently some of the hottest men in Hollywood. Superman is not just a superhero. He’s the superhero. He created the very concept of the superhero, and everything that’s touched on that concept for the past 75 years — we are talking vast swaths of popular culture — exists because of him. Regardless of how you feel about Superman and superheroes, you can’t deny the cultural impact the character has made.  Superman is an ideal. He represents our best self. That’s what he’s for.

Well, of course, I went this weekend to see Man of Steel.  Not only am I a Superman fan, but I have a celebrity crush on Henry Cavill, who I fell in love with when I fist saw how beautiful behind in the first episode of The Tudors.  And boy is he buffed up and beautiful in this new movie.

Man of Steel is so explosively loud and full of light speed action sequences, it might be the film that allows the blind to see and the deaf to hear again. It’s apt then that Superman, reborn in 2013 by director Zack Snyder and co-writers Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, is presented as a Christ-like figure sent down from the heavens with the promise of saving every last one of us. The ambitious question the story poses is: How would Superman be received on Earth today? Would he be feared, loved, revered? The answer, according to Man of Steel, is all of the above.

This movie is a retelling of Superman, not really what I expected, but it is action packed.  I won’t go into some of the differences, but if you are a Superman fan like I am, there is no way you can miss this on the big screen.

Happy Father’s Day

Fortunately, the ruby slippers are optional. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there who have it all.
I know there are at least a few dads out there who read my blog, maybe even two gay dads out there raising sons and/or daughters, and I want to wish you a very Happy Father’s Day.  Just like mothers, fathers can drive us crazy.  Most of us may not have been as close to our fathers as maybe we should have been or should be, but all of us have a father somewhere.  Besides wishing you fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day, I also wanted to tell you about my father.

We are very different in so many ways.  He is very outdoorsy: he hunts, he fishes, and constantly works outdoors.  I was always a book worm, who liked books better than sports.  I’ve learned to like the outdoors:  I walk nature trails, I like to hike, and I even like to fish occasionally.  Whereas my father worked outside all his life, I prefer to work inside, research, writing, teaching, etc.  There are a lot of other differences as well.  We can generally have a conversation for about 15-20 minutes before we get into some type of argument.  My father has never felt I was right about anything.  I can be agreeing with him, and he will fuss at me for agreeing with him.  No matter what I say, he will say the opposite.  The other day, I made a remark about a house being painted white (it used to be gray), he argued with me that the house was painted gray, just a lighter shade.  Everyone else I know says the house is white, but he still says that it is gray.  It’s that sort of thing that drives me crazy.  Needless to day, we barely get along.  I love him nonetheless, I just don’t like him sometimes.  He can be very cruel and frustrating.

To switch gears a little bit, I want to tell you also how great my father can be, without me ever knowing it.  This is part of the reason that I forgive so much of the misery he causes me.  When my parents found out I was gay, it was a very traumatic experience for all concerned.  My mother had suspected for quite a while and was being very nosy.  She checked my email.  She didn’t like some of the emails that she saw.  Most of them, if not all, were fairly innocent, but there were some like an ad from Showtime about “Queer as Folk” and maybe another one from gay.com. I was over at my grandmother’s checking on her, when my mother called me and confronted me about it.  I was tired of denying it.  All of my friends knew, so why shouldn’t she.  I knew she wouldn’t like it.  She had confronted me several years before about it, and I denied it then.  I wasn’t ready, and to make sure that I never was, my mother told me, “If I would rather have a dick up my ass, then be part of this family, then I should go ahead and leave.  They would have nothing more to do with me.”  When this time came around, we got into a huge argument.  I yelled, she yelled, and I left.  I was still dependent on them for some things, but I could live without them.  My mother went to bed and cried for the next two weeks.  BTW, this all happened two days before Christmas, while I was home on Christmas break.  When my father got home, he talked to my mother about what was wrong.  She told him.  She tells him everything. This was one of the times when he sided with me.

He told my mother, that I was there child.  She could not stop loving me, just because she did not agree with my lifestyle. He would continue to love me, and she would have to do the same.  No matter what his children did, they would still love them (it may have helped that my sister married a complete and total jackass, who doesn’t physically abuse her, but abuses her mentally).  Then he  came and talked with me.  He told me that he didn’t care what I told my mother, but to tell her something or she would die in that bed in there (you don’t know my mother, but she would have).  Then he told me what surprised me the most, “I should have taught you how to fight the urges.  I am sorry that I failed you.”  It is the only time my father ever apologized to me for anything.  I never asked about the urges, but I am pretty sure I know what he was talking about.  He knew exactly how I felt.  He had been there himself, but he had chosen a different path.  Maybe that is why they still believe it is a choice.  But I see the misery in him almost everyday.  I went to my parents and told them both that I was celibate and would remain that way, and I had never acted on my sexuality (yes it was a lie, but it was one I think was and still is for the better).  They made me promise that I would not tell anyone else in the family, and I have agreed to that. Our family has become a “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t discuss” Zone.  It is not my preference but it is what I must deal with for the time being.  If I ever find a man to live my life with, I will deal with the other consequences then.  I don’t think I could hide from my family the love of my life (if he ever comes along).

They still consider my being gay a lifestyle choice, I never will.  I would have never chosen this myself.  I would have chosen to live a more open life, but that is mostly not possible where I live now, and especially not with my job.  But I know what makes me happy, and after a lot of prayer and meditation, God told me that love is what matters most in this world.  I came to understand that if I lived a lie and married a woman, I would make her and my life miserable (somewhat like my father has).  If I was going to be alone, then I would be alone. At least I wouldn’t be hurting someone else.  I realize that some people had more pressures to get married and have a family and come out later in life.  I do not fault them for that, it was a different time and different circumstances.  But in this day and age, I felt I could not lie to myself or anyone else and spend a large portion of my life as a lie.

Dolly lends her vocals for a live version of Holly Dunn’s timeless classic song, “Daddy’s Hands.”  This song reminds me a lot of my Daddy for many reasons and has been one of my favorite songs for a long time.  Holly Dunn is also one of my all-time favorite country singers, too bad she had retired from country music.  She’s now an artists in the Southwest.

Reba McEntire singing “The Greatest Man.”  This is a truly great song and also describes my relationship between me and my Daddy, although I don’t know if he thinks I “hung the moon.”  My mother always says he brags about me to everyone, but I also remember him telling me once when I made a 99 (out of 100) on my report card, “Can’t you do better than that.”  He was kidding with me, but it didn’t feel like it at the time, especially since some of my grades on that report card were above 100.  Also, my Daddy is still alive, but he is one of the greatest men I have ever known.  I hope this post proves that.

Some of you may have read this post before.  I not only used it for my Father’s Day post last year and the year before, but I plan to use it each Father’s Day for as long as this blog is published. I will return to my study of the Book of James next week.

Moment of Zen: In Bed With A Good Book


There Is Still Hope Yet


Unique Coming Out

Coming out of the closet as gay can be a challenging process for many people, but one Facebook user took a very clever approach.
Reddit user RyanSmithN posted the above photograph, which he says he uploaded to Facebook to tell friends that he’s gay.
The photograph has since gone viral in the blogosphere since being posted on Reddit.
Looking for other clever ways to come out? Jonathan Russell (who goes by Russ and is affectionately known as “Your Favorite Gay Marine”) and his boyfriend Matt have released a sensational new video that offers 20 other creative ways to tell the world you’re gay.
Among the more inventive: playing charades, leaving clues around the house, using your pets and saying it with food.

From: Facebook User Comes Out As Gay With ‘Closet’ Photograph


Good Conversation

You know you’ve had a good night when you sitting outside in the cool summer breeze talking to a friend.  The last time you looked at a clock, it was 10:00 pm, and you look again and it’s now 12:30 am.  We had a good dinner, a few beers, and just sat around and talked.  I hadn’t meant to stay that long, but the company and conversation were good.  I love having friends that you can talk about anything or everything or nothing with and still have a good time.  We talked about school, church, family, music, and a little politics.  It was just a nice night, but it also means that there was no time for writing a post, so this is it.

Happy Humpday everyone!

The Year of the Tiger

Year of the Tiger
by Miguel Murphy
This new Chinese New Year we were in a film
Holding hands and daring each other
To close our eyes in the surrounding mayhem 
On one beautiful hell of a dancefloor 
In memory, in black-and-white
Two strangers clutching in a crowd. Like close-ups

By Fellini, the drunk midget and the wounded 
Cripple dancing on a cane,
The pit-roasted pig with its pineapple glaze,
Nothing but the excrement
Of blissful minutes, budsmoke, temporary inebriation
The rooftop clamor at last
Falling off the cliffside of a starry abyss

And braceleted Madonna in 1983 
Still digitally singing, you must be 
My lucky star, cuz you shine on me 
Wherever you are–and I can feel it 
That splendid nothingness of wine and vicodin

Like someone hypnotized by the fireworks
Of being alive inside an accident 
Like this body–
A sickness that feels the same as a cliché.
Let’s get out of here, I say, and kiss you
To celebrate the darkening

Damaged miraculous happiness–
To enter the opening coffin-like fact of each other.
For no reason some night happening to me 
Is happening to me. O my lucky fucking 
Star, I want to use
Your sweaty machinery. We are infinite

Tonight! We’ll never wake to touch like this again.
  
  
Copyright © 2013 by Miguel Murphy. 

About This Poem
“A friend of mine in Venice throws a Chinese New Year party every year in his glass and concrete modernist home paid for by a chair he designed for IKEA–lots of food, music, eccentrics. It’s a party, you feel a bit as if it’s the last night on earth, but you’re happy. Underneath the riotous din is a kind of serious intensity. You’re lucky, this pretty young thing is into you, you’ve got his eye on your eye, and you’re not going to waste it. You feel a prelapsarian courage, the whole world is just some beautiful accident you can’t get enough of. Let it all fall down into ruin. I mean, why, just why in the hell aren’t you already dead? You care, you don’t care, you care.” 
–Miguel Murphy

About This Author
Miguel Murphy holds a BA and an MFA from Arizona State University. His poems have appeared in Clackamas Literary Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Washington Square and have been awarded both a Swarthout Award and an Academy of American Poets prize. His first collection, A Book Called Rats, (a stunning collection, full of dark eroticism and haunting images that pull the reader into a world both beautiful and dangerous) won the 2002 Blue Lynx Prize from Washington State University’s Lynx House Press and will be published in August 2003. He lives in Venice Beach, California.