Tag Archives: Arts

A Song for New Year’s Eve


A Song for New Year’s Eve
William Cullen Bryant

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—
Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.
The year, whose hopes were high and strong,
Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
For his familiar sake.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.
The kindly year, his liberal hands
Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
Because he gives no more?
Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.
Days brightly came and calmly went,
While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
How sweet the seventh day’s rest!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.
Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
Of all they said and did!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.
Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
Oh be the new as kind!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.

Moment of Zen: Cuddle Time


Y’all know how much I love HRH. She stayed groggy from the medication much longer than I expected, but she seems to be doing better. Now I just have to get her to eat. One of our favorite things is our cuddle time together. I found this picture particularly perfect since it was a cute guy with a cat and an ohm symbol tattoo (very zen!).

I’ve always said that I’d get an ohm tattoo if I ever got one. I just don’t know where it would be.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside


Baby, It’s Cold Outside

I really can’t stay
– But baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away
– But baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been
– Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice
– I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
My mother will start to worry
– Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
My father will be pacing the floor
– Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry
– Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Well maybe just a half a drink more
– Put some records on while I pour

The neighbors might think
– Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink?
– No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how
– Your eyes are like starlight
To break the spell
– I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir
– Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried
– What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay
– Baby don’t hold out
Oh, but it’s cold outside

I simply must go
– But, baby, it’s cold outside.
The answer is no
– But, baby, it’s cold outside.
This welcome has been
– How lucky that you dropped in.
So nice and warm
– Look out the window at that storm.
My sister will be suspicious
– Gosh, your lips look delicious.
My brother will be there at the door
– Waves upon a tropical storm.
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious
– Oh, your lips are delicious.
Maybe just a cigarette more
– Never such a blizzard before.

I’ve got to go home
– But, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat
– It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand
– I’m thrilled when you touch my hand
But don’t you see
– How can you do this thing to me?
ByThere’s bound to be talk tomorrow
– Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied
– If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stay
– Get over that hold out
Ohhh, baby it’s cold outside

The lyrics in this duet are designed to be heard as a conversation between two people, marked as “mouse” and “wolf” on the printed score; they have returned to the “wolf’s” home after a date, and the “mouse” decides it’s time to go home, but the “wolf” flirtatiously invites her to stay as it is late and “it’s cold outside.” Every line in the song features a statement from the “mouse” followed by a response from the “wolf”. Usually the “wolf” part is sung by a male and the “mouse” by a female.

Criticisms of the song stem from a reading of the lyrics not as the “mouse” wanting to stay and only putting up a token protest for the sake of appearance as supported by lyrics such as “The neighbors might think…”, “My father will be pacing the floor”, but instead as the “mouse” genuinely wanting to leave but being stopped by the “wolf” being coercive in his pleading with the mouse. Examples of questionable lyrics in this regard include, “I simply must go”, “The answer is no”, “I’ve got to go home”. There is also the line “Hey, what’s in this drink”, which with current interpretation could be taken to sound suspiciously like the “mouse” has been drugged. Many movies, at the time the song was written, used a similar line to refer to someone behaving in a different manner than they expected and blaming it on the alcohol.

P.S. The veterinarian’s office was closed yesterday, so as soon as I can take HRH to the vet today, I will give a short post on what I find out. She’s still not acting like she feels well, so hopefully the vet can tell me what’s wrong with my lovely little 15 year old feline friend.

The Codpiece


One look at Leonard Whiting’s Romeo in Frank Zifferelli’s 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet and I fell in love with the codpiece and Leonard Whiting. I will also admit that Whiting’s codpiece was not the only thing I liked about him, what gay boy sitting in English class watching Romeo and Juliet can forget seeing Romeo’s beautiful naked butt. However, this post is not about the beauty of Leonard Whiting, it’s about the history of the codpiece. If you are not familiar with this piece of Renaissance fashion, a codpiece (from Middle English: cod, meaning “scrotum”) is a covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men’s trousers and usually accentuates the genital area. It was held closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods. It was an important item of European clothing in the 15th and 16th centuries


One may well ask, if the button fly preceded the zipper, and the codpiece preceded the button fly, what preceded the codpiece? The answer is, quite literally, nothing. Leather leggings, the antecedents of Renaissance hosiery, were merely tubes of animal skins held on by strips of leather and connected together rather perfunctorily at the top. In fact, the crotch was most often left almost completely open, for ease of access during those “privy” functions. One was protected from exposure of one’s “person” by tunics which reached the knees or beyond.

However, with the rise of the merchant class at the beginning of the Renaissance, came “Fashion Trends”. Clothing for the poor remained functional, of course, but for the wealthy, changing one’s fashion to follow, or build on, a social trend became a way of displaying one’s wealth, and for men, one’s masculinity. With the use of the newly popular button, fashions became more fitted and tight to the body, (no need to cut a garment loose so that it could fit over one’s head). Thus, the popular look became long, elegant, and youthful.

To achieve this look to an even greater degree, the waistline of the tunic was dropped to the hips to make the body look longer, and the hemline was shortened to make the legs look longer. By 1360 men’s hems rose to mid-thigh. This was a shocking event indeed, considering that the basic design of men’s hosiery had not changed. When a man sat, or mounted a horse, one might have quite a “regimental” view of his state of affairs. The clergy, (those who were not themselves following the fashion), as well as other guardians of public morals, were up in arms. In Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” the Parson criticizes these short garments for their revealing nature:

Alas! some of them show the very boss of the penis and the horrible pushed-out testicles that look like the malady of hernia in the wrapping of their hose, and the buttocks of such persons look like the hinder parts of a she-ape in the full of the moon. And moreover, the hateful proud members that they show by the fantastic fashion of making one leg of their hose white and the other red, make it seem that half of their privy members are flayed. And if it be that they divide their hose in other colors, as white and black, or white and blue, or black and red, and so forth, then it seems, by the variation of color, that the half of their privy members are corrupted by the fire of Saint Anthony, or by cancer, or by other such misfortune.

During the years 1420-40 tunic hemlines reached the top of the thigh and “the occasional glimpse of the male sexual organs that had caused such an outcry in the fourteenth century was now replaced by the permanent exposure of that zone.”

The next fashion trend was to go about in one’s hose and shirt, (the shirt being what we think of as a doublet with a chemise worn underneath), sans the tunic. Measures had to be taken! (Please pardon the pun.) In 1482 Edward IV introduced a law which forbade persons below the rank of Lord to expose their private parts by short doublets. People ignored it. Finally the public outcry became too fierce, and, since men would certainly not be inconvenienced by simply sewing the crotch seam shut, the codpiece was invented.

To begin with, it was simply a triangular piece of fabric tied at the three corners, or stitched at the bottom angle and tied at the top two angles, over the gap in the front of the hose. However, men quickly discovered, as they are wont to do, that what might have been revealed before as somewhat lacking in size and stature, could be easily artificially enhanced under the masque of this new fashion. Over the next century, the codpiece developed from a flat piece of fabric, to a pouch in which the “family jewels” rested in as protruding a manner as possible, to a padded pouch, to a very padded pouch, (some of them very oddly shaped), until finally the pouch idea was discarded altogether, along with any pretense to function, and large padded shapes of bizarre dimensions were tied onto either hose or shirt, the “items of value” simply residing behind these bombastic shapes.


It has been assumed that the fashion of genital promotion was de rigeur, however, no thought appears to have been given to the possibility that the codpiece fashion developed because of necessity and not by whim. From 1495 onwards a pandemic of a new disease swept across Europe and was a great plague. The disease caused foul and large volumes of mixed pus and blood to be discharged from the genital organs and the swellings in the adjacent groin tissue. The mess would require bulky woolen wads and woven cloth bandages to be applied, distorting the whole of the genital area and the lower abdomen.

The new disease was syphilis, and in all probability was not a new disease; there are descriptions of illnesses involving the fundamental findings for the diagnosis of syphilis from ancient times, though it is most often assumed to have traveled back from the Americas with Columbus’s men.

Though syphilis may have added to the popularity of the codpiece, one need to only look to gay men’s fashion today to see how we still like to accentuate the penis. Whether it’s Andrew Christian or CN-2, underwear marketed mostly to gay men do their best to accentuate the crotch area.


Monday, Monday…


It seems that most Mondays I have the worst time coming up with a blog topic. This Monday is no exception. Maybe it’s because I dread returning to school on Monday…I have no idea why. Anyway, I’ve got nothing. I racked my brain and I just came up with nothing. Sometimes, I can start writing and come up with something as the ideas begin to flow. Apparently, this was not one of those times.

“Writing is something that you don’t know how to do. You sit down and it’s something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It’s beyond me, because you yourself don’t even know if you’re going to be able to. I’m always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I’ll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don’t go up there to write. The typewriter’s up there. If it doesn’t start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust.”
― Charles Bukowski

Ode to Masturbation


Ode to Masturbation
By Ocean Vuong

Pearled semen trickles from vessel
as the silence of possibilities dries
on the floor and inside my palm.

Even now, as the body trembles
from the pleasure of its making,
somewhere, a plane
is pregnant with death.

When starlight sparkling
on the surface of falling bombs
and flames turn muscle
into pompous, skin into ash,

the sound of a scream in mid-death,
straining to push the weight
of last words, can you blame the hand
for craving the softest parts?

Reach down, there is music
in the body, play yourself
like a lyre, insert the finger
into sanctum, feel
the quivering of crevices, skin
palpitating ripples as if stretched
over drumbeats.

Reach down. Let explosions be muted
by climaxes, the Holy Water
between your thighs flow
into rivulets of cleansing,
let it rinse the soil of drying blood.
Reach down, there is music
in the cunt, the cock,
the asshole. Grab your balls—
that grenade of white flowers.

Reach down as fathers destroy the sons
and daughters of other fathers,
as faces emerge from wombs
and exiled into memory.
Reach down as a thousand I love you’s
fail to reach the man caressing
the trigger’s black tongue.

Because even now, in a city shimmering
from shards of broken halos,
we are not holy, only beautiful.
Because even now as I kneel to wipe
this cooling pool of sperm,

down the hall—a man
is beating madness into a child’s skull,
and not once will I ask
my unborn children
to forgive
this hand.


Born in 1988 in Saigon, Vietnam, Ocean Vuong was raised by women (a single mother, aunts, and a grandmother) in housing projects throughout Hartford, Connecticut and received his B.A. in English Literature from Brooklyn College.

He is the author of two chapbooks: No (YesYes Books, 2013) and Burnings (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2010), which was an American Library Association’s Over The Rainbow selection and has been taught widely in universities, both in America and abroad. A recipient of a 2013 Pushcart Prize, other honors include fellowships from Kundiman, Poets House, and the Saltonstall Foundation For the Arts, as well as an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Connecticut Poetry Society’s Al Savard Award. Poems appear in Denver Quarterly, Quarterly West, Passages North, Guernica, The Normal School, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Best of the Net 2012 and the American Poetry Review, which awarded him the 2012 Stanley Kunitz Prize. Work has also been translated into Hindi, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian.



This is a totally off the wall post, but I have that prerogative on occasion. I have a thing for nipple piercings on men. It’s the only piercing I ever thought I might get, though I doubt I will ever get the nerve to do so. I think the first time I ever got turned on to a nipple piercing was a scene on a TV show. (I don’t remember what show it was but I vaguely remember it being on the Sci-Fi Channel. It was several years ago before they changed to the SyFy Channel.) One of the characters in the show, not even a main character, was making out with a girl and she sucked on his nipple piercing taking it into her mouth and pulling on his nipple. I remember thinking how incredibly sexy that looked and how incredible it must have felt. It turned me on enough that I do remember that I watched the whole series (even though I can’t remember what it was) because this was the first scene on the premiere episode.

With that being said, this is more of a mental turn on. I’ve never been with a guy who had a nipple piercing. I do find them incredibly sexy though, especially on a well-defined chest. Nice pectoral muscles on a guy, gets me every time. They don’t have to be super defined either, but just slightly defined. It’s just one of those things that drives me wild, and I just felt like sharing that bit of information, even if it might be TMI.

So tell me, is there something that totally turns you on and you can’t explain why? What drives you wild?

Dear Friends

Dear Friends
Edwin Arlington Robinson

Dear friends, reproach me not for what I do,
Nor counsel me, nor pity me; nor say
That I am wearing half my life away
For bubble-work that only fools pursue.
And if my bubbles be too small for you,
Blow bigger then your own: the games we play
To fill the frittered minutes of a day,
Good glasses are to read the spirit through.

And whoso reads may get him some shrewd skill;
And some unprofitable scorn resign,
To praise the very thing that he deplores;
So, friends (dear friends), remember, if you will,
The shame I win for singing is all mine,
The gold I miss for dreaming is all yours.

If you are familiar with the poems of Edwin Arlington Robinson then you probably know him for his poems “Richard Cory” or “Miniver Cheevy.” If you aren’t familiar with these two poems, I did a post about them nearly two years ago. In that particular post, I took these two poems and gave them a new personal meaning for me. I think that is the purpose of a lot of poetry. A poet may have a particular theme in mind when they write a poem, yet if it doesn’t resonate with the reader, then it really is just a personal exercise for the poet. Yet sometimes they have a special meaning for those who read them. Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poems always have a special meaning for me.

In “Dear Friends,” Arlington is explaining his craft of writing poetry. You can just picture his friends bemoaning his writing career. He was not particularly successful until later In life. It’s very sweet – their care – and very misdirected which is why I like his response to them in this poem – it’s still sweet and kind, but also firm as he says “this is my passion, so let me be.” As a teacher, people often wonder how I can stand my job. Yet, I truly love teaching. As Arlington says in the last three lines:

So, friends (dear friends), remember, if you will,
The shame I win for singing is all mine,
The gold I miss for dreaming is all yours.

Teaching is not about the money I make. I could do other things and make more money, yet my passion is to share my knowledge. So when someone disparages my career choice, I know that t was the calling that I was given. Yes, sometimes I might have felt like stepping outside my classroom and yelling, “This is not a classroom; it is Hell with fluorescent lighting!” Yet, this year I’ve taken a more positive approach, and it is slowly bit surely going to make this school year better.

I think, for those of us who tend to find their dreams at odds with popular tastes and are constantly torn between being true to themselves as square pegs and resigning themselves to whittling away at the corners in order to fit round holes, Robinson’s poem will resonate a lot. Not just as a teacher might I find it hard to fit expectations, but also as a gay man. Because I grew up in the South, there were certain expectations of me: get an education, get a good job, get married, have a family. Yet, I don’t fit those perfectly, nor will I ever. I am who I am, and that makes me the person I want to be. We should always remember that.

The Joys of Babysitting


Last night for the first time, my sister let me babysit my niece who turns six years old today. I’ve never understood why my sister does not let me babysit, but she never has. It’s always kind of hurt my feelings, but after my mother made a big deal over it, she finally asked me to babysit while she and her husband went out for their anniversary. It’s hard to believe that she’s been married to that asshole for fifteen years.

My niece was so excited to have Uncle Joe spending the evening with her that she was beside herself with anticipation. She loves her Uncle Joe almost as much as I love her. When I got there she wanted to play school. She is obviously liking school, even if her parents were afraid she wouldn’t. Why else would she want to play school, if she didn’t enjoy it? So we played school; I cooked supper; we watched a little Disney Jr; we drew shapes and pictures; and I read to her. We had a fantastic time.

I was exhausted when I left, but also exhilarated at getting a chance to spend some one-on-one time with my beautiful, sweet, and intelligent niece. We had such a great time. I love that little girl.

P.S. The picture above is of Ryan Phillippe with his daughter Ava Elizabeth, spending quality time out at the beach.



The latest book on my must read list, plus starting back to school this week has left me wanting for sleep.  I started reading Todd Gregory’s Need on Saturday, and it’s been quite hard to put down.  Todd Gregory is better known as Greg Herren, who many of you know is my favorite author.  Todd Gregory is the pseudonym that Herren uses for his more erotic novels.  The main character of Need is Cord Logan, who readers were first introduced to in the short story “Blood on the Moon” in the Midnight Hunger anthology of gay vampire stories, so I read that story again before reading Need.  Need is a stand alone book, but it really helps if you read Cord’s backstory first.

At the beginning of Need, Cord Logan has only been a vampire for two years, and is still adapting, trying to figure out who he is and what he wants. Haunted by what happened to him the last few nights he was human, he has turned his back on his fraternity of vampires. Returning to New Orleans, a chance encounter with an old friend from his human life triggers a disturbing chain of events. And now Cord’s erotic journey of self-discovery becomes even more lethal, as an ancient society of supernatural beings must intervene to save the vampire race – and all humanity.
Need is erotically charged throughout, and some might complain that it has more sex scenes than substance, but the sex scenes actually do add to the story, which is what a good sex scene should do.  I admit though that some of the scenes seem a little too gratuitous, but they are a hell of a lot of fun to read.
Also, like many gay novels, Gregory creates a fascinating, lovable, and snarky female character, much as he does as Greg Herren with the characters Paige Tourneur and Venus Casanova in his Chance McLeod mysteries.  This time the character is Rachel, a female vampire with razor sharp wit, that I couldn’t help but love.
The ending appear to me that Need has potential to go into a series. The curse that lead Cord from baby vampire making poor decisions to the very different vampire Cord is at the end of the book opened some interesting possibilities. I would love to read more of Cord if this did turn into a series. The events at the end definitely have my curiosity piqued. 
There are parts of the boom also that feels somewhat repetitive and in some parts scenes seem to contradict something we have already learned, but I can forgive that, hopefully you can too. 
The major drawback of this book for me, and this is for me personally, is that Herren/Gregory seems to have a deep seeded hatred of the Church of Christ.  Both Chance McLeod and Cord Logan’s characters were raised in harsh, fundamentalist Church of Christ congregations.  I tend to be able to get over it because I just replace Church of Christ with another denomination.  It’s hard for me to read such criticisms of a church I deeply love, but then I was raised in a very loving church.  I have never found out why the Churches of Christ make appearances in Herren/Gregory’s writing.  I can only assume that Herren was raised in a harsh Church of Christ, very unlike the one I was raised in.  One day, I hope to have the chance to ask him that question.  It certainly will never stop me from reading his books.
PS If you have emailed me in the last week, I will get back to you this weekend.  With preparations for school starting and school itself, I have been too tired at the end of the day to respond to emails.  I will though.  I also blame Todd Gregory’s Need for my lack of response because I’ve read each night until I have to force myself to go to bed.  So please forgive me.