Wednesday, June 30, 2010

my spine is the bassline

No Guts, No Blood: No Brains At All
My spine is the bassline, and the top line
could be broken glass
all amusing views of those better men
dirty habits' hand on the purses' strings

i hopefully have come through a few month ordeal with a repeat of drama. it is amazing to me how quickly i can become triggered by others. these others are usually gay men, too. i must have a deep-rooted distrust of a certain type of gay guy. i don't know quite what the origin of this is, but i do know that it is real (or not) and it cuts deep when it makes an appearance.

i have somehow made progress since the first resurgence, but it still affects me enough to have made a location shift at my job and hold me in frustration for these last several months. i suppose i need to determine exactly what is required for me to feel safer. i may not always have the luxury of alternate respite. but if it hits again, i know that the pain and uncomfortability is so sharp and so encompassing that it is nearly impossible to see beyond it.

nonetheless, i am getting closer to insight. this incident has only lasted about 3 months. i have found a way through and can see the light. i do believe that my instincts are right-on here, btw. i think that there are personalities that don't care and are self-focused that don't have my best interest in sight at all. but this is not a requirement. nor should it be an expectation. i should expect myself to take any hits that come my way. and if i step back, i see that i can. those hits just stir echoes of my past and it's excruciating.

but change is happening. i have made my decision and am making my moves. the universe has smiled once again and opened a space for me to feel safe.

today i am harking back once again to those 80's of my history. there was a "no-wave" movement out of NYC and many bands claimed to be connected. this band- shriekback- did indeed seem to qualify as part of that movement. dave allen of "gang of four" was part of this ensemble and this tune got underground radio airplay as well as having a short but powerful lifespan in clubland. have a  listen to "my spine is the bassline".

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

touching home

photo credit ...

Last Friday, i was invited to see a small independent film that was written, directed, and starred in by twin brothers Logan and Noah Miller. They grew up in Marin County California with the burden of their father being an alcoholic- well a drunk, really. They found refuge playing baseball and entertained the idea of having careers in professional baseball. Those dreams were crushed along with others. This reality can be devastating to any child, but maybe because there were two of these guys, or maybe because their father loved them in spite of his illness, they have managed to emerge from their situations with dreams and drive in tact it would seem.

The brothers also attended the film showing and participated in a Q & A afterward. I got the sense that this had been a real journey for these guys. The process of creating a film had most definitely been a labor of love and of exorcising demons. They discussed their father with compassion and respect, no doubt in spite of the years of let downs, broken promises, breached boundaries, and squelched dreams. Perhaps that upbringing trained them in a way for the grueling task of writing a screenplay, securing actors, funding, locations, financing, and distribution.

And they have accomplished something that so so many young persons (and otherwise) have dreamed to do since the onset of moving pictures. They have completed a film and delivered an honest and intimate picture of living and loving someone with addiction. The performances (including the twins') are understated, believable, and compelling. It was frequent for me to forget that I wasn't watching the story of someone I knew. Ed Harris, Brad Dourf, and Robert Forster make up the cast majority besided the brothers playing themselves. This is a quiet film, but has a lot to say during the pauses.

I went with a friend, both of us being in recovery. My friend seemed frustrated because the story wasn't more about the father. But for me, this reminded me of what I have learned all during my recovery, It's not always about me. This story is about the peripheral and collateral impact that alcholism can and does have on the people who live with and love persons who are afflicted.

I would recommend this film. Again, it is small and it is NOT a blockbuster. But it is an American tale (both the subject and the making of it) that deserves attention and reflection. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

talking loud and clear

photo credit..nils vinils

Opposite and opposite
Decisions are reversed
Facing one another
With words that couldn't hurt
With every little word
You're getting closer to me
Talking loud and clear
Saying just what we feel today

it's interesting to mark the progression of my own life as well as the bloggers i have met since i started this journey 3 years ago. i don't know if i have progressed at all stylistically, but i know that professionally, i have morphed into a counselor, (and hopefully a caregiver). this is not what i had intended, but it is where my journey has taken me.

i started writing about recovery, and just experimenting with examining my thoughts and feelings during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th years of my sobriety. i remember the 1st commenter on my blog kickintina. he was a man in utah struggling with his own meth use and had sent me a comment on his way to rehab- which didn't take that time. but i think his next attempt worked, and he has been sober and directed towards sanity since. he's working, he has put all his legal troubles behind him (that i know of). there are a few similar stories to these. one man in san francisco, a very talented writer from la, an activist from toronto, a very sweet schoolteacher from south africa who now lives in taiwan( he didn't do meth, he drank), and i have befriended a recovering meth addict/blogger from atlanta-now residing in ft. lauderdale.

with all this, it's hard not to believe that there is something more similar in our journeys than just recovery and blogging. i think we might be part of a larger trend or movement within our culture. i haven't gotten it all figured out yet, but i secretly hope that we may be helping light the way to sanity and self-acceptance for gay men that has been without light for so long. but i don't talk much with any of them anymore. we have done our collective dances together and have moved on to our next performances. still i loved them all.

this week had me feeling wrung. i only worked 4 days, but realized that i needed to change some things to remain sane. the wheels have been put into motion for this change, and i hope to know something before the end of the month. i thought i might have to change my career direction too, because the price of working in the field i do- hiv and substance counseling- is proving to be much more costly emotionally than i had ever considered. i seem to ignite the ire of a select few around me consistently. i am not sure if this is because they have their own agendas-as do i- and i somehow interfere with theirs. i am thinking this is part of it. and i also think that i have developed connections and confidence on my own dime, and this is unsettling for some.

what i have to work on is spontaneity in my dealing with blips. when confrontation arises, which it does, i need to address it in a timely fashion. perhaps this will help to prevent some situations that have been painful from reoccurring. but that's gonna be a hike.

i have a quiet weekend ahead. on tuesday i am doing a presentation on meth and its effects to a mostly hispanic agency and am looking forward to it. this is a kind of outreach that i have begun that i enjoy. at least i know i like to talk.

i went to see a small film called touching home. it was tasty. written and directed by twin brothers, it is their story growing up with an alcoholic father. the were at the screening and had a q&a afterward. funny- they finish each others sentences. almost like 2 parts of a bigger whole..

i am feeling nostalgic- probably most of the time- but i thought i'd share some ancient stuff from my dance hall days that weren't the most commercial.. but i still love's omd - orchestral maneuvers in the dark- with "talking loud and clear"

OMD - Talking Loud And Clear by One From The Vaults

Thursday, June 24, 2010

a rebours

In the novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray", Wilde has his main character reading often from a collection of the same book that is covered in different colored bindings- so that the color would suit any mood he was in. That book was "A Rebours" by Joris-Karl Huysman.  The title translates to "Against Nature".

The best-known example of fin-de-siècle decadence, this novel has been banned and expurgated for years. (We suggest that readers not undertake this book until they have attained the age of 65!) A translation by Robert Baldick ("Against Nature") in the Penguin series is convenient to read and widely available, but we now present a public domain English translation on the World Wide Web, as part of our project to prepare for the coming millennium. A version in the original French is now online at ABU: la Bibliothèque Universelle. (Look for Huysmans under "auteurs".)

presently, i find myself struggling with my own nature. i have always decidedly (and impulsively) acted on instinct. i have mostly trusted my intuition and gotten through most situations. that is not to say that i haven't encountered some (as well as left behind) more than just some collateral damage.

but in a quest to grow spiritually, i am slowly learning to think before i act. this sounds so simple, i know, however first impressions are often superficial. i have been reacting with fear first for most of my life. it has served me fairly well up to this point. i am sure my first friend fear has helped to get me to this juncture and age in my life. no small feat considering some of the very treacherous adventures and interactions that i have surfed.

once again i find myself in a situation that i have initially reacted with fear. but it has not been friendly to me. the fear which so often would fade with a whiskey or two, doesn't do the same dance without the booze. instead, the fear looms and begins to grow like ivy on an iron grate, twisting and turning and changing the appearance of a thing without much notice.

a part of my life has become choked by this growth, and i am trapped in a situation that is toxic. i can't breathe, and i wonder how much i must endure in order to participate in this part of my life. how much should doing what i am doing cost me?

my instinct tells me to run. this has consistently done the trick for me, and taken me from point a to point b. but then there's that collateral damage thing. staying and walking through fear is not my nature at all. i am very well versed in the exit. but staying... whew!

i am here in the dark, not wanting to do what i always do,-run-,  trembling with fear inside, and wondering what will happen next. grasping behind me, fervently trying to find something to hold on to, something to give me a clue as to what's next. something to reconnect me with those things i cannot touch right now- trust and faith..

Monday, June 21, 2010

coming up easy

i had breakfast with my friend alex today at hi-rise.. it's a new sorta deli located in lodo. i love the place actually. it's down the block from SNOOZE which always has a long wait, and i just think hi rise is much more fun and easier to manage... and i like doing things a little differently. always have...

we talked quite a while about how life is progressing. he has been sober about a year longer than me, yet sometimes i think he is miles ahead of me. he is struggling with many of the same issues i find myself in a quandary over. living life on life's terms is how it could easily be said. but the living is not quite so easy sometimes. we both agreed that things are much better now than they were when we were fucked up all the time, but that doesn't stop us from wanting everything to be just the way we want it now.

damn there is so much wisdom in the understanding and application of this. i know the things i am worried about are friggin fantasies, yet my crazy brain keeps drifting to the what-ifs and stepping onto the platform of crazy. and i do it repeatedly and  as second-nature. then i also wonder if i have spent so many years living in drama, both external AND internal, that maybe i just go to crazy places in my head because i am wired to do just that. just like a betsy-wetsy doll.

anyway, the validation i got from my pal today is enough to get me through a few more days. i am doing better, no matter how uncomfortable it feels sometimes. and if i am crazy, at least i am TRYING to get better, which seems a nice departure from all the crazy people i encounter who AREN'T trying to change anything.

this is my favorite single from the last Paolo Nutini CD. I love the lyric-" it was in love i was created and in love is how i hope i die".... i  wholeheartedly second that....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

love come down

Love come down
all the way down
no sleep last night
been dreamin' of you
please hold me tight
'cause i can't help the way that i feel
i just can't help the way that i feel
thief in the night
you took my heart
now danger's in sight
'cause i can't help the way that i feel
i just can't help the way that i feel

there are aspects of being a "sissy" that have caused me grief my entire life. i am not speaking of being gay, but more about being somewhat effeminate- less now than when i was younger. today, on Pride Day, i find myself thinking about what it has meant being gay all these years. i know that "coming out" was a real event and i was thrilled when i had stepped beyond the glass closet and found myself inside with the rest of my tribe. at the same time however, i found myself distanced by many because of my  effeminate mannerisms and characteristics. i would imagine this is most easily explained by internalized homophobia. but on a spiritual level, this understanding takes time and work to reach. initially, it just felt like more hate pointed in my direction, and reaffirmed the notion that i was, indeed, unlovable and not what others wanted.

this is a poignant place for me to arrive on this Pride day. i still struggle rigorously- even after 36 years being out- with this same theme. and sadly, i have turned my insecurities outward and aimed them at others over the years. maybe, i still do periodically. i hung out w/ a friend last evening that i dated for a very short time about 16 years ago. never has there been a question that he cares about me. never have i felt judged or as if i might be an embarrassment. to the contrary, he seems to admire and respect the parts of myself that i have struggled with all these years.

this perspective that he seems to hold about me is where i would like to find myself, too. the deep-rooted shame that has accompanied me through this life may no longer be of service. maybe  it is long overdue for a departure. i don't quite know how i will work toward this, but i do completely believe it is the direction i have to go.


Shame is not the same as guilt.
When we feel guilt, it's about something we did.
When we feel shame, it's about who we are.
When we feel guilty we need to learn
that it's OK to make mistakes.
When we feel shame we need to learn
that it's OK to be who we are!......... more about shame here

as i sat with my friend, i realized what a gift this across-the-board acceptance is to me. i didn't ask him for it, but he has it completely- no questions asked. and i realize that i need to strive towards more of this naked acceptance in my world. truthfully, i struggle quite a lot with my own self-judgement as much as i am challenged by the rest of the world. now all i need is another 50 years or so...:)

Prayer to Overcome Shame

There are dark places in my Being, God. There are memories, circumstances, and scars that are unspeakable to me as I come before you. Heal my broken places, Dear God, and help me to feel my Wholeness. Bring me into the Light with You, God, and let me feel my fullness of Being as a Child of God.... from the prayer goddess

Friday, June 18, 2010

Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Chicken with Croutons

I had this for dinner last evening.. I can't remember being so pleasantly surprised by a meal in quite some time.

Lemon Chicken with Croutons

Recipe By : Ina Garten - Barefoot in Paris

1 roasting chicken -- (4 to 5-pound)

1 large yellow onion -- sliced

Good olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 lemons -- quartered

2 tablespoons unsalted butter -- melted

6 cups bread cubes (1 baguette or round boule) -- (3/4-inch)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Take the giblets out of the chicken and wash it inside and out. Remove any

excess fat and leftover pinfeathers. Toss the onion with a little olive

oil in a small roasting pan. Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the

inside of the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the lemons inside the

chicken. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush it

with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs

together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the


Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut

between the leg and the thigh. Cover with foil and allow to sit at room

temperature for 15 minutes. (The onions may burn, but the flavor is good.)

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until

very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing

frequently, until nicely browned, 8 to

10 minutes. Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon

salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the croutons on a serving platter.

Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the

croutons. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

round here

Step out the front door like a ghost

Into the fog where no one notices

The contrast of white on white.

And in between the moon and you

Angels get a better view

Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.

And I walk in the air between the rain, through myself and back again

Where? I don't know

Well, Maria says she's dying

Through the door I hear her crying

Why? I don't know
have been very busy working 3 jobs these days. i work as a substance abuse counselor at a public health hospital here and work with persons with hiv. i also teach DUI classes 3x week and work with highly ambivalent people who may be seeing a substance issue in the light for the 1st time.  i also work with as a cater waiter with private chefs around town. of course the catering is the most lucrative position. it pays the best and the work is fairly steady for part time. i work with some extremely talented people, eat very well, and get to visits homes and neighborhoods that i normally wouldn't see.

i actually love this diversity. i don't think i could ever revert to being a server on a full time basis and retain my sanity. but i also think that working parties and small events affords me the luxury of letting go of some of the serious qualities of my day job. there are definitely people with problems and many of them cross my path. i love this job- or at least the possibilities it holds. my co-workers are mostly eccentric and that is very comfortable place for me to be. and the people i work with as a counselor continue to touch my heart.

i am still learning that "being there" sometimes needs to be enough. this continues to be a lesson that challenges my "fixer" sensibility. but i'm tryin'...

i  heard this song last night at a party and remembered how much i liked it....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

play ball

in the camp film "twilight" bela is invited to play baseball with the cullen family during a thunderstorm, as that is the only time they can really play during the daytime not only because the cracks of thunder drown out the incredibly large "crack" sound their bats make hitting the ball, but also as the dark clouds block the direct sunlight from landing on them. i find this particular scene from the film not only very stylized with a monotone colorized quality, but it also connects to something in my psyche.. now i can see that there is more than an obvious reason why.

i have been constantly had ptsd triggered since i got sober. it is powerful, it is numbing, and it's almost completely crippling for me. the feelings that shroud me during these periods cause me to withdraw almost completely from my life. i become obsessed with personal safety and a cloak of anger circles me which keeps adrenalin flowing and helps to keep me in a watchdog state. and when i am paranoid and angry i feel safe somehow.

god, ain't this twisted? seems so to me. so many times these "triggers" have come and i have continued to try to play my game of life without any of the sunlight of spirit present. i am acting on instinct, and my brain is leading the way. i have pre-determined how these limbic pathways travel, and on cue, they perform like a domino setup.

it kinda goes like this. i will be in a regular kinda state and then some strange thing, usually a remark or an action by someone else will cause me to go numb. i will sit in the situation for a few minutes, but start to detach and almost as if a cloak of invisibility covers me. then i will physically withdraw and isolate for a bit. i will go over the situation over and over in my mind. i will justify by own words or behaviors. and i will find anger and when i find this anger, i feel as if i have found home. it's not physically comfortable, but the uncomfortable qualities are very familiar... almost primal. 

and i may stay like this for days or weeks.. sometimes longer. the rest of my life will come back into focus, but the interactions and my relationship with that person will stop living and become still life, just like a fetus in formaldehyde at the state fair freak show.

only now, after several years of clean time, am i able to simply recognize this pattern. i am not clear what all causes it. i know it is primal and began at a very young age. i am sure this is how i survived most of my tween and adult years. it is hardly a wonder that i turned to getting loaded to ease my way through. but now the challenge is to find new ways through it. not unsurprising is the fact that my old coping technique eventually failed and i feel blessed that recognition of this pattern is commencing. one upside to all this is the existence of a desire to let it go. now if i can only find a map to get me out of here.

and so here i am, periodically lost, with sanity sometimes slipping away into oblivion like the mists of avalon. and when this happens, it is very much like having to play baseball in a thunderstorm. so many distractions and very little sunlight to help guide my way. thank goodness for hope.

a tiny flame arose tonight
and in it spoke of deep sorrow and pain
a tiny flame arose tonight
it started off as one
then grew to two and three and four
the tiny flame of sorrow and pain
grew into a light of love and peace and tenderness
and now together the flame will purge the sorrow and burn the hate
and send it all away
so that for this night the tender of the flame
may rest in peace

Dana .... reposted from

i love this scene from twilight and i love the accompanying song from "muse"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Invisible Light

Light can be gentle, dangerous, dreamlike, bare, living, dead, misty, clear, hot, dark, violet, springlike, falling, straight, sensual, limited, poisonous, calm and soft. ~Sven Nykvist

Scissor Sisters Take Me Away......

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Festivus 2010

Celebrants of the holiday sometimes refer to it as "Festivus for the rest of us," a saying taken from the O'Keefe family traditions and popularized in the Seinfeld episode to describe Festivus as "another way" to celebrate the holiday season without participating in its pressures and commercialism.

The year 2010 marks the 41st celebration of Pride. Our celebratory practices have changed little over the years. We, as Gay and Lesbian citizens of this nation (and the world) still take to the streets with the spirit of Festivus and liberation where it all began. My observation is that each year we still “come out” with our real selves after years of denial and living in the shadows. Street celebrations, marches, parades, and block festivals mark this rite of passage that most of us have gone through in our journey to find our tribe(s) of choice.

I came out in 1974 (I was 16) with just a suitcase, low-rise hip-huggers, platform shoes and enough train fare to get me to the large urban center nearest me. I no longer felt that I could masquerade as something else and the inner desire to run with my pack was just too hypnotic to resist. I left home and never looked back until 25 when a death in the family called to me almost as compellingly to return to my tribe of origin.

I now find myself moving through yet another quadrant in the medicine wheel of life. My needs for celebration and homage have gentrified. I will be 36 years openly gay and feel no struggles or challenges with most of the accessories of that lifestyle. My Queer sensibility is no surprise to anyone in my life- work, family, neighbors, friends, business associates. I have worked diligently to acquire this peace of mind in my life.

that's me  in 1985

The same is true for my HIV Positive status. I seroconverted in 1985. It is no one’s business, I understand. And if people don’t want to know, then they should forget it or not listen. But I have learned living in Denver that if I don’t speak its name (HIV) then perhaps very few people will. And I don’t believe this is healthy or helpful to new persons testing positive every year or those putting themselves in at-risk situations. People acquire HIV mostly by NOT discussing it, so supporting THAT practice of silence seems incredibly foolhardy and negligent.

Besides, HIV Positive Americans have contributed greatly to the LGBT movement. I think to GMHC, ACT-UP, Pedro Zamora, Peter Staley, Larry Kramer,  Rock Hudson (albeit without intention) to name a few. These brave and determined individuals moved us as a culture from victims to empowerment with anger, desperation, and determination as the fuel. The intimate doctor visit forever changed because of the concept of individual responsibility when dealing with one’s provider. Activities such as asking specific diagnostic and treatment option questions, waiting for explanations, and offering feedback to primary care physicians were rarely seen pre-AIDS, but are now commonplace due to these groundbreaking predecessors. They believed and saw often that Silence most certainly Equaled Death.

I have co-existed with a culture of silence both about homosexuality, HIV, mental health issues, and substance abuse and seen that silence create great damage. This year as I partake of Festivus, there will be room for not only LGBT citizens of all shapes and colors, but room for these others too. I expect my community  to stand with my family of choice around issues very personal, just as I stand in solidarity with them.  Pride represents a world with NO STIGMA and NO SHAME for both lgbt citizens AND for my poz brothers and sisters as well as those in recovery. And I celebrate this wondrous occasion without the sponsorship of a corporation or a product.  Happy Pride…I will celebrate with Pride the legacy I enjoy that was left so graciously by my predecessors. Those brave and bigger-than-life souls that paved the way for my easy path did not face their fears so that I would be afraid to move forward. They fought back and shouted and marched in the streets so that they might live and that I might live too. And it worked beautifully in some cases! This is where I find Pride this year!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


today's post rings in a new chapter for me. and it is a needed new direction. so i hope to bring some of myself that has been hiding in the back of the closet. i found myself in somewhat of a public eye in my professional life and suddenly my truth seemed unacceptable, or at least not appropriate. and part of me knows that unless i live in my truth, i am not living at all.

this is the challenge. the marathon-triathlon, decathlon, whatever, has begun. so i hope that there will be readers now and again to witness my life for me, at least in written form. i will write when i can. i will write when i am inspired. i will write so i can figure out what to say.

i got sober-clean about 5 1/2 years ago. my life has been a patchwork of incredible miracles and opportunity as well as the uncovering of shadowy parts of my past that i had never allowed to be brought to light. i have somehow managed to cut a path with my journey, but have definitely incurred some sharp blows and opened old wounds at the same time. it's exhausting and exhilarating, but i save time for great food and fantastic music, and love to admire a good photograph whenever i can.

no longer the living dead, i have been revived.