étude ŕ ipod
i sleep with you.
you sing me to sleep.
i walk with you.
you time my stride.
i talk to you.
you reply sweetly.
i write to you.
you only write my name.
i give you some things to remember.
you give them back with something to think about.
i love you.
you only want to marry me.
the next few entries are going to review my very favorite sites.
i was very flattered to see this bit pop up in my referrer log. whoever writes tommyslim.com marked me as a parent.
i've sent one or two emails to this domain, blind, because i admire the writing so much, but mostly to dispute the parentage: if anything, the work on this site is better than anything i could do, a more elegant resolution to the problems i have set up for myself, no matter that his blog was only started last may. the messages always came back "this domain does not recognize you" or something like that. until recently there was no email link. there's no description. it's all to be found in the story, and the author wants you to get that, even when there's no other writing on the page.
as you might deduce from my own writing, there are inherently unique characteristics of this format, that of the blog, which i find exciting to explore.
the first being the opportunity for time-delay-literature. tommyslim exploits this in a way that i admire for his(?) discipline and skill: the pieces are posted, for weeks or months i'm never really sure. there are no archives. there are no time/date stamps. your only recourse is to remember as much as you can of what happen before, without having the book's pages in front of you to remind you. like the myriad of rooms and doorways and mirrored doors in those too-large and too-many-rooms-morningside-height apartments he writes about, the passages in his writings can never be seen as a whole, as a complete figure. they happen in your mind, where a book happens, but they are delayed, the way dramatic passages happen in our lives. there's never two months of continuous action in my life: there are actionless weeks, then fateful phonecalls, then a worrisome evening, then a drunken weekend, then a little resolution, then forgetfulness, then a month of absolutely nothing going on and complete listlessness. tommyslim, as far as i've been reading, has done this since day fucking one, and that alone is worth a cup of coffee.
the second being that of how the diary format throws into doubt the distinction of nonfiction/fiction. a public, real-time diary is prone to embellishment, embroidery, and fact-changing if only to protect the innocent, alive, and friendly (even setting aside the postmoderns' argument that anything written is always already fiction). but fictional accounts are also doubtful: a life so described, as if spanned over periods of time both short and long, is plausibly real. his fiction(?) does this brilliantly. tommyslim may be tommy, or his secret BF, or his wife, or his children. the exacting detail and side-stories (like finding the old spices) are too idiosyncratic to be seen as fabricated. they merely need to be written to create a powerful territory of doubt that makes the story move simultaneously in the two realms of biography/fiction.
the third is the writing of sex and desire as a way of talking about identity. no matter how we may ignore it, it's part of our lives. and this author appears to enjoy exploring the possibilities allowed by eliminating the taboo about writing about one's own(?) sexlife in real(?)-time. sorry for the algebra-equation sentences.
the fourth is the implicit criticism of the usefulness of a blog in sorting through the web's information. most personal websites don't do this in any disciplined way (with the possible exception of east/west's current incarnation), so this surely can't be a point of distinction: what makes them interesting is the personality behind them, and how the blog itself constructs that identity. by eliminating the links, including self-links like archives, and simply creating a story, tommyslim is exploring how to create a fuller identity, if not several identities at once. this is a brilliant riposte to those who would bother to distinguish between blog and journal. there, i said it. i just never believed it was about that, and it's satisfying to believe that tommyslim apparently doesn't either.
tommyslim, please write me.
in the experience that was emerging, i had only come out a few weeks before, and hadn't quite gotten over that first come-out-of-the-closet-crush. and i had never had sex with a man before. it was fall 1996.
somehow word had gotten to me that chris, a guy i was in graduate school with, thought i was cute, and that same day i dropped by his desk. we casually spoke about being at pyramid on friday, 80s night at pyramid, aka 1984, the very party that had blown my not-out mind only four months earlier at its earlier location, crowbar. the party, newly transplanted, was a little fun still, but the monotheists of white t-shirts and jeans and dense parties were rapidly dissipating.
there were no commitments on his end, just that we both mentioned we may or may not go there in lieu of anything better to do. gay men in new york city in our mid-twenties: high school kids bored and horny, incapable of an honest plan about what we want, and like when we were in high school, we do not drive anywhere because we are without cars. and i couldnt really dance well enough to do the 'i'm being ironic, not stupid'. and i wasn't mature enough to understand that there's really no irony possible in dancing, at least the kind of dancing i enjoy, the kind that causes me to lose my mind, causes a connection to the crowd that has nothing to do with looking. i was an adolescent.
i arrived at pyramid early, of course, in the hopes that chris would show up. of course, i was too backward to actually know where interesting parties may be, thereby increasing the chances i had of crossing paths with him. time was a little, barely-drawn line for me, a tunnel lit with blacklight, my eyes never adjusting, depth perception fading, and somehow completely unerotic by trying so hard to be sexed. i could taste my first true taste of expectation that night.
chris showed up when the action started, around 12:30. he was looking around the dance floor. i had taken a beer break in a dark corner, and i had the opportunity to observe him for a few minutes before he spied me. he was looking around the crowd, and as he could not find who he was looking for, he would shift position in the room, looking more hurriedly for who he was looking for.
even then, having had romantic encounters with fewer people than i have fingers, i knew immediately he was looking for me. he was also looking beautiful by looking like a true believer: he wore a white tee shirt and jeans. under that uniform his body was like mine, but slightly more muscular, worked-out, and therefore more experienced, more fuckable. i felt a grip of childish embarrassment take hold of my throat, but the choking lasted only a moment. i finished my beer and walked over to him. his look of desperation disappeared behind a look of disinterest. high school. we began to dance.
after dancing like a fool with him for about 10 minutes, we made our way to the center of the dance floor. the bodies were around us, the way they had wrapped around me when i had gone to crowbar in may: the bodies were merging, into the music, into each other. we're turning japanese. the money's no good. if we took a holiday. the heat in that place was causing his small pecs to show through the tee, and i was magnetized by this. i stared, and got closer, the way i would with a prom date, trying not to touch sexually, but strangely wanting only to touch this beautifully wrapped person in front of me. i didn't know if this is how it was supposed to happen; i did know it was how i wanted it to happen. and right now, i wanted to touch another man, one that was a-sweat and immediate.
this one was smiling his wet grin at my obvious lust. he touched my tummy a little, smoothly part of his dancing. the tension relieved, i made sure my clumsy dancing caused my hands to touch his tummy too. we edged closer. we both zeroed in for a kiss, and sprung into intense liplock. my hands were all over his front side, his were on my butt. he grabbed it with a little shake, and just kept gliding his hands from my lower back to my ass.
we made out for what seemed like hours. the lip-spinning caused us to immediately ignore the music. the line curled in on itself, my little gray graphite time-line, and i was unable to move forward. i liked this: i was facing the only thing i wanted.
my friends were mildly scandalized; they all knew this was my first time kissing a man, and here i was doing a serious tongue-fuck on the dance floor, in front of them. i didnt care. i was completely taken in my the sensation: not knowing which direction i was facing, having him tongue my ear, having him tell me how cute i was, having the best necking session i'd ever imagined i could have. the line of time was getting smudged, blurring from a spiral into a cloudy mess: the hour of kissing him was more pleasurable than years of imagining it. i was having my coming-out validated by my desire, or, more specifically, validated by my ability to act on that desire. i was smiling, which means i looked silly, and i kept putting my hands in his pockets. he was the perfect dream of a man, and of myself: matured, beautiful, strong. and i could taste that he was going to introduce me to my new world of sex.
at some point, sometime after forever, he asked if i wanted to leave. we made our way to his place, walking through NYU. we kept stopping to neck, not in doorways or niches, but in the middle of the sidewalk. he kept saying how cute i was, before he'd kiss me. the room was still spinning. i never walked home from a bar: i just took the fucking 1/9 local to 116th street. the room had followed us, and every time we stopped, we were dancing again. at one corner, in front of a synagogue downtown, some kids drove by in a jeep and yelled 'faggots' at us as we deep-throated. my first gay taunt, on this night, but i did not care about this either: i felt safe with him.
and we went to his place. as i was exhausted from standing all night, and he was on the 6th floor of a walk-up, he carried me on his back all the way up. however, he didnt stop at the 6th floor, but took me to the roof. the building is just south of washington square park in line with 5th avenue, at thompson street. looking north was 5th avenue, over the arch at washington square. looking south, world trade center, framed by a deep-night moon. there were no buildings as tall as his building nearby, except a few NYU buildings that were dark, and so we could look all around at the city, as if the few stories had reconstituted the horizon at this level. i was wowed by the vista, it's effect undoubtedly calculated to stimulate another architect, or anyone who loves this city, for that matter. as i wondered at the WTC, musing that these buildings were really wonderful, he came up behind me, clutched me from behind, and pressed his hard crotch into me: "just like two big dicks, standing together." he tore me from my reverie, and i leaned back into him. he led me over to a concrete bench near the door, and unzipped my pants. this was late september, the 4 AM air was very cold, and the bench was freezing. when my dick hit the air, i shivered deeply. but perhaps i shook because he was stroking my belly and sucking me off in a rhythm that made both my mind and body wonder. between the bench, his tongue on my cock, his hands, and my buzz, i had uncontrollable shivers of cold, lust, tickle, and joy. i kept looking left, uptown, and right, downtown, and around at the taller buildings, still dark, but watching us nonetheless. yet again i didnt care: i was naked in new york, and i liked it. i resolved to do this more often. what had i been doing with my silly life all this time?
he kept at it for a long time, despite my inability to stay still. he carried me back down, but this time in his arms, like a bride. i was immediately placed in his bed, and we necked for a long time there. as morning wore on, he did some poppers, without me, and his hardness unwavering, he finally asked for what he wanted. "can i fuck you?" the sound of this startled me, the directness, the filthiness. but still it sounded fun: i had my pedal on the gas, and it was going to stay there. his dick seemed huge, much larger than mine, and was rock hard. condom, lube, put it in, FUCK, ouch. like all pleasurable experiences, it was something like pain at first, before it spun into something that felt good. after a little while, his dick fucking my virgin ass very hard, i realized that it was just the right size for my ass: big, but not too big. all the way in was best, and tickled me down deep. when we got down there, the waves of lust set in, and we didnt stop for a long, long time. he fueled on his drugs, me on my elation.
repeat this last sentence for a while: we fucked and fell asleep together.
i'm in a backyard. it's the backyard of my father's parents' house, the one he grew up in when they moved from toledo to the country. it is surrounded by high corn on three sides; with the house, the yard is essentially an outdoor room, private, and surrounded by gently swishing corn. but the sky is gray. everything is gray, including the beige sand that was their garden. all of the tall trees that were there have been cut. i can sense that they were savagely torn down, and now nothing but old and small black stumps, flush with the ground, remain.
grandpa is next to me, younger than he is now, and presents the vision to me. he extends his ghostly arm out for me to survey the emptiness. in here, there is a dip to the dream, i am told that i know spells, as in magic, and his job is to enable that potential in me. he wants me to give him the infertility spell. i have no clue what he is talking about; for me, ohio farmland is magical enough, full of energy in what you can smell, no further action required. but he means magic-magic, as in spells and runes and little books and strange languages. i love him, so i smile and shake my head a little. i follow his extended arm across the yard.
as i walk around the yard, i examine the slope carefully, more sensitive to it than i did when i was a kid, because now the trees are missing. i see a colleague of mine, a fellow architecture student, who has lately caused me great pain. she is gardening a little way across the lawn, and she looks up to listen to me. i realize that grandpa has given me the opportunity to show her what shaped me: the ability to jump into a tree and sit there for hours because it was a place i could generate stories in. i imagined worlds in the elevated fork of a particular tree, unlike when i was in the country house watching television (which dad's parents always let us do to our hearts content). i look down and brush my shoe across the stump. perhaps they were burned first i think, and then i look at my colleague and begin to explain in impassioned oratory that i only want to recreate this yard, now senselessly destroyed. the places i make people will someday write mythologies about, some of them bizarre (like all good mythologies), and because of this journey of mine, my colleague could stand to give our current professional disputes a little more friendliness and co-operative energy.
we are soon gone from this place. we spend a lot of time playing hide-and-seek on the inside of the country house, all very dark, all full of missing rooms, hidden doors, and cavernous sub-closets. it is a house they ceased living in ten years ago, but i dream about it constantly. it's very unlike my mom's mother's farmhouse, which i also dream about. this one is always the site of a sinister dream, and that makes this dream sinister too. i am always followed, always shadowed by a small person or creature with translucent skin.
later, i am in the same position i started out in when i appeared in the yard. literally, facing south, three quarters of the way toward the east property line, and at the northernmost edge. except this time i am in the front yard of my parents' house. the driveway is cracked. i am on my knees, looking through a book of spells the creature gave me. he has left, and i don't believe him when he said that i am the only one who knows how to use this book. it's the size of one of those little ancient bibles my dad's mother has, but instead of prayer cards there are two cards with 24 spell names written on them, as if they are reminders for what i want to know. i sense that i've made these cards for myself. my grandfather is in front of me, and he reaches over the top of the little book and points to number 17, next to which is "infertility". he wants me to give him the rune for this, to cast the spell. i suddenly feel like i can do it, i can do all the other ones too. i can't read them, but they are numerically ordered. the small man/creature is back, and says "give it to me" over and over. he wants me to cast it. but my parents' yard is not dead yet. the spell won't be for the man, or the yard. he is trying to trick me. i am filled with certainty of something i have never done before: the spell does not mean what it says, and i will be giving him a great power if i were to cast it. i refuse, and smile: maybe he will listen to me now.
we got up to leave. the long, winding journey to the back became a beeline to the front. he pulled my hand and just walked straight ahead. i was tempted to smile and wave, the way the queen does, a wave to the middle distance, to everyone outside of me who may care that i am shrugging off the constraints of being polite by being generically polite.
before we could leave, he was blocked by another guy. he was taller than aaron, and very muscular, dark, and obviously familiar with his body. he was standing very close to aaron, but was saying something in a tone i could not hear (deaf while drunk, if a physician were to diagnose my condition) but i could recognize as irritated. they had leaped into an old argument. i could only pick out a few words.
"--get the fuck away from me--"
"--bitch you don't--"
and the final line, from aaron, which i could hear because he turned to pull me closer:
"you stupid fucking pig if you did more than coke and steroids you'd know why this happened. i'll kick your dumb ass if you try to fuck with me again." his voice was forceful, dark, yet he did not yell. but there was something direct about it. he was not making a scene; he was making a threat.
the guy paused, as if a gate had been pulled down, as if his forward motion would only cause him to strike a wall. we left in haste. i was worried i would be struck from behind by the stupid pig, as a proxy for aaron, but i got through the doors unscathed.
outside, he pulled me next to him, and smiled. it was the look, the look of lust, directed at me, as if i was his. well, i was his. but i was unnerved by the flow of events. the guy was much bigger than aaron, and he was undoubtedly stronger. but his hesitation at aaron's words were almost that of resignation, as if he knew a struggle with my friend would be useless. the exchange between them struck a new chord to our exchanges, flavored them, infected them with the idea that his look of directness, of possession, was also one of violence, that he would fight with fists those he wished to fight with.
we strolled down the block a bit, separated. as we turned the corner, on a dark patch of eleventh street, he moved closer, our arms brushing and bumping as we walked. i was still captivated by this new addition to his personality, trying to locate myself on his suddenly bigger map, and did not bump back. sensing a hesitation in me, he put his arm around my waist, we stopped, and he drew me close. he kissed me, and after a moment of having his lips applied to my face, i began to kiss him back.
"hey" he said, as if he'd just arrived in the locker room for our appointed workout. his open mouth started to grin a little.
"hi" i said back. i gave him a soft smile.
"this is what you wanted, right?" at this i kissed his mouth again and put my tongue in there. he sucked it.
we broke face and started walking again. the parting was soft, the way one unfolds a mobile phone: we were hinged at the hip. as we made our way west across the avenues, into the NYU part of the village, we would grab each other at a doorway, or a dark patch, or a quiet intersection, and kiss again. i began to feel that we had done this before; the feeling was from something specific. it was another memory, related to the same dance party i'd met aaron at, but not quite. suddenly, it dawned on me that it had happened the same year i'd met aaron, but later, after i had come out to the world.
there's a lovely man napping in my bed at the moment
he has reason to rest
we have been talking bout time most of the time
there is an unshakeable happiness in me right now
and there will be more later.
i strangled valentino
you've been mine ever since
if anybody asks you
you belong to prince
suddenly, i listen to these words and they seem natural and erotic. i killed him, and now i own you.
i was walking in the winter rain in chelsea some weeks ago, wondering what has happened to me. i feel adrift in this world, and was looking for myself in the wet pavement, coat unzipped, letting the wet hudson air infect my front. i would have thrown myself into the icy river, but i was several blocks away, and had to go to a meeting.
i see the new tendency for violence everywhere. around me, yes: the world is heading toward wars, movies are about justice achieved by fighting (not news but it appears they are beginning to get traction again, which means they mean something), but these are really nothing new. i am also speaking about my interior, my head, where i see so much more. i find myself acting as if love is a battlefield, love is a submission wrestling match. if i cannot have, i destroy. i wanna destroy you. i wanna be your dog.
my usual repulsion to these things seems empty, forced, unbelievable. my first impulse (not a thought) is HIT HIM BACK. the farthest i get with thinking is to know i am shocked that i am not repulsed by these conditions. but it remains, and in the back of my mind it won't go away: that there is something alluring about the lack of thought, the exhilaration of hitting him back, the complete surprise it would be to have me resort to physical assault. (for what reason, i have no idea). my only regret is that i have a creeping fear of myself, my darkest side, as if a dial suddenly turned, the current alternated, and here i am, same-but-different. terrified because i am not fully terrified.
none of this is new, i know, but it's all new now because it syncs with the world, on a level best described by 'rapture', by the ability of my american culture to absorb the new political rhetoric and distribute it at all scales, in all ways. wearing camo pants for fun seems to suddenly be a childish aspiration to strength; being someone willing to physically punish others for what he believes is attractive, and for that you wear whatever you need or have at the time. love is death.
it's not just the killing, or the personal injury. it's the loudness, the personal empowerment, the idea that one person can dominate another by force. it's the need to win, to never capitulate, to never compromise. it's the inability to see that working together to build amplifies individual power, is nothing short of magical. it's the incessant, foolish notion that bold action solves problems. bold does not build, bitch. it is the need to spread your will across the land. the impulse for TOTAL.
it makes my compositions, and my intellectual aspirations, appear as useless affectations, erasing them before they have been begun. and yet it makes me feel good. love is a submission wrestling match.
and so i am on the verge of saying i've become bored with my old life, uncertain what this new world means, and my only certainty is that i am just in it at the moment.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.