march 1997
"what's the buzz? tell me what's a happening"


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after the first death, there is no other
-dylan thomas


     grandma was the one. she bought us the heffalumps: stuffed elephants, ann's was pink; paul and i had blue, half as tall as we were, taller! grandma always told them whenever we came over. they waited in the front window. once they waved as we walked up!
    for twenty years grandma's been visiting less often, but she still comes by in my mom's laugh, in my brother's speech, in the smell of violets, or coffee with cream.
    each march seventh i try to remember something special about my grandmother.

hold none before me

    frequently parents say things, throw-away lines, which their children hang onto forever. one personal epiphany occurred when my dad said that i should never pay a bank to hold my money.
    i took this to heart pretty deeply. my father, who art in banking for most of my childhood, must know the truth.
    from that moment of paternal inspiration, my fiscal religion forbade congress with financial institutions that charge for services. when i change my parish, i seek a greed-free institution to care for my non-spiritual wealth.
    however, at a pagan altar i regularly visit, today for the first time i had only two buttons to choose from:
  • please tithe me a buck-and-a-half for the privilege of holding this money-god before my own.
  • make my buddies drive four miles the wrong direction in lunch traffic to the altar blessed by my own priests.

    forgive me father, for i have sinned.

in like a lion
970301 am

    after three years, i've cut off my moustache and goatee. it's pleasant to feel wind on my chin again: akin to wearing contact lenses after years of glasses. i don't have any special reason for doing it; it's just one of those things people do sometimes.
    lisa r. has frequently suggested i should leave a soul patch when i cut off my beard. (for those who don't know, a soul patch is what a male beat poet wears beneath his lower lip: rather similar to what hitler and chaplin wore above their upper lips.) each time i shave my goatee i think of keeping a soul patch just long enough for a single photo to be taken, but i've resisted that insanity so far. i think about it, but i don't think about doing it. this morning again i've withdrawn screaming from that particular horror. kenneth brannaugh i am not.
    so when don h. took a photo of my naked face, it was to send to people who won't see me before i regrow another goatee. you won't be seeing any photos of me here. regardless of some opinions, they key word in 'vanity press' comes last.

dressing room: off stage?
970301 pm

    i went to a close-out for international male® clothing at a san francisco pier. there were all sorts of people there.
    in the communal dressing room there were same-gender couples trying on various items, advising each other, in tenor key, about what looked good vs. what was "ghastly" or "dreadful." it made me somewhat uncomfortable, but not in the way you might first think. most of the couples appealed so closely to the stereotype of a flaming gay man that i couldn't tell whether they were putting on an aire, or if they were 'really' like that.
    i'm not typically offended by behaviour that differs from my own, but i am often disturbed when i perceive people performing to their perception of a role rather than being true to their own personality.
    i didn't see any overt stereotypical behavior outside the dressing room. perhaps the privacy of the curtained area allowed for release; perhaps these men were closer to their own personalitites in the dressing room. i had to reconsider whether the private or the public appearance was the 'role'...
    what does it say about expectations when, in a large city known for acceptance of its homosexual population, said population still has to put on a charade when in public?

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