Friday, January 30, 2009

Those Were the Days



Angry gay youth: I was probably 15 or 16 in this picture, making it circa 1990.

O, the glasses! O, the quaff! O, the vest and silk shirt combo!

Currently Reading: Great Expectations



Yes. The book that we were all probably made to read in high school in some abridged, deficient version. I remember it being assigned. I don't remember whether or not I read it. I also remember watching the 1946 version of the film (and later refusing to watch the newer version).

I never knew it was so funny: the narrator, Pip, is so tongue-in-cheek about everything, though 164 pages in, he's become a real fucking little shit. I hope he improves.

The following quote, I've been pushing onto all my friends who've had boy or girl problems - and to some degree it's become my own mantra when dealing with unrequited love. This is Pip talking to Biddy about his dissatisfaction about his life after meeting that little bitch, Estella...
"Instead of that," said I, plucking up more grass and chewing a blade or two, "see how I am going on. Dissatisfied, and uncomfortable, and - what would it signify to me, being coarse and common, if nobody had told me so!"

Biddy turned her face suddenly towards mine, and looked far more attentively at me than she had looked at the sailing ships.

"It was neither a very true nor a very polite thing to say," she remarked, directly her eyes to the ships again. "Who said it?"

I was disconcerted, for I had broken away without quite seeing where I was going to. It was not to be shuffled off, now, however, and I answered, "The beautiful young lady at Miss Havisham's, and she's more beautiful than anybody ever was, and I admire her dreadfully, and I want to be a gentleman on her account." Having made this lunatic confession, I began to throw my torn-up grass into the rive, as if I had some thoughts of following it.

"Do you want to be a gentleman, to spite her or to gain her over?" Biddy quietly asked me, after a pause.

"I don't know," I moodily answered.

"Because, if it is to spite her," Biddy pursued, "I should think...that might be better and more independently done by caring nothing for her words. And if it is to gain her over, I should think...she was not worth gaining over."

The italics are mine. This should be the ultimate in any lesson or advice concerning dating and relationships.

Beau: Matthew Mitcham



Can we say "Instant Erection"??

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Books from the New Cart


This is the original book, newly translated, from which the Disney cartoon was taken. Apparently it's completely different! The cover is amazing!







Beau: Hot Gay Nerd



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Beau: For Ross





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Also, go here when you are alone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beau



Thank you, Super Underwear Perverts!

Snow in Lexington

These are from about a week ago. If I had taken them today it would be simply Lexington on Ice.





Ball Checking Orgy



Believe me! As someone currently being treated for epididymitis, we all need to feel ourselves up a little more often. Or get a group together!

Say it ain't so, Goya, say it ain't so



Prado Museum attributes Colossus to an Assistant!

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Beau: Joel Rush



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Titles from the New Cart









Coraline!

Don't Stop the Rock

Monday, January 26, 2009

Daniel Radcliffe: "Fag Hag"



God! Can he get any sexier? If he likes the attention afforded him by gay men, can he just do a solo jerkoff vid for gay men? Or, better yet, can I just jerkoff on him? Yes, no, maybe?

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Hanae Mori

So as a very awkward teenager, my grandmother Clemmie every Christmas bought me cologne. Usually some sort of Brut, something you can by at Wal-Mart or J.C. Penny's. I hated cologne as a kid, more because I typically felt so awkward about myself that I hated everything.

Well, I'm now 33 and have started liking to wear cologne. Yesterday, my Boo bought me my first bottle from Sephora:



I love this stuff!

Beau



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Yeah, there's nothing I don't love about this picture!

Hello, Fresh Hotness!

Kylie Beau: Andres Velencoso Segura



Kylie has a new beau, who apparently poses nude.

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Hello, Fag Stag!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beau: Hairy



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My Peeps



I work with these people! Bob, Sarah, and Christina. YAY!

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Beau: Bernardo Velasco







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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beau: Alexis McDrew



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Poetry in the Interim: Stuart Dybek

And finally...

While reading Stuart Dybek, I had at least two friends, both male, both straight, both people I never thought in a million years would know whom Stuart Dybek was nor ever heard the name, saw my copy of The Coast of Chicago and pronounced how much they like his Brass Knuckles - not simply knowing of Stuart Dybek but really liking his poetry.

What? You read? and you are called "Cabana"? You read poetry? Let's talk about fragile stereotypes, shall we?

But to make my admission, I enjoyed Dybek's short fiction with all its poetry much more than I've enjoyed his poetry. Maybe it's all the pain of crumbling, deserted and violent streets boiled down to its most intensely crumbling, deserted and violent, and that the poetry is AWESOME in that it makes me hurt. I hurt enough right now.

Not there isn't something there that I like:

DOORS
   Across the street they put up a wall of doors from the rooming house they'd knocked down. Doors all darkened the same, like burnt toast, on the outside. But insides different colors: pinks, blues, yellows, dirty white enamels. You could look through the holes where the doorknobs had been into the rubble-filled foundation. Old black men stacking old bricks. Smoke fuming from a wet pile of charred wood. Grey panes of glass broken everywhere. An old woman taking a bath. A small man from India cooking something on a hot plate. A man in his underwear with a hearing aid sitting beside a radio. Two people fucking on a bed. What did you expect?

Poetry in the Interim: Lucille Clifton

After reading Chris Abani, I was in the mood for some poetry, but now I've started reading Dickens' Great Expectations. However I still have some songs stirring in my head - probably has to do you with me dealing with sadness. My Boo is starting on leaving: moving in the summer to Mizzou. I do not like.

This is by Lucille Clifton, from her new book of poetry Voices:

sorrows

who would believe them winged
who would believe they could be

beautiful    who would believe
they could fall so in love with mortals

that they would attach themselves
as scars attach and ride the skin

sometimes we hear them in our dreams
rattling their skulls    clicking

their bony fingers
they have heard me beseeching

as i whispered into my own
cupped hands    enough    not me again

but who can distinguish
one human voice

amid such choruses
of desire

Poetry in the Interim: Nikki Giovanni

Reading Nikki Giovanni's work, even in the depth of despair over unrequited love, I feel in love and happy to be there. I was first given a photocopy of a Nikki Giovanni poem for high school graduation by the Adult Coordinator for a Gay Youth group I'd drive two hours to attend.

...because love requires trust and balance

From Nikki Giovanni's new collection of love poems: Bicycles

I WOULD NOT BE DIFFERENT

Every now and then
We all fall in love
With a totally inappropriate
Person

And I would not be different

You sort of see someone
And you don't want to notice
That ring on his finger
Nor really that sort of happy
Look in his eyes

You do however know
Immediately
How wonderful it would be
To fall into those arms
To nuzzle the hairs
Of his underarms
To rub your cold feet
Against those thighs

You do want to know
What the water would feel like
As it caresses you two
In a rainbow shower
The soapy suds swirling around
As you kiss and kiss and kiss

You do want to know
How he takes his eggs
Whether his toast should be buttered
On both sides
if he drinks decaf or regular

But he is a totally inappropriate person
And all the world knows
This cannot work

Yet all the world would think
If they could see him
"I want to be in love with that"

And I would not be different

Beau: MrSanzo



He has a new vid on dudetubeonline. And check out his other vids on xTube. Hopefully, he'll eventually accept my friend request on xTube. Wah Wah.

Beau: Brent Everett



Thank you, The Daily Drool

Finished: GraceLand

Having Epididymitis allows one to have a little more time to read - all that lying down, balls covered in a icepack, Percocet roiling through your veins.

Thus said, I finished GraceLand by Chris Abani a few days ago. I, as with his other books, absolutely loved it. It has great characterization and great action! And the action actually seems important rather than something that just happens - as with many of the movies that I refuse to see now-a-days. The action only helps to further the characters - thank god, Sunday (the main character Elvis' father) became one of my favorite characters, he was also the most dynamic.

GraceLand is the story of Elvis, a 16-year-old Nigerian boy, whose father has just recently moved them to the big city of Lagos. Previously they had lived in Afikpo - which though I don't know the particulars, the Afikpo sections of the book seem far more country, ideal and nostalgic than the Lagos sections. Maroko, the section of Lagos in which Elvis and his father lives, is a swamp. Elvis and Sunday have fallen into poverty just as Maroko is falling into the mud. But it isn't as bleak as it may appear: everything is covered in a layer of not only mud, unwashed bodies, babies crying for food, and people arguing but also there is music (Bob Marley, highlife) and the smells of food (there are vendors everywhere). There are, indeed, some horrible things that happen in Maroko but there seems to be equal amounts of things that happen that give the people living there the courage to fight the government who want to tear the poor communities down.

Elvis, as one may wonder from the name and the title, wants to be an Elvis impersonator, or more importantly a dancer. The bulk of the story follows him, not simply his life in Lagos which is complicated and dangerous (at times) but his life in Afikpo with his dying mother Beatrice, whose journal he carries around with him, with his grandmother Oye, who is a witch and speaks with a Scottish brogue, and his increasingly angry father Sunday. There is also Aunt Felicia and a cousins Efua. As with Becoming Abigail, Elvis's becoming is presented as two arcs that ultimately converge in the present into one: the child dealing with parents, women, men, other children, freedom, sexual changes; the young man dealing with no parents, being a man, following your dreams, dealing with the forces that hold you down.

Here is Beatrice in 1974 with a 7-year-old Elvis:
It had do with the smell of damp loam, the green shade of Gmelinas, the way the light caught a tomato by surprise, making it blush deep, or the satisfaction of earth worked between the fingers that made Beatrice return to her little garden in spite of the doctor's orders to stay in bed and rest. This was more relaxing than any rest, she thought as she weeded the plant beds until they shone...

Each bed was carefully arranged in geometric regularity, each stem and leaf carefully loved and tended. Beatrice was only truly happy amid the rows of green pepper stalks ripe with yellow and red fruit, in this place perfumed with curry leaves and thyme and that most fragrant of herbs, ahunji...

She tried to explain to him [Elvis] that the neat beds, the soft crumbly earth, the deep green of the okra, the red and yellow peppers, the delicate mauve flowers of the fluted pumpkin, were important to her in ways she had no words for. He didn't understand, but was content to bury himself in the deep aloe scent of her hair and the damp of her sweaty brow.

Here is Elvis, Beatrice, and her journal:
...His fingers grazed the small blue Bible she kept on the nightstand. Next to it was her journal, bound in worked leather that smelled of things old and secret. He loved watching her write in it, and he would fetch it for her, inhaling the deep scent of it, thrilled that she trusted him not to look in it. And he never did. He lingered by the nightstand, touched the journal, rubbing his hand over the cracked leather binding.

Then a few pages later, another scene with the journal:
"This is what the plant looks like," Oye said, handing her [Beatrice] a plant. "Draw it next to the recipe. So you won't forget."

"What are you doing?" Elvis asked.

"Your mother is getting ready for her next life."

"By writing?"

"Yes, laddie, she is writing down tha things she wants to remember in her next life."

Between chapters there is a section that talks briefly about a particular herb or there is a recipe. These I believe are mostly from Beatrice's journal - though there is one section that is from a smutty pulp that Elvis buys from a street vendor. Then at the head of each chapter is a short section about the Kola nut ritual. The short section is in two parts - one in plain writing, one in italics as though each part is from a different source, one folklore, the other more historical/sociological.

Though, I'm sure these three sections have some affect on the chapter before (or after) they appear, they seem to have a greater meaning for the overall story - that of Elvis becoming a man. As with The Virgin of Flames, this for Elvis seems to also touch on becoming a woman, or being able to hide behind makeup - not just the white makeup he wears to become Elvis Presley, but his Aunt Felicia's makeup:
"Okay," he said sitting on the edge of the bed, watching her putting on her makeup, fascinated by the deep flake of her powder-patted cheeks, the cherry pout of her lips and the heavy blue eye shadow that made her look older. He was amazed not just at how much makeup made her aware of herself, but by how much he wanted to wear that mask. It would be the perfect remedy for his painful shyness...

...He envied her this ability to prepare a face for the world. To change it any time she liked. Be different people just by a gentle hint of shadow here, a dash of color there. She could even change her hair to suit her mood: sometimes wearing the huge Afro wigs that scoured the sky's underbelly; other times, the elegant plaited stalks called mercy, as though they were stakes in a hunter's trap, or the playful run of cornrows - his favorite.

And though I said that the Afikpo sections are the more nostalgic, the also hold some of the more painful memories. As with young boys, my male friends and I did the same at that age, the talk always turns to sex - what it is, what we imagine it to be, what we could do to each other to find out - and in this chapter, the sex play of Elvis and some friends is interrupted:
They paired off, alternately lying on top of each other, humping through their clothing. As the afternoon wore on, they became a little more adventurous and were soon down to their underwear, then nothing. Lost in effort, they did not notice an adult appear at the door of the chapel.

Titus saw him first. Though the man did not speak, they knew he had been there a while. Leaping up, they made a run for it, but Elvis had been underneath the heavier Obed, and as he struggled to his feet, fumbling with his shorts, he felt a slap connect with his face. His head jerked back and he fell.

Elvis opened his mouth to speak...All he was aware of was the man's sweaty, hot smell, choking him.

He opened his fly and Elvis saw his huge erect penis pop out. He was petrified...

As with The Virgin of Flames, there is this gay rape thing going on. Black is raped by a gang member with a gun, Elvis is raped by his uncle Joseph. I think it is less saying something about Chris Abani's opinion on homosexuality and more stating his opinion on society's view of men and boys who do not follow the strict path to and ideals of manhood. Uncle Joseph is already raping his daughter, Efua; the gang member is an over-the-top archetype of masculinity - I guess a rapist could be considered the same.

I guess I'll leave it at that. There were other moments I earmarked but I don't want to stretch this on anymore. As has become apparent by anyone who reads my long "reviews" I highly recommend Chris Abani.

I'm also looking forward to reading more Chinua Achebe, Bessie Head, and other African writers.

Here is a list of books by West African authors mentioned in GraceLand. Elvis is looking at a stall of books, looking for something to buy:

  • Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

  • The Poor Christ of Bomba - Mongo Beti

  • The Concubine - Elechi Amadi

  • The Radiance of the King - Camara Laye

  • So Long a Letter - Mariama Ba

  • The Road - Kalu Okpi

  • The Cobra - Valentine Alily

The pictures are of some of the herbs mentioned in the sections of the book that "reprint" Beatrice's journal.

Igbo Net: the Igbo Network

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beau: Pretty in my Inbox











I think this is from Sean Cody or maybe ChaosMen?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Epigraph Book 2

From Chris Abani's GraceLand:
…and above all the never-ending knowledge that this aching emptiness would be all…
~Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born


Lagos, Nigeria