Spare Me Your Romance


I know roses are the thing. It’s the gesture. I get it. I don’t, but I do. Roses. Love. Romanticism. Mmmmmhm. Original. Yes. Thank you. Mind you, I have zero vases, but whatever.

It is my major character defect that I am just not particularly romantic. Romance, as we understand it, ain’t for everybody, and it ain’t really for any of the bodies that I’d like to involve myself with.

“But why not?” a friend of asked me months after his partner cheated on him and left him with an incurable disease. No shade. I only say that to say romanticism will have you out here fucked up and being fucked up ain’t really my thing, personally, but don’t listen to me. Live your best life.

I’m practical to a fault, perhaps. So I argue that it isn’t that I’m NOT romantic, but I think I’m differently romantic. I saw an older gay couple at the bookstore I work at. They seemed to be closer to 50. Like if I mentioned Grindr to them, I’m sure they’d probably think it came from Crate and Barrel.

Anyway, one of the men approaches the counter with his book, and I want to say it was  David Sedaris book, but my mind could be making that detail up. Before I could finish ringing it and stating the total, his partner already had his wallet out and credit card ready for me to swipe.

That shit was sexy.

Fuck am I supposed to do with some roses?

Pay for my damn books – let me learn something new with your money. That’s my kinda romance. I’m tired of not having the money to not buy every fucking book I want because I have to be responsible an shit.

Keep all the fancy gestures to yourself. I’m not too worried about that. Save it for someone new to this love thing, someone who comes from a family of folks who didn’t tell ’em they deserved to be loved, and now they start crying anytime someone remembers their birthday or what song was playing that one night.

Please. Save yourself the embarrassment, spare me your romance. It’s just not my thing.

My thing is sneaking wine in water bottles into the movie theater. That’s my thing – it’s not a sexy thing, but it’s my thing.

My thing is Shel Silverstien poems and siting on my momma’s screened in patio ’cause you can hear the frogs clear when the sun sets.
My thing is the punchline of a joke days after you told it. My thing is midnight runs to the grocery stored for something obscure: Lemon squares. Kaiser rolls. Apple gummy rings.
My thing is irreverent Saturday morning cartoons, and then a brilliant documentary right after. My thing is a silent Saturday afternoon off when I’m (…guess what) reading. My thing is organizing a playlist before a long car ride and games of where where you when:

Usher’s Confession album came out
9/11 happened
Obama took Office

My thing is my first cup of coffee in the morning and the sounds of James Brown to start my day. My thing is crying when I remember my old teachers – great teachers – who said good things about me long before I understood them, and recalling folks who loved me long before I even realized it, and left before I had the good sense to say thank you.

The point is there is an infinite amount of romantic moments in my life, most of which might happen on accident.

Please, do not interrupt those moments with your corny ass and unoriginal roses.

Plum Smut; a Rough Concept

This is JUST a magazine mockup. Look, sometimes I need to see some shit to believe some shit. 

in the most BUCK WILD of my imaginations, I want to create an independent gay erotic magazine. Growing up I was OBSESSED with porn in this weird ass way. I didn’t need to beat off to pages of airbrushed titties, but I liked the idea that a whole world of fantasy was happening in this secretive way that people universally enjoyed and nobody talked about.

The men I knew liked porn. My father collected it despite my evangelical mother, my friends dad “secretly” stashed copies of Playboy in the bathroom behind the toiletries. An older relative, a sort of Casanova, seemed to have a thing for gang bang stuff. It was filthy and fascinating to me. Something about it all gave them relief outside of their own worlds.

When I was perhaps too young, I came across my uncle’s collection of Japanese porn. Hentai. It was amazing. Not just in the sense that cartoony characters were doing dirty shit, but I was trying to wrap my early teenage mind around why THIS specific kind of erotic content helped him feel understood.

Look. I was a complex ass child. I’m a complex ass adult. Even now, ‘sex’ involves me pre-screening and asking my partners a million questions and trying to make the connections about who they are and the erotic shit they keep quiet about, and most importantly, why.

From an early age I had this idea that our ‘fantasies’ and ‘erotic interests’ are cool ass other-worlds of our own making. Our erotic interests can be places where we shake off the dust from our obligations, and duties. We get to leave behind imposed rules of what is ‘appropriate’.

Yes, pornography can be dangerous. Yes, it can fuck up our expectations about sex and connection. Yes, pornography can become addicting and more short-term gratifying than actual sex. Every good thing should happen in moderation and many bad things happen in excess.

But I also think those places of erotic exploration are important. I think people should explore fantasy in a way that empowers them instead of creating weird societal shame. I’d like to use my own variation of creativity to explore that for myself, and also help folks make those erotic connections in themselves.

Shit, maybe it’s my erotic fantasy to get people to understand their own erotic fantasies.



What Had Happened Was


While at home and visiting my folks I had the chance to sneak back to a little spot around the warehouses where all them sassy men used to meet.

The whole city’s different now. They have LGBTQ centers and shit, packed with community information. Back in the day you ain’t have no damn community information. You had craigslist. You read the Men For Men section and figured out where men who touched other men hung out.

After reading those posts, I’d put on a trucker hat hiding most of my face, wear something that made me almost unidentifiable, and take a bus just to get there. Sunday’s were the best days. Sassy boys get horny after fake being in church all day.

They hang halfway out the window of their cars, large sunglasses on their face, kids prolly at home, yelling at you, asking you what you plan to do later tonight.

Nothing about me was all the way grown yet. I was scared as hell. I’d look over, smile nice, and keep shuffling along. No plans of stopping any place in particular. No plot to stop for anyone in particular. Just moving through – the young ass, scared ass thing I was.

I watched a lot of the gay movies growing up. The ones where white boys, (usually from England) find each other in places like these, they somehow fall in love, kissing all over each other with their pink, lip-less mouths, and running their hands through each other’s wet stringy hair.

Maybe I thought I’d find that shit around here. When you’re young, you imagine a lot of dumb shit might happen to you. You sometimes forget a city bus is gonna take your broke ass back to your mamma’s house, and don’t none of them frail ass white boys think you’re pretty.

“Bitch Don’t You Hear Me Yelling at You?” a man, maybe three times my age, yelled from a sedan on one muggy Sunday afternoon

I knew I was in over my head, shit, I was asking myself just how gay am I, really? Like maybe I’m just not gay enough for this shit. I kept on shuffling until eventually I caught my city bus and went back home, acting like a whole entire grown man wasn’t tryna welcome me to the strange world of strange men. Sometimes I wonder what could have happened if I stopped and answered him.

Sometimes I even fantasize about outcomes.

I’m grown now. Everything about this place has changed. There’s a juice spot, across from some condo’s that look like an overpriced game of tetris. There’s a yoga and wellness spa. A brown haired white woman who looks like every brown haired white woman smiles and says hello while she passes me.

and I’m standing on the sidewalk wondering what the fuck has happened.



Everybody Wanna Be A Freak

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I heard from an outside (which is what people say when they’re nosy, but don’t want to appear nosy), but primary source, that a friend of mine prefers a variation of sex that’s “too rough”.

I haven’t brought it up to him, mostly because that wasn’t my business in the first place. Let’s be clear. So long as it is consensual, and everyone is old enough to sign their own permission slips for field trips, I truly and utterly could not give fewer fucks.

My friend is attractive. Perfectly symmetrical face shape, defined jaw, all of those small details science and media favor and convince us are somehow important factors in relationship compatibility. It is also 2018. A year in which everyone is beautiful on the surface but harboring shame that none of us will talk about openly.

Which is to say, I’m sure he’ll be able to find some other 20-something willing to be slapped violently and perhaps pissed on as the two of them come (not finished) closer to uncovering dark parts of themselves they need to heal, or express, or both.

I only know so much about my friends sexual practices from conversations. I know he doesn’t see a reason to put his dildos away when I come (I just love to pause right after typing that) over. He knows that getting caught writing erotica at 13 years old means that I’m wildly secretive about anything sexual I do, and never, ever mention people I’m sexually involved with.

I know he gets bored of men after two solid months, max.
He knows my ideal ‘type’ has consistently been tall even though I claim to only choose ‘based on personality’

which…yeah……is mostly bullshit, but also kinda true….technically I’m paying attention to the personalities of people taller than 6’3.

He knows being anally penetrated is a ministry some are called to, and I know it’s important to walk in my unique calling, which definitely isn’t that.

I say this to say we know quite a bit about one another sexually despite never having been sexually involved before.

What I’ve never expected to happen was to overhear a yelp review from one of his previous sexual partners; a mutual friend. And let’s specify what type of mutuality:

If I saw this person while running errands, I’d smile and wave, but I definitely wouldn’t stop anything I’m doing to make a conversation. I cannot tell you this mutual friend’s last name or backstory. In fact, the ‘friend’ in ‘mutual friend’ is a misnomer. We are mutual. We happen to know a few similar people.

So what is my responsibility here? Perhaps I should go back to my friend and just casually let him know that some boy whose cheeks he’s clapped and name I can’t all the way recall might need a little bit more lube than they’ve been using.

I should do this in the name of friendship. It is my duty, nay, responsibility to the community, to remind him that while he’s pounding these boys down and making them feel all the things they’ve shut down due to probably unresolved childhood trauma, he should, even occasionally, ask his partner if this is working.

I settle on a close option.

I figure everyone’s a damn adult. If you don’t like the way your booty hole feels three days after hitting my friend up on a phone app suggesting you’ll ‘find friends in your area’ but really end up sucking local dick on your block, say something.

Use your people words.

If it hurts, say it hurts, say it right then, and say it to his face.

Everybody wanna be a freak. Everybody wanna be grown. Nobody wanna speak up for themselves.


Spoiler: There’s No Such Thing As Boy Things Or Girl Things.

As a child, he had learned dolls were for girls.

As a preteen of the earlier part of the new millenium, he had relearned that dolls weren’t for girls. These plastic playthings were packed with harmful messages (both overt and covert) that had the capacity to ruin the divinity of womanhood.

As a functioning adult casually browsing crap television in 2018, he learned that dolls were for both girls and/or boys and/or any of the genders that loosely existed between those binaries – which were in no way static, but fluid, and the pronouns associated with said genders should be asked prior to addressing said person(s) in an effort to not invalidate said people(s).

As a grown person paying rent and minding his own black ass business, he figured the last thing he needed was media explaining who should do what about anything, and maybe we should stop prescribing shit to genders in the first place and chill out with the gender revolutions meant to appear inclusive but really just sell us more shit we barely needed to begin with.

You might be surprised how cognitive people are with very little assistance or interruption and might be capable enough all on their own to decide if shit works for them.





48CA3ADC-85DE-4D59-9A25-43BE4EDBD87E.JPGHe was an older queen.

Like maybe he just started exploring this thing. Maybe he waited long enough for his parents to croak and kids to get grown and stop calling. Some people do that, and I don’t judge one way or another. It’s not really much my business.

“You sure got a lot of holes in them jeans..” he groveled. Took me a minute to figure out he was being light-hearted. I just smiled nervously with my face half cringed until I was sure.

I feel well past the age of being openly hit on by men that don’t mean me no good. That would have worked much better on a version of me that wasn’t even twenty yet; Back when I was watery eyed and glad that anyone, anyone at all, stopped to make a conversation with my gangly self, too dark, and too weird to hit on all out in the open.

Damn near thirty, now. You missed your chance. I’m out here liking me and shit. Know damn well that I ain’t got what folks like, but the shit I got is still some good shit. Great shit even. This shit got me through some stuff, and maybe I’m working with a little bias, but I think I’ve got the best damn shit I’ve ever seen.

So there I am rough shaved, in yet another button down, and a pair of jeans I’ve got to answer for anytime I show up in front of anyone’s elders, pair of plaid boxers showing underneath the distress of my denim, also revealing hairy brown legs, I don’t shave, ’cause I don’t care.

I’m still there, half-smiling and reading his intentions forwards, backwards, upside down and inside out. Ain’t nothing wrong with watching if he wanna watch – I’m not gonna lie, I don’t mind the watching  – even feels a little nice.

His eyes scan me over, and over before he asks my name.

and I tell him.

even give him my real name.

He tells me his. I repeat it just so he has the memory of me saying it. He can do what he likes with that however he wants to. I don’t mind it none.

He asks me where I’m from. I tell him where I’m from.

He tells me where he’s from. Small town, somewhere in North Carolina. It’s someplace I ain’t ever been, and someplace I won’t ever go. He tells me about all the boys there, good ole’ southern boys, work hard, play hard too, even though they play a little rough.

He laughs at his own joke. I laugh at him laughing at his own joke. He’s alright.

Glasses sliding down his nose, and khakis a size or so too big. I can’t get a solid read as to what his intentions might be, so I can’t say he’s doing anything wrong. Not like I’d have any idea what I’d do if he did start to do anything wrong. I’m not even sure what actions would qualify as doing something wrong. I just know wrong when I see it.

He asks me for my number. Right there in the fruit aisle of the grocery store. Talks about wanting to talk over dinner. I’m a people person in the most general way, and I don’t have any reason to not give him my number.

and I don’t have any reason to not consider a dinner.
and I don’t have any reason to not consider a conversation.

So I do it.

Even tell him I’ll wear better jeans.
He tells me these are perfectly fine.