Friday, June 26, 2009

"I've Waited Here For You, Everlong."

The first thoughts I begin to believe in after Kristian leaves is that I will never hear from him again. But the first thoughts I have are unrelated to whether I will hear from him again or not; instead, I'm more concerned about why I can't find the shirt - the shirt I let him use after the dust settled and the heat had reached its limits in my small room. Is it this shirt? Is it this shirt? Is it...this it...And before long, my mind is beginning to wonder if he was ever here at all.

Of course he was here. I smell my forearms, then I put the the bottom of my shirt in my face, and I slowly drag my tongue over the dimpled skin between my lips and my nose. Of course he was here; he was here because I can still smell him and taste him.

And I can feel him, too...if the only thing I'm feeling by him is the emptiness and slightly unsettling ordinary-ness of my room. The floor is still a bookshelf for all the books - mostly poetry; all the Ginsberg, Whitman, Goethe, Eliot, Dante, Plath, Homer, everything that constantly reminds me that I have so much reading to do, but these Greeks and Beatniks also share the chaos of my floor with my Silver Age comics. The Flash and the Green Lantern shine their perfectly masculine smiles and costumed muscles up at me, along with a new Captain Marvel issue to my right and the nebulous heap of undershirts, underwear and other clothes scattered in a frenzy across the area to my left.

They are all still, the books and the comics and the clothes, but the fan is spinning widly. Everything is so quietly the same. I can feel my stomach churning. It's something not digesting properly, maybe the Frosty from three hours ago, but more than that, it's all trying to wrap itself around a familiar fuzzy emptiness. I usually feel that indefinite vagueness in my stomach when I pass a couple kissing or think of Erik. It's the damn romantic in me that always hurts when he doesn't get what he wants most. I only feel it now because instead of enjoying this - enjoying even the aftermath of it - I am trying to make it something serious.

"I gotta be cool / Relax / Get hip, get off my tracks...Gotta be cool / Relax..." I have been trying to make this serious from the beginning. I have to remember that the only thing I have to light knowledge on this thing is Erik. But things were particularly clear with Erik simply because we both made it clear from the beginning what we wanted most is what we needed from each other. That's why the relationship clicked together quickly only to burn slowly out on itself. But Kristian and I are moving at lightspeed, and that's precisely because we don't need each other. And the problem is that it's not "just a hook up" because at the same time we care about one another just enough to make it matter. This thing with Kristian is moving so fast that the only thing I can do to slow it down is maybe knock it over the head.

As I brush my teeth in the mirror, I try to remind myself that I have no reason to make things so serious with Kristian, just as I have no reason to expect anything from him. He knows this because I've told him. We've both admitted that neither of us want a relationship right now, and I know more and more everyday that a relationship with Kristian might not last long at all. We work well as friends but we could destroy each other in anything more. Even though we both refuse to "see" anyone else, I don't think he's as stuck on me as I wish he was. I know I'm just trying to save myself the pain again. I can't go through what happened with Erik. I knew from the moment we got together that Erik and I would never last the summer. But that was different. Because I do care about Kristian. But I fell in love with Erik.

It's not serious, Matthew. And, for right now, it doesn't need to be. This is what I've told myself every time I see him. That's why, instead of making the same mistake I made with Erik and always worry about when the spell will be broken, I will savor every day I spend with Kristian and always assume that it could be the last. It's not a fatalistic mentality, and neither is it merely realistic. It's just how I remember not to put my fingers around the neck of this thing and choke it into being serious. So that it will live.

My favorite thing will continue to be how his smell stays all over my hands and my shirt for minutes, occasionally even hours, after he leaves. I will continue to keep my hands off the steering wheel and let this thing drive as fast as it will. And I'll continue to believe. Not that I will never hear from Kristian again. But rather, believe that this - this, this moment...really is worth my while.

There's something slowly creeping down my forehead; I am still sweating.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Notes From The Black Book

"Fuck you, Chandler. I love ya, but I am sick of your shit. 'You're so dramatic, Matt' - this coming from a guy who boasts of doing every thing...most people never do by age sixty. He talks like he's never seen a human before. Fuck off!"

"Maybe, for the rest of my life
I am damned to look for Erik
in every white truck I see go down the street."

"'I was thinking about getting War and Peace. I've never read that book.'
'Yeah, War and Peace. Dostoevsky.'
'You should get this book.' He pulled something off the shelf, and I knew what it was before I saw it: a deluxe illustrated version of Angels and Demons. 'It's the best book.'
'Yes. I've read it three times.'"

[6/14] "I spray the Glade all over the ceiling. An orange-mango-smelling mist destroys itself into smithereens across the patch of space above the living room floor. Lindsey might know as soon as she walks in, but it's meant to mask my most recent of sins in case I get a surprise from the cops' latest round of "Pop Goes the Weasel; 'all around the innocent apartments, the monkey chased the zoobies...' that they play every night at 3 AM. Is it ozone-friendly, empty of toxins and firesafe? Probably not. It is more like the blood of innocent lambs that I spray over my doors and doorways to let the Lord know I don't wish the angel of death to come by. Yes, angel of death, pass me by."

"Him, in the yellow? That's my best friend, Najib. I would die for him. I'd give my life for him. I love him."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Queer Film Spotlight: Latter Days

I've tried watching this movie so many times and I finally got through it. It's not that the story makes it hard; a table server in a fancy restaurant in L.A. named Christian falls for the recent move-in next door, an LDS missionary named Aaron, and his workers make a bet that the characteristically slutty and shallow Christian can't convert him to gaydom and nail his ass. You'd think that this would be comedic, romantic, least relatable, or something. But these are all the precise reasons why Latter Days is so difficult to watch: it tries to be all of those things at once. From start to credits, the film is completely contrived.

Nowhere is this more evident than in each and every scene with the missionaries. I've never been on a mission but I'm sure that elders are not allowed to say anything close to the phrase "God hates homos" to investigators. What frustrates me most are the interactions between Aaron, the elder, and Christian. Their exchanges feel strained and completely contrived in every scene. Example: Christian gets his mail and one letter blows behind the house, so on the way to get it he gets his pants snagged, causing a cut which makes him bleed and then he faints - all in plain view of Aaron, who is innocently reading The Book of Mormon outside. (Let me add that we've just seen them both play basketball - Christian without his shirt, so that the adoring gay male audience can revel in his tanned, sweaty abs...which, of course, is why its perfectly plausible that same young and fit man would faint from a barely visible leg cut. Oh yes, do me quick.)

But the tragedy is that that's when the movie gets interesting. Because right before Aaron invalidates every Priesthood Quorum lesson he's ever had by lying with Christian, he starts to claim that he feels like he's being used by a superficial boy who doesn't know what he wants and Aaron drops him like a sack of beans - forcing Christian to try to actually win his heart. Have we seen this a million times? Of course - but in heterosexual narratives. So the fact that here, the dynamic is a Mormon missionary who is making a gay man prove his's a shame to see the film waste a cliche so commonplace that even Stephanie Myers could make it watchable.

The somewhat decent "character development" lasts for about ten minutes before Latter Days reverts back to softporn. Following Aaron's transgression, his shock treatment, dream sequences, his mother's chastisement and excommunication are completely overdone like the other 98% of the movie, with sniveling suicidal tendencies and all. The character's sudden turn to identity crisis is very poorly composed while we have to wait for Christian to fly to Idaho, which takes much, much, much longer than it should. Christian's own selfish wimperings are empty and ultimately pointless.

All in all, the actor who plays Aaron does the best job. He delivers some pretty bad lines fairly well, in his defense. Unfortunately, he doesn't make the rest worth it and the story falls face flat so many times in its own puddle of sap that in the end I was just waiting for the movie to end so I could delete it from my hard drive. Its good moments are few and far between, but ultimately Latter Days makes Twilight look like A Lion In Winter.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

George Tiller and American Paranoia (+ Eminem gets face-raped...)

In a weird way, the whole story of George Tiller's murder almost sounds like something out of some old folk tune or blues rocker: a Wichita, Kansas doctor saves the lives of women while, with each passing year, threats on his life grow more and more extreme - from getting shot in both arms to having his clinic vandalized, blockaded and bombed, leading to the presence of armed guards outside his clinic - until, at long last, he meets his match in nowhere else but his local Lutheran church on a Sunday morning, innocently ushering. Now flowers instead of picket signs form a ring around his clinic.

There are very few who claim to be happy that Tiller is dead - Wiley Drake, for example, believes Tiller's murder is "an answer to a prayer" - but in general voices from the anti-abortion movement have risen to condemn the murderer, who is as-of-yet-unconfirmed as 51-year-old Scott Roeder. One of these voices belongs to Bill O'Reilly, who simultaneously condemns the violence against Tiller - refering to it as "anarchy" - while unabashedly standing by his well-known past criticisms of Tiller, saying that the far-left is taking advantage of this situation to blame the caring folks like him at Fox and downplay the "seriousness" of Tiller's crimes. This is hardly surprising to me because at this point accusations are beginning to form against O'Reilly for his history of decrying Tiller on his show and thus allegedly "contributed" to "fostering an environment" for a home-grown terrorist to strike out in violence - but, of course, I don't know if O'Reilly ever really surprises me anymore.

Elsewhere, others have voiced opinions all over the Internet and in print; the NY Times Letters To The Editor has several responses, and one from Marquette University professor Daniel C. Maguire seemed especially poignant to me:

"The killing of Dr. George R. Tiller is not dissonant to the broader American culture. It was a very American murder, very reflective of national policy where torture is seen as a strategic necessity and the bullet as the final arbiter."

It's not to dissimilar from a sentiment I had earlier today while walking home, the concept of a contemporary genealogy of extremism in America and the ensuing effects of every group playing the blame game. Nobody wants to claim a homicidal lunatic, so everyone debates about who started the fire and, in the end, nothing much happens to change the situation - in this case, with abortion. It's an interesting comment on these increasingly cynical times for the land of the free, home of the brave.

In happier news...This, I think, is the funniest and most awesome thing to happen on primetime television so far this year. The best part about it isn't even Eminem; since the stunt was scripted, Zac Efron was the only one who doesn't have a clue what the hell was going on. The look on his face is priceless - pure "WTF"-ness.