Florida – 2 things done correct in one month? Wow! Florida is on a roll!

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So, Florida has decided to remove the ban on gay adoption!!!!

I am a busy law student, so I feel that I should just post the excellent composition Arthur Leonard has prepared:

Here’s the draft he submitted to Gay City News for this week’s issue:

For the second time in just a few months, a Florida trial judge has ruled that the state’s statutory ban against adoption of children by “a homosexual” is unconstitutional. Ruling on November 25 on an adoption petition by Frank Martin Gill, a North Miami man, to adopt half-brothers John and James, age 8 and 4, for whom he has served as a foster parent together with his partner for the past four years, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy S. Lederman held that the statutory ban violates the equal protection requirement of the Florida constitution and directly contradicts the state’s articulated policy of seeking “permanent placements” for children. In the Matter of the Adoption of John Doe and James Doe, [Case No. Redacted] (Fla. 11th Dist. Cir. Ct., Nov. 25, 2008).

The ACLU of Florida and the ACLU LGBT Rights Project represent Gill, including litigation team members Robert Rosenwald, James Esseks, Leslie Cooper, and Shelby Day. The children were represented by volunteer attorneys from Hilarie Bass and Ricardo Gonzalez from Greenberg Traurig and Charles Auslander.

This Miami ruling followed an August 29 ruling from Key West by Circuit Judge David J. Audlin, Jr., who also rejected the statutory ban and approved an adoption by a gay petitioner. For reasons that remain obscure, the state took no action to appeal that ruling, but a news report on the Miami-Herald website shortly after the decision was released indicated that the state planned to appeal Judge Lederman’s decision.

The appeal has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with the merits of the case, since the appeal announcement came immediately upon the release of Judge Lederman’s 53-page opinion, when attorneys for the state could not possibly have had time to carefully read and analyze the ruling. “We respect the court’s decision,” said Assistant Attorney General Valerie Martin to the Miami-Herald. “Based upon the wishes of our client, the Department of Children & Families, we will file an appeal.” In other words, nothing the court could say would sway the Department from its political mission to defend the statutory ban. Thus, the state agency charged with protecting the best interest of children exhibits its lack of concern with those best interests.

Judge Lederman’s opinion carefully describes the situation confronted by young John and James when they were first placed with Gill and his partner. John, then four, was virtually mute, totally devoted to looking after his infant half-brother and totally unable to trust any adult after the neglectful care he had experienced. Both children had medical problems for which medicines had been prescribed but not administered by their neglectful parents, from whom they had been taken by the state. Judge Lederman describes how both boys flourished under the loving, firm guidance of Gill and his partner. The men decided that only Gill would petition to adopt, assuming that attempting a joint adoption in the face of Florida’s statute would be doubly difficult.

The trial presented Judge Lederman with numerous experts, some testifying live and some by affidavit. The state’s case seemed to be based on arguing virtually every stereotype about the lives and partnerships of gay people, attempting to convince the court that gays are depressive, suicidal, pedophiles, addicts, prone to short life spans and a succession of short relationships, all of which would present adverse conditions for raising children. Of course, to find an “expert” to present such testimony, they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel and come up with people whose credentials end up being more theological than anything else, relying on spurious studies inspired by “faith” rather than facts.

The state’s primary expert was Dr. George Rekers, identified as a Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Scientist from Miami, without academic affiliation, who is an ordained Baptist Minister. Rekers based his testimony heavily on the discredited publications of the notorious Dr. Paul Cameron and others of his ilk. At one point, the judge characterized his testimony as “contrary to science and decades of research in child development,” and she concluded that “Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.”

The state’s other expert, a Kansas State University associate professor named Walter Schumm, fared little better, and actually helped to make the petitioner’s case, testifying that a categorical ban on gays adopting children, as maintained in Florida, was not warranted by the facts, and that adoption decisions should be made on a case by case basis.

By contrast, Gill’s attorneys presented several experts holding distinguished academic positions and relying on peer reviewed scientific publications, as well as experts with long experience administering governmental child welfare programs, all of whom agreed that gay people are capable of making fine parents who can raise physically and mentally healthy children. Judge Lederman’s factual findings completely refuted the state’s experts, concluding that “it is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person’s ability to parent. Sexual orientation no more leads to psychiatric disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, relationship instability, a lower life expectancy or sexual disorders than race, gender, socioeconomic class or any other demographic characteristic.”

She pointed out that there is now a consensus among professionals in the fields of psychology and child development, based on long-term studies involving thousands of children, that parental sexual orientation is not relevant to a person’s qualifications to be a good parent. “As a result” she wrote, “based on the robust nature of the evidence available in the field, this Court is satisfied that the issue is so far beyond dispute that it would be irrational to hold otherwise; the best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption.”

From this conclusion, Judge Lederman proceeded logically to the conclusion that a state policy disqualifying prospective adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation was irrational and thus violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection to both children and prospective adoptive parents.

“A law such as the blanket ban on adoptions by homosexuals infringes on the foster child’s right to be free from undue restraint and to be expeditiously placed in an adoptive home that serves the child’s best permanency interests,” she wrote. “Indeed, a law that subverts judicial process and imposes on the court the burden of taking action harmful to the child should be immediately suspect because the injury it imposes contradicts the legislative purpose and constitutional basis of the child’s having been taken into custody by the State in the first place.”

“The Department argues [that the adoption ban] is rationally related to Florida’s interest by protecting children from the undesirable realities of the homosexual lifestyle. However, as thoroughly summarized in the Findings of Fact section of this Final Judgment, the foregoing is, frankly, false,” the judge asserted.

The judge specifically rejected all the justifications argued by the state, including the assertion that the state’s responsibility for the “morality” of children justified the ban, which was clearly contradicted by the state’s willingness to put children into a quasi-permanent foster relationship with gay people.

“The Department’s position is that homosexuality is immoral,” Judge Lederman commented. “Yet, homosexuals may be lawful foster parents in Florida and care for our most fragile children who have been abused, neglected and abandoned. As such, the exclusion forbidding homosexuals to adopt children does not further the public morality interest it seeks to combat…. The contradiction between the adoption and foster care statutes defeats the public morality argument and is thus not rationally related to serving a governmental interest.

The judge concluded that the statutory ban “violates the Petitioner and the Children’s equal protection rights guaranteed by Article I, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution without satisfying a rational basis. Moreover, the statutory exclusion defeats a child’s right to permanency as provided by federal and state law pursuant to the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997.” She declared that the adoption of John and James would be effective immediately, as both the Guardian ad litem and the state workers who had processed this case were agreed that Gill was well qualified to be a parent, the only obstacle to adoption being the now-discredited statute.

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More on the Twilight Movie

Love?

Love?

So I was reading a few blogs, and many people have commented that there seemed to be a lack of focus on the actual “falling in love” part in the ‘Twilight’ movie. I agree the movie was very understated when it came to this. However, I think it actually made it work much better. If Edward was too emotional then it wouldn’t look believable. I used to think falling in love was very “Rome and Juliet”,”West Side Story”, “Tristan and Isolde”, “Moulin Rouge”, etc. That it was big and wonderful. You were Julie Andrews singing on top of a mountaintop happy all the time.

The truth is, you are happy, but not like Musical Theatre happy. Bella is young, and Edward is not overly experienced in Love with the capital L. So, it makes sense that they act the way they do in the movie. Here are some stuff I said in response to the Nicki’s most recent post on her blog “Dog Ear”

As for the relationship between Edward and Bella. I agree the movie depiction seemed understated as to how, when, or even why Edward seemed to like/love Bella. I assume we were supposed to infer two things:

1. Since he cannot read Bella’s thoughts she is interesting to him. He can’t cheat like he does with everyone else. This allows him to pursue her like he would have before he became a vampire. It also makes him have to act normal, if he could read her mind, he could be smooth, but since he cannot, he actually has reverted to a slightly clumsy pursuer.

2. Bella refuses to see Edward as something monstrous despite knowing what he is. The vampires accept what they are, and from what I can guess Edward is aware how vampires are viewed in the world. After all Edward bemoans the loss of his soul a lot in the books. I assume the fact that Bella likes him, is not scared of him, but knows what he is, makes him question his own thoughts on what/who he is. I think the actor did a good job of bringing this out, but he just didn’t get a lot of dialogue.

The ‘Twilight’ books are often described as “eroticism of abstinence” In it Bella and Edward have a palpable connection and desire for one another, but constantly they are unable to be physically intimate with one another beyond kissing and slight caressing. I was unsure if a film could capture this. Whereas certainly they did do a “Abstinence is great” short film when Edward and Bella did everything two people can do on a bed besides have sex, the film did maintain the tension rather well. You could see their desire to be very close, to “give in to temptation” but they never do. This was done by placing the actors in close proximity, but without actually touching. It is almost maddening to watch at times, and it stirs in the audience the desire to see them be more intimate. In the book, and in the movie, they drag this out as much as possible, to create a more climactic effect during the few instances where Bella and Edward manage to be intimate for even a few seconds.

Twilight Movie Review

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Please refer to my previous post to learn about where I’m coming from in this review.

As I said:

“This movie went well beyond my expectations, and, shockingly enough, my lovely fiancé also enjoyed the movie. This movie actually made us like the series more.”

The ‘Twilight’ movie is an excellent film. It managed to stay rather true to the book, but the characters were a lot better from a third person perspective. In the book series it is easy to think that Edward is dreamy. Bella thinks so, and she thinks it a lot. In the film, we are not forced to hear the gooey details of everything she feels about Edward. So we get a lot more show and a lot less tell. This actually improves the storyline a great deal, and it is nice to see things that happened from a less biased perspective. There are numerous instances where this happens, but the best example I can think of is a scene early on in the movie.

Edward has now reappeared after string of absences from biology, and Bella and Edward have their first real conversation while they examine slides. In the book you are not able to see the incredible amount of effort Edward has to exert simply to have a short conversation. You also don’t get to hear about how unbelievably frustrated Edward looks when speaking to Bella, because she is the only mind he cannot read. Why do we not hear about this? I assume because a furrowed brow on Edwards face would go unnoticed by a girl who thinks he is the most beautiful man on earth, and tends to get lost in his eyes if she stares into them for more than a few seconds.

The ability to see Edward beyond Bella’s incredibly biased point of view is what made this movie incredible. It also made Robert Pattinson a great Edward. I will be first to admit, when I saw him, he was not my Edward. My Edward is perfect. Pattinson’s Edward is probably a more accurate depiction of who the character Edward truly is. Frustrated, torn, confused, experimental, emotional, etc. Seeing the actor have to seemingly fight to say a simple sentence, instead of being incredibly suave, made him incredibly engaging. You had a sense that any second he could snap, and his teeth would dive into Bella’s neck. This anticipation builds throughout the film in a wonderfully delicious way.

So I think the movie is worth attending simply to se Pattinson’s performance a lone. Thankfully, Kristen Stewart is also a wonderful Isabella (Bella) Swan. I’d say out of the entire cast she does the best job, because she probably had the hardest material to work with. Bella is the narrator of the Twilight series, but she is incredibly annoying. She whines and pines for pages, but she doesn’t reveal a lot about who she is. In Bella’s world her answer would seem to be “Edward’s Girlfriend/Wife” as the answer to who she is. If Edward is not around, Bella ceases to exist. This explains why she goes nuts at the end of the film when Edward threatens to leave her. Kristen Stewart makes Bella less of a completely submissive woman. She shows us Bella as she attempts to find herself. She wants to be like the Cullen’s even before knowing what that is, but she tries to be a normal girl. People notice that Bella is not “normal” her friends notice she has not interest in “girly” things like dress shopping. Her dad comments on her lack of interest in any of the boys, despite their doting and obvious attempts to get her attention. Would she still have been like that if the Cullens had not existed in Forks? Kristen Stewart seems to have tackled this question. We see Bella trying to find herself, and the answer seems to be. Edward was certainly something that helped her find herself, in that way that people find strength in their love, but he was not the only reason Bella didn’t fit in at school. Bella was still trying to figure out how to be a good daughter to her Father. A man she loves, but seemed annoyed at, since he lacked the ability to see her as anything but the girl she was when he and her mother were married. In fact, her desire for her father (Charlie) to get out of the nearly Mrs. Havisham like rut seemed to be one of the main reasons she came to Forks. Bella’s mother doesn’t seem like the type of woman who would have forbid Bella from living in Arizona while she was on the road. (although I think in the book she left so as to not be a 3rd wheel in the house of newlyweds). Anyway, Bella didn’t seem to have friends in Arizona she loved and spoke to often. Bella was a loner well before Edward. The fact we see a more independent, strong, and less sappy Bella was a welcome change!

The rest of the cast is pretty good, but I will just say these brief things:

Cullens:

Carlisle – they need to fix his make-up. It made him seem unattractive. I liked the acting though.

Esme –Was a little short, a little overweight, and a little annoying. I’d have thought she would have been a little darker, a little thinner, and maternal, but not in a “crazy aunt” kind of way.

Alice: They nailed the look, but her voice was a bit strange. She was also BARELY IN IT! Alice is a big favorite of mine, so I was shocked how little she was used.

Jasper: Hands down, Jasper had the closest body to what the book describes. I’m unsure why they felt the need to give him ugly hair. He was fine as an actor, but I certainly didn’t want him to speak more than he did.

Emmett: Perfect Job!!!

Rosalie: Okay so Rosalie’s “gift” is being the most beautiful woman on the planet. So why did we get this girl? My boyfriends comment “It looks like she WAS the most beautiful woman on the planet, but they seemed to have bit her about 6 months too late.” In my opinion, I don’t mind her being curvy, but she wore ill fitting clothes which made her appear fat. I am aware that actress is most likely much more attractive than they made her. Just because Rosalie is a bitch doesn’t mean she can’t be gorgeous. As for her acting, not bad. The audience won’t find out why she is a raving bitch till book 3 or movie 3. It is not her fault that her character seems to be a bit nuts.

High school kids:

They were all wonderful, except the Asian kid. He looked like he wondered off the set of a sitcom as he was completely cartoony compared to the rest of the incredibly real characters.

Adults:

Renee: Not bad, We didn’t get to read the e-mails from the book, and Renee was seemingly more wild.

Charlie: For a man who said very little, he spoke volumes. This role was very hard to tackle, and the actor was very good.

Quileute Tribe:

Jacob Black: I know I know, I hate to be all book loyalist in this situation, but Jacob doesn’t grow his shaggy mane until the 2nd book. A shorter hair would have helped him look more attractive, and probably happier. When Bella talks about Jacob she refers to him smiling all the time. This Jacob was not really cheery. My main complaint was his hair, but I think he will be an attractive enough guy and a competent enough actor to divide the fans into team Jacob and team Edward

Billy Black: Perfect

Quileute Boys: WHY ARE THE UGLY?! Please change the casting if I’m going to have to see these boys naked/shirtless a lot.

My Twilight Perspective

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Before I get into the review, let me provide some information about my relationship with the ‘Twilight’ series:

Most people have heard me tell them about Twilight. It was originally recommended to me by a friend, and I actually credit the book for making me slightly less nuts during the initial courting period between myself and my fiancé. I often say that the lead male character of the book, Edward Cullen, was so beautiful in my head that I was slightly smitten, and as a result did not become the clingy boyfriend I normally become.

To repay the author, I promoted this book to everyone I knew. I have probably bought 10 hardback copies of it as gifts for various people over the past few years. Of course, as the sensation that is ‘Twilight’ grew and grew I knew I had long since repaid whatever debt I owed, and therefore was content simply to call myself a fan.

My fiancé got tired of me talking about how good the books were, and since I had turned him onto such wonderful series like “His Dark Materials” and to a lesser degree “Wicked” he felt he should give the books a chance. He read them, and had almost the polar opposite reaction. Whereas he is certainly willing to admit the books are incredibly engaging and addictive to read, he found the characters awful. I partially blame his love of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ for this, but it was not until I heard an opinion from someone who did not think Edward was unbelievably charming, that I was able to see some of the problems in the book series. Thankfully many problems in the book do not actually appear in the movie, and the series slightly corrected many of the past wrongs in the final installment.

So, I waited till Sunday. I didn’t want to be a Thursday Midnight viewer. Although the idea of being surrounded by thousands of tween girls all claiming allegiance to Team Edward or Team Jacob sounds incredibly entertaining, I wanted to be an adult and watch the movie with a more critical eye. I went in expecting a mediocre movie, and fully prepared to hate Robert Pattinson as the man who would attempt to portray Edward Cullen.

I left completely surprised, in a good way. This movie went well beyond my expectations, and, shockingly enough, my lovely fiancé also enjoyed the movie. This movie actually made us like the series more.

The Only Gay

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So what is life of a 2nd year law student like? Seemingly it means that no matter where I go someone wants to know what I think about gay marriage. They want a range of opinions from me. They want my personal opinion. They want to know what I think as an engaged gay man. They want to know what being engaged actually entails. These are the questions I can answer with ease, but I normally get kind of a deflated response. Apparently they want me to be more grand. They want a “fabulous” answer.

I normally seem to give such “Fabulous” answers when they ask me to speak for gays in general. I do not overly enjoy doing this, I know I am not the best person to ask, but I also know that for some people, I’m the only person they feel they can ask. So I tell them that I can’t really speak for gays as a class of people, but based on my own understanding of the issues and based on what I have observed the LGBT community doing lately, this is what LGBT people seem to be seeking.

It is when people ask me these questions that I realize something. For some people I am ‘that guy’ or maybe ‘that gay’ that they know. I am happy I consider myself a good person, but I am not sure if I am a good role model for gay culture. I find myself a little too stereotypical, too flaming, and under informed. I’m not someone who is entrenched in the LGBT civil rights movement. I come from the South. I spent a large degree of my life straddling the line of being in and out of the closet. I was out in that I acted like a big screaming homosexual, but I didn’t claim to be gay until I was in college. I’m not proud of that. I don’t regret my decision of self-preservation, but I do think this makes me less of a role model.

In addition, I do not do anything, aside from exist, that is particularly pro-gay. I used to do social issue theatre, which was my way for “speaking for the cause”, but since Law School I have not even done that. Now I learn about things in law school, and see how they effect LGBT community members, but I’m still not doing anything aside from learning about it. Will I ever get to use this knowledge to further the LGBT community movement? I do not know. I would love to do so, but it may never happen. Right now I’m just working on getting a job, and getting good grades.

So here is my position. If I’m the only homosexual person that you know, I hope that by knowing me you see that homosexuals are just normal people. I hope that by seeing that, you will support the LGBT community in their demands for being treated as equals. If by knowing me, you now think ALL homosexuals are really effeminate musical theatre queens, PLEASE do not look at me as a typical Gay person. I do not think of myself as typical or even a good representation of the LGBT community at large.

This being said, I am glad people seek my opinion. I think I’m qualified to give a pretty good one, that goes beyond simple “I’m here I’m queer get used to it” or “I think we should have gay marriage, because it is stupid not to have it.” I like to think that I have an opinion which has some support. So, I’m not saying “I wish people would not ask me things about LGBT issues.” What I’m saying is “When you ask me, understand that I’m not the best person in the world to ask. I will not be able to answer all your questions, and my opinion is based on a very specific set of experiences.”

Silence

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So I’ve not managed to write this week. This makes me sad as I was really getting involved in my story, however, I understand that my studies must take priority.

It’s that time of year where people take time off, and unfortunately it is also that time of year where Law Students are told to kiss their loved ones good-bye because they should not be seeing them often. I did this to some extent last year, and will do so again this year. However, I still do a lot of relaxing. I used to use that time to write, but I’ve just not been able to muster the energy to go from writing fiction to reading law.

I figured I just should post something. My numbers of who has been to my blog are so small it made me sad.

Art part 5

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

I’m wondering. I have this plan for the Angel to reveal his name later, but it is kind of annoying not to refer to him by name. Is it annoying to read? I’m wondering if the suspense is worth it.

Not nude like the story, but a wonderful picture

Not nude like the story, but a wonderful picture

“I’ll go grab you a pillow and a sheet.” I said as I put the glasses in the sink. When I returned to the couch Jared had pretty much already fallen asleep. He looked so cute when he slept. The term angelic came to mind, and I laughed at the juxtaposition between my perfect sculpted angel whose face was perfect and sad, and Jared’s whose was a bit sloppy but happy.

I went to my room, and as I stripped of my clothes I could feel the weight of my eyelids. I had not been tired in the other room, but the second Jared had passed out I felt the fatigue from the all night sculpting hit me. My arms ached and my back throbbed with a dull slow pain. I collapsed onto my bed and instantly my muscles felt relieved to no longer hold me up. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.

* * *

I awoke on a starlit beach, the frothy waves rolling in the background as they approached the sand beneath my feet. It was a place I knew well, because I came here often in my dreams. The sand was white, firmly packed, and the waves had grazed over it to make a pattern like Agate rock. There was always a slight breeze, enough to cool your face, and there always seemed to be the soft tinkling of a piano somewhere in the distance. I always loved that this place had music, I reveled in the soundtrack of my dreams.

I thought that this place, this part of my soul, was gone forever. I had locked it away months ago, but standing in the beauty of it I could not remember why. Why had I consciously tried will my dreams never to return here?

“I see you’ve come back.” Sang a voice from behind. A voice so light and smooth that I felt like I might actually float when the notes reached my ear. It was his voice, the voice of my angel, my heart rate sped up, and I spun around to see if he was really here.

He was.

As my eyes set on him I was completely paralyzed. It was like seeing him for the first time, only so much stronger. The first I had seen him, he was a beautiful stranger, the most incredible looking creature in this or any universe, but still, a stranger. This time, I knew him, but it had been months since I had seen him, and now I could see he was still even more perfect than I had remembered. He stood there, not moving a muscle, maintaining a sort of stillness which made him seem more like a statue than man.

He let my eyes drink in each part of him, his healthy sun kissed skin, curled hair which was full and carefully styled, wide expressive amethyst eyes parted by his sculpted Greek nose, blade like shoulder blades with two small scars indicating where his wings had once been, smooth cut chest, two perfectly proportioned pink nipples, his lean but etched torso, muscled flat stomach, the sharp lines of his Adonis belt running above his groin and up over his hip, a cock which was so stunning that it seemed impossible to say more than that it was simply perfect, powerful thighs, sinewy calves, and solid sturdy feet. He would be impossible for anyone to sculpt, and should he succeed no one would believe such beauty ever lived and breathed. I had been a fool to try to make him, and that was when I suddenly remembered why I had tried to avoid this place.

I had failed him. The last time I was here, I cried in his lap, apologizing to him for my lack of ability. He held me as I cried, stroked my hair, told me it was alright, but then I felt something wet and warm on my neck, I looked up, and there was the sight which I had run from. My angel, this creature I loved, had tears forming streams down his cheeks, and once they fell from his face they turned red as blood. I had been his final hope. A way for him to leave his world, but I had not been able to complete my journey. I couldn’t bring him into my world, and so he mourned his fate. I had become hysterical, telling him I would try again, but he told me it was too late. His heart was broken, and, even if I had succeeded in making a statue of him, his sorrow would keep him here forever. An angel without hope could do nothing but weep.

That night I had woken up screaming, and for weeks I tried to will myself back to this beach, to console him, to give him hope again, to give me another chance, but I couldn’t find it. My grades suffered, I was too depressed to leave my room, until finally one day I realized I couldn’t remember his face, I had lost the color of his eyes, and I knew nothing I could do would bring me back to him. I tried to lock the memory of him away, and little by little I had succeeded.

Jared had opened Pandora’s box, and all of the memories of this creature had escaped back into every corner of my mind. That flood of memory must have granted me a second chance, and I knew this time, with Jared at my side, I would succeed. I smiled at him, and at once tears in his eyes began to flow. I reached hand to his face, wiping them away.

“Please don’t shed another tear. I have returned, because this time will be different.” I said.

“What has changed?” he asked, as his tears stopped for a moment.

“Something wonderful has happened. I met someone, someone who seems to make me able to do the impossible. Someone whose presence has let me bring something from my dreams into reality. I have done it once, with something I hated. A nightmare.”

“Do you hate me too?” he asked.

“No….I could never hate you. I love you, My love for you is so much stronger than any hate I could feel. I will make you, You will be as perfect in my world as you are here. I know it.” It was strange. I had never spoken with confidence like this before, but I knew it was true. Jared and I, together we could do what I could not do alone.

“I can see you believe what you say.” He said, and I did.

“Then have hope, believe in my once more, I can do what I promise, but there is no point if you don’t have faith. I don’t want a replica of you, I want you.” Seeing him again, I wanted him more than ever. To be awake and see his face only once would be enough for me to die happy.

“I will try.” He said, but I could tell the flame of hope was already flickering inside him. His tears no longer flowed.

“I will succeed.” I promised him, and as he came closer to embrace me I found myself drifting away.

My eyes opened, and I was back in my room. My muscled tensed for a second, angry for being denied the pleasure my angels embrace would have provided, but quickly they relaxed as I realized I would see him again. He would have hope when I saw him again, and his touch would be worth the wait.

I think I’ve come along something

I think I’ve found a story I want to see finished. I was writing on it today, and I saw the end of the story, and I loved the journey i could see it would take to get there.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

and now Part 4

fallen-angel

“So what was the inspiration?” he asked.

“You are going to laugh. It was a dream I had when I was a kid. I was around 6 or 7 years old, and my entire family was by these rocks which served as barrier for my mom’s garden in the backyard. We were playing some game, I think hide and seek, and finally we all ended up together. I remember the moonlight was shining really bright, it was exaggerated like it was a movie, and there was this moss on the rocks. It was this kind of velvety green moss, and in my dream it shimmered in the moonlight. It looked like that stuff that gets on your hands when you squish a lightning bug.”

“My entire family became crazy when the moonlight hit the moss, and they all scrambled for it, and soon they were covered with it. They were glowing and laughing, and then the ground began to shake. An old wooden door appeared, it looked like it leaded down into a storm cellar, and my parents all started to go down. We went down a bunch of stone stairs, and I remember it was really cold. Finally we came to this big hall, and there were all these portraits on the wall. They looked a lot like the ones in my upstairs, but all the people in them had been replaced by huge pigs. That was when it happened, my entire family started transforming before my eyes, and their clothes were ripping and my sisters screams turned into squeals. I closed my eyes, I was so scared that I would turn into one too, but I didn’t. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t get that moss on me, or because it was my dream, or what, but I remember looking around trying to find a way out, and I saw this picture of these pigs, but I knew that they were my family, and they were all dressed in these really strange clothes. It was like they were from a fairytale, and I heard my dad, who had been able to keep his voice for some reason, and turned around. He stood on his hind legs still, and towered over me. His eyes were this disgusting color of blood and yellow, and as he descended upon me his face got bigger and bigger, and that was when I woke up.

“For years I remember I would go out at night and play. My parents had bought a trampoline for the kids, and it was right by that garden. I would go pretend to jump on it, but I would just wait for the moon to get high in the sky. I wanted to see if the moss could really glow, and if that door was real. As I got older, and I learned more and more that fantasy existed less and less, I stopped looking, but the vision of my dad as a huge pig has always haunted me.”

I couldn’t believe Jared’s face as I told him this story. He sat there in complete silence with his eyes getting wider and wider. I figured it was just because the story was so strange, but as I had gotten done speaking I noticed his breath had accelerated.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yeah, sorry. Do you think you would mind if I turned that into a story of mine?”

“Ummm…well sure. I mean…I don’t know how it ends, but your free to use whatever you want.” I figured it was a much better payment for how he helped me.

“Thanks! Well…I guess I better go.” He said quickly getting up.

“Oh…leaving so soon?” I still wanted to celebrate.

“Did you want me to stick around?” he asked.

“Well…I mean…I guess I just still felt like celebrating.” The truth was: yes, I wanted him to stick around. Jared was the first person at this school that I felt I could talk to. I didn’t have to be impressive, I could just be me.

“I guess I could stick around, but it will cost you.” He flashed an impish smile as he flopped back onto the couch.

“What do you mean?” It is strange, the second I want him to stay he makes demands. When I wanted him to leave, he couldn’t get enough of my company.

“Well…your art seems to really come from something personal. Can I get to know about what inspired your other pieces? Maybe that whole pig dream is only part of the story.” He said, my eyes had to widen in order to keep him in perspective as he narrowed the distance between us.

“Umm…okay. It won’t be as easy as it is with my sculpture though. That one is finished, so you can kind of see where inspiration really helped form the creation. I’ve never managed to finish any of the others.” I said as I pointed to the number of unfinished pieces around the room.

“Where are they?” he asked, scanning the room.

“Heh, well let’s see. Your feet are on one right now. I use that big block as a coffee table, but that’s not what it is supposed to be. If you look near the center you can see where I started. A small shoulder blade is visible.” I said pointing it to him.

“Oh, but it’s barely started. What happened?” he asked running his hands over the small start I had made.

“I told you, I couldn’t finish. It is maddening to see something so clearly in your head, but not be able to form it in reality. My problem is I can’t move onto the next part till I know whatever I started is complete. It has to be perfect.” I said.

“Didn’t look like that the past two nights. You worked on so many things at one time, it was hard to believe they were all going to come together like they did.” He said, and again I was shocked at my total change in process.

“I guess you must give me ADD then.” I said with a smile.

“I guess so. So what was this supposed to be then?” he asked.

“An angel, well, a fallen one.” I said, and as I traced the shoulder blade of my creation I could see what Jared could not. A naked man in the fetal position with broken wings, stray feathers adhering to his sculpted body. His hair matted with blood and sweat, with tears running down what little piece of his face you could see. He was so beautiful, and yet so fragile. I had seen him so many times in my dreams, but I couldn’t bring him into this world. I had fantasies of being like Pygmalion, where I would make a man as perfect as I wanted, and one day, after wishing it so, he would come to life and be the love of my life.

“Why did you want to make that?” he asked, and I hoped my face had not betrayed my silent wish for this block to have been my lover.

“I dreamed about him, many times. I wanted to see him in reality, and not just in my dreams. So I tried to make him, but I couldn’t do him justice.” I said, feeling satisfied I’d answered the question.

“What was he like? You know…in your dreams?” Jared pressed for more.

“He was kind, but sad. He loved humans so much, that he gave up his wings to be one, but he found that being human was harder than it had looked, and after he had his heart broken for the first time, he just wanted to be an angel again. He was so beautiful, and when we spoke I had this strange feeling. I was sad that he wasn’t an angel, but happy he was human. I was happy I could see him, touch him, talk to him. I told him that without being human, humans like me would never know such beauty existed our world, but he never stopped being sad.” I laughed in my head at my description. This was how I described my dream man? It was hard to imagine wanting to be with someone so gloomy even if they were beautiful.

“Do you want him?” Jared asked, with a tender but serious inflection in his voice.

“What do you mean?” I didn’t really know what he was asking.

“Well…we’ve got this thing. With me, you can make these dreams reality. Do you want to make him? Your angel?” Jared asked taking my hand and running it along the smooth piece of stone where my angel’s face would have been.

“Are you serious? I mean…it would be wonderful, but what about you?” I liked the idea of having a project with Jared, but the emotion was so different with this one. I wanted the pig out of my head because I hated it, I wanted the angel in my life because I loved him. It was hard to imagine Jared being there when I sculpted him. What would I do in that trance? Would it even work again?

“Well we can’t work all night like last time, but I write at night anyway. We could just do it in the same place, and who knows, it will probably help me. Angels are fantastic creatures, I bet I could get some good stuff out watching you. I don’t mind writing in the studio, if you don’t mind me watching you when your all hypnotized. I’d say that’s a pretty fair trade wouldn’t you?” He said with a big grin.

“What is it with you and fair trades? You know friends often do things for one another for nothing.” I wanted Jared to do this because we were friends, not because we were business partners.

“Your right, but you didn’t take my offer to do it for free.” He said.

“When did you offer that?”

“Before you asked if I was okay with it. If you hadn’t asked, I’d probably have just agreed to pull all nighters with you till this one was done too.” He was right.

“Well…as your friend I didn’t want you to suffer for my sake. What kind of friend would I be if I did that?” I guess his first offer was proving he was my friend, and my concern proved I was his.

“True, so let’s drink to this new project! May the plaster bring forth your angel, and cement our new found bond.” He said raising his glass.

“Rather poetic for a toast, but I can certainly drink to that.” I said as we clinked glasses.

“I’m a writer, I’m allowed to talk like that.” He said gulping down the last of his drink.

“I guess we better get some sleep if we’re going to be in the studio tonight. Do you need to crash on my couch?” I asked.

“Ummm…well…sure. It will be a lot easier than walking to my dorm.” He said laying down.

“I’ll go grab you a pillow and a sheet.” I said as I put the glasses in the sink. When I returned to the couch Jared had pretty much already fallen asleep. He looked so cute when he slept. The term angelic came to mind, and I laughed at the juxtaposition between my perfect sculpted angel whose face was perfect and sad, and Jared’s who a bit sloppy but happy.

Remember Remember the 5th of November

So my day ended with watching V for Vendetta. Something I have always wanted to do on the 5th of November.

In light of all that has happened politically in the past 24 hours I truly enjoyed it tonight.

A blast from the past

So here is a story I wrote in 2003. I wrote it to get a rise out of a girl in my class. We were all supposed to say something interesting about ourselves, when we met in our first day. I don’t remember what I said, but I do remember what she said.

“Hi my name is ______, and Jesus is my best friend.” I was so shocked by it, that I wanted to write something she might find offensive. Little did I know I would be out done later that semester by someone who wrote about a incestuous gay bestial rape scene. Yeah…mine is pretty tame compared to that.

gay-lover

Want

“So, Ryan…It’s you’re first time. Well, I want you to know that we’re all here to help one another, so if you don’t feel like talking the first day, that’s okay. A lot of us didn’t talk our first time. You’ve come on a rather interesting night though We’ll be continuing the conversation we had last week. Karla was telling us about Morgan last time. Have there been any new developments since then?”

I couldn’t fucking believe I came to this group. I knew this is exactly what it was going to be like. A bunch of empty shells trying to scrape what little was left of themselves out in front of people, hoping for just one ounce of pity. I didn’t want anyone to feel for me. I didn’t need a fucking hug or a spiritual group prayer with two vegan lesbians accompanying us all on their guitars. I didn’t want to feel like I used to. I didn’t want to reminisce, and I especially didn’t want to listen to Karla bare her bleeding soul about how Morgan had ruined her forever. I didn’t even know Karla; I didn’t know anyone. That’s why I hate coming to these things. They never give me what I want.

I wanted to feel nothing. That’s really what I wanted. I didn’t want to feel anything, let alone everything all over again.   I wanted to be numb, to have every sense in me flushed from what was left of my body.

“Well you know Karla, one of the first things we teach each other here is forgiveness. Forgiveness promotes a certain amount of release. I’m sure each and every one of us knows the relief we get when we forgive. No more carrying around all that bottled up hostility.” And then there was Chris. Chris was the leader of our group. I hadn’t been in the room for more than three seconds before he bounced his perky self over to me introduced himself to me while pointing at his name tag. People like Chris were even worse than Karla. They are the ones that only listen to make themselves feel better about their own lives. Chris was just as sick as any of the rest of us.  He knew it, but instead of being real like he told everyone else to, he hid it from even himself. His face had slowly fused with the mask of the big smile and upbeat tone, while the words to every 12 step pamphlet spilled out from his lips. Over the years of pain, every trace of personality had seeped out, only to be replaced by the superficial cordiality which locked him within a prison of polite manners.

“Ryan, would you like to share your story?” Of course not, what kind of a masochist do you take me for?

“Well…I” I hate how my brain censors what I think from what I say.

“It’s okay if you don’t. There’s no pressure here. It’s just that some us find it relieving to talk finally talk about it.” If there’s no pressure why the fuck did you ask the new guy?

“No, that’s okay. Maybe it might be nice to talk about it. I’m just not very sure where to start.” That little shit! I’m not about to be known as the one who refused to share. No pressure my ass!

“Well, why don’t you tell us how you got sick.” He said leaning in to hear, his mouth beginning to drool at the sounds of fresh meat.

I closed my eyes for a moment. My mind flashed to so many images; the doctors, the bathroom, the club, and then I saw it. I saw the bed and my ears rung out with his voice.

“Are you coming or not?” He’d said it so sweetly that night, and yet every time I hear it in my head it gets more distorted, more tainted by the pain. The inflections of the whisper become more serpentine every time I hear it in my head, but I remember at one time I found it the most seductive thing anyone had ever said to me.

Those words were my last chance, and for a few seconds my feet began to move towards the door. I stopped. I looked forward, frozen in my tracks, noticing the moonlight filtering through the blinds, his silver silhouette filling my eyes. He opened his arms to me, and slowly I went to him. As I walked closer, the soft sound of my clothes hitting the floor filled the room. He folded me into him as I slowly slid beneath the soft sheets. We lay there for a moment, the silence burning my ears, forcing me to breathe in heavily, inhaling his essence, which has never left me.  I felt his breath on the back of my neck as I exhaled. Slowly the warm air blew harder and harder until his lips slowly pressed themselves into me. I brought his hand to my face as his other began exploring my body. He followed the trail to what he wanted, the one thing we both knew would satisfy him. I rolled to face him, and our lips met as he pulled my body closer to him. Finally our bodies came together, and we were one. I was finally experiencing what I had spent what seemed like my whole life waiting for. My body finally feeling in reality the sensations my imagination had haunted me with night after night in my fantasies. My body was on fire. It felt like every cell in my body was celebrating love, and yet it was nothing like I’d imagined it would be. It was cheap, and empty.  The love I’d envisioned was replace by the lust of this man who I barely knew.  I wanted stop.

“I love you” he whispered, softly killing my resistance. He kissed me again, and, before I knew it, I was lost. The “me” I’d spent a lifetime becoming was no more. That night I reveled in not having to be me anymore. I didn’t have the baggage of my entire life weighing me down. It was the ecstasy of being numb and alive.

For weeks I thought about him, felt him and only him. I was still new, still lusting in my world of no pain.  From new years to Valentines Day I felt the best I’ve ever felt in my entire life.

“Excuse me sir. Would you please follow me?” It was the last day of my new life. The last time I’d smile as I followed her down the long white hall, so happy and eager to be there.

“If you’ll wait right here, Dr. Allen will be with you in just a moment.”

“Dr. Allen? No, I’m not here to see a doctor!” I yelled after her as she shut the door.

I wish I had spent forever relishing the next few moments. They were the last few moments given to me before I knew, and I wasted them assuming it was just a mix up. After a few minutes Dr. Allen did indeed come through the door. He sat down facing me and pulled out a piece of paper from his folder.

“You’re Ryan Sanders?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m sorry sir. There appears to be a mix up. I’m just here to give blood.” I explained to him

“Yes, you gave last month as well correct?”

“Yeah. I give every month. I’m a universal donor… O negative.” I’d always been proud that my blood could save anyone.

“Oh? Well Ryan…we thank you very much for all that you’ve given us, but last month something was wrong. You’re blood showed up positive when we scanned it for HIV.”

“What?” It couldn’t be true.

“I’m afraid we’ve run the test multiple times, and it indicated you have been infected with the HIV virus Mr. Sanders. Now, I know of some very good places you can go to seek treatment, as well as the names of several groups that provide counseling and other things for people with HIV…” He trailed off in my mind, telling me all about the virus I’d heard about for years.  The numb feeling quickly drained from my body as I began to shake with fear.

That night I couldn’t do anything.  I lay next to the toilet vomiting and spitting, trying to get this fucking thing out of me, but it’s stayed.  Now I think I can feel it inside of me. I feel it instead of the fucking demon who fucked me on the millennium, and he’s dead now.  It had eaten him from with, and now it was slowly devouring me the same way.

I looked up and saw the faces of the group. Their eyes all fixed on me, and I realized I had told them. I had been telling them the entire time I sat there remembering it, and their eyes made me wish for death even more: the looks of relief that my story was worse than theirs from half of them and the stares of similar stories reflected back at me in others. I could see the faces of their infectors in their eyes: the ones that they’d loved, the ones that had loved them, and the ones that had hurt them.  They were all there. I had stopped speaking, and finally I just lowered my head.

“Ryan, it’s all right. Thank you for sharing that with us.” Chris said, with the murmur of two dozen thank you’s underneath. Chris had gotten just what he wanted, and I was still left feeling exactly what I had so desired to escape except that for the first time in two years I felt something else. As the meeting ended with a group hug, the eyes I had so desired to escape had changed. The looks weren’t of pity, or sadness, it was something different, something I couldn’t figure out.

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