Archives for posts with tag: USA

Utah 2

America is the most beautiful country.  Utah is my favorite state.

Utah 1

Stormy Malibu

1.

It started with a short message and ended up with a whole bunch of choices I never expected.

Not in my wildest dreams.

I’ve read what you had to say. Now it’s my turn.

Stepping away from the mess. It’s not so messy. It seems like it was planned.

This pantomime. Look at the cast of unusual, freakish characters. Look at them.

Boys and men, trans and women.

Young girls. Yes. They are here too.

So you wrote me a poem. No title… of course.

2.

We were connected .

When it expires we are expired.

The order? It was a good idea. It was a great way to formalize the end of our association. I can only imagine that you feel much the same way I do.

I wish we had never met.

Don’t you shudder whenever you think about it?

I understand why you needed to rewrite the narrative.

I took advantage of you?

You had far more to lose by telling the truth.

When assigning blame, I take full responsibility. I should have walked away.

Everyone I trusted advised me to do so. Everyone I trusted.

I didn’t.

Instead, I pinned my hopes on you. I found your interest in me all at once baffling and inspiring.

A romantic relationship was impossible.

Because I am a broken, sick man. Incapable of intimacy.

You sold me:

A big fat lie.

Yet, we never talked about my lies. Yes, I lied to you about almost everything.

Lies I had held onto for a very long time.

This man is a liar. Just like me. Did you ever think that?

So.

The last time I checked, and that was some time ago, you seemed very happy wearing your new clothes, your relationship, your job and your family.

I am delighted. You will make a much better job of being a gay than I ever could.

It seems to be an exciting time for a young gay man in the USA. Equality on the horizon, no AIDS.

Your ability to form and maintain relationships will mean that you’ll have everything you always wanted. Everything you ever dreamed.

The questions I wanted to ask… I have no reason to ask.

The truth set you free and I am very proud of you… even though I have no desire to set eyes upon you ever again.

May 6th 2013

3.

When did you have time to write that? Was it really meant for me?

Did you wonder if I should reply? Did you think I could?

There are no words left.

4.

It’s 3am.

The storm rattles the house, thunders down the drain pipes. Torrents of rain over the mountain. Hammering down onto the wide, new leaves.

Wide awake.

Make some toast and lime marmalade. Boil some eggs. Stand naked in the warm rain.

I am downtown. Downtown LA. We are drinking coffee in a chic coffee shop.

It is reassuringly sophisticated.

It feels like NYC. It feels like a city.

Spring Street. Coffee bar.

The people who pass by are dressed well and don’t have that Hollywood vibe. The women are not showing off their chests and legs, the boys are wearing well cut pants and have covetable accessories.

Having the car makes life more interesting.

I am scarcely at home.

I am writing this on my phone.

I had dinner with an old friend on Saturday night. We ate at Bossa Nova then we saw Clash of the Titans 2 at the Chinese Theatre.

There were less than 10 of us in the theatre.

The film was terrible, Olivia was terrible. Everything about that terrible film that could be said…was said.

He brought two young men. They didn’t say much. One was gay, the other ‘in training’.

Outside the theatre there was a costume exhibition. We poured over the ormolu costume jewelry Elizabeth Taylor wore in Cleopatra.

We explained to the boys the history of Century City.

You know that story don’t you?

How Cleopatra bankrupted 20th Century Fox? How the back lot was sold and Century City was built?

Everybody should know that story, if they live in LA.

It was pouring rain.

Under the theatre, in the parking lot, valley girls were vomiting out of SUVs onto their fake Louboutins.

We drove west, we sat together at my club and they drank cocktails. I drank coffee.

The boys remained mute.

Not feeling at all combative, I found myself passionately discussing racism and gay equality which quickly disintegrated into a nasty UK v USA argument.

At one point my friend told me that if he could press a button and eradicate all Muslims he would.

I pointed out that my father was a Persian Muslim and technically so were the majority of my 11 brothers and sisters. That he would have to kill my young sister Rebecca.

How did he feel about that?

His genocidal zeal was not diminished.

How come it’s become ok for reasonable men to become so islamaphobic?

The conversation further disintegrated into how retarded the Brits were for accepting equality without the word marriage in the equation.

It made my blood boil that he would rather have nothing if he couldn’t have the word marriage.

Civil unions in the UK seem, to those who have them…just like being married and my friends who have civil unions think of themselves, describe themselves, as married.

Anyway, the m word is now being fought for in the UK but more as a nice after thought attached to the equality that we already enjoy.

You know how I felt, and people like me felt about that word. Archaic, patriarchal bull shit…antiquated in the secular UK.

Then, this morning, I found myself listening to Democracy Now on the radio as I drove the 101 Freeway.

Van Jones being interviewed.

He pointed out that in the civil rights game played out in the USA…if you are prepared to be arrested for what you believe…and there are enough of you, change happens quickly.

Be seen to fight for what you believe in, rather than playing the faceless gay equality/marriage ‘incremental’ tactic…employing expensive lawyers and fighting state by state…

He mentioned the names of 5 or 6 black civil rights leaders. I got to wondering where our civil rights leaders were? Who are they? Why can’t I name them?

I suppose Lance Black has become a recognizable leader/voice of the gay community but this seems accidental rather than deliberate.

It has always been my dream for the gay men and women of the USA that they get the human rights they deserve.

But…what are they prepared to risk when demanding those rights? How many windows do they need to break?

There is something weedy and unfocused about the movement.

Worse, by articulating this frustration I risk people like my friend telling me that I am letting down the cause.

We need leaders, we need direct action. It is the only way the unelected justices (who get the final say) at the Supreme Court will truly understand how important equality is to us.

The system has failed us.

Meanwhile, Justin Bond shared on Facebook a piece he found in the NY Times about the suicide of a gay man struggling with the notion of old age…amongst other things.

Read it here: gay suicide

Some of Justin’s friends dismissed the piece as worthless. Some of them understood how important it was.

Some of them, quite rightly, wondered why the piece was in the style section.

Our community wrestles with all sorts of problems peculiar to our people. It is absurd, at moments like this, to pretend that we are just like everyone else.

Our generation of gay men, used to unlimited sex, sexual validation, Peter Panism at its worst…has to wake up and acknowledge the wrinkles.

So, it’s been quite a week. A date last night that went really well. Passionate discussions and…well the dogs.

What more could I want?

20120403-120523.jpg

Austin is as beautiful as El Paso is not.

The people in downtown Austin look like they just walked out of the East Village.

The last time I was here Joe and I stayed at The Driskill Hotel. This time around I am spending the day writing before I move on.

I would like to have stayed a little longer but fate well and truly intervened.

I am exhausted.

Yesterday, after I was released by the ICE guys with my passport re stamped I spent an hour by myself. It was blissful.

The Dane and his ex picked me up from the small Sierra Blanca cafe at the edge of Interstate 10 where I had eaten unexpectedly delicious Huevos Rancheros with the cops.

Reunited with my fellow travelers, back in our luxurious transportation. The Dane, Lucie and I headed back to El Paso where we parked ourselves in a coffee shop…like I am doing now…and The Dane anxiously attempted to help Thomas by calling his friends, family and officials.

As we drove into El Paso I noticed something strange and scary.

All the palm trees were dead.

Trees that formerly decorated the forecourts of the huge car dealers on Montana are now just sad, brown stumps.

The same is true of commercial and domestic palms. Palms of all varieties…dead. Their bark ruptured, waiting for the woodsman to take them down.

What killed the palm trees?

Global warming? Climate change? El Paso just had the worst winter…ever. It killed palms, mesquite and cactus.  If I had doubted climate change before…this was indeed the smoking gun.

I am persuaded.  Climate change exists.

We would spend all day and most of the evening in El Paso at either the coffee shop or at the alien detention center where, at 7pm, we were allowed to see Thomas.

He looked miserable and cried a bit but anyone who has been to boarding school can attest this is just first day nerves.

Unlike boarding school they wouldn’t let us sit in the same room as the ‘detainee’ so we spoke on telephones peering at Thomas through bullet proof glass.

He held his hand up to the window like Billy Hayes in Midnight Express but unlike the film Lucie didn’t rub her tits over the glass and Thomas did not jerk off looking at them.

Nor did we hand him a book stuffed with dollars.

For me it was a total waste of time.

This idiotic boy had deliberately over stayed his visa, not renewed his passport and had the attitude of any entitled prick who thinks he should be allowed to stay anywhere he pleases.

I was even more pissed at The Dane for getting me involved with his half-baked friend. His ex Lucie was really sweet and had a great attitude. I have no complaints about her.

I just knew the moment I met Thomas that he was going to cause trouble.

An immature, exhibitionist thirty-one year old man who cater/waiters for a career is not someone I necessarily want to know. No, I am not being a snob. I am just angry. You will be pleased to hear that I did not lose my temper and remained remarkably calm.

Whilst they were fruitlessly contacting embassies I wandered around El Paso in the searing 110 degree heat checking out Kinsineta couture…see above.

I bumped into Nicholas, the manager of the El Paso hipster coffee shop who offered to not only help us out by visiting Thomas in detention but also offered to show me around. I leapt at the chance. If only to hang out with a relatively normal human being.

As they were moping over poor incarcerated Thomas, Nicholas took me to the very authentic Chico’s Tacos which was amazingly tasty and cheap.

We were both well fed for less that $5. Check the wiki link above. He then drove me to a mountain that over looks not only the city of El Paso but into the violent border town of Juarez, Mexico where there are (apparently) several drug related cartel murders every day.

“It is a miracle when there are no murders in Juarez.” Nicholas said sadly. “I love my country but we are not very good to each other.”

He told me about gunmen bursting into schools and shooting students. Weddings and funerals where the same happens. Endless, brutal Cartel related murders. He told me that the children of the Cartel roam El Paso boasting who their parents are and scaring the locals.

From the mountain we could very clearly see the controversial border fence that separates the USA from Mexico.

“Everybody in this town is involved with smuggling.” He said, looking over the vast, hot landscape. “People and drugs.”

I dropped Nicholas at his car then returned to The Dane and Lucie who had now finished with Thomas.

Inspired, I took them to Chico’s which they loved. I fed the dog and for the next four hours I drove through the night toward Austin from El Paso.

Lucie took the helm at 1am and I slept fitfully in the back of the SUV.

When I woke at 7am we were in Fredericksburg. A charming Teutonic historical town, tastefully planned and well manicured. We sat in the German Bakery and ate buns and drank hot, dark coffee. It was such a fucking relief to be out of El Paso and experiencing a different, altogether more understandable world.

Frankly I couldn’t wait to leave The Dane. It was not his fault per se but he and his friend took a risk with our vacation/trip to NYC that is not easily forgiven.

Thomas will go home to Sweden where he will hopefully grow the fuck up.  Even in the detention center he was imagining that he could marry his girl friend at the facility and they would let him go back to his studio life in Brooklyn.

Yeah right!

I showed the house for the first time yesterday.  A Persian man who lives not far from here.

He was looking for a cheap house as an investment.  I really don’t care who buys it.

I spent the morning rearranging.

I rearranged the furniture so the dining area is set above the sitting room on the terrazzo plinth.   It looks great.  I used the black leather chairs that I bought for ElCerrito Place.  I tried using the Morrison chairs but they looked too complicated.  Compromised the aesthetic.

I am going to sell my Jasper Morrison dining room chairs.  They are now stacked outside looking really forlorn, they need to go else where..where they can be loved.

Had tea with JA in West H’wood yesterday.  Everybody is in such a funk.  Things have ground to a halt.  Is this just on the West Coast?   Nobody knows how to crawl out of this hole?  Maybe we don’t crawl out of anywhere but learn to live with new parameters.

Popped in on Trevor at the bottom of the canyon to see the young doe that the coyote had savaged in his garden.  It was all gnawed at.  Its tongue sticking out.  Trevor’s wife was a bit pissed that I had made the effort to see the dead deer but not their new baby.  Sorry Jen.

Meg Whitman the ex Ebay CEO is running in the Gubernatorial race here in California against Jerry Brown.  She has spent over $119, 000, 000 of her own money on her campaign.  She becomes the largest self-funded political candidate in history.

Yet all of this might come to naught if her ex-maid and nanny of nine years Nicky Diaz Santillan swings the vote.   Nicky’s story is a familiar one in California.  An illegal immigrant (undocumented) who worked hard for Meg and her husband is cruelly let go when she asks for help to become legal.

“Thown away like trash.” she sobbed on TV.

The latino population in SoCal will take notice.  They know what that feels like.  To be part of a family, whether Witman’s or family USA only to be thrown away when things get tough.

The economy in this part of America has relied heavily on the cheap labour that these illegal immigrants offer.  Making the rich richer, they are hard-working, uncomplaining people.  I have employed Spanish-speaking men at the local labor exchange and they work tirelessly in scorching heat, lugging great hessian bags of garden waste up and down the mountains like donkeys.  I don’t ask any questions.  Nor do my neighbors.

These latino workers have no expectations, except to be treated poorly by white folk like me.  They don’t have much choice.

When they do not get treated poorly they are grateful and go the extra mile.

The truth is, frustrated white people in the USA very begrudgingly gave up their slaves so having illegal Mexican immigrants who do as they are told for very little somehow placates their desire to be slave owners.

White people may say they are pissed off by illegal immigrants yet I don’t know any one of them who would be prepared to do what these people do.  Washing up, gardening, busing, etc.  Menial tasks.  White people wouldn’t know how.  They don’t know how.

We tried to import a bunch of colourful faces into the UK to do the same during the 1950′s but they opened corner shops and restaurants and got richer than the people who imported them.  Anyway, we had colonial apologists who refused to see these people used like American white people use Latinos.

Thank GOD for bouts of socialism.

I could bang on about the racism that exists here but I can’t be bothered.

White people are hurting.  They have lost their jobs and their homes. There is no industry.  They can’t seem to relearn working skills and get humble and wash dishes for other white folk.  The dream is dead.  Arianna Huffington is on TV telling people that America is a Third World Country, that the middle class is over and that the American Dream has been compromised.

Similar circumstances existed in Germany before the second world war.  Crippling debt (war reparations) unemployment, hunger, desperation, hopelessness.  Do not underestimate the gruelling effect of hopelessness..regardless of how comfortable you are if you feel hopeless your view on the world changes.  It gets easy to blame the immigrant, the jew, the gay…the innefectual black President.

I pray that I am wrong but given the current state of the USA, these extreme economic circumstances I am guessing that the people of America will, come the next election, elect a far right, socially conservative Palin type President who will irrevocably damage the entire world.  We are desperate for strong, innovative, modern leadership yet it seems that only the far right have the balls to serve what the people hanker.

We are witnessing the cynical destruction of the USA as we, and millions before us, dreamed it.  It is a crying shame.

By the way.  Rich Sanchez the latino CNN host fired this week for saying that Jon Stewart was pompous and that the media was controlled by the Jews.  Well, that’s how it was reported.  Not quite the way he said it.  Actually he said he felt bullied by Stewart, looked down upon.  That people like Stewart look down on latinos..and he’d be right.  I am sure what he felt about Jon Stewart may very well be right.

I rather like Rick Sanchez.  Isn’t it amazing that Sanchez can get fired for saying two rather obvious things (one an opinion and one true) and that Glenn Beck gets to say terrible shit everyday but nobody lifts a finger?

Willie just took a huge dump on the carpet…nice.  Thankfully I know how to clean a rug without resorting to calling a maid service.

Taking a Shit

British class shame is nothing a regular gun-toting American would or should know anything about.   Whether or not one has an understanding of manners, social hierarchy or top hats is neither here nor there.

I have spent blog time bashing America but really, the Brits are just as bad-if not worse.  My friend Pierre in New York, upon moving here at the behest of his company, missed London terribly but after a short while, much less time than I, understood why we come here and why we want to stay.   Pierre began to notice a change in himself and those around him.  He felt valued, pumped up, fearless.  In America he could feel like a man.

Like me, when he meets Brits who stay at home he marvels at their naivety.

It takes a huge amount of self-loathing to ‘know your place’.

In the USA there is no shame about bettering and reinventing ones self.  There are rules, of course, but every one of the rules (guiding principles) is designed to be broken.

You may have to pay a disgruntled employee a ton of money for a spurious sexual harassment claim but that’s how the dispossessed get their share of the pie.

Everyone is on the make, everyone!  It’s an on the make, nickle and dime affair that I am having with the USA.  It’s better than pecan pie and nuclear waste!  It’s more thrilling than Guantanamo Bay.

As a Brit I still hanker after public art and healthcare but the rampant small mindedness of my countrymen, their embittered jokes masquerading as irony, their post imperialist arrogance and their total inability to allow anyone to grow beyond the class they were born into keeps me from going back home.

I suppose for all my anti-American sentiment I love the hurly-burly, the hegemony, the extremes, the greed, the excess, the stupidity.  I love their terror of art and history.  I applaud their dogma and their denial.  I love that they think that they are the very best at everything they do when they are patently not.  I love that they behave like willful children.  I love that they think knowing about nature or food is elitist.  I love that an engaging presidential candidate can emerge from nowhere and take the world stage-where as the British produce a bunch of familiar, threadbare politicians like so many provincial repertory actors delivering lackluster performances in what passes for political theatre.   Imagine British MP’s sitting in their shared dressing-room waiting for lurid makeup to be applied before performing their ‘great scene’ during Prime Ministers Question Time.  Smoking, sinking rummers of whiskey, discussing their expense claims, squabbling over cabinet positions and who’ll wear what at the state opening of parliament.

We don’t cast our parliament terribly well.  Here they cast the Whitehouse like a huge movie.  No wonder Rahm and Ari Emmanuelle are behind Barrack.  They recognized his star potential and like a baby starlet hanging out in the Chateau Marmont plucked him from obscurity and handed him the best role ever in their box office blockbuster political thriller-so whilst the Emmanuells steal the money they got themselves the bestest alibi ever..a black president.  They got themselves a well-dressed first lady descended from slaves.  They got tears of joy at the inauguration and a divided, blind sided America whilst the spoils of the middle class were being divided up by unscrupulous hedge fund managers and Ponzi schemers betting on the downfall of their own and other nations.

So, there’s Barrack blustering over the war and the economy in his professorial tweeds, his sweet and sexy demeanor softening the hearts of the liberal elite and providing drama and focus for the next lot-the emboldened white Christian right.  There he is dithering over healthcare and everything continues just the way it was.

Am I the only one who can’t imagine Tim Geitner having sex with anyone other than himself?   He is such a WEED.

If China wasn’t running the world-this could look dangerous!

When British politicians get caught with their hand in the till-what paltry amounts of money they steal!  Awarding their friends dodgy $150,000 construction contracts and creaming a few quid and a meat pie for themselves…subsequently getting caught and fired.   An American politician wouldn’t waste his time or his position stealing so little.  Tony Blair is the only politician to get away with stealing real money.  He got away with the money and murder.  He understood what few in the UK do-that American politicians are not elected to represent their constituents but to steal as much money as they can within their 4 years in office.

And, you might ask, why shouldn’t he?  The Blair’s are just doing what the Royal family and the landed gentry have done for hundreds of years. He just took what he thought he was owed for getting to the top of the pile.  It must piss our lowly politicians off to go through all the pain of getting elected to public office and then once there, look around…bleak…lonely…underpaid.  Servants of the democracy that we hold dear and never really getting what they deserve-compared with the politicians in the USA who are on the fucking gravy train!

Drill baby drill, bailouts, healthcare, there’s money in them there policies..money for every politician in Washington, TONS OF IT!  Politicians accepting donations from whomever and where ever.

Poor old Dennis Kucinich-he’s the congressman President Obama lassoed into helping change the mind of the bold progressives who were holding out for a radical public option during the last few moments before the Healthcare Bill was forced into law.

Well, dear Dennis lives in a one room apartment in Washington…never accepts a dime from anyone..but he lives in a one-bedroom apartment with his wife Elizabeth.   If he had played his cards right, abandoned his principles and cut himself free from the people he was sent to represent then he could be living in a huge house in Georgetown-which is what the people expect by the way.  To the average American there is something vaguely retarded about a man who is able to steal the money but doesn’t.

That’s why we elected you into office!  To steal the money but, mind you, not so much that you piss the other thieves off who have seniority or think you are stealing too much.  Of course, once in a while an odd politician needs to be thrown to the lions so that the public think that the other politicians have some sort of morality.

This is America and once you get a handle on it it’s not that bad.  As long as you understand that to survive here you have to learn how to steal.  You have to learn how to lose.  Learn how to pick yourself up.  Not get trampled in the stampede.

You must definitely learn to rub belly..pat head..

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