home movies

somewhere on a shelf in my mother’s basement, amongst the dozens and dozens of books, stuffed in with the dvds and vhs tapes my family amassed throughout my childhood, there is a home video my father recorded when i was very young. i’m not sure of my exact age, but i couldn’t have been more than three or four, as by the time i was five my parents had divorced and my father had moved out, and it is very distinctly his voice invisibly booming out directives from somewhere just out of frame.

who knows why or what he was filming. growing up my parents (first, my father, and later, my step-father) recorded birthday parties and easter egg hunts, christmas mornings and baseball games and piano recitals, but this video, shot in the basement of the house we lived in until the spring of the year i was in second grade, contains none of the festive attributes i would associate with the special occasions of my childhood—a birthday cake for instance, or balloons and brightly colored decorations—and if i was three or four, then the year would’ve been 1988 or 1989, and we had probably very recently acquired the video recorder, which i still remember, large and black and boxy, hulking on my father’s shoulder, his eye pressed to the soft rubber of the viewfinder. this video feels like a test video, as if my father has just gotten the thing home and out of the box, is taking it for an anxious first spin, a fresh tape snug in the deck, waiting to contain. essentially, he’s filming nothing, filming us, our family, in our at-home, mundane day-to-day. my siblings and I can be seen and heard chasing after my father as he pans around the basement, with its wood-paneled walls and the half-tiled floor upon which we used to roller-skate, begging for our chance to perform for his camera. over here! record me! we are shouting. my mother can be see trying to evade the camera’s view.

when it is my turn, the video shows my three or four-year-old self wearing a t-shirt sized for an adult male (it is my father’s; I remember wearing his t-shirts often, to bed mostly), which hangs over my tiny frame, falls down past my bony knees. and, I’ve belted one of my own belts around my waist, which lends the entire ensemble an overt dress-like effect. and, i’m twirling. when my father turns the camera on me i’m twirling and twirling so that the portion of the t-shirt below the belt flares up and out, rippling on the waves of my motion, billowing out like a woman’s gown. and i just keep twirling like that—proudly, smiling, pausing every few rotations to strike a pose of theatricality—until my father jerkily focuses his camera on something else, on my older brother executing some martial arts maneuver he’s been practicing: unable to bear the disequilibrium, the camera (gaze) (male) (specifically, the father’s) averts to something stabilizing (specifically, my older, appropriately inscribed brother, performing an appropriately inscribed act).

selfie #4

a very early memory, a fragment of a memory, from kindergarten: it is play time—not recess proper, but a small break between formal lessons in the afternoon, during which we are allowed to amuse ourselves with the toys and plastic kitchen set and books and board games in the little area at the back of the classroom. i am back there, on a rug with a perfectly ordered town printed on it, amongst a group of girls whose names and faces are not a part of this memory. i’m pretending to be a mermaid, writhing around on the floor with my legs twined together at the knees, imagining they are fins. we are all doing this, the girls and myself, but it’s very clear that I’m showing them how to do it properly. this is 1990, 1991: at home we’ve already added disney’s the little mermaid to our VHS collection—a particular favorite of mine, at that age. the girls follow my lead and we all sing part of your world at the top of our lungs until some boys come by to assert themselves by instructing us to shut the hell up. i learned something that day. i don’t know what.

selfie #3

i didn’t do anything with my day that i intended to do, mostly because what i intended to do was write, and i didn’t do much of that.

i woke up later that i meant to. my alarm went off at 7:30 and i rode that snooze setting hard until it gave up and i awoke again, on my own, at not quite half past 10. then i got up and made some coffee and drank it while kathie lee and hoda prattled on on the television and i scrolled through twitter and facebook newsfeeds. i always make a full pot of coffee even though it is just me and i probably don’t need all that coffee. i drink it very quickly and by my third cup i’m shaking and i feel alive and unconquerable. also as if i could smoke all of the cigarettes known to man, which by now i am probably well on my way to accomplishing.

(i like to temper this feeling of unconquerability with a little bit of marijuana, which is best smoked as close to first thing in the morning as possible, though never absolutely first thing–a cup or two of coffee before hand is preferable, and perhaps a spot of breakfast, though the breakfast should be something small, like a single banana, or some granola in greek yogurt, or one scrambled egg.)

as i said, i meant to spend the day writing, as there are a few things i am working on, but i became distracted by:

  • a book i am reading, by claire-louise bennett, called pond, which is a lovely and beguiling bit of witchcraft which has had me in its enthrallment these past two days. in fact i’d have finished it by now but i’m taking the book slowly, which i like to do sometimes, reading it in small doses so as to savor its meticulous unfolding.
  • by various things on the internet, including but not limited to anything i could get my hands on w/r/t how fierce and regal and absolutely eternal mrs obama was at the DNC last night, pond and claire-louise bennett, and, according to my history, a not insignificant amount of ostensibly amateur porn.
  • a trip to the library to get a book i know i only just heard about today but decided i had to have immediately, though i can’t for the life of me remember how i heard about it. the book is a collection of short stories called you are having a good time by amie borrodale, and i was thinking that i read about it during my search for whatever interviews i might find with claire-louise bennett, but a search of my browser history today generates not a single hit matching either the book’s title or its author’s name. i would think the book didn’t exist and i made the whole thing up, because i can be susceptible to remembering dreams as reality, but alas, the book is here on my desk next to me.

the library is not far so i walked there. there are many historic houses and other buildings in my neighborhood, some of which have fallen into disrepair. there is a big yellow house on the corner that now functions as a law office or something, the paint of which is peeling terribly so that the structure looks like a house-shaped snake shedding its skin–or, more precisely, like pam from true blood in that episode where marnie puts a hex on her and her face starts falling off. for the past several weeks a troupe of college guys have been rectifying this situation. i like to walk by and see them on their ladders, in their gym shorts, some of them with their shirts off. there are between four and six guys working on the house, and three of them of have very impressive bodies, and they are always the ones with their shirts off. two of them have only semi-impressive bodies, and only sometimes are they shirtless. there is one who seems not to fit amongst the other, whose body is not at all impressive, according to socially accepted standards of beauty; that is, he is a pudgy fellow, toe-headed and pale, and never shirtless, and whenever i pass i feel a slight sympathy for the pudgy one. his refusal to discard his shirt–even last week, when it was almost a hundred degrees by 11 am–betrays, i think, his own unease with his body, an unease i’m sure is only compounded by his adonis-cut brethren. the others are all tanned from going about shirtless.

there is one in particular who seems like god’s very idea of manhood: six-pack abs, rippling arms, a back like snakes coiled in a barrel. his hair is dark and curly. today when i walked by he was standing on the back porch of the building, shirtless of course, wearing a pair of gray gym shorts slung low enough i could see the elastic band of his underwear. he was talking to a short middle-aged woman standing inside an open door. the porch was close enough to the street that when i passed i could marvel at the sweat that glistened on the young man’s skin and the full round muscles of his ass in his gym shorts. obviously, because it is possible i am a sex addict, i started imagining all manner of erotic scenarios involving myself and the young employee of Collegiate Painters, LTD., but by the time i reached the library and the young man was long out of view i began to feel stupid for being so attracted to someone so blatantly attractive. it was too easy. the muscles, the athletic wear, the job doing manual labor out of doors at the height of summer. everything about him was so quintessentially masculine it is no wonder i nearly twisted my ankle in a crack on the sidewalk from trying to feast my hungry eyes on his succulence as long as i could, hoping against hope my sunglasses colored my cruising with a shade of discretion. here was a specimen of manhood so pure and unadulterated there was no doubt it had similarly captivated countless girls and women and gay boys and men in the past. he was basically a sean cody model.

the points is its embarrassing, that i was so attracted to the painter. i know nothing about him other than the slope traced by my eye of his lower back, yet still, based on a good set of gluts or whatever and some well-formed abdominals i’m fantasizing about riding his dick until i pass out and then, after i come to, swearing myself to him for eternity. i should be better than that. i’m not muscle boy (although i had a brilliant set of abs for approximately three months following a nasty bronchial infection a few years back) but i do think about muscles a lot. whenever i see a dude with really huge muscles i immediately think of what it would be like to have sex with him, and always, without i fail, imagine the the hottest sex possible. full on porn-star style sex, the kind, of course, that ends in the temporary obliteration of consciousness and cumming hands-free. these fantasies always include my body (diminished in the fantasy) being deftly manhandled by the brute, who knows just how to turn and flip and pose me. it doesn’t matter. for a while i worked in bar that got kind of rowdy after a certain hours on the weekends so we kept a bouncer at the door. he was one of those swole guys you see shuffling around in GNC or something. he always wore these little t-shirts that clung to every single one of his ridiculous muscles and a baseball cap backward and those horrible jeans with embellished back pockets and i remember even now how unattractive i found his scrunched little face, his tiny, close-set eyes, how short he was. even so i never failed to imagine what it would be like bury my face betwixt his huge pectorals and grab onto the huge biceps i knew would prove too large to palm while his rammed himself in and out of me at jack rabbit speed, because, in my head, these muscular guys are always beats when they fuck. the muscles are for picking you up and tossing you around a little bit. (in a sexy, nonviolent way.)

these fantasies persist despite the fact that i’ve actually had sex with precisely two men you could reasonably categorize as muscular–i don’t mean the regular, everyday muscles of men who work with their bodies or jog in the mornings or make it to the gym a handful of times a month, i mean muscular extravagance such as you are likely to see at bodybuilding conventions or under the muscle tab on pornhub–and in both cases the sex was thoroughly disappointing.

selfie #2

i am smoking my last bowl of weed and watching the women’s olympic trials on nbc.

simonebilessimonebilessimonebiles

i went to work but got cut after an hour because it was so dead.

i went to a art thing in an old factory downtown. i had one beer and said hello to precisely three people that i recognized and one person i didn’t know. there were some women in a dance troupe dancing and a band playing music that actually wasn’t so bad but i’d gone alone and there was no one to talk to.

do gymnasts want to live their whole lives in the moment they are catapaulting over the vault, or those few minutes during which they cavort about on a balance beam, or those moments when they are let loose on the floor, or that moment between uneven bars, when they are suspended in air? the way i want to live my whole life in the page as it comes together?

i have religious inclinations. as the christians say i live my life in the word. old habits die hard.

i never want to write another thing addressed to you because what a waste.

what a waste.

 

selfie

last night for dinner i ate an entire box of golden, double stuffed oreos and a fresh fruit smoothie i made with fresh strawberries, bananas, an orange, some ice, a little milk, and a few scoops of yogurt.

the smoothie was tasty but i didn’t add anything to sweeten it aside from the fruit. i think my strawberry to banana ratio was off. in any case because the smoothie did not satisfy my sweet tooth in the way i was expecting or wanting it to i ate the oreos.

i always tell myself i’ll only eat a few and end up eating all or nearly all of them. i take them out three at at time, which doesn’t do anything but increase the number of trips i take to the kitchen to get three more.

i was in bed watching INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE on vhs and i got out of bed half a dozen times for more oreos before i finally just brought the package into bed with me, making it one of the more satisfying bed partners i’ve had in a while.