Thursday, April 30, 2009

"The Truth Is In The Scriptures"

1 Samuel 18:2-4 (KJV)

And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

"Fear Eats The Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 44"

"We Enjoy Dining Out..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"43,824 Hours..."

In a short few hours, it will have been five years (43,824 hours) since that early morning as I slept at her feet, that my mother left me for Heaven's gate.

I’ll never forget the last things that she said to me, the last time I kissed her cheek, or the last time she told me she loved me. She and I often spoke of love and her hopes that I'd meet the right "girl" even though I'm sure she realized that there would be no right "girl" in my life. Although she's “gone from my sight,” I have loved her more with each day that passes. A part of my mother lives on in my heart until that day when I am able to be with her again.

Although she didn't live to meet the person I would come to love with the whole of my heart, I took him to meet her... On Mother's Day two years ago, Stephen went with me to the cemetery to place a wreath on my mother's grave. I would often speak to him about her, explaining how I had learned much of what I know of love from my mother's examples.

Early this morning, I'll be at the cemetery visiting my mother's grave alone, but I know I'll be thinking of when Stephen was there with me. I'm sure my mother will be wishing he were there with me as I thought and told her many times, he would be forever more...

Something I shared with Stephen even before we met was that my mother loved roses, especially pink ones. I gave her pink roses often. This morning, I'll give her another twelve pink and perfect roses. I'm sure she'll be smiling while looking down on me this morning.

The Language of Roses
There are messages behind different colors of roses… They have a language all their own. This was started by the Romans and used in the Victorian era as a discreet way to express one's feelings to another…

Pink roses have several messages, depending on the shade. Deep pink roses symbolize gratitude and respect, while light pink roses show sympathy; and as with all roses, no matter their shade, their message is love.

In Remembrance, My Mother’s Favorite Poem
“Ballad of the Tempest”By James T. Fields

We were crowded in the cabin,
Not a soul would dare to sleep,--
It was midnight on the waters,
And a storm was on the deep.

'Tis a fearful thing in winter
To be shattered by the blast,
And to hear the rattling trumpet
Thunder, "Cut away the mast!"

So we shuddered there in silence,--
For the stoutest held his breath,
While the hungry sea was roaring
And the breakers talked with death.

As thus we sat in darkness
Each one busy with his prayers,
"We are lost!" the captain shouted,
As he staggered down the stairs.

But his little daughter whispered,
As she took his icy hand,
"Isn't God upon the ocean,
Just the same as on the land?"

Then we kissed the little maiden,
And we spake in better cheer,
And we anchored safe in harbor
When the morn was shining clear.

I listened to my mother recite the “Ballad of the Tempest” often throughout my young life, and for the last time, around January 2004... And as she recited this poem of simple faith, though the passing of nearly four score years had made her body frail and her voice sometimes soft and fleeting… On that day, Mother’s voice clearly and sweetly reciting “Isn’t God upon the ocean, Just the same as on the land” reminded me that there is more to life than just this mortal existence.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"The Truth Is In The Scriptures"

"Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.

It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.

Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.

If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned."

-Song of Solomon 8:6,7

For Stephen Christopher Harris

"It's Not So Funny..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 43"

"Our Home Is Happy..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth Tonight..."

"Its the middle of the night, and I'm again awake and remembering... "

Stephen and I have very different musical tastes, but one artist that we both like a great deal is Nina Simone. Her sultry love songs have spoken to my heart since I first heard her cover Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” which interestingly enough is a song I identify with completely, save the feminine pronouns.

I discovered our love of Nina in our early days... I was playing Nina Simone for him one evening and he said he really liked the songs on the album. I loaned it to him and he kept it.

During our separation, I discovered Nina’s cover of another song, “That’s All I Want From You.” Its that song that speaks to what’s been wrong with our relationship. I knew I wanted to share it with him, although at the time, I hadn't seen him in months. I bought him a copy of the album knowing that someday, I’d give it to him. When out of the blue he came back last June, it was the first of many gifts that I gave him.

"Just Like A Woman"
Nina Simone

She takes
Just like a woman
Yes she does
And she makes love
Just like a woman
And she aches
Just like a woman
But she breaks
Like a little girl

Nobody feels any pain
Tonight as I stand inside the rain
Everybody knows
That baby's got new clothes
Lately I see her ribbons and her bows
And the problems
From her curls

She takes
Just like a woman
Yes she does
And she makes love
Just like a woman
And she aches
Just like a woman
And she breaks
Like a little girl

It was rainin' from the first
Everybody knows I was dyin' of thirst
So I came here
A long times curse
And what's worse
Is this pain here
I can't stay in here
Ain't it clear
Ain't it clear

I must admit
I believe its time for us to quit
And when we meet again
Bein' introduced as friends
Please don't let on
That you knew me when
I was hungry
And it was your world

I take
Just like a woman
Yes I do
And I make love
Just like a woman
And I ache
Just like a woman
But I break
Just like a little girl

"For Stephen Christopher Harris, because I love him..."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"In The News Today..."

Poll: Gay marriage support jumps 10 percent in month
By The Associated Press
04.28.2009 3:27pm EDT

(New York City) A new national public opinion poll has found support for same-sex marriage has jumped nearly 10 percent in the past month.

The CBS News/New York Times poll found that 42 percent of Americans believe same-sex couples should have the right to marry. Last month a CBS/Times poll found support at 33 percent.

The new poll is the highest support for gay marriage since CBS news began asking public opinion in 2004 the network said on Tuesday.

The new poll also found that opposition to gay marriage is on a steady decline with 28 percent saying same-sex couples should have no legal rights. Only 25 percent told CBS/Times pollsters that gays should have civil unions but not marriage.

CBS reported that support for gay marriage remains strongest among people who identify as liberals, with 69 percent supporting same-sex marriage.

The poll was conducted among a random sample of 973 adults nationwide and interviewed by telephone between April 22 and 26. The margin of error was plus or minus three percentage points.

The timing of the poll was significant. It came after three key same-sex marriage advances - the Iowa Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in that state, the Vermont legislature’s legalizing of gay marriage and the announcement by New York Gov. David Paterson (D) calling for legalized same-sex marriage in that state.

Gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa. Legislation is before the legislatures in Maine and New Hampshire. In California, the Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming weeks on the legality of Prop 8 the voter approved measure banning gay marriage in that state.

Iowa’s Supreme Court ruling went into effect Monday with nearly 400 same-sex couples obtaining marriage licenses. Dozens of them were able to find judges willing to waive the state’s three-day waiting and wed.

"Remembering Love's Journey..."

The Spring Bulbs - April 28th 2009

"A Tulip Garden"
by Amy Lowell

Guarded within the old red wall's embrace,
Marshalled like soldiers in gay company,

The tulips stand arrayed. Here infantry
Wheels out into the sunlight. What bold grace

Sets off their tunics, white with crimson lace!
Here are platoons of gold-frocked cavalry,

With scarlet sabres tossing in the eye
Of purple batteries, every gun in place.

Forward they come, with flaunting colours spread,
With torches burning, stepping out in time

To some quick, unheard march. Our ears are dead,
We cannot catch the tune. In pantomime

Parades that army. With our utmost powers
We hear the wind stream through a bed of flowers.

I planted these for Stephen Christopher Harris in November 2006.

"The Truth Today..."

"Nightmares and dreams, and love and salvation come from the same place, just as happiness and sorrow, joy and pain..."

"All are conceived in the human heart."

Kept awake by relentless pain, I remembered a happier time and thought of this...

For Stephen Christopher Harris

Monday, April 27, 2009

"The Poet's Corner"

James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784 - 1859)

ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold.

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold;
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?" The vision raised its head,
And, with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."

"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed;
And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." - John 13:34 KJV

"Iowa Today..."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..." - The Declaration of Independence

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 42"

"It's Love That Makes a Family..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 41"

"Love Is Never Wrong..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Poet's Corner"

"To ― "
Percy Bysshe Shelly

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
in one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?―

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
and the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?

For Stephen Christopher Harris

"Fear Eats the Soul"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"The Things That Love Says..."

"You ask me what since we must part
You shall bring back to me.
Bring back a pure and faithful heart
As true as mine to thee.

You talk of gems from foreign lands,
Of treasure, spoil, and prize.
Ah love! I shall not search your hands
But look into your eyes."

From "Gifts" by Juliana Horatia Ewing (1841-85)

"These Are Love Songs..."

"To Love Somebody"

Theres a light
A certain kind of light
That never shone on me
I want my life to be lived with you
Lived with you
Theres a way everybody say
To do each and every little thing
But what does it bring
If I aint got you, aint got ?
You dont know what its like, baby
You dont know what its like

To love somebody
To love somebody
To love somebody
The way I love you

In my brain
I see your face again
I know my frame of mind
You aint got to be so blind
And Im blind, so very blind
Im a man, cant you see
What I am
I live and breathe for you
But what good does it do
If I aint got you, aint got ?

For Stephen Christopher Harris


"The Artist's Corner"

"Beyond"Noel Benstead
Acrylic on Canvas

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 40"

"We Are Safe In Each Other's Arms..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"The Truth Tonight..."


"The Poet's Corner"

The Sorrow of Love
William Butler Yeats

The quarrel of the sparrows in the eaves,
The full round moon and the star-laden sky,
And the loud song of the ever-singing leaves,
Had hid away earth's old and weary cry.

And then you came with those red mournful lips,
And with you came the whole of the world's tears,
And all the sorrows of her labouring ships,
And all the burden of her myriad years.

And now the sparrows warring in the eaves,
The curd-pale moon, the white stars in the sky,
And the loud chaunting of the unquiet leaves
Are shaken with earth's old and weary cry.

For Stephen Christopher Harris

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 39"

"Our Son Is Our Pride and Joy..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"The Artist's Corner"

Kehinde Wiley
Oil and Enamel on Canvas

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 38"

"Can You Really Tell Us Apart...?"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"The Dream House..."

6337 Hermsley Road, Charlotte, North Carolina

I think that we all have dreams of the perfect home in our mind... I know I did, and for a very long time, I worked towards obtaining and making my "dream house" come to life. But I'll never forget the morning Stephen described for me his "dream house..." When he told me about it, I was ready to cast aside all my own dreams of sharing the home I had worked for many years to make. He told me it would be the home we'd have together someday.

Stephen said it would have, "five bedrooms, one for me and you, and one for a child or two, and one bedroom a piece for our fathers and a guest room." He talked about other details like the kitchen and the kind of neighborhood it would be in. It sounded wonderful to me and that was the day I told him I loved him enough to follow him wherever he wanted us to go... I would happily sacrifice what I had built on my own for his "dream" for us.

I bought a hundred boxes and started packing my belongings as Stephen went on job interviews across the country. All of this was predicated on his October 2006, promise to marry me. Instead of moving away to find our "dream house" together and begin our "wonderful life," he took a job in Detroit that he didn't tell me about until he knew he had it. I knew then that his motive was solely to maintain the status quo of our relationship and not to have to fulfill his many promises. Although at the time, Stephen ate all his meals here in my house, and I chauffeured him to and from work each day and he slept in my bed each night, he never brought anything that he left, not even a toothbrush... I knew the dream was deferred.

Whenever I would ask him to account for his treatment of me and his never ending lies and willful deceptions, Stephen would run away and hide himself. He did this many times. After a while, even I tried to run away from the pain that loving him caused me... For despite his promises, I was here alone and haunted by his memory and my steadfast love for him. But after nearly a year of separation, in the midst of my ceaseless prayers, out the blue, he came back to me. He said, he didn't "want to be alone in the world anymore..." He told me what I already knew, that he'd left Detroit and moved to Charlotte, NC.

At first, he didn't tell me about the house he'd bought or who was living with him, although by God's grace and the Spirit of Revelation, I knew much more than he ever told me about where he'd been, what he'd been doing, and with whom he had been. When finally he did tell me about the house, (but not about Alonza Gray) he said he couldn't wait for me to see it... He said he'd bought it with me in mind. He said he was finally ready to marry me. He promised that we'd go to California to be married.

August 4, 2008, I flew to Charlotte to see the house Stephen had told me so little about. He finally told me about Alonza on the drive in from the airport, saying he was just a "roommate." Of course I knew better, but I love Stephen so I had forgiven him long before he ever told me the lies he told that day.

I would have recognized the house without being told it was his (theirs), it was exactly as he'd described to me nearly two years earlier while lying in my arms that morning, telling me how we'd find the perfect house and together make it into a home for "us." Although Alonza was no where to be found, his furniture, his dishes, his papers, his clothes, his pots and pans and everything else were still there. It was clear to me that Stephen bought the "dream house" with Alonza and not for me. It was months later that Stephen would tell me that he and Alonza had had a falling out over Alonza pressuring him for sex (perhaps that was true, but I'm sure it wasn't the whole story). But still, at the time, I was glad to be there... I loved him nonetheless, and I had waited a lifetime for him... he was the one I would always love, and who might love me.

On that long weekend together, I cooked and cleaned and even ironed twenty shirts for him. I installed dimmer switches and light bulbs for him. He seemed happy and I know I was. He promised to love me forever... And that we'd be married in a month or so when his project at Celgard was completed. Since I had promised him my undying love almost two years before and had kept my promise with perfect fidelity, I looked beyond everything that had happened before and I believed him.

Stephen Christopher Harris made me many promises, he broke nearly all of them... But eventually, I came to live with him in the "dream house" although he hadn't planned on it. Again, he promised it would be our home and he would love me as he had promised. So while looking for a job in my new hometown, I cooked, I cleaned, I painted, I repaired, I tended the yard and I loved him completely. Yet in the midst of this, I suffered constant lies and deceptions at every turn, but I loved him still and everyday more. I love him even now, for God Himself made clear to me that Stephen's heart knows how to love and could, if he would but chose to overcome the selfishness and fear that also dwells there and keep his sacred promises.

Yesterday, while in Charlotte, I visited the "dream house." The flowers I'd planted had grown and were blooming beautifully in the warmth of a sunny spring day. The grass seed I sowed had come up and was tall and emerald green. The rain had washed away the mud from the new houses being built down the street... Someone was home. I don't know who lives there now, but for a while, my love and I lived there. And though it was at times so very hard to be there knowing it wasn't really for he and I that Stephen bought the house, my love for him made it possible. I love him still.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

Monday, April 20, 2009

"The Artist's Corner"

"Where You Lead"
Steven Walker
Acrylic on Canvas

"The Poet's Corner"

Charlotte, North Carolina

A Dream Lies Dead
Dorothy Parker

A dream lies dead here. May you softly go
Before this place, and turn away your eyes,
Nor seek to know the look of that which dies
Importuning Life for life. Walk not in woe,
But, for a little, let your step be slow.
And, of your mercy, be not sweetly wise
With words of hope and Spring and tenderer skies.
A dream lies dead; and this all mourners know:

Whenever one drifted petal leaves the tree-
Though white of bloom as it had been before
And proudly waitful of fecundity-
One little loveliness can be no more;
And so must Beauty bow her imperfect head
Because a dream has joined the wistful dead!

For Stephen Christopher Harris

I must return today, because lies have consequences...

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 37"

"Everyday is a Celebration of Our Love..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"The Truth Tonight..."

"I Dreamed A Dream"
As performed by Susan Boyle

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high,
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.

Then I was young and unafraid
When dreams were made and used,
And wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung,
No wine untasted.

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hopes apart
As they turn your dreams to shame.

And still I dream he'll come to me
And we will live our lives together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms
We cannot weather...

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seems
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"This Is the Song I'd Sing..."

16 January 2009

"The Poet's Corner"

When I Am Dead
Christina Rossetti

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me:
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain;
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"The Truth Tonight..."

It'll soon be 3 a.m., I haven't been able to sleep, the pain's been keeping me awake all night. As I lay here alone and weary, I'm remembering all Stephen's promises and in so doing remembered this...

One morning nearly three years ago, we were in bed in each others arms discussing "life, the universe and everything" and our conversation turned to music and I shared with him that I had loved the music of "Roger Whittaker" since I was but a young boy... He responded as many have -- he didn't know of him. Although Roger Whittaker is quite famous around the world, he's not well known in the U.S.

Roger Whittaker is 73 years old now, and he's still performing throughout the world, but I've never seen him in person... That morning, as Stephen and I talked about this, I explained to him that I'd been waiting to see Roger Whittaker with someone I loved, he sings love songs... I told him that really, Roger Whittaker is the only performer I'd ever wanted to see live and in person. To which he said, he'd take me to see him someday. I asked if that was a promise, and he said it was.

Now as I pray for sleep to come, I also pray that as I listen to this song, perhaps in my dreams, Stephen and I are there in the audience...

Both Sides Now
Written by Joni Mitchell

Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall.
I really don’t know clouds at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels, the dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real; I’ve looked at love that way.
But now it’s just another show. you leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know, don’t give yourself away.

I’ve looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall.
I really don’t know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud to say I love you right out loud,
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I’ve looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads, they say I’ve changed.
But something’s lost and something’s gained in living every day.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall.
I really don’t know life at all.

"For Stephen Christopher Harris, because he promised"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"The Things That Love Says..."

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD," plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

Stephen this once quoted...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"The Truth Tonight..."

Tonight, I am sick and utterly alone... This is not a first for me, but in my prayers, I hoped it might be a last for me. As I lay next to where he once laid his head, I am tired and reminded of a long poem I know. This is just a part of it... but even though it's not about me, it is:
From "Having It Out With Melancholy"
By Jane Kenyon


When I was born, you waited
behind a pile of linen in the nursery,
and when we were alone, you lay down
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore.

And from that day on
everything under the sun and moon
made me sad — even the yellow
wooden beads that slid and spun
along a spindle on my crib.

You taught me to exist without gratitude.
You ruined my manners toward God:
“We’re here simply to wait for death;
the pleasures of earth are overrated.”

I only appeared to belong to my mother,
to live among blocks and cotton undershirts
with snaps; among red tin lunch boxes
and report cards in ugly brown slipcases.
I was already yours — the anti-urge,
the mutilator of souls.

For me, since he's not here.

"It's Not So Funny..."

Tax Day 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 36"

"He Makes Our Life Together Complete..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Poet's Corner"

1994's "Four Weddings and a Funeral"
How the world has changed, Dearest... I remember seeing this film and wondering why that couple's ending could not be as happy. Then, it was the world that wouldn't allow it... 
But for us?

From W. H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues”
"He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong."
For Stephen Christopher Harris

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"The web site for 2M4M"

"The site was set up on the spur of the moment when (it's creator) realized that was available and that NOM hadn't actually thought to register it before announcing their campaign."

"Something to Ponder..."

Something I recently read that struck a chord...

Gay Relationships: Imitation Intimacy - Some Men Talk A Good Game, But Can’t Deliver The Goods

It started off well. He was so sincere, open and interested. Or at least he seemed that way. He swept you off your feet. He could be so romantic, and his attention was always focused on…you. Maybe you thought, “At last. Someone who really appreciates me and isn’t playing games.” You started to lower your guard and let yourself feel hopeful. Had you found Mr. Right?

Predictably, that’s about the time the game playing was just starting. He’d confess his love for you one weekend, then you wouldn’t hear from him for two weeks. Or after what seemed like a great weekend, you’d find an email in your inbox on Tuesday, breaking up with you. What’s up with all that?

Some men have a problem really getting close to another human being. That sort of intimate encounter requires lowering the guard, and that’s not easy if you’ve spent your entire life keeping your guard up. The best definition of intimacy I’ve ever encountered is that it’s an unarmed encounter between two vulnerable individuals. That’s counter-intuitive for guys who have learned that vulnerability is a bad thing, to be avoided whenever possible.

If genuine intimacy is tough, the cheap imitation version is much easier to manage. It keeps people at a safe distance while providing the illusion of closeness. Call it “faux intimacy,” like the faux finishes sometimes applied to walls or furniture to fool the eye. There are at least a couple of types of simulated, not-quite-the-real-thing intimacy, depending on whose eye it is that’s being fooled.

Unfortunately, internet dating seems to promote artificial intimacy. Chat rooms, email and IM conversations all look like the real contact. Alas, in cyberspace it’s all too easy to say things you don’t mean or can’t actually make yourself do. Even more unfortunately, almost everyone who’s looking for a guy to date is looking for love online. The result is a lot of disappointment and heartache.

Guys who need the illusion of a boyfriend without all that complicating commitment can be really good at delivering the trappings of romance, though their timing may be off a bit. They seem to see themselves playing the lead in a romantic movie role. The words “I love you” can come easily to their lips, but there isn’t much behind it. They may even be overly demonstrative about their love and affection early in the relationship because they’ve learned that’s what’s expected of them. Only over time does it become clearer that they have no sense that relationships require commitment and openness, or they’ve never learned how to do the work that intimacy requires of them.

Imitation intimacy often involves fooling the self even more than involving others. And for men straight or gay, sex is a great way to engage in self-deception because they learned early on to think of sex as a performance, not something involving their hearts. Gay men face an additional problem because they can be secretly sexual and avoid the anxiety that comes from openly acknowledging their love for another man. Sexual contact makes them feel less isolated, at least for a time. But they don’t have to deal with their internalized homophobia and acknowledge the truth that their same-sex attraction is more than just sex.

Whether it’s romance or sex, at some point most men can no longer settle for less than genuine connection with another human being. When that happens they must face the reality of their loneliness.

That’s when the game-playing ends. Acknowledging loneliness and anxiety is hard. But doing it means men can begin making their relationships more genuine and satisfying – the real thing.

John R. Ballew, author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. -

"The Artist's Corner"

"Kiss II"
Stephen E. Gibson
Acrylic on Canvas

"These Are Love Songs..."

Strangely enough, it wasn't until I had truly fallen in love that I realized that all songs are really "love songs." They speak to the greatest of all human emotions, the one that God himself confered upon man, "Love."

"For the one I love... 913/831"

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Supporters of Same Gender Loving People"

April 27, 1927 – January 30, 2006

On April 1, 1998 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, King called on the civil rights community to join in the struggle against homophobia and anti-gay bias. "Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood", King stated. "This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group."

In a speech in November 2003 at the opening session of the 13th annual Creating Change Conference, organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, King made her now famous appeal linking the Civil Rights Movement to the LGBT agenda: "I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people. ... But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people."

King's support of LGBT rights was strongly criticized by some black pastors. She called her critics "misinformed" and said that Martin Luther King's message to the world was one of equality and inclusion.

In 2003, she invited the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to take part in observances of the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech. It was the first time that an LGBT rights group had been invited to a major event of the African American community.

On March 23, 2004, she told an audience at Richard Stockton College in Pomona, New Jersey, that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue. King denounced a proposed amendment advanced by President George W. Bush to the United States Constitution that would ban equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. In her speech King also criticized a group of black pastors in her home state of Georgia for backing a bill to amend that state's constitution to block gay and lesbian couples from marrying. King is quoted as saying "Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriage."

Source -

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 35"

"We Found Room at Our Table for a Family..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth Tonight..."

The 912th day begins as another sleepless night...

They Are Loved... Fear Eats the Soul

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"He Is Risen..."

"All are redeemed..."

Biblical descriptions of Jesus' death and resurrection:

There were many defining moments in the life of Jesus. Two of them were his baptism by John the Baptist, and his crucifixion by the Roman authorities. The canonical gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke and John) are basically in agreement about the events in Jesus' life between his baptism and crucifixion. But they differ greatly when describing the events before his baptism and after his death.

Some liberal theologians have concluded that the birth, childhood and resurrection stories were pieced together by the authors of the gospels out of developing legends that were circulating among various Christian groups at the time.

Conservative theologians believe in the inerrancy of the Bible and that God inspired its authors. Thus they believe that the apparently conflicting gospel stories can be harmonized into a single coherent picture.

Details of the death and resurrection of Jesus are described in the following Gospel passages:

Mark 15:33 to 16:8 (Verses 16:9 to 16:20 are a later forgery inserted by an unknown author long after the original book was written)
Matthew 27:52 to 28:20
Luke 23:44 to 24:12
John 19:29 to 20:18

By combining the various gospels' accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection, one can develop a common story that is consistent with most of the Biblical texts:

Simon from Cyrene was pressed into service to carry the cross from Jerusalem to Golgotha, the place of crucifixion. There, Jesus was offered a drink of wine mixed with a bitter substance. He refused. He was nailed to the cross through his palms and feet. Two robbers were crucified with him; one on either side. People passing by hurled insults. From the 6th to the 9th hour, it became dark. Jesus cried out. He was offered vinegar to drink. He cried out again and died. The gospels record different final messages. The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom by an unknown force. Joseph of Arimathea obtained permission to take Jesus' body to his private tomb. He wrapped the body in a clean linen cloth, placed it in the tomb and sealed the entrance. On Sunday morning, an unknown number of women came to the tomb. The stone had been rolled away. They found that Jesus' body was missing.

But not all of the gospels totally agree with this story.

Disagreements abound:

Who carried the cross to the place of execution?
Mark: Simon
Matthew: Simon
Luke: Simon
John: Jesus

What was the sign over Jesus' head on the cross?
John: "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS" in Aramaic, Latin and Greek

What did the robbers say to Jesus?
Mark: they both hurled insults
Matthew: Same as Mark
Luke: One hurled insults; the other said that Jesus' execution was unjust because he was not guilty of any crime
John: Nothing was recorded

What were Jesus' last words?
Mark: Jesus "cried out,” but the words (if any) were not recorded
Matthew: Same as Mark
Luke: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
John: "It is finished."

Who went to the tomb with spices to prepare Jesus' body?
Mark: 3 women on Sunday morning just after sunrise
Matthew: No record
Luke: 4 or more women on Sunday morning very early in the morning, presumably while dark
John: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus on Friday before sundown

Who visited the tomb on Sunday with Mary Magdalene?
Mark: Two women: Salome and Mary the mother of James
Matthew: One woman: "the other Mary"
Luke: Three or more women: Mary the mother of James, Joanna and at least one other woman
John: None; she went alone

When did she/they visit the tomb on Sunday?
Mark: just after sunrise
Matthew: at dawn
Luke: very early in the morning, presumably while it was still dark
John: while it was still dark

What happened to the rock that sealed the tomb?
Mark: The stone had already been rolled back before they arrived
Matthew: An earthquake happened; an angel appeared and rolled it away as the women approached the tomb.
Luke: Same as Mark
John: Same as Mark

Who did she/they find at the tomb?
Mark: A young man dressed in a white robe was inside the tomb
Matthew: An angel sitting on the rock outside the tomb
Luke: Two men were inside the tomb, dressed in clothes that looked like lightning
John: Nobody

Where was Jesus at the time?
Mark: not at the tomb; he was on his way to Galilee
Matthew: same as Mark
Luke: unknown
John: unknown

Did she/they enter the tomb?
Mark: Yes
Matthew: Yes. They were invited by the angel to "come see the place where he lay"
Luke: Yes
John: No

How did she/they react to the news?
Mark: They fled, trembling and bewildered
Matthew: They fled, fearful and joyous
Luke: They left
John: She ran to Simon Peter and the disciple that Jesus loved

Who did she/they see on the way to the disciples?
Mark: Nobody
Matthew: They met Jesus, who they immediately recognized
Luke: Nobody
John: Nobody

How did the disciples react to the news?
Mark: They didn't; the woman told nobody of the news because they were afraid.
Matthew: They believed the women.
Luke: The disciples, and "all the others" didn't believe the women. Peter ran to the tomb anyway.
John: They believed Mary.

Did the women/woman return to the tomb?
Mark: No record
Matthew: No record
Luke: No record
John: Yes. Mary saw two angels and Jesus there; but she thought that Jesus was the gardener

To whom did Jesus first appear?
Mark: to all the disciples somewhere in Galilee
Matthew: to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as they left the tomb to tell the brethren
Luke: to Cleopas and an unidentified person on a road between Jerusalem and Emmaus
John: to all the disciples in a house in Jerusalem
Paul: to Peter (I Corinthians 15:5)

Two minor errors seem to have crept into the Gospel account of the crucifixion:

Jesus would not have carried his cross to the place of execution. Condemned prisoners only carried the crosspiece. The upright stakes were stored at Golgotha for repeated use. To do otherwise would not be efficient; and the Roman Army held efficiency at a high premium.

John 20:25-27 refers to nails having been forced through Jesus' hands during the crucifixion. Luke 24:39 and John 20:27 also imply that Jesus' palms were pierced: This has traditionally been shown in Christian artwork as nail holes through Jesus' palms. This would not work, because the weight of the victim's body would tear through the flesh of the hand. When the Romans used nails, they passed them through the wrist between the two bones of the forearm, not through the victim's palms. Often the Romans used no nails at all; they tied the victim's arm to the crosspiece.

For Stephen Christopher Harris who says he believes the Bible to be inerrant.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 34"

"Love Knows No Color or Gender..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth Today..."

"I'd Have to Be Crazy"
Willie Nelson
I'd have to be crazy
to stop all my singing
and never play music again.

You'd call me a fool
if I grabbed up a top hat
and ran out to flag down the wind.

I'd have to be weird
to grow me a beard
just to see what the rednecks would do.

But I'd have to be crazy
plum out of my mind
to fall out of love with you.

I know I've done weird things
I've told people I here'd things
when silence was all abounds.

Been days when it pleased me
to be on my knees
followin' ants as they crawled across the ground.

Been insane on a train
but I'm still me again
and the place where I hold you is true.

So I know I'm all right
Cus I'd have to be crazy
to fall out of love with you.

You know I (and I don't intend to)
But should there come a day,
when I say that I don't love you
You can lock me away ay ay.

I sure would be weird
to live in an envelope
waiting alone for a stamp.

You'd swear I was loco
to rub for a genie
while burning my hand on the lamp.

And I may not be normal
but nobody is
so I'd like to say before I'm through.

I'd have to be crazy
plum out of my mind
to fall out of love with you.

For Stephen Christopher Harris

"The Artist's Corner"

"Should I Ask Him?"
Charcoal on Paper
Robert W. Richard

Friday, April 10, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 33"

"Love, It's Worth Fighting For..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"A Story to Share..."

Originally published on Yahoo 360, June 16, 2006

Recently, several of my online friends have posted questions in their blogs concerning, “What is love?” and/or how you can define it and tell it apart from similar feeling such as mere infatuation. As I pondered what my friends were writing about, I recalled a wonderful lesson I learned about this more than 20 years ago when I was still just a young man. When I decided to comment on what one friend had written, I realized that I was telling the story of that lesson from long ago. This is what I said:

Indeed… knowing what is “love” is perhaps the most valuable lesson many never learn. I’ve often felt fortunate that I had a great example of what love should be in my parents (even though they divorced). But the lesson that brought it home to my heart was one that I received almost by accident (but are there really any accidents?) It was when I just 18 years old.

I was selling something or other door-to-door in the neighborhood I grew up in. I rang the bell at the door of a beautiful home I’d often admired on my walks home from school. An elderly gentleman came to the door and was kind enough to listen to my twenty second pitch and then he did the unthinkable, he invited me into his home. He offered me a seat in a most beautifully furnished living room filled with portraits of a loving family and then he left to get me a cold drink… It was a hot summer day and I must have looked pretty worn out and overheated.

The old gentleman seemed to take forever to come back. I heard him climb the stairs and he stayed a while, I wondered about that, since he was supposed to be getting me a cold drink. Finally, I heard him coming down the stairs and he went back to the kitchen. A short time later, he reappeared with the promised drink, a large icy cold glass of lemonade. After I had a few sips, I went back into my pitch for the product (I can’t remember what it was now…) and he cut me off in mid-sentence, saying, “I’ll take one.”

It was as I took all the details of his order that I learned that he was a retired pastor of a local church. When I thanked him for his order and his hospitality, he said he wanted to share with me “an essential truth of life.” I thought surely he was going to try to convert me to his faith, but I was prepared to listen to what he had to say, after all, he’d been very kind to invite me in and buy what I was selling. As he started to speak, I was astonished at what he said, and to this day, I’ve never forgotten his lesson to me.

He told me, that his wife was upstairs on her deathbed and was not expected to survive the night. He said they’d been married for more than 50 years and that he truly loved her. He talked about some of the ups and downs they’d experienced in their lives and the joy of knowing someone loved you and that you loved them in that same way. He said he wanted to tell me how to tell love from lust and everything else. He said, “When you love someone, even their very breath is precious to you.” And with that, as tears flowed from his eyes, his lesson ended. I thanked him and expressed my concern for his dying wife. He waved me down the walk and then shut the door.

I thought about what he said for the rest of that day, and for several days afterwards. I was passing his house the following Saturday morning when a funeral limousine pulled up to the driveway and he came out in his best black suit. I knew he was going to his wife’s funeral. When he saw me looking as I passed, I nodded my condolences, but he didn’t seem to recognize or remember me.

It was perhaps a week or two later that I was again passing, and saw a younger man who somehow looked familiar to me tending the yard. I stopped and asked if the old pastor was at home and he told me that he was his son and that his father had passed away the week after his mother died. As I told the son about my experience with his father, he said, “Yes, mom and dad truly loved each other… he couldn’t bear to be without her…” I thought to myself, “Yes, they must’ve loved each other,” and I’ve never forgotten what the old pastor taught me on that hot summer day… “Even their very breath is precious to you.”

Dedicated to Stephen Christopher Harris - April 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"The Truth Tonight..."

“The Waste of a Lover’s Moon”
Christopher Flournoy

There’s a Lover’s Moon aloft in the sky tonight
But here I’m alone and I fear its light
It beckons to lovers, to come out from their covers
To bask in the warmth of its glow
But I’m here with no lover and no love do I know
Yet the Moon hangs bright and so beautifully low

There’s a Lover’s Moon aloft in the sky tonight
And the night sky embraces its deep soft fullness
As Lover’s take each other in the long night’s coolness
Deep and strong the Moon bends near, its lover to kiss
As the Earth rises up to touch lips drenched in stardust and Moon mist
Together they tremble, as all lovers do when lips have been kissed

There’s a Lover’s Moon aloft in the sky tonight
Dare I look up? No, I glance in fright
I’ve no lover to take in my arms this long and bright night
Yet still I can’t help but to gaze upon its bewitching sight
And I’m reminded of love lost and long lonely nights
Deep shadows the Moon casts as my tears fall free at last

There’s a Lover’s Moon aloft in the sky tonight
And it shines not for me, but for lovers unseen
It calls them together to love’s warm embrace
The Moon’s soft glowing magic’s at work every place
Yet my heart feels not the warmth but the chill of a deep gloom
The waste of a Lover’s Moon as shadows envelop my dark lonely room

There’s a Lover’s Moon aloft in the sky tonight
It’s calling out to the hearts of lovers both near and far
It calls out, “This is the night of Love’s shining star!”
But to those who are lonely, lost, and forsaken
The Lover’s Moon is a curse, the reminder to make haste
For standing alone under a Lover’s Moon is the most pitiful waste

Dedicated to Stephen Christopher Harris

“Fear eats the soul…”

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 32"

"Marriage, Love and Commitment"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Poet's Corner"

“The Apparition”
Stephen Phillips (1864-1915)

My dead Love came to me, and said:
"God gives me one hour's rest
To spend upon the earth with thee:
How shall we spend it best?"

"Why, as of old," I said, and so
We quarrell'd as of old
But when I turn'd to make my peace
That one short hour was told

Dedicated to Stephen Christopher Harris

"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 31"

"We Share a Happy Home"

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Artist's Corner"

Nebojsa Zdravkovic
Watercolor on Paper

"A Song for Stephen Christopher Harris..."

Stephen Christopher Harris

Nature Boy
Nat King Cole

There was a boy
A very strange enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea

A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he
And then one day
A magic day he passed my way
And while we spoke of many things
Fools and kings
This he said to me

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return"

For Stephen Christopher Harris

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return..."

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