Life In The Apocalypse 4. Thursday April 2, 2020

Discerning Daddy

I have been in “lockdown” for 18 days. Roughly. There was a day or two in those early days where I went to the gym. My boyfriend and I have driven to the beach, and once into the Angeles National Forrest, exploring the mountains. I go for walks. And bike rides.

And we are finding ways to have fun, sexy adventures. On Sunday night we joined a zoom circle jerk group, jerking off with 15 other guys. During our drive through the mountains we pulled over in the flats to pee. He ended up fucking me over a rock, the expanse of sky and mountains breathtaking.

One of the things I’ve learned during this time: I’m not built for cynicism. I’m not built for fear. Even as things are getting scary, even in those moments, alone in bed, when I can’t breathe, sure I am dying, afraid about money, about my career, I still keep falling back on hope.

I find that most people are being super kind, friendly.

Here’s a story: a week ago I was at Pavilions. A man and I reached for the same last jar of pasta sauce. I pulled my hand back, saying sorry, and he smiled at me, took three jars of the same pasta sauce out of his cart and handed them to me.

“I already have too many,” he said.

I was in my teens and early 20’s when AIDS hit New York City. I watched as many of my mother’s friends died. Young gay men, a community devastated.

One of these men, David, before he got sick, told me,

“We are all learning about who we are right now. All of us. The whole world. It’s easy to be nice and kind, to stay hopeful, when the world is on your side. It’s almost impossible when the world turns on you. But that’s when you need it the most. It’s these times that define us. What kind of a man do I want to be?”

Before he got sick David was tall and muscular, beefy and hairy. The last time I was home my mom showed me a picture of him right before he died. He looked emaciated: so skinny he was almost unrecognizable. His cheeks were sunken in.

He was sitting outside, by the river, smiling. That smile will forever stay with me. That smile is the man I want to be in this time.

18 days and it’s not easy. My Facebook page is filled with people who are sick, know someone who is sick, posts about people who have died, non-stop information about the virus. I find myself getting annoyed at small little things that happen in my house. Annoyed at my roommates, my boyfriend, the dog and cats: but then I remember how lucky I am. That we are all here. Together.

There is a lot to be afraid of. And then there is that picture of David, who knew he was dying, but smiling anyway. And there is a lot to be hopeful about too.

Even if it’s the fucking apocalypse I have to believe there is still beauty.
My best friend Amy taught me this very important mantra, that I keep written on an index card on my desk, and as a screenshot on my phone:

What if it’s all just going to be ok?

These words save me in times of doubt and fear.

And I’m really glad my boyfriend still wants to fuck me in parks. That’s gotta count for something.

Life In The Apocalypse 3. Thursday March 26, 2020

Discerning Daddy

Today’s record, GoGo Penquin, A Humdrum Star, Deluxe.

I woke up feeling discouraged today. And horny.

I keep thinking, this has to have meaning. I have to find a way to allow what is happening in the world to change me.

I’ve been meditating a lot. Jerking off less than I would have thought. I bought a bike and try to spend an hour each day riding it, exploring new neighborhoods. I go for walks. It’s nice to be out, even if at a distance, seeing the world, knowing that all of you are out there too. I try to smile and say hi. I read somewhere that saying hi, that smiling, is good for the immune system. Either way, it makes me feel better.

And I’ve been writing.

I set a goal for myself: I will read two new books a week and I will spend less time on my phone.

But today I woke up feeling discouraged.

“I think things are going to go back to normal sooner than we think,” my friend texts me from San Francisco. She is married with two kids. The four of them quarantined in their two-bedroom apartment in the Mission.

“I hope so,” I write back, but what I am really thinking is: what is normal? What does that mean exactly?

“By your birthday for sure,” she texts. “God, it has to be all over by then don’t you think?”

My birthday is May 8. And I don’t know what to think.

“I think this is just going to be what it is.” I say to her when she answers her phone, deciding we needed more than just texting.

“I don’t think I can live like this,” she says to me. “I have no space. Nowhere to go.”

We are silent: the two of us breathing.

“Sometimes I could just run away,” she says. She says it softly. “Sometimes I think I could just run away and leave them all behind. Does that make me a bad person? A horrible mom?”

“No,” I say.

“What if I did it? Would it make me a horrible person then?”

“You won’t do it so it doesn’t matter.”
“Remember when we were in College and we would eat mushrooms and wander around the Lower East Side and the Village? And we felt so free. So limitless. I want that feeling back.”

“Let’s add it to the list of life in the age of coronavirus goals,” I say, and we both laugh.

It’s so easy to be sad. To be afraid. It’s so easy to struggle against what is happening: to deny it even as the rising tide of it seems to be growing. It is so easy to say it’s just a conspiracy.

It would also be so easy to just sit on my couch and watch Netflix and jerk off to Pornhub (they’ve even made their premium videos free during the crisis…it’s an endless cornucopia of gang bangs and bareback loads).

And yet I can’t help it: I need there to be meaning to this. I need it to have an impact. I don’t want to resist what is happening. I don’t want to slip into denial so I can just go back to normal when this is over.

When I found out I was HIV positive I remember thinking, “This will change me. It should change me. I want it to change me.” When Jon died I refused let him just slip away, to allow the sadness of it to destroy me, instead I demanded it have meaning. Because if I could find the meaning in what had happened then I could find a way to not just survive but to grow.

I want to do more than just survive this. I want to live. I want to experience. I want to grow.

And some days I will wake up discouraged. Some nights I will be so wrecked by anxiety and fear I can’t breathe.

But then I will get out of bed. I will read and write and drink coffee and then I will get on my bike and I will ride through the empty streets, saying hi to anyone I see. And I will eat lunch with my boyfriend and I will reach out to my friends and my mom and dad and brother, I will send dirty jokes to my nephews, and search for pink and sparkly headphones for my nieces and I will say to myself: this matters. This will mean something. This can change us if we let it. Even in all the fear and loss and pain this can be an opportunity.

If we let it.

Check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon. Your support means everything.

Life In The Apocalypse 2. Tuesday March 18, 2020

Discerning Daddy

Today’s record, Bon Iver, “For Emma, Forever Ago”.

Every morning begins with panic. Not at the virus, or the fear of becoming sick, but at what we might have lost. And fear for what is coming.

I get out of bed, 8:30am. I think, why? Why not just sleep? Why not just turn the tv on and hunker down and just fuck it all…but I make my coffee. I open my book. I write in my journal. I choose the records I’m going to listen to, and I get to work.

Because I have faith. I have hope. That we will come out the other side. I’m not sure what the other side looks like, or what we will look like, but I know there is an other side.

I had a friend in New York, years ago, 1992. In my book, Accidental Warlocks, I called him Laurent. Laurent had AIDS. I would go sit in his apartment in Chelsea and read him Lorca poems, we would sit in one of those pools you could buy at Kmart, the small ones: he had it set up in his living room. We drank champagne and ate strawberries and chocolate and talked. He would tell outrageous stories about orgies and alien abductions and art.

“I believe we are beautiful,” he said to me one night, sitting on the couch, listening as the rain outside hit against his window, purple lesions on his chest like a map of his past, a prediction of his future. “Even when all we can see is the ugly, I still believe we are beautiful. Just a few years ago the world seemed happy to let all our gay brothers and sisters die, but we haven’t died yet. We are still here. Filthy and gorgeous, the most beautiful of all the ugly little monsters. I love every single one of us.”

Back then we came together to mourn, we danced and went out, we threw ourselves into each other, the only safe havens we knew. Now we are told to stay away from each other. We are told about social distancing and that it is safer in isolation.

My friend Jake and I went for a walk through Echo Park yesterday. My boyfriend and I ate Lasagna and cuddled up on the couch last night. I FaceTime with my ex in Berlin. I check in on friends. My brother told me that one of my nieces, she’s 12, facetimes with her friend as she makes herself snacks.

“Sometimes they don’t even talk.” He says to me over the phone, from the East Coast. “They just do their thing, but it’s like they are doing it together.”

These connections, to our friends, families and our partners, are essential. In some ways they are more important now than ever.

Alex and Matias and I will go outside later and lift our DIY weights and stretch and jump rope and get as much sun as we can. I will meet a friend for a walk (we keep six feet from each other but we can still talk, we can still feel close). And I will keep writing.

And I will have faith. And hope. In us.

“We are all there is,” Laurent said to me. “We are the reason.”

He put on a record. We got high and danced in his living room, the fading summer light golden through his windows.

I fell back into the couch, too high to really understand what was being said to me. But I remember this, I remember this the most, Laurent standing bathed in that golden fading sunlight, breathless and beautiful, and saying,

“And if they all turn their backs on us, if the whole world refuses to see us, I will always see you. We will be family. We will save us.”

And the panic has subsided a little. Just the act of writing this to you, whoever you are, has saved me a little. Because I know you are out there. You are reading this. And maybe you understand, maybe you can identify a little, and maybe this act alone will remind us both:

We are not alone.

Life In The Apocalypse Part One. Tuesday March 17, 2020

Discerning Daddy

Record of the Day: Francis and the Lights: Farewell, Starlite! (“My City is Gone” is my favorite song on this album, but fuck this record is incredible)

It is easy to be afraid. It is easy to allow what is happening around us, the fear and panic, the lines at grocery stores, the mixed messages handed down from our President, to overwhelm us.

I woke up today and looked at the NYTimes and instantly started to panic. Sunday night, the bar I work at in LA, the Eagle, shut down, along with all the bars in Los Angeles. My household all works in gay bars and in queer nightlife. This is going to affect us.

This is going to affect all of us. In ways none of us can understand.

Not just the virus itself, but how we handle the virus. Currently, watching the Trump Administration, it doesn’t feel like we are handling it well. It feels like we are racing toward more panic and fear.

I am a 51-year-old HIV Positive gay man. I remember clearly the AIDS pandemic that decimated our community in the 80’s and 90’s, which still continues today with close to 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS world-wide and almost 800,000 people still dying yearly. I remember the fear and the loss and the horrific mishandling of the situation by the Reagan Administration.

I also remember falling in love. I remember making out with cute boys on dance floors. I remember my community and the way, in spite of all the death and fear and abandonment by our families and government, that we took care of each other.

We are still that community. We are strong. I have so much faith in us. Who I am as a man, as an artists and a writer, who I am as a human being, is intrinsically linked to my queerness. To my community.

With the gay bars and queer spaces being closed down across the country, I am looking for ways to connect. To stay together even as we are told to be social distancing.

Isolation will not save us. I believe we are stronger together.

I am thinking of ways to maintain that balance: safety and community.

I’ve been thinking about online queer book groups, bike rides through the empty streets (you can keep a safe distance but still be together), walks and hikes.

Are there ways to volunteer in this time? Things that will get us out and together but still maintaining personal safety?

I live in a house with two other gay mean. My boyfriend lives just blocks away. This morning, one of my roommates, Matias, was in our front yard lifting DIY weights Alex made from bricks, plastic bags and towels. We are jumping rope and doing yoga. My coworkers and I from the Eagle have a group chat where we check in on each other and share information. Last night we made a family chicken soup dinner and watched horror movies. I Facetime with friends around the world.

I am finding ways to reach out, to be together, I am finding ways to survive this new life.

And I am writing. Because that is how I ascribe meaning to the world. And right now we need meaning.

I’d love to hear the ways you are finding meaning and community in the world right now. Feel free to comment and message and let us all know that we are still here. Together.

Look for my daily instalments of Life in the Apocalypse. Without you there is no meaning. I’m counting on us.

How I Learned to Allow Love and Partnership to be the Foundations I Build My Life On

Discerning Daddy

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to choose another person, to be their partner, to build a life with them, and how to do that in a way that doesn’t require sacrificing my individualism, my own self-journey and adventure.

I’ve never been very successful at balance. I move people in too quickly, I’ve made my partner and our relationship a priority at the expense of my own needs and well-being, and then I end up resenting them because I’m not where I want to be in my life, or I am not moving in the direction of my goals: I am stagnated and I blame my partner. I blame what I see as the prison of my relationship.

In the past, when I’ve felt this resentment, I’ve found ways to sabotage the relationship. I’ve cheated. Left them for someone new. I’ve started fights. I’ve let the resentment grow: it is their fault that I am not a successful writer. It is their fault I am unhappy or unsatisfied. They are holding me back. If I were single, if I had a different kind of boyfriend…if only I was free…

Recently my partner asked me if I felt like I was being held emotionally hostage. It was a funny question because it came out of nowhere, but for some reason it felt incredibly important.

And the answer was clear: The only person who can hold me emotionally hostage is myself. The only person holding me back is me. Everyone else is just living their lives the best they can.
If I am stagnated in my life or career then I need to look inside, not at the people I love, because the responsibility is mine.

A few weeks ago I was given the honor of reading a piece about love at the memorial of a friend of mine’s husband. They had been together for 54 years. I am still stunned by this fact: 54 years with one person.

The two of them built a magnificent life together. They lived in LA and Berlin and Cologne. They supported each other. Took care of each other. Stood by each other while they chased their dreams.

“He was always there. With me. Cheering me on. Wanting me to succeed. Never once did he try to stop me from going after the life I wanted. Having that kind of support, that kind of love, it was the foundation I built my whole life on.”

This idea that love is a foundation on which we build our dreams and lives, that our partners are the support we fall back on in times of success and in times of failure was a revelation to me. The idea that we are here to help carry each other. To encourage each other.

Love is not a prison. It is the escape route. It is the way out of the prison. Having someone by my side, being in this relationship, it is the foundation, the security, that I can build my dreams on.

There is a balance here. One I am still trying to find. How to be a partner and a lover, a friend to the man I choose, and how to be a partner and friend to myself: how to bring these two things together and give them the attention and support they both deserve.

I look forward to the life my dude and I are building. I look forward to the adventures and the journey and the love. I look forward to building something together. But I also look forward to the life I will create for myself: as an artist, a man, as someone seeking adventure.

I haven’t found the perfect key here. I’d love to hear how you guys manage all this.

And thanks for reading. None of this happens without you.

If you’d like to read more you can find my book, Accidental Warlock, on Amazon.

Who Am I? Or Why Ocean Vuong Hates Me

Discerning Daddy

It is Monday, February 10th, 2020, at 9:17am, and I am wondering why Ocean Vuong hates me.

The truth is, Ocean Vuong, the writer of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, doesn’t hate me. He doesn’t even know me.
But I’ve decided I know him. I know exactly who he is. He is who I want to be, or well, he has probably nothing to do with who I think he is, but still, in my mind, he is the embodiment of what I want: hardwood floored New York City Apartments, Jazz and Classical Music, windows with fire-escapes to sit on, conversations about art and writing and music, about life and philosophy and books.

He has books. I know it. Lots of books and amazing chairs to sit in and he is smart and respected and people want to sit with him and listen to what he has to say. And if he didn’t hate me, or if he knew me, we would sit, we would be friends and drink tea and my life would look exactly how I know it is supposed to look.

Exactly how it doesn’t look. Except I do have hardwood floors. And I have a record player that plays lots of Milt Jackson, and I have books everywhere…so what is it that I’m missing?

What is this feeling?

I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I have hardwood floors. I have a house, rundown, in desperate need of work but still: a house, a 1910 craftsman, in Hollywood. I don’t own it, but it’s mine. I have a boyfriend who loves me. I have readers who read me. I’ve published a book. I get to travel. I have chairs to sit in, though I wish they were more comfortable…the point is…I have the life I am jealous of.

Mostly.

And yet I still feel…lost.

I keep coming back to this gnawing question: Who the Fuck am I?

I am 51 years old. I am Queer. I am HIV Positive. I am a writer. I am a son and a brother and a partner and a friend and yet…who the fuck am I? How did I end up here, as this particular Jeff Leavell?

I’m sorry if you find yourself wondering when I’m going to talk about getting pissed on, or my philosophical stance on fisting, or poly-open-monogamous relationships, or all the ways and times I’ve been fucked.

I’m sorry if you came here to get your dick hard.

Sometimes I have these visions of the Jeff Leavell I want to be right now: I am walking the canals of Amsterdam, or climbing through the winding hill streets of some ancient City, and I am always alone. I am happy to be alone. I am on an adventure. I find a café and I sit, and I read. Next to me men are playing chess. A mother and daughter share a carafe of wine. It is always white wine. And the sun is out.

Or I am in Paris, crossing the Seine, wandering slowly toward Shakespeare & Company. I will sit in a chair and I will read. I will pretend that I live just up the hill, in the Latin Quarter.

I will not be afraid. I will no longer wonder who I am: because I will be exactly that man, right there, sitting in the large chair in the famous book store in Paris, and I will know, without a doubt that when I leave I will be swallowed up in the beauty of the City…and later that night I will meet a group of writers and poets and artists and we will eat dinner at a small restaurant and we will talk about what we are working on, about life, we will talk about the world.

I am so consumed with fear right now. I am so consumed with self-doubt. My skin itches so bad I want to claw my way out. My brain is on fire: my thoughts racing.

I want to write a fantasy for you: some decadent adventure I had while in Berlin, getting fucked so hard I almost forgot my name, or about gang bangs in Madrid, or falling in love in the rain in London…I want to write about anything but this moment, right now, where I am:

In Hollywood, on a Monday morning, struggling to find that word, any fucking word, just a word that will explain to you exactly what I am feeling.

Do you ever wonder how you will pay your phone bill? Or if you will be evicted because you can no longer pay your rent? Do you ever wonder if everyone you love will finally leave you, all alone, with nothing? Do you ever think that you missed every opportunity, that you fucked up so bad that now you will never get to live the life you always dreamed of?

Because I am terrified. That is what this feeling is: this feeling that my life is slowly dripping away, floating passed me and I am not participating, I am no longer a character in my life: just a bystander.

What if this feeling is no longer the fear of failure, but failure itself?

And then what? I am a 51-year-old, HIV Postive, Queer, failure?

And Jesus Fucking Christ, it’s just Monday, 10:21 am…and I’m already here, drowning in this self-doubt, this fear, this abject failure.

Do you ever have that feeling? What do you do in those moments when you’re so fucking scared that you’re immobilized?

Because if you do ever feel this way, lost, unsure, like your life is passing you by, that you’ve somehow missed the person you were supposed to be and you have no power: you’re not alone.

I’m right here with you.

So today, this is what I’m going to do: I’m going to play a Stan Getz album, Focus, and I’m going to write until I can’t, until the fear becomes so intolerable I might scream, and then I will take my little dog Paco and go for a walk, and maybe later I will meet a friend for tea, and I will try to remember that some days are just like this. Some weeks. Some months.

But I do have power. And that the writing will save me.

And that I’m not alone.

My father used to tell me, “Fear is just the lie you tell yourself so you don’t have to get up and actually do something. You can spend the next ten years afraid, or you can take ten minutes and put your shoes on and go do something. If you’re lucky you’re going to be 65 one day. And you will have either done the thing you’ve dreamed of or not. Which one would you rather be true at 65?” And my other favorite, “Worrying is just like praying for what you don’t want.”

And my mother once said, “I’d rather see you fail at something you love than succeed at something you hate.”

I’m going to commit to a walk. And to writing a blog post once a week. To finishing the projects I’ve started so that at 65 I actually can look back and say: yeah, I did that. Regardless of the outcome: I did it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. I know this isn’t my normal kind of post (I promise, I’ll get your dick hard again soon). And I’d love to hear your dreams. Even if they terrify you. Even if they seem impossible.

And I apologize to Ocean Vuong. I have no idea what kind of life you have, and there is no reason to think you hate me. He did write a fucking beautiful book, though. You should go read it if you haven’t.

5 Things I Learned From a 5-Way With My Boyfriend

Discerning Daddy

This past weekend Clay and I had our first 5-Way together as a couple. We’ve had three-ways and one experience with another couple, but never a five-way.

I get nervous sometimes. Insecure. Jealous. I want to go fuck a bunch of guys with Clay. But I also want him to be all mine, to only want me: basically I want to go fuck a bunch of guys while Clay stands by and cheers me on, which is totally unrealistic as fuck.

So I have to learn to manage my feelings. Manage my insecurities and jealousies and basic cave-man-mentality.

Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t. Life is one big learning curve and I am all over the place.

The guys we were meeting were safe, they were friends, so we knew the situation would be comfortable. We knew no one was going to be super fucked up on drugs or assholes. We met at our friend Dan’s house in Venice. He had two friends visiting from out of town.

We all stood around the kitchen talking. In those initial moments I wanted to leave. I suddenly had thoughts like, “What if I can’t get hard? What if my breath smells? What if no one likes me or I’m fat or…” on and on the thoughts went, all the ways my head starts to tear me down. I even indicated to Clay that I might want to leave.

We all started to make out. Everyone was hard but me. My head had brought about the curse of the limp dick.

I was on the bed naked. Dan was sucking my dick and Carlos was making out with me. I was semi-hard, but I knew: it wasn’t going to work. I looked over at Clay who was sucking Pete’s dick. He saw me and he smiled. I indicated that I thought maybe this wasn’t going to work out and then he was there kissing me, telling me he loved me, playing with my dick while the others were all making out with each other and I learned the most important lesson of them all…

1. Lean in on your partner: This might be the most important of the five lessons. You’re there together. As a team. To have an adventure. This was Jeff and Clay’s great adventure, and when the adventure starts to go bad, find your partner and let them get you back on track. Just taking a few moments to connect with Clay, to feel him and to kiss him, got my dick hard and my head in the game.

If you’re having a sexy adventure with your partner being connected is one way to guarantee you’re going to have a good time. Make eye contact, no matter who else you’re fucking, make sure to check in, touch, kiss, fuck each other: this is about the two of you having an experience together.

So go out there and fuck the world together if you want. There’s nothing hotter than seeing your dude (or whoever you’re out there fucking the world with) making out with some sexy daddy, sucking some dick, getting fucked.

And I really love that moment when he looks over at me, his dick buried deep in some ass, and he mouths, “I love you so much,” or he smiles at me, or reaches out for me.: connecting with me.

I love watching my man be a stud. And I love going home with him, knowing that he’s going to fuck me so good, and then we get to cuddle up on the couch and watch Sabrina together.

2. You Can Leave If You Really Want To: This one is also important. And doesn’t need a lot of discussion. It’s one of the most basic rules Clay and I have: if either of us isn’t feeling comfortable and nothing we do gets us back in the game we get to call it quits. If, on Sunday, I had really wanted to go home, Clay would have supported that. He probably would have been disappointed, but I know he would have totally supported me, and we still would have had a great afternoon together. Sometimes these things just don’t work out and it’s ok to say you don’t want to play anymore. Our rule is clear: if, for any reason, one of us wants to leave, we both leave. We try to be polite, we try to be kind, but the priority is each other, and making sure we are comfortable.

3. Jealousy is Normal: I’ve written about this a lot: being jealousy is normal. And sometimes, watching your man take another dick, or fuck another dude, or just making out, is going to kick in that cave man attitude. This is where lesson 1 comes in handy again. When I’m feeling jealous, or insecure, connecting with my man, touching him, making eye contact, whatever, seems to dispel those feelings, reminding me that I am his and he is mine, and I don’t have to be afraid. If you find yourself getting jealous don’t beat yourself up. It really is normal. Just try to remember: you guys are in this together. It’s your adventure. And you’re the one he’s going home with.

4. The Whole Point is To Suck a New Dick So Enjoy It and Let Your Man Enjoy it Too: Yes jealousy is normal, yes being connected is essential, but also, remember: the whole point here is to experience different dick and ass. And to do it together.

I love getting fucked by some sexy top, making out with the guy next to me who is getting fucked by Clay. I love sharing a hot ass with Clay. I love watching my man suck another dick. One of the hottest experiences I’ve had with Clay was me making out with this sexy daddy while Clay jerked off on our faces. Cus that’s why you’re here: to fuck someone new. To have a new experience. So if your man seems really into the dick he’s sucking, or is really getting off on that dude fucking him: remember: that’s why you’re here. To enjoy it. To get drunk on new dick.

I always try to make sure Clay feels safe, to know he can explore new things with the guys we are with, to have fun. We aren’t the same people with everyone, and my dude might not be the same sexual being he is with me as he is with someone else: and that’s ok. It’s even hot.

As long as you guys are strong, and connected, and trust each other, then you should both feel free to explore and to have fun. Enjoy that new dick and ass, and watch your man be a total slutty stud: it’s the best porn I know.

5. It’s an Extension of Our Sex Life and Not a Replacement of Our Sex Life: I’ll say it again: Clay and I fuck. A lot. Sunday morning, hours before we went to our first 5-way, Clay woke me up with his dick in my ass. We fucked three times before we ever met those guys. When we go on adventures it’s to enhance our sex, to show off for each other, to connect in new ways: even in the middle of an orgy together it’s about us: our sexuality, witnessing and sharing in each other. Sexy adventures can be a way of keeping things fresh, of opening new doors, of exploring your sexuality and fantasies together.

After we got home on Sunday Clay took me into the bedroom and fucked me again: I had Pete and Dan’s loads in me. Clay held me down, talking in my ear, getting off on knowing that my ass was full of two other guys, until he added his own: claiming me for what I am: his.

And honestly: that’s it. Fucking other guys together, watching Clay with someone else, showing off for him, just makes me want him more. It adds to our sex life. Expands it. And connects us even deeper to each other.

I really encourage you and your partner (s) to go out and explore together and have fun together. I’d love to hear your stories. And remember: it’s ok to be scared, it’s ok to be jealous: just look to your dude to help you, be honest with each other and try to keep growing. Because that’s the whole point!

CHICAGO: REFELCTIONS ON LIFE, DEATH, SEX, AND LOVE

Discerning Daddy

When I was 15 I fell madly in love with a boy named Eric. His father lived in the Dakota, Eric’s bedroom windows looking out over Central Park West, and Strawberry Fields. I would spend weekends at Eric’s place. We would lie in bed jerking off, kissing and fucking. During the day, when Eric would lock himself in his bedroom and paint, I would go across the street to the park, and cruise the Rambles.

I would spend hours wandering those trails, trying to see how many guys I could get to touch me, to let me fuck them, how many different guys I could make cum by sucking them off.

And then I would return to Eric. We would get high on opium laced joints and he would tell me about what he had created: Eric believed his work was inspired by beings who lived in other dimensions. Eric believed that there were worlds within worlds, and if we closed our eyes we could see past the thin veil of our existence: we could see into the endless expanse.

Eric would wake me up late at night. He would be crying. He would tell me that he had to get out. He had to get away. I knew he was falling under the spell of whatever madness ate at him. And maybe a part of me understood it: understood the burning in his brain, the voices.

We would go for long walks, down Central Park West to 59th, meeting Broadway, through Times Square, and into the Village. He would sit in Thompkins Square Park, listening to the drums play, listening to the drunks and the conspiracy theorists yelling at the sky, and I would wander down 7th street to the stoop where the dope dealers stood.

A bag of dope for each of us. Enough to quiet our screaming heads. And we would sit on benches, waiting for the sun to come up, telling each other wild dreams of who we would be, of love and adventure. I was going to be a poet, a writer, Eric was going to be an artist, he was going to be a cult leader: and one day, when we were older, we would find each other again, and we would spend the rest of our lives in love somewhere in the desert, or in Paris, or Tunisia, or maybe in an apartment in Chelsea.

When Eric moved to Sedona to live with his mother I thought my whole world would fall apart. I had never known pain like that in my life. Eric is the first man I ever really loved.

And the loss of him ripped through me, tore at me, like losing a part of myself.

I didn’t know then what I know now: that even though it felt like dying, it wouldn’t kill me. I didn’t know then that I am strong, and that love, even the loss of love, will just make me stronger.

My mother, Beverly, used to talk about the fires that burned in her head. How they would burn bright and then dark. How life was an endless battle between those fires. Beautiful and destructive and consuming.

“We are like that, you and me. We burn bright. And that burning can make life feel endlessly magical, but if you aren’t careful those fires will consume you and everyone you have loved.”

She’s right of course. Those fires have consumed me over and over. Like heroin. Like the screaming thoughts in my head.

The first time I kissed Eric was in Madison New Jersey, where my father was living, where his mother lived before moving to Sedona. We were on the golf course, it was three in the morning, and Eric was sure that the night sky was full of alien crafts, that the shadows were hiding whispering men, we were tripping on mushrooms and I think I kissed him because I wanted to shut him up as much as I actually wanted to kiss him.

He held me. He was so warm. I was high enough to feel us becoming one. I was high enough to believe we could stay like that forever, breathing in the night.

Clay’s likes to ask me when I knew I was in love with him, and I never want to tell him, because what if I fell in love with him first? Because I resist him, I don’t want him to think I love him as much as I do: I’m afraid of falling in love with Clay’s: I’m afraid of losing him. I’m so afraid of losing some battle that is a self-made construct: I am so afraid of giving in, and yet here is a secret: when I give in I win. Every time. When I give in I no longer even care about winning: I’m just happy.

But lately I’ve been thinking about it a lot too. When did I fall in love with Clay’s? Was it the night he showed up alone at Ostbahnhoff, a warehouse party in Downtown LA, where I was with my boyfriend, Noah, who was visiting from Berlin with friends of ours? Clay’s stood there, on the dance floor, watching me, something about his eyes, the way he looked at me: I wanted to walk up to him, to kiss him: I wanted the whole world to stop so it could be just the two of us. He smiled: maybe I fell in love with him the first time I ever saw him smile because Clay’s has one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen: because even though he wouldn’t agree with me, I know it is true: Clay’s smile that night was so full of hope and dreams and life , or maybe it was the first time I realized he was just as scared as I was, or the night, driving home from another warehouse party and we pulled over on the side of the road and he fell asleep, because I wouldn’t let him sleep over yet, because I was still refusing to give in, and his head was on my shoulder and I listened to him breath: listened to him live.

When did I fall in love with you, Clay’s?

Was it the time you asked me to come to the Eagle and watch you dance, and I did. I got dressed and drove to the Eagle and you danced for me. And I knew: this was important. It was important that I did that.

My mother would tell me we had been in love forever. Before we even met: that our love was just waiting for us to find it.

I come from the kind of women who believe in magic and love and destiny: the kind of women who have spent their lives refusing to be anything other than who they are.

Maybe I have loved you forever, Clay’s. Sometimes that is exactly how it feels.

Clay’s and I fuck. A lot. And we fight. And we burn as bright as we can: and we do everything we can not to be consumed, even when all I want is to be consumed.

When I got sober the thing I was most afraid of was losing what made me special, of becoming like everyone else: a man who goes to work, who grows old, who loses his dreams. What I didn’t realize was that the drugs were the things that were holding me back, the things that were robbing me of my real fire, of my true dreams.

Sobriety is a challenge for me. The voices in my head, the anger, the jealousy, the obsessive thoughts. I struggle with quieting my head so I can hear who I really am: that little voice underneath it all.

This is amplified in my relationship. I am slowly realizing that when I am mad at Clay’s, or jealous, or scared, it rarely has anything to do with him, or us, but with all the stories I have built from that very first kiss with Eric, through all the men I have loved, through all the loss and all the dreams that didn’t come true and all the fear: sometimes I have to step away from Clay’s and realize: this isn’t about us . It’s about me.

Because, like anyone who has made it 51 years, I am damaged, and that’s ok. It’s actually kind of beautiful. If I let it be. We are all these amazing, damaged survivors: we are the ones who get to tell the stories.

Clay’s grew up in Nebraska. He moved to Chicago when he was 27 to be an actor and an artist: to be the man he really always was. So going for a three day trip to Chicago was going home for Clay’s.

The most amazing thing about going home with someone, going back to where they were creating the dreams that would define them, is you get to meet all the people who loved them. You get to see them outside of the context of the life you have together: you get to see Them.

Maybe you fall in love with someone many times: maybe it isn’t one time. Maybe I fell in love with Clay’s listening to stories his friends told me of the actor, of the young man, of the crazy man: of my man. Or maybe it was the night we stood in the middle of a sex party at Jackhammer and Clay’s wouldn’t let me go, whispering in my ear, “Mine,” or when he walked me around Sidetrack in Boys Town excited to show me his world.

Or maybe it was when he showed me all the places he had fucked, or sucked dick, the dark rooms and the guys he had met there. Or walking all the way from Downtown to Edgewater where we were staying because he wanted me to see everything: the theatres he had performed in and the apartments he had lived in: he wanted me to love Chicago as much as he did: he wanted me to catch the dream.

This is what it means to get to get to know someone: to learn them: to see them. There were those moments in Chicago where I realized: This is Clay’s. This is a Clay’s I’ve never met before. This is a whole new Clay’s for me to fall in love with.

And we got to fuck some really hot dudes together, and I got jealous, and we fought, but mostly we walked and we talked and we grew: and we fed the fires so they could feed us.

My mother had a friend, David. David was gay. He would spend summer weekends on fire Island, he bartended at a gay bar in New Hope. David would spend weeks with us, sleeping in our guest room, telling my brother and I wildly inappropriate stories about all his adventures. Stories I would jerk off to, hungry for life.

David was the first man I ever knew who died of AIDS. I remember being at his funeral, all the men crying: it was the early years, the years we were still able to cry: before all the funerals my mother would make me go to: “Because we owe it to them. We owe it to all of them.” After the funeral we went to Washington Square Park and someone played a pop song I can’t remember on a big black radio and we all danced and I remember the way the sun burned against the buildings, the way the clouds rolled over the City, and the way a summer rain fell, and we still danced.

And I remember my mother saying, when I asked her why we were dancing: “Because what else are you going to do? It’s either dance or die, baby boy. So we’re gonna dance.”

When I found out I was HIV positive I was terrified to tell my mother. Because she had lost everyone, all those men who had helped raise me, because there came a time when we no longer danced, when we no longer cried: a time when we just knew: eventually they would all be dead.

I remember calling her. I couldn’t stop crying. I kept saying, “I’m so sorry, mom, I’m so sorry.”

And she said to me, “Baby. I love you more than anything in the whole world. This is just a thing. Just one more thing. It will not take you down.”

And of course she was right. I sero-converted in the age of undetectable viral loads and PreP and TASP, in the age where this would not kill me. But I felt guilty. I felt ashamed. Like I had let her down.

“You will make this something important,” she said to me. “You will use this to change your life.”

Maybe I fell in love with Clay’s when his dick was buried deep inside this little muscle dude we met in Chicago, when he reached out for me, his eyes connecting with mine: and I saw him there, I saw him loving me as he fucked that guy, or maybe it was when the three of us were kissing and I felt Clay’s hand taking mine in his, his fingers interlocking with mine…

…because this is what life is, isn’t it? All the dreams and all the love and all the loss and all the living…the burning as bright as we can without being consumed…

We fight and we fuck and we dream and we burn bright…and we love…and I wonder if Eric is the leader of his own cult in the desert, or if he is in Paris, or Tunisia, in some studio making brilliant art, or maybe he is a banker, or a homeless man, or maybe he’s dead, and I wonder who David would have been if he hadn’t have died of AIDS, or all those men who we could have loved, but instead, we turned our backs on, who as a nation we allowed to die alone from a disease that for me, in 2019 is totally manageable, and I can make their deaths matter: I can make David, who was so beautiful and funny and vibrant: I can make him matter…by loving Clay’s, by following my dreams all the way to the end, even the ones that never manifest: just by living and not giving in…

And maybe the first time I fell in love with you Clay’s was when…

Art work by Clay’s Manzer.

The LA List: My Favorite Places to Fuck, Dance, Eat and Play in LA.

Discerning Daddy

(Picture provided by Jack Faulkner, House, Disco’s Revenge)

Los Angeles is a sprawling Mega-City of almost 14 million people. It is home to the second largest LGBTQ population in the United States.

Everything people say about LA is true: the traffic is shit, it is an overcrowded, sprawling, expensive, and often times chaotic City.

But it is also stunningly beautiful, and full of magic: LA is the kind of City that changes you, like a fairy tale kingdom that only really reveals itself to you once it decides you are worthy.

It is a wild City of artists and philosophers, a City where people come to leave behind the rules and expectations they were raised with: to be born again, to redefine their existence.

It’s not for everyone. It can devour you, leave you broken and alone, but for those of us who love this City, it will forever be one of the most amazing places in the world.

It is also one of the best places I know of to eat, fuck and dance, and lose yourself in abandonment.

Here’s a list of a few of my favorite Queer places in LA.

1.House, Disco’s Revenge: This is by far one of my favorite parties happening in LA right now. Jack Faulkner has created a fun, uplifting, amazing space to come together and dance and feel like you are part of a community. It has that underground, high as fuck, deep beats kinda vibe. The crowd is friendly and sexy: every time I’m there I feel like I’m surrounded by friends and some of the best music I’ve heard out in a while.

“I’ve been building House, Disco’s Revenge for a few years now at one of my favorite dive bars in Silverlake – Akbar. I believe that people want to be taken on a journey. This is what I was always looking for on the dance floor: a place to escape to. Monstrous beats, deep grooves, souful vocals that you can dance hard to, and that take you on a deep journey leaving you feeling uplifted. This is what my party is all about. An all-inclusive, safe space where people lose themselves in the music and feel the collective love of our underground community on the dance floor.” – Jack Faulkner.

House, Disco’s Revenge, takes place at Akbar, 4356 West Sunset Blvd, in Silverlake. The next House, Disco’s Revenge will be: Saturday November 16, 10pm – 2am.

2. Por Detroit, LA: Por Detroit, a party based out of Mexico City, and brought to LA by legendary DJ Victor Rodriquez, is one of my favorite warehouse parties happening in LA. You’ll have to keep checking their Facebook and Instagram pages to see when the next one is happening. What I love about this party, besides the amazing music and vibe, is that while it’s still a full-on warehouse party, it’s also small enough to feel intimate. And it has one of my favorite dark rooms. Layne fucked me so good one night at this party while a bunch of guys stood around watching and jerking off. What more do you want from a party? Great music. Great People. Great Vibes. And all the dicks and asses (or whatever it is you want) you can handle.

3. The Party By Ostbahnhof: I’ve written a lot about this party. And it still remains my favorite warehouse party in a City that is full of amazing after hours and warehouse parties. I have danced, I have partied, I have lost myself in the lights and the music, and I have been so well fucked and had some of the sexiest adventures with Layne at this party. It is pure artistic hedonism at its best. Thrown by Black Charmed and Victor Rodriquez, it is still my favorite warehouse party. If you’re planning a trip to LA or live here, check out this amazing experience, happening the 3rd Saturday of every month. You can find more info on Instagram.

4. Casita Del Campo: Ok. This has to make the list. It’s one of Layne’s favorite restaurants in LA, and still holds its old school gay run vibe. Great Mexican food, fun campy shows weekly in their theatre, still super gay, friendly, and well worth every penny. This place isn’t just about the food: it’s about the whole experience. It’s a throw-back to an older, gayer Silverlake. 1920 Hyperion Avenue, LA, CA, 90027.

5. The Eagle LA: Full disclosure, I work the door at the Eagle (so feel free to come show me your ass or bring me cupcakes anytime you plan on visiting), so maybe I’m biased, but I still think it’s one of the best bars in LA. The Eagle is more than a leather bar, or “Dude” bar. It’s one of the most open and diverse bars in LA. With parties like MeatRack, CubScout , and Vaseline Alley, it plays to a wide and diverse crowd. While on weekends it can get busy, it still has that neighborhood gay bar vibe to it. 4219 Santa Monica Blvd, LA, CA, 90029.

6. Gold’s Gym Hollywood: Ok, I get it. You’re all rolling your eyes. But let’s be real: Gold’s Gym Hollywood is a classic gay-influenced LA gym. Every time my friend Reiner is visiting from Berlin he makes me take him to Gold’s. While it’s a big LA gym, it still has a local, neighborhood feel to it. Staff and members are all friendly. And come on, there are some of the hottest guys to watch at this place: every time I work out here I’m inspired, and my dick is hard. What more do you want? 1016 Cole Ave, LA, CA 90038.

7.Runyon Canyon: Runyon is one of those hikes you have to experience to understand. LA’s bod- perfect, shirtless, sun-worshipping devotees flock here to be seen and to see. Go for a hike, get healthy, and see plenty of super-hot, sometimes famous, people showing off. Also, you never know, I once got a blow job by this muscle daddy in the bushes one late afternoon. Life’s all about adventure. Go have one.

So those are a few of my favorite places in LA. I could keep the list going but I’ll save some for my part two! I’d love to hear your thoughts and your favorite places.

FUCK DONALD TRUMP

Discerning Daddy

I won’t lie. I’m scared. The thing I’m scared most of is that it won’t matter how pissed off we get, how scared we are, none of it will matter because Donald Trump will still probably win in 2020.

And I don’t know what that means for my community.

I’m not talking about rich gay white men. Ultimately, most of us will be fine. I’m talking about those parts of our community who can’t blend in, can’t hide. The trans men and women, the gender queer people, the cis-women, the people of color, the Muslims and Jews. The ones who are never really safe, even when there is a democrat in office.

Sometimes I sit and watch the news and I wonder, when did it all become so mean? Was the world always like that and I just didn’t notice?

And when did Republicans become willing to sell us all out? As if the idea of being an American only really matters if you are a rich white heterosexual man.

I’m not absolving my community either. Many of us, me included, are sitting by and watching it all happen. I know lots of gay men who don’t read the news, who have given up. Waiting it out. Which is a luxury. A privilege.

We live in a world where everything is beginning to feel hopeless. A world that is on fire, a world that is slowly becoming unlivable. We are willingly walking into self-annihilation.

And I keep wondering: what can we do? A lot of us are just trying to survive, stay afloat in a world that is becoming harder and harder.

But there are things we can do. Small things, things that won’t take much of our time, but can mean the world to someone else.

I think that visibility in the face of fascism is radical and political. Holding hands in public, kissing openly, refusing to deny who we are. This matters. It lets the world know we are here.

Standing up for everyone in our community, not just the ones who look like us, or the ones we want to fuck. Refusing to objectify each other. To take care of each other. To not take advantage of those of us who are struggling, but instead to try to be compassionate and loving.

It all starts with us. With the way we treat each other, as a community, as humans.

I always thought that if we just made choices that were based on being kind to each other, and taking care of each other, helping each other, then we wouldn’t have ended up where we are now.

There’s still a lot of hope out there. And it’s in each of us. We have the ability to love each other, to forgive each other, to be kind to each other. Imagine how strong we would be as a community if we took care of each other, and refused to back down to intolerance or homophobia, transphobia, racism, if we stood up for each other, included each other.

We would be unstoppable.

I’m not trying to preach, or be moralistic, I just want to remember there is hope. That we get to decide the fate of our future, our community, and ourselves.

Fuck who you want. Fuck how you want. Refuse to deny who you are. And take care of each other.

Because honestly, looking out at the world, we might be all we have.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts. And follow me on Instagram if you want!