Monday, May 07, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night: 

My wife Kate and I are at a comedy show at a small bar venue. We’re seated separately. She’s opposite the stage. I’m under a platform tech nest. I wave at her and she smiles back. I indicate that I’ve brought a French press of coffee if she’d care for some. She takes a cup and returns to her seat. I continue to watch the show, though my view is obscured by a paper set list dangling from the platform above. I’m enjoying the show and began to interact from my seat; not as a heckler, but as a spontaneous participant. I indicate to Kate that I’m going to return home to make more coffee, but I’ll return. She waves me off, laughing at the performer.

I walk through our small camp town to arrive at my back porch. Inside, I find my siblings, a swarm of teenage brothers and sisters (who are not identifiable to me, though siblings in the dream), noisily interacting, preparing food and enjoying themselves. I wave and smile on my say to the sink, where I began to wash the press and prepare more coffee. Also in the mix is Ann Carlisle and her four children, who are staying in our home. I’m keeping track of various conversations as I prepare the coffee, and keep messing up. I add sugar to the coffee grinds and realize my error, as Kate doesn’t like sugar. I dumped the grounds to begin again. I’m amused more than frustrated by my mistakes. I wait for a break in conversation to tell Ann about my mishaps, thinking she’d find it funny.

My brother Greg stands next to me to bathe a baby in the sink. The baby is oddly shaped, very extenuated with an elongated head. My brother focuses on preparing the bath and doesn’t support the baby. He seems to believe that due to its size, it’s old enough to stand. I encourage him to support the baby’s head. He grows frustrated and walks away, leaving the baby to sink. I put aside my coffee carafe and go to the baby. I begin to bathe the baby, which shrinks as I do. I whisper to the baby, “Here we go get ready!” before blowing on the baby’s face and push it fully under water. I gently repeat this process of near drowning, calling it “pressing down.” The baby is content. My mom, watching, tells me I’m “pressing down” just right.

One sibling pulls me aside to ask if we can talk later, as he thinks he may be having sex with an ex and wants to consult me on the wisdom of this. I laugh and say sure, we can meet later. A young woman joins him and introduces herself. I realize she’s my sibling’s ex. I’m surprised that he wants to ask me about the wisdom of a new sexual relationship when he’s already decided to go ahead.

Kate enters the back porch. I apologize for not returning with the coffee, but we can go back now. She smiles that there’s no need as the second host had not arrived so the second show was canceled. I tell her I know another show a friend is hosting and we can go there. I tell my brother we’ll talk later. Kate and the young woman seem cofused by the plan. I explain that in large families, siblings meet in the middle of the night for private conversations. That comes after the tumult of an evening, the playfulness of shared baths and the quiet time of listening to stories read. As I describe this, I think it would make a good setting for a British television show, about a large family with boarders who make clandestine meetings. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Dead Andy

Don't Andy Warhol look natural? New York, New York. April 26, 2018.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bukkake Social Club

Leah was my secret. I didn’t talk about her, or blog about her, or invite her to meet my friends at my orgies. We saw each other regularly, and I liked that it was just between us. We drank bourbon, we talked about smart things, we had brilliant sex. Wild horses couldn’t have dragged a word from me about any of it.

She seemed just as content with our discretion. In public, my bite marks were hidden underneath her clothes, the welts from my cane readily felt and easily disguised. In private, she never refused me any request and relished being told what to do.

Leah had a way of compartmentalizing to keep our relationship tidy, maintaining a cool reserve that didn’t interfere with our measured intimacy. She kept a few things at my place—ear plugs to block my snoring, a speculum that we kept forgetting to use—but she always traveled with her own toothbrush.

She knew about my blog, although we didn’t talk about it much. I wasn’t even sure she read it. She also knew about my orgies, but she didn’t ask to attend. I might have assumed she simply wasn’t interested had I not also known that she was, first and foremost, exceptionally well mannered. She would never pry or ask for an invitation to anything.

Being beautiful also worked in her favor. Life had taught her that any invitation she wanted was likely to come to her.

This dame was a class act. Just watching her hold a glass as she talked, resting it in the palm of one hand as she held it between the manicured fingers of the other, I inevitably thought of the word “poise.”

Her innate composure held the same intrigue for me as a house of cards holds for a cat. I was compelled to comprehend it even at the risk of scattering it to pieces.

One evening, I extended an invitation.

“Would you like,” I said, resting my bourbon glass on my knee, “to be my guest for the Bukkake Social Club?”

She didn’t miss a beat. “Why, thank you for the charming invitation, but what is that?”

I explained. “Well, as you know, Leah, I host a few orgies each month. One of these is a mixed party of bisexual men and women. It’s very popular, and there are always new men who want to be invited. This puts me in a bind, as we want a good gender ratio. If I add a male, I like to add a female.”

“Naturally. You’re a good host.”

“I do my level best,” I smiled. “So this imbalance finds me in a quandary. I am left with a group of men who are all perfectly satisfactory—attractive, polite and bisexual, or at least bi-friendly—and nothing to do with them. So I was struck by the thought that perhaps I could start a new event for them. And thus was born the Bukkake Social Club.”

I sipped my bourbon. Leah waited, listening.

“The Bukkake Social Club meets every couple of weeks. At each session, I present a different female guest. The gentleman undress and I undress our guest. They then watch as our guest and I have sex. The gentlemen are not permitted to touch our guest, though they are invited to interact with one another if they choose. At the meeting’s end, the gentleman cum on our guest and then leave.” I took another sip. “And then, you know, we keep fucking.”

Leah laughed. “I’m in. How can I resist an opportunity to be the center of attention?”

“Cheers.” I raised my glass. “And can I tell you something funny about the Bukkake Social Club? I don’t impose a time limit, but a meeting has never once gone over forty-five minutes. One boy will announce that he’s going to cum, and once he does, it’s a chain reaction. They all cum.”

“That’s interesting,” she nodded. “Sort of a tribal male ritual?”

“That, or the porn effect,” I shrugged. “They all know their roles, having seen it often enough in bukkake porn. Either way, they are going to really enjoy making a mess of you.”

“You say the sweetest things,” Leah said, extending a leg to press her toes against my groin.

I put down my glass and extended a hand.

The next day, Leah emailed two pictures for me to forward to the gentlemen. One showed her body as she lay flat on crisp white sheets. The other was shot in a mirror, the camera obscuring her face but revealing her large breasts and slender waist.

The gentlemen responded with terrific enthusiasm.

On the evening the Bukkake Social Club next convened, Leah was late to leave work. Several of the gentlemen had already arrived when I opened the door for her. They stood as one when I introduced her to the room.

“Gentlemen, this is Leah. Leah, may I introduce Timothy, Bill, Jeremy, Max, Chris, Philip, Eric . . .”

Leah raised a hand. “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll never remember names,” she said. “Unless I have to, and I’d rather not.”

The men laughed nervously. Although many of them had been members of the Bukkake Social Club for a while, the first moments of each session still felt awkward for some.

“Not at all,” I said. “Drink?”

“Yes, please.” Leah looked to the couch. One of the gentlemen moved aside to make room. “Thanks,” she said, sitting at the vacated space near one end.

Leah was chatting with the gentlemen when I returned with her vodka and seltzer. (I had learned that she couldn’t tolerate the quinine of tonic water, and so I kept seltzer for her.) She was a natural, I observed. She could manage any cocktail party with aplomb, even one such as this.

Typically, I preferred that the guest arrive before the gentlemen so that the two of us would have time to get in the right frame of mind. Now, that would just have to happen in a group setting. But it would need to happen reasonably soon, as some of the men needed to get home to dinner with their wives or girlfriends.

There was a knock at the door. “This fellow is late, but he’s lucky we’re off to a late start tonight,” I said, standing. I opened the door to find one of the new guys.

“Hey, Jefferson? Jacob, man. Sorry I’m late.”

“No worries, Jacob. We’re off to a late start.” I took his hand. “Come in, I’ll introduce you.”

He smiled. I closed the door behind him.

My mind flipped through its Rolodex of club applicants. Jacob was bisexual, right? I would need to look back into that. For in that moment at the door, I had catalogued his lips, his smile, and the way he said my name. I was beginning to assemble the necessary ingredients for a hearty crush.

I introduced Jacob to the room. Seating positions were adjusted and the late arrival sat next to the guest of honor.

“So you’re Leah?” he said, offering a hand. “I’m Jacob.” He chuckled as they shook hands. “Interesting way to meet, huh?”

“Oh yes, but how else do you meet the most interesting people?”

“I suppose so,” Jacob nodded. “So how do you know Jefferson?”

Leah looked at me. “Craig’s List, though that seems a long time ago. How do you know him?”

“Craig’s List, too, but kind of indirectly. I know someone who came to this bukkake thing and he told me I had to check it out. So I’m checking it out.”

“Oh right, Robby,” I recalled. “How’s he doing?”

“I guess he’s okay,” Jacob said. “He said hey, sorry he can’t make it.”

“Send him my regards.” Robby was a cute twink who tended to cling to the walls at our events. I pictured Jacob and him naked together, wondering if that’s how they knew one another.

I looked at Jacob. He was watching Leah’s face as she spoke to the other fellows. He caught my eye and smiled. I smiled back.

Leah looked to him, then to me. She seemed to compiling her own catalogue of observations.

“Hey, Leah, can I ask you a question?” Jacob said. “Do you work in midtown?”

Leah moved her glass to her palm. “Yes. Why?”

Jacob ran a hand through his hair. He asked if she worked in a particular building. She did. He asked if she worked for a particular company. She did.

“Yeah, well, so do I. I’ve seen you in the elevators. I thought that was you.”

I cringed. Leah was content with our discretion and now I had brought in a co-worker to watch us fuck.

The two passed a volley of company gossip. I watched the faces of the other gentlemen. This was unprecedented in our social club, and it threatened to upset our decorum. I needed to address this.

“Leah, sorry to interrupt,” I began. “But are you comfortable having Jacob here? I mean, if it’s a problem, we can just have him back another time when you won’t be our guest.”

Leah pushed her hair over a shoulder. “Oh no, I can totally have him fired.”

Jacob nodded. “It’s true, she can so fire my ass.”

The men laughed. “Well, if that is resolved,” I said, standing. “Then I would like to officially open this session of the Bukkake Social Club. Gentlemen?”

The gentlemen stood and began to remove their clothes. Jacob looked around and began to do the same. I remained clothed for now.

Leah sat back with her drink. “Hmm, I’m enjoying this.”

“All for you, pretty,” I smiled, waving a hand to the assembly.

A moment before, there had been a group of guys sitting around, chatting nervously. Now they were gone, replaced by virile bodies, handsome faces and cocks that were filling with anticipation. Leah slowly sipped her drink, letting her eyes take in the men who would soon be so intent on looking at her.

I watched Jacob’s body emerge from his clothes. He pulled off a black t-shirt to reveal a lean torso decorated by old-school tattoos that had no immediately discernable relationship to one another. A Star of David hung from his neck.

“A fellow Jew with tattoos,” Leah smiled approvingly. She raised a fist in the air. “Huzzah!”

“Oh yeah?” Jacob replied, unfastening his wide belt. “You too?” His pants lowered with the jangle of the chain that connected his wallet to a belt loop.

“You’ll see soon enough,” Leah said, lowering her eyes as she first saw Jacob’s thick cock.

I glanced at Jacob’s body, surreptitiously cataloguing. Certainly, there was nothing about his appearanced that would quell the threat of an incipient crush.

Physically, he was just little slighter than me. I imagined unzipping my skin and wrapping him in it; the fit would be just right.

Jacob looked around at the other nude men. He brought his palms together with a clap. “Okay,” he said, involuntarily.

“Gentlemen, I recommend that we adjourn to the bedroom.” I took Leah’s hand. “Shall we?”

“You lead, I follow,” she said.

When she stood, I turned her to face the men. I moved her hair to kiss the back of her neck, inhaling deeply. I took her arms behind her back and wrapped them in my right arm. I twirled her suddenly to face the other direction. “Actually,” I said, “Why don’t you lead?”

She stepped forward haltingly, unable to move beyond my restrictions on her body. I pressed myself against her back and turned her to enter the bedroom. The gentlemen followed, forming a semi-circle around the bed.

I released Leah and turned her. I lowered my lips to hers, knowing that my kisses pushed the boundaries of the intimacies she could accept. And yet I kissed her, before witnesses, to remind her that she was vulnerable in my hands.

My hands moved down her body. I pulled her top up and over her head. I kept my eyes on her as I spoke. “Gentlemen, let’s take a moment to revisit the club rules. You are welcome to watch and jerk off. If you want to touch another fellow, make sure it’s okay before you touch. You aren’t to touch Leah . . .”

“It’s okay above the waist,” Leah interjected.

“A fortunate revision, gentlemen.” I turned Leah to face the assembly. I unfastened her bra.

“Whoa,” Timothy said.

Leah smiled. “Before anyone asks: yes, they are real.”

My hands cupped her breasts from behind. “Hmmm, and spectacular.” I lowered my teeth to her shoulder.

“Unnnh,” Leah squirmed, closing her eyes. I pinched a nipple.

I stood back and reached around to unfasten her pants. She raised her legs to step from them. I kicked them aside. I ran my hands along her hips, fingering her thong panties, caressing her flat belly, watching over her shoulder as the men gazed at her body. No one was looking at me; I was merely the barker who showcased the main attraction.

I ran a cheek across Leah’s shoulders, a private gesture between us. Her breathing accelerated. My eyes were closed, savoring her scent and touch. When I opened my eyes, I saw Jacob looking at me. I closed my eyes again, smiling inwardly, growing hard in my clothes.

I slipped my hands into the strands of her thong. “Gentlemen, also please recall that you are not to cum in Leah’s face or in her mouth.” I crouched, lowering Leah’s panties as I sank. “That said, we want to give her a good soaking, so when you do cum, please be sure you cover her.” I stood, wrapping my arms around her. “May I suggest you consider her tits as your target?”

“Shit,” Eric said, stroking fast. He looked as if he were ready to explode.

I turned Leah to face me. I undressed and put my hands to her face. “It’s me,” I whispered. “And you.”

Leah nodded. I lead her to the bed and lay her back. I spread her thighs and ran a finger along her slit. “Wet,” I assessed. “Very nice.” I lowered my face to taste her, burrowing my nose into her smooth, soft pubis. She twisted, breathing fast. Her eyes were closed. I knew they would remain closed until I told her to open them.

The men pressed close. Eric knelt on the bed over her body. He raised a hand, but halted. “I can touch you?” he asked. Leah sucked a deep breath and nodded.

Eric’s hand shook slightly as he caressed a breast. Other hands joined his on her. I soon felt Leah quiver in my mouth. I flicked her clit steadily, prepared for her orgasm.

It came quietly as her body bucked, her soft high wail filling my ears. “Fuck, that’s hot,” Chris admired. He looked to another man. “God, she’s so hot.”

“Yes, isn’t she?” I agreed. I took a condom and tore the package. I pulled her to the bed’s edge. She moaned as I entered her. I stood with her legs against my chest, exposing her body to the eyes and hands of the gentlemen. This was a show; they wanted to see her, not mere watch my back humping over her. I had cast myself as a supporting actor.

Leah’s hands went back over her head. I recognized this as a sign of her surrender. Often, I pinned her back as I fucked her. “Jacob, do me a favor,” I asked. “Hold Leah’s arms back, please.”

“Sure.” Jacob dropped his cock and knelt on the bed behind Leah’s head. She crossed her forearms as he took him in his grip. She squirmed against his hold. Jacob held firm.

“Good boy. Thanks.” I pressed back on Leah’s thighs and fucked into her with deep, merciless thrusts. She responded by cumming again. As she came, I saw that she held Jacob’s cock in her confined hands.

As her wail subsided, I nodded at Jacob, gesturing that he should release her arms. He did, and her hands fell away from his cock. I leaned forward and took Leah’s jaw in my right hand. I roughly turned her to face me.

“Open your eyes, Leah.” She opened her eyes, nodding as best she could in my grip. “Come here, Jacob.” I turned my eyes to direct him to kneel at her side. I turned Leah’s face in his direction. “Take a look at Jacob. Isn’t he beautiful?”

She nodded.

“Look at his hair, his face, his body.” Leah’s eyes lowered. “Look at that cock. Don’t you want it?”

She nodded.

“Leah, we have a rule at the Bukkake Social Club. You don’t get to blow the boys. Do you understand that rule?”

She nodded. I could hear the men breathing heavily around me, but I kept my eyes on Leah. I shifted her face from my right hand to my left.

“But Leah,” I continued. “That rule does not apply to me.” I turned my face and took Jacob’s cock in my hand. My eyes locked on his as I took it in my mouth. He nodded as I swallowed him, shoving him in and out of my mouth.

I moved the fingers of my left hand into her mouth, pressing to the back of her tongue as I sucked Jacob’s cock. I pressed deeper into her cunt, keeping her full.

I knew her eyes were open, as I had instructed.

I pulled back and looked at her. I took Jacob’s cock in my hand and guided him a few steps to one side. I leaned over Leah and kissed her. I moved my face back slightly and once again took Jacob in my mouth. His cock brushed lightly over her lips as I sucked him.

Leah opened her mouth to taste him. I pulled her hair with my free hand. She yelped.

I dropped the cock from my mouth, drool running into her face. “You are such a slut, Leah.” I pulled out of her. “Turn over.”

Leah weakly turned on her front, then up on her knees. I lubed her ass and pushed into her. She groaned and fell forward slightly.

“No, Leah, you must remain upright.” I grabbed her shoulder and fucked into her hard. “Godammit, you are hopeless. Jacob, I’m sorry, but can you lend another hand?”

He came to my side. “What can I do?”

I slapped Leah’s ass. She sighed. “I give up. She’s a slut and there’s nothing to be done about it. Go shove your cock in her mouth, please.”

Jacob smiled. “Sure, Jefferson, anything you say.”

“Fucking hot,” Philip said.

Jacob positioned himself in front of Leah’s face, spreading his legs wide to accommodate her elbows. She lowered her mouth to his cock tentatively.

“No Leah, you wanted that cock, you take it.” I grabbed her hair and pushed her up and down Jacob’s shaft. He rested a hand on the back of her neck, so I could focus on her ass. I grabbed her hips and stood back to push into her hard and fast.

“Damn,” Chris said.

“Yeah, with this one, you have to be sure she feels it.” I spanked her, alternating buttocks as if galloping her onward. “How’s that cocksucking, Jacob?”

Jacob looked up, his hands on Leah’s temples. “Feels awesome,” he said, laughing.

“Hold ‘er steady, then, we’re taking ‘er home.” I was having a hell of a good time. I knew Leah had gone pretty far into herself, but we’d get her back in time. As for Jacob, he was a natural wingman.

After an eternity of fucking Leah’s ass at my top speed, I slowed up. “Whew, man, I’m exhausted,” I said, pulling out. “Jacob, drop the blowjob for a second.” I grabbed Leah’s hair and pulled her head back. Jacob retrieved his cock and scooted over the bed’s edge.

I grabbed Leah’s hips and flipped her over. “Get a condom, Jacob. I need a break, so you’re taking over.”

“You’re serious?” Jacob looked from me to Leah.

“Yeah, I’m serious. Seriously beat. Thanks for pitching in.” I tugged the condom from my cock and threw it on the floor. It landed with a thwack.

Jacob opened a condom as I leaned in to Leah’s ear. “You don’t mind if the cute boy fucks you a little bit, do you, Leah?”

She shook her head, eyes closed. “Good girl,” I whispered. I wrapped a forearm around Leah’s head as Jacob spread her legs. He leaned forward on his extended arms and began to jackhammer.

The gentlemen moved closer to watch. I intended to give my cock a break, but I could resist touching myself as he fucked her. Here were two gorgeous people who had just met, fucking in a circle of aroused naked men. And why?

Because I made it happen.

That realization filled me. If I had pockets at that moment, they might have been filled with Zuzu’s petals.

After a time, I checked the clock. We needed to wrap this up to keep on schedule.

“Okay, Jacob, I’m tapping you out.” I kissed Leah’s forehead and stood. “Let’s finish this.”

Jacob slowed his thrusts. “Oh, okay, you want me to stop?”

“Yes, but stay nearby,” I instructed, lubing a new condom. “Leah honey, stay with me.” She nodded, eyes closed, as I pushed into her. I stood with my knees apart and spread back her limber legs. “How’s that view, Eric?”

“Fuck man, that’s fucking hot.” Eric moved closer, tugging fast on his cock.

“You ready to soak her, man?” I asked, rocking back and forth in her.

“Yeah, you want me too?”

“Yeah, man, get it started.”

“Okay, man, I’ve going to pop.” Eric leaned over Leah’s breasts and beat himself furiously, “Shit, shit, shit,” he moaned, spraying Leah’s right breast and neck.

“Shit man, I going to cum,” Chris panted, pressing forward.

I smiled at Jacob. Like clockwork, I thought, as Chris unloaded on Leah’s ribcage.

Timothy and Jeremy were almost simultaneous. The others lined up to make their contributions. Bill kept us waiting for a bit as we offered encouragement.

“C’mon man, bust that nut,” Timothy said, his eyes on Bill’s cock.

“Yeah, I’m gonna cover her . . .” I realized this was the first thing Bill had said all night.

“Do it man, give that slut what she needs.”

Bill pressed his hips forward and grunted. His heavy drops splashed like petals landing in the puddle on Leah’s body.

“Fucking a’, dude,” Eric laughed. “That’s too damn hot.”

“Okay gentlemen, nicely done.” I pulled out and walked around to Leah’s face. I kissed her cheek. “You did very well, pretty. Now I’m going to clean you up. Don’t move.”

I left to retrieve a warm washcloth. The gentlemen tidied up with tissues. Jacob stood watching. He started to remove the condom still on his cock.

I looked up from washing Leah. “Hey, why don’t you fuck her, very gently? That would be nice.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, let’s treat her sweetly. She’s worked very hard.”

Jacob nodded and slowly entered her. Leah moaned softly, as if she now felt him for the first time.

Leah’s belly glistened with the sheen of emulsified semen. The gentlemen each took a moment to thank Leah.

She was alert now, eyes wide open. “Well, thank you, guys. That was really nice.”

“’Nice’ doesn’t begin to describe it,” Eric marveled. “You are smoking.”

“Thanks.” Leah smiled and turned her attention to Jacob. “I especially like this one.”

“Me too.” I put my arm on Jacob’s waist and kissed his neck. “You two take care; I’m going to show out the fellows.” I grabbed my clothes and went to join the men in the living room.

When I returned to the bedroom, Leah and Jacob were stretched out on the bed. They laughed as they talked.

I took off my shirt. “Did you notice the time? We broke the forty-five minute mark, but just barely.”

Jacob looked at the clock. “Are you serious? That wasn’t even an hour, huh?”

“Like clockwork,” Leah nodded.

“Yeah, like clockwork.” I pulled off my shorts. “So what do you think? You two want to break and have drinks, or should we just fuck some more?”

Leah looked to Jacob, then back to me. “Can’t you just make the decisions?”

“Yeah, whatever you want,” Jacob shrugged.

I smiled.

(Originally published at One Life, Take Two on August 22, 2007.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night:

I’m a child in a gang of feral children. We’re running around inside an old Art Deco department store after hours. There’s a show going on in an attached theater; I think that’s where the adults are situated. With them preoccupied, we have the run of the place, but only so long as they aren’t aware. 

I find a Christmas display area where many children are playing and running. I’m one of the bigger kids. I pick up small kids to get a look at the decorations and toys. Soon, there’s a band of small kids following me to explore whatever I find. I take pictures with my phone. None of the kids will stay still for photos, but I don’t mind: I’m only interested in details of the decorations, particularly miniatures. It’s hard to get a photo. I’m very intent. 

Everything is sticky as if it’s covered in flowing foam or whipped cream. I have to wipe the goo from my hands and face, and remove it from my camera and objects. The kids with me are also covered in the foam. I find a tiny place, inside the bough of a tree, where a tiny house is flooded. I brush away the foam to take a photo inside its window. 

I herd my group to showers to clean up. We all remove our clothes to step into water. There are many showers in several connected areas with no doors. Near the showers are cots. As I shower, I look around for other big kids like me, while keeping track of the smaller kids in my group. I see there are other groups like ours, with a big kid or two shepherding. 

In the next shower, I see a tall girl with long limbs, her body shaped like Gumby’s. A couple of big boys are flirting with her. I wonder if they’re neglecting their groups and feel hypervigilant. The girl asks one of the boys to put his penis in her, “but only the Italian part,” she requests. “I want to see if I can tell the difference.” They try and fail. I’m amused by their clumsiness though aroused by the dumb idea of fucking for that reason.   

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Emily Dickinson

Visiting the home of Emily Dickinson. Amherst, Massachusetts. April 14, 2018.

At the conclusion of an hour-long tour, the guide asked if anyone had any last questions. 
A young woman asked, "Wasn't Emily Dickinson a lesbian?" The tour went well over time. 

Saturday, April 07, 2018


Under Mapplethorpe's eyes. Gladstone Gallery, New York, New York. 
April 7, 2018.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

A Rather Haunted Life

Shirley Jackson is best known for writing “The Lottery,” a short story published in The New Yorker in 1948. It would become one of the century's best-known short stories, while its author otherwise slipped into relative literary obscurity.

Ruth Franklin’s A Rather Haunted Life is a salutary corrective to her legacy, returning her to the canon of critically and commercially successful mid-century writers. She’s admired for her gothic, banal horror—Stephen King counts among her admirers—and forgotten for her best-selling humorous memoirs of parenting, which prefigured the likes of Erma Bombeck. Her dual career in horror and housekeeping contributed to her decline; she resisted easy pigeonholing.

I had only read “The Lottery,” and that back in high school. I’ve ordered her Modern Library collection from my local library to read what I missed. My own writing in smut and parenting leads me to admire her duality. Reading her life is inspiring and devastating, as she balances literary society with a home life of four children and a self-centered husband and the pressures of a domineering mother, along with depression, poor health and alcoholism.

If you haven’t read “The Lottery,” you can start by hearing her read it for Folkways in 1960, along with her story “Daemon Lover.” She was agoraphobic by this time, so her son made the recording at home.

Listen closely and you can hear the ice popping in her bourbon. 

Read the full text of “The Lottery.”

Monday, March 26, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night. 

A disused porch is reduced to a passage from the kitchen at the rear of the house to the yard; we rarely play there any more. There’s not much of the house that I’ve ever known, just the kitchen, though I know it well. My brother G is excited for a party at the house tonight. The party is soon and I’m anxious. I can see that no preparations have been made, and the house is fragile and worn, barely standing.  People shouldn’t come here. They should go elsewhere.

The kitchen is clean and presentable. I stand in its door looking at the mess on the porch. For the party, we can just close the door, but that would block access to the yard, and it’s better to have people outside the house. I start to move broken furniture and withered plants to open a path. The junk can be pushed aside so no one thinks to bother it or explore beyond it.

I find a ball of flowers on a strand. It occurs to me that I can unravel the ball and drape the strand over the junk, making it look deliberate, like a festive ruin. My mom is at the kitchen door, saying this is right, that’s how it used to be done. I’m angry and bothered. Let’s not think this can be fixed, I think, only made a temporary passage. It’s still a bad idea that people are coming.

My brother pushes into the porch, making his way to a sink in a corner near the yard, disrupting piles as he does so. He wants to wash up and brush his teeth. He’s oblivious to disrupting my tasks. I’m annoyed but keep it to myself. I’ll wait until he’s done to resume. He’s using a complicated electric toothbrush that is filthy, its parts stored on a plywood shelf more suited to a garden shed. He’s talking over his shoulder, excited about the party.

In the corner, I see a small toilet with water in a disgusting bowl. The seat is partially covered by a glass shelf holding a withered plant. I think that I could cover the shelf with more junk so no one sees the filth or tries to use the toilet, but I find myself moving the pot to clean the shelf and the toilet bowl. It’s not useful but at least it doesn’t look repulsive. My brother lifts a foot into the bowl and flushes, repeating to wash both feet. Now I think I should removed the glass shelf so those who use it won’t be injured. Someone standing could piss into the small space left by the shelf, but no seated person could use it. A woman, oblivious to me, sits on the shelf and uses her fingers to direct her stream into the space. I think, well, if that’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me.

My brother and the woman leave. I clean up after them, resenting the extra work. A friend of my mom’s sees me cleaning the parts of my brother’s toothbrush and offers to give me a new one. I resent her intrusion but reply politely that I don’t need a new one, I’m only cleaning an old one. She replies that I need one as well. I take it, thanking her, and return to my task. She suggests I try out her gift. I begrudgingly examine it before admitting that I don’t understand the attachments. She shows me how it’s used and, I admit, it’s nice to use. Only now I need to clean the shelf, which I had intended to skip. I try to group the items I find: toothbrush components, shoeshine kit, sewing items.

People wander into the porch as I clean. A large man in black pants and a cheap white shirt looks around. I know he is providing security for the party and I feel love for him; still, I want him to move on. Hearing a noise in the yard, he pulls out a handgun, pointing it into the darkness. I’m annoyed that his will keep him on the porch. The noise is revealed to be children playing in a field beyond the yard. The man puts away his gun.

I move to the next corner, crowded with untended plants. Two kids in fairy costumes join me. I move them away from fragile, dry plants, offering them a narrative detour in their play, indicating another area where they can explore. (This is the only interaction I initiate in the dream.) I notice a small sprig and move away some weeds to plant it. Now I’m weeding the pots and sweeping up around them.

I remember the strand of flowers, still a ball attached to the parts I’ve already draped. I return to lifting it over potted trees. The lower leaves are just about my head; above are spindly dead branches. Mom returns to the door behind me with friends. They encourage me to lift the strands over the dead branches, reminding me that this is how it used to be done. I feel another surge of anger. I can’t make this how it was or better it, I can only make it more passable. Still, I stretch to raise the stands higher and see that it does look nice.   

The kids are playing in the yard. I can hear guests talking and laughing in the kitchen behind me. I’m alone surveying the porch. I’ve tidied it completely. Nothing new or fancy, just clean, lived in, cared for. My brother joins me, happy. He tells me I’ve done a good job, adding he’d never before noticed that the floor slanted. Of course not, I think: no one had ever bothered with upkeep so no one has seen this space in our lifetimes. There’s nothing I can do about the sloping floor, I think, as though to a rebuke. Anyway, I like the way it sags. As my satisfaction in the completed tasks gives way once more to anger, I decide to wake up, though I’ll miss the party. 

Waking, I remain in bed, eyes closed, revisiting the dream, holding the anger and then letting it go. I reflect on these words: let go of the things people take from you.  

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives, New York, New York. Outside the Dakota, 
where John Lennon was gunned down. March 24, 2018. 

Friday, March 16, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night.

I’ve acquired an antique glass terrarium of sorts, octagonal with multi-faceted panes, about the size of a large platter. At some point it was fitted as a diorama, with dinosaurs fixed in one corner and, opposite, suspended from the top, two figures and a small dog. I understand the narrative to be that the dinosaurs were going to attack but these godlike anime figures appeared inverted from the sky and stopped them; they all remained forever frozen in a standoff. I consider donating the terrarium to the museum that employs me, but I wonder if anyone will appreciate it as I do.

Walking through the museum, I find a new wing has incorporated the terrarium, now enlarged to a courtyard. This seems sudden and unwise; when was this decision made? Others have also wandered into this space, which isn’t cleaned or equipped for visitors. The dinosaurs are in the far end, the inverted figures overhead, still locked in their standoff. I notice an ice cream parlor to the right. I’m worried that this indicates more rushed decisions. Entering the parlor, I see that the tables are occupied by mannequins as a life-sized diorama. This puts my mind more at ease.

A figure darts through the parlor. I follow him upstairs into a hidden area. I lose track of him and wander early twentieth century period rooms that seem lived in, with scattered clothes and unmade beds. I notice a young man in a loft bed. He’s nude, blonde and angelic. I’m very aroused by him. He has an erection. I invite him to come from the loft to join me. We begin to kiss. He pulls back, angrily, to say he’s waiting for his boyfriend. We return to kissing. He recoils again and repeats that he’s waiting for his boyfriend. I pull back and suggest that he return to his loft to wait, which he does.

In another room, I encounter two women waking in beds. One is dressing for her job as an usher. The other is buried in bedclothes. She stretches free; I see she’s nude, with long red hair. Her roommate chides her to hurry or they’ll be late. The nude woman complains that she’s “too itchy from desire” as she wriggles uncomfortably. I offer to rub her body. She thanks me. As I do so, I cup her genitals, rubbing gently. She responds pushing against my hand and orgasms. She thanks me and vanishes back into the covers. I realized as I touched her that she was waxy. I now know these people are Edwardian automatons. I feel protective of them. I don’t want them to be bothered. I also realize they are programmed to behave in these ways: the boy in the loft waits, the roommate readies for work, the redhead needs to get off.

I come across a child’s birthday party. I know the children are also automatons. A one-man band has arrived to entertain them. I can see that he’s human, like me, so I’m concerned that he’ll disrupt things. I stay for a moment. When I see that he’s taking care of the children, I move on. I come across a meeting of concerned citizens discussing life now that they are attached to the museum. I’m aware that their concern is also programmed and superficial, but determine that while pointless, it is of no harm.

An interloper runs through the space. I follow chasing him. He dives under a bed and tries to vanish under the covers. I pull him back. One arm and part of his head had vanished into a hidden well. When I retrieved him, those body parts were missing. I realize he won’t be whole unless I allow him to escape. As he does, I see that he’s become an animated figure descending a beanstalk. I capture the well and bring it outside with the intention of preserving it as a possible escape route for the automatons.

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night.

I’m attending a reception for a graduate seminar on Roman Polanski. I’m with Polish cinema students in a casual backyard setting, setting up a long table and chairs as more attendees arrive. I’m nude. I don’t belong to the group and didn’t attend the seminar, but I’m allowed here. I have a leather-bound legal pad, a pen and my phone, which are nearly identical to those belonging to the students. Their materials are piled around the lawn as people free their hands to help. I hold my materials as I want to take notes on the students’ thoughts so I can learn from the seminar I missed.

A student engages me in sharing his thoughts. I write them on the leather cover of my notebook, thinking to save paper for later. His thoughts are well formed and expressed, though he’s distracted by attaching an umbrella to the table. His colleagues suggest he give up as it’s not needed, as I wait to hear more opinions. Finally, as the group settles down, I try to keep the conversation focused on Polanski, without interfering in their more relaxed camaraderie. I’m impressed by what they say when they return to the topic. I note these observations: “Who knew the old man would have thirty more films in him after the scandal?” “He’s more respected in academia than commercially.”

The yard is surrounded by a wooden fence covered in vines. It sits behind a mid-century modern house, which I’m told is owned by Polanski and run as a center for studying his work. The reception will move indoors and I’m invited along. However, I feel awkward about my nudity and misplace my phone. Many of the students have brought chargers and backpacks. I’m impressed by their forethought though I’m glad for my decision to attend nude. It’s getting dark and I wonder how I’ll return to my hotel barefoot, nude and without money. I worry about finding my phone. Then, I woke myself and realized this was a dream. I didn’t need to find my phone. Relieved, I closed my eyes and returned to the dream.

The reception is moving indoors. I find a large shirt of mine and put in on, struggling with the buttons. I demurely turn my back on the others as I dress. I go inside and look around. The d├ęcor is very swinging seventies with a sunken living room, study area and hot tub. I want to explore but I’m invited into the hot tub. Others are nude so I take off my shirt and join them. An older woman who knows the place addresses those of us in the tub. We’re approached by a ghostly cat moving as it sits in a plastic canister. The woman tells us this is just a cat, nothing unusual. I’m intrigued by the creature.

It’s time to go. Someone offers to call me a cab. I agree, though aware that I have no money. I really don’t know where I am. I’m taken to a dispatch office, where I’m offered a choice of champagne or coffee. I take the former from a fountain. My nudity seems more unusual in the office, though the dispatch agent is kind and solicitous. I wonder if I should sneak off and try to find my way to the hotel. Or maybe I can go to my room once we arrive to retrieve the fare. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night.

I’m aware that I need to have a dream. I think I can fake it with materials I have in my car, including a brochure for a nudist camp. I can use it to create a fictional person. I’ll say I had a dream about him, but he refused to do anything. He’ll be this inactive person, doing nothing. I imagine he’ll have dark curly hair and be about forty years old. But first, I need to move my car, where I can retrieve the brochure.

There’s a young man in the back seat of my car. I greet him and then ignore him as I go about searching for the brochure. I don’t want him to know I’m going to fake a dream. My car is in a back alley behind a service station. It would be easier to leave it there but it needs to be moved. I walk around, looking for a parking space. I come across a photo booth store where kids get videos made. I watch for a while as kids make goofy faces; I’m watching on a monitor outside.

I enter an area with old couches and benches. A few men are talking about a woman they know in common. She’s associated with the video store. As they talk, I realize she’s a sex worker. They’re enthralled by her and begin to try interesting me. I excuse myself by saying I need to move my car. I’m also aware of needing to fake a dream. I now have the brochure in my hand.

I don’t find a parking space as I walk. I decide to get the car and take my chances. The car is a Chevette I drove in high school. The young man is no longer in the car. I drive around a bend into a suburban area. I arrive at my childhood home and park in front. I’m in a buoyant mood, singing Elvis Costello “Accidents Will Happen.” I encounter a woman who is also singing.

I enter the house. There are many people and I belong here. There are several nude teenage girls. I kiss them each hello. The house is a kind of brothel where we’re all sex workers. It feels very relaxed.

Sunday, February 11, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night.

There are two islands at the intersection of the East and Harlem rivers. One is small with a pleasant house and a few acres. The other is larger, with a small community. I recognize the area as a map, from above, before disembarking on the second island. There is a buzz of activity as locals visit shops. Commerce is based on a kind of merit system in which castes are established on something like IQ: the more points you have, the more you can acquire. In fact, to a certain level, your points are kept on an automatic tab. You don’t have to make transactions.

I don’t know my place. I’m with people shopping, but I refrain, anxious about being found out. Eventually, it comes to light that I’m in the dark. A friend takes me to get my placement assessed in a contest akin to a scholars bowl. It turns out that I score high. My value is set and I’m granted an additional four hundred dollars. It’s joked that I’ll never need the cash, as I could rely entirely on my tab. I’m relieved. Not feeling proud or accomplished, just glad that I fit in.

I become aware that others do not fare well in this economy. I begin to associate with barefooted children, then adults. Soon I’m mingling with this group, which is unaware of my caste status and thus unimpressed with any attributes other than myself. A thin bald man in the group becomes sexually aggressive toward me. His intensity is out of sorts in the group. I don’t want his attention. I really just want to fit in.

I travel to London as a celebrity. A guide leads me to stores, as I am known as a shopper. She guides me to a mall set up in an abandoned tube tunnel. I’m impressed and want to know its history. Was it used as a shelter in the war? When was it built? She doesn’t know this information, just the products in the current shops. I see a young black woman I recognize from the island society. She’s with a companion within a group. I know them to be members of a celebrated karate group, though they are here paired with others. They’re excited. I talk with my guide about how silly it is that we’re all celebrities for these minor things.