Boys Kissing Boys

boys kissing boys

I kiss guys.

No I’m not gay (I’m not even bisexual anymore). And no it’s not sexual. I just greet other men with kisses. Oh, it’s not every man I meet – only close friends that know me. The ones who know me seem not to mind. The ones that did mind at first are fine with it now and often kiss me back. No, not on the lips. I reserve those for my wife and grandmother.

boys kissing boys

I picked it up from hanging out with Arabs my summer as a college freshman. In Arabic (and many other honor-shame) cultures, men greet men with kisses. In Lebanon, it’s three on alternating cheeks: right, left, right. Don’t mix up the order  or you might end up making out with some old Lebanese doctor. In parts of Saudi, they alternate kisses on the tips of their noses. Bosnians and some Serbians do two kisses. I think Greeks do the same, or perhaps I’m conjuring up a scene (real or imagined) from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It’s an intimate greeting between close friends. Continue reading Boys Kissing Boys

The Gift of the Magi by O’Henry

In keeping with my tradition here of reading the Best Christmas stories every year, today we’re reading The Gift of the Magi by O’Henry. It’s a wonderful tale about sacrifice and generosity in this season of cold and poverty:

If you’d like to hear more of my Christmas readings of the best Christmas stories, click here.

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Journalists: We Seldom Know WHY Something is the Case

It drives me insane when an author titles an article Why something is the case when they really mean “How” something came to be or “What” we’ve decided to call it.
 

labels + instructions ≠ explanations

 
To expound: labeling a thing for your readers or offering them DIY instructions for making or using said thing neither serves as a metaphysical catalogue of said thing’s ontology nor a coherent outline of its teleological cause(s). I’m reminded of Spanish:
 
¿Por Que?
 
To what end?
 
Or:
 
Why?
Example title:

Chlorophyl: Why Leaves Are Green

The word “Chlorophyl” literally means “green leaf.” Rendered literally, the title reads:

Green Leaf: Why Leaves Are Green

It’s nonsense.

Please, professional writers, know exactly what you want to say and then say exactly that. And if you don’t and can’t and aren’t there yet, that’s perfectly fine — modesty and humility is a beautiful thing. You’ll grow. I’m growing. We’re all growing here, I’m not throwing any stones at common ignorance.
 
But IF that’s you, then for all that is good and holy at least have the common decency for us all and the courage for yourself to admit that you have NO IDEA •why• something is the case. Very, very few of us do.
 
Said simpler, there’s a big difference between common ignorance and willful ignorance. The former remains in short supply these days and the latter abounds.

Santagonistic : Word of the Day

san·tag·o·nistic

/sanˈtaɡənəstik/
adjective
noun: santagonist; plural noun: santagonists
  1. a person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something obsessed with Christmas consumerism; an adversary to Christmas externals, though not necessarily the Christmas spirit per se.
    Example: “Sufjan Steven’s song Christmas Unicorn is santagonistic to holiday shoppers and Hallmark.”
    antonyms: ally, brotagonist
    • BIOCHEMISTRY
      a substance that interferes with or inhibits the physiological action of a Christmas consumer.
    • ANATOMY
      a muscle whose action counteracts that of another muscle set apart for Christmas consumption.
Origin
(thanks mark for the idea).

Six to Eight Black Men by David Sedaris

In keeping with our tradition here of the Best Christmas Stories, I’m reading Six to Eight Black Men by David Sedaris. I have Andy Nash to thank for showing me this one. It’s a story about how the Dutch dress up in blackface to accompany Santa Claus — and why we too might have such offensive and backwards traditions in our own country:

If you want to see the rest of the Christmas stories, click here.

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New York Dictionary : Hand-Held

What New Yorkers think of when they hear “hand-held” :

Mother of Exiles

Eight-hundred. Their open mouths
Similarly sing songs we all know
Though know not: their tongues — they show
No face cards. Nimble, demure, go ghosts
Of the Mind of God, mad sod made sad,
Triangle eyelids, squares and trundle sides,
But they’re still eyes, you know. Stopping together
They see as one. Smell as one though
Misshapen besides, share the same tastes,
Touching race to race. Liberty Regal —
My crimes are crude forms of your name!
Languages languish, lampposts made fenceposts,
Made into metal pikes masked by barbs
And whatever the shipyard itemizes
For cordoning cows. Killing clouds and
Roosting with pigeons unrich and sundry,
Your overture oxidized, olive and sickened
Remembering tyrant, Napoleon moneyed
Whose citizens ceded céleste to us
In the form of a figure with flair for the gracious
His Frenchmen entrusted freedom to U.S.
As a strike at his reign, as a slap on his chin.
And the chauvanists of Chauvin? They chaffed cause they ruled.

Perhaps it is time we handed the torch
To some budding statehood of freedom?
To places now warming, their playboys deserted
To United States, knighted for evils
Done in her name. Dead are the ways
Hospitable Yanks hosted each other
In the wake of the voyage.  We opened borders
At the start so we’d found this state of migrant
Pilgrims who had dreams. Pilfered dreams
Of mixed-race babies and the peace they imply.
We did it at the start. Will we do it again?
Can we become a nation on pilgrimage
And leave our little bit of land?


:: 58 poems written at 29 years ::

This year, for the 58 @ 29, I plan to focus on alliterative meter such as in the guantanamera poem above. It’s the meter used by Middle English and Old English poets as well as Latin and Greek poets. Basically all epic poets use some form of alliterative meter and it hasn’t been used in English for a thousand years. I will be pulling from the rules offered in Lewis’ article on The Alliterative Meter:

In the general reaction which has set in against the long reign of foreign, syllabic meters in English, it is a little remarkable that few have yet suggested a return to our own ancient system, the alliterative line…. Alliteration is no more the whole secret of this verse than rhyme is the whole secret of syllabic verse. It has, in addition, a metrical structure, which could stand alone, and which would then be to this system as blank verse is the syllabic….

A few successful specimens of alliterative meter would be an excellent answer to the type of critic (by no means extinct) who accuses the moderns of choosing vers libre because they are not men enough for meter. For if syllabic verse is like carving in wood and verse libre like working with a brush, alliterative meter is like carving in granite.

“Vers Libre” for those who don’t know is Latin for “free verse.” Lewis has, ultimately, offered for my poetry just the kind of reaction I prefer in all of my life: a reaction that is, deep down, orthodoxy. A reaction to dead leaves as radical as the radish itself: radical because it is the living root of the thing.


lancelot tobias mearcstapa schaubert monogram

cover image by Roger W

Brooklyn Author, Screenwriter, and Producer

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