Archive for the Self-Truth Category

… the dark at the top of the stairs.

Posted in Self-Truth on August 2, 2008 by moderngatsby

Somewhere inside my evolution karmically I seek retribution. Looking for love in physical beauty, desire is the drug of the bourgeoisie.

When asked a few nights ago, as we sat outside on a tepid winter’s evening, what my simplest pleasure in life was, I was immediately drawn to a weekend I had spent many years ago with the Squirrel at a log cabin in Sabie. Perhaps it was the second bottle of Bordeaux shared between us, or the almost-orgasmic succulence of the pheasant prepared just for this dinner but the synapses that had become clogged with cob-webs where fired up and all the sensations returned vividly.

And now I try to intellectualize like a glimmer of good in a bad man’s eyes. I am consumed by the flesh haunting me I know temptation taunts the empty.

Autumn, my favourite season holds such promise and sadness. Where everything takes on a new meaning from the over ripe fruit that sits on the kitchen counter sexually pungent and soft to the touch – to the oxtail simmering like lava in the heirloom soup pot waiting for a cabal of friends or family to devour it completely. The early morning smells challenge the consciousness to find somewhere – or someone to snuggle up against to keep warm as the dawn breaks the mantle of night.

So pour yourself over me. Until there’s nothing left to see, yeah yeah. Because I like the way you move in the dark. I like the tension, the tension and the spark.

It was here, where manipulation and adoration meet at dusk that I learnt that the simple pleasures that you’re unaware even exist, can be unmasked in the burning embers of a fire as darkness sets in all around you. How the finger tips can tease the skin with sensual delights but the hands that they belong to are hard to the touch as it squeezes the life from your beating heart. The fine line between pleasure and pain is only marked by the submission of your soul, as his sex dominates you and teases you and takes control of the senses.

The decadence of giving into desire creates such entropy within. Looking for love in spiritual faces blind to the art of fabrication. I’m like a baby sucking mama’s milk want to drink my fill and then some.

There I lay, my wrists gently bound with a corded knot of a curtain tie-back, my arms stretched over my head. The mind imagining the dying fire a few feet away, but with the slip of silk covering my eyes, the blindness of a memory deceives reality. Exposed in my nakedness, I savoured the touch of my skin against a faux-fur throw casually thrown on the floor. But there I lay, like a rag-doll forgotten by a petulant child, waiting for someone to come past.

Leave me alone I always thought I was better than this but temptation tempts the temptee. Pour yourself over me. Until there’s nothing left to see, yeah yeah.

Expectantly every sound heard feeds the sexual tension building inside. The crackling of the wood in the grate flares against the skin and you breathe deeply in. Unsure if the peaty smell rising up into your nostril is the damp outside, or the slickness of him nearby as he strokes a pulsating muscle that will fill you up tonight with a consuming passion but also someday with an equal emptiness. His body, hotter than the embers in the grate, stands over you. After what seems an eternity of waiting you give in and let him engulf you.

Oh, because I like the way you move in the dark. And I like the tension, the tension and the spark, oh. Because I like the way you move in the dark, oh.

Inch by inch, like a general taking ground in a battle, he annexes my body to his own pleasure. Intuitive experience is his map that guides him closer towards his final conquest. That secret pleasure in tasting the salty sweat as it dripped from his forehead onto my cheek like a seraph’s tear when the demon enters, that sharp, but exquisite pain at first transforms everything and binds me to his soul forever. With full carnal knowledge, I opened myself up willingly and let him cum within.

You know I like the tension, the tension and the spark, oh. This physicality. Shifting me chemically. Such power over me. It’s just desire. I know it’s treachery (shifting me chemically).

Cushioned by his muscled bicep, you head lays heavy in a cacophony of emotions, as your body is held against his in an iron-glad grip. Like time, his hardness has slipped away from your warm, moist cavity and you feel the oily slickness of his seed somewhere near the small of your back. Rhythmically his chest rises up and down as he moves away from your fantasies to dreams within his pawned soul. In moments such as this, with the darkness without you seldom see it within.

I know it’s just skin deep (such power over me). I know I should resist. I’m just too tired. Too tired. There’s just one thing missing. One thing missing here is: Love. But, oh I like the way you move in the dark.

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… what’s the difference between cynical and cyanide?

Posted in Self-Truth on June 6, 2008 by moderngatsby

As I heard the barbs flying from my mouth, I felt like I was standing on the curb watching an accident happening in slow-motion: even with the blood and gore and tragedy you couldn’t tear yourself away from the spectacle. I guess it was my fault entirely as against my better judgement I had agreed to go to a drinks/house warming party for distant mutual friends of the Bradley Cooper-esq guy and I. I have to give Facebook credit as a wonderful research tool that not only tells you the degrees of separation of the party guests, but also with whom you were once inseparable with.

 

Typically of any newly renovated house in Parkhurst there is neither sufficient parking nor taste for a running block. Having envied this particular couple many years ago for what seemed the perfect relationship the reality learnt through infidelity had taught me theirs was a financial arrangement more convenient than conviction. And since my last flirtation with dating had ended because of a similar dependence between him and his ex over a guest house in Melville, a tough two weeks boiled to the surface and the scales on my back rattled portentously.

 

To take the edge off, the Bradley Cooper-esq guy in divine foresight had made reservations at a certain pale-pink hotel perched on the Westcliff ridge of Jo’burg for post-sundowners and a light snack. As always the impeccable service and sophisticated company worked its magic. At that moment I was overwhelmed with the desire to take the man by the hand, book into my favourite suite and spend the rest of the evening rediscovering every inch of his muscled body again. And then, the spell was broken with the ringing of his phone.

 

Three vodka-martinis later, the two hours had come to seem like an eternity, when the one person that I had irrevocably given my heart to walked over and introduced me to the new owner of his. When metaphors collide and you are forced not only to look down at someone both literally and figuratively, the million questions asked in the darkness of the midnight hour when you are so emotionally raw, escape you. For a brief instant my throat felt like it was on fire and before I realised it the words that I had swallowed to keep the peace had become vomit rising up.

 

With only seconds to spare I reached the bathroom. Wracked with consuming nausea, the gut-wrenching heaves of vomiting became my reality and the expensive bespoke suit, measurable weight loss over the past few weeks and professional success meant nothing. Embarrassment more than anything kept me from going back to the party. I could have made a joke of it, parlayed an excuse or just ignored it but something gnawed at the back of my mind. A fear so sobering that it could stun a herd of oxen in their tracks. Would I ever find someone to share my life with or would I have to someday just fake it?

 

While women, and some gay men, are certainly no strangers to faking it they’ve faked their hair colour, cup size and hell they’ve even faked fur I couldn’t help but wonder has fear of being alone suddenly raised the bar on faking? Are we faking more than just orgasms? Are we faking entire relationships? As I sat there thinking about the man that I had once adored and his little pot-bellied prematurely-bald and shallow-as-a-puddle of-spit boyfriend, I couldn’t help but wonder: is it better to ‘fake it’ than be alone?

 

The Bradley Cooper-esq guy totally understood my wanting to leave. As we said our goodbyes and headed out the front door into a surprisingly warm evening the last thing I wanted to do was go home. As I manoeuvred my MINI out of the impossibly tight parking and pointed it in the general direction of Rosebank, he said the most puzzling thing to me. ‘… is he the reason you don’t trust me?’ his deep, mellow voice spoke in the darkness. I wanted to answer yes but the truth is that I didn’t trust myself very much either.

 

It’s easy to blame other people for your own insecurities. It’s even easier when you can focus them all onto a face of someone you wanted to believe loved you even though the voice in your head told you not to.  And although the promise of love sits just out of reach at the moment, not every building remembers the names of lovers past. The lights may go out the same and the only difference is the lovers calling out different names but everyone has a lover after him. You just don’t think about those you left behind as you moved on to another happiness with someone else.

 

I’m getting better at being alone. I’m still battling the feelings of loneliness though.

… take back your singing in the rain.

Posted in Self-Truth on April 21, 2008 by moderngatsby

 As I scrubbed the city off my face, and body in a warm shower, the memories from the afternoon flashed back, and I felt hot with shame. There comes a time in one’s life where you have to admit that sometimes you have no self-control. I had made a promise as I drove past the place on my way to lectures that morning that I would rather spend the admittance fee on coffee and a magazine, instead of trawling darkened rooms where dirty deeds cum dirt cheep. Unfortunately, the need for sex was greater than my need for coffee and I found myself handing over a crisp R200 note to the cashier, and heading into the dark. (Pun intended!)

 

I had come to regret the decision taken a few weeks back when, in a moment of sanctimony, I decided to focus on work rather than me. Instead with my libido racing, and opportunities abounding everywhere, I spluttered and stalled like a driver trying to pull-off in third gear. I think that with the last few weeks where my goals have become clearer to me – the one thing I had not thought about – was a relationship. A real relationship and not one where I set myself up to fail before I even cross the finish line. In choosing emotionally, or physically, unavailable men the reality is that I would be entertained for a few weeks but eventually it would end.

 

Later that night as I curled up with a good book and the smell of freshly laundered linen I got to thinking about men and relationships. Or more to the point how some gay men feel that other gay men disappoint them in relationships. Then a radical, almost earth shattering thought popped into my head, what if everything isn’t their fault? At a certain age and after a certain number of relationships, if it still isn’t working and the exes seem to be moving on and we don’t, perhaps the problem isn’t the last boyfriend, or the one before him or even the one before him. Could it be that the problem isn’t them and that horror of horror’s, is it us?

 

As I had been away for most of the day, I booted up my computer and trying to forget I found myself scrolling through my unread emails. Immediately one stood out from the hundred-or-so that were there. For a second my heart beat a little faster than it should have. I didn’t mean for it to, but it did, and in double clicking to open the email, I hoped the window on a second chance had opened too. There they were – the first words since his last few that afternoon in the kitchen when everything fell apart. While never haunted by him, in ways that others have, there have been consuming dreams that seemed real and reminded me of him.

 

Being big enough to admit your mistakes is one thing, doing something about it another thing altogether. I had faced my big mistake head-on and it worked out better than expected. But trapped in a cycle of change but getting nowhere, I decided to take time out and distract myself a little and mix things up. Believing in a reword system I relished the rolling blackouts and took the opportunity to illuminate my study, my bedroom and bath with a hundred candles. There is nothing like listening to poetry on your iPod, a glass of excellent red wine, and a slab of Sprüngli to get you to bed. All in candlelight.

 

But as I drifted off to sleep I remembered that often, after a break-up, I like to kid myself into believing that they, or I, have done the other a favour. In ‘releasing’ ourselves from the relationship we have given each other the opportunity to find who we’re really meant to be with. But lately I’ve come to think that perhaps it’s true. We all make mistakes as we go along but hopefully learn from them too. Knowing the next time will be better. After all someone like you is looking for someone like me to spend nights of passionate lovemaking, sprinkled with a little poetry, lots of chocolate and a few bottles of wine to smooth things out a little.

 

We my not have forever, but we certainly would have one hellava time getting there.

… hello darkness, my old friend.

Posted in Self-Truth with tags , on March 18, 2008 by moderngatsby

I had just gotten over the fact that I would neither see – or hear – from him this weekend when my phone beeped telling me there was a message waiting. There they were: another variation on the words I’d heard all week. “Hey sexy sorry I have been so distant had lots to sort out and now to bed. Sleep tight.” And the weekend of trying to forget the angst bubbled again like cheap champagne and he was all I could think about. But instead of obsessing like I had the week before I accepted that I was lower down on his list of priorities that I might like to be and carried on downloading music.

Fast forward a week later and I found myself at the gates to his complex with the large chicken-tikka pizza, a bottle of favourite white wine and a bag full of goodies that he asked me to pick up for our date. The only thing missing from this party was the host. Intuitively the feeling started in my stomach the moment I tried to call him on his mobile phone and it was off. 30mins later when it still wasn’t on I knew that he wasn’t going to show up to his own house. I had put myself so far out there on the ledge that when I looked around I was alone. He called with an excuse but it was the last I wanted to hear.

Desperate not to be alone I phoned my fuck-buddy and asked if I could come over. Arriving at his place with a cold pizza, flaming temper and a wounded ego we sat watching Queer as Folk munching away. Somewhere between our last fuck-fest and tonight he had developed morals and said he wouldn’t fuck me since I was in ‘relationship’. Rejected by the 2nd man that night I wondered off to the spare room at the first sign of drooping eyelids and tried to fall asleep surrounded by unfamiliar noises and linen. Barely sleeping, I woke up in the early hours with thoughts of my bête noir.

As it was still dark and the middle of the night and desperate for a distraction I read every magazine in the room, including FHM (the Jerry Springer of magazines) only to find a copy of Spud to peak my interest. For some reason I had always avoided this novel but now as I started smack bang in the middle of the story line it seemed interesting. In fact it was damn funny and the hours flew past and before I knew it dawn had broken, my fuck-buddy had overslept for a meeting, and I had almost forgotten being stood up the night before.

After a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs, another episode of Queer as Folk and a cold cup of coffee later I left for home. The feeling of loneliness had passed and I was enthusiastically preparing myself for the comfort of my own bed, starting the novel from page 1 and snoozing the afternoon away in the rain that had come overnight and threatened to stay the week. There is no describing the smell of the country after the rain. I realised that even though it’s a pain in the arse living so far away from my old life there is no reason why my new life can’t be a happy coexistence of the two.

Happily devouring the 300-odd pages of the novel it left me feeling a little overindulgent and remorseful. If only I had paced myself the brilliance of the novel could have lasted the rest of the weekend. It could have seen me through a bleak and cold Sunday and into the start of a new week. Instead of atonement I bought the sequel to read as well. I’m most likely going to hell for being a fag anyway so what’s adding another deadly sin to the list of greed, ego, envy, lust with gluttony? I did one disturbing thing though: I’m using a photo of the Squirrel as a bookmark. He’s an alumnus of Michaelhouse after all and helps put a face to the character. Okay it’s a 36yr old face on a 15yr old boy but that’s only clouding the argument with facts and I will not have it!

So here I am: 2nd week into my new job and facing a litany of advertisers without contracts to cover the current edition, the promise of a new relationship in tatters because I refused to lower my standards even though I lowered my pants, a prediction of rain throughout the week along with as yet to be scheduled power-cuts, and a tiny voice in the back of my head telling me to prove something to someone somewhere. I think it’s a great start in the run up to the Easter weekend. But I’m learning and making the mistakes as I go along. That’s all I can do right now … 

… the eagle has landed.

Posted in Self-Truth on February 25, 2008 by moderngatsby

I don’t quite seem to trust myself when I’m around him. Even though the intimacy that we still share as strangers remains, the feeling has taken on something else, and emptiness pervades my soul when I’m not able to hear his thoughts spoken as words in the early hours of the morning as we eat chocolate and sip on flat soft-drinks, the dovetail fit of his arm around my waist as he holds me against him with our fingers interlocked or feeling his heart beating down the hours till the dawn when we must part as shadows that come into the daylight.

Even though the call came which took me to his front door the fading sweet pleasure that he gives me when I’m with him leaves an aftertaste that I’ve become a marionette for his self-gratification. And while a part of me realises perhaps that this is just the turmoil of a rollercoaster heart searching for love – or whatever that lexicon emotion really entails – in the depths of loneliness I am to blame. That anyone will do even if they are a reluctant participant? But when their involvement is continued, at their pleasure, am I wrong to believe that this is perhaps the classic dating game after all?

And as we move to the overtime of my own little game I like to call 24hrs and still no text message back I couldn’t get my friends words out of my head from earlier that afternoon. Most people spend their childhoods playing games. Were they just primers for the games we would play as adults? Were relationships just one big chess game – strategy moves counter moves – all designed to keep your opponent off balance until you win? Was there such a thing as an honest relationship? Or was it true, do you have to play games to make a relationship work?

But as you try and find anything to keep your hands busy so that you don’t dial his number, and your mind distracted long enough so that your thoughts don’t wonder to him, you can accomplish a lot. With my iPod set to my favourite play list of Macy Gray, Lenny Krawitz and Dionne Farris I managed to reorganise the past editions of Vanity Fair, get every copy of Wallpaper* (dating back to 1997) neatly stacked, and alphabetically arranged my CD collection not just by artist name, but album title as well. I almost got him out of my mind until I succumbed to the weakness of a distant promise.

In an offbeat remark sometime between midnight and dawn it seemed a better idea to do a sleep over on the weekend instead of during the week particularly when he had an important interview and I a client meeting in the morning. But I had missed his call earlier that afternoon because I was selfishly getting my dick sucked in an attempt to get my mind off him. I know what he wanted to ask me: he wanted me to come over and spend the night with him so that we could do the Sunday morning thing that he loved doing too. Instead, he switched off his phone and went to bed alone. Waking up to an empty pillow beside him on a Sunday morning. Just like I would.

But as I sit here I don’t want to sound like a bad sportsman but in this moment if I could scream ‘I hate fucking losing out!’ I would. Even if it was just to the owls that hunt in the pastures of my backyard for their information. So I did what any sane person would do … I went out and found someone else to fuck to get him off my mind. It worked well for the first few days and then he called again. But this time there was something missing. Perhaps I had moved on after all and this was just great sex with a great guy.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

.. what’s sex got to do with it?

Posted in Self-doubt, Self-Truth on February 15, 2008 by moderngatsby
I often worry that I’m good enough to fuck … but not good enough to love. Something I read somewhere once written by someone and for some reason it stuck with me. I accepted it but never understood it. Or felt that it applied to me. Like the time I sat down to talk to a homeless lady that sat outside my office building instead of throwing the change from my latte and realised I could learn so much from her. Or that I didn’t have the answers to all the questions I kept asking myself over and over again. But somehow after feeling so great about myself all afternoon, I found myself in another business class lounge waiting for a flight feeling the worst that I had for months.

After an incredible morning landing the dream job a million girls would kill for, I rewarded myself with a drink at my favourite watering hole. Introductions were made, light conversation with just enough flirting in between was had, and before long I imagined tasting the bourbon he was drinking on his tongue and down my throat. As he lived nearby it seemed logical we’d be heading in that direction. And so we did. 5-hrs passed in the blink of the eye and I needed to get to the airport and he needed to get to the gym. We exchanged numbers and made the casual promises you do.

There’s an intimacy that you can only have with a stranger. Where you can do or say or even think the unthinkable but in the bubble of the moment you imagine all sorts of crazy things like the fact that in my last relationship we didn’t have sex because he wanted to have a more meaningful relationship and here I was having sex with an amazing guy wishing that I could turn it into a relationship. So there we have it: a relationship without sex and sex without a relationship. Which one has a better chance? As I read his text message over and over again saying how great it was to meet me I couldn’t help but wonder which came first: the chicken or the sex?

I got two text messages the following day asking to see me again which can be regarded as something right? The abject misery of meeting the perfect man who is already involved or taking a break or whatever and not being able to have him especially when so much of your life is coming together in ways unimaginable. A month ago I was talking about what I wanted from life. Today I am making it happen. I’ll meet him for coffee and a chat and if a friendship comes from it then I’m the winner at the end of the day. He might not make a perfect boyfriend but a fantastic friend is the perfect consolation prize.

 

… 26.11.07 @ 10:00 – Mark Gold Café, Melrose.

Posted in Self-Truth with tags , on November 27, 2007 by moderngatsby

As we narrowly swung back from the edge of the abyss I seemed to overshoot my mark and head back in the opposite but equal direction. Invigorated by a challenge – in this case losing a multi-million rand order and thus a SBU to boot – I put my foot to the pedal and went into overdrive setting almost impossible targets that were eventually achieved. Concessions were eventually made in the end and in giving a little I stand to gain a lot. But the lessons hopefully will not go unnoticed by the Triumvirate and spur on the change that I have been pushing since returning a few months ago.

But what of it? I realised then how fragile the next few months are going to be. Not just professionally but personally as well. One doesn’t exist separate of the other right now. Over a roasted chicken, grilled veggies and grapefruit sorbet dinner, all from his backyard, dinner with the Bradley Cooper-esq guy seemed awkward. Since we have started to open up about our lives to each other as friends often do, I feel the need to hold back a little. Why? Well I’m not sure. I could imagine a million reasons but in truth I want him to see me differently. Not as I am but who I was and therefore who I can be again*.

(*… this pains me to admit but in sounding shallow I hope to sound sincere.)

But why? I have come to realise that universally you can never be loved. If you are then either you’re not being honest with those around you or you’re an aberration of society. In reaching out to some friends that I thought weren’t true it turns out that really they are. One in particular speaks very highly of me which makes me smile because in all the years we’ve known each other there has been no confirmation of his feelings. But what about all the bridges I’ve burnt, relationships that have ended or people that I’ve discarded perhaps too cavalierly in the past?

Between the bankers, paper perfect lovers and squirrels that have come into your life and left with a piece of your shattered heart you wonder, if anything, what they say about you. Why is it that we only seem to believe the negative things people say about us no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. A neighbour, a face, an ex-boyfriend can cancel out everything we thought was once true. Odd but when it comes to life and love why do we believe our worst reviews?

A thing that particular irks me is not returning telephone calls, messages or emails. One such friend managed to get caught in the cross hairs of my last relationship with a guy that was more sewer rat that squirrel. As one of my oldest friends our friendship is, to use an overused word, complicated. Since moving away and not seeing so much of each other the unease of how things were left off does give me a moment’s pause. Did those untruthful truths finally get into his consciousness or did his pussy-whipping wife finally win?

But what about the new friends that I make? Jo’burg is such a small city that it’s inevitable that the people they know are the people I know. What then? How do you rehabilitate yourself in the eyes of new friends particularly when the baggage of the past is now packed with you on the journey going forward? I think that in life the review that you give yourself is the one that matters most. After all no one gets to see you evolve through the years like you do. At best they get a snap shot or perhaps even a preview of the person you’re ultimately maturing into. And that has to be worth something right?

Good or bad we all have our off days but the mark of a true friend is someone who takes the time to find out how your day is going, cook you a wonderful dinner that you enjoy watching an amazing sunset and then as the moon rises above into a crystal clear evening sky distract you from your days hardship with a little story about Castor and Pollux.

After all they started out as friends and now live for eternity together side by side …