Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Rise and Fall and Rise of "Gay"

The Gay Rights Movement, as illustrated by wordy iterations in the literary corpus: 1800-2008.

(Inputs mine. Tool courtesy of Google:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why I Want to Teach 2nd Grade

A cast member of mine, who teaches the second grade, was recently correcting tests backstage.  The subject: ecosystems. Specifically: ponds. Testees were ask to choose an animal that lived in that ecosystem, and had to draw a picture of it, among other tasks.  The below section showcases one of those tasks; namely, to describe the life cycle of the animal selected.

For those of you unable to decipher, here's the most recently uncovered life cycle of the duck, forthcoming in the newest mallard-focused issue of Journal of Animal Science:

1. Eggs
2. Baby Duck
3. Teen Duck
4. Grow Duck
5. Old Duck
6. Dead Duck

Case closed. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Frailty, Thy Name Is Jeremy Shopping At The Rhode Island Antiques Mall

Take I-95 North to Exit 30 in Pawtucket, and immediately arising on  the right is a squat, unassuming building with a trove of treasures untold awaiting inside.  It’s surprising the number of people I encounter who’ve yet to hear about this square mile of antiques – with $5,000 coffee tables and $5 tchotchkes – nestled within the Rhode Island Antiques Mall.  I first discovered this veritable money pit last summer after moving to Pawtucket for a one year sojourn.  I think the day Patrick and I stumbled upon it we spent about 3+ hours lost amidst the patchouli-scented ottomans and Whitney Houston-wielding jukebox.  I’ve since spent several hundred dollars on “life investments” at RIAM, the most recent of which I've catalogued here for your (but really my) viewing pleasure.

Because NPR just sounds amiss if there isn’t a hint of static on the airwaves, I invested in a 1960's transistor radio, energized by 4 D batteries (which luckily are still made).  The first night I got it working, I had given up locating 1290AM on the dial, and was convinced I would be relegated to enjoying the Appalachian Mountain Christian Folk music emitted from every discernable station.  But after a little perseverance, coupled with a refusal to hear “Go Tell It On The Mountain” one more time, I managed to locate good ol’ WRNI.  Hello there, Elisabeth Harrison!

This is linen, stretched over a wooden frame (at right).  For some reason, it’s reminiscent of  Warholian-Lichtensteinian pop art – some sort of hybrid of the two (also: some O’Keefe va-jay-jay action, but who can look at flower-art and not think of that?)  I love the splotches of red flowers and the solid, stolid coloring: simply green, blue, red, black.

I have officially begun my boycott of Teflon in the house.  I hate that I even have to capitalize it, as if its proper nounness ranks it above my new cast iron beauties in the epicurean echelon.  Fuck Teflon and it’s “mustn’t use metal on me!” mantra.  Three essential cast iron kitchen pieces that I now own:

1)    A pan.  For frying things. And occasionally sautéing.
2)    A cauldron. For spells.
3)    A skillet.  For corned beef hash, and corned beef hash alone.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Redux

My brother was unable to make it home for Thanksgiving this year, so this photo-, cinema-, and orthographic recounting of the day’s triumphs and failures is dedicated to him.  Until Christmas, hermano

In The Beginning...
There were ingredients.  And they were beautiful.  Multi-grain and country loaves from Seven Stars Bakery; butternut squash from Allen’s Farm in Westport, MA; honey from Farmacy Herbs.  This was my first year prepping in collaboration with my mom.  I felt

And The Ingredients Became Digestible (well, most of them)...
My dishes:

1) Homemade stuffing made with diced apples, onion, rosemary, local honey, kosher salt and pepper.  Oh, and lots of butter.  My one gripe: I didn’t have any fresh rosemary on hand to use in this dish, like I did when I made this dish for Friendsgiving last week (to much approbation).  I substituted this dried rosemary/garlic blend instead and I wasn’t cray-cray about the results.  Neither were my relatives.  It made the stuffing taste...empty?  Lesson learned.

2) Butternut squash with local honey, nutmeg, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and my secret ingredient: cayenne pepper. This was a hit, with a  kick.

3) Hummus from scratch (chick peas, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, tahini).  Another hit.
4) Sigur Rós, which I introduced to my mom and we spent the whole day enjoying. If five years ago you had told me that one day I would be listening to Icelandic post-rock in my mother’s kitchen while we cooked Thanksgiving dinner together, well, I  just may have believed you.  But, nonetheless, it was pretty smashing to mellow, create, and confect with mom. 

My mom took care of the rest of the spread (her juiciest turkey to date, thanks to a new tip about how to slice; spinach casserole, a personal fav; plain stuffing for my dad because he won't eat anything remotely exotic/creative; creamed corn; and pumpkin mousse from her culinary bible: Cooking Light magazine (this is not to be confused with her actual bible, which is a King  James)). Clearly she bore the brunt of the work. But we had fun, and my participation in the preparation precluded me from cleaning up 
afterwards (sorry Dad!) (sorry NY Times Style Guide!).

Friday, November 26, 2010

And then there were four...

Again, thanks is due to Mike Boissoneault at Providence's Black Lotus for my fourth tattoo (he also did my third).  My goal is to do three more before my 30th.  Side note: I could get tattooed on my inner arm all day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Poetry via Post-Rock: Flugufrelsarinn


Trace my silhouette –
easy once,
it was
broken lines
now aroused,
a violent cleanse

your purple crayon,
free from protocol
(those insidious hegemonies)
traipses skyward
an outline
an outlier
a bloodline

screeching through the ether
like the most beautiful
perfection dovetailing a
sonic dissonance

luminescent aubergine
cradles a newly crystallized ego,
free from buzzing
free from bruising
(an alabaster abortion)

your efforts,
in vain no more.
each fly caught
each i dotted,
by a stoic hand
no longer harried.

[ jh ]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Every-thing's a-Better with a-Fruit

This has been a week of infusions for me. Inspired by a Local 121 tasting table at last year's Wintertime Farmer's Market at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, I decided to undertake my first alcohol infusion. So you started with a small test batch, right Jeremy? In case things didn't go exactly according to plan?

Nope. Spent $75 on a large ball jar with spigot, $80 on vodka and had a pretty 'spensive 'fusing party in my kitchen. Ingredients? Three red grapfruits. Three bunches of bruised tarragon. Three litres of Absolut. After four days I strained half of the concoction through a coffee filter (thinking a cheesecloth might go a little quicker next time), preparing it for consumption (I'm thinking with soda water). Going to let the remaining half sit for three more days and see if I can taste a difference. Current thoughts after some preliminary tasting: use a smoother vodka next time (maybe Chopin?) so the vodka can be enjoyed on the rocks.

Next on my list was a little ditty I caught wind of while on the West Coast. This mediocre restaurant (see #5 here) had a giant vat of water sitting on the bar with cucumbers soaking in it. Next to Fiji, it was prolly the best water I've consumed. Can't be too hard to replicate, right? Actually, that's exactly right. Purchased a beautiful blown glass pitcher, one cucumber, and turned on my faucet. Two caveats:

1) The shelf life of this medley is about 3 days. Keep plenty'o'cukes on hand.

2) This pitcher + cucumbers-in-the-water made for a trickling all over my floor every time I attempted to pour. Remedy: a wooden spatula (it makes the whole act of pouring that much more performative, which is excellent for dinner parties. "Oh, allow me!"). Conversely: purchase the aforementioned $75 ball jar with spigot for use. Perhaps (or, most definitely) the sealed lid would prevent the water from tasting like wet sickeningly soft cucumber skin after 3 days. Or maybe I shouldn't use 3 week old cucumbers (has anyone noticed the serious presence of the number three in this blog post? Someone's going out to play his lucky numbers!).

3) There isn't a third caveat. But there's that eerie three again.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Poetry via Pop: Be Mine! (Acoustic)

Be Mine! (Acoustic)

Eversure & evergood unwind
'tween the perspirations
& intersections
& lying disrobed, legs elevated
my body, an "L"
segmented, not awkward
ninety degrees of innocuousness
fine'ly letting go things once perseverated
the cats sense the longing
& indulge in their prickling
you shift your glance toward
I'm cradling my timeworn relic
ancient in its newness
but the dust beseems
and remains --
your relic, so recently
shines & pulses
like a discarded placenta

They neverwere & neverwill be mine

[ jh ]

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Being Gay in 2011

This past Friday, I had the honor of attending the Youth Pride Fundraiser, Living Out Loud, at the Biltmore Hotel. This event – unbeknownst to me until my boss called me into her office on Tuesday with, “Jeremy, I don’t mean to engage in any profiling here, but would you like to attend this fundraiser on Friday night?” – was one of the highlights of my week.

Youth Pride, Inc. has always been this sort of nebulous beast for me – partially because groups like it did not exist in my pastoral suburban sphere growing up – and while I’ve sought to get involved, nothing ever really materialized. But being present at the event on Friday, meeting some of the pillars of Providence’s LGBTQQ community, and chatting with youth for whom YPI is a vital support, has galvanized me to reach out and connect to the community of which I should be an active vibrant member.

And if attending Living Out Loud was one of my highlights of the week, my highlight of the night was without question making the public debut of my breakdancing moves, to the unadulterated support of the YPI teens. Thanks gals and guys, for not judging a fledgling.

Some great folks I met (all photography by Krista Handfield):

Mark & Mark (& me)

Russell Ferri & Michael Fornier

Delia Kovac & Sarah

The YPI Crew

Friday, November 5, 2010

Poetry via Pop: Be Mine!

Be Mine!

Six dutifully measured steps
trail this spectre, incognito
soft words, wisps, emanate
like milkweed thrashed
and strewn

Steadfast in my sightline,
following the horizon and
panning left, waiting for the silent slip
the embrace of nocturnal umbrage

it’s not the easiest thing --

unraveling a wont heretofore enmeshed
but if this lifefire can descend slowly,

beckoning to the hoarfrost:
“come hither, pervade”

then so too shall I unravel

your scarf that once warded off the chill
now strangles unabashedly

[ jh ]

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gratitude via Print

I’ve decided not to buy greeting cards anymore. From here on out it’s creation over consumption – a mantra I feel extends well beyond the confines of Hallmark. So to offer my thanks to those who donated to my half marathon, I created my own cards.

It was my first time delving into the medium of the linoleum block. It felt good. Advice I should have heeded, had I the tool: place a warm iron on a piece of cloth over the block to soften the linoleum. The room temperature block was a little unwieldy to my incisive carving tools.

The final product.

Now onto the envelopes. With a surfeit of East Side Marketplace bags in my apartment, that was easy. Plus, the bags have such gorgeous colors. I’ve gotten it down to a science now – 5 envelopes per bag. Groovy.

I needed a return address label. This was the most difficult to execute. Namely, because my grooves were never deep enough. I re-carved this block at least 5 times before I reached a depth that remained free from ink after rolling.

Finally, Ginny offers her paw to ensure the proper tension on the drying wire for my latest batch. Thanks, Ginny.

Poetry via Pop: Fire Bomb

Fire Bomb

It's not the ululations of this
swollen pumping mess
that concern me anymore,
nor the uncertainty of a spark
nor dream's banality

but this warm blood coddling me
crashing through tissue flaps --
these sanguine apertures

oxygen again flowing,
ebbing toward an inner shore
where once there stood a you

i'm alien, no longer frozen,
burning through a helluva memento
and i don't even own a microwave anymore.

[ jh ]

Saturday, October 30, 2010


First day spending time with my brother's girlfriend, Blaklee, who is an absolute peach and pictured at right. Image courtesy of a few Vodka/Red Bulls and a snazzy photobooth. To merrily row along backwards through the day's chronology:

1) Drinks and dancing at The Abbey, where Brandon made a special friend who would have joined us for the cab ride home if allowed, Blaklee witnessed "more beautiful men than I've seen in my 2 years in LA," and I met Sergio Marone, a Brazilian soap star (photographic evidence).

2) Town car escort from Hermosa Beach to the Abbey.

3) Dinner and drinks with the effervescent Carmela Nicole Neuhauser and company in Manhattan Beach, where we regaled one another with our most embarrassing urination stories and finished the meal with a divine crème brûlée accompanied by mini snickerdoodle cookies and candied pears.

4) Naptime, which was peppered with decidedly medical dreams, as my mother was watching Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice while I slept.

5) Lunch with Blaklee and mom (food: delish; service: complete with indifference and ass-cheeks peeking out from under black shorts -- not two side dishes I particularly enjoy with my meals...) after a 20 mile boardwalk bike ride.

6) 6 is for six mile morning run along the beach, complete with dolphins.

7) Good morning.

Me. Blaklee.Mom. Me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


"So then Love walked up to Like
and said 'I know that you don't like me much
let's go for a ride...'"
--Tori Amos, "Cooling"

I've wanted to go under the needle for this tattoo going on 4 years now, and on Monday I went in for my final touchup, after a two week respite from my initial session. Want to thank Mike Boissoneault at Providence's Black Lotus for his gorgeous translation of this image of Tori/Scarlet and his unparalleled patience as I adjusted to the intolerable pain of having a needle jab against one's rib cage ad nauseam (or rather, ad dolorem). The artwork is from her 2002 album Scarlet's Walk and this tattoo really worked for me on a number of levels:

1) Tori has been a pretty significant contributor to my happiness over the past 13 years, ever since I first heard her in Katy Demos' Mercedes Benz, Prout School parking lot, 1997.

2) I like the challenge of paying homage through indirect means. I've seen some pretty scary Tori tattoos, and I didn't want her actual face on my body. I faced the same dilemmas with my other tributary tattoos, so this rendering of her, while not ostensibly her, was perfect.

3) Scarlet's Walk is Tori's most cogent album -- conceptually, aurally, and musically. I won't digress into an analysis of my relationship with this album and its themes at present, but this image of Tori/Scarlet reifies that relationship, both with the album and the artist. If you haven't given Scarlet's Walk a whirl, check out "a sorta fairytale," "Taxi Ride," and "Wednesday."

On a side note, Tori's personification of ideas/concepts, as evidenced by the above quote, is just one of myriad reasons I am so enamored of her. I mean, what would else would Love say to Like, given the chance?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Jessie, Allison, Eric, Genise and I spent one night last week preparing for winter -- in the form of making applesauce, pickles, and hummus. Granted, the hummus is already gone but I'm hoping the applesauce and stewed apple peels that I jarred last through the new year. According to calculations (and observations) my 1/2 bushel (which included some quince and pears for exoticality) yielded 7 jars of applesauce and 2 jars of apple peels. Two burning questions may be: 1) Why did you jar apple peels? and 2) Why only 4 jars of applesauce pictured? Well, 1) Ms. Jessie did not like her sauce with peels, so as to accomodate the needs of a dear friend, I relented. And, 2) One of the ball jars blew up on the counter. It was more of a subtle glass crack that slowly became an oozing mess before anyone realized. Reason? Red hot ball jar comes out of oven, applesauce has been now been cooling on the counter, applesauce dispensed into ball jar, physics. In that order. That leaves 6 jars. I gave the other two to the homestead on John Street, in thanks for the use of their kitchen and paper towels. Genise left early -- and so her jar remains on my counter until again we meet. A round of applause for one Christie Moulton for teaching me the proper jarring techniques, and one Almaz Dessie, who upon hearing of my bucolic foray, sonically accosted me with the threat of paralysis (from the applesauce, not her). Love you ladies.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Variation on the Word "Sleep"

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth
dark wave slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

--Margaret Atwood

Immediately, I loved the genderlessness of this poem. But before we get into that, I must thank Jessica Paden for bringing this work to my attention again. I’ve been under Atwood’s spell for about 5 years, but until recently only read her novels and dabbled in her poetry. I’m now delving full force into her verse, and this poem is the perfect gateway. It’s pure Atwood – fantastic, mythological, terrestrial, heartbreaking. The poem’s unadulterated and selfless longing (I would like to give you…the one word that will protect you from the grief at the center) is tempered, possibly, only by the voyeuristic I/eye who yearns to be needed. I guess that’s a pretty universal sentiment – wouldn’t we all want to be as necessary to someone as a breath? Unnoticed perhaps – but therein lies the selflessness. To me this poem embodies love, though paradoxically the majority of it transpires in dream. Does the speaker desire a conscious union, or merely a slumberous one? Will/can this love only exist in dream?

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,

It’s as if after confessing and subsequently realizing the futility of such a wish, the speaker arrives at an alternative: While I may not be able to watch you sleep, I could watch you while I sleep, and meet you in dream. The insertion of a comma at the end of the third line brings both subject and object to bed, though not necessarily together. Soon, the speaker serves as guide, a Virgil to a Dante, and leads the dreamer out of the grief pervading within, and back, where your body lies beside me, and you enter it as easily as breathing in. Here one must wonder: whose body is now being entered? In this nighttime reverie, does the speaker allow the dreamer to “enter,” or permit the dreamer to return to [gender neutral pronoun] body?

The last four lines resonate so fully within me that I’m tempted to transcribed them indelibly onto myself. This, of course, is still up in the air. Maybe I’ll sleep on it.

At any rate, this poem has galvanized me to write more, and so welcome to “That Unnoticed & That Necessary.”