Archive for October, 2007

On Flight

18Oct07

The bleak and vaguely militaristic atmosphere of the terminal is now behind us; we have endured the stifling tedium of the runway and the paralyzing terror of the lift-off, during which we considered the high likelihood of our imminent death and regretted our many missteps. We thought with great tenderness of Dante and Zephyr and […]


I sat down in Terminal C next to an older woman, who in a long black dress and ostrich-feather hat appeared oddly elegant among all the business suits. “I hope it’s not too crowded,” I remarked in a somewhat stilted attempt to engage this mysterious woman in conversation, as if we were both waiting to […]


We pull and tug at the blanket — the first cold night of the year is upon us — but it doesn’t move even an inch: it is trapped under the leaden weight of cats in the night. We shiver at the edge of the bed, longing to be covered and warm, to retreat to […]


Today, as part of our continuing series of garden interviews in Washington Heights, we spoke with Ann Romney — wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt — about some of her favorite films and “the focus” they have brought to her husband’s campaign. ——————————- The Gay Recluse: Ann, we noticed in the press materials that you […]


It was the sight of a civil war hat — blue wool, with the truncated black rim and a small leather band across the front — on a fellow C-train passenger that made us think of the time, almost twenty years earlier, when we had last worn such a hat (yes, it is called a […]


Have you not seen the latest symptom of this noxious scourge of gentrification, this affront to our community? Have you not been outraged as you approach the corner of Edgecombe Avenue and 159th Street by the sight of a rainbow-colored umbrella and outdoor tables, where you can drink a cup of coffee and enjoy a […]


Those arriving in Washington Heights for the first time are often surprised to hear splintering, cracking sounds in the distance, sounds which like breaking bones or the felling of ancient trees barely need to be identified to be recognized. “Oh yes,” we nod impassively, but then feel compelled to elaborate. “The shoreline is rocky and […]


Of all the critics and columnists in recent history at The Times, Herbert Muschamp and Cathy Horyn are the only ones who have succeeded in gripping us with every sentence that ever appeared under their respective names. Now, of course, Muschamp is dead, returned to the same infinite folds as an entire generation of gay […]


Thank you, Human Rights Campaign, not only for sending us such a meaningful letter this week encouraging us to come out, but for being so discreet about it! There was not a single thing on the plain-white envelope — not even your name! — that could have identified either of us as “gay”! (But thank […]


On Burma

11Oct07

Our heart goes out to the Burmese monks of Myanmar but our mind drifts back to the post-hardcore band from Boston. As much as any other band in our collection, Mission of Burma was one whose impenetrable mystique electrified us at an age when we were still anxious to be electrified. The songs were angular and dissonant, […]


Since we last saw the hills around Saratoga a few days ago, they have become drab and mundane, the color of an unwatered suburban lawn, while further south the Catskills have grown equally tired and pedestrian. Did we really talk with any enthusiasm about wanting to visit either of these spots? Even the Hudson River […]


Whenever the gay recluse leaves home, we find our dreams inhabited by those we have left behind. Several times in the passing nights we feel the slight pressure of paws walking across the terrain of the bed, pausing now and again to balance on our legs, as if to ask us if anything we have […]


In the introduction to the Emile Zola work Nana — which we have recently been reading — we are given the following insight into the French author: “Zola tried to establish an analogy between literature and sciences, arguing that imagination had no place in the modern world, and that the novelist, like the scientist, should […]


The thuds you hear on the roof? No, it is not rain or sleet or thunder, or at least not in the meteorological sense of these terms; rather, it is a rain of debris brought down upon us by the merciless gods who throw garbage from the windows.


According to an article in The Times today, “[h]omophobia directed at the elderly has many faces.” We learn of home health aides who “must be reminded not to wear gloves at inappropriate times, for example while opening the front door or making the bed, when there is no evidence of H.I.V. infection.” We learn of […]


Our first impressions of Lake Placid are oddly and unexpectedly reaffirmed by our continuing explorations, which reveal the existence of a completely inaccessible series of estates — here they are called “camps” — that ring the shoreline of the lake. Still filled with a naive optimism after descending from the nearby mountain, we had succumbed […]


Yes, we exalt at the view offered by the summit of Whiteface Mountain! Here from New York State’s fifth-highest peak we see nothing but a carpet of trees — both deciduous and coniferous — rolling over an ancient, haunted landscape interrupted by exquisite lakes and bands of cirrus clouds that hover ambivalently over the horizon. […]


Today on the way up Whiteface Mountain, we stopped to take in the view and were surprised when a hawk suddenly appeared above the treeline. It flew toward us and landed on a nearby boulder; in its beak it carried a single sheet of paper, which we were equally surprised to learn — after the […]


This from a July, 1906 newspaper article — “Chicago Woman Physician Alone All Night on Mt. Whiteface” — on display at the summit of Whiteface Mountain: “Dr. J. D. Merrill, a prominent woman physician of Chicago, is reported to have ‘got lost’ and stayed all night alone on the top of Mount Whiteface one night […]


“If you turn around now, and face the mountain, notice how dwarfed the trees just above the parking lot are; small, contorted by the wind, branches broken from the load of ice in the winter, spring growth killed off by late spring frosts, soil so thin and impoverished as to defy definition, the whole scene […]