Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My City is Burning . . .

Those of you who know me also know I make Baltimore my home, and have for many decades. It is a wonderful city, vibrant, stimulating, welcoming . . .and absolutely nothing like the image most people have in their heads. I am a pasty Irish girl living in a city where almost 70% of the population is black, almost half of the remainder is Hispanic - and I have never once felt unwelcome. I have long despaired of the image Baltimore has on the national and world stage, an image formed by the media and centered around the worst portrayal possible. The Wire may have been critically acclaimed, but it set the standard for convincing everyone that Baltimore was a dangerous dangerous place. It is no playground, true . . .but neither is any other major city in America, especially these days. Homicide: Life on the Streets cemented that perception in the minds of the world. And now the unrest following the murder of Freddie Grey. Not one news outlet bothered to cover the peaceful protests, or the heroic and selfless acts of those trying to calm the outrage or clean up after the inevitable destruction, but as soon as violence broke out it was wall to wall on every channel and every newspaper. 

If you know me, you also know I am a Buddhist. I do NOT condone violence in any way, shape or form. I don't think violence solves anything. I have seen the downside, on the streets of Belfast, in Detroit in the 60s, and now in my current home. No place I have lived has become a better place as a result of violence . . .and yet, as much as I deplore it, I also understand the frustration that spawns such a reaction. There is a fundamental problem when more money is spent trying to pay off victims of brutality than in preventing it in the first place. There is a problem when, in a country as rich as ours, so many people have no hope, no future, and no way out of grinding poverty other than sports and drugs. 

I drive my son to culinary school from my blue collar neighborhood, increasingly populated with for sale and auction signs as the jobs once held have slowly trickled away to be replaced with a smattering of low paid service positions. I pass through neighborhoods that look as if they have been bombed . . .blocks away from the jewel of the Inner Harbor with its sports fields and glitzy shopping centers. Blocks from Johns Hopkins, the hospital known around the world for excellence, sitting in the midst of third world devastation.

I wish I knew what the answer was. I wish I had the ability to turn the tide. I wish that, in our rich and amazing nation, one people from all over the world want to live in, no one was homeless, or hungry, or uneducated, or without medical care. It is a sin and a shame because without the basics of life we can never be free or brave. There is no liberty when you are shackled by poverty and circumstance. There is no freedom when you realize you may live and die in the same crumbling housing project. There is no equality when some are treated as less than human for whatever reason.

And so, this is a post without a resolution. I have no amazing insights, I have no words of wisdom apart from this - everything is more complicated and more intertwined than you think, take nothing at face value, strive to do the best you can for everyone you come into contact with. If we don't do better it will never get better. Practice empathy instead of superiority or condemnation. And, hopefully, we will all come out stronger on the other side.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Made for This

The irony of his situation was one of its most pleasing aspects. He was, after all, a creature made for submitting. To be bought by a master who desired domination almost made up for the past. Almost.

The act itself was two decades behind him. He barely recognized the shyly snarky pseudo intellectual who had so earnestly argued gender politics in an attempt to impress some silly coeds. That he had survived the psychosis his words inspired was, truly, miraculous. Or so he had been told. In truth, most days he considered his current life a cruel joke by an angry god, personal vengeance, perhaps, for some grand transgression he had already forgotten.

His transit from cocky teen to genderless thing had been swift, not subtle. He'd walked through that park a thousand times without encountering anyone. It never occurred to him that such seclusion might come at a price. Even the trauma surgeon refused to try and rebuild the shredded lump of flesh, realizing that salvaging a gnarled stump of cock would be pointless. The carelessly wielded chainsaw had merely nicked his scrotum, but there wasn't much point to balls without a cock, and the repair was simpler with a single graft.

He had tried to go on as if nothing had changed, subsuming his anger in pain pills, liquor and futile, chaste dalliances with women. In the end he found himself neither wiser nor calmer. A chance encounter led him to a place he never imagined finding himself.

“Aren't you a pretty thing.” The unfamiliar voice jerked him back to the present, to the role he was expected to play. It was a toss up as to which was more unsettling, the crop in his hand, or the massive phallus studded with shiny balls of stainless steel protruding from the codpiece he now wore. Both were symbols of how far he had fallen, or risen, he was as conflicted about that as everything else in this scene.

Up on the platform his master shivered in his bonds, inked trails oozing out of the tight corset wrapping his midsection, leather pants jerked down to his knees to expose the pale silky flesh of his ass for all to admire.

“Are you ready?”

“Yes.” The husky tremor in his master's voice spurred his resolve. The crop snapped against porcelain flesh, leaving a mark, his mark, and the demon slumbering inside him tore free. When he finally stopped every inch of exposed flesh bore the record of his madness, reddened welts mixing with tribal tattoos in a cacophony of frustrated desire.

Now came the part he dreaded. The beast inside him tamed, for the moment, leaving him without the will to finish this passion play. That his master was willing, prepped and waiting gave him no comfort. The murmur of the watchers spurred him into action, burying the ridiculous faux-cock to the hilt.

His fingernails dug ragged furrows into reddened cheeks as his mind trumpeted the futility of his actions. Pegging was a game for women, not men. His cheeks flamed as he realized all the silent watchers must know of his peculiar lack. In an effort to disprove that knowledge he redoubled his efforts, plowing into the writhing figure with greater abandon.

As with all good things, his frustrated rage couldn't last. Absent sexual satisfaction or the driving force of anger their copulation became just another task to complete. He found himself counting the indentations on the soundproofed wall, picturing towering mammatus clouds in their place. When the figure beneath him began to whimper he breathed a silent sigh of relief. The sticky spray of his master's semen meant he could, at last, put aside this facade.

The transit from top to bottom was mercifully brief. The cruel cock discarded, he was stripped, spread, bound, and his soul absolved. This was the moment he now lived for, his desire released from the cage in which he kept it securely locked up.

As the first cock slipped inside him his breath caught, by the fifth he was panting, by the tenth, at last, transported. He shuddered through what passed as orgasm and fell into darkness. His last thought that, perhaps, he could stay cocooned in the soft richness of this moment.

His eyes snapped open, master slumbered beside him, ointment coated welts glistening in the dim light. And so, it began again, the futile race to oblivion that trapped him in the present. His joy, his terror, his destiny fulfilled.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Little Dream for Friday

A short piece from my anthology Sex Ray Specs for your Friday enjoyment.


Arthur considered suicide. He hummed tonelessly, turning the various options over in his mind as he sought the perfect one. Gas was too uncertain, a gun too messy. As he was mulling the pros and cons of a simple overdose, it came to him.
What are you thinking so hard about?" His brother's voice burst the bubble of Arthur's near epiphany.
Why are we doing this? Fishing has got to be the most boring activity on the planet. I doubt there's even any fish in this lake." After deftly parrying Martin's question with one of his own he didn't wait around for the answer, picking up his rod and meandering down the bank.
Where are you going?” His brother's anxious call prickled the hairs on the back of Arthur's neck. The man had eyes, it should be obvious. Instead of replying he merely shrugged, tilting his head in the direction he was heading. “Well don't go far,” the relentless voice continued. “We need to leave soon.”
He breathed a sigh of relief when he made it far enough around the curve of the lake's edge to be unseen and unheard. The constant, none too secret, surveillance his family and friends had him under left him struggling to breathe. He continued pushing his way through the tangled deadfall that lay just shy of the water until he was certain he hadn't been followed.
Arthur stretched out on a flat rock, pulling out the sketchbook he'd stuffed in his pants and digging in the bottom of his tackle box for a stick of charcoal. For the thousandth time his hand began to trace lines more familiar than his own face.
You have to stop this.” The tenuous whisper brushed his cheek, a wavering touch like a moth taking flight.
You know I've tried.” Arthur also knew his words fell on jaded ears. “Just one last time.”
You keep saying that.” The voice was stronger now, the smudges on the page dancing in sympathy. “You need to let me go.”
His fingers caressed the contours of a sharp cheekbone, translating the velvety nap of the well worked paper into silky flesh. “How can I possibly do that? Without this, I have nothing.”
I am nothing. You and I both know I'm not real.” The mournful tone was in sharp contrast to the hand rubbing a soothing circle between Arthur's shoulder blades. “I know you're planning something. Are you going to fill me in?”
No, it isn't important.” It wasn't really a lie. The sensation of his desire made flesh was enough to override his urge for self-destruction. “I just want to enjoy our time together.”
You need a living, breathing, lover, not some smeary lines on a torn piece of paper.” Shadowed hands slid over Arthur's arms, goose flesh rising in their wake. “This is a fantasy.”
Mmhmmm,” he hummed idly, turning to capture plump, velvety lips with his own. The kiss was warm and deep, sending electric sparks tumbling down his spine in his own personal fireworks display. The urge to deepen the connection was irresistible, and so their tongues slid against each other, neither willing to yield. Arthur had never before felt such an irresistible yearning, the taste was addictive, overwhelming, and marked him as clearly as the graphite streaks darkening his lips and winding their way across his torso.
His breath caught, time slowing to a crawl as a gossamer hand wrapped around his burgeoning erection. Two rough strokes, hot silk and electricity spiraling up his spine and tearing loose a rough groan. “Oh gods, yes.”
A needy moan escaped his throat when a hard cock pressed urgently against his and that maddening hand returned to wrap around them both. A hot mouth latched onto his nipple as his lover began to stroke, hand squeezing slightly as they thrust together. Their mouths mated, swallowing twin gasps as a thumb swiped through pearly drops of precum. A slick finger pushed through his tight pucker and all coherent thought dissolved into a ragged prayer to a deity Arthur had been certain he didn't believe in.
The slow slide of his lover's cock seemed to go on for ever, impossibly deep, and he wondered if, perhaps, the shadowy figure would disappear inside him completely. After what seemed an eternity it reversed, taunting him with an achingly slow rhythm. No matter how he squirmed and begged, the measured pace never faltered. Each brush to his prostate tightened the hot coil inside of him, and he felt his balls drawing up tighter and tighter, like a spring ready for flight.
A ghostly hand wrapped loosely around his erection, the light teasing strokes matching the pace of the tongue ruthlessly mapping his mouth. Even now, Arthur spared a moment for his obsession, deciding that forgetting to breathe due to pleasure might, indeed, be the best way to die.
A hard thrust to his prostate pushed him over the edge, molten lightning surging up from his balls as the world greyed out around him. When his eyes fluttered open they met with the heart-stopping sight of his lover daintily licking the seed from his chest.
Arthur, it's time to go.” His brother's strident call broke through the spell he was under.
Five more minutes. I'll meet you at the car.” Another whirlwind of kisses and then he was stumbling back through the brush, marks of his transgression starkly dappling pale flesh.
He watched the judgment settle on Martin's normally placid features, yet shrugged it off. The meddling concerns of his so-called loved ones were of no regard in this. “What?”
The tense silence blanketing the car lifted only slightly. “You could at least pretend.” The accusation was unexpected and Arthur considered it carefully before answering.
I could. Would that make it better?”
Better is relative. At least no one could accuse me of complicity.” His brother was making the face again, cheeks puffed out, brows drawn low, and forehead furrowed. It was his serious face, the one that always telegraphed bad news. “Mom wants to have you committed.”
That isn't so easy.” Arthur's glib reply did nothing to ease the tension and he wasn't surprised when the car glided to a stop on the shoulder.
He didn't resist the hand cupping his cheek, turning to regard the once mirror of Martin's features. “I want to be on your side, you know I do. But I'm worried about you.”
I'll be fine,” he soothed. “I'm not hurting anyone. I know it can't go on forever. I'm just not ready to stop yet. Soon, I promise.”
You swear?”
Cross my heart.” Sharp eyes searched for the lie behind his words, but their inherent sincerity must have been convincing. The car slid back into traffic, and Arthur slid back into his contemplation of the perfect death.
The next few weeks were filled with stolen moments and the search for epiphany. His friends stopped meeting his gaze, eyes skittering past the bruised tones of his skin to rest on the nothingness behind him. Their discomfort only fueled his frantic quest to either hold on to what he had, or find a permanent solution to his situation.
Even his lover pressured him, waiting until he lay limp and boneless, still panting from his release. “You can't continue on like this.”
You sound like you don't want to be here.” Arthur's hurt leaked into the words.
I should say that.” A surprisingly strong hand kneaded the muscles of his neck, and Arthur turned away, forcing his limbs to stop trembling. “I should . . . but I can't. I've come to care for you.”
The reluctant response, and the brilliant smile it wrung from the usually somber Arthur, touched off another round of heated kisses. Hands roamed over all the skin they could reach, painting new marks of possession across creamy flesh.
Ironically, when he was most lost in the embrace of his shadow lover, he was closest to the answer he so desperately sought. Recognition simmered in the dark corners of his mind, pushed into hiding by the intoxication of one more perfect kiss.
When it hit him Arthur almost rejected the idea. Too trite, too pat, too sappily sweet. But it called to him, whispering in the long dark hours of the night, and piercing through the drone of disapproval that blanketed his waking hours.
What have you done?” The gossamer whisper almost went unnoticed.
I'm going to join you.” Arthur's confession released the tight knot of lingering tension inside him. “I've been planning it for a long time.”
There is no me without you.” The aching sadness in his phantom lover's voice had him searching the familiar features, hoping he had misinterpreted. “I will miss you.”
Their last kiss. Arthur was torn between laughing and crying, his shoulders shaking, the taste of blood on his lips. He wanted to apologize but plump lips covered his, the taste of blood growing stronger. Too late, he realized their stolen kisses weren't enough, would never be enough. He couldn't remember what his lover tasted like, so he cried harder.
I'm tired,” Arthur's eyelids drooped, fluttering in time with the beats of his heart.
Then sleep.” The husky whisper was infinitely gentle, shadow hands clutching him tightly. “Just close your eyes and rest.”
Kiss me again?” His eyes closed, the lids giving up the battle to stay open, stress and pain softening away.
Dream of me. I'll kiss you when you wake.”