Friday, November 25, 2005


It is most common for me to battle on Thanksgiving. I’ve been doing it for years. Fighting the sin of gluttony has gotten easier over time. With age and maturity I’ve learned to pace my eating on Thanksgiving and that the holiday truly is about giving thanks not having an eating contest. Gluttony I have conquered you. But like the old folks say, if it ain’t one thing it’s another.

Yesterday I found myself battling another of the seven deadly sins. It began the evening before and I don’t think the battle was over until late last night. It was hard fought and actually I think I only won out of default. Nevertheless, I claimed temporary victory. It doesn’t matter how one wins. It just matters that you win.

But Lust, she has her eyes on me and doesn’t want to lose sight. I know there is nothing wrong with a little lusting every now and then. My body just like anyone else’s longs to be touched, embraced, kissed, licked and swallowed. Yet I have been trying to examine the root of these longings case by case separating desires of the flesh from requested connections of the spirit. Things contrived out of flesh don’t last, nothing comes from them. That which comes from something, some bond that is deeper, the spirit lasts forever.

When I choose to follow my flesh in the moment I feel okay, but never fulfilled and after that moment is over I sometimes feel unclean. When I choose to share space with another based on spiritual connections I feel good, fulfilled and fresh. In all of my sexual encounters I have only really felt oh so good on two occasions. That alone causes me to analyze what I have done, who I have done it with and why.

Lust I imagine is like crack cocaine. Those who use it seek to fulfill their desires often for reasons beyond the practical and continue to need hits of it eternally chasing for that true fulfillment or at least the next high to keep the mind off of what led them to it in the first place.

Because of where I am and what I am trying to bed right now, I am fighting lust more and trying to give in less. I think it is best for me.

Lust knows this and it seems she has made a more aggressive effort to tempt me the past few weeks. At the same time something deeper has been reminding me of what could also be. Just as I was going to give in to flesh Tuesday evening – my mouth was opened to say yes – I got a text message that grounded me again and I spoke the words no. The Tuesday before that I had an experience I can’t even describe. It so reminded me of what goodness felt like.

So I will continue to think, to analyze and fight. Where I am in thought today may shift or it may not. My thoughts and beliefs can change. It is part of personal evolution. It is getting cold outside and I think this is just about to start heating up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Manhattan Melody

Sound I

Sitting across from Foxy at the Harlem Tea Room I realized how blessed I am to have met such a great friend. I was introduced to him through Blue Sky. I first met Foxy a little more than a year ago but fantastically it feels like we have shared a friendship forever. Friendships are so valuable to me and I often wonder how I can do more to show all of my friends how grateful I am for their gift.

Sound II

Following the Knick’s game Aziza and I taxied over to the Blue Water Grill for late afternoon wine and chocolate fondue. While toasting and talking on the patio her eyes drifted from mine to a passerby. My eyes followed. Our smiles were in sync. It was George C. Wolfe a man whose name to me is synonymous with the phrase performing arts. Like us he was enjoying a beautiful autumn day in the bosom of the City. There is no place like New York.

Sound III

Walking down Fifth Avenue heading toward Christopher Street I enjoyed so much peace. I looked good and felt even better. Enjoying people watching and the feeling of being immersed in the City I wanted to share that experience with someone special. I took out my cell phone and realized there was no one to call. So, I just talked to God. I should probably call him more in good times anyway.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'll Take Manhattan

She first seduced me when I was in high school and ever since that first experience it has been all about her. I think about her often and pay her visits whenever time allows. There are even some instances when time doesn’t allow but I run to her anyway. She is a great beauty. She is everything that everyone has ever said about her. She is vile and at the same time voluptuous. She is sweet as she is sour. She is all things to all people. She is New York City and I love her.

My last trip to the City was in August and in my mind that is far too long to neglect her. I have been itching for a chance and anything that seemed like a good reason to visit again before the end of the year. Those reasons came to me all at once.

I took the call…. It was Aziza and she was speaking in that voice I only hear right before she is about to throw something my way. She threw it and I caught it. There’s a pair of floor seats for a Knick’s game with our names written on them. We’ll tip into Madison Square Garden just in time for tip off at noon Sunday.

I took another call…It was the Music Man. He recently took a job with a performing arts organization in the City. I was delighted to learn that they would be doing a production of the opera Carmen which was later adapted into Carmen Jones. I loved Carmen Jones. It was the first large production I did as a child actor in Cleveland. However, I’ve never seen Carmen, and knowing this Music Man has invited me to attend the opera on Saturday night.

A weekend in the City presented itself to me in a few rings. I took them and this weekend, I’ll take Manhattan.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Blogging - One Year and Beating

A few weeks after I returned from my last trip home to Cleveland I was on the phone with my mother when there was a long pause. The silence was broken when she told me that there was something she wanted to share with me. I didn’t know what to expect. In all my years I could only recall her using that as a caveat once and what she told me was indeed life changing news. This time however, the secret she wanted to disclose to me was that she had discovered my online journal – The Starr Report, and had been reading it since she first found it.

While I was home I had updated or at least viewed my blog and apparently I didn’t erase it from the history. A day or two later she typed in the first few letters and was led to the rest. Instantly I tried to recall every entry, what I said and had I talked about anything I didn’t want her to know. I was certain there was going to be a stream of questions but there weren’t. She asked only one. It was a question that I’ve only been asked perhaps once or twice.

Why do I blog?

At some point during 2003 I began to realize that I was maturing and if it were to be the will of the Lord I would have the beautiful blessed experience to one day grow old. I also realized that there were two things I have always been neglectful in doing – taking pictures and keeping a written record of my own life experiences. Those two activities are invaluable. They produce and serve as hard copy memories, as windows to later view and reflect on ones life.

Still not one to take photos I decided that I would at least begin keeping a journal. If I did not chronicle my history, the events, people, emotions and ideas that entered and departed from my life then no one else would. I was reminded of this again over the summer when I looked at an elementary school and thought how the one I attended as a child was torn down. The middle school I attended no longer stands, nor my high school or the two college buildings, one in Cincinnati the other in Baltimore that I practically called home while matriculating. Even the actual home I grew up in as a child has now been renovated to the point where it looks almost nothing like it did when I was young. Someone else could look at that structure now and draw a totally different story of my childhood. I live in a world where I know people are prone to make up your history for you.

From January 1, 2004 through November 14, 2004 I kept a private journal. It was one year ago today, November 15 that I decided to transition from keeping my journal on paper to publishing it online.

It is with the same fundamental reasons that I began to journal that I still do so today, only on the Internet now. I wish to chronicle my history and growth. I wish to tell most accurately and descriptively my own tales of coming into manhood. I want to look back at good times and bad. I do not want to forget where I was, how I was feeling, what I was thinking or why.

History is so important and it must never be lost. Recorded history has always served as an explanation as to why things are what they at a point in time, offer inspiration and to offer clues of what is to come. I must be able to read and reflect on my history.

I also believe that for at least the time being it is most appropriate for the Black gay man that I am to keep this record online as this medium has played such an integral role in constructing my racial and sexual identity. My evolution has held a rhythmic interactive call and response with information, affirmations and spirits that I would have never encountered without this medium. I recall the first interesting stories and characters I moved through during my days on WBS, the fine tooth readings of editorials on which led to my writings being published there and the thousands of dialogues and facts and myths I’ve garnered from the web and coupled with the millions of every day experiences of natural life. And now even with my blog I sometimes beat and hear a magical response from the East or West from fellow tribesmen.

So, I will continue blogging and pray the beats go on.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What happened last night?

A couple of weeks ago I logged on to instant messenger and was greeted with a message from someone I’ve not talked to in years. I was delighted by the surprise and catching up with him was no chore. We’ve been enjoying instant message dialogue since then and at some point last week I asked for his number. I called him, left a message and last night he called me back. After getting home from work at 9pm and an event that felt like it wasn’t, I found myself resting in the hammock of good conversation and sharing that was so comfortable I relaxed in it for hours.

He is a beautiful and intelligent man. Our relationship began many moons ago while both he and I were undergraduate students. I was in Ohio and he in Pennsylvania. As our lives continued to progress we eventually lost track of each other although we both shared a mutual friend who for some reason never made an attempt to link us back together. Nevertheless, there has been a reconnection made.

People enter each others lives at all times for a reason if it is just a conversation. Last night I felt like he and I shared a conversation that very well may have been just what our reconnection was all about. My found friend recently separated from his partner of nearly eight years and seems to be at an impasse in his life. In the past few months I have finally found peace with being with me and find myself standing at a gate of destiny still not walking through.

My found friend and I both enjoyed talking to each other. I think it was good for the both of us. After we closed our conversation we committed to being in touch. The silence after I hung up the phone was interrupted with me asking myself, what just happened. I am not sure but whatever it was I am glad that it happened.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Questions and No Answers

Several weeks ago I spoke to Aziza on a Friday night. When neither of us is gallivanting across our perspective cities we find Friday evenings a good time to catch each other and also catch up. Since that last conversation I have been wrestling with a question that I am finding hard to answer. I think mostly because I don’t want to answer it and because I find it a rather disturbing and somewhat dark part of my living truth.

Publicly I am easily framed as a young man with a kind heart, caring and always in good spirits. With that image outsiders extract that I am also a man who feels deeply and has cups of empathy, sympathy and soft feelings that overflow. Further, that I may be rather soft, warm and emotional. But I am not many of those things. Often, but not always, it is like I am emotionless, in particular those emotions that involve hurt, pain or sadness.

I have heard of deaths and other troubling news and never flinched. In most instances I am nonchalant and go about my business as if nothing has happened.

I easily detach myself from others without second thought. A frightening number of people that I know, friends and family included, if I never spoke to again I don’t think I would miss. How horribly true. A buddy that I had known for years has been calling me for two years and I won’t answer her call. I just decided one day that I didn’t want to talk to her. The same is the case with another once friend. I decided last year on Christmas Eve that I would never speak to him again. But at least then I had more of a reason. I felt he lived in lies and I only could surround myself with those who live in truth. He’s reached out. I have not at all been phased.

The last time I cried was in 1999. There must be something wrong with that. At one point I believed it is because I had used all of my tears up as a child and I had no more left. However it can’t be that simple. Open and shut. It disturbs me because I think there must be something wrong with me. What happened to me along the way, what series of events caused me to move to a place where I could feel no more? Where did this numbness come from?

Aziza pointed to an answer that I still can’t accept. She thinks it may stem from relationship, or lack there of with my father. But I don’t see that as the case. In no way do I even care about him. To some that too is disturbing. No love. No hate. No joy. No anger. I am sans emotion. She believes that if I were to develop a feeling of some sort about him that I would then be able to have feelings about other things too. That it all starts right there. I don’t think so. I believe it is something much greater. I believe it must be a combination of all my life experiences. But how could even those lead me to this? Were my tender youthful feelings lashed so much that my flesh turned to leather and beating heart to still stone? Is the true reason that the universe has not allowed me to love someone and them love me is because part of love is hurt and I’ve yet to again acquire the ability to do so.

I have questions and somewhere I must also have answers.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Adding Up

Monday night after work I went to my neighborhood corner store to pick up a 2 liter of ginger ale. Per the usual, I grabbed the cheapest bottle they had. It was a grand total of 99 cents. I gave the clerk a dollar bill. He placed the bottle in a plastic bag and handed it to me. Then he walked away. I stood there. He returned to the counter and gave me a bizarre look. I gave him one back before I broke the silence and politely asked for my change. In a tone of bewilderment and at the same time arrogance and disgust he asked me if I really wanted my penny. Of course I said yes. He looked at his wife who had watched this whole exchange and they both smirked and laughed. I continued waiting on my penny.

In the large scheme of things that penny means nothing. In the larger scheme of things that penny means everything in the world. If that penny weren’t that important he would have given it to me immediately. He wouldn’t have had a reaction when I asked for my due change. Although he wanted to make it laughable and in his own kind of way use reverse psychology to make me feel small for wanting a mere penny, I know that he knows just what I was demonstrating. The understanding knowing that everything adds up. I know that a penny becomes a nickel. A nickel becomes a dime. A dime becomes a quarter. A quarter becomes a dollar. A dollar becomes an investment. It goes into a money market, mutual fund or down payment on my first home. It all grows and it all came from something small. Every beautiful garden begins with one seed.

Today I was sitting in a meeting with my boss, a partner from a pretty prestigious law firm and another colleague. I thought to myself how everyone in the room was at some level where I want to be right now. But I know that it will take time and steps to get there. In that regard I have some pennies, even some nickels already. I just have to make sure that I collect all of them, grow them and turn them into dollars. It just makes cents.