Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Twentynine Palms

"Twentynine Palms" print. It is the result of driving through the Mojave and Sonoran deserts between Phoenix and Palm Springs at least 30 times over the last 6 months, affected by the empty landscapes and isolated settlements.

ClearMojave Desert town at Sunset. Available at Redbubble in a variety of products.

Also available at Society6

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Envious Weakling

Last nite at spanish group we started talking about books weve written, and i couldnt keep quiet and bragged I wrote a book too.

Four people out of 6 at our end of table have written books and traded title information. I was being competitive. I looked at my Amazon rating just now and it reflects a sale. it worries me that one of those people might learn all about me. Or my sister could have bought it. And read my hateful opinions and resentments, my ugly prejudices, my neurotic fear of HIV, and enthusiasm for mexican bathhouses, my rage against religious and straight people and closet cases and critique of moral scolds regarding homosexual men. My small dick fear and hatred of everyone!!

i suppose if i see some hateful comments about the book then ill get used it and the thought of them will cease to scare me. If comments are posted on Amazon, well, i guess they are there forever or until I delete the book from Amazon. Until then, I'm innocent and virgin, so to speak.

My book is no. 97 in LGBT Memoirs category today, between James St James (famous club kid in NYC in the 90's and friend of a notorious gay murderer) and Dan Savage (from Seattle advice column). Of course their books have lots of comments, mostly good, which must give them a sense of intelligence and confidence in their talent. Their books don't dissapear from the list in an hour like mine will. They aren't feeble weaklings. They dodge bullets and are clever enough to fire back with aplomb! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Xiva in San Francisco around 1979

Xiva (Don Wright) in a portrait from around 1979. He looks like a gangster. Actually, he was a gentle person, mildly effeminate in his speaking voice and body language.

Xiva at the "Bunkhouse" Apartments on Ivy Street in San Francisco around 1979

Xiva (Don Wright) laying down on the tile in my bathroom at 419 Ivy Street in San Francisco around 1979.

Xiva (San Francisco around 1980)

I met Xiva (Don Wright) around 1980 at Cafe Flore on Market Street in San Francisco. I made photographs of him in my apartment on Ivy Street. According to him, times were changing and he didn't feel comfortable anymore visiting the Castro Street Area dressed in "Hippy Girl" drag as he called it. The popular style was levis and plaid flannel shirts, commonly known as the outfit for the "Castro Clone". He passed away from AIDS before the treatment "cocktail" had arrived. We had lost touch by then as I had left San Francisco and lived in New York. This collage was a project I did in 1993 at Fashion Institute, where I worked in the Macintosh computer design lab.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Joseph Durant on Ivy Street in San Francisco around 1982

Joseph Durant in my apartment on Ivy Street in San Francisco around 1980. We met at Cafe Flore on Market Street a couple years earlier and became good friends. He began the Aids Quilt with Cleve Jones. The following fragments about Joseph are from an interview with Cleve Jones by PBS show "Frontline":

""I was with my friend Joseph Durant, and I remember saying: "I wish I had a bulldozer, and I'd knock these buildings down. Maybe if this was a meadow with 1,000 corpses rotting in the sun people would see, and they would understand, and if they were human, they would be compelled to respond." …
So the night of the candlelight march, Joseph and I had stacks of cardboard, lightweight cardboard placards and sacks full of magic markers. We asked everybody to write down the name of one person they knew who had been killed by AIDS. People were ashamed to do it. They would put initials or just the first name, and then finally one guy took two pieces of paper, taped them together, and in big block letters wrote, "Thomas J. Farnsworth Jr., my brother -- he's dead."

Then I hadn't seen Joseph in a while, the fellow who was with me when we were putting up posters for the candlelight march. I hadn't seen him in a few months, and I saw him on the street, and he was skinny, and his skin was gray, and his eyes were yellow. I asked him, "Are you OK?," and he said: "I don't want to talk about it, but it's time for you to get off your butt and start that quilt. It's a good idea." He was still working part time in I think a theater supply company, and he stole a couple of bolts of fabric, and I went down in the basement and found a box of spray paint left over from Ronald Reagan's last visit to San Francisco, and we went in the backyard, and we made the first quilt panels. I made mine for Marvin Feldman, and Joseph made his for a man named Edward Mock.

That's how it started. It grew slowly, because it was very difficult for people to visualize it, even though I had this picture in my head that was as clear as a photograph and drove me quite crazy for a long time, because I could just see it so clearly, but I couldn't communicate it verbally to people.

Dianne Feinstein, who is now a U.S. senator, was mayor of San Francisco at the time. At that point Joseph and I made I think 40 panels for friends of ours, and a couple of other people had contributed some, and we were permitted to hang those from the mayor's balcony at San Francisco City Hall during the Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade. I believe there were about a million people that day who saw it, and then they had the visual understanding of how this could work.""

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Zacatecas (With Black mat and frame from Imagekind)

Striking Monochrome Design in Vivid Red. Fill your space with heart energy! This would make a good printed mural for a wall in a store, office, or home. Shop for it at Imagekind:

Friday, September 08, 2017

Driving Across Silverlake (Tote Bag from Society6)

I practiced yoga followed by meditation in Elysian Fields (Elysian Park north of downtown L.A.) this past week and enjoyed views of downtown skyscrapers looking south and hillside suburbs and distant mountains looking northeast. Then I drove to a meeting at the admirable AT center in Silverlake.
Lots of ants on two legs running around the anthill called Los Angeles.
A energetic design resulted from the experience.Here it is on a tote bag from Society6.…

Monday, September 04, 2017

A Remark about the Culture of Older Gay Men in Palm Springs, California

Maybe our friend in Texas wouldn't like being with other old queens in Palm Springs.

It is a reality check being in the midst of them, like having close-up mirrors everyway you turn. This is a dangerous place for fantasies and illusions.

It's the opposite of a foreign adventure to an unknown place.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Response to Hoarder friend who doesn't want to be compared to another Hoarder friend who recently died.

Why not compare people with one another? Animals, human and otherwise, do it to estimate risk and reward. Actuaries use statistics from a group of individuals to predict probability for a particular member's outcome. And then set prices for insurance accordingly, among other real world applications. A quantitative analysis of data predicts future behavior. A well designed algorithm (noun: a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer) can analyze facebook pages from around the world and determine who is homosexual with accuracy. That's an interesting example of data mining. Our behavior is predictable; yours, mine, and the stranger sitting next to me at Starbucks.

My deceased friend had one heir we know of, his sister. She wasn't at the memorial service since she lives 800 miles away. She was in contact with him while he was ill as a caring sister. Now he's dead so it makes no difference to him what she does heretofore. His house is for sale, as is, and his physical effects will be thrown out or donated, if they already haven't been. We assume the sister will receive the proceeds from sale of house and any other money. Perhaps his church will too. I imagine he had a will. No one from our community breakfast group was interested in going through his physical effects as they did that for another member of the group who died a few years ago and it was too much work to repeat. 

If anyone wants to leave me some money, i'll be happy to receive it, and have fond thoughts of the donor. but i dont want anybody's personal effects. I had my own precious items and got rid of them because i know they would have ended up in a dumpster after i die. I've saved my heirs the trouble. My heirs will appreciate a simple check, like most people, after the death of a loved one, and remember him or her fondly while they enjoy the freedom to spend it however they choose. There will be no driving or hauling, expense of storing or selling involved. That's as considerate as one can be of the living. Money is the best present. 

Older people don't need more stuff, they need money. Especially if they are short of it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Day in Los Angeles

I overdid driving into LA yesterday and kept changing the plan. That resulted in a melt down in the evening at the artists underearners meeting at the gay community center (in my own head, i didnt share with group). I had driven all the way to Point Dume in Malibu. It would have been better as the passenger, or not having already spent 2.5 hours coming from Palm Springs to Santa Monica.

The high point of day was riding my bike in Venice after returning from Point Dume. First I rode along the beach boardwalk (cement, no boards). The boardwalk is the only part of Venice that looks the same, aka rundown, as in 1976 when i lived there.

Everything else in the area has been replaced, or tarted up to rich man's dessert. But, I still had the feeling that Venice, Ocean park, and Marina del rey become somewhat desolate and boring at nite. Even though i didnt stay that late. Reason being is all the people action is still along the boardwalk and Main street. There is one new commercial street inland, called Abbott. Otherwise it still had a neighborhood feel. Albeit super rich,  genius cute, and very safe. I remember the inland residential areas as dangerous at nite in the old days. That's entirely gone. Its all rich kid cool and movie starlight today.

I'd already had some traffic on the freeway 10 coming in and on the Pacific Coast Highway to Mailbu and was still frustrated when I arrived in Venice. I left one hour to get from Venice to the gay community center in West Hollywood and be on time for the meeting. It took 1.5 hours. The exceedingly slow traffic ruined my schedule.

Then on way back to Palm Springs something happened around West Covina after 8pm and traffic stopped for an hour. it looked like a little drone was whirling around the sky above the freeway with a small beam focused on the earth. finally, traffic was released.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Monday, January 02, 2017

Nude Taco
How I became a Gay Gringo
By Cal Avocado
 © 2017 Roaming Gardens Press



I am a Gay Gringo facing old age and looking back on history through romance, especially one. I arrived in Mexico bursting with dreams for love after 25 years in San Francisco and New York as the AIDS epidemic began and burned through. Fulfillment came but not as I hoped. My conflict is not wanting boundaries for love and sex in a world of homophobia, disease, poverty and the nature of men. A world full of obstacles.
I planted my desires into Paco like a container that would take them. Each event between us leafed into possibilities and problems. My thoughts grew seeds of doubt and hope, and rained and shined over them. He might not recognize himself from my point of view and feel insulted as will others. These are my opinions. I’m not a camera. Names are changed to blur identities, to protect the innocent from my distrustful and hurtful speculations. Most people prefer a portrait of themselves as a flower or a god, myself included. I present details without vanity or consideration to hide ugly. I want the dirt of real history on my pages. We name streets after ideas we support, not diseases we suffer, but both are guides to living. The HIV crisis shaped my life. The empathy of biography smells like real bodies, fresh or stinking. Biography is musty paper crumbling apart in your fingers recalling original oils, delivering an unrepeatable, nostalgic experience fiction cannot.


It blows around my mind like a trapped bird
Trying to fly out my eyes like windows,
Hitting the glass repeatedly.

Arriving in Mexico

An outsider arrives discovering strange boulevards and gardens in Mexico City and new pleasures like tasting orange papaya and yellow mango for the first time. And Mexicans to love. The one that stirs me today from a safe distance occupies the gaudiest memory from the list. When we were near, it got hot, and thinking about him mushroomed into uncontainable emotions and a desperate need for someone to hear me talk, to get him out.
I was testing livability in San Miguel for a gay man in the expat community and failing to find enough. In New York, it had been easy to find support in the gay community but no gay groups existed in San Miguel. So, I sought out an individual I'd met in his 40's like me, one partner of a newly arrived couple from rural California. It didn't go much better with him and I was convinced the time it would take to knit support in this town would not be worth it. He was out for a night time cruise in the vacant central plaza where gay men covertly hook up. He grew up in Texas where family had disapproved of his sexual orientation. His relationship was open, and probably sexless. He was starved for some. I had accepted an invitation to his house once. A laptop computer was conspicuously placed in the entry way playing a porn video as I entered, as a hook. But I wasn’t interested, somewhat annoyed, and ignored it.
Tonight, wasn’t different. I wanted his ear not the cock he was offering. I'd returned from Mexico City frustrated and Roger impatiently listened to me climb out of worry before rudely cutting me off, You need to get on anti-depressants! He was revealing his lack of interest. He didn’t want to listen but did want to tell his story. I decided to hear it rather than be alone. In a tense outpouring, he recalled a Prozac overdose in a California supermarket. He squalled in his pants before making it to the bathroom. Naturally he was embarrassed and it was dreadful, but I thought to myself how much worse it would be if caused by a disease he couldn’t control, not an optional medication he could dose down or exchange. He finished his story and left right away. It was clear after two meetings, he’s too self-absorbed to listen to anyone. He has scant potential to be a friend.

Becoming a Gringo

Every Friday I walked through colonial San Miguel to the bus station for an enjoyable ride to Mexico City. San Miguel always seemed delightful when I was leaving. I reluctantly returned on Monday mornings knowing I’d feel isolated again. In Mexico City, I spent the weekend at gay cantinas shedding 20 years of New York City striving. In New York, it hadn’t been convenient to go to gay bars. Work or distance interfered. Mexico was a long-crafted plan finally become reality. I'd left before to faraway places. After high school from Phoenix to San Francisco and eight years later, with just 2,000 dollars and a million in excitement, from San Francisco to Manhattan. I was splitting ready to move in each case but breaking off was excruciating. The fight for courage to go just a little stronger than fear not to.
During my last years in New York I took trips to Mexico that got longer and longer. It was so exciting, turning off to sleep could be hard. My favorite destinations were Mexico City and Oaxaca but I wanted the entire country and fantasized living where ever I happened to be. Being a foreigner was interesting for many reasons, including speaking Spanish, and the handsome men, a mixture of Spanish, Native American, and African. Apart from the different culture and people was new scenery and plants. Jungles as astounding as any northern forest I’d enjoyed. Mexico also offered the comfort of familiar landscapes from Arizona and California I'd grown up in, recalling home after two decades in New York. Finally, Mexico had low prices.
I'd lie awake in bed unable to sleep, Mexico City racing my heart, and get up tired the next day. It was a huge city, too big to understand, and mine to discover. I'd felt the same in New York and San Francisco each in its era, but they had gotten smaller over the years. Here, I had the money to choose where I wanted to live, not forced to last choices like in the former. If I had a tail it would be excited.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Blooming Man


Your fire next to me
On a chilly morning
Gets in me like a small sun
As we hike away from the cold
Two hermits disappearing
In free green mountains.

We begin as strangers,
I get to know you deeply
As the day passes.
We pursue a welling spring
Starting in a trickle,
Giving into a creek,
Then a waterfall
Chanting for our climb.
The furious water
Warns its danger.
To take us.

We puff ahead
In surges of inspiration
Up through early mountains
Warming from green to violet,
Stopping by clear pools to drink, 
Wading knee deep in swirling ponds.

Bees dusted in yellow nectar
Bum honey from flowers.
Oil of pine scents our fingertips.
Your sharing starts mine.
Our hearts merge in a single star.
Shining white for hours.


Meanwhile, loitering in the West,
The coming night waits like a Tomcat,
Arrogant in a cave by the sea
Attracting fainting spiders
That scramble from webs
In damp crannies
To ask for poison.
He massages a cold serpent
From icy blue to hot black tar.
The relaxed snake twists around
And looks in his eyes
Flicks its forked tongue,
And hisses, yearning for another bump.

But he’s pulling out and leaving,
Hunting down the day,
Hijacking the earth,
To grunt its heft
Away from the sun.
Coal dust gathers in the sky,
Blocking sight of hope
For the day going blind,
As night begins.


Black mist settles out there,
Haze ambushes oceans,
Light rays through crystals dim,
Green elephant ears, freckled tiger lilies,
Waving banana fronds disappear.
A flock of day birds shrieking madly
Murmurs to silence
In a steamy tropical garden.

A slow-moving shadow
Falls over croaking frogs,
And insects rubbing out a call,
It creeps over iguanas
Hard to the touch,
Inches along pyramids
And lost plantations hidden
Under matted jungles.

The black bird goes over paths
Hemmed in by sticker wire
From post to rustic post.
Towards a silent graveyard
Behind rusty gates
Where your grandparents,
Younger than you are now,
Read, in disbelief, their epitaphs.

Shade obscures ripe red berries
And gooey figs on sticky branches,
And muddy rivers swelling up summer banks,
Mossy oaks blur into swampy bottoms.

The advance continues,
Past desert highways
Leading up to watermelon hills,
By pregnant vines sucking up afternoon showers.
Finally, to sturdy pines dripping amber sap,
The tallest guardians of the highest peaks of May,
Young man trees yearning to poke holes in the sky.


The wind arrives at our retreat,
Blowing in after hours of pleasure
Passed in a minute.
We’re like children unaware of time,
Our brains are honeycombs
Of sweet thoughts,
Our hearts sugar,
As we lay back on
Glazed green grass,
Talking and eating white clouds
Seeing beauty through
Your brown eyes.

As dusk orders curfew.
Nags down primary colors and rainbows,
Pulls curtains over iridescent peacock feathers,
Stops the pomp of strutting turkeys,
Censors cock tails and low hanging fruits,
Conceals grapes from my grabbing hands.


Behind us the past camps in Autumn by the shore,
Naked boys jump in the water and feel fine.
Exercise flushes their smooth red cheeks
Fading as time moves away.
Dramatic sweeps of valleys dim,
Jillions of unseen leaves flutter
Across the border of night.
Flowers paint the last scene of the day,
Until the sizzling colors of sunset
Blend to muddy gray.
The sun’s glassy sparkle on the lake

Doubt enters my brain,
and reproduces in darkness.
I squeeze the climax of our union
Until rivulets of molten gold
Flow out of us.
As the last spot of sun
Sinks below the horizon


Later, a daydream explorer
Discovers a warm memory
And picks it up, rubs it against flint.
Sparks fly and it catches fire
Being remembered.
A musky vision rises out of the blaze,
Part sun, part man, part goat
It’s your ghost from that perfect day!
Alive and relaxed in afterglow.
The flames die down,
Then your apparition withers in smoke
Changes to charcoal,
Finally, to a diamond chip,
My blooming man.

It blows around my mind like a trapped bird
Trying to fly out my eyes like windows,
Hitting the glass repeatedly.