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Thoughts on the A Train

In preparation for a friend’s birthday party, whose theme was celebrating personal transformations, I wrote this piece. Having agreed last minute to MC this event (I was in NyC for work coincidentally), I wanted to come prepared to share as the invitation requested. A transformation of either the past,the present or the future. The party was a celebration in 3 Acts – quite an intimate and engaging community building event. But I’d expect no less from the one of a kind host ūüôā

Jammed into a Saturday night crowded A train, armed with my Holiday Inn Express pen and pad, trying my best to look cool and prepared for East Coast winter – I scribbled. A current transformation; to embrace my spirituality and sensuality in the same breath and not as isolated sides of a torn and searching soul. Embracing that both are at my core. Of course, this was prompted by the irritation (and rejection) I was feeling from my, well, um hook up apps. I had been on the road 7 days at this point with no booty. Criminal, right?

It is rare that I recite something raw, but I didn’t have time to edit – so herein lies the first draft version I shared under the candlelight in Birthday Act 2. Of corse I can start more easily trapped in rhyme, but it opens up towards the middle…when I got a seat on the train ūüôā


As I’ve begun to explore my inner freak,
I’ve assumed my spiritual future would be less than bleak.

That God is nowhere to be found
As I find pleasure round after round…

The Preacher’s Son that deep inside
Is being forced to duck and hide.

And it’s frustrated me time after time
To encourage everyone’s exploration, except for mine.

Stuck between the rock and hard place Of Spiritual and Freak.
Yet feeling a divine voice remind me that I, am unique.

I know a secret I’m all too glad to share,
My Divine Spirit follows me everywhere.

She doesn’t sit idly by waiting to be praised,
Or sit in judgment as many of us were taught as we were raised.

But when your brain is so forcefully taught that something is real –
I becomes easier and easier to ignore what your spirit feels.
And easier and easier to incorrectly name
The source, of that increasing shame.

Is it that I dare to love someone with anatomy like me?
That I believe love can exist in couples of more than 3?
Or that I have church in unlikely places
And find the beauty in those we should deny embraces?

Perhaps you find it blasphemous when
I denounce the saint who loves the sinner but hates the sin.
An ethical slut. A holy fuck.

A mind warped freak that believes in both grace and luck.
Doomed as an outcast from the stylish yet incredulous boxes of saints and sinners alike.
Searching for a community that won’t reject me for loving God or loving man.
I’ve yet to find it.

Amazed, by all the distance we create
In our convenient technological ways to stay close.

Do I really need to know that 250 men within 5 miles of me only fuck white guys?
O hate fate, fems, brown folks (even being brown themselves)
Or have a crazy definition of masculinity?
That my looking for something “more” Is offensive?
That my compliments are insulting?
That I’m your exception because I “don’t even look black!”

It is easy to internalize this wall of hate and return it.
But who, then, will teach the baby gays what fucking social skills are?

Dick sucking isn’t dirty, but wanting to laugh with you is.
Flogging you free of your childhood trauma isn’t as controversial as wanting to know your name.
Loving you because that’s my choice, not because you have to earn it. That’s crazy of me?

My sexuality scares my religious community.
My compassion scares my dating pool.
Where then do I go?
Where do morality and ethics exist in this lonely place?

How do I get the holy roller to embrace their freak
And the slut to nurture his spirit?

By being the sexiest fucking martyr you ever met.
By taking that confusion, misplaced fear and hate,
And returning it with love.
And good sex.

By remembering, always remembering
That I am not alone in this lonely space
Just aware.

And committing to reflect the beauty I see in you,
No matter now ugly you know yourself to be.
Now that’s hot.


Night School

“Innovation is my whore fetish.”

I was sitting in SF Citadel, an event space in San Francisco that caters to the Bay Area’s Leather/BDSM community. I’d never considered this cohort of folks a “community” per se. When I think Leather, it evokes images of whips and nipple clamps, busty dominatrix ladies and human urinal guys. My take away message: More important than the idea that there are folks out there who find pleasure and release in an act you find despicable, is the idea that there is a community that seeks to understand, educate and support these folks.

This particular evening’s course, “Beginner’s Dungeon”, seemed right up the alley of my friend and I. We are both Queer folks raised in very Christian households, and both fairly experienced sex educators. And while we advocate for a range of sexual freedoms and rights for a variety of folks, we are seeking to deepen our own personal experiences through exploring our sexualities and challenging ourselves. We are newbies who talk a good game but wanted to engage with the community more and see what these scenes and events and folks were really all about.

So we grabbed Panda Express from the mall and brought our ad hoc dinner into the play, I mean educational, space. We settled in next to the wooden crosses, suspension supports, aftercare couches ( the whole concept of aftercare blew my mind with how common sense it was, and how none of us “vanilla” sex folks are invested in it.) and an amazingly cool retro disco dance floor that I would personally love no dance naked on. For the next 3 hours, this would be the setting for our kink u cation. I was encouraged by the diversity of my classmates. Older white couples and younger brown ones, friends and individuals representing a range of genders. All of us coming together on a cold San Francisco winter Thursday night to see if there was indeed something kinky about us, or if our partners or perhaps the alcohol had just gotten us all wrong.

It is critical for me to remain sex positive in my field. I can’t be a Black gay man working in HIV prevention and a judge folks for living their lives. And since my best friend recently began working in the adult industry, my liberal theories have been put to the test. I mean, I want her to be free and put those 36 Ks to good use, but I also want to stab her fans when they get out of pocket. So I’ve been facing sexuality on several fronts lately and am unsure of where I stand. It is a constant battle between the Church of God in Christ boy in me and my blossoming Radical Queer. I’m on a constant journey of figuring out how to be an ethical slut. Figuring out love and lust. Figuring out how to communicate from my head, my heart and my hard on.

It is also challenging to be a loving gay person in the Bay Area, where so many Mo’s bring their hang ups and projections. Caring is considered weakness. Optimism mistaken for na√Įvet√©. But I have at least begun to find a few magical folks who are proud of their spirituality, celebrate their sexuality and engage with their community. Thoughtful freaks, I call them. And a I grow stronger in myself, I notice something inside me longing to get out. I am not sure if this something is my inner freak or not, but I figure I can afford to let it out since I’d be thoughtful about it, right? Maybe it’s that wild macho top stud muffin porn star. Maybe it’s another layer of nerd I’ve yet to uncover.

I had always thought of top as referring to cock in ______. ( I’ll let you decide which openings work better for your imagination.) I didn’t really conceptualize the top as scene builder and mover, as making a space where a bottom could let go of control and be subject to the control of a top who could push his limits in the most sexy and innovative ways.

So much of my work intersects with trauma; folks surviving assault, hate and identity inspired violence, self-loathing, survival sex, and the list goes on. I am a commitment to loving and caring for these communities. But all too often, my hyper sensitivity to boundaries and consent interferes with the sexiness of “the moment”. Even when my bottom says yes, I find myself double and sometimes triple checking. I suspect this is because I know what it’s like to have a top who doesn’t respect the limits. That is something that sticks with you, and that I never want to re create. But I’m not that top.

I deserve, and my bottom(s) deserve the full-on, hot, deep, rich f*ck that comes from truly letting go and trusting your partner. But I’ve never formally played with sexual power. So 2013 looks like an informative year! I will be interesting to engage in kink education and become an active participant in my own sexual liberation. I’ve taken the step of joining,a kinky community that is helping me give language for this experience and offer insight on why some people do what they do. And this “Beginner” series seems like a good route, so I think I’ll stick it out. Maybe you’ll join me?



You’re Still Here?

Yes, indeed I am. It has been years and lots has happened. So much in fact, that I wondered if it was even smart to resume this blog rather than start a new one. But I’ve decided continuing something would 1) be a change of pace for my non committal ass and 2) be a great way to see if I have indeed grown in writing AND life, or if I am circling around the same lessons over and over. In either case, lets see where this goes?




How can I be sad when I’m the one who broke it off? ¬†Feeling like every sad love song you hear and blast when you’re going through drama, but in reality I’m the person you’d be singing shit about.

Maybe love only hurts when it’s not what you expect it to be. Or maybe I’m just realizing what I lost. ¬†The loneliness is creeping in, and I have to get to know myself all over again. ¬†Have you ever been such a work-aholic that you didn’t know what to do with free time when you got it? ¬†Well now the 1 person in my life who got to see a side of me not at work, isn’t in my life. ¬†And I’m feeling the loss of way more than a boyfriend, or just booty.

He was the one who had access to the realities of my crazy ass scenario. ¬†And sitting here alone, with the empty walls staring back at me – I’m realizing how loud it is in my head. ¬†And how off centered I really am. Was I co-dependent? ¬†Was I clinging to the one good thing in my life? ¬†Was I in a pothead like stupor?

I have tons of time to figure that out.


Ignorance or Bliss?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s helpful to pay attention.¬† To care about the underlying needs or ideas behind people’s behavior.¬†¬† All it seems to give me is grief.

I’ll admit that it’s sad to realize that I’ve gone this long without paying genuine attention to my surroundings.¬† But have you seen my surroundings?¬† You wouldn’t pay attention either.¬† It seems like not paying attention would get me more money, better friends, and a satisfying relationship.¬†¬† It seems like not paying attention would allow me to blend in with colleagues and acheive just as much

It sucks to want to feel progressive and be surrounded by backwards-ass thinking.¬†¬†¬†¬†I’ve been trying to read more seriously ¬†lately, to really follow the news, to keep an informed opinion, and not stay in my tunnel.¬† But it seems that I’m too far ahead of the stupid people curve, but just far enough behind the iPhone brainiacs to find a home.¬† I can hold my own in a conversation, sure.¬† But it always seems like the 3 cool stats I memorize a week are never useful at the parties I’m going to.¬†¬†

Am I going to the wrong parties or amd I learning the wrong facts?¬†¬† From cultural awareness, to cultural competence, to cultural humility – I am trying to assert myself in the world just as I am realizing that I do not know as much as I thought I did about it.¬† And I think that’s the exciting part of the journey; realizing that I am on one.¬† It allows me to find strength and comfort in my struggle.¬†

But as I learn to connect the past to the present, my actions to the actions of others, my choices, my secrets, my relationships, my dedication, my follow through, my integrity, my purpose, my worth, my intentions, my people – it all makes sense.¬†¬† And I realize I always knew what I know, I just didn’t know it until I wanted to learn.¬† Something is being shaped.¬† My character and presence and potential is actualizing as I learn about the world.¬† Because for once, I can make an educated guess about where I fit into it.¬†¬† And from there I can assess what I need to do, what I want to do, and what I can envision as a future.

I just want to be able to bring empowerment out of the house with me beyond my job scope.¬† There was a time when people did the work that many people in the Social Service sector do for free.¬† But now economics and cultures of scarcity make it “less beneficial” to involve yourself in social change.¬† I do belive people should be rewarded for their efforts, but we are facing an uphill battle on so many fronts, that watiting is not a feasible option.¬† What good is that knowledge if I don’t contribute to my community and share it?¬†¬† Community organizers are facilitators and support systems.¬† Translators and orators being stories from the past to shape the course of the future.

I can’t wait until I feel I’ve “gotten smart enough” to pay attention.¬†¬†¬† Hopefully, I’ll always be smarter tomorrow than I was yesterday.



So I won’t get into details, because it’s not completely my story to tell.¬† But I will say that my brother is facing hard time, and I’m freaking out.¬† I can’t decipher if I’m more broken hearted over the fact that I didn’t take advantage of all of the opportunities he created to kick it?¬† I was usually to busy.¬† Is it because he was already somewhat self-isolated from our judgemental family?¬†¬† Communication is a two way street.¬† Or am I more pre-occupied with the family that he is going to be separated from that I haven’t been much of an uncle or btother-in-law to – and will guilt get the best of me?¬†¬† I’m still not interested in babysitting.¬†

I just can’t belive this has happened.¬† My brother is not a statistic.¬† He is an amazing father, a loyal friend, an entrepreneur, a tradesman, a stoner, and a loving man.¬† He is also stubborn, impatient, superficial, and¬† eccentric.¬† But he’s a pretty bad-ass package nonetheless.¬† His imagination just doesn’t have the discpline or follow through, and a good team mate is hard to find – so he gets caught up.¬†¬†

I just wish my family were more like the Wayans’.¬† Because our lives are definitely “In Living Color”.¬† From God-drama, to relationship drama, to baby momma drama – we are chock full of anecdotes, heartbreak, and irony.¬† All the good makings of a prime time hit.¬† And we are all sarcastic bastards, so we would have cutting edge jokes, too.

The thing about our bunch is that we don’t stick it out with each other.¬† And that we all want to individually prove to our parents how¬† success we are.¬† SO much so that we set ourselves up for failure by planning in a vacuum of secrecy.¬† Not open to the feedback and support of a strong and complimentary team.¬†¬† We all want to make it big so that we can make our family proud (and hook them up), but we all have our unique brands of drama that hinder our cooperative genius.

But when I’m hanging with my brother one-on-one, or when I call my sister to swap relationship drama rants – everything is perfect.¬† Their common experience of our parents (though we were raised in different eras) is similar enough where some things just go unsaid.¬†¬† Our common experience as Quinns in the world gives us the connectedness we need to face the drama of our days.¬† And considering the formidable mountains we all face, it’s nice to have someone in your corner who gets it.

And where are the parents in all of this?  Riding a roller coaster that swivels between Tough Love and Prodigal Sons.  Wondering where and why daughters went wrong, how what and when sons managed to pull those capers, and what chapter in The Bible they missed when raising this holy bunch of hooligans?  But they did get things right.  We all have the most beautiful hearts.  We all thrive when we make others happy.   We respect others and have stable work ethics.  We stress out over making sure our partners are satisfied (ok, so what if we are high maintenance too?)

I guess the point is that WE deserve the multi-million dollar franchise.¬† Not the Wayans.¬† Well maybe they deserve it because they have initiative.¬† Maybe because they are all identical twins.¬† Or maybe because there just haven’t been enough Scary Movies or Epic Movies or Whatever the hell movies they are making.¬†¬†

I guess I’ll just continue to play my supporting role in the un-filmed epic of my family.¬† And hope that our prime time prayers and miracles come true.


Making A Life or Making A Living

So I’m attempting to educate myself on the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC), since I seem to have a job that eats my soul and at the same time keeps me connected to what’s important in this world.¬†

When I got to my job, I was inspired by the supportive activist environment, the commitment to learning and expanding an analysis of the world, and the opportunities I was afforded in being connected with radical thinkers and big hearted community organizers.  While this spirit and memory still lives with me in my work, I am finding it harder to sustain my work (and sanity unfortunately) because I am responsible for keeping this spirit alive.  Any being an individual trying to keep a collective consciousness vivid Рis a challenge.

And lately, as economic crises come 5 a week, I am wondering how out of touch with my instincts I am.¬† I am wrapped in the drama – of my accountability to the communities I am serving as a “professional”, to the funding game I have to play that prioritizes everyon’e opinons but mine, and grappling with feeling underappreciated for all my hard work and egotistical for wanting/needed to feel appreciated.¬† Damn!

So how do you make a living from social justice work and still hold high standards for civic involvement outside of the 60-hour work week?¬† I hope I am moving closer to that balance…


July 2018
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