Universal Hunks

Universal Hunks – A Pictorial History of Muscular Men Around the World, 1895-1975 – David L. Chapman with Douglas Brown – Arsenal Pulp Press. A couple of the photos in this surfaced on a ‘vintage men’ twitter I follow, with a link to the book, which I ordered & have as paperback. Ebook was available but this is one I needed to turn pages.

It is an excellent study on the nature of masculinity around the world – masculinity seen as muscular strength. It also has a sharp subtext on colonization, race & male nudity. I recall in high school some of my male classmates were alway eager to go through the National Geographic Magazines in the school library to find bare breasted women. One guy got suspended for cutting those pictures out, (or maybe it was bra ads in Miss Chatelaine.) I was usually disappointed in how few tribal men got the same tender photographic attention.

Strength & masculinity & violence have been a standard of defining  what makes a man a man. The books reminded of the old Charles Atlas ads that appeared in comic books & men’s magazine where skinny guy on beach get sand kicked in his face by the muscular bully – skinny guy buys the Atlas muscle building course & tosses that bully aside – the message being bullies deserved to be beaten – violence is the way to making oneself respected a man.Of course today if that happened in the USA one of them would merely pull a gun & kill the other in self-defence.

Universal Hunks takes us around the world outside of North America with a series of excellent photos of muscle men. Some became brand names for health products – eat these biscuits & you too can unbend horseshoes. Many enlarged their fame with postcard pictures doing stunts or merely posing in very tight garments or even bare chested. 

The photos gave admirers the opportunity to look as long as they wanted. Many posed for sculptors & painters as well & some shots of those studio moments are included. Many of the photos are amazingly ageless & could have been taken of men last week. None of them deliberately eroticize their subjects, that is up to the viewer, in this case me 🙂

Suffocating

me face down flat on the floor

me: fifteen

the floor: high school gym

pine slats and the smell of socks

lift from the waist

me lifting sweating

I could do this much of the class

I felt safe in one spot

not facing anything   anyone

<>

now roll over

this was a little worse

I could see the other guys in my class

but I’m still safe

in one spot on the floor

I dreaded it all so much

I’d arrive at school in my gym clothes 

to avoid the change room

okay on your feet boys and boys

we groaned up

jumping jacks

<>

I was still safe in one spot

I could keep up with this

it was basketball that did me in

where I could never remember left from right

never could manage a lay up

traveling with the ball – whatever that was

I would pass whenever I could

sometimes I’d fall to get out of the way

<>

but that fear was merely prelude 

to what I dreaded the most

the showers

I’d yank my glasses off right away

soft focus everyone

into naked fuzzy forms

I would slink in as small as I could

rinse down

dart back to my locker

keep my eyes to the floor – to faces

but there was always someone too close

someone I couldn’t keep from focusing on

when I was trying not to look

at hair everywhere on some of them

asses backs around their balls

<>

I would dress barely dried off 

rush up the stairs and outside

to breath

to keep from drowning 

in the damp desires

that were suffocating me

<>

……

Check out my blog about this poem: 

Suffocating  http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1dQ  

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sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Full Frontal

On a recent Disability After Dark Andrew Gurza talks about The Sessions – a movie that made a big splash some years ago dealing with a disabled man & his female sex surrogate. I thoroughly enjoyed Andrew’s scene-by-scene look at The Sessions. A movie which I have not seen – too emotional manipulative for me. I don’t like being forced to feel good.

It was important to hear about a movie from an ‘expert’ – someone who knows about the reality of disability as opposed to some reviewer, critic who is caught up in the drama & not aware of facts. Andrew pretty much likes the emotional content of the movie which resonated with his lived experience. He calls out a few anachronisms (modern wheelchair instead of period one) & also how little the hero’s privacy is respected. 

The other thing which he notes is nudity. He questions why Helen Hunt, the lead actress, get full frontal while John Hawkes, the male lead, gets minimal exposure, even in the sex scenes. This is not unique to this movie though. Showing breast & vagina is not longer so shocking but the male body remains pretty much hidden. Lots of fast ass shots, never the well-lit, lingering shots that female nudity gets.

Female nudity is rarely seen as gratuitous if it fits the story. In Sessions if nudity makes sense for Helen Hunt then nudity makes equal sense John Hawkes should as well, right? This is one of those double-standards. Male performers have to worry about ‘performance anxiety’ or are shy about displaying their cock at all – what if it doesn’t measure up to their fans fantasies. Isn’t that cgi is for? If they can double the cost a film by digitally enhancing the hair of the lead for every scene he’s in, surely a few minutes of cock shouldn’t be an issue.

Or perhaps they wanted to respect the dignity of the disabled man – after all his disability was enough without exploiting his dick, too. When one catches a glimpse of a stars’ cock it is a flash – even when that dick is the supposedly the star: i.e Boogie Nights – where there is ample bared female but a split-second moment of Dirk Diggler’s supposed large cock & even that was a bad fake – they couldn’t afford a stunt cock.

I’ll end this with my favorite big star full-frontal from Fight Club. Brad Pitt appears at least 4 times in a single frame at various points in the film. My vision was so good it caught the first one & thanks to our dvd player I was able to frame-by-frame at the points were Pitt flashed me. That was no stunt cock 🙂

How Deep Is My Love

my love is deeper than Nietzsche

deeper than the gap between 

spiritual fantasy and sexual reality 

deeper than what we all thought the 60’s meant

my love for you is longer than 

the time between knowing 

it isn’t working and ending it

longer than the time between 

ending it and getting over it

I love you more than this shirt look great on me

my love is harder than 

peanut brittle in Arctic moonlight

my love is more hopeful than 

an overflowing recycling bin

my love for you is longer than 

the arm of the law 

holding a restraining order 

my love for you is purer 

than the water in the bottle of 

rapidly disappearing ice shelf 

melted just so you 

could have a sip 

and throw it away

my love for you is purer than a dream

my love for you is purer than 

how you felt 

before you even know the difference

between a care bear and a pubic hair

my love for you is stronger 

than the tang of expresso 

with a flavour shot of almond

to cover that weird burned taste

my love is truer than 

all those Facebook friends 

who rsvp’d they’d be here

my love for you is stronger than 

your need to be loved

my love for you is 

no longer the crime it once was

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked)
 capfireslam.org 

September 25, Tuesday – Horror feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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To clothe the naked

sample

To clothe the naked

1

there was this guy

naked

on the subway platform

shoes   socks   a shoulder bag

nice shoes I said.

he glanced down oh my god! I’m naked!

apparently he wasn’t aware

of having nothing on

but his shoes   socks

sorry I said didn’t mean to alarm you

he covered his cock with his e.reader

this isn’t a dream he asked

not mine I replied did you have an exam this morning?

what he asked

naked dreams are usually caused by stress

you know

getting to school for an important exam

and realizing you have no pants on

no no. I was fully clothed when I left my place

I glanced to see if anyone noticed

I saw a naked woman

adjusting her baby in a stroller

her round ass poised in the air

2

I got on the subway car

there were more naked people

men women various ages sizes

I wasn’t sure where took

they glared back at me

sneering at my clothing

as if I was the one doing something untoward

3

when I wished for more nudity

this isn’t what I had in mind

I only wanted certainly people

naked

certainly no one over sixty

to see that future is too awful to contemplate

there ought to be a law

so that public nudity is limited

only to those who are buff enough

not to be an offence to the eye

4

please

don’t get undressed on my account

sure you are more appealing naked

but that’s just another way

of objectifying you

how do we remove the personality from the body

ah that’s what the internet is for

thanks for the dick pics

pinkpanty

wet wet wet

For March I’ll be talking about some recent pieces – things I wrote or revised in 2014 and that actually saw the stage light of night. ‘To clothe’ springs started when I wanted to write something sexual that wasn’t actually about sex – the challenge was to be explicit, fun and not come across as sleazy. A difficult balance but I think this succeeded.

It fell into several small short sections in a sort of theme & vacation approach to nudity. The initial image of the naked man on a subway came from a photo on Tumblr of exactly that. It wasn’t TTC, mind you, but it was a posed photo of him reading a endpaper in a crowd of dressed people & no one noticing. Very Toronto all the same.

purpleglove

cool hand Luke

Dream symbolism adds a layer as well – but not of clothing. I’ve had those rather standard dreams of being pantless in public – but this is no dream when the round ass appears. The dream like sense continues with ‘me’ as the only dressed person in a world of naked people. I doubt if that world will ever come to be, at least not here in Toronto with our Arctic cold winters. I did edit out a mention of people sitting their sweaty, naked butts of subway seats without worry of who has sat there before or leaving behind some mark of their own sitting.

But I have often wondered what certain people looked like in the flesh, in a very selective way mind you and even when clothes become scantier int he summer I’ve found myself wishing some people would cover up a little more. Then it ends with a mother variation on the theme of nativity, only this time in private with a line I have said more than once, in jest, ‘don’t get undressed on my account.’ It ends with a sort of rhetorical question reflecting on the state of what the internet has done – in a way reflection of my initial inspiration – that photo of the naked guy on the subway – the context gave it some personality but he was there essentially as a body, for a bit of an ironic shock.

whiteundie

dirty dirty dirty

It ends with a nod to how the image has become the person or is it vice versa? As often as I may be naked with a man I rare get to see them as clearly as I get to see an image. To see someone in the flesh, in the flesh there isn’t the distance that allows the whole person to be viewed. Face to face, & face to other parts, isn’t the same as gazing at someone from the camera’s distance. One of the reasons I think image has become so eroticized – we can look without the object, or is it the subject, of our gaze blushing and asking ‘What are you looking at?’

soon02

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville

loylab

Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

noiroc15

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

red03

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet