Saturday, June 11, 2005
"Compass Rose" tattoo on my right thigh
A friend emailed yesterday to tell me that E had died in Florida. E was a source of much positive energy, both erotic and intellectual. He and I met via the internet many--at least twelve--years ago on a gay chat group. He was in the vanguard of gay men who settled in Ft. Lauderdale, because he loved the nude beach, the sun, the easy life style and ocean, and mostly because he loved men. I met him briefly one year as he was on his annual pilgrimage up the coast, in a head-turning vintage Cadillac convertible, to the big GAYLA gathering on the coast of Maine. E probably didn't know it, but he was part of an inexorable chain of events and people that brought Fritz and me together.
Back in the mid-90s, I was feeling my way from the simple acceptance of my homosexuality that had happened at least a decade and a half before, into a deeply personal discovery of gay spirituality. E and I often wrote about this topic on the chat group. Around that time, I had read a chapter in a book about little-known aspects of life in Cambridge, MA that spoke of the author's visit to a group called F.M. There, gay men gathered and engaged in rituals designed to foster bonds among them that went far beyond hit-and-run sex. I was intrigued--it sounded exactly like what I was looking for but I could never find it. I spoke to friends and local gay organizations, I asked guys I hooked up with, etc. etc., but I couldn't locate F.M.
Then a very Zen thing happened: I gave up. I decided it either didn't exist any more or might even have been an invention of the author's. So I let it go. Not two days later after I had posted something to the chat group that a couple of people were kind enough to find profound, E wrote me and said, "From the way you're writing now, I think you’re ready to meet my mentor. His name is H and he hosts a group in Cambridge that meets once a month. It's called F.M." He included H’s contact info.
I was stunned. The moment I stopped batting my head against it, it came to find me. E played a key part in my meeting Fritz at H’s in May of 1997.
E's initials EET are tattooed onto my right thigh as part of a piece of art, in the shape of an old-fashioned Arabic compass rose, in tribute to the people and the process that led me to Fritz. In place of the usual direction initial--N, S, NE, SW, etc.--are the initials of seven men and one woman, people who provided the direction for me, linked in pairs directly opposite each other. Farewell and happy rest, E, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.