Sicily – September 24, 2015

Well, today’s the day. The Big Fucking Deal Day when my essay becomes the center of attention for a brief, unshining moment. It’s a polished thing with a lumpen structure, which I hope I will be given insight into changing. It documents my circuitous coming out process, the pitfalls, cul-de-sacs, and tedium of self-awareness.

“I quite smoking and six months later I was a homosexual.”

My helpful peers suggest I start the essay with this sentence and I’m inclined to agree with them. The timeline of the essay has been called into question. It wasn’t so much a working/not working quandary and it wasn’t that I was ‘in love’ with its pieces, as much as stalled. Now I know that, in addition to the tunnel, there is a light within.

So I feel free, free to join the afternoon tour of five Erice churches. They are beautiful and in varying states of repair and use. The grand Duomo had a lush plaster ceiling, painted a pale golden yellow, like an over-reaching butter sculpture dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Church of San Martino was attached to a convent of cloistered nuns and featured all the technological wizardry required to keep the sisters from being seen while allowing them to worship in the church and sell their sweets after the service, elaborate latticework balconies and in-wall Lazy Susans. An arch spans the narrow street between the church and the convent so the nuns could get to and fro, and nowadays a statue of The Virgin illuminated at night by blue neon gazes down at passersby from the crown of the arch. And San Guiliano, a church that serves as the repository of the town’s sculpted-wax Baby Jesuses. Clammy-looking little babes, some dustier, some more melted, and some with strangely unarticulated winkies. One weird collection, that.

Oh yeah, it was student reading night. I read first and I read three of my poems; two recent ones and good ol’ My Barber’s Arm.

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