Saturday, September 17, 2011

8 Years

Today is my 8 year anniversary with my partner, which is probably hard for you to believe. It's a little hard for me to believe. We met young (the picture to the right is one of our very first pictures), fell in love, and have kept things going for the last 8 years.

Dustin, my partner, truly knows me better than anyone in the whole world. He's changed my life and been there for me through a lot of ups and downs. Our relationship, like any lasting relationship, has changed and evolved over the years. We aren't the same boys we were when we met in the fall of my junior year of college. We aren't the same boys who packed everything up and moved 800 miles away from anyone we knew so I could pursue my graduate degree in creative writing at Florida State. And we aren't even the boys who moved to Orlando three years ago. We have grown into men together and have faced every challenge as a couple.

Our relationship is ours. We make our own rules. We treat each other as equals. We challenge each other. We understand each other. It works because we make it work and we both share a similar outlook on life. We have big plans in the next year that will change our lives even more and continue to make us evolve.

A week or two ago, I was sitting down to write my acknowledgements page and dedication page for my first book of poems, which comes out in March of 2012 from Sibling Rivalry Press. I've dedicated this book to Dustin. He is a huge part of my inspiration and is always willing to let me share our lives with anyone willing to read my poems. He's very brave and I'm not always easy to love (what poet is?).

I thought today I would post a poem on my blog. I don't do this often (I'm not really into self-publishing), but I'm making an exception today. This poem is one of my favorites that I have written about my relationship. I wrote it last summer while Dustin was in Indiana visiting his parents and taking an EMT class for three weeks. It is a good summary of who we are as a couple. It also serves as a good teaser for my upcoming book He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices, which you should all buy in March. I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Missing You While Watching Misery

I’m the writer, but it’s you I imagine tied to the bed,

legs unable to move, trapped by a mad woman

like all the mad women of literature that have come

before her. I can see you planning your escape,

wheeling around the house, frantically storing knives

in your arm sling, and it would be just like you

to knock over that penguin and not think to place

it facing the correct direction. Of course, it’s hard

to picture you in that hobbling scene that makes

everyone so uncomfortable, but I can understand

not wanting to lose a man, and sometimes love hurts.

In reality, you are visiting your parents in Indiana,

and I’m here in Florida in the heat of summer

missing you and watching Annie Wilkes force Paul

to write another novel, to bring his heroine back

to life like I bring you to life here on this page,

even though you are 800 miles away, and I have no

idea what you are actually doing, or who you are with?

Two weeks is a long time for men who have spent

almost every single day together for nearly seven years—

we have a life, a routine, an intimacy in this apartment

where Paul types away on our big screen TV.

It’s enough to make the sane insane, because everybody

needs somebody. I almost sympathize with Annie

and her pig (a pet I’ve always wanted) or maybe

it’s just my love of Kathy Bates coming through.

Love is love, even if it’s forced, or confused,

or one-sided. On the telephone we proclaim how much

we miss the other, rattle off all the dirty things

we want to do to the other’s body, and how lonely

beds can be, which makes us feel silly, codependent,

like lost boys who will never grow up or find

their way back home. Thankfully, we have planes,

tickets, schedules. Annie is bloody now. Paul

just whacked her with his typewriter (the one missing

the letter N), but you know she’s not dead yet,

because madness doesn’t end that quickly. She’s got

a few more minutes, a few more blows before life

gives up on her. Did she ever really stand a chance?

Do we? When you return, I’ll take you to our bed,

use the straps we bought at the sex store, tie your legs

in the air, and make you mine. This we will call sexy.

This we will call love.

-Stephen (Love)


  1. Happy Anniversary! <3

  2. Kudos to you both.

    And a lovely poem. :)

  3. Stephen & Dustin--
    HAPPY, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! May you share many, many more, proving to "them" that we actually CAN (and DO!) have meaningful, fulfilling, loving and lasting relationships!!
    Very sweet post and poem!