Dear Chaucer,
Fall has finally arrived here in the desert. I don’t mean on the calendar, I don’t give a rat’s ass about that. I mean the air is softer on the skin, even when the temperature climbs.
The mountains look a little softer, with a little bit of green in their color now, a relief from the uniform tan of summer.
The coyotes aren’t quite as evident now as they were in the height of the heat wave. With the slight cooling they’re heading back up the mountain, leaving the valley to us humans.

I’ve decided I’m willing to try to communicate with a few of the people from my past, if you promise me that you’ll respect my privacy, and above all keep the bible thumping to yourself.
There are other ways to read the bible than we were taught.

I’ve decided to rejoin the human race after all, but I’m not in any sort of hurry. I’m taking this one step at a time. I’m meeting people. I’ve talked to a few fellows and even gone out a time or two. Well all right, that may be a tiny understatement. But you need to know that I’m not “in sin”, it’s who I am and who I’m going to be for the rest of my life. It’s not a behavior or a chosen “lifestyle”, it’s me plain and simple. Can you deal with that? I hope so.

I even started going to church again. There’s this little Episcopal priest down here with the sweetest smile. I absolutely have a crush on him, but then I crush on just about anyone with a nice smile. He’s from somewhere in central Africa doing his thesis, and they had to hide him from his superiors back home. It seems the African Episcopalians are trying to kill all the faggots these days. Seriously, they’re pushing legislation back home to make it a capital crime to be homosexual, or even to speak on a homosexual’s behalf. So he’s hiding out here, taking as long as he can to finish up his degrees, hoping no one back home notices he’s been gone too long.
We had a long talk, and he doesn’t seem to mind me, he just wants me to behave in church.
So now I go down on Saturdays and clean the church to make it nice for services on Sunday.
It got out somehow that I do music, and they’re already trying to get me to do some solo work. I think I’ll leave before I let that happen. I won’t let that circus start all over again, all the promoting and performing, getting lifted up and then thrown down. I can’t and won’t deal with that, so if they’ll let me, I’ll just pretty up the place on the weekends. I really do want to feel like I’m a part of some kind of spiritual community. I just won’t be in any kind of leadership.
Another thing I love to do is walk in the mornings, just before daybreak. I go out into the untracked desert where it seems like the dawn of time, almost paradise.You can see the most incredible things here, if you just pay attention. I saw a coyote sitting motionless in front of the skeleton of a saguaro cactus in which a rabbit was sitting as still as a rock, both waiting for the other to tire so they could make their move. Neither one stirred for the longest time. I left them still sitting, as patient as the mountains. They knew that at that moment in their lives, there was nothing more important that they could be doing.
I love the huge Saguaro cactuses. I saw one that was measured at 46 feet, with dozens of branches. They said it was over 100 years old. It was slowly dying, but fighting to keep it’s hold on life.
These saguaro have the most beautiful blooms. The Indians harvest them and make a liquor out of them. They work for weeks and weeks to make this cactus juice, and then they have a 3 day blowout. After that they wait for next years harvest.
My life has been a lot like that, short bursts of tremendous activity and accomplishment followed by waiting.
Well, that’s about all the serious communication I can manage for now. Please write and send me all the latest news from Hell. I check my mail faithfully, about once a week, down at the trading post/general post office. Sometimes I miss a week, but I usually have to go for groceries.
Just promise me you won’t start telling everybody. I can’t handle people coming around wanting me to “be” something for them. I think the worst thing for me is that they want me to be what they refuse to be for themselves. It’s too much for me to try to “be” anything for myself, much less anybody else.
Maybe that’s what this season is about for me, learning to just be, not to do or to be something for someone, but just to be.
Most of my socializing is with the local desert rats. We understand each other. All being fugitives, we recognize one another.
I realized one day that they had just quit playing the game of pretense. That’s all.
I’ll be meeting the boys to pass around a bottle of something or other before dinner. I’ll tell them all Hi for you. I know you’d love to meet them. They look rough, but they’re really a sweet bunch.
Take care of yourself.


Desert Fauna

A lonely lad, with only a cowskull for company. Where is Georgia O’Keefe when we need her?

In these boys live the spirits of Jacob and Esau, who wrestled each other almost to death.

A perfect spot for a sunbath. Got tanning lotion?

Be loved,



11 Responses to “LETTER TO MY PAST”

  1. Lemuel Says:

    I loved your description of the early morning walk in the dessert, your talk of the cactus and such. It was as if you wre taking us along.

    I relate also to your need of connection to a spiritual community, but yet needing to resist the forces that would drag you into destructive situations (although they appear to others to be benign). I firmly resist the calls to become so involved. We used to call it “dusting the pews”, but I am not talking about the simple activites that appear to bring you renewed satisfaction and fulfillment.

    You always conclude with “be loved” and you spoke of “being” in the post. I suppose a lot of us would rejoice with you as we see you simply “be”.

  2. JR Says:

    You almost made me like the desert. ALMOST. Im just not a desert person. I really enjoyed the whole post.

  3. Kalvin Says:

    I think what was most interesting to me was the signature at the end of the post. Why Dante? If you were Dante, would you be sending this to inferno, purgatorio, or paradiso? The wonderful part of this post is the ability you have of just being in the desert which comes across so beautifully from your description of the old catcus to the seemingly immutable traditions. You always life my spirits!

  4. Ur-spo Says:

    that was lovely, Dan!

  5. tornwordo Says:

    What a wonderful letter. And the image of the cactus coyote rabbit was marvelous. Oh how I miss the desert.

  6. Foxy Stone Says:

    the weather report from HELL
    mostly firey with a thirty percent chance of brimstone

    goooolly Mr. Daniel…you sure are book smart. I loved the post and the snappy references… good luck joining this maddening crowd. If you need to hear a pagan view of things… just bend a young wolf’s ear.

  7. Enemy of the Republic Says:

    Ah, Daniel. I need to do the same, write a letter to my past. It takes tremendous courage. I don’t have it yet.

    I think we’ve discussed this or maybe not. I am infuriated with how the Christian church (some of them) act about homosexuality. I will just have to do a post on it. In some cases, people have just agreed to disagree with me; in others, I am told that the devil has captured my mind–that’s a good one. But I have managed to get some Christians to see that homosexuality is not against Christ at all. One victory at a time.

  8. AHK Says:

    Great letter. Where do you find these incredible pictures?

  9. Daniel, the Guy in the Desert Says:

    lemuel- There is something in the nature of The Faith which seems to dictate that spiritual leadership neccessitates crucifixion, usually minus the fun of resurrection. I think it has more to do with pious attitudes than with the core values that Jesus espoused. Perhaps we should talk about that some time soon. I suspect we have much to share on that score.

  10. Daniel, the Guy in the Desert Says:

    JR-Thanks, friend. It took me a very long time to really learn to love the desert. But I surely do now.
    Kalvin-Hmmm, Perhaps because Dante knew that life is a progress, and that Hell is usually followed by a time of waiting and healing called by some Purgatory, and then if we’ve sown good seed, a time of reaping a good harvest(NOT in some never nverland). But just maybe, I wouldn’t want to be dogmatic about it.
    ur-spo-Many thanks to you. Thank you for coming by.
    Tornwordo-Sounds like a magicians name:The Great Tornwordo…After all, the root word “magi” (related to the word “mega”), in it’s most basic form simply means “Great Heart”.
    Foxy stone-How you love to turn things backward and then draw the most lucid sense from chaos. I love that in you.
    enemy of the republic-I have been desiring to write along those lines, but every time I try I start ranting. I have not mastered the art of level headed anger as well as you.
    AHK-Thanks so much. I’ve been collecting a loooong time. I have some graphics that I downloaded on my old Mac os 7, back in the early 90’s.
    Daniel-Haven’t I run into you at Queer Ink?

  11. Em Says:

    Daniel, that was so beautiful. It’s like I can feel your heart in what you write about the earth.

    The rest… I’ve been meaning to write you privately. The struggle to reconcile the past with the present…to bring someone you love into now but ask them to leave the shared baggage behind and trust that the present will provide… a struggle. One that I admire you for making.

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