#QuarantineJournals Spring Update 🌱 (Updated)

Springtime in the Pacific northwest is lovely, although I haven't had a chance to go hiking yet. I've been using my quarantine time to write. A few updates:

* So far over $3k was raised via the MARCH 2020 Pandemic Chapbooks Initative to encourage charitable giving. See link on how to "purchase" your copy!

* A sequel to POETRY in the TIME of CORONAVIRUS: THE ANTHOLOGY feat. my Gay Love in the Time of COVID-19 (now available in paperback & eBook) is forthcoming! Read a review here.

* My next pandemic poem will be out this Sunday via HEADLINE POETRY & PRESS!

* Essay on Amish, COVID-19.

 * A queer Midwestern anthology with several new poems of mine to be published later this year (or next - TBA)  & a poem in a lit journal due out this summer!

 * Reminder to my Readers: as we are bombarded with grim news please take time for self-care, practice mindfulness & compassion!

#YangGangBookClub: #SundayReads πŸ“š

HOPE πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ 🏳️‍🌈

Yesterday the big news was, of course, Barack Obama's endorsement of Joe Biden:

Growing up Amish in the 80s / 90s (without TV and before social media) I knew little about politics. When I came of age I realized the old adage that one might not take an interest in politics but politics will take an interest in you.

My father and I took an Amish tourist trip to Washington DC one summer so I got to see the Mall, the Petersen house etc. The highlight of the trip was on the way home when I got on the mic and entertained the bus load of Amish by reading political trivia questions from a book purchased at a gift shop. No one knew much but Presidents and politics but a good time was had by all.

As a gay man there was only one party supporting LGBTQ rights and that was the Democratic party. I remember feeling shocked that some of my non-Amish family voted for the other party simply because they were against marriage equality. You cannot change some people's hearts but you do have the power of your vote.

Since the 2016 election it has been clear the other party is not interested in building on the progress made by Obama and more interested in moving backwards not forward.
If you have a party that is in power but has no interest in serving We The People you have a problem: one after the other.
In the recent primary I was proud to vote for Bernie Sanders who is truly an American hero. I loved Mayor Pete Buttigieg's historical campaign and am a proud member of the Yang Gang: in short I was seeing my interests as a gay man being advocated for again.

Hope is on the ballot in 2020 and if I am alive in November I will be voting for hope, not chaos and division.



April is National Poetry Month and to celebrate I have recorded several poetry readings for the #InternationalPoetryCircle project - follow along on social media (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) using the hashtag!

Pandemic Chapbooks Initative to Support Charitable Giving ☣

My poem Ground Zero has been included via MARCH 2020: A COVID-19 ANTHOLOGY A Pandemic Chapbooks Initative to support charitable giving.

[The cover of March 2020: A COVID-19 Anthology: The color scheme is black-and-white and features a detailed, symmetrical drawing by Sile Englert. The drawing is of a woman's head from the side, against circular designs that are reminiscent of how the virus appears under a microscope]

* 845 Press and Collusion Books have joined forces to produce a pair of digital poetry anthologies for our viral times. Both chapbooks are available for free in PDF format to anyone who supports writers, artists, booksellers, or vulnerable communities during this period of social isolation and economic uncertainty.

Ordering info here.

#Nisqually #NativeAmerican #wisdom

I don’t believe in magic. I believe in the sun and the stars, the water, the tides, the floods, the owls, the hawks flying, the river running, the wind talking. They’re measurements. They tell us how healthy things are. How healthy we are. Because we and they are the same. That’s what I believe in. –Billy Frank Jr. - Nisqually Environmental leader

#QuarantineJournals Have you seen "The Love Guru"? #throwback


Happy National Poetry Month - my new poem "Gay Love in the Time of COVID-19" is now available in the new POETRY in the TIME of CORONAVIRUS: The Anthology! Proceeds benefit coronavirus relief efforts.

POETRY in the TIME of CORONAVIRUS is an anthology of original submissions from the Poets of the World. Proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders and Partners In Health - two outstanding organizations supporting the fight against COVID-19 and countless other global health issues. 

Please follow @p_i_t_t_o_c on Instagram to meet many of the poets who generously committed themselves to this charitable effort with their profound creative voices. We dedicate this project to all of the healthcare professionals tasked with treating the victims of Coronavirus. As well, our community of poets extends its compassion and love to all who have been affected by this terrible pandemic. Thank you for supporting our small effort to make a positive difference during this tenuous time. Edited by G.A. Cuddy with valued assistance from Liz Kobak. Cover art by Charlotte Knauth. Contributors: Melanie Maxey, April Leavenworth, Alison Hurwitz, Erica Klarreich, Declan Boyle, Mark Gibbons, Noelle Butkevic, Allan Safarik, Robert Lee, Mark Creavan, Joey Kent, Austin Benson, Patty Lovell, John Paul, Jean Scott, Carmen Micsa, Elizabeth Rogan, Sheri Knauth, Charlotte Knauth, Linda M. Crate, Graeme Beale, Sukhy Parhar, James Schwartz, Sandra Fox Murphy, Taylor Bruce, Paul Cowan, Jerry Gonzalez, Shaun Gant, Luanne Castle, Robert Lonsdale, A.J. Chilson, Kimberly Stowe Green, Andrew Dawson, Matt Nagin, Lewis Trotter, Elizabeth Foster, Priyanka Sacheti, Julie Hale, Chloe Graves, Kayla Graves, Liz Kobak, Susan J. Farese, Devon Weis, Tanya Palacios, Buddila, Siddhant Pardesi, Toni Halseth, Sandra Frye, Teri Gruenwald, Conrad NN, Frankie Acosta, Kendra Stanton Lee, Tony Grand, Peggy Gerber, Judy Lewis, Benedikt Pavolvsky, Alan Weltzien, Margaret Seven Wellman, Shardae Rudel, Moeze Lalji, James Douglas, Keerthana Dhakshinamoorthy, Becky Simmons, Yvonne Glasgow, Josh Massey, Madison Zehmer, Tianna G. Hansen, Maureen Barron, Sharon Simon, Chirayu Writer, Sameer Agrawal, Aldo Quagliotti, Jen Chicheseter, Jamie Murray, (Ren, b.), Ava Motes, Melissa Felson, Dr. Pallavi Narayan, Anonymous Girl (Shreveport, LA), Ajao Abdulqowiyy, Molly Shem Lynch, Bolawa Sunday Ojo, Gerald Wickham, Valerie Fern, Stacy Potter, Melissa Gill, LQ McDonald III, Laura Ogden, Eleanora Hristova, Serene Bavis, Anjuna, Dr. Dan Milner, Kshitij Thakkar, Dwiki Nugroho Mukti, Sito Fossy Biosa, Candra Prasetiyo Wibowo, Alex R. Hein, Airea Johnson, Taya Franco, Debarshi Mitra, Jeanette C. Vigliotti, Shineth Anne, Pamela Sumners, Manshur Zikri, Jennifer Lemming, Madison Gordon, Stephen Watt, John Evan Patrick, John Morgan, Lisa Nelson, Nicolas Correa, Marie Johnson-Ladson, Ahren Lehnert, Matt Steele, Peter Clive, Emily Simon, Gerry Whyte, Katie Elizabeth, Champagne Writers (Candace A. Williams, DiAna Smith-Brown, and Peggy Gerber), Kate Garrett, Lynn Ungar, T.L. White, B. (@sexinthe6ixblog on Instagram), Christopher Kent, Marc Beaudin, Shelby Clark, Christopher Kent, Abigail Tabor, Simon Medhurst, Theresa Bastian, Jayda Louise, Andi Talbot, Joelle P., Patrick Hart, Jen Hughes, Ross Wilcox, Chloe Hanks, Neel Trivedi, S.A. Mobley, Sara C. Marron, Kari Rittoo, Gayle Smith, H.C. Anhalt, and Isabel Morgan.

Happy #NationalPoetryMonth! ☣πŸ™

The #YangGang Book Club: "Credit Where Cash is Due"

The #YangGang Book Club made my day! 😁 Check out the reading of my ode to Andrew Yang above (14:00 mark)! 

Quarantine Journal #2 ☣

Late night writing...
Listening to the rain and sirens...
Washing over the cold cityscape...

Taking fear & sadness...

& laying it at the feet...
Of the medicine Buddha.

The Good Men Project: Amish in the Time of Coronavirus

THE GOOD MEN PROJECT has published my latest essay AMISH IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS, please give it a read!

Headline Poetry & Press: The Plague

HEADLINE POETRY & PRESS has published my visual poem THE PLAGUE based on text by Albert Camus and scored by a track from the Plague Inc. soundtrack!


Quarantine Journal: #1 ☣

Quarantine life has been productive so far! I have several poems and an essay scheduled for publication soon! Fun fact: when I complete a poem, essay, book etc. I completely lose interest in it and only promote it as it is only fair to the editor, journal or publisher to do so.

After an experimental 5 episode mini season of The Gay Amish Podcast I lost interest in it entirely although I received a lot of positive feedback from you guys. Thank you!

I am hoping to launch a full season by this summer.

Perhaps my lack of focus extends to other areas in my life as well - shout out to my exes!

I left the Amish Church in my late teens and it was a long time until I found the Center for Spiritual Living which I attended for 3 years.
"Wherever you are on your spiritual path you are welcome here."

While this may or may not be a surprise to you I have decided to convert to Buddhism which is truly a source of comfort and peace to me, something Christianity never did.

 I caused a hoo ha during an episode of The #GayAmishPodcast when I blithely stated that only Roman Catholics were real Christians, Protestants being a devolution and like Coca-Cola: ain't nothing like the real thing baby!

During my time in Puna, Hawaii I discovered the gospel of Hale Makua which was a Truth I had always been searching for. Ironically I first read the book while living in the Kapoho rainforest, literally a mile from where the great kahuna once resided until his passing. While I read the book a gecko lizard watched me intently - Native Hawaiians will understand the significance of this.

I  believe there are no accidents in life and that our ancestors guide us in our journey. I am reminded of the right-wing conservative Bible thumpers I knew growing up in Michigan, who weaponized Christianity and to call them zealots would not be an understatement.

Faith is something personal and between you and the Universe, not a Facebook meme that ridicules other faiths.

Now I am under the tutelage of Buddha! It is all part of my dharma and I walk in gratitude. We are living in a time of great change and I feel joyful in embracing the mystery.

A Personal Plea to Amish: Take #COVID19 Seriously! ☣

Tonight I read THIS ARTICLE completely horrified! I am appalled at the  responses by the Amish individuals quoted in the Lancaster Online article and unless you begin taking the coronavirus seriously there will be a lot of deaths in the community. The coronavirus does not care about your political views and your consumption of conservative media will lead to a) apathy to your community at large, b) misinformation and c) risking the health of all! The measles epidemic several years ago should be a lesson learned the hard way. Yet today many Amish still refuse to be vaccinated because they don't have to.

While lockdowns in cities may not affect you, make no mistake: this very lethal virus is already in your state and in circulation. Refusing to follow CDC GUIDELINES will be a catastrophe and result in many illnesses and deaths.

On a personal note:
Over the years I have worked very hard to inform Amish on LGBT issues and combat homophobia within the church, as well as supporting LGBTQ+ Amish shunned by the church.

My former community in Michigan saw firsthand my long term relationship with a man that was by my side during the last years of my Dad's life when I was his caretaker. He stood by and supported me when others did not. That's love and all love is holy.

I do not have any patience for the toxic and harmful rightwing conservatism that Evangelicals and others have pushed into our Amish belief system and that is at odds with our Anabaptist ancestors.

I have always been a rebel to be sure but I have more in common with our forefathers than the Amish church-state today which sits not on our Swiss / European homelands but on stolen Native American lands.
Reforms are long overdue in the Old Order Amish Church which mirrors the Catholic church-state it once opposed. This stems from our Bishops love of power. God doesn't make mistakes.

There have been plagues since Biblical times, the 1918 SPANISH FLU even affected our communities. Today we live in a more advanced time but viruses kill and again: the new coronavirus is in circulation.
Instead of ignoring health professionals, heed their advice and recommendations! This is deadly serious and affects all of us: gay, straight, Amish, non-Amish. All of us! This is not a joke!

I have a large number of Amish, ex Amish and Mennonite readers so I hope this reaches you all before the coronavirus. Stay safe!

Across the Social Distances: "Ground Zero" ☣

My COVID-19 inspired "Ground Zero" has been published via a new popup 'poetry in the time of the virus' journal ACROSS THE SOCIAL DISTANCES!

#NotMeUs ✊🏳️‍🌈

I am proud to stand w my home-state of Michigan and endorse Bernie Sanders for POTUS.