28th & 29th June, 2004
Rod 4/16/04 Photo by Billy Iz
A Thought for Today
Suspense and hope are more than just a
part of love; they are the head's foreplay.
Whatís on the mind of letter writers? Well to begin with, sex and
commitment. Read on.
ďARE YOU GAY?Ē
Rod, I'm a Brit currently doing some work for
American Airlines in Fort Worth, TX. This requires me to be away from my
wife and family for 3 weeks out of every month, which is hard. Trying to
fill in time, I went to the C.R. Smith Museum to buy gifts for my
I was very surprised, and delighted, to find your book "Rusting in the
Rain" for sale there, and since my wife has many of your books that she
bought when she was much younger, it seemed the perfect gift. (You know
how, sometimes, you can go out looking for a gift for someone, and never
seem to be able to find just the right thing, and sometimes, serendipity
cuts in line, and the perfect gift pops up when you're not looking for
That's why I think we should dispense with gift-buying on birthdays and
any other special occasions, and always be open to just seeing
"something" that would be "perfect for so-and-so" without needing a
Anyway, I digress. As I look through the book, I notice the ambiguously
worded "... the author has made his home in Southern California where he
lives with his brother and partner Edward ...". And my very intrusive
question is simply this: "Are you gay?". And the reason I ask is because
my youngest son is gay, and in a very happy relationship, and I'd like
to buy them a copy. Somehow, I thought that maybe it would be more
meaningful if you were, but as I write this, I realize that I have no
right to even ask the question, and I'm not sure that it really makes
As your web site says: "It doesn't matter who you love, or how you love,
but that you love". So I don't know that I expect an answer, and that,
even if I did, it would be anything other than cryptic. I'm going to
send this email anyway, if only to thank you for your poems (and for the
perfect gift for my wife) that express how I feel for her in words that
are far more eloquent than my own. Thank you, Brian Meekings.
Dear Brian, I'm with you on gift giving. The problem with structured
gifts is that despite knowing in advance our friends and family's birth
dates, Mother's & Father's Day, Christmas and all those other days
greeting card companies invent for reasons of commerce, most of us screw
up when it comes to selecting proper gifts. For me the pressure of
hunting down presents is a little like writing deadlines, hectic and not
as fulfilling as acting with leisure.
The French have a wonderful expression; luxe de l'esprit Ė which loosely
translates into the luxury of the moment. I don't know about you but the
most successful gifts I've given have always been impulse or spur of the
moment presents. You see something and say ah, Betty or Edward or
grandma would love that. More often than not they do.
Am I gay? Let me put it this way, Collectively I spend more hours
brushing my teeth than having sex so I refuse to define my life in
sexual terms. I've been to bed with women and men and in most cases
enjoyed the experience with either sex immensely. Does that make me
bi-sexual? Nope. Heterosexual? Not exclusively. Homosexual? Certainly
not by my definition.
I am sexual by nature and I continue to fall in love with people and
with any luck human beings of both sexes will now and again be drawn to
me. I can't imagine choosing one sex over the other, that's just too
limiting. I can't even honestly say I have a preference. I'm attracted
to different people for different reasons.
I do identify with the Gay Rights struggle, to me that battle is about
nothing more or less than human rights. I marched in the 50's and 60's
to protest the treatment of Blacks in this country and I'm proud of the
fact that I broke the color barrier in South Africa by being the first
artist to successfully demand integrated seating at my concerts. I am a
die-hard feminist and will continue to speak out for women's rights as
long as they are threatened. These, of course, are all social issues and
have nothing to do with my sex life (although admittedly I've met some
pretty hot people of both sexes on the picket line.)
As for Edward, he is my brother, father, mother, best friend and partner
in almost every way. He's a cute kid all right, but not my lover or my
type. Besides, wouldnít that be incest? And, based on his past mating
success it would only be a matter of time till one of us was arrested
So Brian I hope you will agree there is nothing cryptic about my answer
to your question. Congratulations, by the way, for being such an
understanding father. My best to you and your family and thanks for the
comments and question. Every now and again I enjoy setting the record
straight . . . so to speak. With Affection, Rod
I noticed in the FAQ that you said you weren't
married, but that you were committed. Would that be to a male or female?
If you don't mind my asking.MDM58
Dear MDM58, I don't mind your asking at all. The answer: Five felines.
Four male & one female. Iím not against marriage as an institution, but
one stretch in an institution (in my case The Nevada School of Industry
when I was a kid) is enough. Cheers, Rod
I had one of your books that had a poem about
marriage vows and am afraid I no longer have that book, which I am most
disappointed about. If you could shed some light on the name of the
book, I will search for it, as well as the name of that poem and perhaps
a copy of it in your reply? I want to share that poem and more of your
work with my niece who will be wedding in August. She writes poetry
herself and may already have some of your books? If not, she will fall
in love with your work I'm sure. I am looking forward to rediscovering
your writing and music. I can't wait! Connie
Dear Connie, Sorry you had to write twice to get my attention but with
the amount of e-mail that comes and goes around here sometimes that's
what it takes. Thanks for being persistent. The marriage ceremony is
contained in my book "An Outstretched Hand." and it's available from
stanyanhouse.com. Thanks again
for writing and my best to your niece for her writing and her coming
marriage. Warmly, Rod
Dear Sir, My wife recently purchased a copy of
Gwen Frostic's book A Place on Earth and on the flyleaf is an
inscription to "Lee" that is purportedly signed by you. The inscription
How tall we are
We've learned so much
Everything, it seems,
But how to stay in touch
Under that is an inscription signed Lory Fetzer and dated 1970. That
So many relationships are like this - how fortunate we are that we can
communicate so easily and meaningfully. I am wondering if you have any
memory of this. Respectfully Peter Rebmann, Gainesville, Fl.
Dear Peter, The inscription is taken from one of my poems but it must
have been quoted by the original book giver. The reason being I wouldn't
dream of writing something of my own of the flyleaf of another authorís
work. That's a little bit too ego centric for this author. All the best
to you and thanks for writing. Rod
JOANNA CD / DVD
Rod-- Is there any way I can purchase both of
these items. Please let me know. Balosee
Dear Balosee, I remastered the soundtrack to Joanna in 1993 for the 25th
anniversary of the films original release. The resulting CD was released
on the SLC label in Japan and Stanyan House imported it for sale in the
USA. Because of the extra playing time that compact discs afford I was
able to add 15 songs and cues not available on the original LP for a
grand total of 29 tracks.
Now for the bad news. The CD of Joanna is currently out of print and as
far as I know Fox Video has no plans to release a video/DVD of the film.
The American Cinemateque played it last year at The Egyptian Theatre to
a nearly sell-out audience.
Joanna enjoys a kind of cult status and there is a pirate DVD of it
making the rounds, again in The Far East. Gee, I wish I had a copy of
it. All Good wishes, Rod
IN SEARCH OF EROS?
I am trying to locate a poem that I loved when I
was 17 and I believe it was one of yours - I do not remember the title
but one of the lines went "remembering the color of his eyes". It was
about a girl who didn't notice the spring or much around her beyond the
loss of a love and remembering the color of his eyes. Julie Carrigan
Dear Julie, thatís not much to go on so Iím stumped. Jay Hagan, our
McPoem Guru, thinks you might be referring to this passage from the
album In Search of Eros:
You moved to turn off the light.
I remember nothing more of that moment.
Only awakening in the middle of the night
do I remember well
and finding my head in the small arc of your back
and feeling the warmness of you swell upon my forehead.
Lying very still and warm
praying that morning might be late
just this once...late.
Suddenly I cannot remember
the color of your eyes or the things we said
as we stood together for the last time.
Suddenly my mind is blurred
trees are not important anymore
they are only trees.
© 1960, 1963 by Rod McKuen
I hope this helps Julie and thanks for the help, Jay. Best regards, Rod
ALMOST THE LAST WORD
Kyletta sent this nifty naughty along, so donít shoot the messenger.
The administrator of a local hospital was showing
a newly hired intern throughout the hospital and during their tour of
the floors they passed a room where a male patient was masturbating.
"Oh my God", said the young female intern, "that's disgraceful, what is
the meaning of this?"
The administrator leading the tour explained, "Ma'am, this man has a
very serious condition where the testicles rapidly fill with semen. If
he doesn't do that at least 5 times a day, he'll become swollen."
"Oh, I am so sorry", said the intern, "I was unaware that such a medical
On the same floor, they soon passed a room where a young nurse was
giving a patient oral sex. "Oh my God!!!", said the naive intern,
"what's happening in there?" she exclaimed.
The administrator responded "It's the same as the other patient ... just
a better HMO."
Join Ken on Wednesday for This One Does it for Me. Bellingham returns on
Thursday and Iíll be back to help you celebrate the 4th of July weekend.
RM 6/28/2004 12:18AM PDST
on the Stanyan House logo to buy Rod McKuen books, CD's and lots more
Click on the heart logo to
subscribe to the Rod McKuen mailing list
Catch Rod McKuen live!
Click on the links below for details of
concerts and appearances.