Monday, February 7, 2011

The Performance

Spencer describes himself as a lover of dance and not a performer. He doesn’t live for the spotlight on the stage, he tells me, quite seriously. He loves the discipline of the art—the rehearsals, the countless runs of the routines, the quest for perfection in a form that’s so fleeting and ephemeral. From the way he describes his passion with dance, I always get the impression he’d be perfectly happy stretching and exercising and running routines from day to day, without ever stepping foot onstage.

But oh, what a performer he is.

It’s Saturday night and I’ve forgone my usual frivolities to attend the second performance of his I’ve seen. The skies dumped four or more inches of snow on the area in the short space of time in the afternoon. The freeways were in terrible condition still. Only a single lane had been passable the entire twenty-five miles I’d driven. The audience is pretty sparse. Many of the middle-aged women who comprise the vast majority sitting in the little theater are still shivering in their woven scarfs and wooly knitted hats.

Then the show starts, and for a couple of hours, we forget about the mountains of snow outside. We forget about winter’s bite, or the long rides home we’ll all have to make. There’s just the music, the dancers, and the light and the darkness.

I’ve told Spencer many times that he has a face made for the stage. His features are sharp, but broad. Every nuance stands out on his face in the dreamy, comedic piece in which he first appears. His seated body sways with the other two dancers onstage, gyrating slowly to the bossa nova rhythms. All three move and swivel in unison, like riders on a turbulent bus, but it’s Spencer that steals all the focus. It’s at his quirked eyebrows the audience laughs, at his comic reactions that a wave of enjoyment sweeps the room. They’re emotions that would be lost on finer faces, but on Spencer’s, they could be seen in the very back row.

There’s pure joy in his stride when he leaps across the stage and lands nimbly on his foot. He uses a metal folding chair in his choreographed moves, brandishing it skyward and twirling it through the air as gracefully as any human partner. When he at last sets it onto the ground, it connects to the floor without a sound. I marvel at that kind of control. Then he’s up and over the chair, his hands gripping its sides as his legs stretch and extend in the air, then descend in a display of artistic athleticism to which I could never aspire, admire it as I may. His right palm lies flat on the floor; his right foot connects several feet to the side. His left leg and arm rise high in the air and stay there for what seems an impossible amount of time. Not once do they waver. His flesh becomes rigid, rooted to the stage, until at last on a downbeat he swoops back into the dance, part of the trio once more.

He’s breathtaking.

Two hours later, and another twenty-five miles of snow-covered roads, we’re together again. I’m naked between the flannel sheets, warm below layers of blankets. There’s a cat at my feet, already asleep. From the bathroom Spencer pads in, straight out of the shower. He’s nonchalant about his nakedness as he tosses his clothes atop the dresser. When he slides between the sheets, the temperature rises dramatically. He’s moist, but the sheets absorb the extra moisture quickly. “Hi,” he says, with a little boy’s smile.

“You were amazing tonight,” I tell him. He pretends to ignore the compliment, but I can see the corners of his mouth lift. He snuggles closer, next to where I’m propping myself up on an arm. I enthuse about his musicality, his long lines and fluid movements. Whether or not he dances in order to perform, his performance moved me, and I tell him that, too. “You make me so proud,” I finish. “You have amazing control over your body.”

“That’s not true at all,” he says, his liquid brown eyes staring up at me. “You do.”

My lips part to ask a question. Then I understand what he’s telling me.I turn off the lights, and slide my naked self down into the sheets, dragging him with me into the depths.

I have all night for this performance.


  1. Jesus. I always say the same word to myself after reading each and every one of your blog entries. Jesus. This time I said Jesus in happiness the joy and the affection you and Spencer so sweetly have with each other.

    The Earl stories make me tense and excited, your funny stories make me laugh out loud and smiling for the rest of my day, but these tender stories of love and your connection with each other, these help me believe that real people are out there and hopefully some day I'll find someone of my own. Glad you are so happy, you deserve the best Mr. Steed!


  2. doubledunes@gmail.comFebruary 7, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    My heart races as I try to read your posts as quick as possible yet dwell on each word to let the emotions sink in. There is no better way to get my blood pressure high than to catch up on your thoughts and actions. Thank you for bringing me along on your journeys.

  3. BZ,

    Jesus, thanks! I'm glad that some of my non-explicit material connects with people. Thank you, BZ.

  4. Doubledunes,

    Don't let me elevate that blood pressure too much, my friend. Thanks for the compliment and your comment!

  5. AWw...the ending is so cute. That's a good way to start my day. :D


  6. A belated birthday greeting, Sensei Breeder Steed.

    I've titled you Sensei because I learn so much from what you share here - the writer's craft, the sexual inspiration, the example of your mindfullness. (Enough gushing.)

    People who inhabit their body as fully as your Spencer are wonders to observe, aren't they? One day I'll tell you about the dancer I saw a lot of for maybe a year, back in my East Village days. Shit that I am with names I don't remember his, but my memories of everything else are quite vivid. I could watch that boy move doing anything at all...amazing.

    Far all that the coming year will have stern challenges for you my friend, I wish a year of great experiences for you, much happiness, and lots and lots of fun.

  7. It isn't simply with sex but the movements of the body as a whole that you write so well. In this piece you barely touched on sex but the sensuality is amazing.

    I hope Spencer is keeping you warm.

    I wish I was more committed to my art - not just writing - but playing, performing. I'm always nervous on the stage but there are times - like in Black Swan - when you become the piece. And I haven't done that in quite some time.

    Miss you. Stay warm.

  8. Although Spencer was dancing on stage in front of a whole audience, your writing made me feel as though his performance was a seduction directed personally to you. That sexual chemistry you both shared unbeknownst to the crowd was very erotic and felt like foreplay...

  9. RedPhillip,

    Hey, thanks for the birthday thoughts!

    I think anyone who understands his body and uses it to its fullest, as some athletes do, and dancers do, can often be pretty incredible in bed. That is, if they have the mindfulness to bring what they've learned with them. Maybe I should date only dancers from now on.

  10. Writer,

    I used to love losing myself on stage in a character, when I'd be cast in a juicy role. My time in the spotlight is long gone, however. It's nice to be able to observe someone enjoying it during his prime.

  11. Mark,

    I wish it had been directed at me. I kind of hoped it was directed at me. But then afterward I found out that Spencer had no idea where I'd been sitting.

    Ah, well.

  12. I know there is a book waiting to be written inside that artistic mind of yours. Your use of the language captures the reader completely. Enjoy your blog daily. Hal

  13. Hal,

    That's a handsome compliment. Thanks very much.

  14. "...then afterward I found out that Spencer had no idea where I'd been sitting."

    The idea that he put out such physical, sensual energy for anyone who could perceive it (and he knew you were there, somewhere), is also kind of grippingly erotic.

    "Maybe I should date only dancers from now on."

    That would make me sad, since I'm no dancer. Pig-in-a-man-suit I may be, but not a dancing pig. Please reconsider, that I may appropriately welcome you to your new state when you arrive.

  15. RedPhillip,

    Oh, I'd never stick to only dancers. Their flexibility aside, I like a varied diet. On the other topic, I think that just about anyone could see that focus and energy; I think it's why he keeps getting cast in these dance roles.

  16. You write beautifully of the dance performance, as you do with sexy stories or painful ones. You have an undeniable gift, one that matches your depictions of Spencer on stage. Thank you so much for sharing these stories with me/us.