FANTASTIC MAN 10th Anniversary Issue -- Feature Interview

BE ON THE LOOKOUT for my interview and photo story in the amazing 10th anniversary issue of Fantastic Man, Issue no. 22, with Kyle MacLaughlan on the cover. 300+ pages of interviews (including Mr. MacLachlin, Jeffrey Tambor, Jesse Eisenberg, me, and more), gorgeous photography, fashion, design, culture and so forth. Please, however, realize that these guys are New-Old-School (and all the better for it!). They don’t publish an online version of the book -- just good old glorious print-on-paper!

FOR MY STORY they sent photographer Bruno Staub and writer William Van Meter to our home, all the better to capture my life now, in the surroundings that drive my creativity and back-to-basics life. Both men seemed to understand that the consistent through-line of my entire life has been personal and creative transformation.

photo by Bruce Weber (c) 1999 

AS A BONUS my interview is followed by a suite of never-before-published portraits, taken by my friend and creative inspiration, Bruce Weber, at his Adirondack Park residence, Camp Longwood, in 1999. I am deeply grateful to Bruce for allowing these images to be published (the session was one of the first of many times we’ve worked together over the years).

SO, MANY HUMBLE THANKS to Fantastic Man’s founding editors, Jop Van Bennekom and Gert Jonkers – and their fantastic staff! I am honored to be a part of their 10 th Anniversary Issue!

THAT VELVET MIDNIGHT by Bob Paris © 9.12.2014

This midnight realm above

Like scattered diamonds

Tossed by a reckless goddess

Over a departing shoulder

Burnt by late summer sun

To fall hither skither

On that rumpled bedspread

Of black


That we call this night sky

Around these alien parts

Forever separated

Forever together

Where Apollo fleets

And Diana quivers

Down to the underworld of Pluto

And away to the far reaches of Aries

Of always and beyond

Under the stern and squinted gaze


Remind me


I forgot which day this is

It happens

Which era

Which lamb are we to slaughter

What alms shall be offered

In deference to pregnant thunder

To threat of everlasting retribution

Avert the flame alighted

This ripened fruit that bursts upon

An exacted altar

What song doth please

The ever shifting realm

Which passage true

Which false

No matter

For above me spreads a diamond scattered

Rumpled cloth

Black velvet yet a moment

Then peach and violet at each edge

Then spectral

And my heart beats on

As does yours my darling

As does yours 

THAT VELVET MIDNIGHT by Bob Paris © 9.12.2014 all rights reserved

AND… By Bob Paris © 8.14.2014 all rights reserved

Hickulous dickulous splay

Field mouse sprints

Right down the fray 

Am I just another

Soul here sent asunder

To live out this herckus array  

Of day upon week upon month

Each year it does tally to sums

That leave me all breathless

And here I pause to catch this

Dear moment a minute

A lunch 

Yet in this I'm thinking

Each heartbeat here pulsing

A fleeting it gives me such pause 

For if I should leave soon

I will make much more room

For those who come after and


And carry on forward

A shadow of genus

Of yesterdays

Rolled on in style

So … 

Hickulous dickulous slay

This ghost of said field mouse displays

Complete understanding

Of life in full standing

Here for a moment  

And …

AND… By Bob Paris © 8.14.2014 all rights reserved

Summer Solstice 2014 by Bob Paris (c)

Everlast shall summer sun alight

Sustain our dance upon

Twirl waltz floor here assembled

Ancestor dust and breath and hope

Shadow forms alas forgotten

Passed along a road

In chase of grand repute

Gather ash yet swim apace

In strokes along linger trespass

Horizon expands expectant

For this child of tomorrow

Raise a glass

Beat thy breast

Jump yon fire

Sing hosanna

Hesitant twilight yet the forest calls

Shall it storm this eve in light

As the lamb recalls first springtime

On Solstice Night 2014

By Bob Paris © all rights reserved

Solstice Night 2014 photo: Brian LeFurgey (c)

Yonder Comes Solstice

As the Solstice approaches -- as the existential sand runs down the hourglass, as each beat of the heart echoes, one essential message resounds through the ages: Grab this moment. Hold it lightly in your strongest grip. Grasp it as you would a fragile newborn. Take it on your heart and into your lungs, this ever-quaking, ever-shimmering bit of sea glass discovered on the shifting shore of now.  So...

Right now, whisper to yourself ‘thank you for my life’ and in the coming hours say ‘I love you’ to at least ten people (or ten times ten times ten people -- and creatures alike). Open twenty doors for myriad strangers and thank them for being allowed to do so. Be kind to someone utterly different from you and then do it again and again. Give a street musician all the money in your left pocket. Hang up your phone and ask the person serving you a coffee or ringing up your groceries how their day is going. Kiss a baby. Watch a bird weave a path through the air you breathe; then remind yourself that this is the oxygen that keeps you alive. Embrace the wind and be ever grateful. After all: Carpe diem is only the beginning of the story. You, me and all of us -- we write the rest.

Flash Goes the Sizzle by Bob Paris (c) 2014

What amount shall life amount

Through what clear pool to dive

This full accounted jumble intrigue

This purview sinew retinue salute

Grand view to view this view


What a view

Glorious O glorious O glory glory



Alliteration alteration incantation exclamation

Should do can do will do

Getter dunn

Astride this mountain highest

Sing exception chant exception

Oh exalted vantage point

City burns upon that hill

Along horizon tinted salmon

Cumulus doth flow apace

Mackerel ozone skitter skitter

On this altar shared with Isaac

By buy bye abide

Quiver hand yet hesitates

Or shall adhere remit awaiting

Anoint awake will not escape

Yet not on time or is it is it

Everlasting everafter evergiven evercraven

All embraced yet not arisen

Et fruition beyond beyond

Beyond beyond right here unfolded

The hoarsened chant a shriveled bellow

And yet and yet and yet again

Bounds around this too too mortal flash

Acclaim profane exclaim attain

Amounts again to what

'Flash Goes the Sizzle'  by Bob Paris (c) all rights reserved

MY DAY by Bob Paris (c)

Another day begins

In six am light

Along a bank of lucky windows

Portholes of my exile in paradise

Motes waltz at gravity’s edge

Trees echo the gossip of robins

Deer by the woods savor yard daisies

Half hidden down the end of the drive

Along the forest draped road

School bus inhales young laughter

A retriever gobbles perfumed air

Beloved human towed in exultant wake

I leave the womb warmth

Descending toward life

This life

This grand and full bloom drawing in and out

Of sloughing off and growth anew

MY DAY By Bob Paris © 5/28/2014 All rights reserved


Am I to paddle the same canoe

In manhood as in youth

Shall I remain always back there

In heart and memory and voice

Unchanged still

Floating on an easy pond

Bent to what unfolded

Scattered yesterdays before

Will I evermore play

With my childhood toys

Or do my eyes see here

Further on

Much further on

A place beyond limitation

Past conforming to the rebellion

Of a bygone ghost

Does not life move

Sweet as a tumbling mountain river

Toward the ever shifting horizon

Of today

TODAY (c) By Bob Paris, May 7, 2014, all rights reserved

Official Bob Paris all rights reserved 2014

Spring Equinox 2014 by Bob Paris (c)

Behind shuttered eyes

Another winter fades from view

Life springs in this meadow

While swiftened mind

Conjures buzzing splendor

Daydreamer heart overflooded

Nightdreamer soul cuts its path

The pregnant restless river

Pulled down to the sea

Seeking mingle

Fresh with salt

Fir and cedar stand in stoic witness

Bud and blade

Nettle and daffodil

Revel in their fleeting

Photo: Brian LeFurgey ©

Spring Equinox 2014 © by Bob Paris

FORWARD by Bob Paris


We ask

Shall strength derive

One moment mere

One blink

Shadow flung

Cry prayer plea

Heart tipped to overfill

Surge swiftened

In a course

Beyond supple breast

Past bellow

Beat beat flow

Ebb tide wanes

Flames alight

That far horizon

The one just there

Before us

After us

And in this instant

Once more

My fellows

We rise and go


FORWARD by Bob Paris 3.1.2014 all rights reserved

Photo by: Brian LeFurgey 2014 all rights reserved

The Balance

“We are no longer at a time when we can hold our desire for freedom and justice at bay. Those who would try to stand in our way can yell and scream all they want, but we cannot go backward. Perhaps we may experience setbacks, but even in setbacks we can find experiences that will lead to greater freedom. One usually learns as much, or more, from mistakes as from successes.

To experience freedom, though, we must be willing to fully accept the delicate balancing act between rights and responsibilities. There cannot be one without the other. The very notion of freedom conjures for some images of license, of being able to do anything, at any time, without effect or consequence. The universe does not view this as justice or a high spiritual truth, but as selfish and the opposite of true freedom; license is, for many, a jail cell. The freedom we seek lies deep within our own heart and it is through the eradication of fear that our hearts move toward justice. It is less important to have our rights on paper than to believe—fully believe—with every ounce of our hearts that we all deserve to have equal rights...”

Excerpt from: GENERATION QUEER by Bob Paris (Warner Books, © 1998; ISBN 0-446-52275-9) photo: Brian LeFurgey all rights reserved

Bob Paris on OPRAH -- Where Are They Now?

SAVE THE DATE: This Friday (Feb 21st) I'm on OPRAH again.

She now has a show on OWN called, Where are They Now? The segment picks up from when I was first on the show back in 1989, right after coming out in the media, and then updates to my current life. We taped at our house and around in the nearby woods and on the beaches. I talk candidly about my activist years and the abrupt, simultaneous end of my bodybuilding career and relationship; of isolating myself in the aftermath; and then meeting Brian; his battles with cancer; our move to Canada; getting legally married; my current writing life, and much more. While I haven't yet seen the finished segment -- fingers crossed -- I trust it will be good.

So, please pass the word. Check your local listings, etc. Let me know what you think. And thanks again for all your support!

Cheers and Namaste,


 'BIG HAIR' By Brian LeFurgey c.1999 (all rights reserved)

In This Moment

I stand here, in this moment of my life and say, thank you. For the good, the bad; the splendid and the messy; for all of it, I give sincere thanks. For how would I measure my life on this plane without a full understanding of complex beauty, of jagged hopes, of dreams leaving the station without me, of dreams fulfilled beyond wildest imagination? Should any of us count our days other than by way of the cauldron? Through the forge of reaching out, of half-understanding, .of hearing words, yet not their meaning. The explosion of love; the murmur of ghosts crossing in the three a.m. hallway. The first cup of strong coffee. The poplar out in the yard, yellowing in autumn. The papery, bent hands of one we love, growing slow and yet holding tight. A smiling face, sharing a story from some forgotten cave. In every moment of your life, seek the place of understanding, of compassion, of peace. Even if it seems impossible, seek love, because beyond all else, love seeks you. Are you ready?

IN THIS MOMENT by Bob Paris (c) all rights reserved

Bob Paris and Cole all rights reserved 2013

This Time of Year

This time of year often causes me to take serious and unflinching stock, to make a heartfelt attempt toward seeing (and I mean truly seeing) the long-view of things that are at once as material as lead and mud and flesh, and as ephemeral as breath and cloud and intimate whispers. Perhaps it is the edge of Winter and the approaching Solstice (the darkness before the dawn, so to speak) that lands me in this place.  As dusk falls early in this hemisphere, I listen to the rhythms of life as they beat, beat, beat in the cadence of a pulse of someone willing to look truth in the eye; I feel my own fragile heart there in my chest; and I see the fleeting beauty and unremitting oomph of it all, unfolding each day for all of us—all of us, connected here on this tiny rock that twirls and spins in deep, deep space. And all I can do is smile and say thank you.  Thank you.

Bob Paris (c) 2013 all rights reserved

Dream Life ... ?

I asked myself today if I was living the life of which I had always dreamt. My answer was at once simple and complex (Go figure!). The simple answer is, Yes, yes, yes, a hundred times yes: My present life is all I could have ever wished for and much more – especially as that nihilistic, romantic teenage man-child, projecting himself forward with jagged hope. On the other hand, the complicated aspect of the answer would require chapters. But the complexity can, I suppose, be boiled down to this: The road each of us travels is comprised of topography both smooth and treacherous – and everything in between. In this context, I see the path of my own life as one that makes it’s way up and around a wild, ragged mountain, with hairpin switchbacks, crumbling ledges, startling vistas and gut-clenched, dirt-munched flights of amore and satori. Right now – in this moment – ask yourself: Am I living my life to the fullest? Now, read me plainly. I do not intend this question as a clichéd self-help-ish triviality (Me, I happen to find most self-help nostrums to be simplistic, Pollyanna drivel, doled out by those who could stand to take a bit of their own advice). Rather, this question – today’s question– is aimed at the heart of your own journey, your own unique authenticity, creativity, compassion and true connection to your current experience, to the beating soul of now. Are you traveling your best path, with open heart and eyes?

Official Bob Paris (c) all rights reserved 2013

Authentic Living: The Bookstore Test

I realize that I place a great deal of emphasis on authentic living. Question is, how is one to discover, hone and follow the true path of their life? I would suggest that it’s essential to identify what gets you up in the morning and excites your mind. It also entails asking yourself some key questions, often in the form of imaginary play-acting.

For example, because I’m passionate about books, I frequently perform what I call the “bookstore test.” It goes like this: Imagine you’ve just entered a vast and comprehensive bookstore. Without giving the matter any conscious thought, which section would you be pulled toward, as if by magnetic force? Me, I’d make an immediate bee-line for the “New Fiction” section and then spend hours reading random pages from dozens of novels and short-story collections. This tells me something vital. Many years ago, playing out the “bookstore test” helped me confirm that it was time to leave the fitness business, to pursue more authentic ambitions. Now, by sharing this example, I’m not trying to diminish my previous work; I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to share my experience with others. It’s more a matter of keeping life elastic, moving and liquid – adjusting course as we evolve and grow. 

Have a great weekend. 


Bob Paris official(c) 2013 all rights reserved