Celebrate Justice

On this truly historic day, after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of full nationwide Marriage Equality, I want to express my thanks and gratitude to all who have been engaged in this decades-long battle for justice. And here’s a snap from the archives: As the twelfth anniversary of Marriage Equalization fast approaches up here in British Columbia, this photo from my marriage to Brian, the great love of my life. August 8th, 2003. After seven years together, we finally got hitched.

Cheers and Namaste and Love.,


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

Babel Heart by Bob Paris (c)

Adrift on undulant seas and restless

How shall I calm this Babel heart

A millstream runs my head a’singing

Wet mainsail taunt lines slinging drops

Of heavy salted waves that break

Off port and starboard aft and fore

On far horizon calls measured hope

Crack the swells oh leeward bound

As if to know a nimble trace

A peaceful harbor where to put by

Gleamed tranquil treble everlast

Pulse stills through rhythmic ease

And toil and melody and

Clean light and vapour

Cloud draped volcano cockcombs above

This strange lagoon of quickened soul

Of steady rocking nights in slumber

The peace of gems upon deep velvet

Bright days to patch and stow and long

To move to move to move again

BABEL HEART by Bob Paris 23 July, 2014 (c) 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.

The Second Life of Old Trophies


Saturday Morning, Midsummer, 1994, Seattle 

“I still had the whole trophy from my Mr. Universe win. It was more substantial than usual: A brass, art-deco, funnel-cloud-shaped, covered vase, mounted on a teakwood base. Only the little physique man mounted on top was plastic, so I kept it around. Not displayed. Collecting dust in a hall closet.

The one from winning the Mr. Southern California was a silver-plated champagne bucket with the title and year engraved on it. It sat on the corner of my desk. Since it easily held fifty or sixty pens and pencils, it had some utility. The sliver-plated punch bowl from winning the California Muscle Classic was outside in a flower garden, filled with carefully selected, smooth agate stones and being allowed to go old and mossy, because I thought it looked English or French or something. That one was getting the best second life an aging trophy could ever want.” 

Excerpted from: GORILLA SUIT © by Bob Paris all rights reserved

ISBN 0-312-16855-1) 

Photo by John Balik, © Bob Paris Archives

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

Excerpt: GORILLA SUIT by Bob Paris (c)

Rediscovering the Accidentally Discovered

Late Spring, 1977 – Southern Indiana 

“Cummin’s Book Store was in downtown Columbus. They had the best newsstand in town. I went in one afternoon looking for the latest issue of my favorite backpacking magazine and ran across a copy of ‘Muscle Builder’ on the shelf. On the cover was a picture of some guy named Schwarzenegger, doing an exercise with his gigantic arm up over his head and a straining grimace on his face. His sweaty, dark hair hung down in his face, and he had on a light-colored tank top, and the arm and hand that weren’t over his head was grabbing on to a bench of some kind, the fingers squeezing into the brown leather, fingernails white from the pressure.

I began to pore through the pages, devouring the pictures of these guys training and showing their tremendously muscled bodies, bursting out of T-shirts or without shirts on or flexing on a beach with mountains in the background…According to what I could tell…these men occupied a terrific kingdom all their own, out in California.”

Excerpted from: GORILLA SUIT © by Bob Paris all rights reserved

ISBN 0-312-16855-1

photo: Art Zeller 1989 (c) Bob Paris 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

Today is the Day

“When the mystical enters, our surroundings become completely irrelevant. We can be in the busiest city or on the remotest farm, but when it happens, when we turn around and understand that those who use God to condemn us are more lost than we ever thought we could be, when we see that we have more gifts than we ever imagined, then the magic of our lives can truly begin. Let the cynics call us fools, the self-proclaimed saved call us sinners; that’s nothing except fear speaking through the mouths of the scared.

And we must turn our backs on fear. To do that we must, without apology or hesitation, turn our hearts toward love – love of others and more than anything else love for ourselves. The mission is: start now. Take everything you’ve ever been taught about who you are and begin to filter it through your heart. If your heart is hard (and given everything that most outsiders must fight against, who wouldn’t have to fight to keep their heart soft and warm?) begin today to turn it around. Today is the day.”

From: GENERATION QUEER by Bob Paris © 1998; ISBN 0-446-52275-9)

HOLD by Bob Paris

Give me one moment

Just one

Where time lingers

For a while

Eyes dancing you say

Which moment

And why

Pray tell

My reply races

The length of my arm

I hold it out

For you to see

Geese cry out above

Bay shimmers

Wind kicks

We smile

Photo: STILL WATERS by Brian LeFurgey 2014 all rights reserved

HOLD By Bob Paris (c) 1.15.2014 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