The Beaten Whir by Bob Paris (c)2015

Out there along that distant point

In here around my beaten whir

Race yet along leapt paradox

That takes me here nor there 

And when I see your shadow fall

Upon the path doth lead yet yonder

Past hallow come and ghost upon

This rubble in mine breast


Then I shall know beyond all doubt

A truer heart not ever known

This rose upon my vision hast

A dying breath bequeathed 

My darling oh my darling love

I sing you yet to heaven’s shore

For up from this here pyre of bone

A flame licks all the sky 

You were you were so young

So fair

So eager to go forward

And I shall sing you evermore

Here in my beaten whir


By Bob Paris ©2015 all rights reserved

WINTER SOLSTICE 2014 by Bob Paris (c)

Fear not this dark, dear companion / Luxuriant depth swallows whole / A hundred million questions tenfold / That you carry on your heart but silent / Hidden away for a moment fleeting / Down in this valley of the moon / Rejoice that we are here, sweet shadow / For how shall we truly know light / Now so far away beyond that ridge / Except to cradle her twin sister / Tender as a newborn / Understanding that at least / Our next step leads upward / Toward a racing star / So sing with me, my true friend / A fresh Winter’s knowing dirge / Enfolded in this depth, we’ll go now / And leave behind all fear

WINTER SOLSTICE 2014 by Bob Paris (c)

DECISION by Bob Paris (A Snippet of Prose Poetry) (c) 12.4.2014

"We arrive on the scene at a flutter of indecision. Picture it. Here he is, paused upon a moment of great import. See him teeter along the edge of things. Neither flute nor oxen, nor paw-paw pie. Between and beholden. He can feel it, there in his chest, gnawing a lung and shoving a shoulder against his ribs. He knows that turning back would be simple. Like switching off the stove. Like brushing dust off a shoe. Like saying goodbye. Until next time, perhaps. But here’s the thing. In spite of this lukewarm handsaw wind, he chooses. He steps forward, through the door marked ‘Do Not Enter.’ The circling hawk calls out that nothing will ever be the same again. And that makes him very happy, indeed. Oh, indeed. It’s thus decided."

DECISION by Bob Paris (A Snippet of Prose Poetry) (c) 12.4.2014

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

BETWEEN by Bob Paris © 8.6.2014

Noble heart yearning soul

Quickened by longing requited

Calmed through acts undertaken

Moved with force as if amplified

By crackling strings that run

To stars and firmament and faraway

Ground of ties to the space in between

Molecule and movement

Wave and particle and arcing light

All that weaves in mighty quiet

These laneways of shimmered stillness

In transit of a single knowing smile

BETWEEN by Bob Paris © 8.6.2014

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)

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

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

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



Friday Evening, Midsummer, 1994, Seattle 

“I once loved the sport of bodybuilding. In a strange way I still did. It frustrated me and at times I hated it, but for sixteen years I tried to balance love, frustration and hatred while watching both the sport and myself change. Convincing myself that I’d outgrown this obsession was impossible. One simple truth held us together: bodybuilding had saved my life. It was a guardian angel who found me at seventeen hazarding seas of inner struggle without a compass.  I had the luxury of distance, remembering those struggles that had led me to want to be big and strong, but I couldn’t run from the truth of what had happened along the way. My frustration may have grown into hatred, but the love came first. It began simply. I found authentic purpose the moment my hands wrapped around a cold iron bar. All else fell away and my spirit knew it could do anything. I built my American dream one repetition at a time. That much could never be taken away.”

Excepted from: GORILLA SUIT by Bob Paris ©1997, all rights reserved, ISBN 0-312-16855-1)

Photo by Art Zeller, 1989 (copyright © Bob Paris, 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)

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)

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