Posted in Almost Dorothy, Angel

Keith Sumlin Arrested For Having Sex With Teen And Infecting Him With HIV

“And the human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it.” –Francis Bacon, “The Four Idols”

In many respects, this crime isn’t just about the horrific events perpetrated against this young boy who’s just around my imaginary age. It’s also about the 15-year-old boy and the millions, I mean billions, of humans across the globe who are ill-quipped and ill-informed about the beautiful reality of sexual desire and the fundamental need to protect one’s body even during the throes of compulsion and impulse. It’s not about the crime. It’s not about just arming our children and ourselves with condoms and shouting about the value of safe sex. It’s also about teaching our children and ourselves that sex is good, that sex is natural, that sex moves us and tugs at us in unexpectedly beautiful ways. But if we don’t know how to embrace our sexual desires then how can we embrace the tools needed to protect us from our all too human nature? It’s not just about safe sex. It’s about a radical, social restructuring of how we teach sex to our youth to end the taboos and no-nos we know we must face one day.

“A Sunrise, Florida man was arrested on an attempted murder charge Wednesday for having sex with a 15-year-old boy and infecting him with the HIV virus.

The teenager met 30-year-old Keith “Keyoko” Sumlin through a mobile phone app and then invited him to his home, where they had sex, according to the arrest affidavit.” (Huffington Post)

Sumlin Infections 15 Year Old Boy
Sumlin Infections 15 Year Old Boy
Sumlin Infections 15 Year Old Boy
Sumlin Infections 15 Year Old Boy
Sumlin Infections 15 Year Old Boy
Sumlin Infections 15 Year Old Boy
Posted in Almost Dorothy, Angel

Angel: The Schopenhauer Slap

“One need only look at a woman’s shape to discover that she is not intended for either too much mental or too much physical work. She pays the debt of life not by what she does but by what she suffers—by the pains of child-bearing, care for the child, and by subjection to man, to whom she should be a patient and cheerful companion.”

—Arthur Schopenhauer

PROLOGUE

THE LAST DAY, MAY 20-SOEMTHING, 2012

When Angel threatened to slap me, ma said. I rationalized his anger and lost my brain stem.

That’s what ma said in her sleep just before she woke up at 5AM, ripped her giant t-shirt and fishnet stockings off and smashed the mirror with the mighty force of fifty gorillas. Dramatic and stunningly cinematic, ma stared at her shape all wild and wide and hairy. Bobo the Mutt shook and shivered as he presided over the shape of revelations to come.

I was his patient and cheerful companion, ma screamed holding her brain in place. I fucked it up. He was hurt by someone else—(and himself, I cut in)—and I could tell by the way he never looked me in the eyes. I promised to take care of him, she cried, but he was too much. He promised to take care of himself, I screamed at ma with bits of glass in her hair—but with the click of a mouse and send of a text he chose them instead of us.

It’s complicated, ma said. But so is quantum physics. His words burnt every plank on the ancient bridge between us, she said. But, I couldn’t fall back. I faced him face to face and asked him to get a job to help us out so we could buy rice and beans, chips and salsa. So we could move from co-dependence to mutual connection. I also wanted him to get his wings off the ground and free himself from the spiraling labyrinth. But, his anti-self turned his back on me, she said, and walked out of the room. He felt betrayed cause I promised to take care of him. Things change, I told ma, and the promise was not transubstantial—it was to lift him up, not weigh you down.

Even if it was a vague threat of violence, I deserved it, ma said. Even that’s a dangerous rationalization. It was a threat of violence, I told ma. I know, she said. But I felt responsible for his anger—for his health, raging depression and erratic behavior. I was the only one taking care of him. Like a good mother, I said. No one helped us. No therapist. No counselor. No friends. No family. Especially, no family, Angel said. No guru or godsend helped us through his life changing diagnosis. Once, he visited a crystal rock specialist, but came back more depressed. I remember, I told ma. But he didn’t want anyone else in, she said, even in the bleakest moments all I could do was hug him and pray God would take care. I wanna keep it between you and me, Angel told ma. I wish to remain nameless, she said he said. And live without shame is what he really meant.

Taking care, I told ma, is when you asked him for a fair exchange of energy. Besides, I said, he spent 20 hour days on the virtual reality machine re-manufacturing worlds within worlds and looking for answers to fit the narrative of his manufactured self-image.

Angel gave ma his answer that last day: You are not my family and you’ll see who I AM when I turn my back on you and fly.

“It is because women’s reasoning powers are weaker that they show more sympathy for the unfortunate than men, and consequently take a kindlier interest in them. On the other hand, women are inferior to men in matters of justice, honesty, and conscientiousness.”

—Arthur Schopenhauer

Ma’s first boyfriend, who turned out to be a socio-pathetic bag of almonds, went to jail for assault and batteries. Ma found his real arrest record on the virtual reality machine and showed it to Angel two weeks before they split. After ma dumped her ex, her ex tried to stab his new girlfriend with a kitchen knife. This occurred just a few years after ma’s ex slapped ma when they were in a relationship. He used his foot and fists too, but always missed. He did this when ma asked him to step up. To pitch in. I’ve been here before, ma said. And it was fresh in my head when Angel made his casual threat. Needless to say, ma doesn’t react well to threats. Not any more. Despite her women’s reasoning. Not even if the threat is just a fleeting suggestion.

Ma believes in the power of suggestion. The threat of violence is violence, she said. She doesn’t blame Angel, but she doesn’t blame herself either, so that leaves us with a paradox that leads us to an illogical conclusion that places blame on both of them or on the universe—or worse, God’s benign hand. We are responsible for our actions and threats of action, I said. Threats are manifestations of Schopenhauer’s deep-seated hatred of the feminine—and of our other half—and of women’s superior understanding of justice, honesty, and conscientiousness.

“The greatest sorrows and joys or great exhibition of strength are not assigned to her; her life should flow more quietly, more gently, and less obtrusively than man’s, without her being essentially happier or unhappier.”

—Arthur Schopenhauer

I lost my brain, ma said. I let him down even though I tried to lift him up over and over again. He didn’t want to get up, I told ma, you gave him an open home and a big heart and he collapsed in your head. And anchored himself between what he wanted to be free of and what freedom is. I lost my brain, ma repeated again as she stared at the reflection of the silly wild wide beast self in the shattered mirror. Your brain is right there, I said pointing at the dimple between ma’s breast implants. She fake-smiled as she held glass chips in her hands. It’s what makes you ma, I said. Ma, she said looking into the shattered mirror, is an illusion at best.

An ideal at best, I said. Human at worst.

Ma, what have you learned? I asked.

Not to break the mirror, she said, with my monkey fists. And that the only thing worth beginning is the end of Schopenhauer’s world of course.

Read “On Women” by Arthur Schopenhauer here http://theabsolute.net/misogyny/onwomen.html.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Angel

Angel: Belief System

Saint Michael | Photo by Neil de la Flor
Saint Michael | Photo by Neil de la Flor

“A writer must always tell the truth.” —Gore Vidal

PROLOGUE

Ma is traumatized again because she believes in the power of vulnerability. Believes in the brighter lights obscured and shadowed by the minor shipwrecks and catastrophes of existence. Believes in the cosmic burst of light in the dark that began it all. She believes fiercely in her two selves—the heart diagnostic self (the emotional self) and the head diagnostic self (the intelligent self). She believes in flesh and bone, glitter and glow. Believes in practical magic and mambo. Subarus and salvation. Rachmaninoff and Ladytron. The stars and the moon. Shadows and soon. But, most of all, ma believes in the sublime susceptibility of humankind(ness) and the invincible flashlights of angels.

IN THE BEGINNING, DECEMBER 2010,

when ma met Angel, she said she jumped in with the full force of the wingless because she is not a bird. She said she didn’t even have one wing. Now ma is curled up on our bed with my batwings wrapped around her solemn mess as she munches on an empty bag of Lay’s Potato Chips as she clicks and clicks the blue lava lamp on/off on/off like Glenn Close did in Fatal Attraction. Ma is fetal-like and nebulous in the intermittent blue glow of light and no light. Write about it, ma said Angel said. And leave me alone. But ma can’t write, not yet, because her ego is a complex conjugation of egg and yolk—sense and no-sense—that she knows she will never understand even in the divine stillness of her most enlightened and aligned yoga position. There are no coherent narratives, ma said, in a shattered mirrorball. I told her I would write her story for her instead, so I did, and will, even with her mouth shut tight.

Angel told ma he was HIV negative when they met even though Angel knew he was probably HIV positive. She asked him about his status before they met because ma is like that. It was even written on his profile, she said, on the dating website where we first met. And it’s still there 9 months after ma took care of him after his diagnosis. When they actually really met in person for the first time, ma asked him again and he said he was HIV negative again. And that was that. What the hell, ma said. What the hell. At some point you have to trust the living or you live in a constant state of spiraling mistrust and fear. So they had sexual relations. And it was fine. It went like this and that and ma said Angel didn’t want her to leave his side because of the humane connection that had developed between them, so he held her tight just like my batwings are holding ma tight now with a potato chip bag clenched in her teeth. Ma said she preferred hugs to a notional life of sex anyway even though she has no problem with sex as sex or sex as an open window we sometimes use to guide each other into and through the surreal, fractured landscapes of our manufactured egos.

You can’t hold love in your body, she said. With the kindness of hugs and kisses even from the hardest of hearts.

Ma said she didn’t care if he was HIV positive or HIV negative because she lives in the real world and would have had sex with him anyway and stayed by his side, which she eventually did through the most radical transition an angel can experience, because ma believes in the power of loving humankind(ness). Ma just wanted to know. Just in case. Because in the Age of Information there is no excuse for misinformation with the miracle of post-exposure prophylaxis. He had reasons to fear revelation, ma said. Because revelation requires guidance. It’s not easy being alone, vulnerable and crippled by shame and regret. Ma supported his silence in silence as her body moved radically against her silence in its attempt to draw him into the light of awareness. But in this process of reverse rationalization and narration one must stop and return to point A and face the light head on.

Ma believed in Angel (and still does) because she believes in herself. Believes in her power of perception and emotional intelligence. In her graceless wisdom and improbable compassion. In her mistakes and trippy tippy toes. In faith and foresight. Patience and providence. Ma said she isn’t afraid of death or dying or contracting or developing this or that because she is aware she will die one day no matter what she she does. But the unintended consequences of shame, ma said, are costly burdens that weigh down the wings of angels weighing down the limbs of the living with iron balls.

Ma believed (and still believes) Angel because she believes in cosmic love born out of bedrooms on the bay, the front seats of sports cars, a pier overlooking the same bay, Key West and Saint Augustine, foyers and Florida rooms, chat rooms and dream states, doctor offices and diagnostic sites and any and every place humans reveal their most vulnerable selves and share responsibility for living with other humans being.

Ma believed Angel because he believes in angels. He believes in God and the violet light, the Universe and levitation, chants and oms, Saint Germain and Saint Michael, Christ and Krishna, Buddha and Shiva, the Bhagavad Gita. She believed Angel because she doesn’t believe in any of that but she is always open to the ever expanding room of experience. Even though ma believes in logic and science, X-rays and MRIs, ELISA tests and red shift, emotions and intelligence and in her fierce inability to be immune to the process of cognition, she always believes in absolute risk.

In every low risk situation there’s always a moment of absolute risk, ma said. At the moment of climax one has to decide what to do with what’s to come. That forces the blaring headlights of revelation.

In April, four months after they met, ma asked Angel again after visible signs appeared that pointed to a radical decline in his immune system. In her car parked in front of Buck 15, she closed her eyes and asked him again if he’d ever been tested. No, I’ve never been tested, he said. I don’t believe in Western medicine. It’s a test, ma said she said to him. Not medicine.

This act of empowerment, of closing her eyes while opening his, allowed ma to see the silences burst out of him as a thing in being, like a floating orb that was stunningly clear and fragile and vulnerable and scared and fiercely defensive as it spun violently like a massive tornado destroys everything between heaven and hell. Ma asked him in the front seat of her shitty sports car on a humid Thursday night and that’s when ma knew there was no shaking it out. No turning back. No more lights out. Just go.

What the hell, ma said.

When ma surrendered to the light, her two selves merged into one. She asked the questions no one wanted to answer. She plugged into the grid of dis-empowerment that weighed him down. Since ma is not a bird, she couldn’t and wouldn’t fly away even if she were a bird. Love is a complex conjugate of revelations, ma said. I tapped into his grid and absorbed his city of information into my sensory system just like an angel must absorb the entire history of a civilization into her bones.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Ma & I Raised $957 for Florida AIDS Walk

It’s true. Ma and I raised $957 for Florida AIDS Walk 2012. We didn’t win a certificate of authenticity though, but we don’t mind, because we are already as authentic as Barbie & Ken. When we were at the walk, the guy on stage said that for every $1,000 raised 10 people could be tested for HIV for free. Ma clapped her hands and jumped up and down like that crazy puppet in that Sia song: “Clap Your Hands”.

Ma clapped her hands until the woman next to us wearing a propeller hat told her to calm down.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

That’s not a woman, I told ma. But she didn’t care. I don’t discriminate, ma said, so she took the propeller hat then propelled the woman about 7 feet before the police came and told ma to settle down. Ma did settle down and apologized for her instability. It’s a charity, the policeman said. No need to kick ass today.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

After the incident with the cops, ma decided to join the South Florida Boys of Leather. Even though ma wore spandex to the walk, the Boys of Leather welcomed her with open arms. She got bored then decided to hang out with the rabbi from Temple Beth El of Hollywood. She kept asking the rabbi for Beth, but he didn’t understand what she was talking about so he suggested she seek psychotherapy and stay out of the sun. Beth must be popular, ma said. She is, I told her. She is.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

I told ma to chill because we already kicked some ass by raising so much money in just a few days. Let’s go to Paris now, ma said. I had to explain to ma that the money we raised wasn’t for us. It was for the foundations that provide healthcare services, educational support, love and peace of mind for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS regardless of their ability to pay. Ma looked disappointed, but that’s just her funny face all screwed up and sideways.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

Anyway, we walked 5 kilometers and ma couldn’t help but think of Johnnie Walker. I’m so thirsty, she said over and over again until someone gave her a Sprite.We ran into some friends, but no one got hurt. I thought ma’s makeup was a bit too much, however the bullhorn blended well with her big mouth and ruby red forehead gem. You look fantastic, ma, I told her just so she wouldn’t feel too self-unconscious.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

After the walk, we got some beers and celebrated our victory over indifference. It’s been a long time since we’ve been fighting this battle with HIV/AIDS and it seems like a never ending battle, but just like the Never Ending Story everything comes to an end. In real life, that end is just something we have to work hard for because the solution to the problems that inhabit our lives won’t fix themselves. Ma and I helped a little toward that final fix. When it happens, who knows? But it will. So, we celebrated life and the love that each person at the walk represented. We celebrated Jesus and the way he inspires us to be more like him instead of the pope. We celebrated the weather and the meatball food truck. We even celebrated the Port-a-Potties which saved ma from wetting herself. Again.Just as we were about the cross the finish line.

You can still make a difference here.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Jesus joins Florida AIDS Walk 2012

Jesus | Painting by Caravaggio

What would Jesus do? No need to answer that question. What else would you expect from a man (or woman) who dedicated his (or her) life to healing and dispelling the myth that the sick are worthless. In fact, Jesus established the first system of universal healthcare dedicated to providing love, support, comfort and peace of mind to people living with and affected by any and every disease imaginable and unimaginable. (Source: the Bible.) So, join Jesus this Sunday on Fort Lauderdale Beach for Florida AIDS Walk 2012. He’ll be the One inside the heart of every man, woman, child and pet at the walk. Bring your heart and help us raise funds for local organizations on the front lines: Neil de la Flor’s donation page.

When Jesus existed, no one had heard of HIV/AIDS. Now, somewhere between 33 – 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS across the globe and Jesus can’t heal the world by himself. He needs us. That’s what he said. Even though there’s no cure for HIV yet, there are clinical trials on the way and existing treatments that help people live ‘normal’ lives, thrive, prosper and just BE. However, this is the problem: many who live with HIV/AIDS do not have access to basic care and are often stigmatized because of the disease. Florida AIDS Walk 2012 will raise funds for organizations that provide some basic healthcare services, counseling, education, support and peace of mind for people living with and/or are affected by HIV/AIDS.  Support Florida AIDS Walk 2012 by making a contribution to my team: Neil de la Flor’s donation page.

Recent article about stigma, denial and fear: http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/29/health/jacksonville-hiv-florida/index.html

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Nerds want you to join Florida AIDS Walk 2012

What would a 12-year-old nerd do? After trying to feather his pretty hair, he’d help us raise funds for Florida AIDS Walk 2012. Join our team, donate and pass this link forward to friends and family: http://takeaction.aidshealth.org/site/TR?px=1008298&fr_id=1120&pg=personal.

Note: According to the CDC, only 9.6% of adult Americans have been tested for HIV. Furthermore, only 1 in 4 HIV infected Americans receive adequate medical care to control the disease.CNN.com reports that South Florida has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the nation. Although Florida AIDS Walk can’t fix these numbers, we are part of a long-term, multidimensional solution that will diminish the impact of HIV/AIDS on those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Neil de la Flor wants you to support Florida AIDS Walk 2012

Florida AIDS Walk 2012

When this photograph was taken in the early 80s, almost no one had heard of HIV/AIDS. Thirty years later and between 33 – 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS across the globe. There’s no cure for HIV, but there are effective treatments that help people thrive, prosper and just BE. However, this is the problem: many who live with HIV/AIDS do not have access to basic care and are often stigmatized because of the disease. Florida AIDS Walk 2012 will raise funds for organizations that provide some basic healthcare services, counseling, education, support and peace of mind for people living with and/or are affected by HIV/AIDS.  Support Florida AIDS Walk 2012 by making a contribution to my team: Neil de la Flor’s donation page.

Thank you,

Neil de la Flor

Interesting stuff: “HIV is a lentivirus, and like all viruses of this type, it attacks the immune system. Lentiviruses are in turn part of a larger group of viruses known as retroviruses. The name ‘lentivirus’ literally means ‘slow virus’ because they take such a long time to produce any adverse effects in the body. They have been found in a number of different animals, including cats, sheep, horses and cattle. However, the most interesting lentivirus in terms of the investigation into the origins of HIV is the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) that affects monkeys, which is believed to be at least 32,000 years old.” Source.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Almost Dorothy’s Florida AIDS Walk Fundraising Page

Bobo the Mutt, ma and I are going to raise money on May 2oth, 2012 for several organizations that provide healthcare services, counseling and peace of mind for people living with HIV/AIDS regardless of their ability to pay. Ma says this is important because we still live in the richest country on the planet that doesn’t provide equal access to health services for all citizens regardless of income or employment status. Some of the organizations that will benefit: AIDS Healthcare Foundation, SunServ, The Center for Positive Connections among others. Join my family or support us with a small cash donation that is totally tax deductible. I’m not sure what tax deductible means, but I suspect it has something to do with ducks who don’t pay taxes.

Visit my father’s fundraising page where you can make a donation: Florida AIDS Walk Fundraising Page.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Politics

I Stand With Planned Parenthood In Da’ Hood

Image of vaginal birth control device NuvaRing
Vaginal birth control device | NuvaRing

Emergency Action Alert: “The U.S. House of Representatives has just voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care.”

When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives last fall, ma got scared and ordered all the birth control she could get her hands and feet on because she knew the Republicans would force poor-semi-hard-working-streetwalkers like her to struggle because she’s a woman. The one thing ma didn’t do is get her annual breast examination and HIV test. Now she’s afraid that she’ll never know if she has cancer or HIV. She’s so afraid ma says she hears drums in her head 24/7 and she sees a man in her head corralling all the stars into his mouth as if he knows something about the night lights. Ma’s afraid she’ll die unaware of the thing that eats her or bugs her body up like an out-of-control beehive. She’s afraid that when she gets a real full-time job, one that pays real wages and benefits, they’ll fire her if she gets pregnant, cancer, HIV, or all of the above + one. The Republicans also want to de-fund Obamacare because they want ma to go without healthcare.

FYI #1: ma can’t have kids cause she doesn’t have a uterus. But, ma says, you never know. God works on me in mysterious ways. I’m like the Virgin Mary some days.

FYI #2: Republicans argue that Planned Parenthood is an abortion mill because they pass out birth control and advise women on how to abort their plans for parenthood. In fact, without the hood, and their commie-planning ways, ma said she would have aborted me faster than it took her to eat a Milky Way (I assume she meant the candy bar and not our galaxy) because she didn’t want me tearing her up inside.

For the love of ma and her missing uterus, sing and then sign the “Open Letter to Congress”. Tell them sons of bitches to keep their goddamnless hands off of our birth control. Congress needs to know that the most vital resource in this country are mothers, the women who bear the burden of raising up this beautiful-awful gift of life. They are the ones who give birth to wackos like me who make your day shiny and deranged. If you want a beige world, fine, paint your house to death. But, remember this, the Republicans will come for you in the end. In Wisconsin, the new Republican Governor is trying to strip unions of their collective bargaining rights.

The Republican party is not about free-markets, or capitalism, or conservative ideals. They’re about the Republican Party and, like all parties, they want all the beer and nuts for them. They want to pin ma down and maintain a man-centric, male-dominated social structure that disses women, shackles the poor and the sick, so they, the corporate and social police, can reap the benefits that women create through their hard work without the costs associated with maintaining a healthy & stable social economy.

Yes, that’s right. That’s what ma says. She also says most of her clients are the ‘evangelical’ Republicans who promote no birth-control and no abortion at least until they get someone pregnant.

Please sign the petition below:

Click & Sign the Planned Parenthood Petition