86river teeth.spring 2005. vol. 6 no. 2
glee with which His tormentors attacked His physique with civic policy.Sitting in that small library room I knew that the body and its desires (forpleasure, for surcease) were voices crying as surely to the heavens as any psychological supplications from the cross. And as a kid, I listened. I wasre
ecting on the sex lives of our priests and nuns when my friends werere
ecting on wheelies and the Fonz. After all, Sister Irene had legs, andknees, and the dark. . . . Years later, when the rumor went around my highschool that our school priest had confessed to a sympathetic student histwin addictions to Pepsi and masturbation, it came as no shock to me. What was surprising was that we didn’t hear about this kind of thing moreoften.Perhaps the fear that I associated with sex had something to do with my parents. Not prudes, they nonetheless bore their obligation to create intheir son a manifest respect for the sex act. Fine. Once, in the bright kitchen,I overheard my mother say to my younger brother, Paul, in a dubious e
ortto sound hip and subvert his annoyingly adolescent brooding, “Of coursesex is great, your father and I have it all the time!” I was less surprised thandiscom
ted, wishing achingly that my parents would keep to themselves what they obviously enjoyed behind their bedroom door. Sex was not to befeared in my house, but the bringing of one’s erotic desires out into thedomestic realm was. When Paul announced to our family that he was gay,not long after my mother con
ded to him in the kitchen, what was hardestfor my brothers and sister—and certainly for my parents—was not hishomosexuality, per se, but his
sexuality. He demanded that we allturn to each other, recognizing,
Yes, we do all have sex lives.
Getting caught, having the door thrown open onto your body’s pri-vacy—fear was bred there. I vividly recall the afternoon my father discov-ered the
magazines under my bed. I was eleven ortwelve, reckless in stashing the magazines on the
oor knowing that my mother swept beneath my bed each Saturday morning. I was in the base-ment when my father called me into my room.
. . . I remember largehands and clean
ngernails. I stood with my head hanging as he toweredover me, the vivid and
eshy evidence thankfully returned to the dark
oorunder my bed. Lemon Pledge hung in the expectant air.
I understand . . . a young boy . . . it’s only natural . . . just try not to let your mother
nd it . . . it’s o
ensive to her.
My fear of getting caught (but why had I tossed the magazines so cava-