heaven’s so big there ain’t no need to look up

Two men in bed, vintage gay photo set against double exposure of open range

I woke beneath a clear blue sky — the sun a shout, the breeze a sigh.
The old hometown, and the streets I knew, wrapped up in a royal blue.

I heard my friends laughing out across the fields —
The girls in the gloaming and the birds on the wheel.
The raw smell of horses and the warm smell of hay —
Cicadas electric in the heat of the day.

A run of Three Sisters and the flush of the land;
The lake was a diamond in the valley’s hand.

The straight of the highway and the scattered out hearts —
They were coming together, they were pulling apart.
Angels everywhere were in my midst —
In the ones that I loved, in the ones that I kissed.

I wondered what it was I’d been looking for above;
Heaven’s so big, there ain’t no need to look up.


Text: Excerpt, Thin Blue Flame, lyrics, Josh Ritter
Image: Photographer, subjects, unknown. Double exposure, circa 1940
via Miss Magnolia Thunderpussy/Ipernity

complete and utter abandonment

Two handsome guys, vintage gay photo, circa 1900

He was far too tasteful and far too clever,
a young man of very good society, too,
to make a fool of himself by acting as if he thought
that his abandonment was some great tragedy.
After all when his friend had said to him, “We two
will have love forever”– both the one who said it,
and the one who heard it, knew it for a cliché.
One night after the picture-show, and the ten
minutes they stayed at the bar, a longing
kindled in their eyes and in their blood
and they went off together, and someone said “forever.”

Anyway, their “forever” lasted three years.
Far too often it lasts for less.

He was far too elegant, and far too clever,
to take the matter tragically;
and far too beautiful — both face and body —
for his carnal vanity to be touched at all.


Image: Sitters, photographer, unknown, via Ipernity/Scumbeast
Text: Abandonment, C.P. Cavafy, 1930
from The Unfinished Poems, translated by Daniel Mendelsohn
Note: In Mendelson’s inspired piece of research, The Unfinished Poems,
he notes that Cavafy included the words “complete and utter”
alongside the word “abandonment” in his original draft.



my true-love hath my heart, and i have his

Two men sitting in a cabana, vintage gay photo

My true-love hath my heart, and I have his,

By just exchange one for the other given.

I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss:

There never was a better bargain driven.

His heart in me keeps me and him in one;

My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;

He loved my heart, for once it was his own;

I cherish his, because in me it bides.


Text: excerpt, ‘My true love hath my heart, and I have his’, 16th century,
Sir Philip Sydney

Image: Photographer, subjects, unknown, via superfruitmix/tumblr

you’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

one woman holding another up in the air; vintage lesbian

baby, you’re a firework

Text: Excerpt, Firework, Lyric by Katy Perry and
Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Sandy Wilhelm, Ester Dean

Image: Photographer, subjects, unknown; via queering on tumblr


one memorable day

two men, one with his head leaning agains the other's let; vintage gay

That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.

Text: Great Expectations, excerpt, 1860, Charles Dickens
Image: Subjects, photographer unknown

hard is the world that does not give to every love a place

two young men, entangled, vintage, gay

Thy voice, as tender as the light
That shivers low at eve –
Thy hair, where myriad flashes bright
Do in and outward weave –
Thy charms in their diversity
Half frighten and astonish me.

Thine eyes, that hold a mirth subdued
Like deep pools scattering fire –
Mine dare not meet them in their mood,
For fear of my desire,
Lest thou that secret do descry
Which evermore I must deny.

Hard is the world that does not give
To every love a place;
Hard is the power that bids us live
A life bereft of grace –
Hard, hard to lose thy figure, dear,
My star and my religion here!


Text: To a Friend, James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
Image: photographer, sitters, unknown,
Daguerreotype circa 1850, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art


we live in boundless brotherhood

vintage gay photo, one man sat on the other's lap

Sweet lad, tender lad,

Have no shame, you’re mine for good;

We share a sole insurgent fire,

We live in boundless brotherhood.

I do not fear the gibes of men;

One being split in two we dwell,

The kernel of a double nut

Embedded in a single shell.


Text: Imitation of the Arabic, by Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin, 1835
Translation: Michael Green
Image: Photographer, sitters, unknown; via deak/ipernity




memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours


vintage gay lovers snuggling


vintage gay snuggle lover 1

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…

In life after life, in age after age, forever.

My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,

That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,

In life after life, in age after age, forever.


Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age old pain,vintage gay snuggle lover 2

Its ancient tale of being apart or together.

As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,

Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.

You become an image of what is remembered forever.


vintage gay snuggle loversYou and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.

At the heart of time, love of one for another.

We have played along side millions of lovers,

Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,

the distressful tears of farewell,

Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.


Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you

The love of all man’s days both past and forever:

Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.

The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours –

And the songs of every poet past and forever.


Text: Unending Love, by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Translated by William Radice
Image: Photographer, sitters, unknown, via morphadite/tumblr


I don’t want to fall another moment into your gravity

vintage photo of gay soldiers

Click to Click to listen to male vocal:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Dear Peter,

Something always brings me back to you. It never takes too long. No matter what I say or do, I’ll still feel you here ’til the moment I’m gone. You hold me without touch, keep me without chains. I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love and not feel your rain.

Set me free, leave me be. I don’t want to fall another moment into your gravity. Here I am, and I stand so tall, just the way I’m supposed to be — but you’re on to me, and all over me.

You loved me ’cause I’m fragile — when I thought that I was strong. But you touch me for a little while and all my fragile strength is gone. I live here on my knees as I try to make you see that you’re everything I think I need here on the ground. But you’re neither friend nor foe, though I can’t seem to let you go.

The one thing that I still know is that you’re keeping me down. You’re on to me, on to me, and all over

…Something always brings me back to you. It never takes too long.


Image: Photographer, sitters, unknown
Vocal: Brent Wilson
Text: Song lyrics, Gravity, by Sarah Bareilles,
imagined here as a letter from one lover to another

in love in provincetown, 1936

Two men embrace, provincetown 1936, vintage, gay

You have returned. You have returned, my joy:

you have returned as polar morning comes

after a whole night winter. Throb the drums,

— yes beat my blood to greet my darling boy.

My heart with wild delight shall now employ

both tongue and pen to reckon up the sums

of all my gladness. Pleasure almost numbs

my reason. I am shaken like a toy.

Like sunlight after a storm, like flowers from ice,

yes, like a torch lit in oblivion

you have returned, and heaven bursts above.

No music mad enough shall suffice.

My heart shall paean like a clarion.

I am the bugle for the mouth of love.


Text: #19,  from Carmina Amico (1932), by Edwards James
Image: photographer, subjects, unknown 


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