February, 2013


Friday, February 8th, 2013

6 p.m. I live in San Diego, 10 minutes from the ocean, and we just had a hellacious 2 minute hail storm, my Jag is covered in ice, might even be damaged. Ice! Ice in southern California at sea level! Where do I have to move to stay warm? Where?

Tom Young and Sanna Jean

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Luke and I bought a new flat which means we are moving from the west side of Hillcrest to the east side of Hillcrest, a distance of 11 blocks give or take. One of the givens about moving is packing or in our case unpacking so we can pack again - because we move so much, restless boys that we are. And sometimes, like last week, a treasure is unearthed. Let me tell you about it.

On February 20, 1989, Tom Young, my former lover and writing partner died of AIDS at the age of 41. Our original screenplay, STONEWALL, later titled, A FULL MOON AND JUDY GARLAND’S FUNERAL, based around the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969, was a finalist at the 1987 Sundance Film Festival Screenplay Competition. Tom was ill and could not attend Sundance with me. (By the way, while at Sundance I was told by a gay agent from William Morris in New York that while our script was brilliant and groundbreaking there was no way we could sell it because it was too gay. I never told Tom what the agent said.)

On February 20, 2012, my mother Sanna Jean died of Alzheimer’s at the age of 77, exactly 23 years after Tom Young died. I know they died on the same day because I found Tom Young’s Memorial 3×5 card in a box of drafts of our screenplay. On the front side of the white card is a beautiful black and white photograph of Tom sitting against a wall with his long arms crossed over his knees, those high cheekbones of his reaching for the clouds. Under the photograph is written:

May 14, 1947 -
February 20, 1989

{{ Sanna Jean
July 24, 1934 -
February 20, 2012}}

Memorial Reading and Feast
The New Riverside Cafe
Minneapolis, Minnesota
March 12, 1989

On the flip side of the card is a poem Tom wrote in 1986:


morning light

I crave now
moments reduced and
no song but
a dry whisper.
no curtain but
uncomfortable morning light.
clear water.
in a jar.
if there is a heartache
it stretches around the ticking of my clock,
it enlarges in marriage with silence,
it lays hold like a beast
reduced to this weight,
this real aloneness,
the power shaking loose its own fear,
its own dying.
this bone
of ordinary time.


I never knew this poem existed until I found it in the box.

I know this -
an absolute certainty -

“morning light”

is about my mother Sanna Jean
is about Tom my Young

They never met -

They did not have to -