Day 7 (March 17) Detail of “Composting Our Fears + Committing to Action” begun in Oct. ’19 during my residency at Textile Arts Center, NYC. sculptural garment h: 30″ x w: 95″

Day 21 (Wednesday, April 1) Three weeks ago, the school I’m an arts administrator at closed both its campuses, and we made an initial trial run of virtual teaching practices before our Spring Break began. In this present crisis, I am grateful for the leadership of the institution that was reasonably prepared with plans and resources for the move to virtual classrooms. The city closed in fairly dramatic, but not quick enough, stages; on the weekend that followed, the beautiful weather seemed to call everyone outdoors, but the following Monday the public schools finally closed. Every day since, it becomes more evident to New Yorkers that we’re going to need to hold tight and keep caring about each other; this is not the first crisis our big diverse city has weathered.

As a generational Queer activist guy from the peak HIV AIDS epidemic NYC “plague years” I initially found myself reflecting on how much the world had NOT stopped in those past terrible days that turned into years, did not stop despite the countless deaths of young friends and lovers; as a young teacher, I went into work in silent mourning and fear, actually to the same campuses that I serve again now as an administrator. 

Day 6 (Monday, March 16) We drove into an empty lower Manhattan to carefully navigate the Marriage Bureau, grateful for the clerks and officiant (keeping her distance, not touching the lectern), to get legally married. The following day we made a tense groceries run, our honeymoon trip to Ireland postponed. It all seemed so unreal. 


Navigating the challenges of the times in which we live, it felt important to formally recognize our lifetime commitment to each other. We went for a simple City Hall civil wedding with our dear friend, Daniel, joining us as witness. We are planning for a future ceremony and celebration to come. Our announcement shared with friends and family fills our newsfeed with joy, coming at the front edge of the shutdowns and fears of the future, the loving responses were a much needed salve during the hard adjustments of that first week home.

Day 16 (Friday, March 27) We watched the beautiful, inspiring Every Act of Life last night, which PBS shared in honor of Terrence McNally. McNally died of complications from COVID-19 on March 24 and is survived by his husband, Tom Kirdahy. I saw the original production of “Love! Valour! Compassion!” several times when it first played on Broadway, remembering how his depiction of gay couples changed culture and theater:

BOBBY. I think you love each other very much. I think you’ll stick it out, whatever. I think right now you’re holding hands- that when Perry has to take his hand from yours, Arthur, to steer traffic, he puts it back in yours as soon as he can. I think this is how you always drive. I think this is how you go through life.

Day 10 (Friday, March 20) We got to the beach for a cleansing walk, keeping our distance from the handful of others doing the same. I shared on Facebook, “Be ready, it will be worse next week, as the delays of last month catch-up to the realities of the crisis.” I caught myself in rising fear, looking at Joseph, my husband, across the sun-pierced, still slightly foggy beach landscape, and felt so choked in despair and anticipatory grief of what might happen that I could barely give voice to it. The generational experience and trauma repeating over and over, “we did not all survive.”

But I also remember that a generation of LGBTQ+ individuals and allies did everything it could to take care of the sick, the dying, and the grieving. Our love for each other taught us how to show up in new ways, developing actions and advocacy. “Greetings, Prophet; / The Great Work begins: / The Messenger has arrived.” ~ Tony Kushner, Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches. 


I remember so clearly the moment the Angel crashed through the ceiling at the end of the play and spoke these lines; it was a moment that felt like everything we knew and didn’t know how to survive was expressed through visionary, artful brilliance bringing home deep truths of a generation’s mounting losses and resilience. A lot of losses. A lot of activism. A lot of learning. Follow The AIDS Memorial on Instagram and Facebook and witness the ways so many deaths impact the many many years since for the living, for all of us.

We walked together in Green-Wood Cemetery, a long loop in the bright sun, keeping our distance from others on their own walks. We were married a week ago, managed in the chaos of these sudden shocking readjustments all of us in this city are facing. The walk through the monuments of eras past a reminder of the impermanence of our lives. The first magnolias doing their triumphant blooming, fragile to the quick changes in early spring erratic temperatures. 

I want us to survive this, all of us, but we know that deaths are mounting, yet we must with care and the best of what we can offer each other in the fearful closeness of life-saving caregivers and medical professionals showing up to service, and in the simple housebound units checking on each other, tending and teaching the love that is possible.

Day 13 (March 24) NYTimes 3/24: Mr. Cuomo said that New York was a harbinger for the rest of the country. “Look at us today,” he warned. “Where we are today, you will be in four weeks or five weeks or six weeks. We are your future.”

Day 15 (March 26) NYTimes 3/26: The United States has reached a grim milestone: More than 1,000 deaths have been linked to the coronavirus.

Day 16 (Friday, March 27) When we go out for a walk, I can feel both the positive body care and the vulnerability and heightened uncertainty everywhere. We’re being careful and keeping to ourselves. 

The night before I joined my fellow activists for my very first Zoom meeting, as the Gays Against Guns meeting moved into the virtual organizing direction. Gun sales in the United States are skyrocketing and domestic violence incidents within homes are escalating. In NYC, violent crimes are falling, but many Americans, unlike Europeans, are arming themselves at terrifying rates. During the meeting, I work quietly on a sculptural garment, an art memorial project that will honor those killed by gun violence in 2020. #ourhospitalsarefullstopbuyingguns #prioritizepeopleoverguns #gunviolenceisanepidemic


Day 15 (March 26) Work-in-progress on this art memorial sculptural garment, “In Remembrance: 2020,” part of my ongoing service in gathering the names and stories of those killed by guns for the art activism of The Human Beings, silent vigil work by members of Gays Against Guns holding the places of those killed by gun violence.

Day 18 (March 29) NYTimes 3/29: New York officials reported a sharp jump in deaths from Friday night, saying that 222 people died in that 24-hour window, bringing the total to 672 people. That is the largest number of reported deaths in a single 24-hour period in the city… More than 2,300 people with the coronavirus have now died in the United States, according to the New York Times database, a figure that has more than doubled since Thursday….

We’ve been hearing the increased presence of ambulance sirens, especially at night. 

Today is the last day of “spring break,” and I am trying to rest and invest in self-care before the virtual school days resume. Connected with community on a zoom meeting after almost three weeks of isolation, and was so grateful for the reconnection, the service and community care, seeing the faces I’d been hoping were doing well and staying alive (for real)