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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
Jess: 40 Exposures

1. The assessment
spacer 12x240 After myself, the most interesting man I have known -- if I have known him.

2. His hands
spacer 12x240 You notice the coolness and smoothness of these hands. Even when he is tormented, the hands keep their repose. The touch is peaceful, firm, and confident. They are trained runners, supple and harmonious. Their dharma is good; they have trained on a series of joys.

3. His eyes
spacer 12x240 Cat's eyes, really.

4. His mouth
spacer 12x240 Heavy artillery. The lips push out in panic, compress in anger. This mouth must serve him in several ways -- as the entrance to the grand ballroom of his mind, as the tent flap to his medicine show, as the happy gateway for immigrants of all descriptions.

5. The navigator
spacer 12x240 Roads are mere circuitry, after all, and such puzzles are his joy. The circuits of Wisconsin and god knows where else are fixed flawlessly in this Navigator. What a pleasure it is to drive the back roads with him! You always trust that he knows where he's going, and you're always surprised where you come out.

6. The coach
spacer 12x240 He once took an outsider into the Gym and taught him to run. The outsider hated gyms; they made him feel lumpish and inadequate. The Coach talked about oxygen levels and such, showed the outsider how to stretch himself and warm up so he wouldn't hurt anything. Then they ran, easily and regardlessly, running only for themselves. The outsider ran a mile at his own pace, a pace the Coach assured him was as right as the pace struck by a trained miler; slower, but testing nonetheless. Then they ran sprints and the Coach showed the outsider how to count his pulse and cool himself down. They showered and left. The outsider came back to the Gym and was never afraid of gyms, or of his own body, after that.

7. The chef
spacer 12x240 His kitchen was a merry lab; the Scientist licks his fingers.

8. The insider
spacer 12x240 He'll say he knows almost everyone you mention. You often suspect he doesn't know everyone he claims to, especially not half the boys on campus. But you can never be sure. They show up in the damndest ways.

9.The counselor
spacer 12x240 He listens and absorbs your grief with a broad love. The voice grows soft. At length, when he has let you feel what you need to feel, he begins a quiet probe. Little by little your catastrophes collapse to their true dimensions. Panic subsides. Self-criticism is possible. In these matters the Counselor is easier on you than he ever is on himself.

10. The detective
spacer 12x240 He tracked the movements of a jumpy lover hour by hour, day by day. He raced around town pulling information from friends, piecing the fragments together, searching for the devastating truth that had to be lurking beneath the pattern. The truth, when he learned it, was unremarkable; the devastation was the search itself.

11. The language instructor
spacer 12x240 By example, he taught a friend the necessary art of verbal masking. It was an exciting course, for it was also a course in self-defense: kung-fu for the homosexual. The friend learned the delights of speaking in two languages, both of them English, in social settings that would be menacing were it not for the protection of the tongue. Today that tongue is a double asset as feminists press to cleanse everyday speech of gender specification. While liberals try awkwardly to reform their utterances, we come forth naturally with the new speech. Their newest progress is our oldest protection.

12. The computer programmer
spacer 12x240 For years it was almost mysterious. You knew what he did, but there was never any talk about it. Now there is overlap between his worlds, but it is still mysterious. One supposes either that the work is so recondite that he despairs of sharing it with friends, or that it is so pedestrian that he fears boring them with it. Either way, the silence around his work adds to his enigma. In society one feels like raising the subject with him only guardedly, as one might with a member of the Mafia or an agent of the CIA.

13.His superlatives
spacer 12x240 For things: "Uncommonly good."
For people: "Transcendental."

14. His worst poem
spacer 12x240 "The Sprinkler"

15. Weights and measures
spacer 12x240 1 millihelen = the unit of beauty required to launch one ship.
1 megahelen = 1,000 helens.

16. A Rabelaisian moment
spacer 12x240 "He beat me severely about the mouth and lips."

17. He said it to his mother
spacer 12x240 Mother: My color television reception has been a lot better lately.
J: Oh, have you moved to a better streetcorner?

18. His mother said it to him
spacer 12x240 "All these years of work and what do I get? Miss Viper Tongue of 1973."

19. One-up
spacer 12x240 R: (On completing a Joplin rag) Oh, Jess, in my next incarnation I want to be a whorehouse piano player!
J: (Deliciously) That's convenient -- you won't even have to die.

20. One-down
spacer 12x240 J: (A bit smugly) The Reis-Allisters saw me in a restaurant the other night and didn't even recognize me.
R: (Deliciously) You must have had your mouth closed.
J: (Stung) I certainly walked into that.
R: (Triumphantly) One can.

21. The faux pas
spacer 12x240 J: Thanks so much, I had a wonderful time.
Host: We'll be sure to have you back the next time we want the lamps broken.

22. The miscalculation
spacer 12x240 He was standing at the bar of the Kollege Klub when an uncommonly attractive young man walked by. Speaking in a normal voice, but in French, he said: "I wish that boy would sit on my face." The young man stopped dead in his tracks and stared at him with a look of total astonishment.

23. The experiment
spacer 12x240 In the fall of 1970 he curled his hair and came to a dance. Since the fall of 1970 he has never curled his hair.

24. Broken toys
spacer 12x240 Orion Press
The Million Dollar Computer Deal
Medical School

25. Among his souvenirs
spacer 12x240 Osmiroid pens
Jelly beans
Camel cigarettes
Shelled walnuts
Running shoes
Technical manuals

26. Wheels
spacer 12x240 In the days when it was fashionable, he drove a large white convertible.

27. His library
spacer 12x240 He has every recording anybody ever wanted. He told a friend how many weeks or years it would take to hear them all in succession, but the friend has forgotten the number. He has almost no books. He sold his library years ago, a remarkable thing. To a computer expert books are a primitive means of information retrieval. The books he likes best now are the ones he writes himself.

28. Triumph of the will
spacer 12x240 He was so persistent at not paying credit card bills that most of his cards have been recalled.

29. Highly classified
spacer 12x240 He saw "Gone With The Wind" in its first run.

30. Four people we share
spacer 12x240 Lloyd Schloen
Randall Coleman
Harvey Goldberg
Gladys Lindberg

31. Sight reading
spacer 12x240 He stares at the score, cursing and grunting at mistakes. It is the concentration of a committed pinball player.

32. The bungalow
spacer 12x240 It was a surprise to find him living there. His manner was so grand one expected a grand manor. Yet it was only a bungalow, modest, really, and modestly situated in a modest suburb. Inside it was rather jammed. The most elegant furniture was in the dining room and this was scarcely used. The place was cozy; its coziness was instructive. One realized that the sophisticate was also a homebody who felt good in small spaces, a person content to submerge his extraordinary presence in the sanctuary of an ordinary place.

33. The chrysalis
spacer 12x240 He found the chrysalis, picked the sack with the twig and brought it home. With his care the butterfly emerged, not a Monarch but neither a moth. Some said he kept it in a jar for ten years, but this was unfair. It was good for a season. Quite simply, another spring arrived.

34. Phaedrus
spacer 12x240 He desired Pheadrus and wished to enroll him in his Lyceum, but Pheadrus was too mercurial, too Piscean, for that. Phaedrus himself was torn between the desire to embrace the Mentor and the desire to flee him. Phaedrus feared that the osmotic pressure created by the Mentor would drain him of essential contents. However, the moments before Phaedrus felt his terror were often beautiful. The Mentor, infatuated with his darkly athletic and tormented pupil, would make passionate music and Phaedrus would respond, pressing his lips ardently to the flute. Then, inevitably, Phaedrus would find his panic and flee. This much can be ventured: there will always be music between them.

35. The designing young man
spacer 12x240 The Designing Young Man entered the scene shortly before the Ten Year Affair drew to a close. The Designing Young Man proceeded to redesign the environment, to the delight of his Client. The clutter vanished. The grounds, absurdly small for much design, were dug and planted like the Gardens of Versailles. Stained glass lamps, Oriental rugs, and carefully chosen objects entered the house. The Designing Young Man encouraged the Client to renew old contacts with area artists, and this was done. It was all very geometric until the Client noticed that the Designing Young Man had included everything in the design but a place for himself. When the Client questioned him about this, the Designing Young Man shrugged. It was not in the design.

36. Anniversaries
spacer 12x240 He became obsessed with time and dates. This was disquieting. One supposed he did not keep count of months during the Ten Year Affair, yet now he celebrated monthly "anniversaries." One wondered why, if he was liberated, he kept marking his days, like a prisoner. Perhaps it was the celebration of a new calendar; it seemed more like the preparation of a lawsuit.

37. The nadir
spacer 12x240 In April of 1973, he came with the Designing Young Man to visit a friend. His movements were strangely sluggish. His speech was alarmingly slurred. He had dosed himself dangerously with a drug to put the distance of a dream between him and the cancer on his spirit. This was the nadir. At length there was radical surgery, which was successful.

38. How he was going to do it
spacer 12x240 He was going to accelerate rapidly at the intersection of Park and West Johnson Streets, gather momentum by the time he hit Park and West Dayton, hurtle down the incline approaching the viaduct, and smash himself into the thick abutment which divided the lanes.

39. One year later
spacer 12x240 On April 7, 1974, he strode through a throng in the Elvehjem Art Center and bowed to loud applause. The courtyard was airy and green. He wore white linen and a rose. He was entirely beautiful. The music was controlled and springlike. The color and graciousness of that day were all his color and graciousness -- yellow blossoms, white wine, April sun.

40. Two years later
spacer 12x240 His friend is young, attractive, cheerful, and bright. He himself is now wolfish, grinning through a mass of glossy beard and hair. He feels rangy and rugged, surely not 40. The unreal Dorian Gray, who was never more than a glossy photograph, has perished. Now there is Mellors, the gamekeeper lying nude in his cottage with his love twining forget-me-nots in the rough of his chest. The odyssey from Wilde to Lawrence, from the De Profundis to the Jubilate, at all but complete. A friend who must leave feels reassured.

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