Bear Talk Blog Tour – Johnny Miles (NSFW)
Welcome to the Bear Talk Blog Tour. Johnny Miles is here with me today to share some thoughts about bears and share an excerpt from his wonderful book, The Rosas of Spanish Harlem. When you’re done, see the bottom of the post for links to more Bear Talk goodness.
Be sure to leave a comment for the chance to win an e-book version of The Rosas of Spanish Harlem!
I’ve always known I was different from other boys. I just had this innate feeling about it but was never able to verbalize, let alone think it to myself. I lacked the words at such a young age.
But here are some ironies for you to ponder.
Even from before I ever saw “The Wizard of Oz” my favorite animals were, and still are, lions and tigers and bears. As for my favorite childhood movie, you’re correct if you guessed “The Wizard of Oz.” Looking back, these may or may not have been indicative of the gay man I would eventually become.
But wait. Here are two more ironies.
According to the Chinese zodiac, I’m a Tiger. However the biggest irony of all is that, in gay circles, I’m what you’d call a Bear. I’m not Lion! Pah-dum-pum. Yeah, I know. Don’t quit your day job, right?
Seriously, though, I first become aware of the term “Bear” in the late 80s, perhaps early 90s. To my knowledge there was no such terminology when I was growing up. There was Winnie the Pooh, Smokey The Bear, Yogi Bear and even Gentle Ben, but the bear thing was never applied to humans. You were either gay or you weren’t. Bear wasn’t a widely used term.
As I remember it, “Bear” was a generic category used largely to lump together any gay men who didn’t fit the all-too-visible and stereotypical pretty-boy, gym-bunny mold. At least, that’s how it appeared to me. The majority of men called bears were usually scruffy, more than likely had a beard, and were usually…of a certain girth.
They were also prone to wearing a lot of plaid.
Frankly, I never knew if it was the hairy gay man embracing his natural state who laid claim to the term, or the supposed “A Gays” who coined the term as a way of distinguishing “us” from “them.” One of these days I’ll read up on it. There’s actually a book out, written by Les Wright, I’ll one day get my hands on.
Since then, Bears have evolved as a gay male subculture and we come in all shapes, colors and sizes. I myself have come into contact with men who relate to being bear cubs, black bears, grizzly bears and yes, even polar bears and muscle bears — the ultimate in the bear hierarchy, like Ted Colunga, seen here. Hmmm. Hi, Teddy.
There are events touting the hirsute man. I believe one of the first, if not THE first, was Lazy Bear. It takes place in June, just north of San Francisco, in a sleepy sort of town called Guerneville. There, bears and bear lovers alike can bond, frolic and run amuck without being judged. They can be themselves, connect with Mother Earth and commune with a white-hot sensuality that runs the gamut of intensity from innocent to primal.
I was lucky enough to attend the event once — during a particularly low spot in my life — with a friend, angel and savior, who is himself a Golden Bear.
There are now many other Bear groups as well as all sorts of Bear events and celebrations. Here in South Florida the Bear is coming into his own. Where once pretty boys reigned supreme, dancing nightly at the Copa, the Bear is now sought after. And not just at Country/Western bars either! One bar, known for it’s twirling dance pole twinks is featuring a Bear Knight.
Bizarrely enough, the term has become so widespread even straight men use it. Seth Rogan, for instance, called himself a Bear on national television when he was a guest on Conan. Then again, men like Wilford Brimley, Kenny Rogers, Richard Karn and Michael McDonald would probably have honorary Bear Cards if there were such a thing.
Of course, Native Americans have always honored the bear; the animal, not the gay male. According to one website, “the bear is as free in spirit as the great wind; and grander than its mass. To match that magnitude is the quality of unpredictability in the bear. A massive animal who forages seemingly peacefully in the woods on berries and bush. when provoked in certain ways, the First Peoples witnessed a ferocity expressed from the bear that (understandably) could elicit terror.”
When I first read that I was reminded, strangely, of “The Bear Dance,” a painting by William Holbrook Beard.
I’ve grown accustomed to my Bear-ness. In fact, there are times I take great pride in being associated with such beautiful creatures! I’ve grown into my role and into my skin. It no longer bothers me that I have hair in places other gay men would shudder if they knew. I don’t mind that I have a few extra pounds or that I have a bit of a belly; though I look forward to shedding a few pounds since the excess weight is uncomfortable.
Ultimately I think being a Bear is more a state of mind than it is about dressing, acting, or looking a certain way. It’s about accepting yourself as you are, labels not withstanding, and being true to your nature.
And now, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to a very special bear. His name is William Rosa and he’s one of the characters in The Rosas of Spanish Harlem. He’s also the love interest in a semi-triangle of hardcore sex, sensuality, and a bit of madness surrounding 18-year-old Tracy McCarthy, who steals his sister’s make up and panties, and is about as Anglo as he can be with his small, thin frame.
Here’s Tracy’s first impression upon meeting William.
The gruff, simian-looking man who stood before me was in his late twenties. He looked oddly familiar in a plain white T-shirt untucked from gray work pants. If this was Angel’s brother, he looked nothing like him. This one had deep-set eyes, wide lips, and a five-o’clock shadow though it was barely noon. His hairy forearms were thick, his pants stretched by muscled legs, and tufts of hair curled and peeked through the neck of his T-shirt.
Interestingly enough, William was supposed to be a minor character but he grumbled and roared until I let him into my heart. He grew on me big time. He might grow on you, too!
In The Rosas of Spanish Harlem, Tracy is hellbent on losing his virginity and, because of his naivete — as well as the arrogance of the young — Tracy gets in way over his head and into some extremely gritty sexual encounters.
However, the story is about more than losing your virginity and getting off. It’s about finding yourself, believing IN yourself, and standing up for the person you are inside. It’s about living life the way you want it to be as opposed to living it the way others think you should live it.
At the heart of it all, The Rosas of Spanish Harlem is about letting out the ferocious and beautiful beast within in order to be everything you know you can, for the one you love.
I only wish I’d met a man like William when I was Tracy’s age. But that’s okay. Life’s been good to me. This bear has a cub of his very own.
The Rosas of Spanish Harlem by Johnny Miles
It’s summer of 1977 and sex is on Tracy McCarthy’s mind. He’s now 18 and hell-bent on losing his virginity when he spots Angel on the beach. After discovering restroom sex — and meeting the handsome Latino Angel Rosa again — Angel invites Tracy up to Spanish Harlem for more.
When Tracy makes the long trek by subway up to Spanish Harlem, he’s exposed to a vibrantly different way of living; one filled with spicy foods, rhythmic music, and sexually-charged men. Along the way, however, the waif-like, cross-dressing young man also discovers that on the path to finding what he seeks, dark and disturbing dangers lurk — in the minds of men, walking the streets, and in the hallways of Spanish Harlem tenements.
Growing up always contains surprises but will Tracy like the ones he finds on the way?
Excerpt from The Rosas of Spanish Harlem
Brighton Beach was practically empty when I climbed the steps from the street up to the boardwalk. I could have walked beneath it, but that was something I usually left as a treat for myself at the end of the day. After spending hours baking in the sun, it was refreshing to sink my toes into the cold damp sand beneath the elevated walkway.
In a way, it was mysterious, foreboding, and exciting. If I was lucky, a guy would stand still long enough for me to look up the inside of his shorts between the cracks and gaps of wood. If I was really lucky, he’d have no underwear on. Not that they were aware, mind you. It was just one of those happy accidents where you happened to be at the right place at the right time. In fact, if any of them knew about the pervy boy ogling their stuff, they’d probably chase after me and beat me to a pulp. Brooklyn men weren’t exactly known for being gay-friendly. At least not in public.
The other thing that intrigued me about walking beneath the boardwalk was all the litter. It consisted mostly of shattered glass bottles and empty cans. Every once in a while, you’d come across a syringe or a used tampon. But the one thing you could
always count on were used condoms—lots of them. I’d think of all that cock, all those people out there having sex, enjoying themselves, having a good time connecting.
I was hungry for the same thing.
Once I stumbled upon a condom that looked as if it had only recently been used. It had been stretched out quite a bit, and I was so intrigued I picked up it gingerly between thumb and forefinger and held it up. I was astonished at how much cum there was in there.
Unfortunately, the boardwalk could also be dangerous. More than once I’d seen homeless people hanging out. That wasn’t bad, because all they’d ask for was money; it was the group of older boys that scared, yet excited me. I had this fantasy that they would stop me, accost me, toss me around for a bit, then strip me naked in a playful manner and have their way with me.
In reality, what could happen to me was nothing like what I envisioned, and none of it had to do with sex.
Despite the dangers, the thought of feasting my young, horny eyes on a big pair of balls and a thick, meaty cock made me feel even hornier than I already was. I pushed my thoughts away and took in the last few moments of silence before the crowds came; the shop owners hadn’t opened up yet to hawk their wares and even the seagulls seemed hesitant to molest the quiet.
In the distance, to my right, Coney Island beckoned with all its gaudiness and tacky amusement rides. I used to love going there as a child. Any other time, and I would have stayed on the train two more stops—end of the line—but after the argument that morning, I preferred the quieter end of things.
I crossed the boardwalk to the beach side and drank in the vast expanse of ocean. The ocean breeze caressed my skin, and I inhaled the salty air deep into my lungs. All the tension I’d felt earlier seemed to evaporate.
Yes, this is definitely where I need to be today.
The only other people around were the city workers and the dirty old men—most of them Eastern European immigrants who sat on the benches all day, facing the ocean to ogle whatever it was that caught their fancy through the binoculars strapped around their necks.
Overhead, a rogue seagull screeched and hovered nearby, daring to break the silence and beg for scraps. It pulled me out of my reverie. With a peaceful sigh, I gripped the metal railing and made my way down the stairs, onto the sand.
To my right, a big, beefy black janitor with a shiny, bald head whistled, glancing from side to side as he unlocked the public men’s room, then disappeared inside with a metal bucket on wheels and a large mop with a dirty head.
I trudged along the beach, sand between the bottom of my feet and the flip-flops I wore, until I found the spot. I shrugged the oversize canvas bag from my shoulder. I pulled out one of my old cum-stained sheets from my twin bed and shook it. It fluttered in the breeze, flapping like a flag before finally falling gently to the sand, where I anchored it with a flip-flop at either corner. Then I placed the bag at the top corner, to my right. I pulled out the thermos filled with grape soda and propped it at the other corner, burying it a little in the sand.
Satisfied, I pulled out my towel and made a pillow out of it as the surf began to churn a bit more urgently. I pulled off my bloodred tank top then undid the top button of my cut-off jean shorts. They fell to my ankles.
I imagined one or two of the old geezers on the boardwalk, sitting on their bench, binoculars glued to their eyes as they trained on my slim, lithe body.
Eat your hearts out, I thought and bent over dramatically to step out of my shorts. I envisioned the old men leering and licking their sandpapery, wrinkled lips as I stood up straight, hands on hips.
I still wore my sister’s pink panties.
With a nasty, playful glee at whomever—if anyone—was watching me, I plopped down on the sheet and proceeded to apply baby oil to every inch of exposed flesh. Then I leaned on one elbow, and after fiddling with my transistor radio—using only my fingertips to avoid getting too much oil on the dials—I found the AM music station I liked. My favorite song was on. “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band.
Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight
gonna grab some afternoon delight.
My motto’s always been: when it’s right, it’s right.
Why wait until the middle of a cold, dark night.
Half humming, half singing, I lay down, closed my eyes, and was soon asleep under the hot, prickly sun.
* * * *
Voices carried on the wind. A woman giggled. There were soft whispers, and a man laughed. Something about them made me stir. I could tell they were young but still a little older than me.
“No, papi. Stop it. I already told you. Not here.”
“Aw, c’mon, baby. Who’s gonna see?” The man was cajoling, somewhat syrupy. He definitely wanted something.
“Roll your bod! Roll your bod!” This from the radio, which was fading. The nine-volt battery was dying.
I came awake and slowly rolled over, realizing I’d probably been asleep longer than I should have been. Tomorrow I’d have a real nice sunburn.
I looked up slowly, discreetly. A young Puerto Rican couple lay on a blanket about 10 feet away from me.
The woman was a typical Latina: big boobs, wide hips, a sensual mouth. She looked to be in her early twenties. Her wavy black hair blew in her face. She reached for it, pulled it from her mouth, and tucked it behind her ear.
The man was about twenty-four, and his skin was the color of caramel. His body was lean, toned, and perfectly smooth. His hair was black, and he wore it tight to his scalp. I got the impression he was quite a charmer. How else could he get away with calling her babe or mami?
It was obvious to me they were doing their best to keep their voices low, but they might as well have been talking out loud. Their whispers carried in the wind, and I could hear them as clearly as if they were beside me.
I propped my chin on folded arms and closed my eyes to slits so it would appear as if I were still sleeping. It helped that my hair was loose and wind-tossed, covering half my face.
The young man’s fingers tugged at the side of the tiny triangular patch of cloth covering his girlfriend’s pussy.
“Angel, no! Stop it, papi!”
She slapped his hand, but I could tell she was just as aroused as he was. I could sense that all he had to do was push a little harder and he’d soon get what he wanted.
Pulse racing, my small cock now fully erect, I ground into the sand to readjust myself and continued watching them.
Angel succeeded in pulling the material of her bathing suit to one side and exposed her shaved pussy. I gulped and found myself inexplicably thirsty quite suddenly.
“Papi, no. Please.” She hissed, then moaned as Angel inserted his fingers into her pussy. A small sound escaped my throat, as if I could feel what he was doing to her. He cast a glance in my direction, and I froze. After a moment, satisfied they weren’t being watched, Angel turned his attention back to the girl lying on her side before him.
She parted her lips and threw her head back, eyes closed. Angel chuckled. There was something lewd, sexy, and seductive about it.
I watched him wriggle his fingers inside her, pumping them in and out a few times before pulling out completely and sucking on them, one finger at a time. Then he brought them back down between her legs, finger fucked her some more, and pulled them out only to insert them in her mouth. She slurped on them noisily, greedily.
And all I could do was imagine I was her.
“You’re so fucking wet!” Angel whispered, his voice carrying on the wind.
“Ahhh! You’re such a pig, Angel!” Although she complained, she did nothing to stop him. “Don’t you ever get enough?”
In response, Angel pulled his fingers out of her pussy, then reached for the waistband of his black Speedos. Out flopped a large, fat, uncut cock. My eyes bugged out at the sight of him casually stroking the thick, meaty shaft in the open.
I briefly wondered if any of the old buggers on the benches could see what I was watching, and suddenly realized why they had those binoculars. For unexpected moments like this.
“Mira, mami,” Angel said. She glanced down at his cock and chewed her lower lip. “See what you do to me?”
He pulled the foreskin back, exposing the head. He looked even wetter than she did as he rubbed the tip up and down her fleshy folds. She moaned. Slowly, Angel slipped his cock inside her, filling her completely one glorious inch at a time as he placed a hand on her ass and pulled her hips closer.
Angel had stopped glancing around by this point, and I doubt either of them cared anymore if anyone was looking. With the length of his cock inside her pussy, they started to kiss.
“We shouldn’t be doing this,” she whispered.
“Shhh! It’s okay, baby. No one’s looking. Besides, there’s only a few people nearby.”
“What about that girl?”
“What girl?” Angel asked. I blushed at the realization she was talking about me.
“That girl. Down there.” She raised her leg slightly and pointed toward me with her toes. I remained perfectly still, hair in my face. I closed my eyes just in case, grateful I’d rolled over onto my stomach. I might have a small dick, but an erection is an erection, and I’d have given myself away. Not to mention that I probably wouldn’t be able to see what was happening as well as I could now.
“Honey, she’s sunning herself topless. You think she’s gonna care if we’re fucking out in the open?”
Seconds later I heard slurping noises. I dared to open my eyes and looked up to see them kissing. Their hips gently rocked to and fro. Their movement was barely perceptible, but it was apparently enough to cause the right amount of friction. One of them sighed, the other gasped.
Unable to believe what was happening, I could feel precum oozing from my cock as if it were a small faucet with a leak.
Soon she was moving back and forth more quickly than he was. I could see a bit more of the underside of his shaft; it looked slick and wet from sweat and pussy juice.
My pulse was pumping in my head and my dick was throbbing as I continued to watch. I longed to crawl on my hands and knees between their legs and lick them both, but I fought the urge.
A bit more brazen now that he was lost in the excitement, Angel rolled the girl over, moving with her without pulling out. Now on her back, she spread her legs and placed her hands on his ass. He corkscrewed discreetly, pushing in and pulling out of her ever so slightly. His hip movement would’ve been easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it. But I could tell. His ass cheeks dimpled as he ground into her; I could see the hollows even through his bathing suit.
As I watched them fuck, I pressed my own erection into the sand, moving my hips from side to side. I was close.
The girl suddenly gave a single, soft moan, and her entire body shuddered. Seconds later, Angel sighed, and I followed with a load of my own.
My heart was in my throat, and although I’d just come, I was now hornier than ever. My pulse raced and hormones raged. What with having just watched the couple before me, the heat of the sun, and the sound of the surf, I could barely control myself. In that moment I understood how someone might become so frantic with desire they’d pounce on the first person they saw without thought or regard to consequence.
Fuck first; ask questions later. That pretty much summed up what I was feeling.
At that moment, even though I didn’t like girls, I’d have gladly eaten her pussy just to get a taste of him. Of course, I would have preferred to suck him and sample the juices from his foreskin, but there was no chance of that happening, no matter how much I wanted it.
Frustrated, I rolled over, stood up, and raced into the ocean. I imagined myself as a red-hot poker, glowing while steam rose as I submerged myself. A moment later, I burst through the surface and bobbed in the water as my breathing went back to normal.
I’ve just got to get my hands on some dick. Oh, please! I’m so fucking horny!
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. I glanced toward the beach and saw Angel stand. Even from that distance, I could see him reach inside the pouch of his suit and readjust himself. He swaggered as he walked toward the ocean and, even though he was now soft, I could see the outline of his cock as he drew near. His balls looked to be huge, round, and smooshed up against either side of the now soft length of meat.
Obsessed with Angel, his cock, and the image of him fucking, I decided to leave the beach. I could no longer stay there. I had to get off, and masturbating alone wouldn’t satisfy me. I simplyhad to find cock! But where? How? It wasn’t the kind of thing they taught you in school. Then it hit me.
I know. I’ll go under the boardwalk.
With all those used condoms I kept finding, I was bound to run into someone horny enough who didn’t care whether he got a blowjob from a boy or a girl. But would there be anybody there at this hour, cruising around and looking for trouble?
I clambered out of the water, walked back to my spot, and quickly packed up my stuff.
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