Friday, March 23, 2007


Friendship needs no studied phrases,
Polished face, or winning wiles;
Friendship deals no lavish praises,
Friendship dons no surface smile.

Friendship follows Nature's diction,
Shuns the blandishments of Art,
Boldly severs truth from fiction,
Speaks the language of the heart.

Friendship favors no condition,
Scorns a narrow-minded creed,
Lovingly fulfills its mission,
Be it word or be it deed.

Friendship cheers the faint and weary,
Makes the timid spirit brave,
Warns the erring, lights the dreary,
Smooths the passage to the grave.

Friendship - pure, unselfish friendship,
All through life's allotted span,
Nurtures, strengthens, widens, lengthens,
Man's relationship with man.


I have to admit I have been at a point of crisis over the past month or so. No one thing really just a con flux of "what the hell" life moments that alone would be hard enough.. together they have served to scramble my brain a bit. Last weekend I had to get a hold of some of my issues and set a relationship right with someone I love very much but they did not love me. I felt that my feelings if not checked would ruin my friendship. So I had to say good bye to him for a moment and hope that when I can come back to it that the original friendship will survive. The experience has been new and un -nerving to me so this week I became obsessed with digging deeper into what friendship is all about. I was sure that I was not the first to go through this.

My own take on friendship has always been one of quality vs quantity. I have spent my life cultivating close personal friendships that have been deeper than those who have lots of friends on a more superficial level. I know I have a good friend when that friend can tell me the truth even when the truth isn't going to be what I want to hear.

And when I don't follow their advise wont make me feel like a fool or an ass. A good friend will always be there when things are great or at the bottom. Such as recently when my Mother passed away. I sent out and e-mail to say 25 people I feel close to, and to my dismay with in three hours the return of close to 300 e-mails, some from people I have not heard from in 10 years! To be honest I had underestimated the level to which I/we enter into other peoples lives and leave our marks. The messages helped me in an awful moment in life and I was amazed at the intricate intertwining of people. Not quite six degrees of separation but a genuine tapestry of interconnected relationships.
Historically friendships have ranked right up there as some of the most powerful relationships ever. The bible gives us two very powerful examples the first being the friendship between two widows Ruth and Naomi. Their friendship was so strong that when Naomi asked Ruth to go back to her family no matter what Naomi said to Ruth, Ruth would not leave. What she told Naomi is one of the most famous expressions of friendship and is often incorporated into the vows in a wedding ceremony, "Don't ask me to leave. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your friends will be my friends and your God will be my God." Ruth fidelity and kindness to Naomi were rewarded when she met Boaz, and married him and ultimately became the great grandmother to King David. The story seems to indicate that true friendship is one of mutual sharing and sacrifice.

The story of Jonathan and David illustrates not just sacrifice but how friendships can sometimes compete with other obligations and affections. Jonathan was the eldest son and heir of King Saul of Israel. He was also Davids sworn friend. After David killed Goliath, Saul grew jealous of his popularity, and fearing that he would eventually become King, sought to murder him. Jonathan's defense of David, made doubly painful because of his filial duties and his own claim to the throne, is one of the greatest examples of loyalty in friendship. Moving into the new testament the Christian Gospels state that Jesus Christ declared, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."(John 15:13),again the theme of sacrifice.

From then to today the same themes have continued to play out in both real and fictional friendships. From the tales of King Arthur to some of the prolific programing we watch on TV today. There is a moment in perhaps the worst Star Trek film ever made(ST-V) when Kirk, Spock and McCoy sitting around a camp fire finally talking about what has kept them together all of these years as friends. Kirk who had almost died hours earlier from a fall and was saved by Spock concluded that as long as his friends were there with him he knew he would not die. The themes of friendship and its complex interdependence are many and cover so many levels of relationship as to possibly indicate that the importance of friendships to the success of humanity.
The meaning of friendship has best been catured in poetry I've included some of my favorite poems on the subject.

To be a Friend...

Guard within yourself that treasure, kindness.
Know how to give without hesitation,
how to lose without regret,
how to acquire without meanness.
Know how to replace in your heart,
by the happiness of those you love,
the happiness that may be wanting to yourself.

--George Sand (1804-1876)

A True Friend

Is one who understands where you have been,
accepts who you have become
and loves you unconditionally as you are.
He does not wish you `luck' as you step out into the unknown...
he walks into the void by your side.
He will not offer distractions
nor easy advice in your time of need...
instead he will pray for wisdom, born of compassion,
and a willingness to take your pain upon himself.

Such a friend will always speak of you when you are not present,
as though you were,
and though he may not always share your sunny days,
he will always be there to help you through the stormy ones.
He is not skeptical of your blooming,
nor jealous of your shining apart from him,
for he seeks not to steal your joy,
but to multiply it.

It has been well said that there is no greater love than this...
for a true friend does not take life from you,
he gives you his own.

--Gail Copeland

if we can compare
are like angels.
Even when you can't see them,
They are there
And when you seem to need them
most to care,
They become even closer friends.
And to this our sorrow ends
Where angelic love begins.


There are many different adjectives to describe the friends in our lives. Close friend. Best friend. Childhood friend. Intimate friend. Trusted friend. Beloved friend. But whether you use adjectives or have different words, few could deny the nearly infinite meaning in such a simple word.

Friends are special people. We can't pick our family and society and mores (and often our own conscience) dictate we select a single mate. But our friends can be as diverse and infinite as the adjectives we choose. Our friends, in a very real sense, reflect the choices we make in life. With that said I often am told that I have great friends and so I must be making good choices. How ever it happens I am blessed in this life and I have concluded that if the friend is true then no mater how long the separation it will prevail.

Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Abdi and I Enjoying The Irish Diaspora!

Happy St. Patric's Day!
Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.


This past week I have been exposed to what seems like a whole new world of ideas and perspectives. Wednesday I had the opportunity to show my work to class of undergrads studying black queer theory at U of T. I was enthralled by the dialog the class was having and enjoyed the opportunity to discuss my work with people on yet another level. Saturday there was somewhat of a first for me I attended a piece of performance art held at the Music Gallery/St. George-the-Martyr Anglican Church in Toronto. I did not carry a formal camera with me but was so compelled by the piece that I employed my cell phone camera.

Phalogocentrix is a performance about language and the way it forms and informs our culture. Vancouver-based artist David Khang interrogates constructions and performativity of language that is at once gendered (phallocentric) and culturally specific (logocentric). Part calligraphy, part yoga, and part breakdancing, this syncretic ritual explores African and Asian cultural connectivities, within the theological context of a church. By bringing together traditional and contemporary cultural references, as well as trans-diasporic identities, this work is an attempt to further critical understanding of the relationships between race, gender, and language.

For more on the performance, check out Blackfagnorth

Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.

Thank You Wilma Floyd!

One of the things I did while I was at home for Moms funeral was to go through 3 big boxes of photographs with my brothers and sister. By in large it was a great afternoon full of discoveries and fond memories. Images ranged from the early 1900's going forward and were filled with family history. Given the sheer amount of material Father instructed that we take the images we wanted at this time... and I came back with 100 or so images of my early child hood. There was one image found that gave me great pause and stirred up some pretty powerful memories both good and not so good and I have been thinking about it for a couple weeks now trying to put some context of the events in my seventh year of my life, 1967.

Some of my earliest memories surround the eruption in Detroit on July 23, 1967.... The city had stumbled into the largest inner city race riot in american history. (until it was eclipsed by the 94 LA riots) The violence escalated throughout Monday, July 24, resulting in some 483 fires, 231 incidents reported per hour, and 1800 arrests. Looting and arson were widespread. Snipers took shots at firefighters who were attempting to fight the fires, possibly with some with the 2,498 rifles and 38 handguns that were stolen from local stores. To put it into total perspective over the period of five days, forty-three people died, of whom 33 were black. 467 injured: 182 civilians, 167 Detroit police officers, 83 Detroit firefighters, 17 National Guard troops, 16 State Police officers, 3 U.S. Army soldiers, 7,231 arrested: 6,528 adults, 703 juveniles; 6,407 blacks, 824 whites, 2,509 stores looted or burned, 388 families homeless or displaced and 412 buildings burned or damaged enough to be demolished. To say that this event changed Detroit forever is an understatement as 250,000 white people flee the city over the next 3 years, collapsing the tax base and sending Detroit into tail spin it is only now recovering from.

Being 7 I saw the images on the TV screen, heard the gun fire and saw the orange night sky from my home as Detroit burned. They looked just like the images we were all seeing in Vietnam. My parents tried to put it into perspective for me and my brother and sister but it wasn't until school started that I more fully understood the underling issues at hand. My school had become a the target of a boycott as the first black teacher had been placed to teach the second grade, Wilma Floyd. Before school could start there was an emergency meeting of the PTA with school officials, a vote of the parents would determine if Mrs. Floyd would stay and I remember my parents were very impassioned about wanting her to stay. I remember mother trying to explain to people why,the conversations sometimes breaking down into fights. Listening in on the adults was a pass time for me and it was through these conversations I got my education into the politics of race and prejudice, I remember thinking that adults had a knack for making things more complicated than necessary. In the end Wilma Floyd stayed and second grade started in earnest.

Forward to may of 1968, It had become clear that the year had been a struggle for me academically and when my parents saw my report card for the year they were convinced that it would be a mistake to send me into the third grade. A view not shared by Wilma Floyd or the principal of the school. The age of passing people through was in full swing and they were convinced that to keep me back would be damaging... My parents were not thrilled and insisted I be kept back. And I was. All of these upheavals only added to my dread of not moving forward with my class and that summer was awful. I was a gangly, nerdy, kid who had just been forced to wear these big ass black glasses (the mark of death) and now I had just failed second grade. Flunked! I hated my parents for making me stay back, I hated the school and I felt a failure. That summer I railed against little league, the cub scouts and anything else I could rail against!

Going into that class again in the fall of 68 was horrific and I was determined to make Wilma pay! For the first couple of months, I made sure my anger was registered in full with her.. this was her fault (or so I thought) One day she had picked on me more than a few times during class, and I simply lost it, throwing my pencil at the black board and uttering something uncomplimentary under my breath. Needless to say I had to wait till my parents came to get me... that night and in the interim Wilma Floyd gave me the come to Jesus lecture of life, replete with breaking my pencil in half as if to say that only one of us was going to survive this experience and it wasn't going to be me if I didn't straighten up my attitude. The beating I got when I got home helped to seal the deal.

When I went back to class Wilma Floyd made a deal with me that I never forgot. She promised me that if I put a better effort in that she would not only back off riding me, but would help me save some face in class by elevating me to the status of teachers aide, she told me that she thought I was smarter than I was acting and that she had confidence in me succeeding.

The pact played out and in the spring of 69 I moved on to a better summer and the third grade in the fall. I was a new man and by the time the last day of school came around I was in love with Wilma Floyd! I've tried for years to track her down, to tell her that she made a big difference in my life... but to no avail... Seeing this picture of her brought all of those memories back into crystal clarity for me...

Looking back I learned allot in the second grade, not just the usual second grade stuff, but some pretty adult lessons about race and prejudice, about failure and how to overcome and succeed in life as well, I hope by blogging it that some how she will know how much I appreciated her ... Thanks Wilma!

Photo of Wilma Floyd taken my my mother.

Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Finally the weather has broke and its getting warm out... Also heating back up is the dance book project started last fall. The first to model this year is Tamla! Tamla will be having her baby soon and fits in perfect to this project that attempts to draw the metaphor of dance and everyday life!

You can see more of her shoot by going to Dance Through Life!

Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.

Andre Strikes Again!

Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.