In Memory: Charles Stephen Hughes




From Particles and Disputations: Writings for Jeff, a book of hours


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Gardners ISBN#9781620951163




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a collection of poetry, prose and paintings

which culminate in a marriage proposal, private in nature

but made public here for all to read

because the personal is still political


Selections from Bliss:

A Marriage Proposal for Charles Stephen



Philip D. Luing


Face To Face

When reading the faces of strangers
I always reference your own
Do their eyes reveal perception
as keen as it is compassionate?
Do they radiate a light
that reflects their joy with life?
How much effort would be needed
to shape their lips into a smile?
Is their visage relaxed
not struggling to hide secrets?

The vital architecture of your face
invites people to be at their ease
in the company of a good friend
taking in your fresh, honest air
basking in the light and warmth
of someone ready to listen
ready to laugh at an absurdity
ready gently to soothe one along
toward hope for a better day

When you look into a mirror
so often you see a project
requiring mud packs and ointments
a landscape to design for presentation
a garden to moisturize and groom
but I know the actual reason
for your arresting beauty
lies in the humanity you express
through each feature of your face
in your everyday engagement
with life.


Yours is a face I can see
speaks truth
even as it hides
a surprise nip on my lip
as I close in for a kiss

First Dawn

Waking to the back of your head
nestled in the crook of my arm
I gaze at the tightly textured black curl
and feel a familiar peace reinstated
a quiet exhilaration of joy that runs
the length of my body touching yours.


His skin brown like milk chocolate
melting in my hand becomes slick
with passion. I grab the round muscles
of his butt and squeeze as he spasms
and yelps. We roll naked
around the bed, pulling our bodies
into ever new configurations
of intimate contact. His hands play havoc
on my erection. I lean my head
toward his own quivering cock.
He closes his legs. “No sex
on our first date,” he whispers.


In Our Bed

I hold your power in my arms, feel
your broad shoulders curve convex
into my chest as I scratch my beard
against the stubble on your jaw.

The palm of my left hand cups
your right biceps, the fingers
of our right hands entwine
Your pinkie flicks my thumb
signaling your readiness
to proceed.

I tongue the nape of your neck
inhale freshly showered flesh
Ever so lightly you pulse
your buttocks into my groin
Anticipation alerts each contact
where my skin touches yours
Our game is on.



I ease into the fragrant
freshly drawn bath
of your music
like love, sensual
cleansing, accepting
the warmth of your voice
radiates deep
into my muscles relax
release concerns
and consternations dissolve
like salts soothing
my mind settles
into your music
as your love
reinvigorates my life.


My stand by me man

Your eyes
steady, patient, honest
relieve my mind
of doubts and troubles
replacing my concerns
with trust in our future

Your embrace
strong and committed
reminds my soul
that we are secure
in our destiny
secure in our love
able to endure

Your body
contoured with mine
in our bed
reawakens my desire
to live life
giving and receiving
joy and pleasure

Your name
spoken with mine
is all I need
to know my life
has a cherished purpose
beyond myself

Simply Love

My love, we experience our love as a smooth, beautiful simplicity because we appreciate and accommodate the complexities of each other and of ourselves.  Our love is enveloped in the security that comes from having been to the core of ourselves, of having met with death and stepped beyond evaporating illusions to reach the place where the spiritual is the physical is the intellectual is the emotional is one, where we are one another with our world, where perceptions are real, the invisible solid.  We connect at a place where connection is not so much understanding as incorporation, where when we embrace the mystery of ourselves we embrace our real and unfathomable bond with one another.  You are as familiar and mysterious to me as I am to myself, and as connected.  My desire to live life with you is one with my will to live.  My love for you is my commitment to myself to live my best life possible.  I am to you as you are to me as we are to our world married.

copyright 2012, Philip D. Luing



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         Author Proposes Marriage By Publishing Book

Chicago author and artist Philip D. Luing is making a public proposal of marriage to singer/songwriter Charles Stephen Hughes, his domestic companion of nearly fourteen years, by publishing a collection of poetry and prose he’s written for Mr. Hughes from 1998 to the present. The book is illustrated with Mr. Luing’s paintings. Published by as an e-book, the collection is entitled Bliss: A Marriage Proposal for Charles Stephen Hughes.

Chicago, IL – June 25, 2012 – On July 5, 2012 officially releases Bliss: A Marriage Proposal for Charles Stephen Hughes by Chicago author Philip D. Luing.  Advance copies will be available at some e-bookstores in early July.  The author began writing the contents of this book for Mr. Hughes, his domestic companion, immediately following their first meeting in 1998.  The book’s inscription reads “a collection of poetry, prose and paintings that culminates in a marriage proposal, private in nature, but made public here for all to read because the personal is still political.”

Says the author, “I’m inviting the public to read my marriage proposal to Charles Stephen because I want my declaration of love for this man to be entered into the realm of public knowledge, to be on the record, to be a publication.  My hope is that by making a public declaration of what I believe a marriage would mean to us as a couple I will accomplish two ends.  First and foremost, of course, I hope and trust that Charles Stephen will find me and my vision for our life together worthy of a marriage commitment. At the same time, I hope that others who read these words will understand that commitment to be worthy of the word marriage.  In this book are words I’ve written to Charles Stephen over the nearly fourteen years of our knowing each other.  I offer them as evidence that we, along with all same-sex couples who wish to commit their lives to each other, are meant and deserve to be together in a state of lawfully wedded bliss, that the trust we give to someone to share and protect the most basic aspects of our being is what renders these relationships worthy of fundamental legal protection and societal recognition.”

The book will be available at all major e-bookstores and will sell for $2.99 per download.

About the Author

Philip Luing was an active member of NewTown Writers, Chicago’s oldest LGBT writing group, for almost twenty years.  Although his concentration is currently on his visual art, he still occasionally writes poetry or prose for his domestic companion, singer/songwriter Charles Stephen Hughes.  He is also the author of the recently published memoir of love and AIDS entitled From Particles and Disputations: Writings for Jeff – a book of hours.  More information about that book as well as Bliss: A Marriage Proposal for Charles Stephen Hughes can be found on the author’s literary website,

available here 

Contact:  Philip D. Luing