Other Nonfiction Works

Articles & Essays & Young Adult Nonfiction

Excerpts from some of my articles and essays:

From: Paws and Reflect

The Little Emperor
by Joseph R.G. De Marco

Caesar was dead. The little emperor who’d stolen all our hearts was gone after eighteen years and we were left with silence and memories. He wasn’t my first dog but he was the most memorable dog I’ve ever had the pleasure to call my friend.
His imperial name came from my little brother’s overactive imagination. But it fit Caesar’s regal personality which was clear even in the squirming puppy that he was when he entered our lives.
I was just a kid, my sister and brother even younger and we’d wanted nothing so much as we wanted a dog. It had been a long time between pets and our mother knew it was time for an addition to the household. With that hurdle cleared, the next step was easy.


From: Hey, Paesan!
Toccare il Fondo (To Plumb the Depths)
by Joseph R. G. De Marco

As my train pulled out of Milano’s grand and beautiful central station on my first visit to Italy, I was filled with unexpected longing. Sitting in my first- class compartment on a plush green-velvet seat, I hungrily took in details of the station through the window until I felt the tug of the engine on the car like an invisible hand forcing me back in the seat. The train moved slowly at first; I watched the station recede: the hawkers on the platform shouting “Aqua! Panini!”; shapely young men lounging on marble seats; pretty young girls and old couples crying, laughing, waving to others on the train. I memorized these people in whose swarthy faces and dark eyes I saw myself, my history. They became smaller as the train moved me away from the arching barn of the station. That part of my trip was over and I was being pulled north to Germany. At the same time invisible cords were bound now around my heart insistently tugging me back.
This first trip had been for me a holy journey to sacred ground, a time to touch a place that was in me and which had made me, the place where my soul had been forged even before I existed. This trip revived some deeply implanted ancestral memory and rekindled an ethnic flame that had burned down to a mere red ember.
As the train gained speed, images from my trip flashed through my mind, the monuments and palazzi but especially the people. The woman in the bookstore, a pert blonde who understood my few Italian words and responded with a smile; the knarled old man whose gravely voice was filled with kindness when he answered my broken-Italian question; the little old ladies, bent and wrinkled, whose looks were a comfort, beautiful faces in every city whose swarthy good looks caused the exquisite pain of desire to tingle through me. The faces were like a homecoming. The whole of Italy had taken me in like a long lost son.


From: We Are Everywhere and Black Men, White Men
Gay Racism
by Joseph R. G. De Marco

“There is a situation that’s happened to me every time I’ve gone out. White men will approach me. They assume I don’t know anything. They assume I’m uneducated and stupid,” remarks Jimmy J. “They don’t expect me to carry on a conversation. But when they find out I can converse and I do know something, then they’re not interested. They walk away. They want their images.”
Jimmy is well- educated, a salesperson, and a Black man. He is a victim of the vicious stereotypes which all black people must confront every day.
Negative assumptions, images, and stereotypes are at the heart of the matter; they are what racism is built upon and continues to feed on. Such negative beliefs are what people use to bludgeon each other in quiet and simple ways, but the violence inherent in this type of racism is every bit as real as the lynching, burning, and maiming that went on in the post-Civil War South. People are scarred psychologically by racism and because we all participate in this, we are all ruined.
The Philadelphia gay male community has never really come to grips with the problem of racism in its midst….


From The Gay And Lesbian Review
Strippers’ World
By Joseph R. G. DeMarco

Go-Go dancer have been fixtures in gay bars and clubs for many years, but male stripping only began to develop in the 1970s. It was then that the sexual revolution was washing over society, and the male body was being used to sell products in advertising just as women’s bodies had been for decades. It was also the era of the early gay liberation movement, and the male body was becoming an object for erotic entertainment.
The first clubs to feature all-male strip shows were the Gaiety and the Show Palace in New York, as well as others in Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Today male strippers seem to be everywhere – in big cities and small towns, in the ultra hip bars of South Beach along with the grungy neighborhood establishments in big cities and faceless venues along suburban strips….

Read the entire article in The Gay & Lesbian Review, vIX, n2, March-April, 2002

From The Philadelphia Gay News
The Gay Sensibility Series
By Joseph R.G. DeMarco

Part I: Hit or Myth?

“Yes, yes, my cock, my mouth, and my asshole are gay. So are my fingernails, my big toe, my nose, and my brain. I am not gay because of where I put my cock or who I sleep with. I am gay because everything about me is gay….I was gau long before I admitted my homosexuality to myself, long before I knew what sex was…What separates me from the straight boy is not just the things we do in bed, but what our lives have been. When I meet an upfront gay brother, I make a connection. I already know a lot about him.” Wrote Gary Alinder in his article “My Gay Soul” in After You’re out.
Alinder and other gays recognized a difference about themselves that was more sexual, that ran through them like an underground stream. They knew they were different and the knew they could recognize that difference in others. But this sense, this feeling was not quite tangible.

—- the rest of the article is available from the author and will soon be in PDF format —

Part II: Looking at Life Through a Lavender Lens

“Gayness is a lens which focuses on different aspects of the same things,” someone once told me a long time ago.
A happy lens, then. A glass that is ground just so, enough to pick out the beauty, the irony, the tawdriness, and the loneliness that others cannot see. This gay lens also makes clear those clues and signs encoded by other gays just for each other.

—- the rest of the article is available from the author and will soon be in PDF format —
First published in 1986 in the Philadelphia Gay News (PGN)


Young Adult Writing

DeMarco has written two, as yet unpublished, young adult novels as well as a fantasy intended for slightly younger readers. Excerpts from two of them will be available here.

In addition, having studied young adult literature at Columbia University and at Drexel University, he has written several articles on this subject. One of his areas of interest is the intersection of vampire literature with the phases of adolescent development.

From Emergency Librarian
The Vampire and the Young Adult
By Joseph R. G. De Marco
“In this ever changing world that we share, only one thing is truly permanent… me!” the vampire La Croix (Forever Knight 1996)

The vampire is a creature of endless – some might say undying fascination for the young adult – but there is something serious underlying this attraction.

Although vampires in sundry forms and versions have existed almost as long as humankind, the hundred years since the appearance of Bram Stoker’s Dracula has seen a veritable explosion of vampires and vampire stories. The venerable Count has spawned so many “children of the night” it is difficult to keep track. Each year thirty to forty books (from middle reader to YA to adult, from scholarly non-fiction to the flimsiest fiction) are published. There are movies and television programs (the newest of which is the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). There is a whole subculture – dubbed Gothic – a large component of which has to do with vampires. Rock groups, comic books, almost any element of popular culture you can name has been touched by the icy fingers of the undead. Even high culture – in the form of a well-received opera on vampires – has bowed to the creature. The latest venue for vampires and their admirers is the Internet – enter the word ‘vampire’ in your favorite search engine and you will be treated with more selections than you can handle. Alta Vista yields about 10,000 vampire hits; Excite gives you 12,776 choices, and Infoseek boasts 36,614 matches to the search query.

By far, one of the largest segments of this audience is the young adult. Dr. James Twitchell, the noted literary scholar, claims that the popularity of the vampire stems, in part, from the fact that this creature represents the condensation of the problems and resolutions of pre-adolescence.(Twitchell 1980) I would add that the vampire represents this more so for the adolescent.

It is my contention that the vampire is, in a way, a model for the teen. At a time when nearly all is confusion and there is a constant search for stability in a sea of chaos, the vampire represents something the young adult desperately searches for: a resolution to nagging questions, fathomless problems, and the frightening plethora of choices.
— available soon in PDF format —