i stood in the little cheese etc. shop watching yet another mom wrangle her Sports Utility Stroller through the door, like a camel through the eye of a needle, and public radio repeated…kidnapped, beat, tortured and sodomized. Young men in the Bronx by other young men in the Bronx. Over my eight hours behind the counter through the trickle of customers, that was the refrain of the day. Each hour: kidnapped, beat, tortured and sodomized. They did not say raped; I keep wondering why.
this drawn out headline followed by NY governor candidate Paladino’s speech about “gays brainwashing our children…” corrected with a talk show tour where he clarified that he is no homophobe, he just doesn’t think gays should marry. There’s a People magazine sprawled on the backseat of the preacher eater’s aunt’s car: cover story, bullying and teen suicide. Mostly queer kids.
gay men saved my life.
against all the recent news of suffering, I vividly recall:
the fire circle. after the talent show. drums cradled between knees in a ring in the dark.
standing woodside, pushing my hips off the beat, side to side, minidress sliding up black tights; the ground hard and cold under my thin soled boots, the laces tight. Wide-kneed stomping, he comes around the circle, naked from the waist down, pale cock half flopping, side to side, in a short formal jacket, wild white-faced with peaked sparkling eye make up glittering over his beard, over his big smile. The fire belches up sparks into the black, spraying light on his shiny elbows flapping. I step over the tarp where voyeurs curl up watching; he makes room. Slide into his square clapped out into the air for me, framing my body, we churn something older than us in the air, old like dirt. Snake through the warm pockets, sweating, long sweater sliding off. Turning, stomp hard at each other; asses jiggling. Beyond us, men share flasks of Wild Turkey, smoke out of an apple. Beyond them, a cluster of three slim figures stroke each other. My lover stretches on the blue tarp behind me into the folds of a big bearded man’s toga, glitter falling between them.
years ago, the back dance floor of DJ’s place, after the drag show, falling against the cook from the café where we all seemed to work, freckled, thin in his old jeans and white tee shirt. His arm curving around my hip and waist pulling me close, step to step, hips locked. His lips slid up my neck, “I never met a woman who loves food like you do.” “Talk to me about Garlic,” I hissed and bit his tongue.
i had a horrible eating disorder, lost whole days to it. Queers helped me get over it. All that affection. New scales for sexual desirability. New performances of femininity. All that unapologetic pleasure.
perched on a stool in the burgundy China Doll dress he had picked out for me, I looked up at his perfect cupid’s bow lips as the ice skater lined my eyes. We’d make-out with only lips touching in the parking lot before going into the Red Fox, the after hours gay club with the old high school lab tables. Kissing like the thirsty drinking water, crystalline, simple. He held me when I melted down after taking his boyfriend/my housemate’s ex-lover to the hospital when his mother had a heart attack he blamed himself for. After the little gay mechanic’s dad put his head through a windshield, and the opera singer went back in the closet so his parents would let him stay at home and in touch with his younger brother. After we unlisted our phone number because of the creepy calls. After my girlfriend’s gay sister was dragged to the front of the family church to be exorcised.
perched in the dirt at our campsite, I closed my eyes as the drag queen glued false lashes like pink polka dotted butterfly wings to my lids. Slipped into the circling conversations of foreclosure politics, fabric dying, and perverse non-sequiturs. After the majority of my closest gay men friends sero-converted to HIV-positive, and I remain relieved most live in cities with access to services and community. After the young violinist jumped off the bridge. After all the break-ups, layoffs, depression, and drama. After taking my friend to the emergency room to have a sex toy removed from his ass that, although beginning pleasurably enough, had been up there over 24-hours and another 24-hours at the hospital before surgery.
okay, the last incident was really one of the highlights of my year so far since it all turned out happy hinney. (sorry, bunny, but it was rather exciting…)
there was a Love-In in Times Square on Friday evening in response to the spasm of anti-queer hate crimes. I was in the boug-box, and Loved-In from there. I hope you’ll Love-In from where ever you are.