Thursday, March 27, 2014


Nightly,towards twelve
   When the room with its confining walls
    And wreaths of smoke within
    Can not be borne,
     Your car--increasingly geriatric--    
Will carry us non-the-less
   To a collection of outposts,
    Little would-be worlds,
With their own customs,mores,
  Their  native costumes--
  Ranging from jockstraps
    To feathered boas--
Their denizens
   With their secret agendas,
     Their satellites
Spinning in the haze

And as mortality rates
   In avant-garde circles prove high,
     It is all the more astonishing
On such beclouded nights
    To run across this or that  
 Old  nemesis or ally
    In from Paris or L.A.
Some metaphysical circus ramp
    Landing them here
     Among transvestites,
To cult membership confined

X., with  whom I've locked horns
   On the periphery
    Of more scenes than I can classify
Is not dead after all,
   As reported but sports
    A new incarnation
As an entrepeneur
   On a side street
     Which will surely grow chic
Now that he's here,
   Here to summon his minions
    From the four quarters
And control the mindwaves
   Of those whom fashion has made mad.

His nails are well-manicured
   Which once were bitten
    To the quick over a boy
Whose name he's forgotten,
    I remember him, too,
     On the barricades of the 'sixties
Who now affects
  A diacritical deconstruction
   Of a tuxedo from Milan
 As casual wear..
He has taken a shine
   To my companion, little Tito,
Who will slash his own wrists
     Six months hence

Our gossip--
    Concerning whose parental chateau
     Has been blown to smithereens,
Or what shard of glass
    Was put in whose ballet slipper
      At what premiere,
Of who tattoo'd himself where
    Is what we secretly rue.
That our period of decadence
    "Begun at birth"
     May seem self -indulgent
To some  (perhaps you,
    the reader I otherwise court)
     I quite understand.
That self destruction
  Is de rigeur  when Utopias fail
And millenia end without rapture
      You may not comprehend.
That X. once put daisies
    In rifle-barrels aimed at him
     And believed that rock n roll
Would crack the gates of Eden open wide
     Seems incredible to me, as well
In a realm of beauty besotted with death.

Tito--who I suspect
   of mixing downers with alcohol--
    has grown lugubrious
    cataloging those of his acquaintance
Who have O'D on heroin
    Or crystal meth,
      Died in gang-wars
Or thanks in one case
    To auto-erotic axphixiation misfired,
In another to S and M
     Prolonged to excess,
     Not longer a game.

This plainly bores X.
   who has heard it each season since '66
When he hung out with Warhol.
   It makes him, indeed,
    Positively reptilian--with ennui?
(Or does he foresee
    The unsanguinary scene
      In the bathtub?
I will wonder, later,
   Recalling what he says next:)

"That girl over there
   In the black leather halter top
    And leather garters
Is neither a girl or a guy.
   If you think you are lonely,
    meet Michelle, a hermaphrodite
With residual male genitals,
    You wouldn't exactly call it a dick
      Said Bobby,
To whom she gave VD .
 I won't forget
   The first time I heard him --or her--
    Her voice a low  ghostly alto
Exactly between him and her
   --Not campy at all
     Like a drag queen's
But recognizable in an instant
   Because the hairs on your neck
     Stood upward
And you felt  you were about to remember
   A bad dream that you'd forgotten.
   It was unique but not a Eunuch's
    (And I have met some in Egypt)
Though naturally
   It brought to mind
     That old Victrola recording
        Of the last surviving castrato
Made in 1905

"The last time I saw her
   Was in DC
    When she wept in a gutter
Having been kicked out
   Of the lesbian caucus
    And before that,
The Black Panthers
--She severely disturbed  Bobby Seale--
Also the Gay Activist Alliance
   --There had been scenes
    on the stairs of the Winter Palace--
The Womyns group loathed her
   --she had hit on some sister
    in a horrid male way
At a symposium  on clitoral massage.
In short, she'd been kicked  out
   On her polymorphous perverse ass
    From every coalition or caucus
 Which ever existed,
    A freak among freaks.
If  she can survive, so can you."

(illustrations:portraits of John Rothermell and  David Brinzenhofe by Peter Hujar)

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