Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ah, Carol

February 12, 1974

She sits on my leg, her thighs tight against me as if I was a horse.
She talks to Pauly as she moves forward and then back, then forward again.
She doesn’t let on that she feels me react, as the seam of her genes presses against my manhood.
I am almost ready to explode.
This is not fair, nor is it supposed to be.
She doesn’t even talk to me, just moves forward and back, speaking only to Pauly who seems not to see what is going on.
I want to rip her jeans off and plunge deep into her. But I’m scared she might stop.
I am the lantern she rubs until the genie appears, and I would grant her any wish if only she would grant one wish for me.
I die inside each time I see her and with every touch she gives, yet I have never kissed her, except only in my mind.
And a times like this, between the movement forward and back, I want more than a kiss,
But she keeps on moving, back and forward, back and forward, until I release, and then, I hear her sigh.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sam, the seasick sailor

Friday, July 24, 2015

I had to put Sam, the cat, down last week.
I don’t know exactly how old he was became he came into the house as an adult in 2008.
But he occupied my front porch for years prior to that, a more or less permanent resident who wandered off only to seek a meal from one of our more generous neighbors.
From the start, he was the sickliest cat anyone could imagine. He drooled constantly, and had a constant crust around his mouth and eyes.
This made his friendliness somewhat uncomfortable since he loved sitting in my lap, and would often stick that stinking face into my face, the stench of which nearly made me ill.
When he got too bad, we would take a moist rag and wipe away the crust and drool, a cleanup that lasted almost a whole day before he reverted to his usual form.
Other cats loved Sam, especially wild kittens, who often took refuge with him during cold days in order to keep warm.
He became their godfather, and had no real enemies in the world. Opossums, raccoons, skunks, even most dogs generally passed him by, and he made no hostile advances at them.
He had the vacant stare of an innocent right to the moment the vet injected him in the end, something that made him feel very human to me.
For a time, he shared our porch with a cat we called “Crazy,” who got his name for acts that seemed odd such as sleeping on top of cars and such. Crazy was scared of thunder and lightning, and so I often sat with him and Sam on the front porch to comfort them during summer squalls.
In the spring of 2008, Crazy took ill, and we brought him into the house for a time, but we could not save him. This made me fear for Sam and so we brought him in as well, took him to the vet and got a regiment of medicine to help deal with the drooling and nearly constant upper respiratory diseases he suffered.
In those says, he refused to leave the kitchen, living his life day and night on the kitchen table. When I brought in a soft chair, he took up residences on that. Later, he discovered the bedroom and adopted that as his new abode.
This is not to say that he didn’t have quirks. He tended to sleep beside me at night, waking me up with his combination of purrs and snorkeling. In the morning, he let out a wail to wake me up so I could feed him, and generally knew when he ought to get fed at night, wailing until I put a dish down in front of him.
In 2010, he started to stagger. He could not keep his balance. We thought he’d had a stroke. But when we took him to the vet, we learned that he had suffered a severe inner ear infection that affected his perception. He was perpetually sea sick, and apparently saw everything in duplicate. Medicine eventually cleared this up, but left him with the nick name of Seasick Sam.
A few weeks ago, he came down with the same condition, and we got him to the vet who repeated the regiment of medicine. Still he struggled to get off the bed and to feed, but bravely did both. Then one morning, something happened and he suffered a real stroke. The progress he had made over the previous few days vanished, he could not even stand up, although still purred when petted.
But he wasn’t going to recover easily or soon, and would need to be carried everywhere if he wanted to eat or pee, and we realized this was not quality life, and keeping him alive largely left him to suffer, even though technically he wasn’t in pain.
Sam was a special cat because he was indeed innocent, and had made no enemies in life, and so mercifully, we put him to sleep, hoping we might meet again in some other world where there is no pain.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Carpetbaggers strike again

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The rain comes in waves, first heavy, then light, and then for a moment, it only trickles on the awning like impatient fingers waiting for the next wave.
The stock market in China crashed yesterday, and mysteriously, during a downturn in our own, computers failed in New York forcing the market to halt for three and a half hours – allowing people to catch their breath before taking the next plunge.
Someone on the radio compared China’s fall to New York 1929. But that person must have had to eat his words when China recovered (the government leaping in to buy stocks to keep everything stable.)
We live in precarious times, drenched with a new wave of political correctness as busybodies (mostly liberals) bask in recent victories, and thus leap to create even more social change, unaware that like the rain or the sea, change comes in waves, and there is always a backlash.
Some comedians refuse to perform on college campuses because the political correctness has become so pervasive, a batch of do-good self-righteous liberal types that think they own the moral high ground and have a right to tell other people how to live their lives.
On top of this has been the discussion about the Confederate Flag and the outrage through the nation over its use in a recent murder of people in a black church in South Carolina.
Like the carpetbaggers that descended on The South after the Civil War, morally pumped up left wing bigots attack a whole culture, determined to once and for all stamp out the revolution that the Civil War failed to accomplish.
As with all tyranny, this move to “educate” The South is doomed to create even more bad feelings because it is being imported from the very places the South has come to hate.
The old saying about winners being the ones that write history has never been truer than it is in regards to what brought about the Civil War. But supposedly college educated morons pump up the rhetoric to say the war was entirely about slavery, when it was really about economics. Northern robber barons, who had already made their money off supplying the slaves to the south, hopped on the anti-slavery bandwagon when it became profitable for them to do so, and so fueled the war. The north had built a new economy based on manufacturing (much of which eventually led to polluting our waterways and creating climate change) and found the south’s cheap labor (slave labor) standing in the way of making their profits.
There was moral justification for doing away with slavery, but it was money that created the war as the north demanded the south dismantle its economy – in other words, get rid of the slaves. This move would have destroyed the south nearly as much as the war did, creating a significant economic disadvantage the north was well aware of.
The south refused – partly because it had no choice but refuse. The entire economy would collapse if they freed the slaves. With new Free states entering the union, the north was poised to outvote the south on every economic issue as well. Rather than be bullied by well-funded industrialists in the north, the south chose to fight.
Lincoln – well known for his position on slavery – did not enter the war to free the slaves, but preserve the union.  Freeing the slaves in the middle of the war was hardly a humanitarian gesture. Lincoln wanted to break the spirit of the South at a critical time and it worked.

For many, the Confederate Flag became a symbol of continued resistance to King George-like tyranny imposed upon the south by a victorious North. In some ways, the righteous liberals in the north are repeating the rape of the South that started with northern carpetbaggers after the conclusion of the Civil War. In other words, we’re just finishing up when we started.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A week after the Stonewall riot

Thursday, July 02, 2015

I can walk this walk from the Heights to Hoboken with my eyes closed, I have done it for so long.
The world changes so completely that I can’t keep track of it, as I could not when I was a kid.
In many ways, I have walked back in time to when the righteous rose up and protested the ill deeds of a racist and homophobic world.
Church burnings, and gay pride mingling into a madness that comes out the other end as something hardly recognizable.
Gay pride week in Manhattan took on new meaning with the Supreme Court ruling against bans on gay marriage.  The celebration that normally took place at the Stone Wall Inn grew into monumental proportions.
This was a moment everybody needed to remember.
This made me think of Maxwell – a gay kid I met for the first time in the summer of 1968 when I spent nearly every waking moment in the Village.
Hank and I were doing our usual singing routine on the streets, pretending like we had somehow transitioned back to 1950s Greenwich Village when Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and others did their thing here. Suddenly, this relatively short kid starts singing at us – not folk songs, but show tunes. I remember him singing “Button up your overcoat” as he pranced pixie-like in front of us.
Hank, who moved into the East Village a short time later, because close to Max. But Max always fancied me, and flirted all the time whenever I was around.
He was often at Hank’s apartment the summer of 1969 when I got passes from the Army. He wanted to show me off, and so convinced me more than once to go out drinking with him. He said he knew great places where we could have a lot of fun. By this, he meant all the gay bars along Christopher Street and near Sheridan Square – among which was the Stonewall Inn.
He took me there about a week before the now infamous riot, and pretended like he was my date. I wasn’t completely aware of the game he played with other gay men and didn’t realize that he was showing me off to them to make them jealous. But I do remember the catcalls and other remarks that generally came our way during that walk of fame. Max was more than a little amused. I was not.
Although I vowed not to make the same mistake twice, I agreed to accompany Max again a few weeks later. Everything had changed. The innocence of the first experience had evaporated and there was a sense of militancy among the gay expatriates, and the feeling I got when we wandered back into these bars was similar to one I got a few times when I managed to wander into the Black Panthers headquarters – or even the clubhouse of the Hell’s Angels on the other side of town.
Although there was still a sense of play in the back and forth between Max and those he sought to make jealous, there was also something stronger, a bond that bound them together in a way that I rarely experienced before except in the hospital at Fort Dix where I met wounded veterans returning home from Vietnam.
Max and the others had gone through some common experience that no petty jealousy could overcome, and were part of something much larger than what had existed before – and my default during that visit, I became a member of their society.
Max and I later worked together uptown and had plenty of strange adventures, but I never again felt what I felt on that night, a week or so after the Stonewall Riot.

I’m pretty sure Max did not survive the holocaust of the 1980s AIDS epidemic. But I think of him often, and his face was the first face that came to mind when I heard the Supreme Court decision, and in my head, I heard his voice rising up from the first time I met him, singing “button up your overcoat.”