I was living in the gay rodeo, heavy round-up of sensational performances, Gusty Perceiver and Blam Hart and Curtsy Stackless Aye-Aye, and right in the middle I fell in love with the handsomest, most lovely assortment of features the world has known: connubial glee assailed the gay rodeo. His name was Johnny, a freezing fellow, consumed by wants and loves. We were lovers and just as it was happening, he for me and I for him, I decided to check this moment into permanence and with it found a society, later, of true love, starting with this.
Here is the transcript:
I am peeing naked and I see him there. I am noticing myself on the ledge that runs right around our bathroom; it is a wooden ledge, and it separates the top half from the bottom half of the bathroom. I am noticing myself in the ledge, if that makes any sense, and mussing my hair a bit, and Johnny goes by mighty naked too and before I can whiz all out he's smiling at me and I'm mussing my hair up, real bad, and he just looks at me sort of curious, always curious, and I look back, he is noticing himself in my hair, and I notice myself in his chest, and we look and look and then I muss my hair some more and grin sheepish and he tilts his head and I grin faraway...
Johnny fixes an omelette and we eat it checking gleefully into each other's eyes. There is nothing wrong here, each is thinking. Nothing wrong in the least, in the world. There is chuckroast aplenty in our hearts. Chuckroast saignant, mon cheri. We rub each other down with the kindest words... It is time to "drop the beef." I do so and Johnny picks it up, and as he rises he brushes his nose across my flank and I shiver.
The breakfast lasts and lasts...
Johnny tells me stories and I hold his head gently in my lap, cooing into his ears. I tell Johnny a story and he rubs my forehead. There is nothing wrong with the present situation. We are intelligent, vast people. We are endowed with capacities undreamt of by the city planners.
In the morning Johnny awakes sometimes before me, in which case I can see him staring and swaying or just tilting his head back and forth, and sometimes after me: I watch him sleep, puckered mouth, little drool. Sometimes I make-believe by putting my face right in front of his and slurping up the drool or just licking his lips, or just breathing onto his face and breathing in his breath -- make-believe what I don't know, but it's make-believe. I love Johnny so much.
In the evening we see films from Austria, Sweden, postwar Hungary, Russia, and France. No Italian, we've decided. Among people we are polite and not easygoing. It becomes a question of adventurousness. I, for example, tend not to be quite adventurous enough, and Johnny gets bored and I get jealous -- while Johnny recognises that sometimes he's a trifle frivolous. We do not fault each other but instead fight viciously, with our hands and with books and with our feet, until we have finished the hate and can comfortably collapse into arms, each other's, indiscriminately, i.e. with true discrimination. "You see?" we would say to an onlooker. "We are real people too."
We eat, staring at each other's eyes, a little foggy, very happy, willing to die for each other.
seek the origins of the theater in History, and the origin of History in the past,
is fucked. Waste of time.
-- Genet, "L'Ètrange mot d'..."
Filippo charged ahead with his scimitar, decimating several armies of marauding estate-dwellers then en route to a mirthful afternoon among heathens.
Cut: to the mirthful afternoon, never in fact occurring, but nevertheless quite real. The heathens are disporting themselves on the lawn, undoing knots as is their wont at top gallop atop fine creatures not quite equine but savage nevertheless, shouting at the same time stanzas of excellent poets to the assembled tribes of their vanquished, who can only look at the mounted victorious heathens with downturned head (eyes as far up as possible) and murmur little ditties from their own tongues, all about survival.
Out from the blue of the western horizon, on this never-to-be afternoon, arrive thousands of wealthy industrialists, men whose distribution systems call for evenings of talk over pricey liqueurs. There is a clangor, a vast system of knocks recalling a metaphor about schools or some other industrial method, that arises from the protection the estate-dwellers are sheathed in from head to estate-dwelling toe.
"Hark," yells a victorious heathen, "I see something ugly."
"Ugly," they all agree, and race charging away from their moment of glamor towards the confusing army, over the watchful eye of the downtrodden.
There, bits of heathen, and then songs we know quite well, discussing the joy in discovering a new species of flower upon an oft-tread heath, the perfection of young Maribelle in treading upon same flower, the correctness of murdering young Maribelle for her insult to science, joy in discovery of other delights than young Maribelle -- Oh wanton flower! for example, and How sultry the visage, for another -- and all in all, there on the ex-heathen-lawn, a vast euphony of competing ideologies certain for one historical moment of concord, in thorough, replete Weltanschauung, that no one will out-envisage-completeness them.
Then, march home with second-rate heathens in tow, those still unminced, not required to keep their heads bowed any longer but still and all murmuring ditties. March home across barren wasteland and Jews, back to hearth and countryside and dementia and Jews, and evenings of solemn assurance that nothing will out-envisage-completeness our knights, who corner young Maribelle and discuss things like throwing the thong and maligning imbroglios.
"Huh?" young Maribelle says, for she is still young and innocent, her cheeks like apples, her lips little worms; when more crafty but still as virginal as is practical, she will say, instead, "I deplore the hating of throwing the thong, but I resent the damage it does my young suitors," upon which the suitors will race out to the countryside to throw thongs, getting damaged, which they know will touch young Maribelle, for whom the charade is a matter of not being rent into five. (This is why, even now, throwing the thong is attended by thousands and gets our best hunks, and wives will cook easy goods in its honor.)
But of course none of this happened, this once -- not the heathens disporting, the wealthy attacking, the brave heathens rendered to fragments of heathen, the second-rate chained, the songs afloating through wasteland and hearth and horizon and Jews. Instead Filippo charged ahead full of terrific ideas and a consummate grasp on delivery of one thing from the next, and knocked the hopeful but overburdened and anyhow clumsy estate-dwellers from recalcitrant mounts, and hacked.
"Say, Filippo," they cried, "we are going out to do the thing that will benefit all, give the world its grasp, do the dirty to evils, garnish euphoria for models of curtseying*...."
Filippo did not answer but continued his hacking and knocking with furrowed brow and his tongue out the corner of close-hewn lips, focussed on doing this job right for once, so many others had tried, this was too much.
"Silly Filippo," they cried again, "here, let us have a conference, let us discuss these merits or not in full, argent terms."
Filippo still did not answer, barely heard before he dismissed, knowing the error inhering in terms that yank error to mind, "merit," "full."
Filippo had been a well-balanced child whose efforts in the fourth grade had not held a candle to his efforts in the fifth, and so on.
"Filippo!" the estate-dwellers yelled, "for heaven's sakes get a grip, adorn yourself with some accolade, get brave, don't be a dipsticked coward and give in to primal, unthinking patterns, let us knights get a move on towards the fields we feel, after all, we have a certain right to, so that afterwards we may come charging back in a certain, after all, splendor, through marshlands and terror and momentum and Jews -- come on, guy."
"Nope," Filippo murmured under his breath, which was harsh and rasping what with the marauder-decimation he was engaged in.
Afterwards he took a warm bath among the beautiful men he had had imported from Malaga for this and other occasions, who perpetuated his youth in the Roman empress tradition and sang between gasps little ditties of Malaga, about seasides and villas, and beautiful boys troubled by want, and Jews.
Fancy young men swarm over the airport. Three of them attract me and I envelop them in a blanket and smuggle them onto an airplane. The stewardess stashes them in the bin and I sit, tapping my foot rather nervously, glancing fast every minute or two at the grand-dame beside me.
Over Reykjavik she asks me my work and I say, "Oh, pilot." I haven't really thought it out. "I see," she says, and takes out a huge embroidery needle, which she plunges into my right thigh and swivels around. It is all I can do to play dumb. No, I think, nommmmm, there is nothing in my right thigh, no sinews, no blood, no bone. The needle is encountering deaf prairies, nommmmm. Finally the plane lands, I grab my fancy young men and go careening one-thighed through the city. "Very nice," I say, and "Awfully pleasant."
One of them pokes his head out of the blanket and looks around. Sees me. "Stewart," he says, "not much of a scholar, some attention deficit stuff in the grades, but also a pleasant demeanor and outstanding will with tasks and the concepts associated." He wriggles out and squats on the pavement. I look around nervously, then laugh uproariously next to the face of a round-faced woman in a foolproof gesture of courtesy. Nobody notices Stewart. When he's done I trundle him up and begin to regret my bundle.
The two remaining fancy young men soon appear, faces, at the open top end of my blanket. "Graeme and Mengele, sworn enemies of cathartic behavior by the downtrodden masses: cartoonists our nemeses, writers of comic-ish fiction as well." I cringe, expecting a blow. "No blows," they say, "but a lot of wondering in us." I watch the wondering swirl through their various parts, which (I imagine) are as numerous and involved as the parts of anyone, perhaps several hundred times more complex than my thigh, which it was all I could do to convince myself was deaf prairies. "Are you needing..." I begin. "No!" they yell, and "No! No! No!" with blows to my skull with their fingers, which feel like aluminum clothespins.
Finally we arrive at the convenience store. Graeme and Mengele are asleep, and Stewart is eyeing my progress with his odd benevolent gaze, quite welcome. The clerk is trundling goods into an oversize self.
"Corpulence is my safe, I like to say," he says, then, realizing I'm no native, "Hey, haven't I seen you before?" "Nope," I say, not wanting to fool with cultural differences at the moment. His face engorges with blood and his belly distends even more. This is all as I expect, having read the appropriate guidebooks. His arms reach out and grab me, lift me along with my bundle and shove me into his matter. Yes, I think, and mph.
Within, I find a pen and begin to write a memoir all over his walls, though I can't remember anything before the airport. What is wrong with me? Is there some sort of nepenthe floating around here? Is this clerk the netherworld?
Stewart pipes up. "This is odd," he says. "What?" I say. "That here we would be in the belly of a clerk after being mere fancy young men in an airport." "Yes," Graeme and Mengele chime in, "yup. Not precisely what one might expect." "No," I say, "that's true." I'm feeling one with them, though technically I am not. (The clerk, with whom I am technically one, I feel nothing towards.) "Say," says Stewart, "anyone got a match?"
I light one and the clerk blows up, and we fly up over the country, and we roll head over heels through the air to the previous continent, right in fact up to the airport, where we land, the fancy young men among fancy young men, and I in the lounge, which I quit to go to the bathroom.
©1997 Blithe House Quarterly ~ All Rights Reserved.