Sunday, May 18, 2008
15 May 2008 in the Castro District
During the heat wave, I feel langorous, in shorts and sandals, drinking coffee and reading Cavafy at a table outside a café at Sanchez and Seventeenth in San Francisco. I look up from the words about young men glimpsed on the streets of Alexandria to look at a young man passing in T-shirt and shorts. He eats ice cream on a stick with nonchalance, too young to fear that his slim body will gain weight from the treat he licks. He moves on flipflops, as if on flippers that slap the cement sidewalk, seemingly unaware of the world around him, pulled along by a mongrel pug on a leash. The little dog so quick and curious, searching the world as he pulls the beautiful, bland young man like a child pulling a toy that rolls on wheels. The dog is more attractive than the absent-minded youth. Young man, you have failed me. Back to the streets of Alexandria, looking for that mirror that reflects the beauty standing behind us as Cavafy borrows coins from me and purchases Turkish cigarettes. Our purchase done, I see that the beauty reflected has disappeared into the street. But his memory enlivens the mirror that trembles, the beautiful poison of liquid mercury.
The California Supreme Court has ruled that gay people may marry. The Castro District is sleepy with the heat. Later in the afternoon some reporters show up who try to arouse some strong reaction in passersby who are more curious about the behavior of reporters than obsessed with the ruling.
Later Andrew and Donatella Minama (I think that is similar to how Gregg B. spells the name of our mutual friend) are in the Castro Theatre watching Jean-Luc Godard’s CONTEMPT when it begins to sound as if a mob is going to invade the theater, the sound of the celebration that has commenced out on Castro Street. We older three leave after the movie, quietly making our way through the happy throng, eager to find the more peaceful streets. One of us for a long time “married.” Two of us having had our “marriages.” All of us accompanied by ghosts, some of our best companions.
There are all kinds of gay people in many stages of life and with different ways of celebrating life. No judgement. As I have written
Both married and single
are terrible things
but what a man suffers
is what a man sings.