And yet…There is this Pain…

Art by Rob Goldstein
A Guy Named Bob

A Note from Rob About Pain

A question people often ask is whether my alternates communicate with each other.

When my alternates have communicated with each other my experience is one of being flooded by conflicting thoughts and emotions.

Am I alive…Am I be dead…do I need to write….no I need to sleep…

I remember some of the events in Bobby’s telling of his life at 17 St. Phillip Street.

But I remember these events as dreams.

Therefore 17 St. St Phillip Street is a place and a state of mind.

There was this kid named Bobby.

He was basically happy and well-adjusted.

There was another Kid named Bob.

He looked like Bobby but he led a different life.

Bob was part of the straight scene in Charleston in 1972, though he was not straight identified.

In a world of hip young guys who were suddenly straight identified bisexuals Bob was a gay identified bisexual.

Here is how he explained it:  “There are no straight queers to a crazy ass redneck.”

Bob was born at the age of 16 in 1967.

The Summer of Love was a moment when being young meant access to an international network of support.

Middle class kids, who were often the children of working class parents, began to travel and to discover new ideas and new ways of thinking about life and the pleasures of life.

Many of these kids backpacked cross-country and hitchhiked through Europe.

They were students as much as hippies.

Bob shared an apartment with his two best friends.

This is how he remembers it:

My best buddy was a guy named Tomas. I met him when I was fifteen; I was already out being bi and radical inasmuch as I didn’t give rat’s ass what anyone thought. If I wanted to screw women I screwed women.

Tomas was my main man.

We were as much a couple as any two fags.

We didn’t need to call each other lover.

Bob is not Bobby.

Bob didn’t live on St. Phillip Street.

He lived in a crash pad on Meeting Street.

What does all of this have to do with whether my alternates can communicate?

My alternates are flooding me with their memories.

I am in and out of time and feel displaced as an intellect.

How does one even arrive at a point in life when one feels displaced as an intellect?

Can a man be both crazy and sane?

What does it take for me to have the power to write and publish these thoughts?

God’s grace.

By the grace of God I am not today among the legions of people who are just like me and living on the streets of my city.

By the grace of God I have food and housing and a computer that is powerful enough let me learn new skills and new ways to become the kind of person I was born to be.

By the grace of God I have a community of people who support me in ways that enrich and empower me beyond measure.

And yet.

There is this pain.

There are these stories that must be told.

Rob Goldstein (c) 2016