Heroes of the Revolution: Harold Norse

In 1977 I lived in New Haven, Connecticut.

There are hundreds of reasons I loved my time in New Haven.

One was Manhattan was an hour away by train.

I took Amtrak to New York at least twice a month to hang out in the Village.

One weekend in the Fall of 1977 I stopped for a drink at Uncle Charlie’s on Greenwich Avenue.

I met a hot guy who invited me home.

He had a studio apartment with a bed, a chair and a nightstand.

On the nightstand was a book of poems by Harold Norse,  Carnivorous Saint.

A devouring saint?

I sat on the bed and opened the book.

I’d never seen poetry like this before.

I said good-bye to the hot guy, raced to the bookstore, got Carnivorous Saint, and hopped the train back to New Haven.

I was smitten.

The poetry in Carnivorous Saint was political, sexy and full of humor.

Norse used his poetry to define gay liberation in language that included working class men.

Norse is a working class man who declares that he is not a Man:

Art by Rob Goldstein
Scanned from my copy of Carnivorous Saint, purchased in 1977.
Carnivorous Saint
Scanned cover of my copy of Carnivorous Saint, purchased in 1977.

There is more to my story about Harold Norse but that is for another post.

To learn more about the poet, Harold Norse, click here:

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17 St Phillip Street –Part 7-

Bobby stood in the doorway of the parlor and heaved a long sad sigh.

Miss Jenny and Paul were watching Password.

Paul looked up at Bobby, “What’s the password Bobby?”

“Screwed.”

Miss Jenny: “You had to go an’ play with it, didn’t ya?”

“No, Miss Jenny! I swear!’

Steve stormed into the parlor, his face flushed with rage: Miss Bobby! My boss told me today that he had proof from your boss that you an’ me are queer!”

“Pictures is the only proof!’ snapped Bobby. “An’ if Nestor took pictures they will show him for queer too!’

Paul suppressed a grin. His eyes twinkled: “It doesn’t do to screw your boss, Bobby.”

Steve sat, dumbfounded: “Here I go getting you a job—an’ look what you do. I’m fired!” Steve pointed at Bobby. “You’re a disaster!”

Bobby: “You should talk about disasters with that music you listen to.”

Bobby did a mocking impersonation of Karen Carpenter: “jesssst like meeeeeh, they long to beeeeeh, close tew yeeeeeeeeew…aeeeeeeewwwww! If you listened to the Moody Blues you’d realize that nothing on this planet matters!”

“In theory,” said Paul.

Miss Jenny stared at Bobby in shock. “Bobby? This is the only planet we live on an’ on this planet we need money.”

Bobby decided to change the subject. “What did you do today, Paul?”

“I spent most of it consoling Steve.”

Bobby rolled his eyes: “You’re good at consolation.”

“Not as good as you at providing reasons for it.”

Bobby plead his case: “Nestor is lying! I swear I didn’t do nothin!”

Miss Jenny and Paul hovered over the inconsolable Steve.

Bobby was over it. “If folks is gonna bad mouth me I’m leavin’’

And when no one tried to stop him he did.

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Story and image (c) Rob Goldstein 2016 All Rights Reserved

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17 St. Phillip Street –Part Five-

A Matter of Perception
A Matter of Perception

Bobby puzzled his found family at 17 St. Phillip Street.

They loved the person they saw in him, and each saw someone different.

To Paul, Bobby was raw talent; a white trash Rimbaud from the housing projects of Charleston.

To Maurice he was a brother who accepted Maurice as a sister.

To Steve, he was freedom; Bobby was so incidentally gay that everyone, including Bobby, forgot about it.

To Miss Jennie he was a favorite grandson.

Everyone who met Bobby fell a little in love with him; women and men.

The straightest men always wound up chasing Bobby.

It’s as if they saw the most beautiful girl in the world when they looked at him.

Bobby strolled into the kitchen.

“Umm…somethin’ smells good!”

Miss Jennie took a knife to a chunk of fat back and tossed a slice into the black-eyed peas.

“Nestor’s gonna show me how to vacuum tomorrow.”

Miss Jennie floured and peppered a tray of pork chops.

She knew it was hopeless but she had to try.

She turned and shook her spatula at Bobby: “I know you’re workin’ on Nestor Bobby! Leave his pecker in his pants an’ wax them floors!”

“I ain’t trash, Miss Jenny!”

“Yes you are–now wash up for supper.”

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(c) Writing and Image, Rob Goldstein (c) 2016