A friend and collaborator took this picture as I got
into character to rehearse a theatrical piece.
My friend snapped this shot as I danced and spoke
In fact, I was switching into character, though no one
in my circle of friends knew what that was.
It was a dark time in America, but one goes on with life.
This is a journal entry from the day of that shot:
July 16, 1987
It is July and I am still alive.
The AIDS epidemic is in its sixth year and those six years have passed slowly and cruelly. I had hoped that AIDS would fade like a fad, but it is still around and killing, and the fact that a reactionary movement has gained momentum by openly discussing it as a form of divine retribution sickens me to my core.
Nazi Germany was the most extreme expression of a global movement started by wealthy Americans in the late 1800’s.
The American Eugenics Movement provided the template for Nazi Germany.
The use of the Warsaw Ghetto in Nazi occupied Poland meets the criteria for mass murder by Lethal Neglect.
“On October 12, 1940, the Germans decreed the establishment of a ghetto in Warsaw. The decree required all Jewish residents of Warsaw to move into a designated area, which German authorities sealed off from the rest of the city in November 1940. The ghetto was enclosed by a wall that was over 10 feet high, topped with barbed wire, and closely guarded to prevent movement between the ghetto and the rest of Warsaw. The population of the ghetto, increased by Jews compelled to move in from nearby towns, was estimated to be over 400,000 Jews. German authorities forced ghetto residents to live in an area of 1.3 square miles, with an average of 7.2 persons per room. ” Holocaust Encyclopedia
Nothing was allowed through the wall; no water, no food, no medical care and no way out.
The Nazi’s took daily photographs of the residents to document their decline.
In January 1942, nearly 6,000 people – and perhaps 100,000 people, 1939 to 1942 – died of starvation and disease in the ghetto. The Warsaw Ghetto, 1940-3
The American Eugenics movement was such a powerful global movement that “Nazis on trial at Nuremberg after World War II cited American Eugenics programs as a defense of their policies and mentioned Buck v. Bell in their testimony.
This brings us to today:
After 40 years of the passive neglect of the mentally ill the GOP is openly embracing policies that will cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
Oct 5, 2017 – Republicans let health insurance expire for 9 million American children.
Former KKK wizard David Duke, for example, has been proclaiming on Twitter that Trump’s election and cabinet picks are the first steps toward “taking America back” — that is, taking America “back” from anyone who isn’t descended from fair-skinned Europeans. In white nationalist ideology, only white Americans have a true right to the country — and the rights that go along with citizenship, like voting. Think Progress
Indiana Republican: ‘No One Has the Guts’ to Let the Poor ‘Wither and Die’
“For almost three generations people, in some cases, have been given handouts,” Johnston said. “They have been ‘enabled’ so much that their paradigm in life is simply being given the stuff of life, however meager.”
“What you see is a setting for a life of misery is life to them never-the-less,” he continued. “No one has the guts to just let them wither and die. No one who wants votes is willing to call a spade a spade. As long as the Dems can get their votes the enabling will continue. The Republicans need their votes and dare not cut the fiscal tether. It is really a political Catch-22.” Indiana Republican John Johnston
His tiny room stinks of sweat and stale cigarette smoke.
Oh, the danger of all that smoke and what it’s done to his lungs; oh, the danger that Xanax will do for him what Valium had done to Rosemary Clooney.
Morning for Bob is 4PM. He wakes and has his first cup of coffee. He wakes and has his second. He wakes and has his third.
Bob flops into bed and thinks. About bitches, boredom, and trendy
cynicism. About sensitive poets sucking their way to anonymous
A 4PM as black as night.
He takes three more Xanax and sleeps.
He wakes and finds a penknife on top of a handwritten note:
Dear Bob, I got this penknife from my Dad. I think it’s a treasure ’cause it’s full of love. I want you to have it ’cause I love you. You might remember me as a friend.
I think you need to start eating apples, dude.
That penknive is good at slicing apples.
Bob throws the penknife into the trash. Then he sits
at the laptop and writes:
I’ve wanted a pen knife ever since I was that little fag.
At that time, I kept wax models of movie monsters on my bed stand to protect me from the human monsters outside.
Have you considered writing a real friend, someone whose grief won’t spoil your soul?
Bobby’s letter is bright is full of reconciliation.
I’m at Battery Park where I go to when I want to figure things out.
I watch the birds and smell the ocean and think something
wonderful has happened.
When I feel the rain it feels like everything magic!.
I guess I like to talk to older dudes because they’ve got things
more figured out.
I bet you have stuff figured out, right?
Yesterday Mom was drunk again.
Do you remember my Mom’s problem?
Do you remember we talked about how the real problem is she
thinks she don’t have one?
I try to help her but all she says is laters.
4PM at on a hot September day at the Laundromat on 16th Street and Mission Street; a toddler screams and Bob’s skin crawls. He takes a Xanax and writes:
I’m may stuff a nerve wracking baby into a hot drier; it sounds like your Mother needs to dry out too. Charleston must be a beautiful town; I’ve read that it reeks of Magnolia and racism. It’s nice that they let the poor visit parks like the Battery. Science will eventually discover that everything is magic. Why do you write to me? I’m a hateful old man.
In the early 1960’ss a bacteria infected the Spanish moss in Charleston. Bobby has watched the Spanish moss vanish from the tall oak trees that line Battery Park. An old woman shares a bag of peanuts with the squirrels. Bobby jots her down in his notebook. Then he writes another letter to Bob:
I just read a bunch of books about astrology. You’re a Scorpio. These books say Scorpio is a dark and passionate sign. They say we’re shamans and can turn dark into light.
I’m back at Battery Park and there’s a sweet old woman hand feeding a squirrel.
It’s hard to make a frightened creature trust you.
How come when I say I believe in magic adults say grow up..
Do you still believe in magic?
The cruising was vicious last night. Bob watched the boys dance at the End-Up and wondered what sign they were. He stumbled home at 2 and took enough Xanax for 12. He woke at 4 and had his third cup of coffee.
He wrote a reply to Bobby.
We think of children in terms of potential.
When children believe in magic, we call them imaginative; when adults believe in magic, we call them devout.
Two women had a fist fight in front of Bobby’s house that day.
They were tweaked on dexys.
They called each other names and chased each other around the courtyard.
Bobby watched from the porch and wrote Bob:
Sorry it took so long for me to write but I thought you didn’t want to hear from me no more. I thought you was being polite in that way adults are sometimes polite to kids by being rude.
Two women beat each other up in the Courtyard today. They called each other a whore- dyke-bitch and how one of them said ‘I can buy and sell you!’
I gotta laugh when poor folks say shit like that cause everyone knows we’re slaves.
Momma says they was fighting over a man.
Do queers in San Francisco fight over men in public?
We can’t even look at each other here.
I bet it’s nice to hold your boyfriend’s hand in public.
Bob, why are you so unhappy!
You sound like you got no hope.
Maybe your planets are outta wack!
Astrologers say that when your planets go outta whack things get crazy
Love and Friendship,
Bob was too high to read all Bobby’s letter. He tossed it into the trash but decided to reply: Dear Bobby,