Bar Hopping On The Castro, June 10, 1993

The Castro has a fastidious beauty: flawless and surreal; I see
nothing of the joyful anarchy of gay liberation, or the horror of
young men covered in lesions.

New drugs and quicker testing have reduced some of the worst
symptoms of HIV, but the gay contingent of My Generation is
still dying in droves.

I check out a bar called ‘The Transfer’ and watch a bored
stoner fan dance to old disco and move on to a bar called
the ‘Badlands’.

The ‘Badlands’ is almost empty.

I order a beer and take a seat by the pool table to watch a
group of boys play.

They play badly and grin when they see me watching: the
handsome butch daddy with a mustache, a queen who can
play a mean game of pool.

I smile and raise my beer as an elderly drunk stumbles out
of the toilet and staggers toward the pool table.

He waves to the boys and plops himself in the seat next
to me.

“Drinkin a beer eh? Wannanother beer?” His breath stinks
of tobacco and stale beer.

I politely decline and the guy blows up; he wags his finger at
me and snaps loudly:

“Take a good look at me, Miss Thing! This is you in ten years!”

I find it noteworthy that he assumes I will still be alive.

In 1992, AIDS was he number one cause of death in the United States for
men aged 25-44.

(c) Rob Goldstein 1992-2018


The Bicyclist

I ride my bike past your office


you say the secretary thinks
I’m cute,

you say it makes you smile.

I stop and wave and she opens
the door and winks and says with
hard Rs, “Ya gonna give it to me
when ya go straight, right?’

I wink back and smile as I ride off,

“Sure thing!”

That night we made love and slept
in each other’s arms: safe in the
of our 20’s.

Image and poem (c) Rob Goldstein 1985-2018  


A Flight of Ideas: The Coke Conspiracy

No. Judy doesn’t love me.  And I don’t love her.

Her job is to help me do my job and in that way
our jobs are secure.

Together we could climb a summit of immense

I lay on the mat in the seclusion room and
considered the War in Viet Nam.

Had the hippies ended it or was it economics?

I mean, had the peace movement become another
hot property, or was it a brand?

I mean, why would Coke want to teach the World
to sing?

How much money does Coke make if everyone
in the World buys everyone in the World one
Coke per day?

I quickly do the math: 7.2 billion people x $2.65
USD per can of coke = $19.08 billion USD!

Per day!

Why is a man who understands Coke’s conspiracy
to end World hunger in a seclusion room?

I called to tell Judy; she had to know my secret!

But she was washing broccoli out of her hair.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved.

Strange Dream #09

I roam the slums of a jungle;

It is hot and I am always thirsty.

I drink from the

fountain marked


It’s magic quenches

my thirst.

At 3 AM savage


jabber and howl.

“Who do you love most,” asks God.

“Jayne Mansfield,” says Max.

“And why is that?” God is so
cleverly all-knowing.

“She’s dead.” Max replies.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2017 All Rights Reserved