Blood and Saliva

Eros smiles seductively

and takes the seat next
to mine.

He caresses my thigh

and whispers a filthy

secret: to know him

is telling

in a thousand

unspeakable

ways.

 

(c) Rob Goldstein November 5, 1985

 

My Time of Dying

I wrote this poem in December 1984.

San Francisco’s gay men were hit hard by the AIDS epidemic: the sick and dying were everywhere and no one really knew how HIV was transmitted.

As the number of cases increased most of the healthy men I knew thought they were they were going to sicken and die.

The press called us the worried well.

With cases of AIDS becoming more widespread every week, the United States is undergoing a second, related epidemic–fear of AIDS.  The Chicago Tribune August 1985

I was 31. This is how I wanted to die.

If now is my time of dying
let it be a time of giving
a time of joy
an exchange of one gift
for another
to be part of the plan
aware of the plan
God grant me grace
in this interlude
this movement foreword
this final act of life.

‘My Time of Dying’ Rob Goldstein 1984-2019
 Portrait of Rob Goldstein by Nina Glaser

The Executive

The alarm rang and the radio spat news.

Bonwit Teller opened his eyes to a foggy San Francisco morning.

He threw off the comforter, angrily pulled down the shades, and
crawled back into bed.

The phone rang

“Hi Bonwit, it’s Jerry. This is your wake-up call per your request.”
“Hi Jerry”
“Are you up?”
“Yeh”
“That was a helluva rant you gave last night”
“Which one? I was drunk.”
“About Old Man Lazaro.”

Bonwit sat up.

Jerry continued: “You made Old Man Lazaro look like a jackass.”

Bonwit sighed: “I guess I owe him an apology. I say wicked things
when I’m drunk. Thanks for the wake-up Jerry.”

Market Street looked like an Exodus scene.

“Let my people go,” Bonwit heard a beggar say.

He dropped some cash into the beggars’ cup and hurried into
the underground.

He saw another beggar sitting cross-legged in front of the
ticket machine.

His sign read: “Dying from AIDS. Please help.”

Bonwit dropped some cash into his cup and hurried onto
the platform.

Bonwit was desperate for the train to arrive.

He thought of Old Man Lazaro: his face boyish, yet old, kind, yet cruel.

Bonwit spat on that face and remembered his rage at last night’s dinner.

Lazaro compared Bonwit to a General in a noble army:

“That’s what you are.” Lazaro said. “The sales force is your army. They depend on you for supplies and protection. Your people need you Bonwit.”

“I’m just a fucking travel agent and you’re just an old queen!” Bonwit drunkenly snarled.

Bonwit rose from the station and entered the Pyramid.

Bonwit thought; I am truly a pain in the ass.

As if I don’t know why I’m here

He smiled benevolently at the housekeeper. “Good morning Violet.”

’’Morning Mister Teller.”

“Have I met my obligations to you this week?”

“I got a paycheck if that’s what you mean?”

“I’m so pleased.” Bonwit replied.

He entered his office and rang his secretary: “Mary, will you call the Whiskey Shop and have a bottle of Macallan 1939 delivered to Mr. Lazaro?

“Yes Mr. Teller. Mr. Lazaro is in his office. He wants to meet with you.”

Bonwit entered Lazaro’s office and took a seat.

Lazaro glared at him. “Bonwit, darling! You’re late.”

“I walked this morning.”

Lazaro laughed.  “I’m removing you from the Booth Account. Shirley
complained this morning.”

“About what.”

“She said Baxter’s tickets were late.”

“I had those tickets printed and sent before Shirley ordered them.”

Lazaro shrugged and smiled. “Maybe she has it in for you. Maybe she doesn’t
like old queens.”

Bonwit returned to his office and crossed to the picture window
behind his desk.

He studied the expanse of the Bridge and the shimmering blue
waters below.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2019
‘Behind the Pyramid’ (c) Rob Goldstein

First posted May, 2017-Revised and re-posted January 2019.

 

 

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Depression Settles at the Bottom

From Jason Cushman

HarsH ReaLiTy

IMG_3010

I don’t view depression as waves, at least not for me. My depression feels like white flakes in a snow globe and are activated when something shakes me to my core. I become the center and the space around me becomes my world, a world I cannot see. While blinded I feel my swinging mood aiming for me like a gauntlet and I am the fool that has entered into it blind. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot escape.

It has been 17 years since I found out about my birth mom and my sister. It has been 12 years since I tried to kill myself the first time. It has been 9 years  since I found happiness again. Through those transitions I have relearned my depression. Through those years I have grown to accept it and myself.

People always want to fix things. Fix your smile…

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