This entry is a tradition of mine: after all, anniversaries are nominative traditions. And here I note my anniversary as a San Franciscan. 30-Jun-2010 23:45 -0700 was the magic timestamp, although the magic was carried neither in calendar nor chronometer.
Magic doesn’t work like that: it comes from Within and Without. It’s the connection between the two: the string-in-tension vibrating, from which the music of life pours forth. One only needs those Better Ears with which to hear it.
My life has been filled with song since the off, and my upbringing informed my early years that I should be grateful to a Great Someone to Whom all my songs should be dedicated. Gratitude later gave way to appreciation, which gave way to realization that life itself is the music and it’s in the listening—or the ability or sensitivity to hearing it—where we succeed or fail.
Some of us hear the music in everyone, see it, really, and despair that the beauty of this gift of sight carries the price of rarity.
What a lonely irony.
And despite what you’ve heard about the partying rapport between gay men and irony, I am a very lonely man these days.
But the music plays and plays and plays and the mellifluous genius of human kindness and decency and loyalty, friendship, selflessness, thoughtful pause, commitment, choice—all fill my ears and carry me through my worsts of times.
And though my tradition this same time every year has been to visit the past year every year, my worst of times have spanned more than five of these past years every year.
Worst times because of the worst deeds done to me, worst excesses heaped upon me, worst demands made of me by the ones who inflicted the worst pain in me.
And when the Without either went the fuck away or was sent the fuck away, it was the long-neglected Within that needed tending.
Just as my life finally became fuckhead-free and reconfigured to remove from my critical path those who could not be trusted to catch me should I fall—Friend is a responsibility, not an evanescent sobriquet—instead of catching a break, I was further broken: The shadow of the Worst Without cleared my person, my house, the backyard, the neighborhood, this magical City of mine, and my life and before I knew what was happening, the neglected Within, white and withered, was sunburnt.
The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil, Count, civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
Sunburnt meant anxiety: all the discordant noise, plangent tones and plaintive wailing I was now hearing was what was had become of all that music.
So yes, this Count is neither sad nor sick, nor merry nor well. But civil, if grumpy.
And my grousing has been misinterpreted by others as something carrying a jealous complexion. Easier to dismiss tidily that way.
Those dismissers are the people that make me try to think of the mellifluous genius of human of kindness and decency and loyalty, friendship, selflessness, thoughtful pause, commitment, choice…however, nothing but sick noise comes no matter how hard I try to find the baseline.
I was taught that friendship is for keeps and that like everything important and worth keeping, it comes with responsibilities, and responsibilities cost you something.
Loyalty costs you something. Commitment costs. Choice costs.
And that seems to scare the hell out of nearly every gay man I know.
When others—people to whom I am acquainted only through their relationships with my friends—when others hurt my friends, I hurt with them and I am aggrieved by those who have done the hurting: they are people I want nothing to do with either.
I choose to not associate with those I know have pained my friends. Why does anyone behave other than this? Is this my peculiarity?
I know that among the gays in my magical City, at least among most of the ones of my last five years (and you know how I characterize those), those who call me friend know what’s been done to me and remain associated with the perpetrators.
This is something I do not know how to live with.
Not and still call them friends.
Not and still hear my own beautiful music. And without that, I’m nothing to myself or to anyone else.
My Worst Times still aren’t over. I need to get out of the sun and stop the burning before I can live in out in the sunshine again.