I’ve been fretting. Fretting about Gaza, Israel, Ferguson, bad white cops, arming black people, traveling, Alcoholics Anonymous. I’ve been fretting about one beautiful man.
The Alcoholics Anonymous shit is the usual shit. The same characters, the same stories, the same mental illness. I sit in those rooms wondering why I’m there, if I belong to a cult? Yet, I never think about drinking. I mean, I’m not looking for an excuse to drink. That’s the very last thing I want to do.
You see, it was one of those weeks when I heard that someone in AA killed themselves. Someone I heard speak, someone I had spoken to. Someone I had lunch with, someone I had hope for. Then he blew his brains out. No obituary, no news report. Just another recovering alcoholic who couldn’t take it any more. I thought about how we collectively accept the plaudits for keeping each other sober yet when a man kills himself it was his problem. His solution. Never our responsibility. He had a six-year-old son. He dressed very well. Now he’s dead.
Since getting sober 18 years ago I have known many, many men and not so many women to kill themselves in the rooms of AA/NA. It is never easy. Yet, I have become desensitized from these terrible deaths and I hate myself for it. I’m sorry. I really am.
This week, I ate a great deal at Gjelina in Venice and these men graciously served me.
Last week I drove to San Francisco to see my friend Benoit Denizet Lewis read excerpts from his book Travels With Casey. After the reading we had dinner with Armistead Maupin and his charming boyfriend. I told Armistead that I hadn’t read his famous book Tales of the City until I got to The Men’s County Jail. I found a dog eared copy there. It was a first edition.
That night we stayed in an odd 50’s hotel/ex-motel off of trendy Chestnut Street. The following day we drove to Napa and had lunch with Gene. After lunch we wandered the giant redwoods in Muir Woods. On the way back to San Francisco we watched people flying kites on Stinson Beach.
On my way home to Los Angeles I met up with my Whitstable friend Ben Clayton in Berkeley, we ate brunch then sauntered all over the UC Berkeley campus. We talked a great deal about home. We talked about our mothers.
Back in Malibu I picked a huge bunch of bananas from the banana trees at the end of the garden, I harvested (and continue to) an abundance of figs and lemons. I sold the bananas to my friend Nicolle the pie lady at Gjelina who bruleed them.
Yesterday, I went to the Norco Rodeo with Stuart Sandford. Norco is an hour from Los Angeles. It was the whitest event I have ever been to. White people everywhere eating nachos and swilling beer. The men wore cowboy hats. The women screamed when the obedient bulls tossed their riders into the sand.
We wondered if there were other gays there. The nearest gay on-line was 3 miles away. I took pictures of cowboys. I ate tri-tip sandwiches. I was looking for bucking bronco Cody Gaines who I met the day before on Malibu beach. Cody lives in Texas. Cody loves Jesus.
Mostly I have been amusing myself in the garden. I have been sweeping paths and mending lights and restoring order. The dogs have been lazing all over the house during the day, finding patches of sunlight to flop into. At night they spend too much time protecting me from deer and raccoons. Go to sleep!
Michael came to visit from NYC. He was sweet and charming. I met the guy with a beard… and here’s a better picture of Stuart. Stuart Sandford is a very fine artist. He lives and works at the Tom of Finland House in Echo Park. My friend Martin arrived from Provincetown. He’s staying for a few days.
All in all it hasn’t been a bad month. It’s just these past few hours. I needed to sit down and write a gratitude list… and this is it. You see, I woke up today and I’m not a hounded black teen on the streets of any city USA. I’m not a hounded Palestinian in the ever shrinking patch of land they call home. I’m not a fatherless 6 year old… and lastly, I didn’t blow my brains out this week because I couldn’t take it any more… and for that I must be grateful.
Latex bondage wear ready to be washed from the dungeon at The Tom of Finland House, Echo Park.