There is a moment when you know it’s over. That his proximity disgusts you. That no amount of love can disguise what was or what could be. These photographs were taken at the moment, the moment I knew for sure. The fast train to Paris from Cannes. A beautiful boy sat opposite me and I wanted to ravish him. I couldn’t wait to say goodbye to the loved one. Yet, I knew, the moment we parted I would not stop thinking of him. From the moment I woke up to the moment I fell into a fitful sleep. Gone, the door slammed. He was dead to me long before I made it impossible for him to do anything but take drastic measures. It was the worst kind of grief because nobody died…
Listen, I want you to know something about me. I hate condoms. I hate wearing them. I love fucking raw. I love it. I don’t do it. I can’t do it. I wanted to fuck my lover without a condom. I want to cum inside you. I love you.
This is what HIV looks like in 2013:
He wants me to ‘take control’ he wants me to beat him and fuck him. He wants ‘verbal’. He enquired if I preferred him to call me daddy or sir. I’m interested. This daddy loves an obedient boy. We talk on the phone, he’s upbeat and sweet-natured but after we agree to meet he texts me:
‘Before we meet. I’m Positive. And I’m honest about it. Thoughts?’
I wait a moment. Restraint of pen and tongue.
I text him back. ‘Can we talk?’ I explain why I can’t meet him. I tell him that I’m scared and I don’t want to risk an infection. I’m too old to get infected. I lived through the AIDS catastrophe. I didn’t get infected.
The conversation I had with Brandon is not common. Usually when I say that I can’t have sex with someone who is HIV positive they spew vitriol. They tell you that it was a ‘mercy fuck‘ anyway, that I’m ugly , that I’m ignorant… of course… I know what they are really saying. They usually get what they want when they want it and woe-betides anyone who fucks with their plan.
Some HIV poz men feel that by being honest I will feel equally warm and fluffy and my respect for their honesty will translate into a fuck.
Let me tell you what I remember when someone tells me they are HIV positive.
I remember the gaunt, yellow faces of formerly beautiful young men crying because they don’t want to die. I remember men hermetically sealed from the world in plastic tents. I remember the smell of piss and shit. I remember the quiet sobbing of newly widowed men. I remember all of that and I cannot go there.
More controversially… when you tell me you are HIV positive I am confronted fair and square with your sexual history. I imagine other men cumming inside you.
I just do. I can’t help myself.
That’s why I can’t sit facing the toilet when I am in a restaurant. Imagining people pooing and wiping their asses. It puts me off my dinner.
There are two communities. Two gay communities. The HIV negative and the HIV positive. I have no interest in interacting sexually with the latter. I will be damned for writing that.
Brian says: ‘Duncan, someone who knows they’re positive and is on treatment can easily be less infectious than someone who doesn’t know that they’re positive and happens to have a high viral load, and is therefore very infectious. That could be the issue of ignorance of which they speak. I agree no one has the right to go off on you for not wanting to play, but the issue is more complicated than pos/neg.’
The issue is NOT complicated for me. I don’t want to be HIV positive.
The community with HIV is very eager to diminish their responsibility and guilt those without HIV into thinking it’s all ok just because they describe themselves as ‘healthy’. They still have HIV and they can infect you… however low their viral load. They claim they are ‘undetectable’ which means they have a very low viral load.
Undetectable is a big problem. It is used incorrectly by many people to make others feel that the sex they have is safer than with those who are not undetectable. Undetectable people are still HIV poz. The condom breaks. You are now a slave to toxic chemicals. A slave to big pharma.
Who are these undetectable people? These invisible men? Gay ghosts. Scarcely there. Leaving behind just the whiff of AIDS. HIV is totally avoidable in 2013. Yet, we still go on being the largest group of new infections in what is still an epidemic. I don’t want to talk about Africa or straight people or intravenous drug users.
I want us to take some responsibility. Especially those of you who are transitioning from the Neg community to the Poz community. Those of you who make the choice… who made the choice last night to take a risk. Those of you who thought, or did not think, as he came inside you… that you would risk the consequences of HIV. You are packing your bags, you are moving to the other side. To the other gay community. The undetectable gay community.
Finally, one last nail in my gay coffin.
What’s this crap about gay men and shame? We can’t shame gay/bisexual men into wearing a condom? Because they are gay or bisexsual and have shame about their sexuality?
We can’t shame gay men or bisexuals into making better choices for themselves? Like we do smokers? No… because the gay community must be shameless at all cost. We are gay! We live without shame. We’ve been shamed ENOUGH.
I say… shame those who knew they were HIV poz and took away the neg status of others by lying. This really happens. I know a few good men who have had their good health stolen from them by unscrupulous gay men.
There are two gay communities. One of them is HIV positive. The other is not. Those who are not positive are described as elitist by those who are. Those who are HIV positive scoff at those who are not… because the implication is: they weren’t pretty or handsome or desirable enough to get infected with HIV.
I am scared of getting HIV. Like some people are scared of snakes.
I am happy that I am HIV negative. In fact… I am proud to be HIV negative. Does that make me elitist? Well, yes… if elitism means that I mostly took care of myself.
That I don’t have to buy costly drugs every month to stay… undetectable.
I watched the end of Jacob’s Ladder and the end of The Accidental Tourist.
Both films, at their heart, are about fathers and sons. Death, coming to terms with death. Letting go. Dying. Returning to the empty house. Taking the taxi through Paris. Allowing ones self to love again after being ‘shut down’.
It’s been a fucking tough two years. The Big Dog, The Cancer, The Penguin.
Not necessarily in that order.
I think about her everyday, her tangled bloody body. Waiting for her to die after the lethal injection. Carrying her home to the grave we dug for her in the garden. Now she is just skin and bones under the rock, hidden so the coyote couldn’t dig her up and eat her. Laying there with her collar on, wrapped in my shirt, laying by my shoes.
Waiting patiently for us to join her.
I just couldn’t stop crying. Apologizing. She was innocent!
As I write the Little Dog is dreaming. Yelping in his sleep.
It’s been tough to concentrate, to make anything happen, to imagine any sort of future. I need all my wits about me to make things happen. I don’t have the energy.
If by chance I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize the man staring back at me.
I don’t really know who I am. Drifting inconsolably since she was killed. Inconsolable when I saw the truth about him. Me reflected in him. The grueling hospital. Private desire that it would kill me.
That the doctor would say, “Mr. Roy, you have six months to live.” He didn’t.
I let myself believe that it was all over and frankly, I was furious that all my body wanted to do was teach me a lesson.
Then I got involved with him. He was nothing. A sick, lost man. I thought I could help. He was nothing. He wasn’t the one. Like crumpled paper. Like chewed gum. A crude, inelegant parasite come to suck my blood.
Then I got involved with him. I was nothing. A sick, lost man. He thought he could help. I was nothing. He wasn’t the one.
I was never going to be good enough for him. For anyone. Let’s face it.
Letting life and its dangerous current drag me across this angry ocean. Untethered.
It feels like I am finally waking up from the past two years. Waking up, yet desiring, desperately to sleep. I don’t want to wake up. Why in hells name is there any reason to be awake?
There is no child waiting to deliver me from madness. There is no innocent boy to take my hand and lead me to a better place. There is no Big Dog because I was a bad owner. There is no lover because I am a bad lover.
I did not leave the house today. I filled another can with weeds. Compulsively weeding the garden. I close my eyes and all I can see are weeds. Panicking that there is one last weed to pull…and I may have missed it.
Too much to sort out before I get there.
Manhunt Date number 9. A 28-year-old Kuwaiti doing a PhD in architecture at UCLA. He drove from Brentwood in the thick fog arrived at 10.30 was gone by midnight. What do people think they are when they describe themselves as masculine? What in heaven’s name does it mean? Needless to say this was a huge queen under the thinnest veneer of ‘straight acting’.
The last ten minutes of the ‘date’ he was looking at his kindle and I was staring into the fire willing him to leave.
Poor lamb, driving up my foggy wet mountain in the pitch black only to be sent home because he didn’t meet my exacting standards. He asked me about my past relationships. Of course I told him the Jake saga but as I told him I thought..why am I telling you this? Not even I am convinced by this story.
One interesting note, when JB was kicked out of his apartment by his long-term gf for being a lying, sociopathic, cheater Jake’s ex-gf told him he had to pay his part of the rent until the lease expired..I think it expires this November from what I can remember…anyway. When I told the Kuwaiti that he had been thrown out and had to live with his parents in Westchester the Kuwaiti was outraged that the gf had demanded half the rent.
The gays never get that bit of the story..why he couldn’t just walk away without paying her anything. They never get the commitment/contract part of a relationship. They squeal, as did the Kuwaiti, “Why should he continue paying his part of the rent in an apartment that he didn’t live in?”
When Jake complained to Pal the artist he was fucking with (allegedly) HIV behind the gf’s back about the rent issue…(Jake told me that he only found out after they stopped fucking that Pal was HIV positive..but I doubt it. Pal doesn’t look like the kind of man who would keep quiet about his HIV positive status knowing that Jake was in a sexual relationship with a woman? No, he looks like a responsible kind of guy.)
Pal, allegedly, told Jake to stop paying the rent and cut JA out…like a cancer. This was a woman who had cancer scares ALL THE TIME!
Thankfully Jake did the right thing…he continued paying his part of the rent and the electricity bill despite casting himself as the victim to me and his gay friends. He was so pissed when he got kicked out of the house…because it meant that he had to live with his parents.
He might have to behave responsibly. Of course the moment he moved in he just did what he always did, acting out with drugs, alcohol and online hook ups. But with the added advantage of having parents who would now co-sign his bullshit.
What a fucking moaner! Unable to see his part in anything. Complaining about his sister Emily’s wedding and the part he had to play in it. Complaining about going to Cape Cod. Complaining that he didn’t live in the East Village anymore.
You should have told the fucking truth! How about that as a radical idea?
Weinstein pay him $7k to rewrite/line edit scripts for them. He did three of them the fortnight before we left for Paris and he was still loathed to put his hand in his pocket to buy anything. The day we drove all day to Cannes he bought me a Mars Bar. I drove all day and he bought me a lousy MARS BAR? And you are wondering why I am taking him to small claims court? The day we drove from Sanary Sur Mer I packed the car with inexpensive and delicious food.
The first time I told him definitively that we should break off our relationship was when I realised that he was drinking and driving. He would get totally DRUNK in NYC then take the train all the way to Katonah then drive to his parents house..drunk as a skunk…then call me moaning or crying about how TERRIBLE his life was…or text me from the train because he was lonely and I would (foolish me) always be there for him..because as he mocked in one of his last emails…”you find me irresistable…admit it.”
I did. I found him irresistible.
Jake lived on the filthy underbelly of life because he chose to.
BTW art lovers! Do look at Pal’s fantastic paintings…they are fucking GORGEOUS…if you are decorating a hospital. He’s a handsome man. Pity that he fell into Jake’s ‘straight boy honey pot’. I wonder if he really did lie about his HIV status as Jake claimed. Jake lied about everything.
If I were her I would sue that piece of lying shit.
My producer comes today to shape the treatment. My friend RF tried to visit yesterday but blew a tire on the way up here. I drove down the hill to find him forlornly at the edge of the road. I had a long chat with Sharon about film funding. Things seem to be picking up. I worked more on the script and loved it.
I ate two bowls of corn flakes and felt tired in my bones.
My heart has been broken and rather than cry gently to myself I am so fucking angry.
That entitled prick has got away with murder and I am daily incensed by how he treated me and others. Even 6 months after he came out he was still regretting his decision. He would have been perfectly happy to stay in his vampiric relationship with her whilst he fucked men on the side. That was a choice! He knew exactly what he was doing and used her. Don’t you dare lecture me about collateral damage! I didn’t cause this mess.
JB is a reptile.
Perhaps I should not have eaten so much cheese at the Mercantile? My grandmother Margie who died last year often warned me that too much cheese before bedtime causes nightmares.
My chest tightened. My heart beat faster. My mouth dried. I tried to sleep. I could not sleep. I could no longer employ any one of the very many coping skills I had learned during the past 13 years when the panic comes. I lay down in fear. I woke at dawn with the dawn chorus. Not birds in the palm trees outside my window but to a miserable conference of those self hating voices that used to wake me every day of my life. These episodes are so rare nowadays that when they come upon me I get very scared..terrified.
These are the lies I tell myself:
“Being in love tends to make one feel vulnerable and foolish…and, as we all know, there’s no fool like an old fool.”
“I know that I am loved. I believe it. I know that I can love. But, when more is required-what then? You got to give the man hope.”
I suddenly felt, I suddenly knew, I was being lied to. I was convinced.
I said, “I became aware. More was revealed. You can’t con a conman.”
I felt violently sick, I began to dry heave: I said out loud, “My desire for authenticity isn’t being honored.”
The voice I heard was a child’s voice. He said,
“I understand that it takes a very long time to acquaint yourself with the truth; when a lie comes so easily to your lips. When a lie is easier than the truth, when deception is in your nature then rigorous honesty is something to be feared.”
I said, “But I had had to train myself to be honest.”
When I tried to defend myself the child impersonated my very own voice.
“I am sick of making excuses. I am sick of trying to see it from the other side when my side of things is simply ignored. I am tired of supporting and encouraging and making excuses when it turns out-I am the object of deception and not affection.”
I said, “When the other changes before your very eyes?”
The child laughed out loud and wanted to know who exactly I was kidding.
“I don’t take drugs, I don’t drink, I try and tell the truth, I don’t act out sexually…therefore I never have a day off from myself. I am always here, present, in my own body. I never have an excuse for bad behavior. Ever.”
I could hear other children, laughing..at me.
“When you drink and you take drugs and you look at pornography you are taking time off from yourself. I would love to do that-take time off from myself.”
By being present 24 hours of every day for nearly 13 years I thought that I had evolved.
Remember that stuff I wrote about self-love? That the choices I made had to reflect the respect I had for myself?
The first gay men I ever saw in film were Farnsworth and his boy friend being thrown out of their high rise apartment windows, begging for their lives, by the FBI in The Man who Fell to earth. I must have been 13 years old. I watched it with Linda my house mother from school, Canterbury. She vomited on me after seeing the film.
That’s what’s going on.
So, what’s it all about?