Here I sit, surrounded by hundreds of varieties of birds. They are feeding, flying
and freedazzling in all sorts of voices; making songs and generally creating a
cacophony in multitudinous, avian tongues.
I was taking a week off. God knows I couldn't afford it but I had to get away.
I was at the cape on the South Shore of Boston at a friend’s house in
Marshfield, Massachusetts.Linda, my
landlady, was a quirky, slightly overweight, alcoholic (but a functional one)
who drove a school bus by day, kicked back with Chardonnay-soaked-TV-watching
at night and on weekends attended church regularly along with once a week
bible-study-classes. Here, I could savor a morsel of freedom, fresh air, and
get away from the Golem's Gyre of New York City, where everything is dirty,
loud, rich, poor, or simply untouchable. Here I could experience how I imagined
life must be for the vestiges of my tribe, that formerly great, but now waning,
white American Middle class. We were so powerful in the 50’s. And now so many
of us poor were just a step away from falling through the cracks in the
post-Millenial age of an American society bloated with the the 1% super rich 99%
Dollar-store poor to Middle-class.
I picture the god of New York to be a tall, skinny, grey, and extremely impatient,
old curmudgeon with a hunchback. He is be-speckled, with a hooked nose, and
constantly saying no to whatever is asked of him; or else ignoring everyone
unless they wave money under his nose. I call him Golem, and he is my master.
The gyre is that huge mass of plastic detritus that floats endlessly about the
Pacific ocean and is as large as Texas. Put them together and you have a large
playground, wasteland, i.e., the Golem’s Gyre, or my home, New York City. I
have served my master here since my arrival in 1975. I put up with the constant
anxiety, the rudeness, the abrasive mindlessness, and the awful noise (which
gets worse every year) because it's still a pretty fantastic fucking place to
find men and an even better place to find men massage clients. But for now, I
am taking a respite and the birds are my only eye candy.
The sounds of birds are a joy, the sun is hot silk on my skin, and I breathe
fresh, sea air. I felt
slightly dopey from it. For a little while, I can stop hating and fighting
and start to feel normal, like after a good massage.
Through the years, I’ve worked on thousands of male bodies and seen them come
and go. Scott, one such client, was what I call a legacy client, which means he
paid well and was very loyal. For the legacy client, you can do no wrong. He is
the reason you are in business through all the good times and bad times. When
he calls you, there is the sound of bells ringing, you are suddenly lifted up,
and "Yes of course I'm free right now" is the unwavering refrain to
his always-friendly question "I was
wondering if you were free this afternoon?"
the last few years, Scott had begun to study Bikram yoga, in order to
counteract the tightness and rigidity of his aging body. He was always lean,
tall and handsome with a full head of fine, ash blond hair that tended to flop
over one eye and bounce when he was getting fucked. Though he wasn’t toned, his
body improved soon after he began doing Bikram. He had a youthful face, which,
except for a small pile of flesh forming under his chin, never betrayed his age.
It was a WASPY face, both manly, and boyish. Scott swore he wasn’t gay but his
behavior—especially when he was being a bottom—had a tendency to prove
otherwise. I don’t question the “down-low” clients. They tend to all act overly
macho in the public eye, and many are married or claim be to “bi-curious.”
However many once they get behind closed doors instantly transform into big passive
girls. Though the LBGTQ community is integrated into society more and more
every year, the typical American male is still one conflicted homo sapien. “The
river Denial runs deep and long” in our puritanical, American culture.
first time I met Scott, I rendezvoused with him and a gorgeous, red-haired actress
friend of mine named Angie. Angie had a wicked sense of humor and the capacity
to be both wild and irreverent as a hooker one moment and as reserved as a nun or
a librarian the next. All three of us met up at a Mexican restaurant in the
West Village after Angie’s off-off-off B'way show. At the bar, Scott set
himself up as host, procuring as many margaritas as we both could drink. Men
who bought me drinks were always a huge turn on, for it implied they had power,
deep pockets and I could give up control and be taken care of. And better yet, we
all seemed to be flirting with each other! Here was my first bisexual
experience since college. I was relishing it.
ended up in my apartment in the East Village. Angie's sensual hand caressed the
banister of the staircase as we floated up the stairs. Our clothes seemed to
remove themselves by magic. Within minutes, Scott was fucking Angie like a
jack-hammer. I glued my body to his back and butt feeling every thrust and
muscle as I hugged his chest to mine. My cock wedged into the crevice of his
toned, perfect ass, first upward and then straight forward and down as if I was
fucking Scot while he fucked Angie. Everyone came hard in one, loud sensual earthquake.
I prayed we didn’t wake the uptight Jewess next door.
don't recall too much afterward, except thinking, there, I’ve done it. I’m bi! No
small feat, after myriads of flaming bisexual fantasies and crushes during my
years of college and throughout my acting and dancing career in New York
throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Strangely I don’t recall much of any thoughts of
my two playmates! The next day I remember having the image of a snake shedding
his skin. My sloughed off snake skin was a metaphor for how delicious and
delightful the experience was–a kind of sexual coming of age. For years
afterward, that night would remain a novelty, though from that moment on,
reflecting on being bi brought little more to mind that image of the snake
shedding its skin, and little else in terms of the memories of love.
by that time I was doing massage for a living. It was the early
90's. After that initial experience, Scott soon began to see me for
massage regularly. I had no idea he was also seeing Angie! He would come on the
average of at least once a month and was very generous. He contacted me one
summer in Provincetown, where I worked as a houseboy for two seasons. He even
came to see me in Amsterdam one summer when I’d swapped apartments with an
older, uptight, but very seductive, Dutch, Jewish-American- Princess. I never
asked Scott about his personal life. Although through the years, I gleaned he
had married a female doctor, fell out of love with her, and divorced her.
last time I saw Scott, he offered to take me out to a Thai restaurant in China
town. While there, he revealed for the first time that he was the Father of two
little girls. Then, after about fifteen minutes of hanging with him in public,
the pleasure began to wane. His rigid personality could be oppressive; I'd
had glimpses of it before, but now he seemed subtly disapproving and
contemptuous of me. It occurred to me that possibly I was too gay for his
comfort in public. Always a great fan of horror, at one point, when we were
finished eating, I shared how entertained and fascinated I was to have seen the
film "The Human Centipede" a week before. “How can you watch something
so deplorable and disgusting?" He laid into me. His bombastic
response was almost a tirade. "What a sick, twisted movie–and anyone who
likes something like that has to be just as sick and twisted!" Whoa I
thought to myself. A little abuse anyone?
back now, I should have called Scott's attention to one particular experience
we’d shared. It was a massage he’d booked, more than a year before. During this
session, as was often our custom toward the climax, (when I wasn’t simply
topping him) we were doing sixty-nine. As we were working each other’s bodies,
I became super-aware that he wasn’t clean. Ew. One gets a sense of these things
after so many years of being a body worker. In the next instant, I felt a
particle of something stuck halfway between the back of my tongue and in my
throat and it was larger than a hair. In a beat, without him noticing, I put my
fingers down my throat and extracted the mysterious “thing.” I quickly looked
to see it was a small clump of feces, obviously not mine. I quickly (and
silently) flicked it away and continued licking, and sucking on Scott as if
nothing had happened, albeit with a tad less gusto. Nothing like a piece of
shit in one's mouth, to take the wind out of one's sails while “headin' round
the mountain” toward that oft-hallowed “happy-ending” all the comedians make
fun of in their monologues about massage.
as he was reaching for the door to leave, I stood firm,held the door closed and quickly shared with
Scott the mystery of the nefarious “dingleberry” that had I had extracted from
my throat. My narrative was more clinical than angry; all in all merely a
factual relating of the events; ending with a request "–And that's
why Scott, I would really appreciate it if you would make sure you are clean
when you come to me, and take a shower before the massage." It’s amazing
how some of the most hideous things become commonplace when one sells oneself.
Poverty breeds a kind of desperation and indifference all its own. The judgmental
rich will always hold themselves in high disdain to the struggles of a poor whore.
We are meat to be used and consumed; our humanity disappearing in ratio to how our
cocks are worshiped in business dealings with M4M massage clients.
I'm so sorry bro–", his eyebrows went up, feigning concern. “Bro” was
Scott’s ultimate term of endearment toward me. How I hated it. It reeked of his
fake affection, but I dared not let on. "God” he continued, “I had no idea!
I definitely will." Then I remember him saying something I never really
understood. He paused, looked at me, and said, "You're a good man." It
was as if he were addressing a dog, “Good boy.” We never mentioned the
experience again. A few years later he disappeared from my radar.
a friend of mine told me about her taking Bikram yoga, it triggered all these
memories. With Scott there was such closeness and distance too. What was I to
him anyway? A space to play in? A laundry bag? A closet? Or merely an
object like a sex toy. More thing than human.
these loops of images, spiraling around in my head like that large mass of
plastic detritus, the size of Texas floating round and round in the Pacific going nowhere.
What do I do with them? They play over and over in brain, never dissolving as plastic never dissolves.
And so the memory of this gyre affair plays on.
that afternoon, a pack of fourteen wild turkeys, led by a huge Tom Turkey with
a very red head, paraded like a herd of dinosaurs outside into the back yard
ofthe house. Linda and I watched them
preen, and grandly scratch for food like feathered dinosaurs in the grass and under
the bird feeders. Occasionally, the big old Tom Turkey would puff up and plump
his feathers, showing off and looking twice his normal size. The alpha male. I
tapped on the window. "Don't disturb them" Linda said.
"I'm not disturbing them” I said “I'm communicating with them."