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Originally published in Honcho magazine - June, 1996

 

SOUR GRAPE SODA

 

by Lefty Boylan (aka Michael Kirwan)

 

 

At some point, unrecognized by me, the whole homo ethic turned ugly. Maybe I was involved in one of my bliss-filled (or scary-psycho) relationships, maybe I was in one of my rare "weave-a-career-out-of-thin-air" modes, but most likely I was in a gin haze, and the change was so insidious I just never noticed it. I hate to beat the dinosaur trail again, especially as my memories may have transmogrified, but I'm certain that when I became aware of "gay culture," it was about caring, equality, wanting to take credit for our meaningful contributions to society, and other shit of that nature. It was a rallying call to all the hard-on grabbin' guys and those other mysterious no-name haunters of the dark to feel safe and proud. We, the outcasts circling the fringes of "their" world, with our furtive glances and obscene lip-licking. Back when the only criteria necessary was a willingness to enter the shadows, to bare the soul as well as the loins. Back when those stolen moments of ecstasy were the sole compensation for the superficial friendships, the distant fractured family connections, the hiding, the lying, the lying, and the lying.

Buffeted by the social tides, we bought the only definitions available to us, all of them insulting. But we didn't stop. We sought out the public restrooms, the secluded woods, that tract of highway frequented by hitchhikers eager to escape their own false lives. When we met a fellow "invert," we were kind, sympathetic, interested, and glad. The sailors, truckers, and bikers that have become the icons of our mythology were just other men in a position to meet as many strangers as their travels provided.  Strangers who could tell no one what transpired in the seedy motels around the globe, simply because in most cases there was no one close enough to tell. Each meeting was a consecration. Each embrace, smell, taste, sensation to be savored. Each encounter relished because the next might be months or even years away. We knew who we were finally in those rough, sticky, dreamlike experiences. These events were so extremely intense because each was in its way a baptism, we were renamed, renewed, and branded as faggots.

Well, here we are in the middle of 1996. All that work, all the suffering and anguish, and for what? Go to the clubs and witness the fruits of our labors. Go ahead, look at them. A bunch of cliquish, self-styled muscle creeps steeped in designer drugs and pathetic arrogance. Men who sneer and mock other cock-suckers who don't measure up to their "standards." Fags who are incapable of sincere emotion, original thought, or decent judgment. So beautiful and yet so empty. So callous to all but themselves and their clones. They wear their selfishness and disdain as proudly as their tattoos and sinewy buffed skins. Their lovers are as much accessories as their nipple rings.

Sour grapes? Too over-the-hill to compete? Maybe I've just seen too much sickness and death in the last ten years. I don't know. But where is the creativity, the vivacity, the originality and sense of brotherhood? I've watched as little "nobody" homos have been dismissed, snubbed and scorned by the godlike players in the gay scene, and it hurts to see them slapped down by their idols. Does a little compassion and patience really take so much effort? Things have opened up so much; life is so much easier for us despite the plague; let's do some bonding and building now. Our strength isn't measured by bench-pressing; it's measured by our capacity to love and understand.
 

 

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