Monday, April 23, 2007

Stay Cool.

 I've been tightly wound up since the heart attack, maybe flashing on my mortality has put me on hysterical edge, I'm rushing about like the proverbial chook with it's balls cut off, like I want to take on as much of life as I can if the sands of time are running out for me. I can't stop my spontaneous rages, the swarms of uncaring humanity suffocating me, my heart ready to explode, it's even archetypal that it had to be that area for my body to start the entropic collapse. All this anguish doesn't mean I would run amok with a gun and kill my fellow sufferers as happens in the land of the brave and free, that's for cruel psychotics and soul-less fame whores, I'm a misfit renegade poet, I'm satisfied with a few juicy curses.

For instance, on Sunday I took the Piccolo dog, Toto, for a walk in the Alamein Fountain park on King's Cross, but suddenly, in the middle of supposed safety and canine joy, I had to rescue the pup from under the wheels of a car that was driving around the park without a care for the world. I snapped back into reality and noticed their were 21 of the metallic fuckers cruising about the park, a place where no cars are supposed to be, even parked in the middle with hardly any room for a person to walk unhindered. They were participants of a "Organic Food and Veg Market", hoping to make bucks and disturbing my peace. As a klunky van lurched towards me, like Dorothy facing the Wicked Witch of the West, I snatched up Toto into my arms and screamed, "Haven't you arseholes ever heard of walking? This is a park not a car-yard!"

A fat bitch hung out of her car window and snarled, "I'm a stall holder, I'm allowed to drive here!"
"I don't care if you've got a brain-surgery set-up in your tent, this park should be sacrosanct, where I can expect to walk my dog in safety. Why cant' you walk a hundred yards and carry the junk, you need the exercise?!"

"Walk, walk, bitch, bitch, why don't you just piss-off!" she yelled, and the mob of other car-gronks hung out their tin carapaces and hooted agreement, some pitching threats of violence, like a lynch mob riled up. "What hypocrits, how very ORGANIC of you! I suppose next week you'll turn the festival of food and wine into a festival of carbon monoxide and petrol fumes! You're all uncaring, selfish cunts! I hope your market's a big flop and you all lose money!" A group moan howled up into the park's fetid atmosphere and I rushed off with Toto hugged to my breast before I was run over by a road-raging petrol-head. Nogod, how to stay cool while civilization collapses? I ran back to the Piccolo Bar where I've long learned how to wrangle the zombies staggering in from the Cross, I'm on my own shamanic ground there.

And Vitto is there, as ever, he works seven days a week, 12 hours a day, like a wise old tortoise he can only be extracted from his shell on pain of death. None of his cheery customers and well-wishers realise how he's martyring himself for the cafe and the "family", he's 72 and works like a dog, will kark it on the hotspot in the middle of the cafe some day, and then where will all the disenfranchised freaks be, without their ringmaster and dancing berdache? It seems nobody can talk him into taking rest, like a whirlwind djinn he spins about, and waits upon a never-ending stream of supplicants, who moan like pilgrims to a bleeding plaster virgin, and he moans back, "What else to do?"

All humanity marches past, and Vitto calls out in a piercing shriek, like an automatic door alarm, no one gets by unnoticed. Today he's all worked up into a tizz because of the death of a local streetie. This schizo guy, looking of middle-eastern extraction, had been sleeping on the streets of the Cross for the last 21 years, long filthy black dreadlocks and ragged clothes, he always carried a manky blanket under which he lived. He'd possibly been carted off to assisted-care hostels a zillion times but always breaking out and crashing straight back onto the streets, where he felt free and unmolested. This morning he has been found dead under his blanket, a bag of flesh quickly bundled off and for most never existing at all. He probably died of malnutrition and exposure, it's the Bush/Howard 'survival of the fittest' regime working at street level.

Vitto is seething with indignation that the guy died so uncared for, but when I mentioned how he was never too keen to let the guy bum fags out front of the cafe, Count Yorga reared his wearied head and hissed, "Is it my fault he's mad? What am I supposed to do about it?" (It was all a false alarm anyway, I saw the schizo back on the street with his filthy blanket a few days later, he'd only been sick and rushed to hospital, even poor souls like him still get looked after in our hard-fought-for social-democratic society of Auz.)

All our fears for the safe journey of Auntie Crack were realized for the poor old fag, at 76, couldn't handle the long-haul flight to the States and had a stroke somewhere "on the road", and worst of all, it's half paralyzed him and he can't talk, the end of the line for a raconteur like him. The first generation of Beats will end with the demise of this old villain, an old-school homo left over from the first wave of sexual lib and teenage rebellion, he long outlived his 'booze and sympathy' mates William Burroughs, Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles, he didn't have their genius so he didn't burn out as quick.

Nogod, he had some great stories to tell, of a drug addicted wandering father who dumped him as a boy in New York with a dirty old rock spider; of working thru his teens as a 'carnie' and falling in love with the 'geek' on freak-show alley, a handsome guy who bit the heads off live chickens for a living; Jack even played the bearded woman and had to leave town quick when the local cop fell in love with him; then the U.S. Navy, seducing his fellows and traveling the world until he got drummed out for his egregious fag behavior, made to run the gauntlet and be bashed, even by dudes he'd got off with.

And his famous writer connections, "Ginzberg, Ferilinghetti, Burroughs", wow, maybe he can even add "Zoates" to the end of the list, (I wish), Sydney being Jack's last gasp refuge, not such a backwater as it used to be, some of us 'artists' have made it as happening a place as San Fran or wherever. For a few years he was Tennessee Williams' rough-trade boyfriend, he hoped the artistic glory would rub off on him, and it did, like all those Southern belles who dripped tragic desires onto no-hoper studs, the hustler only got a few bucks out of it, the story of all us 20th century fags.

Jack wanted so desperately to join the ranks of the celestial Beat poets, writing endless reminiscences and mailing them to every publisher in the world, but he got eternally rejected, the stories came across as twee, cute and old codger boring, he needed a ghost writer or at least a sharp editor, for he had the material, a life as nutty as William Burroughs'. And always so witty, the classic fag dry humor that cut to the bone; just one succinct run thru of his wild life would make as captivating a book as Jack Black's or Boxcar Bertha's. Now he's well on his way out and his great novel is evaporating in warped cyberspace, his reason for living deleted, his proof of existence blown away, he'll probably go out screaming, "What was it all about?"

I'm going to see him as one of my legion of gurus and learn from his life, time is always short and one has to get the ART out NOW, no waiting for tomorrow, no taking "NO" for an answer. What a character old Jack Crack was and, if nothing else, I'm sure he'll leave a warped impression on the Akashic records, for what it's worth. (P.S. I just got notified the old bugger did indeed die, he "asked the dust" and it said, as ever,"dust to dust." We'll sorely miss his rapier-wit, his salacious anecdotes, his cultured commentaries, he'll leave a void at the Piccolo, one less freak at the carnival side-show, the bearded lady fading into the twilight, I'm so glad me and him had a reproachment before he left, I hate to leave acrimony as the last farewell.)

Though hordes of Hets patronise the dump for it's cachet of cool, the Piccolo Cafe has long been a kind of sanctuary/oasis for 'queers', Vitto as the front man being such a flamboyant queen, any queen in the area can't resist flopping inside his shoe-box psycho-theatre for a gossip, a respite, a tearful confession, and what a crew of freaks they look, I shudder to be found on the end of their line-up, maybe the most outlandish of the lot. There's Ayesha the Drag(on Lady) swanning about as if she's still on the stage of Les Girls, , she doesn't care that she's got last night's dinner smeared down the front of her dress, entropy reclaiming her like SwampThing's daughter; next to her is fat Greg and his existentially challenged side-kick Barry, they come across like Jabba the Hut with his vicious pet in his lap, (for all he's sleaze-bag with a dildo of cast-iron he also has a heart of fool's gold); there's Doddy Dogcart with bulging belly as if she's about to give birth to triplets, always with a sneer on her ugly mug like nothing can please her, and what could after a life of hanging around the "glory holes" of the Pleasure Chest sex-shop? (The poor 'gay' seems to have given up on life, no one wants him, he can't get a job, he needs a radical make-over, 30 years of drug addiction and rejection has atrophied his soul, even Frankenstein looks better, but like a rancid old chocolate he has a soft gooey centre that simply needs love to bring out the sweetness.)

A lot of the 'gays' who frequent this hole-in-the-wall cafe seem quite mad, jabbering nonsense, ready to throw a hissy-fit at the blink of a false eyelash, I suppose a life of being less than zero and led in the shadows has driven them over the edge, too much drug and alcohol abuse, too many punches to the brain and kicks in the arse.

But there are sweet-natured, smart poofs at the Piccolo too, Peter the composer, Mozart's great grandchild, who can create and play a Requiem to die for; Glen the Magistrate, so generous and pleasant, always with a smile and a kind word, forever giving gifts of theatre tickets and books to Vitto; Frannie the dyke remedial masseur, never uptight with the boys, just kind and cool and loving; old Geoff, the genetics professor, with his laptop on the table forever trawling the Net for gay meat sites, adamantly insisting there is "NO SUCH THING AS A GAY GENE!" It rains Poofs at the Piccolo, that reservoir of extraneous men who create a kind of social glue for straight society, the Hets have to have something to contrast themselves with, otherwise they wouldn't know who they were. Lots of Trannies pass thru as well, ugly men who make even uglier women, Nogod knows how they get by, they could be major attractions in a Freakshow, along with me, the Zippie Pinhead.

But at least the Piccolo provides some sanctuary, even strangers become friends, there's always someone to talk to and commiserate with. I've got to stay cool and not let the horror of a warring world get to me, every TV documentary and news flash I watch, every book and newspaper story I read, all explode with horror, inhumanity, cruelty and stupidity till my blood boils and my soul screams. Then I step out the door to face the marauding zombies, very anti-people of me I know but I need some poetic metaphor to handle the warzone of urban life.

In the face of the "Safe Community" certificate from the W.H.O. a 14 year old girl was horribly raped and bashed in the elevator of the Northccott Housing Tower last week, a ghastly fact that didn't make it into the press as THEY want to desperately believe that their social-working boohoo television docos and theatre pieces are working miracles of social upliftment, as if the zombies have been mollified, peace and love rules, and Society cares. Aaarrrrggghhhh, I've got to stay cool!

Monday, April 09, 2007

As I Lay Dying.

Maybe some fool did indeed get out a voodoo doll of me and stuck pins in it's heart for on Saturday night, 31st of March, I got these stabbing pains in my chest. It was Sydney's token environmental deliverance called "Earth Hour" when the city was asked to turn off it's electricity at 7.30pm, I moved about the house turning off all my appliances and decided to lie on my bed and snooze for the hour. I looked out of the window and noticed very few lights had been turned off, gronks will be gronks, there was a time 25 years ago when me and my fellow Greenies held public protests over the insane use of power for cars, skyscrapers and machines, and fat, agro pigs hung out of their armoured tanks and screamed for our death by firing squad. Now the Media exhorts them to do their bit to save the planet, and at 7pm hordes of wankers sat about the Harbour burning carcinogenic candles and battery-operated plastic lamps before again rushing about in their cars, like cockroaches from Hell, the mega-tonnes of pollution thus issuing forth possibly setting off my heart attack.

For a heart attack it was, an ice-pick repeatedly stabbing at the centre of my being, and a tight band across my chest not allowing me to breathe. I knew what it was but hoped it would pass, if I could just ride it thru. I writhed about in agony, sweat soaking my sheets, phone nearby but hesitating to call for an ambulence, so much trouble and drama, better to just die alone, sick of this fucked up world anyway. I could hear noise from the Pub across the road, people laughing and clinking glasses, the more my consciousness faded the louder the celebratory racket got, I wanted to shout out, "shut the fuck up you uncaring morons, dont you know I'm dying here!" I threshed about for 2 hours, the pain not lessening, dying on the cards, yet so painful, did I really want to die this way? I drifted into my mantra, the ever-present AUM, bathing me in white light and peace, fuck the world, it could go to Hell in a used condom, I was thru with it, and it was a relief, to have the long arduous journey over with.

For a week I've had a huge boil on my arse, all the rubbish in my system deciding to come out in that one sacred, sensitive spot. I'd had it lanced that very day and in response it had swelled up, anti-bodies and plasma rushing down below to deal with the arse-breaking trauma, it was leaking out in rivulets and I spent most of my heart attack squeezing it into a sterile pad. I glanced about my hovel of an artist's studio, second-hand furniture, manky carpet, nothing worth more than 7 measly bucks, and depression added to my woes, that I should end up here, human trash buried under trash, for all my dreams of being the great artist, and a brain to boot, not as clever as I thought, just another deluded bum. I could hear my next door neighbours arguing, I didn't feel to call out to them, they had their own existential woes.

For all the whinging did I have any regrets? Not really. What a hurly-burl of a life, full of civil disobedience and situationist stunts, rock'n'roll deleriums and ecstatic raves, squatter's battles and community highs, with the Auzzie bush to ground me and the exotica of India as wondrous relief, and the trail of art left in my wake, the paintings, murals, posters, films, cartoons, stories and dance happenings, all of it proving I found the universe awesome and humanity a sad joke. My only regret would be leaving my beloved friends behind, those cool souls who made life worth living and encouraged me to feel compassion for all those blind fools who loved money, fame and power above a living planet. And as life receded, like uplifting music at the end of a fabulous movie, the face of one friend particularly hovered at the centre of my weary heart, my mate in India, ever waiting for my return, who brought such joy to the last years of my life, who I may never see again, that really hurt. Mmmmm, maybe I should stay alive, for all the pain, he's worth it.

Then my front door creaked open and Nicolette put her head in, "Toby, are you Ok? I've brought a book for you." I moaned, "Nicolette, I'm dying, I think I've had a heart attack!" She spots me hanging out of the bed, half dead and jumps to with alacrity. Thank nogod for true friends, the few who really care, not the lip-service bullshitters who are only interested when there's something in it for them! I'm lucky to say I have 7 dear, dear friends, and one of them arrived when needed as if with mental telepathy, we're that connected. And rare event, she has a car with her, her boyfriend Sionne driving, and she packed me into it forwith and rushed me to St. Vincent's Hospital Emergency where without much ado, after much squawking on my part, a team jumped on me and laid me on a trolley with a hundred tubes stuck onto and into me, and thus I got saved.

The triage nurse prioritised me and I was led past all the Saturday night revellors who'd come unstuck, a teenage girl whining and collapsing with a nurse heaving her about and disclaiming, "you would mix alcohol with Valium!" The place was full, gasping, moaning, fainting humans laid out everywhere, trolley after trolley, and me taken to the head of the queue like the Queen of May, I would've stuck my nose in the air if I wasn't doubled over with pain. Only 2 weeks previously they'd lost Billy Thorpe to a heart attack on the exact same spot and they weren't too keen to lose anybody else, (and yes, I'm a big fan of Billy, I was one of the teenagers in the crowd at the Music Bowl in Melbourne in '67 and again at the Ourimbah Rock Festival outside Sydney in '68.) Twenty-one medicos had pounced on me and rushed about, I was surprised by their earnestness, tubes were inserted, wires attached, oxygn mask donned, questions shouted, "were you having sex at the time of the heart attack!" "No, I was resting", I gasped. The doctor gave me the laser-eye, thinking, "are you sure you weren't wanking?" "I was resting, promise!" I told them I'm a smoker and they all grimaced, "well now you're getting your come-downance!"

Nicolette appeared and sat by my side stroking my forehead while I was told there was a chance I wouldn't pull thru. I melted into AUM, what would be would be, to be finished with it or to carry on, to be or not to be, who gives a cosmic shit? Then I was rushed up to the cardiac operating theatre and a tube was inserted into my groin to flood my system with a dye so they could see where the blockage was. I watched it all on a TV monitor, my angiogram, amazing to see one's heart squishing away like a jelly fish and the arteries outlined, like river systems on Earth as seen from a plane way, way above in the clouds.

And what else did I think about as I lay dying? How fucked the human race was, greed and stupidity ruling, a long history of nastiness and destruction, and consume, consume, consume the entire planet till one day it will all come crashing down and the breeders will have to eat their own kids. Every year a new car, new furniture, new appliances, new fashions, economic growth like a cancer on the environment. If Capitalsim depended on me it would collapse as I've never, ever bought furniture from a shop, I've found it on the street, even my cutlery and crockery were found on a street corner, thrown out from a deceased estate. My clothes come from friends and opportunity shops, my books from the library, my CDs and DVDs pirated, I ride a push bike or travel by public transport and I own no shares in anything. I guess I should be proud there's nothing of value in my apartment, at least I didn't consume as much of the planet as the other fat gronks I see rushing about in their SUVs, the sales of which have increased instead of decreased in the face of oil wars etc.

Sometimes I think my writing is too vitriolic but right now I feel to take off the velvet gloves, fuck this society that has tortured me, my fellow queers, the whales, chimpanzees and the whole kit and caboodle. All those scumbag fashion victim snobs who think they're royalty cause they can flash an Armani label whatever, they can all go drive their cars off a cliff and into a sea of shit and squish out their puss-filled souls from their screaming perfect white teeth! Example, there are too many greedy, stupid people alive on this planet but instead of being sensible and encouraging half the population to be homo and not have kids, NO, in tyrannies like Africa, the Middle East, China and India "gays" are outlawed, gaoled and murdered, while here in the so-called developed world we're second class citizens to be scorned, maltreated and handicapped.

Queers should be given medals and honorary keys to paradise, but this is not a rational world, 7 thousand elite families run it all for their own privileges, depending on the stupidity and greed of the masses to be suckered into "the System", most of whom will be swept away when the crunch comes, the elite having their walled compounds and electrified gardens to protect them from the marauding zombies left behind after what, a nuclear war, environmental collapse, biological plagues? They need their gold-plated taps thank you very much, the rest of humanity can go die in filth, and that's what's coming down, it's too late, there's no saving the mess, all the bullshitting and "Earth Hours" are just tokenism to hoodwink the morons who'll brainlessly kill for their latest Prada rags and Holden cars while the elite choke on caviar. Yes, as I lay dying, I thought, you're all going to Hell, good riddance!

Whilestill conscious I had a device inserted thru the artery of my groin and manouvred up to the blocked artery near my heart, so painful my muscles seized up and I felt like a mummie undergoing embalmification, a balloon-like Stent was inserted that sent the blood rushing thru and relieved me of the heart-stabbing pressure. I awoke in the morning to the gorgeous vision of Nicolette sitting patiently by my bedside, like heaven with an angel looking on. The head of the cardiac unit, a professor, came in and held a lecture over my tattooed body with 2 female doctors, asking them life-saving questions to which one answered assuredly and was wrong every time, they've got to learn somewhere and thank nogod for St. Vincents Hospital, the only viable good work organised religion comes up with, as far as my agnostic heart is concerned. If I ever got a million dollars some of it would get donated to St.Vincents who have saved my life twice now.

I stayed in the hospital for 2 days recuperating, thinking out my existential challenges, and yes, certain resentments welling up, those part-time friends who now kept their distance, afraid there was yet another needy person in their lives, and my mother of course, her cold selfishness, pointless to let her know I was sick, in her dementia it would mean nothing, and she wouldn't care too much anyway, I was always phantasmal in her life. Friends visited, the last being Cursula and Bawl, commiserating with my downfall, and I thought, "how sweet". The next day I was releivedly discharged and, being dirt poor, I had to walk the 2 kms home, my chest acheing. Crossing a road a fat Euro-trash gronk in his SUV nearly ran me down, he hung from his window as he passed and growled, "poofter!" Give me a break! I did a 'Carrie' and beamed destruction at his disappearing metal arse, I hoped he crashed soon after.

I arrived at Northcott Housing Ghetto to discover my lovely neighbour Cursula, knowing I was trapped in hospital, had broken into my flat, searched it and found my emergency Xanax, stealing some. This is typical of cannibal society, to be robbed while one lies dying, I rushed to her door and abused the shit out of her and nearly gave myself a second heart attack. I've since been trying to keep a low profile in my apartment, chilling out with my feet up, but the zombies have come marauding to my door demanding attention, I made the mistake of letting them in, an old fuck-buddy with his ICE-brained mate who had one eye fucked up with conjunctivitis. I stupidly played Florence Nightingale and flushed his eye out with anti-biotic eye-drops, him thinking I've now adopted him and he's come back day after day hoping for my friendship and I've had to yell, "go away". I feel like the key in my back has been wound a few times tighter, I walk a tight-rope, everything shits me, I've got to stay cool as yet another lease on life has been given me and I have much yet to accomplish, a huge painting of 17 years in Northcott for one.

The sky indeed seems bluer, the sunshine more wholesome, friend's smiles sweeter and every day a blessing, maybe even the planet will get saved, if only there could be a paradigm shift on the part of all humanity and this consume, consume, consume fever healed, and wars and hatred smothered with love. And I talked to my beloved mate in India and there's also him to look forward to, to reach out to. Yeah, maybe there's a future after all.