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!