Tuesday, August 20, 2013

45) At a Crossroads.

And so we come to the end of the first book of Arthur’s misadventures, "The 7 Lives of the Punk Poofy Cat", a howling psychodrama, yeah, but he had to squeeze some enjoyment from his misery-guts and write it as funny satire. (But there's only 6 lives in this epic tome, you might discover. Well, if he stays alive, he might get to write Book 2, "Public Enemy Number 7", in which he chases movie stardom and is in turn chased by the cops, and that will constitute the tale of his 7th life. If there are two more for the proverbial 9 cat's lives, only old age will tell.)

As an homosexual libertarian, pagan trickster and tripped-out wastrel, he found himself an anti-hero, and his tales picaresque, a loner and a drifter, who had no final destination and achieved no grand goal. While in future he would try to make himself a movie star, the tag of “great artist” eluded him, he was shoved to the back of the queue and reduced to cringe-worthy desperate acts, as many of his anecdotes attest, and that's how we'll leave him, hanging.

For he was not a model citizen, working nine to five, married with kids, who made the world go round, which is the subject of every movie, book and advertisement, Mr.Nice Guy wooing his princess, whose praises are sung from every nook and cranny, whose staid conformity made a freak like Arthur nauseous, with derision, envy and difference. He compulsively went against the grain and, worse, against "the collective", for "collectives" hate loners, everyone's got to belong to a "Family" or else they're 'OUT', destroyed. Religious maniacs out-number atheists, upper-class rulers over-power slave workers, socialist apparatchiks out-maneuver independent libertarians, private school boys out-compete state school drop outs, and Hets get favored over Homos, thus Arthur had all the dice loaded against him. In the face of his outrageous poofiness macho men could only grimace, and battle-axe feminists sneer.

In the distant future of the 21st Century he had the briefest of windows to tell his side of the story, the Internet, and looking at the numbers on his Blog site, Artie could see that a few thousand around the world read him and were possibly, vaguely interested in his travails. Not just homos, there were thinkers looking beyond sexuality to a 21st century human existence. But censorship reared its ugly head as always, some STATES saw his work as homo propaganda and blocked him, or he insulted certain power-mongers and outclassed vacuous shit-heap climbers and THEY wiped him, it was always a game of dog eat cat, not easy to get heard above the caterwauling; in this historically hierarchical world there rarely was any true democratic freedom such as free speech, especially for those on the bottom of the heap. 

He was reminded of Isherwood's novel "Christopher and His Kind", the rise of Nazism in Berlin and the public burning of "decadent" books. Soon this text may disappear, read it while you can; while he hoped to make it over to Amazon/Kindle Books on demand, Artie wasn’t sure he could stay alive long enough to make it happen, or if he’d be allowed to. The Conservatives were taking over in Auz , homophobes who ruled the mass media could initiate medieval  pogroms at the press of a button, even after supposed "gay lib" times, there really do exist absolute enemies of homo happiness and gay marriage equality, relegating them back to the dark parks and toilets, where they belong as dirty night-crawlers.

He’d always been honest about himself, his vagaries, flaws, mistakes, failings; yeah he was a fuck up, and he was human. He first got his life story published in 1983 in an anthology titled “Edge City From Two Different Levels”: his tale “Welcome to the Men's”, included in this tome, described his youth of degradation and plead for gay marriage rights to lift his kind from the gutter of zipless sex. A historian from Sydney University, Gary Wutherspoon, noticed the story and asked him to reprise it for a bigger anthology in 1985, “Being Different”, which went on to several print runs, and for which he got a lousy fifty bucks. Artie made no bones about the human homosexual condition, he told all the ugly truths and was forever lambasted for it.

He was no prophet or mealy-mouthed “holy man” spouting bullshit about a non-existent god, getting the gullible to sit at his feet out front while out back he secretly sucked their cocks, as some closeted guru-types did. When he tripped on LSD he didn’t find “GOD”, he found a wondrous natural phenomena, the Universe, of which he was a conscious part. Neither was he a rabble-rousing revolutionary leader but he did protest the Vietnam War, all wars, and he struggled for Indigenous Rights, Women’s Equality, Gay Lib and Environmental Protection as if these issues were part of his soul’s salvation; to him, the political was personal.

At best he enjoyed creating art that eventually blew away in the wind, was inflammatory and satirical, heartfelt and vivid. From the age of seventeen in 1967 he told anybody who asked, “Yes, I’m homosexual, so what?” Being  a working-class Aussie was the clincher to his “boy most likely not to succeed” tag but he didn’t give a fuck, “boys just want to have fun” could’ve been his true by-line.

He eventually relinquished all role-playing, not only god-man, political leader and social worker, he even gave up the wank of being "the artist", all human activity was game-playing bullshit, money/power/sex ruled and he was heartily sick of it all = the mendacity and stupidity of humanity on the road to perdition. He especially eschewed the role of businessman: making money, stockpiling possessions, consuming endlessly whatever he could grab a hold of, devouring the planet, ripping off and exploiting everyone from a private jet. This kind of person he despised, he owned nothing valuable, recycled everything, lived on little, held contempt for designer-fashion, was brand-name averse, the corporate world would collapse if it depended on him.

He hated hypocrites, he had always been honest about who and what he was, a deadbeat, freaked out homosexual. The world is 90% heterosexual, run by and for them, and so it should be, kids have to be born, raised and carry the torch for future civilization. Yet some of those kids will be gay, they are born into Het families, not made by homos, in the main made by Hets, and they should be loved by such, they shouldn’t be tortured by a heterosexual supremecist world. All the freedoms hard won by the Gay community could be rescinded over night, in many places Gays are still imprisoned, murdered, tortured, alienated, excluded. His writing is an attempt at democratic free speech to plead for tolerance and support of his "kind", not propaganda, more like a defense.

Artie flashed that ‘straights’ are maybe growing sick of hearing homos whinging and whining about their sorry status, most just aren’t interested, and his book was pissing in the wind. He had rewritten it twenty-one times from his bunker while around him he felt civilization rocked on the brink of catastrophe; still he felt the weird compulsion to tell his story, regardless of the consequences, police states, fundamentalist religions, murderous thugs and indifferent trendoids be damned. 

Life for him wasn’t all doom and gloom: regardless of all the put-downs and rejections he got himself an exciting, euphoric life. There was music to bliss out to, crowds to dance with, movies to excite, books to blow his mind, sunny days on mountain tops to lift his being, friends with smiling eyes to redeem a blind humanity, and thrill rides to make life worth bothering with. He yet had much to give, and much to tell, but dark night was descending fast, he didn’t think anybody cared, he needed to move on, the drifter, the observer; where the wide world beckoned, he felt only to disappear, wailing that greatest cliché of them all, “Goodbye cruel world.”

After weeks, months, years of insomnia, he finally fell into a deep sleep and dreamed a lucid second life. The dream haze parted and an infinite road spread out to the horizon before him. He looked behind him at the cracked trail he’d already trudged along, full of potholes, occasional oasis and swampy bogs. He had been laboring down that road for what seemed like several lifetimes, experiencing some glorious sites along the way but suffering many painful events as well. Yet he trod gaily, determinedly, tortuously onwards for he felt he must be reaching his destination sometime soon.

He came to a crossroads at which an encampment had been set-up, like some welcoming caravansary, with several lost friends sitting by a fire radiating warmth and encouragement. And there glowing in their midst sat his long-dead mentor, dear old Compassion, benign smile and Nirvana bliss lighting up his face. Exhausted from his trek, instantly Arthur felt some peace, he sat and took time to catch his breath and steady his mind, then found the courage to put his burning question to his long looked for, wise, old friend. “I’ve come a long way. For all the joy, the pain has been intense. When will it be over. I’m so tired. Surely my destination is at hand? How much farther do I have to go?”

The ancient yogi, expanded eyes of the seer sparkling, gave his usual cryptic smile and lifted his crippled arm to point off down the never-ending road. And Arthur mystically heard his creaky voice lilting in his head, “I’ve been waiting for an eternity for you here at the cross-roads of your brilliant non-career. But you’ve only reached the halfway point, you’ve still got a long way to go, baby!”

Arthur stood up, blew him a kiss and moved wearily on. He could still hear the old fool laughing as he continued to trudge on down that infinite highway, angels flapping at his conscience and devils nipping at his heels, relentlessly. His own true-blue eyes searched the horizon that ever receded before him and, as the dream mists closed in on him, he figured, high or low, he’d surf his probability waves to wherever they took him.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.