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.