Friday, September 11, 2009

Caught in a Dreamcatcher.

Home Sweet Homo

I got a call from my mother's nursing home that she'd had a fall, maybe a mini-stroke, but was Okay, yet I felt it was my filial duty to go the vast distance down to Mornington Peninsula in Victoria to check her out. I got off the bus at the wrong place and walked for miles down the Nepean Highway in a freezing wind, missed the nursing home that hid behind a new-age fitness center and was about to give up but thought, nah, my poor old mum, I've got to see her, for all her cold indifference to much of my queer adult life, she suffered a lot to endure my childhood.

So I asked an old lady standing on a street corner and she directed me to the place. It was quite a nice set-up, not scungy like some I've worked in, she had to pay $65000 deposit to get in there and I was relieved it was more like a 2 star motel, not a medieval dungeon. I was led thru a doddering crowd of internees in Nogod's waiting-room to a frail, ancient Jezebel crouching on a couch vacantly staring into a television set that was incongruously playing the Beatles "A Hard Days Night", all those cheery pop songs and comic antics washing ineffectually over the geriatrics' white-haired heads. My mom had a terrible black eye from her fall and when it was announced that "Toby", her illustrious son, had come to visit her, she looked up at me puzzled, a frown on her face, she didn't know who I was. Her frown deepened, maybe she thought I was my dad come back to haunt her, she didn't seem to appreciate this enthusiastic man standing over her shouting, "Hi, mom, it's me, your son, back from Coventry!"

The mini-stroke that caused her fall seemed to have wiped out her last few cognitive brain cells, she was now an empty shell, eventually she gave that false-toothy smile of hers that she always used to charm a hostile world and I sat with her for an hour, shouting pleasantries into her profoundly deaf ears, causing all the other oldies to jump and stare, as if maybe I was their own lost son trying to engage them. One old man sitting next to her shook with Parkinsons' disease, I could smell shit and antiseptic and death and tried not to get depressed. Nogod help us, I swear I won't end up this way, I'll die with my boots on, out on the road, on some grandiose adventure, grabbing life by the throat, ecstatic to the max. I remembered as a child I'd dreamed that I'd get rich and famous one day and buy my mom a mink coat to repay her for all her ordeals, it never happened, I was a dharma bum, and in my travels once a year I made it to her far-flung abode and tried to share my high with her, to no avail, she was in love with poker-machines and AFL football, not my thing.

For all my shouting she took no notice and gazed blindly at John Lennon wisecracking in a bathtub, the sight of him made me sadder, I might as well be talking to a doorknob, I kissed her and walked out, the sun was going down and there were few buses back to the city, the nursing home was part of the life cycle in these modern times, and heart-weary I had to accept it. Back in Melbourne my niece Nuala consoled me by taking me to the Coburg drive-in movies to see "District 9", we smoked pot in the car, ate bad hamburgers and laughed and cried at the wild action, I felt somewhat soothed and exhilarated at the alien's humanity, at last some good sci-fi to light up this entropic universe.

When I got back to Sydney I was lolling around my flat one night when there was a knock on the door, "Who is it?" I shouted. "Brandon!" Oh shit no, my old fuck buddy come back after 7 years to plague me like a bent penny. I let him in to hear his tales of misadventure, he was speeding off his brain, had dirty bare feet and proceeded to crush up some eckies and snort them greedily while informing me his wife had left him and he took on odd jobs for biker gangs beating up hapless punters who had "dobbed to the cops". I was in trepidation he would get around to the old sore of me fucking him all night relentlessly but thankfully instead he asked me if I wanted to go for a drive out to the distant suburb of Fairfield to pick up some pot. I needed an adventure so I acquiesced and tightened my seat belt, I was in for a bumpy ride.

We got in a beat up Toyota which he then drove like a rally car, rocketing in and out of the city traffic, cursing any slow driver in screamed purple prose, the radio blaring rock, techno and rap, me thrilling to the roller-coaster existence, Brandon regaling me with hair-raising tales of rumbling with the Kooris, broken legs and cracked backs. We got the pot and smoked ourselves high and tore thru the city again, like djinns on an arcane treasure hunt. He's an accomplished driver, I trusted him and relaxed into it, in the face of the Void we laughed demonically. He dumped me at my flat and zoomed off into the night promising to return soon, I didn't see him again for 3 days, he came back bearing a gift he'd found in a squat to mollify my uptightness at his speedy comings and goings. He gave me the most magnificent, elaborate dream-catcher, something I've always wanted and waited for years for someone of my tribe to present to me. It now hangs above my bed and traps the bad vibes and amplifies my cool dreams, to make them come true.

And one dream did indeed come true that same week, the most beautiful boy in the world has walked into my head-space and rented a piece of my heart, like the ageless Friend, a manifestation of the Green One, his name is Felix (the cat?), he seems to like me, respect and trust me, he beams like the morning star onto me and brightens the shadows, transiently. Way back since primary school quite a few gorgeous boys have walked with me on my long journey, for awhile, virtually all of them have been straight, my perverse luck, sweet-natured, intelligent, cool, for some strange reason they get a kick out of having a gay boy as a best friend, they must need the psycho-emotional support and dig the "difference", but there's never any sex. Not to worry, as my old mother used to say, for sex evaporates quickly, friendship is solid. Perhaps one of the most beautiful things about living on this terrifying planet with flawed humanity is that when a human being is beautiful he/she is almost a miracle.

He took note when I said I was a groupie for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and got me free tickets to Dvorak's "Cello Concerto" with a young Frenchman, Gautier Caucon, spinning gold wildly upon his cello. I didn't realise the tickets were given out at Felix's music class at school and I freaked at the prospect of his fellow schoolies and teachers seeing him with one of Sydney's most notorious homosexuals. When I declared they'd all laugh at him the next day at school he bravely assured me he didn't care, he was old enough to do what he wanted, he's 19 and they'd just be jealous of him anyway. He then courageously sat between two crazy poofs, me and Peter, the violin virtuoso getting off on the many maestros' techniques, while his schoolies filed past us to get to their seats, me biting my tongue as this is an era when "gay" is the most pejorative term shouted in the schoolyard. "This is existentially BAD!" I groaned as yet another schoolie in blazer and tie squeezed politely past me, but nobody turned a hair, "We're in the year 2009, Toby, things are different. The young are more knowledgeable, progressive and out-front." I trusted him and relaxed and got very high on the Dvorak concerto, floated to the ceiling of the Opera House, went into Nirvana, especially as I had a brave soul sitting next to me proud to be my friend.

I got brought back to earth at the "Don't Put Shit on Me Cafe", which is the oft-sung lament of Vitto who can dish out the shit but can't take it, he'd teamed up with a precious queen I call Lady Poncenby to decry the smart-arse mouth of the Punk Poofy Cat, mock-scandalised at my poetic offensiveness while Vitto doesn't mind forever castigating "the tightness of nuns' cunts". They're like the two ugly sisters who don't want Cinderella, me, to go to the ball, and are jealous, (yes, the whole human race is jealous!) of my vivacious electric grasp of life, the beautiful souls that team up with me and turn me from a frog into a prince. That in the face of ever-present death I ride life like a bucking bronco while the two grumpy queens knit scarves like old ladies at a funereal, that I chase my dreams and catch them, and am caught, with a sparkle in my eyes, actually another con-job to get by in a hostile world.

P.S. What an old fool I've turned into, any con-artist with a Cheshire cat smile can suck me in, Felix turned out to be a phantom just passing thru, thank nogod I didn't lose my balls over him. He must've wanted some kooky older mentor for 3 months, which is cool by me, I only hope I imparted some "surf the chaos" vibes, it's best to try to have a good influence on others, especially young people. Anyway, you can't win them all. My Dream-catcher has a break in the net that allows anything unreal to slip thru and get-away, and I'm glad of it, only substantial, sincere souls need apply.

It makes me worried that as I hit my dotage around 70 maybe my true libidinous type may waylay me, some slick hairy Italian gigolo who'll drain me of all my juices like I read in much classic literature ala "The Roman Spring of Mr. Stone-arse"? Fuck, let me get driven off a high mountain road in the Himalayas instead. Although, goong off the edge with "him" would make it more fun.

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.