Monday, September 06, 2004


Old Boyfriends

Old Boyfriends,
Lost in the pocket of your overcoat,
Like burned out lite bulbs on a Ferris Wheel [Tom Waits]

Oh Barry Prince! Lost in the pocket of my overcoat. The best fuck I ever had.
I'm sure he’s dead by now, though I’ve been surprised before. When so many are dead it’s hard to count the living.
So its -- when? 1969? A good enough guess. Madison avenue around 59th in the late afternoon shafts of light cutting through the dusk. And I run into Barry the way I always did back then, "by chance." I’d seen him only a few weeks before walking down Fifth Ave, so "I was just thinking about you," jumped out -- which was ever-so-slightly true. I thought about Barry a lot -- but intermittently. Just a genial presence. Never anything sexual exactly. Or if so, nascent.
When did I first meet Barry anyway? Who introduced us? He was part of Peter Blum’s circle I know --like Ronnie. But like so many people back then Barry was just around. At the screenings, at the museum in the cafes on the streets. Not foregrounded ever, really. Somewhere just off to the side. Smiling. Usually there was a girl in his general vicinity. Or seemed to be. And that was enough to mark him as "taken" -- even though I wasn’t attentive enough to realize what was really going on.

"There was proximity but no relating." (Nichols and May)

So for me Barry Prince was "off the menu." But was he ever "on the menu" ? Was I was attracted to him? Sure, but not consciously. Odd to think of the "unconscious" as consciousness was such an obsession. We all wanted to be "awake" to take it all in. I had to stay "up" or I’d miss something . And I nearly missed Barry. His face was very beautiful in a Modigliani kind of way. The great bush of curls on top of the long head, like a crown. But it was his manner that got to me. Quiet. "Too quiet" as they say in the westerns. That plus the sudden realization that this was the first time I’d really been alone with him. He wasn’t saying anything much at all. Just "Hi, how are you?" But the smile was more intense than ever before. I started prattling on about some film I’d just seen, as if that were the only conversation he'd be interested in having with me. But film and literature were the only things I ever talked about with that group (Pynchon's V especially). Certainly not "personal experiences" of any kind -- for the ones I’d had up to then were brief, quasi-violent, and impossible to put into words. Yet I didn’t really think anything of it when he asked me up to his apartment -- which was just half a block away -- for "a drink or something". Yet at the same time I really wasn’t suprised when we walked in the door and he grabbed me in his arms and kissed me. Hard at first, and then softly, and then more rapidly, giggling as he did. I giggled back, and we tumbled out of our clothes and tumbled onto the couch, rubbing aginst one another, getting hard -- looking at our hardness, stroking it, laughing. And then onto the bed -- a waterbed. It was my first and last time on one. Funny to find one in Barry’s apartment. It was the end of the waterbed era and he never struck me as one susceptible to "trends." But when we started fucking it all became clear. Such a tender fuck. He cooed softly. Smiling, smiling. And I grinned ear-to-ear as well --amazed at my good forune. "Of all people!" And we rocked with the flow of water in the bed after coming. We lay and almost slept -- stroking each other and kissing some more in anticipation of the next round, and then some rest and then some more. Night falls on the city as we rock in each others arms. Time stops and the world goes away.
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