Monday, March 30, 2009

New York City 25.11. and 28.11.1994: No More Secret Deaths and Gay Pilgrimage

En route to New York City to see “Angels in America.” Since first hearing of the play, seeing a documentary re: its staging, and reading about it, I’ve wanted to see it. A kind of gay pilgrimage . . . . I’m really attracted by the theme—a gay fantasia on American history, its appeal to Ernst Bloch, the Southern background of its author. However, reading the play was something of a disappointment—i.e., I found nothing of Bloch in it, really.

Now, I’m wondering why I even wanted to make this trip. Two days of cooking and cleaning for Thanksgiving, and I’m exhausted. All the old gnawing, relentless questions and hungers—about the Belmont Abbey experience, and above all about what to do next, where to go. I feel so irrevocably defeated. I try to see it otherwise, to feel otherwise, but how can I—no job, and no one interested in me, apparently.

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Just ready to take off from La Guardia. A stimulating, but exhausting, evening after we went to the matinee of part 2 of “Angels,” “Perestroika.” Afterwards, we went to the apartment of Chuck’s friend Jeff L., who lives with his lover Moïses K., a Venezuelan of Jewish descent, on the upper west side.

We were to have dinner with them and Amanda, a woman with whom Jeff works at their “nighttime” job. She has a “daytime” job at a toy-maker’s, he at Estée Lauder.

But the evening got very late, and as we were to go back to Queen’s—an hour’s train ride—and would have awakened Mr. B., we stayed at Jeff’s and Moïses’s and got practically no sleep—stayed up talking.

Something prompted me to tell them our story, and they were taken with it. Moïses said it should be a play, and asked me to write it. I have no talent in that area, I feel quite sure.

“Angels”: wonderful. Exhilarating. Uplifting. Autobiographical. The line in the epilogue—“We refused to die secret deaths any more”—knocked me off my feet. That Blochian emphasis on “a kind of painful progress” in the world, on the forward-spinning of things . . . .

How to translate that insight, the refusal to die a secret death anymore, into action at Belmont Abbey College? To die a secret death makes it so easy for them. It facilitates everything—their lies, their secrets, their silences.

If this experience was a pilgrimage, then what must I take home from it? How am I a different person as a result of my pilgrimage? I feel so tired, so ignoble, yet Moïses and Amanda think otherwise: they spoke of Steve’s and my life as a heroic love story, a beautiful one . . . . I wish I were able to see things that way.

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