Saturday, September 15, 2001

I can hear the occasional helicopter overhead. Went out last night, after getting a message from a pal that several friends would be at the Phoenix. Getting ready to leave, I noticed I had no running water. No way of knowing why, or how long this might be, or if it has anything to do with this week's events. Saw several folks, hugs, beer, and then the instinctual looking over the crowd, who looks good? Eventually that seemed too weird, I haven't even noticed anything below my waist for days, except the occasional need to piss, and I couldn't imagine negotiating with a stranger all the usual "your place or mine" stuff. Hard to be in any one place for very long, I could feel my eyes swell up, as my friends seemed further and further away. This hasn't happened in years, but at least I recognized it, and it wasn't as scarey as it could've been. Looking over the crowd, getting an overwhelming sense of sadness, like I'd get in the early 90's, when that sinking feeling after an AIDS demo would overtake my senses, that nothing makes a difference, that it's all hopeless.....

I said goodbye to one or 2 people, hopped on my bike, pedalled quickly westward. The traffic was heavy, or so it seemed since there had been no real car traffic since Monday night, and I didn't get very far. Going home seemed useless, and yes, I went to my usual haunt, the Cock. Loud, dark, getting increasingly more crowded. Another beer, some lurking, sitting on a bench, watching the handful of men in that back darkroom maneuvering around. Probably hard to understand, certainly hard to explain, some sort of validation, of feeling alive, was needed. I couldn't put much energy into this, mostly just watching, observing the vague gestures of my brothers, eventually someone reached out. The hug came before the grope, thankfully, and again I was reminded of the last crisis, of being in a backroom, of holding onto a stranger, when sexual passion was full of anxiety and worry, and wanting the stranger in front of me to take that away, if only for a few moments.

..... as he wrote his phone number down on a dollar bill, he giggled quietly and said "Hey, you're gonna make me cum a 3rd time!" I replied: "that's not me" gesturing that my head was up here, next to him, as we both looked down. Then my new pal said: "Excuse me, sir. Sir, excuse me, I'm going home now, but thank you." Sex, humor, guilt, all mixed in, we hugged a final time, he left. I needed more loud thumping noise, so I stayed a while longer.

Sometime around 3:30 a.m., pedalling home, I could see several cop cars speed past me, lights flashing wildly, but as is usual these past few nights, no siren. When I got to Ave. C, dozens of police cars, vans, unmarked vehicles. Lots of people on the street, and a helicopter circling above, spot light illuminating the rooftops around Ave C between 5th and 8th streets..... Soon a few NYC cop cars sped away, apparently with "passengers" in the back seat, and an unmarked sedan, with several grey-suited men, also went southward. After about 20 minutes, all the police were gone, most of the neighbors went back into their homes, and I walked my bike the last block and a half home. No way of telling what that was about. Another bomb scare? a drug raid? (this neighborhood is notorious for drugs)..... just more unexplained, unnerving activity, and as I tried to get to sleep, I could still here that helicopter in the distance