Are you really dead? I don’t believe it. My hands are black with ink & my eyes are wet with the sting of The New York Times front page. You are embalmed in the headlines as “Countercultural Guru” & “Master of the Outrageous,” by journalists who try to synthesize & summarize the volumes of your subversive words. I’m at work in a drab warehouse in Nashville where most of the folk don’t even know I’m a faery, where even gentle graffiti evokes the talisman of fear. The closet you helped me explode has its door shut & locked tightly here.
I know the world is already a colder, creepier place without you this morning. Memory shuttles me to a men’s room in Boulder, Colorado where you flirted with me one July afternoon in 1991. You gave me spontaneous phrases & praises about the “Xerox pamphleteer’s dada” I had shared with you. I wish we had not been so shy in our suggestions that soft summer day. I wish we had kissed on the lips, let our imaginations realize the fullness of desire.
I am loving you from the lush lawns of that mountain town to the Ann Arbor auditorium where I heard you “howl” to a packed house, poetry reading as big as revival or rock concert or revolutionary rally. I am loving you that night we talked on the radio about my favorite poem, “Please, Master,” hot hymn of sex & submission. You gave yourself to how many men? How many same-sex saviors sucked you?
America still needs the clarity of your clear queer conscience. America is still not worthy of its millions of faggots jews anarchists pacifists buddhists & poets. We are losing ground. We should be dancing on the ground. Lighting candles in your honor. Reciting your poems.
You will always be with us. You, who always seemed more comfortable with your mortality than most, did not deserve to die. I hope you have come home to the nirvana of no-mind or to the heaven of healthy hedonism where hot hunks will suck your cock, fill your hole & rub your feet for the entirety of eternity.
You will always be with us as we perpetually invoke your dense packages of description, convocations of kitchen sink mysticism, everyday ecstasy & eroticism.
Now, more than ever, we need your bold innocence as it shocks civilized shame with shameless inseminations of convivial cadences.
You are my ancestor & poetic elder. I am a child of your tribal impulses & immoral morality. Let us all be brave enough to be the humble stewards of the torch you carried for so long, whether in flower power pot smoke anti war splendor or in your latter day literary fame & wisdom. Even in your dignified suit & tie you were always naked beneath your clothes, a gay beatnik hippy radical scribe spitting the sweet jism of poetic justice on the false idols of American injustice.