About Marc-Anthony Macon
Rather than get angry or philosophical or poetic about what 9/11 means to queers or to me ten years down the road, I thought I’d dig up some insect incased in prosaic amber; a time capsule, this thing that I wrote the afternoon of the attacks, when I was living in Manhattan with my boyfriend. Here it is, without much comment or editing. What it was like for one Harlem homo, that day:
This was morning in the waking city that never sleeps. Lower Harlem was a flurry of activity; produce trucks were lining our streets, instructions shouted in Spanish as loads of plantains and mangos were lowered from their freight to underground conveyors. When asked how it was hanging by the regular onslaught of the corner Bodega Rappers, my reply was a simple, “No complaints except it’s too damn sunny.”
I love queer people. Dig ‘em. Dig ‘em quite a lot. But there’s this threshold, a tipping point, beyond which I just can’t stand them. A handful of queers in a room can be beautiful, but once the room’s queer quotient has gone above a certain number, I start to get antsy and yearn for the door. Relate?
Second grade. Playground. First time I heard, “There’s no ‘I’ in team” and I immediately agreed. I wasn’t a part of Team, which my second-grader mind read as “teem” with accompanying mental stock footage of seething white rapid explosions of upstream salmon, or impossibly huge and suspiciously coordinated swarms of spikey-mandible-sporting insects. Maybe wildebeests; would you say they teem? Anyway, lots of the same thing, doing the same thing; that gives me the willies, especially when the thing all the same things are same-doing is dodge ball.
And while all of the junk you can contract via your junk is unpleasant, none of these bugs are as malevolent, none so genius, and none nearly so chillingly insidious as the one commonly referred to as ‘pregnancy.’
You gotta protect yourself. Yourself and whomever it is you’re fucking, be it for eternity, for now, for this evening or just for lunch. The world is oozing and crawling with masses of gleefully propagating sexually transmitted diseases, each more bloody, pus-ridden and sore-inducing than the last. Some of these STDs will go away with antibiotics and some OCD-esque hygiene rituals. Some just need some draining and drying. Some only require insecticide and bed sheet washing. Others will stick around like a nagging, fundamentalist aunt with constant, oblivious offers of prayers. Some of them will kill you until you’re dead. And while all of the junk you can contract via your junk is unpleasant, none of these bugs are as malevolent, none so genius, and none nearly so chillingly insidious as the one commonly referred to as “pregnancy.” Don’t take chances: If this dread disease isn’t caught and stopped in the very early stages, things get so exponentially ugly, you’ll be lucky if anything of what you once considered yourself is left behind with the shredded, desolate husk of a human being that remains.
We’re in small-town Illinois. Living there. We’ve got a house, a garden fulla squash and radishes and tomatoes. There’s a fence. It’s not white-picket or anything, but there’s a fence. And a cat named Guiteau (We named him after the Oneida free-love commune religious cultist, Charles Guiteau, who shot president Garfield when he wouldn’t give him an ambassadorship to France; the cat just had that kinda face). We go to the local farmer’s market on Saturdays to get veggies, spices and tasty pie made my by the bubbly Amish lady with the huge blue saucer eyes. We regularly eat at Apple Dumplin’, a “downhome cookin’” place run by a local bumpkin family where overalls aren’t just a work uniform, they’re a way of life. Around here, seeing a truck without a muffler isn’t an unusual sight. Seeing a truck without a gun rack is. Yes, Illinois, where the men are men and the sheep watch their backs.