My cipher is the Paradise Tree Snake
which flattens itself into aerofoil
and glides. This house on earth is luck’s mistake;
I’m born of air, not water, wood or soil.
Here many snakes exist, less snake than sock.
A python sleeps in its non-Delphic pit.
Two oriental whips pair in wedlock.
And a black spitting cobra does not spit.
This cage has stupefied desire and doubt;
I must escape into the thrashing trees
and navigate in darkness like the scout
who senses through its skin false guarantees
and turns, mid-flight, towards the unforeseen,
not held back by what has, or might have, been.
from my journal entries on Savannah and Charleston:
March 24 Friday. Historic Savannah could have started life as a movie set. The neat oak-shaded squares, commemorating important people in the city's past, from John Wesley to Polish patriot Pulaski, line up with the stately houses, in various stages of restoration, to give someone's idea of the South. Many of the houses, we learnt later, were in fact saved and restored by Jim Williams, the gay antique dealer, who was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." Williams's own house, the scene of sex parties, Danny Hansford's murder and Williams's death, stood at the southernmost point of our walk. To the north, the square after next was Chippewa Square, where Forrest, sitting on a park bench that eventually ended up in the Savannah History Museum, told the story of his love for Jenny.
Club One Jefferson, where we headed after dinner, combined the fixtures of a neighborhood watering hole, with its pool tables and pinball machines, and the pretensions of a cosmpolitan gay venue. The drag show was staged on the third floor. It was not Lady Chablis's night and we were treated to a parade of drag performers of varying talents. Bianca was beautiful and svelte. Motion was the rocker-chick who could not rock. After the show, while hanging back at the edge of the empty dance floor, we met two guys from Syracuse, New York. Both were camping in Hilton Head for a sales conference. They have been with each other for five years; they own separate apartments but spend most of their time together in one. They said they cannot "come out" because they will risk losing their jobs. They drove to Rochester to watch "Brokeback Mountain." After waiting in vain for people to take to the dance floor, we decided to leave. The guys there were much more interested in feeling up each other than in dancing. Mapquest tells me, as I am writing this, that Rochester is 87 miles from Syracuse.