In the dream I am stranded in a town on the
Orbit of the M25 by missed connections or a
Missing part for my car.
I find myself, early evening, in a hotel function room, the
Kind of place where weddings were common before the
Curtains faded and the market became more choosy.
We’re sitting on brass framed stacking chairs as a woman strips.
Fifty of us, ordinary men who’ve paid our tenner at the door,
Recruited by word of mouth.
I text Jem eagerly, send her snatched pictures of these men, staring frontwards.
The next sequence of pictures reveals the order in the room has broken down.
One man sprawls across three seats, wanking. Others reach across to their
Neighbours, fumbling for zips.
It is Fantasy Video, the Taboo in Birmingham, the Studio in Manchester,
The place on Westgate Road in Newcastle, except the lights are bright
And the naked woman is the main attraction, not an interlude between films.
The majority of the men are naked, and fit my
Fantasies, clean shaven, smooth skinned, willing, enthusiastic about each other
All save one man, who pushes through the crowd, refusing advances
Distinguished by folds of skin around his cock that look like
The clit stimulator on an Ann Summers vibrator,
Ignoring us all as he mumbles
‘I’ll know him when I see him.’
The stripper and her colleagues are lying on sunbeds
To the side of the room, naked, encouraging us to come.
I’m busy. The man in front of me is grasping his ankles
Urging me to fuck him, imagining it’s his wife watching.
As I grab his cock, and feel it like an extension of mine, deep inside him
He blows a kiss at one of the women, runs his
Fingers through imaginary tresses and I know he’s
Wishing he wore waterproof lipstick, high heels, a top that reminds him of David Bowie
Or maybe Marilyn.
To the far left is a man in Harrington jacket, M&S slacks, coming
In the wide legged stance of the experienced al fresco wanker. Finished, he
Flicks his cigarette at the women, dismissively. The man languidly rubbing his cock
Against my thigh mutters ‘There’s always one.’
I’m 21, again, and the first man to try and punch me after sex, not during
Is sitting on his well fucked arse in a pool of piss and rainwater at the foot of the
Love it, hate it, hurt the man who did what you want.
His Farah slacks are splash stained; he’s dropped the keys to his Ford Sierra, and he’s
Fumbling in the pocket of his imitation golf jacket for the wallet he’s
Forgotten he stashed in the
Glove box of his car as if the pictures of his wife and kids must be
Protected from what he wants.
The same man who came convulsively, wrapped in the
Feral scent of poppers turned ugly, threw a punch that barely landed
Called me a queer bastard, summoned the slide of my
Right foot backwards, the arching of the left, the
Fluid rotation of my core into a straight armed cross,
Barely even a jab, that dropped him.
Even as the next man is ignoring him, is
Kneeling to try and make me come, I’m
Picturing the thing we fear the most, not the
Others, but the men
Indistinguishable from us, who will
Sit in the newly refurbished conservatory of their local Beefeater
Waiting for the scampi and chips, sneering
About poofs and the gay plague just hours after begging to swallow me whole.
The dream breaks. I wake.
Ponder the way in which we had to manage the
Invisible, intangible risk of the virus and the
Crystallized adamant reality of men who looked like us and
Hated us for the similarities, the way we
Walked amongst them.
Thinking of friends and lovers who died because of the
Hatred of others is no way to start a day, so I
Summoned the image of that man,
Bending to my cock while he imagined his wife watching, and wanked
My fears away, just as, for a few foolish years
I fucked on the edge of destruction, indomitable
But never invulnerable, and
Lucky to get away with it.