Archive for October, 2006
The last time I confessed that souls of the deceased were communicating with me from beyond the grave they locked me up in a psychiatric ward in Elizabeth, N.J. For almost a month they tortured me with psychotropic medications, take-downs and restraints. It’s hard to write about it, but I will, because it’s Halloween, I’m off my meds and I’m not afraid of the psychiatrists anymore.I have no shame about their diagnosis of Paranoid Schiozphrenia. I’m an open schizophrexual. I’ve been alive long enough to know that I’m not the only manic monster running around on this planet.
Medical authorities insist I sometimes see, hear and smell things that are not really here. It’s a genetic illness of my mind they claim. Perhaps it comes from the Amish side of my family considering all that in-breeding my ancestors were apart of. I would have rather been put to sleep than electrocuted or have been required to wear those light- blue hospital coats and force fed those pills. Those rapes of the mind are brutal and unnecessary.
If my claims seem exaggerated, I challenge anyone who is sane to take a few dopamine inhibitors. Then try remembering how to spell your name or say the alphabet.
When the psychiatric establishment is done torturing the gifted minds of those who fall into its cold bitter hands they throw them to the streets to fend for themselves. There is no real assistance offered to those who manage to escape modern medicine’s concentration camps. We are left on our own to fend for ourselves. We have no feelings, no thoughts and no love– only a diagnosis that ensures that everyone in the world will look down upon us for the rest of our lives.We crazies should demand that a major television network air a reality television show where celebrities like Barbara Streisand take samples of the drugs that they give to individuals with severe mental illness.
“Memories, light the corners of my mind….”, now that would be a concert worth paying $300 to see.
The pills! My heavens, those pills! Shrinks are Ghost Busters of the frontal lobe and whores of the soul. That’s what they are. Who are you gonna call if you start hearing ghosts?
It’s no big deal that I lashed out at a handsome Black male nurse who worked in Unit G at Trinitas. That does not make me ‘crazy’. I was defending myself Those brain authorities in white coats thought I was a sissy who they could toss around like a typical schizophrenic. You would fight back too if you found yourself inside one of those places wearing hospital gowns that tie in the back and were forced to wear slippers made of Styrofoam. They have the nerve to manufacture smiley faces on the toes of those slippers! They misjudged me and misdiagnosed me. Eventually, despite my inability to think clearly, I fought back.Doing my best impression of Linda Blair from the movie ‘The Exorcist’, I bit a hospital guard who tried to restrain me and taught the staff of
Trinitas Hospital a lesson about delusions of being grand.I demanded that they return my insurance card to me and I dialed the number on the back of it using a payphone in the hall. Fortunately it was an 800 number.
They were pissed at me that day for demanding that they give me my wallet and insurance card.
“For Christ’s sake! What am I going to do, cut my own throat with that plastic card?” I asked. “He’s acting up, Dr. Chen. You need to increase his dosages. Giggle, giggle, giggle.”“Hello, Aetna. Yes, this is Charles Taylor
and I’m glad to have met ya.”Just imagine what may have happened if I were on public assistance with all those Medicaid benefits and unlimited time for in-patient stays.
“If you are a provider, press one. If you are calling about a claim, press two. If you are calling to pre-certify coverage, press three.”
There was not an option to connect to an actual person. I pressed every number on the pay phone numerous times until finally someone picked up.
“Hi there! Can you help me please? My I.D. number is SLS7187224666″
“Date of birth?”
“January 9, 1968.”
“How may I help you Mr. Taylor?”
“Please tell me how long my insurance will pay for this hospital visit I’m currently locked into.”
“Oh, are you Mr. Taylor?”
“Yes. Please tell me how long it will be until I get out of here.”
I don’t know who that woman was on the other end of the line, but she said something to someone because the infamous ‘take down’ that occurred at Trinitas in July of 2002 did not extend my stay there nor were they brave enough to ship me off permanently to an institution. They transferred me to a quieter ward and gave me my own room.The new ward was filled with elderly folks with Alzheimers.
“He did it,” an old man shouted at me. “He reached inside himself and pulled it out.” I looked deep into his eyes and was saddened. There was nobody for him to talk to. I wondered where his family was. He must have lived such a long and productive life, but there he was with me inside a psychiatric ward.
“It’s not hard to do. You can do it too,” I said to the gentleman.
“I don’t want to.”
“Just reach inside and pull it out of you.”
“Well then, it’s your decision. There is no right or wrong. Jesus will save you,” I told him while making the sign of the crucifix in front of him.
He started to cry and I told him not to and went back to my private room and took his ghosts and demons with me. I never want to grow old like that and lose my mind. I know it’s not convenient to have old people put away, but please, just put me under and not in one of those places.
I was in the hallway stretching when that big ‘take-down’ popped off back in unit G prior to the transfer to my new room in the Alzheimer’s wing. I was exercising– something those chunky clinicians who take anti-depressants would know nothing about! Everyone else was running around with slashes on their wrists or they were terribly thin. Some were mind readers like me, looking inside others and pulling facts about them out of thin air—real crazy clairvoyants.I was simply stretching, felling all that energy pour through me– bliss, heavenly bliss it was I tell you.
I wasn’t hurting anyone. They shouldn’t have bothered my dead lover and I when we were meditating, connecting and communicating in G-Unit.
“Charles, what are you doing?” a Muslim nurse dressed like a nun asked as I stood by the window praying for freedom and standing with my leg stretched from behind, curling into an arc towards the back of my head.
“Oh honey, how could you possibly understand what it is I am doing? Go back to praying to Allah, girl,” I said to her without coming out of my one-foot stance. “Oh and by the way, someone tells me that your daughter likes to take it up her ass too,” I said.
I should have turned the other cheek and not pissed her off. She sent her troops after me– the boys in white with the long needles. I smacked the living hell out of the six-foot-two muscular dude dressed in white in a Mommy Dearest kind of way. He didn’t know what hit him when I suddenly came down from Nirvana and had a spasm in my right arm.“Blasphemer!” I yelled as I struck him across his big nose. “How does it feel to be tortured? You should know better. You are Black,” I screamed in delight, unleashing weeks of suppressed anger at the psychiatric establishment as he fell to the floor.
“Can a queen grieve her dead lover? Go ahead, gang bang me! I’ve done it all before,” I yelled so that everyone inside of Trinitas Hospital, including those on the maternity floor below could hear.
“You little white bitch,” he shouted while charging at me.
I kicked him off of me and sent him crashing into the white walls. Several others joined in on the take- down. When he tried to punch me, that was the last straw. I grabbed his arm and bit as hard as I could.
There was blood and that is the last thing I remember. I awoke with my arms strapped to the bed and a hole in the wall behind me which may be the real reason why they moved me to another room alongside the elderly.
Everything was calm again in Trinitas Hospital. They were very nice to me for some reason. I don’t know why. I didn’t say a single word for two weeks and it was only after I spoke up and whipped some ass that finally someone started to listen to my claim that I had no reason for being there because I was experiencing a Kundalini awakening.
”Charles, we are going to have to take a few blood samples just to be sure you didn’t infect the nurse with anything when you bit him.”
“Sorry,” I said, lying between the gaps in my teeth. “I don’t know what came over me.” I knew I had turned him into a vampire too— that poor soul. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I had to dump all my demons into someone. The nurse kept yelling “It burns! It burns!”
You are damn right Kundalini burns; just wait ‘til it happens to you.“I don’t have anything, relax,” I said. “I just had an AIDS test before I got locked up in here. My lover died from AIDS and I went and got tested as soon as I found that out. The stress of waiting for those results was too much, not to mention Shawn’s death. Oh, and by the way, I stopped smoking at the same time and my cat died and so did my grandfather– all in the same week. I got a little freaked out and couldn’t sleep you know. That’s why I’m acting a little crazy.”
My HIV tests came back negative again and the nurse kept his distance looking at me cross-eyed from far ends of brightly lit hallways– as if he wanted another piece of this!
It has been five years since I last popped a Zyprexa or a nurse. I can think and dream again. I still meditate. Life has returned. The hounds of hell are gone. Now that the misunderstandings regarding my diagnosis have been cleared up, I have learned to let those messages from Shawn come and go without freaking out. It wasn’t easy though. Coming off those drugs is terrifying, far worse than imaginary voices caused by a spiritual awakening and a lover who was communicating with me from the other side.I could hear Shawn laughing in the distance as I grew fat from the Lithium.
“Nobody but me wants that ass now, sexy,” he whispered from behind my Lazy- Boy recliner. “Who loves ya baby? You should have stayed faithful to me even though I died.” I should have just killed myself. It would have made life much easier, but I remembered the look in his eyes when he died, how terrified he was, how horrible the other side seemed to be to him. I was terrified for his soul. I dove into the underworld to save him and found myself drowning in a sea of nothingness. There wasn’t anything to save to begin with. It all was meant to be.
It wasn’t about suicide or depression. I never wanted to harm myself or another. I felt his death and my grandfather’s too. They both were talking to me from over there. And Bette, my cat– those meows, those purrs.
“I promise baby, if you survive, I’ll marry you,” I said with tears streaming down my face as blood poured from his mouth around a plastic tube that ran over his tongue. It was too late to decide upon marriage and monogamy he was fading out fast.“If he is dead,” I prayed, “can’t I simply forget about him and that relationship? It was just one of many.”
For some reason I couldn’t forget about it like that. It was something so much more than anything had been up to that time. He was so sexy. I remember how I had him pussy-whipped. He treated me like gold. He didn’t have a lot of money but spent every dime on me. And he was so butch, so handsome– the kind that girls try to convert to heterosexuality.Writing is the best way to channel him and stop him from asking me to make love with him as a ghost. I do it a lot– writing that is. It sets us both free and gets him out of my system. I don’t hear him or his whispers any longer or that licking sensation between my ass cheeks late at night.
He knows not to talk to me anymore. I have a new lover now and despite his demands that I remain his bitch from beyond, I simply tune him out and go on living. I only call him when I need him, which is not often now. There are no longer ghosts with needles dressed in white chasing after me.
He sends me messages when I write things though—often they are typos. Look a little closer. Those are his keystrokes as he possesses my soul and causes words to flow from my fingers effortlessly. My mind is shot. These cannot be my sentences. Those nerves in my head have been permanently fried. There is nothing left up there but memories lighting the corners of my mind– everything spins around– thought broadcasters inject me with intrusive thoughts every day. It’s only when I let him come to me, while sitting in front of my laptop does the craziness stop. Like a witch at an Ouija Board, I sit here and let my fingers run as he guides them and shows me what it is I need to write before it’s too late.
The strange smells I once imagined are gone now too. My olfactory nerves were once flooded with delusional smells that were not there—scent delusions of his body odor haunted me every time I took a breath. I could smell him all around me– that mix of cocoa butter and African oil that I had grown so attached to. Perhaps it was just my mind wanting another whiff of him that made me mad, but sometimes, when there is no breeze, I can still smell him near me. I hear him taunting me on rare occasion, especially when I’m in the kitchen cooking for my new man, Bradley. When I fry chicken and simmer greens I can almost see his silhouette in the steam. Those loud grease splatters tell me he’s over at the stove dipping his fingers in my recipes, longing for the soul food I once made for him almost everyday. I’m glad he’s still here but I sometimes wish he’d stop doing threesomes with Bradley and I.The haunts are simply gentle touches to my psyche, angelic kisses from a lover who was gone for what seemed to be forever, but has returned to claim what is rightfully his and he has one hell of an appetite.
My new friend Bradley notices Shawn lurking around the apartment too. We still live in Shawns’ old place and mysterious things happen all the time. Bradley is a funeral director and has dealt with the dead all his life. My new partner has shown me how to ignore those ghosts and go on with life, without appearing crazy to those who fail to acknowledge the after-life facts.
“Where did Shawn put my du-rag,” Bradley often asks.
“Look silly. It’s on your back, stuck inside the collar of your t-shirt.”
“Shawn does not like me, Charles. He’s always messing with me.”
“He does like you. I told him about you when he was still alive. Shawn knew I screwed around with other men when we dated.”
“You told him you had an affair with me?”
“What did you tell him about me?”
“Just that I met this thug with a gold tooth who knew how to make love just as good as he did.”
“Did he get jealous?”
“Of course he did.”
“Why did you tell him?”
“I don’t know. I suppose I didn’t want to feel guilty for cheating on him, although I constantly reminded him that I never wanted to be in a monogamous relationship again. Marriage like ours isn’t legal anyway.”
“Why are you in a monogamous relationship with me?”
“Honestly, I do not know. Perhaps it was those meds they force fed me at Trinitas.”
The gang of men waited outside my room for a long time before they wandered off looking for someone else to do. I turned off the light in my room by pulling a chain of metal beads connected to a light bulb and cracked the door. Herds of bottoms paced nervously up and down the carpeted hallway, cock blocking my territory. Eventually they too disappeared into the playland of
Morris Baths.A stranger stood outside for at least 10 minutes trying to get a good look at what was inside my room. He teased me by securing his towel tightly around his mid-section to show off his prize. It certainly was worth a second glance so I pulled the door open a little more with my big toe. He couldn’t get a good look at me because my room was pitch black and the shadows offered me confidence and the pill that I was on made me feel incredibly irresistible.
The energy was so intense. I could feel my heart pound under my tight pectoral muscles which to me were just as succulent as the breasts of a woman in her 20s. I wetted my thumbs with saliva and rubbed my nipples while the stranger continued to show me what he had to offer.
He was about six foot tall with a full head of dreadlocks that touched his broad shoulders. Although I was waiting to be with the man I knew from the token booth at the subway station the stranger changed my mind quickly.
A Latino bottom swished by, sucking her teeth—upset that the handsome man with thick hair and big muscles was hovering outside room 9, my room—the place where the white bitch was waiting.
I placed my left foot against a two-by-four that ran down the plywood wall and pulled the door the rest of the way open with my right. Although my towel still protected me from total nakedness, the tall dark man was able to see my prize as I lifted my right leg and contorted my body to the shape of a can opener.
The rooms of Mount Morris Baths are like hen houses. Chicken wire lines the ceiling and only a thin strip of plywood separates each room. It’s quite easy hearing what goes on next door. Above the wire is a dark empty space that seems to reach deep into the heavens. The area above is filled with lots of cobwebs which obviously do not capture insects, but rather the moans of men.
I shut the thin door to my room and crawled onto the bed. I could not believe the token booth clerk from the 125 Station stop on the ‘A’ train was sitting in the television room. I never would have guessed that he was gay. Perhaps he wasn’t, maybe he was what they call ‘straight trade’ in the community– predominately heterosexual men with girlfriends or wives and a taste to let loose from time to time in places like Mt. Morris. There were lots of guys from New York Sports Club also hanging out there. It did not surprise me that those tramps were roaming around in the secretive vampire bath.
Having ‘been around’ and explored just about every worm in the big bobbing apple, I knew it was foolish to quickly pick a dude to pull inside my shelter to feast upon. All the tops know the bottoms and the butch keep an eye on all the ass activity that goes on in steam rooms and small wooden places with tiny mattresses.
Despite the fact that everyone is gathered for the ultimate in promiscuity, the dominant of the gay sex likes ‘first-pickings’ of bath house patrons, just like straight men do with their wives or prostitutes at other kinds of hen houses. There is something incredibly innocent about men who use their cocks to mate– they honestly believe that their peckers are all that is needed to satisfy ‘servers’– throw that dick just right and they are yours, they often believe.
Once one has been ‘had’ at Mount Morris, the fun ends fast. You better get a nut, otherwise, it may be hours before the tops forget that you have been in there for hours and was done by Christopher, the 12″ basketball player from the courts of Morningside Heights– nobody wants sloppy seconds, especially from a man whose anus has been dribbled up and down upon.
An insatiable bottom can sometimes hurt the feelings of stiff men especially when he starts messing with multiple partners on the same night. It sometimes becomes a competition among the tops when a hot, bubble-butt bottom walks into the place, not to mention a white one. The game is basketball of the flesh!
I was saving myself— for what exactly I did not know. How did I let my roommate talk me into coming here? Oh that pill. Yes, that pill he gave me. I’m feeling so fuzzy. Let me take a peek out that door.
There they stood– at least five of the guys from the television room. A little down the carpeted hallway the guy from the token booth at 125th patiently waited to be invited in. That’s was the piece I wanted first, there in my Harlem candy store.
I smiled at the five butch, black vampire tops– giving them a look to imply that they would have to wait their turn.
The token booth guy was playing hard to get and so was I.
We waited at least an hour for the Pakistani clerk at Mt. Morris Baths to check us in. We had to turn in a form of identification and at least a $5 deposit which the man behind the counter sealed inside a plastic bag. He asked us to initial the bag with a magic marker. Anthony assured me that we would get the deposit bag back when we checked out and turned in our room keys. The hairy clerk handed me several condoms and two cute tubes of lubricant. I thought that was really nice.“Trick-or-treat,” I said to the man behind the counter as he buzzed me into the main floor of Harlem’s best kept secret.
We could have gotten in earlier if we had settled for a ‘walk-in room’—one of those closet like spaces in the back with no bed. I reminded Anthony that I like to lay out while having sex and doing it while standing up was primitive and if I wanted to screw a dozen men that way, I would have saved my $22 and gone to Central Park for Halloween.
Anthony vanished into the crowds of men roaming the carpeted hallways before I could ask him his room number. It’s best to leave friends in places like that—what we men do there isn’t always something one wants to write home about.
Whatever that was that Anthony had me take earlier in the evening was kicking in and taking hold of my sanity fast. I felt absolutely flawless. My skin was sparkling and my muscles were still pumped from a workout that morning.
I wanted all those Black men sitting in the television room to come and rub me down. I quickly wrapped a towel around my 28” mid-section and headed towards to soda machine which sold ice cold bottled water for $1 each. I purchased four bottles because I was as thirsty as a camel who had just found an oasis.
The men started laughing.
“What’s so funny?”
“Are you thirsty?” A dark skin man wearing Timberland boots and a white towel asked me.
I didn’t say a word. I quickly ran to the far end of the hallway where my room with fresh sheets and lubricant awaited.
My roommate Anthony Owens invited me to go trick-or-treating with him on Halloween night of 2001. We put on our costume- selves and headed down to the Mt. Morris baths in Harlem. The Twin Towers were recently extinguished and we were very depressed and needed some strange. “Oh child, if you think the Rambles in Central Park is something, you need to come with me over to Park and 125th. Girl, you will not believe how much jail- trade comes into that place on a Saturday night. They’ll go nuts over that big white bootie of yours over there. Here, take one of these and we’ll leave in an hour.”Anthony was a lover from my twenties but we gave up our lust after the third decade rolled around. We decided to remain friends instead of having such intense sex all the time. I asked him to be my roommate when I moved into a two- bedroom apartment in a brownstone up in Harlem.Finding and keeping friends and roommates like Anthony Ownes in gay New York is hard to do. They are like bobbing for apples in ice cold water and often slip from our teeth if we bite in too far. Both Anthony and I went from door to door all our lives, ringing bells and begging for treats from strangers. Living together in a haunted Harlem house as former lovers offered all the comforts of a loving family without the judgments.Soon after I dumped him and cut him off in 1996 he became depressed and an absolute tramp– running from bed to bed and bush to bush in search of the candy- like love he found in me. When we lived together as roommates in our 30s, we didn’t screw, but rather, spent our time under the same roof competing and trying to out-do one another by finding the hottest ‘trade’.
“Anthony– the next time you drag a hairy Puerto Rican up in here clean out the drain in the bathtub. It’s disgusting.”
“What about that cat of yours? She leaves hair everywhere, especially on my clothes.”
My Bath House Book….
My sight-seeing adventure to the Dachau Concentration Camp was just as exciting as seeing the Berlin Wall. I’ve seen it all in life– nothing moves me anymore– even Nazi prisons didn’t phase me at 18.
A group of guys from the barracks and two soldier girls decided to take a taxi down to the Ansbach baunhauf and catch a train to the World War II landmark. There were six in our party all together.
Two of my bunkmates, Sterek and Tamburro wanted to see the Nazi prison camps. I wanted to see the Concentration Camps. Tamburro’s girlfriend, PFC Masano came along as did my Black girlfriend, Lisa Payne.
It was a little silly hanging out with my fellow soldiers in our civilian clothing. Working together in uniforms offered no room to show our true colors. Sterek was an ex-punk rocker dude from L.A., Tamburro was an Italian from Pittsburgh, and I of course was just a hick white boy. My girlfriend Lisa was from Harlem. Lisa bought me all my civilian clothes– cool hip Black duds that the brothers back in New York sported.
While heading south with my five friends dressed in civies, I realized that if it were ‘real life’ I wouldn’t be hanging out with those people, but given the circumstance, there we were, out to ‘party’ together and to explore the country of West Germany aboard a timely train.
Lisa insisted that just the two of us share one of the private cabins on the German train. The other four soldiers in our party were in the room next to us. The small compartments were cool– pull the curtain closed, open up the booze and kick back for a while.
“Tickets please,” the conductor requested as Lisa pulled her black hand from inside my 501 jeans. The man dressed in blue mumbled something in disgust and Lisa screamed at him– “You want some of this Black pussy? Mother fucking kraut!” She shouted while grabbing her crotch like a dude.
I wish that conductor would have saved me and asked that we move to the cabin with our friends, but he didn’t. He was turned- on. I didn’t know what he was saying in German but Lisa did. The conductor ignored the fear in my eyes like the citizens of Germany when they heard rumors of concentration camps a long time ago.