“Krome was set up on an abandoned missile base in the middle of a swamp. It’s big enough to hold about a thousand people, but they’ve got to have twice that many there now. All kinds of human rights violations. Not enough toilets, not enough water. These people haven’t done anything, but they’re being treated worse than convicted criminals. They even put hormones in the food to keep the men from rioting. It’s a concentration camp. You’ll see,” he promises me.
I run for president the same way. Every few weeks, I go to St. Mark’s Church (a half block from my house), mimeograph leaflets, and stick some in my attache case. Whenever it comes up in a conversation that I’m running for president, I take one out.
When we finally reach the street, it’s like moving into the current of a mighty river. We pass the White House, the Treasury, the Justice Department, all the cornerstones of empire that remind us this is Washington, where decisions are made that affect everyone, the way one careless moment, one broken promise — one broken condom — can affect your whole life.
I’m also a fag. Which means that I regard my accomplishments and abilities and virtues with considerable irony. Not because I think any less of myself in the abstract, but because I know how little my accomplishments and abilities and virtues protect me from self-doubt.
The night of the day that Dr. Martin Luther King was shot, my parents had gone to the art museum in Cleveland to see a stunning painting by Titian of Mars and Venus, a fat naked Venus and a Mars clad in Renaissance armor. But instead of eating a fancy dinner or making love in a motel room, they were frantically trying to book a flight back to Newark, New Jersey, which was burning to the ground.