The way Wojnarowicz writes about desire as something connected to everyday experience, how driving becomes sex becomes imagination becomes intimacy becomes loss, and how reading his words the first time freed me to imagine my desires that way too. The way you turn the page past the rest stop and the silhouette of a man, to an image of a guy jerking off in the top left corner of the page, maybe this is inside a truck but it looks more like a theater and the guy is holding a hat over his dick for cover. This guy is more heavyset and maybe it’s the rumpled shirt and is that a fireman’s cap, that same uncut dick I guess David liked uncut dicks.
I’m studying the way the brushstrokes are like magic markers and clouds and smoke blending black with grey, and it’s the next page that’s the first one that makes me think of my own desire, my own desire in a really big way as one guy leans forward to suck another guy off, that same chair yes it must be a porn theater, didn’t it say that on the back cover, this one’s hot the way one guy’s hand rests on the other guy’s head and the guy getting sucked is leaning back in something like pain, need and greed and here the background looks like smoke billowing up.
Cruising: the theater the truckstop the bathroom the park, wherever it makes sense and doesn’t make sense this hope for transcendence. That’s what David first gave me, a language for talking about my own desires that before I still thought pathological. Because when I went to those bathrooms as a teenager, I was trying not to feel, over and over again as these old guys, white WASPy guys like Ned with pasty skin and pink sweaty bodies, over and over again as these guys would suck my dick and I was really trying not to feel it, this drive I hated but couldn’t stop. And then afterwards, once I remembered about my father, I thought oh, I was trying not to feel, not to feel anything, I wanted to beat him, to win, to win over these desires that meant I was evil, deserved to die, I would never be anything else.
So when I first read David’s words, is it okay that I call him David, David because he feels close even though I discovered his words through his death. When I first read his words, these words about sex in the everyday I thought oh, this is what it could mean, should mean, I mean this is how I see desire too: something that can illuminate, a flash or explosion, a connection with this disconnected world, so rare, so possible, so hopeful, so empty.
And here David talks about looking at the light fixture on the ceiling through a puddle in between bathroom stalls, and I’m thinking about how I used to stare at the tiles on the floor of the bathroom at Mazza Gallery after school, looking for the flicker of the shadow that meant jerking off, that meant maybe someone would hand me a note on toilet paper wrapped around a pen, and we would head off to the back stairwell and down into the parking lot.
Because first I was trying not to feel it, and then I was aware of something else, I didn’t know what exactly, but there was a way that this secret world felt like a trap but also a place where I might escape.