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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 33

                   A Thousand Light Years Ago:

                          by David Hurles, Old Reliable

                He haunted the sleazy grind houses on Market Street. Blacks
                smoked. Mexicans sat singly in blue watchcaps. Unstoppable
                cocksuckers roamed the balconies. His feet stuck to the floor…
                He paid to intensify reality in images so big and bright even the
                blind could see.
                     — Some Dance to Remember: A Memoir-Novel of San
                    Francisco 1970-1982, Jack Fritscher

                 . . . . On Market Street in dewy San Francisco, from Seventh
                Street to the magazine store at Powell, as they stand perhaps in
                the drizzle, fugitive spirits will respond to that now faint message
                soon to become drummingly insistent [italics added]
                     — City of Night (Part Four), John Rechy (1963)

             “What a man knows at fifty is incommunicable to a man of twenty,” said
             Adlai Stevenson. If he had won the 1956 presidential election, the 1960s,
             1970s, and 1980s would have surely looked different to those who were
             part of those times. In their recall they are also changed from the times we
             know we lived through, because we have lived more, and the layers of time
             change the texture of our recall. We are faithful to those years, knowing
             they will never come around again, still not quite convinced there were
             such times. Time toys with us. At twenty a man might think he can see
             fifty in the distance, but there is no possible way to suspect what lands he
             will pass through on the way to fifty. Most twenty-year-olds eventually
             reach fifty, or worse, wondering how they got there so impossibly fast,
             question both the math and the justice of the situation.

             HURLES IN THE CITY, A BOY

             I was nineteen the year City of Night aroused me with incredible stories
             I could only hope were true. The next summer, in 1964, Life magazine
             tightened the knot in my stomach with its expose of gay life in the big
             cities, in San Francisco. Right before my eyes, two pages wide, was a dark

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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