Page 622 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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602                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            himself had made this exact trip many times by train, by car, and by slow
            boat down the Tiber.
               Outside the tiny deserted station, we climbed the pedestrian over-
            pass, and through the pine trees saw Ostia Antica spread out before us:
            a once busy city abandoned in ruins. In its maze of empty streets, grass
            and ivy covered the brick outcroppings of Roman baths, merchant ware-
            houses, Agrippa’s theater, and ancient restaurants with inlaid floors of
            intricate black-and-white mosaics. It is a wild place where young men
            easily prowl at night, vandalizing this wall, stealing that statue’s hands.
            The Romans have so much antiquity that they select what to secure.
               Ostia, the first harbor for Rome, is no “perfect moment in time” like
            Pompeii because Ostia’s people drifted away as the mouth of the Tiber
            silted over and closed the port. We were alone; it was only the second
            day of spring and the summer tourist buses had not yet arrived. As if
            left behind centuries ago, gentle but wary dogs, the unpetted kind, the
            cruising kind who had gone back to nature, watched us making our way
            through the ruins. Had their eyes seen Pasolini? And Pelosi? Had they
            seen Mafiosi? Had they barked at the violence? Had they run in fear when
            Pasolini was run over repeatedly by his own car? Over our heads, huge
            jetliners roared in low over tall Corinthian columns to land one after the
            other at the new port, Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport.
               The perfect morning folded down under a March storm sweeping in
            from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Dark clouds, lightning, and chilly winds, but no
            rain, alternated with intense humid sunshine while the sky fifteen miles to
            the north hung unmoving and black with cold drizzle over Rome. Any gay
            man instinctively knows that the labyrinth ruins of Ostia have been a hot
            spot for cruising since its founding as a naval base in the third century BC
            to its demise as Rome’s commercial port in the third century AD. In the
            way that the abandoned West Side maritime piers along the Hudson River
            in New York became an equally abandoned orgy of industrial-strength
            outdoor sex in the 1970s, Ostia smacks of its own pagan roots as a port
            town filled with laborers, sailors, slaves, and prostitutes. On the very night
            that Pasolini was killed, the dilapidated piers, and the jeopardy of trucks
            parked near Keller’s leather bar in the West Village, were jammed with
            a thousand men, including Drummer readers and pickpockets and assas-
            sins, doing the same thing he was. The choreography of Pasolini’s night
            out cruising ended not in wonderfully anonymous sex but in the kind of
            murder that moralists figure is the luxury tax on the evolved state of being
            born gay.
               The barbaric attack against Pasolini remains mysterious because the
            suspicion is that Pino Pelosi was hired by the very kind of conservative

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