Sunday, November 9, 2008

Disco Gets Me Down: Things I Miss, 6

I’ve long had mixed feelings about disco. Much of it’s great music that’s fun, upbeat, and uplifting, but I typically have a bittersweet feeling whenever I listen to disco, as it tends to evoke for me a generation of dead gay boys.

(Perhaps ironically, it was not the HIV that took so many of his generation but cancer that took my gay boy. Reginald was quite open about his HIV+ status from the time I met him, and so I always knew that down the road, serious health problems could be part of our relationship, especially since at the time I met him in late 1998, while protease inhibitors were a godsend for many with HIV, including Reginald, no one could say with certainty whether combination therapy would work well in the long term, as those drugs were still relatively new. As it turns out, Reginald never really had any problem with HIV. I do wonder if it contributed to some of the complications that ultimately allowed the cancer to take over after an initially good response to chemo – some of his doctors thought it probably did, others were less sure, though none of them thought it was a good idea to have HIV and cancer at the same time.)

Since Reginald died, my disco emotions have been amplified, and I’ve found it almost painful to listen to disco or most any other dance music. While it’s far from what I miss most with his loss, one thing I do miss is seeing him dance. As most who knew him well know, Reginald could dance like nobody’s business, and probably the most pleasurable thing about watching him dance was the look of sheer joy he had when dancing. Thinking about it as I write, I’m laughing with the joy of that memory and crying as I know I’ll never see him dance again.


scotland said...

Hey Roberto, Try some afro-beat for a pick me up! My big news, just in, is that I'm now on Myface or whatever that silly thing is called. I was looking to find out what became of O.J. Ekemode of the Nigerian All-Stars, and found his Page on Space Book, or whatever and said "Oh I want to be his friend in the worst way! Yeah, I signed on. The band under his influence just blew me away, when I danced that night at the Kachina in Taos taking me back to 1986 or so. We had come down off the snowy mountain at Lama Foundation, a whole van load of us ready to rock the 7 worlds as they floated on a corn chip in a perfect bowl of green chile. So alive welcoming and gracious,full of beat,beauty and sweet sweat! I only saw him play one other time, a summer parks concert In K.C. this time before a huge crowd, Now folks in that town are supposed to know a thing or two about Jazz and they do! So anyway, here are the all-stars playing away and O.J. takes a solo on his tenor. I'm not sure what the crowd thought. here is the band driving along at full force and O.J. is playing a string of very long held notes, no particular melody or rhythm was obvious. It was like Ornette Coleman stepping across space from star system to star and working out his own deep groove. Then intuition took over for my ears Suddenly I heard it, O.J. was quoting the lead from "Take the A Train" in a whole different time stream of musical values. Each compounding note just confirmed this connection and when he reached the last note I alone among the thousands jumped up and cheered. I can understand why no one got it, at the end of the last long note he just took the horn our of his mouth and looked at the audience who was looking back at him dumbfounded. I wasn't far from the stage,and O.J. saw me, he surveyed the audience,then reached high holding up his index finger as if to say only one, he made sure the audience got what he was indicating and then pointed it at me, turned took a breath and joined back with the bands groove. There's just friccin' soul in some people out there, that makes you feel connected to life. As I said, I'd really really like to be his friend. Who knows!

Also, you've again let me see something beautiful about Reginald's life,something that I knew reinforced his genius,his ethics,understanding and humor. Thanks?/Love scotland

P.s. they want me to verify the word Flevib,funny eh!

shine said...

best wishes

johnk said...

Dear Robert, As an inverterate dancer, i regret that i never had a chance to dance along with you both. Am one of the few who just recently heard of hia passing. Was lucky to have spoken with him early this year when i was hoping to have him as a featured poet of our Ojai Poetry Festival in May 2009. The Theme will be "Poetry as a way Out", in memory; and i will be reading his last works at our Favorite Poem Project at the art center in Feb. I miss him profoundly. John Kertisz, P/L emertitus, Venice CA, now in Ojai CA

Hedgie said...

I imagine that the holidays may be difficult for you, but know that there are those who think of you and Reginald and what you shared. Peace to you, and joy again.