Provincetown IV: Summer 2005-2010

Provincetown

Summer 2005-2010

 

Province Lands Road

STUARD and I are walking through the Center of Town and he says, quite casually, “Notice anything missing?”
I look over at the Crown and Anchor, rebuilt after the fire some years earlier; I look left toward Galadriel’s, the Provincetown BookShop, Adams Pharmacy…
I haven’t spotted anything different. And STUARD answers his own question, prodding me to awareness:
“NO GAY PEOPLE!!!” elongating the phrase into eight syllables for emphasis on the obviousness of it.
I look around me.
And for the first time since we’ve been walking, I notice the crowd on Commercial Street is almost entirely composed of Heterosexual Couples with 2.2 children and 2.5 cars in their garage back home — the kind of people from Red States who for as long as I could remember were a shadowed minority here and only passed through this place for the express sole purpose of purchasing those exact items of Salt Water Taffy and Fudge.

Now don’t get me wrong!
I like Straight People.
Some of my Best Friends are…
And besides, growing up, the Catholic Church taught me that the people are fine! It’s only the act that repulses me! (That’s what they said about being Gay, so I figure Goose-Gander-Fuck ‘em!)
Strange to articulate any of this.
I have straight friends who have been coming to Provincetown longer than I have,
Who helped in the AIDS Crisis,
Straight families I brought here.
But they were guests in my World
And suddenly, tonight, I am feeling a guest in my own.

The Magic of this place lies in its True Diversity––
Gay and Straight,
All Colors,
All Ages,
All Creeds,
All Genders,
Gathered together at the Ocean, for Healing…

But what is this all too familiar tremor
Of their picking and choosing what they would like from our Culture…
Somewhere in time when this was a Portuguese Fishing Village,
There was, no doubt, great consternation over how the town was changing.
Why were all these Playwrights and Artists descending upon our home
A Drag Queen Parade to the center of town?
A week long Carnival?
There must have been misgivings and fear of the town changing and culture being lost!
But no one made a conscious effort to annihilate anyone.
The Portuguese fishermen still launch their boats in the morning.
Today, their wives’ & mothers’ Brobdingnagian photographs greet each ship at Port
And the CABRAL Family still owns property in town.

“They Also Faced The Sea” OutDoor Art Exhibit…Image from the Internet

Even Before that,
Before the Pilgrim Monument was there,
There were no doubt Indigenous Peoples roaming this land,
Greeting the Pilgrims when they arrived.
Manhattan Island was bought for $24
I wonder what was paid for Cape Cod.
So cultural annihilation is possible,
And that is my underlying fear.

My friend FLO and I at BUBBALAS during a Nor’Easter — One of my Straight Friends whose been coming to PTown longer than I have

Years ago with my Friend’s Kids on the Porch of the Kite Shop

The straight people in my Life would be fine with me going to a Gay Beach,
or more specifically with there being a Gay Beach.
They would likely go to Race Point with their Kids and meet me for dinner later at The Lobster Pot, or we would go to a neutral mixed beach together.
This place is still Beautiful and even with all its concerns, the Gay Community here is present and strong and, well… Concerned!
And ultimately a Concerned Community is a good thing!

Way down Herring Cove Beach by what only a few know to be named “Wood End,” you find Gay Men.
Many, Many Gay Men.
Nude!
Free!
Out in the open!
Expressing OurSelves!
Loving Our Bodies!
Who we are as God created us
The Ocean waves drowning out the distant cry of the so-called Christian so-called Right.
Men wandering freely in the Tall Grass of the Marshes
“Free” as in Given Openly from my Heart, without boundaries,
Open and Loving and the Way this Country was founded for every citizen to be!
The way that Jesus died for,
and the way the Truth makes us…
Free.
Love.
What a Glorious thing!
But in this last year or two or three,
Heterosexual couples are roaming Herring Cove Beach,
Sometimes with Children.
They are Welcome, of course,
while at the same time one can’t help wondering what in Hell they’re doing here!
They claim to not want us in their St. Patrick’s Day Parade and yet they just cannot seem to stay away!
And earlier this summer,
Lying on this beach as I have for nearly 20 years
In celebration, Singing of MySelf —
Granted, not the body it was 20 years ago —
Yet Whole and at One with God and the Ocean, as it has always been,
A blonde man in a red polo shirt and khaki shorts approaches me, squats down next to me, and flashes a badge.
“Sir, I’m a Federal Marshal and this is Federal Property. It is illegal to be Nude on this Beach. I’m going to have to issue a citation.”
He isn’t an asshole by the way. He is quite nice about it.
He is Aryan and somewhat charming, like the Nazi guard in the last scene of CABARET who asks Cliff, “What? You did not find our country Beautiful?”
Just following orders.
Even says that to me. “Look, I want you to know that we’re patrolling this area quite a bit now, as we’ve been receiving a lot of complaints from Families!”

Families?
When I was a kid my family went on Vacation together.
We even came to Cape Cod!
But my Father didn’t particularly seek out the sections of Gay Beaches really far down at the end where the Gay Men were lying out Naked for us to have a Picnic.
We did not venture into the Marshes to inspect just how “family” an area it was!
…“Family”
…“Federal”
Well, I guess we know where we stand with this current Governmental Administration
Even here on this little strip of Beach — a dot, a sandbar….
Undercover Federal Marshals are seeking us out!
Twenty years ago, Federal Marshals did not go Undercover here.
But that was back in the day before those who biologically identify as ‘Families’ decided that one beach was not enough for them.

Lesbian Bars have begun to proliferate, bespeaking a Lifestyle change, even within the Gay Community.
In addition to the Pied — which I feel certain used to be called The Pied Piper, back when JLo was called JENNIFER LOPEZ — there is Vixen, and there are one or two others which don’t last very long, but they are there now!
The Lovely House with the white porch is now Chadington’s, another upscale Housewares store… something even more expensive.
P-Town Pulp opens along Commercial Street, and there is plenty of Gay Kitsch for sale… feels very much like Greenwich Village in the Eighties, and this town I have always Loved.
The Blue Light at the top of RICHIE CABRAL’s House still shines every night, though he’s been gone some ten years.

The Music is Changing.

I’m getting Older and now it seems you need to be even Skinnier!

 

Bike Racks at the Herring Cove Beach Trail Entrance

The Herring Cove Beach Trail now has a sign at its widened entrance,
and bike racks,
and ropes,
and markers along the path…

Along Province Lands Road, there are large sandbags by the Highway.
Often this Summer, one could see little Children climbing the Dunes and rolling back down over and over, while their Parents laugh and clap in giddy Delight, holding Video Cameras.
The making of Beautiful Summer Memories:
The erosion of our already perilously jeopardized National Seashore.
They are out there every morning!
Where is the Federal Marshal in the bright red polo shirt and khaki shorts? Down at Wood End, no doubt,
Busting Gay People and keeping the Federal National Seashore safe for “Families.”

And tonight, some twenty years since I first arrived here, there are more of them than there are of us!
In fact, STUARD and I appear to be the only Gay Men on the crowded street this evening.
They are now the majority!

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