The Long Hot Mad Nights of Summer

And then it was June, and then it was July. The corn grows tall, waving yellow tassels in the sweltering humidity.

CLUBBING - AUG 2000

... and the fireflies come out, winking in the heavy, dark night. I thrash around the bed restless in the heat. Perhaps I should read...or? I find my headphones and tune in to an AM jungle radio station beaming underground club music from somewhere in the UK. Leftfield, The Future Sound of London, Madonna remixes, 90s trance, rave, house, nu-disco, techno soundscapes...

Occasionally an Amish buggy with drunk teenager occupants blasting country-western music clip-clops by... Dad has settled in for the night so I am left to my own devices.
I pick up my well-read copy of A Capote Reader and toss it aside listlessly. It is too early.
I slip out of the house quietly to avoid evening prayers and navigate the interstate. A purple "beater stick" pulses to Faithless' "God Is a DJ'.

The cityscape glitters, laid out before me. Everything I ever wanted.

OUR HAPPY HOURS: LGBT VOICES FROM THE GAY BARS

The hole-in-the-wall gay bar is dark. A few men sit around watching QAF which will revolutionize our culture:


The DJ at Club #2 bathes the floor in neon colors. Shirtless Adonis mix cocktails and pour beer from behind the bar. I am now actually old enough to order whiskey and Cokes. 

AMONG THE LEAVES: QUEER MALE POETS ON THE MIDWESTERN EXPERIENCE

I shuffle on the floor to ATB and escape the clutches of a thirsty muscle queen, losing myself in the music. A known closeted preacher sits on the sidelines leering at me. He sends drinks to my table. I send them back. Back on the floor a stunning Latin dancer contorts to the beat, kissing me slowly to cheers and cat-calls around us...

"Get it bitch!"

"I want in on that!"

Surely I can't be the first Amish man to find this underground world...am I?
He drives us to his high-rise apartment in a flashy European sports car which purrs over rutted city streets. We sit on the balcony overlooking the city. He mixes drinks and plays electronica music.
I watch the late night traffic far below and imagine escaping my Amish life...

When he takes me in his arms I want more... Liberation.

I think about my praying father, my hostile family calling me a sinner and I feel cocky. I want to be in the city's embrace. At home I dive into my notebooks of scrawled poetry on these long, hot mad nights of summer... unbutton the shirt slowly. He likes that tonight.