The Roman Spring of Mr.. Stone



The Contessa provided me with—
More than just pretty Roman boys

Such an ancient city had many—
Vices and pleasures of the flesh

The usual hashish and cocaine—
Among the decadent things to enjoy

She even provided me with an—
Antique hookah to enjoy the delights

Of being a retired California caliph—
Or should I say a retired LA queen

My filmography is too filthy to bore—
You, my dear, so I simply shan’t

Other than to say that Vivien Leigh—
Captured my louche retirement well

What does an aging movie star do—
When her looks fail and roles disappear?


The immense stone staircase descended—
From the Trinita di Monte all the way

Down to the Piazza de Spagna where—
The derelict horde tumbled down all day

Urchin vendors of false American cigarettes—
Counting their wads of filthy paper in private

I found myself at the Via Veneto where—
American Express tourists moiled there

A sullen Piazza Trinity di Monte youth—
Waited underneath my upper windows 

My ancient palazzo at the top of the stairs—
Informed with the beauty of so many youth

The kind of male beauty celebrated by statues—
And sculptures in all the fountains of Rome

The dreadful poverty of his clothes and the—
Stealthy slinking waiting for me all the time

I was used to the Contessa at the nightclub—
With her usual coterie of young gigolo boys

This one though was rather uncouth & dirty—
A dark overcoat and no shirt beneath


I tossed down the keys to my apartment—
Wrapped in a white silk lace handkerchief

His face became suddenly alert as if that’s—
Exactly what was waiting for forever

In my living room his mouth tightened—
Secretly fearful of appearing shameful

Then taking off his overcoat revealing his—
Body that had been hungry for many days

It was nothing new to the youth of Rome—
And nothing new to me by that time either

We were both surely starved for love but—
Perhaps I was even more starved than him

He knew I desired what all American tourists—
Were looking for, something young and pagan

Then nude like an erect Egyptian obelisk—
His smile like cryptic old but new engravings

My ancient palazzo apartment had probably—
Known the grandeur of how many such moments?

I was trying to forget Paolo’s lost male beauty—
No longer so alluring to me since the nightclub

But here in Rome I was just another old ruin—
The gift of a merciful kind of dissemblance


I avoided all the other tacky ogling Americans—
Their boring tongues inclined to uncouth gossip

Their eyes much too greedy & overly instinctual—
Revealing too closely my own gay desperation

Usually I didn’t chat with the lewd Contessa—
Business was business & friendship was put aside

I dealt with her like I dealt with American Express—
Basically because she could be overwhelming

She had a way of cutting through all my rather—
Paralysis and defenses, requiring that I surrender

It used to be only my hairdresser knew it all—
But now it was the Contessa who knew me too well

Certain things had to be discussed and arranged—
Things in my life that nobody ever shall know

There were times in my life that grew clouded over—
Bored with myself with a sense of gay unreality

My rational will or what passed for it back then—
Turned to a kind of drifting, drifting vulnerability

Tricking indirectly saved me there in Rome—
I needed a procurer as well as a handsome boy


So I said to the Contessa: “Yes, my dear—
Please come over this afternoon to my apartment”

“We can talk, I have so much to tell you”—
But then I got frightened of exposing too much

It grew even worse when the Contessa showed up—
With none other than an old dying queen I knew

Star of James Whale’s campy “Bride of Frankenstein”—
Ernest Thesiger slithered into my living room

As if I were an aging Elsa Lanchester old friend—
In need of a boring Boris Karloff for a hot date

And then Colin Clive, Una O’Connor and—
Valerie Hobson and Dwight Frye showed up

As if I needed to be reminded of Hollywood—
Or worse Norma Desmond & dreary Sunset Blvd

I simply sat there in a sheer state of shock—
The Contessa sneered at me as if I were trash

She’d intended to cultivate a choice clientele—
To get rich quick with old Hollywood queens

But the way Miss Thesiger obscenely leered at me—
The more it made me feel like a dirty old man


Lotte Lenya was grotesque enough, my dears—
As if I needed to be rudely reminded of yet

Another unendurable face lift here in Rome—
In this three thousand year old ancient city

How old was I just a mere fifty or so—
Compared with the ancient grandeur of Rome

The only difference being that as Rome aged—
Its beauty and grandeur got more magnificent

While just look at me languishing at the party—
Full of other ancient decaying Hollywood wrecks

Leering Baron Thesiger posing as Dracula—
Feeding off the young male hormones of hustlers

Screaming, shrieking Senor Una O’Connor—
At the precipice of the infernal Pit of Despair

Reaching out to grasp the gnarled dick of—
None other than the Frankenstein nude monster?

Colin Clive in his most seminal, memorial role—
Leaning back against the steel operating table

Having an orgasm while gasping indecently—
“It’s ALIVE, it’s ALIVE!!! The THING is ALIVE!!!”


“Go away, go away, all of you!!!” I shouted—
“And take your female pimp Contessa with you!!!”

Miss Thesiger was shocked, simply shocked—
Never had she been spoken to so rudely

The Contessa in her mink with blue tiara—
Sneered at me cynically saying “Wunderbar!!!”

And then suddenly I was alone with myself—
The last person in the world I wanted to be with

Standing on my balcony in my loneliness—
Gazing down from the balustrade high above

Down there the reticent shadowy youth—
Standing alone looking up sadly at me

He’d been waiting for this moment of time—
When I became disgusted with everybody

Knowing I needed something less chic—
Less knowingly sophisticated and expensive

And I saw him pick up my lace handkerchief—
With the palazzo keys dangling inside

And then he unlocked the door and closed it—
Standing there in the stillness of my life

He was shirtless beneath his worn overcoat—
Not an experienced jaded gigolo like Paolo

I needed somebody naïve and naked—
Somebody to give me back my dignity

Even though it was impossible of course—
I could try to start all over again perhaps


I was a rather successful Fag Poet—
The male chic lit genre was my specialty

My books dealt with the hardly cataclysmic—
Events in the gay world, the usual boring stuff

Any lingering traits of drag or effeminacy—
I tried to efface by foolishly butching it up

Unfortunately what came out of my mouth—
Was more like a screamy drag queen lament

Especially with pearls and a taffeta dinner gown—
I ended up rather trashy transvestite for all

I abhorred provoking visible and knee analysis—
Which made my poetry a rather hesitant horror

Despite being the Poet Laureate of Topeka—
I simply had to flee from it all back then

That’s how I happened to meet the Contessa—
At a cocktail party on a terrace one evening

Flattering looking in the shadows, still she—
Had the face of a vulture or chicken hawk

Peering from the edge of an awful cliff—
With a strange sense of sensual doom

She knew the Roman panorama well—
Visible from the roof of all the palazzos 


She responded with skeptical nods & doubts—
Every word that I said as I was saying it

That look on the Contessa’s face so very knowing—
Knowing that I was lying about everything I said

It was too intimate and embarrassing for me—
A distasteful topic of lewd sexual matters

Writing about it was easy compared with—
Being in Rome where pleasure was business

The Contessa sized me up and pigeon-holed me—
She had Paolo picked out as just my type

Sullen, vain, always absorbed with himself—
I was just a typical fag tourist who pay for it

I didn’t need some precious little Romeo—
Slithering under the sheets wanting money

So she set me up with a smooth, disgusting—
Vain hustler obviously in love with himself

He made an unhappy impression on me tho—
He smiled with a comic grimace of disgust

Another spoiled famished American faggot—
I could hear him say to himself immediately


Did he pretend to want to avoid copulation—
Setting the stage for me to drag him off to bed?

He always acted like I could simply drop dead—
But afterwards he was ready to be paid well

The party had a sort of pretend elegance—
Stately queen and a cute epicene dandy

It made me want to escape but wasn’t that—
Why I’d fled to Rome to get away in the first place?

I tired of chastising myself so mockingly—
With such cruel clarity as I grew older

As a lady of leisure and some wealth—
I came from a society that disguised old age

While here in Rome everything was ancient—
I could disguise my fading life all the ruins

Here in Rome decay brought no scornful pity—
Instead it was regarded in wonder and awe

This crumbling golden antiquity of a city—
Meant renewal for me rather than senility

I didn’t care if the New York Times critics—
Were snickering at me in their gossip columns


I got rid of them like shedding a snake skin—
Infatuated by a series of young Roman studs

My female-pimp Contessa of the gigolo clique—
Busy even though she hid behind a fake title

But there was so many Contessa-pimps in Rome—
There were many down there in Capri as well

Some were dowdy and wicked old queens—
Down and dirty schemers like Lotte Lenya was

It was the Drifting I hated so very much—
Drifting without a reason to keep living

Oh I could insist on some literary reason—
Something more plausible, more writerly

Yes, there was so much traveling to do—
The momentum of Drifting that got me here

Finally I ditched the expensive Contessa—
I felt myself shuddering with self-disgust

The party of sycophants was simply over now—
I had had a moment of queer clarity at last


Writing saves me from obsessive fear and guilt—
It may be said that my work is my freedom

A permanent struggle to overcome those traumas—
By making fiction out of them, it’s simple

I’ve always felt myself a dweller alone—
In Hart Crane’s “Broken World” full of fear

All the personal and social sins that render my—
Infernal falsity because of the cruelty, violence

Corruption that makes it a broken, shattered—
World and now the fear of old age and decay

I’ve always been one of the “peculiar people”—
The unprotected, the innocently sincere

The injured, the estranged, the queer—
The defenseless, the abandoned, the maimed

I’ve tried to redeem myself somewhat because—
I am one of them, the lost, the broken, the gone

I too have felt the scorn, indignation and the—
Indifference as well as all the misunderstanding

Not being one of the safe and sane ones—
The comfortable majority, so I fled to Rome


“My God!!!” Paolo said, “Have you forgotten?”—
What Paolo? I said, surprised there at the table

“You invited the Contessa and some friends—
To look at some of our home movies tonight”

I invited? I paused there at the little café—
“You invited” or “I invited” what’s the difference?

“We must hurry anyway, Mr. Stoned—
They’ll be at your apartment very soon now”

What rudeness and indignity I said to myself—
Only Paolo could get away with such insolence

The Contessa and all those old fading queens—
The arrogance of Paolo surely knew no bounds

Sacrificing my dignity like Signora Coogan—
Simply used by the beauty of Paolo’s abuse

And now was it my turn to be the Sucker—
An aging doting Juliet taken advantage of?

In the car’s rearview mirror I gazed at—
The rapacious glare, not luster, in my eyes 

Beneath the diffuse mess of my quaint toupee—
How could I face the pearl-draped mob?


Letting them discover my carefully guarded—
Most intimate sexual secrets about myself

The indignity of being leered at and overwhelmed—
With the shame of being in love with Paolo

Now as the car returned us to my apartment—
Paolo suddenly leaned over close to my cheek

Pressing his moist young pouty lips against—
My blushing nervous distraught face

I grabbed him between his legs hissing quickly—
“But I’m not Signora Coogan, my dear Paolo!!!”

“I’m not that wretched old fool of a woman—
With a wig and only two teeth in her head”

“I’ve got more than just my money, Paolo—
Surely that’s not just all you wanted from me?”

My degree of intensity alarmed him—
He tried to twist my hand away from it

His tender young Italian manhood that had—
So seduced me with its dark curly pubes

“Look at me, Paolo,” I pleaded insanely—
“What for?” he said, “You’re just crazy!”


And so it happened, it finally happened—
I’d lost all my dignity after all, my dears

I was frantically grabbing his svelte crotch—
When the car arrived back at the apartment

The car turned up the Via Gregoriana—
Sobbing I let go to face the creepy guests

The car arrived at the gate of the palazzo—
I tried to regain my composure once again

It wasn’t a dignified subject but it—
Always seemed to rear its ugly head

It was the worst thing about love between—
The very young and an aging American fag

There was this terrible loss of dignity—
It almost seemed that it was called for

The Contessa & the Baron & Senora Coogan—
Were waiting like three lean starved vultures

A young film actress had been brought along—
To serve as bait for Paolo’s sexual interests

When she left right away, Paolo soon—
Followed her like a dog out the door

I was simply furious feeling put upon—
And set-up by the conniving scheming Contessa

It was the Contessa’s revenge for not—
Getting a dinner invitation like she’d expected

And not getting the $1000 loan she’d tried—
To milk out of me for her pimp services

Brandy had already turned her tongue into—
A viper’s wicked bitchiness to get even

The Baron was oblivious as usual to this—
His frozen stupid Doktor Pretorius stare

As always stilted, aristocratically ersatz—
Looking down at me as Paolo’s whore

He winked at the Contessa and smirked—
The poor simpering Miss Coogan oinked

Her upturned nervous nostrils trembling—
Her as always wounded snout all aquiver 

If she couldn’t have the handsome Paolo—
Then she was happy that I couldn’t either


Instead of getting angry at Paolo for exiting—
This stinky soiree of sagging, aging guests

I simply let their hushed, dirty glances—
Gloat with vapid excitement & Voyeurismo 

They’d created just the right mood—
The one they could gossip about later

But I didn’t give a repeat performance of—
When I lost my calm dignity with Paolo

Why cast my pearls before swine when—
It was what they were simply dying for

It didn’t surprise me any longer at all—
Recoiling in shock and horror at the scene

At first the feeling of being betrayed—
By Paolo in a sea of evil famished sharks

And then, all at once, a flood of light—
Swept me as I turned off the projector

The cute family movie of Paolo and me—
Having a happy time on the palazzo patio


The eavesdropping, beady-eyed Contessa—
The aging decrepit Baron with his death rattle

The confused as always stupid slut Senora Coogan—
Dabbing her eyes with a ratty silk handkerchief

Wishing she could have had pretty boy Paolo—
Rather than me or the young film actress

The Contessa uttered a startled gasp—
The others drew back guiltily in their chairs

I had simply turned on the living room lights—
Lit a cigarette and told them to all get out

The Contessa dropped her drink on the floor—
Suddenly consumed with a fit of nervous asthma

The Baron stood up nervously stammering—
Senora Coogan gulped and choked to death

“You heard me, now fucking get out!!!”—
Their discomfiture was rapidly increasing

Senora Coogan reached for another chocolate—
Only to discover the bowl was totally empty


In a desperate maneuver the Contessa—
Attempted to get up & instead fell on the floor

Then all at once I heard myself speaking—
“Get out, all of you, and take her with you!!!”

The Contessa could shed only one crocodile tear—
It was as much as her wounded pride could do

A series of mechanical apologies & goodbyes—
As the uninvited guests scuttled for the door

Finally at the door the Contessa turned—
“Wunderbar!!!” I said, beating her to the punch

She slammed the door & I could hear them—
Shambling down the hallway gossiping loudly

It had been like some summer scene from—
Some horrible Terme di Carcalla play

I went out to the terrace and then—
Below the sullen young Italian boy stood

I felt suddenly rather adroitly swank and—
Free of that bloodsucking mob of leaches 

I was rid of that female-pimp and her—
Coterie of slutty young male marchettas


I was free of that crummy cesspool—
I knew I ought to leave Rome soon

Surely my permesso di soggiorno—
Wouldn’t be renewed any longer anyway

”Oh Paolo!!!” I mocked myself—
What an ugly little rotten mean hustler

There were people with ears & tongues—
But I no longer cared about it anymore

I’d been puffed up with my own—
Self-importance and need for youth

But Rome was a very old City—
Three thousand years old and me?

How old was I? Fifty years old?—
Even that was a lie I could live with now

I had lost all of my supposed dignity—
My Paolo affair had been my undoing

I’d been caught up and swept away—
By the tempest and fury of the day

Now I’m drifting again, drifting I said—
But better to drift than sink in slime


Drifting over the ancient City—
Looking down at all the palazzos

Everything was drifting anyway—
An enormous drifting of time and space

Why should anything be fixed—
Oh yes, that Egyptian obelisk boy

Standing so erect and still down there—
He wasn’t drifting very much at all

I drifted out of the living room—
Out into the magenta Roman night

I paused at the balustrade looking down—
Down there he was still waiting for me

I tossed down my keys wrapped—
In a white virgin lace handkerchief 

It fell down, drifting down—
Hit the curb, slid over to his feet

He picked it up, opened it—
Saw the keys glistening inside

He looked straight up at me—
And went for the palazzo entrance

I paused briefly on the balcony—
Directionless and drifting

I looked at the Roman night sky—
Giving the impression of suddenly

Pausing briefly in the drifting—
I smiled to myself and whispered

After what I’ve been through—
I’ll risk getting my throat slit…

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