Made up a tumult that goes whirling on
For ever in that air for ever black,
Even as the sand doth, when the whirlwind breathes.
And I who had my head with horror bound,
Said, “Master, what is this which now I hear?
What folk is this which seems by pain so vanquished?”
— Dante, Inferno, Canto 3 —
STIGMA: Sexually Exploited Homeless Boys
And so it begins with this. It begins in hate. The extent to which they are hunted down and hated remains a re-education of what we call The Life. They can tell you about stigma. That strain is wet upon their lips at all times.
Stigma brings dramatic and immediate consequences to people just trying to live their lives.
But both village and tribal culture dictate that punishment for the breaking of taboos must go bone deep. I see it every day with them. Places they’re not much welcome. They cut their own hair.
They pair off. Who loves who, and who loves only himself.
All I can tell you is that people hate them. Who is there to love them; no we would deny them that fundamental validation. The human being seeks to be validated. It doesn’t really matter who she is.
They know more of love than the lovers in their homes and marriages and suits and houses in the suburbs and cars that go round and round, prowling. Married men want them more than anyone.
The kid is living on the street. He shits in a vacant lot. Sometimes he sleeps in an abandoned building. He’s sick a lot. He’s been turning tricks anywhere he can find them. A blow job is five bucks. He shoplifts. Skateboards and drugs. Vodka and tricks.
HIV is going to cost a whole lot more, a whole lot more than five bucks.
Smash Street makes art. Art heals. You don’t believe it. Actually, I think you do. You just don’t want to pay for it.
Or his HIV.
Often, you don’t even bother to
count them in all the academic sociology that never gets done because
your numbers are all bogus. Their invisibility will tip the boat, the
boatman, and all the poets of consequence over into the River Styx, and consequential to whom.
We have taken that strange plunge down the rabbit hole. No one has time for any bullshit. The here and now and survival is more compelling a place we focus on like a laser beam cuts a diamond. We build things here. In art. We mash it. And scratch it, And paint it. And dance it. And put music to it. And we take its photograph from a thousand and one different angles. Stigma only is.