The Calls from County Jail

October 23, 2016

A true tale that I first posted on Reddit, in a forum asking “In the spirit of Halloween – Paranormal or not, what is the scariest, creepiest or most unsettling experience of your life?“)

Scariest experience (or at least one of my scariest) is going on right now. For the last two days when I come home, there are a bunch of messages on my answering machine from the same person, a collect call request from county jail. (BTW, this is a land line, I do not own a cell.) It goes something like this:

“Hello, this is a collect call from county jail, from…[then his voice, kinda raspy and deep: ‘Marco Espinosa’]…if you want to accept this call, press 1, if you don’t want to accept this call, hang up or press 2.”

The recording continues to explain various rules about collect calls from country jail, it just goes on for an insufferable amount of time, says something about if you’re a lawyer and do not want to have your call recorded, call this number [gives a 10 digit #], then rattles on about other stuff, including the option to press number 7 to block any more calls from county jail.

Of course, since these are messages already on my answering machine, picking up the phone to press 7 will get me nowhere. I don’t recognize the name, nor would I ever accept a collect call from county jail. I only have gotten such a call twice before, around eight and twelve years ago, and do not appreciate this new one at all. (One from a homeless person who did have my phone number, but I never told him to call me from jail, another was a wrong number, probably.) Very unnerving, especially since he’s been calling two times per day, and once late at night: 7:30 AM, 6:30 PM and 1:30 AM, respectively (and those are just rough estimates, he didn’t or doesn’t call right on the half hour).

The answering machine uses a chip to record, and is klutzy, in that you have to listen through the first 10 seconds of each message before you can skip to the next one (rather than hear it all the way through), or you’ll have to listen to them all over again–if even one of those messages was not played for at least 10 seconds–before you can press the “erase all messages” button. I have decided that, next time (though I hope there are no more next times), just to unplug the answering machine and plug it back in again which will delete all messages by default. Though since it doesn’t even come with a battery socket, I’ll have to reset the day, hour and minute each and every time. But I just won’t bother.

I hardly ever receive any phone calls (I have Lifeline service BTW, living on social security and no other income), but my brother from Long Island has been calling me now and then. Which means I’ll have to listen to each message, in case one is his. But I decide not to do that, it would be just too nerve-wracking. It’s times like these I wish my brother would use email to reach me…which I’ve suggested in the past, but he’s averse to Internet stuff. 70 years old, retired cop, a great man but set in his ways. His wife is very ill these days, and I feel for him. My own low income may force me to finally depart from my crummy SRO, due to gentrification or eviction ’cause the landlord’s getting out of the business, or (God forbid) fire. And I don’t even know if I can return to our family home–a humble ranch house built up a bit by my brother–after all these decades. For I am the black sheep, the weirdo, the one that everyone scapegoats whenever someone’s in a bad mood. I’d return a failure, nothing to show of my life victories in their Republican eyes.

I wouldn’t want to go back, anyway, as I’d then become absorbed by the Borg of hetero family values and become the stereotypcial gay uncle dedicated to enhancing the lives of his straight relatives, walking dogs, cleaning house, shoveling snow, planning parties, housesitting, babysitting and so forth. No more gay activism for this sorry soul stuck in a bland suburban region w/o a car or driver’s license. My only fulfilling outlet would be on the Internet. There are also the ungodly, hot and humid summers that would sap my spirit for almost six months each annum…and due to climate change, Long Island can only expect killer heat waves increasing each year, and more prolonged. Oh I’d be miserable! I would much prefer the icy winter all year long.

Then what if my brother poops out on me, and I am left stranded, no other relations caring enough to take me in? His second daughter is married into El Salvadorean people who are also Christian Evangelists. I can’t bear to go to anyone’s funeral, going to my brother’s is out of the question! What would they think of me, on top of everything else?

I have been in the habit these past 15 years or so of keeping my phone ringer turned to “off,” and my answering machine volume all the way down to “zero.” This is because, as a gay street activist, I have met numerous men down on their luck, some of whom turn out to be kinda disturbed and possibly dangerous, and others who are really nice dudes, but don’t seem to respect my request to not press my apartment building’s buzzer before 8 PM or after 11 PM. (Buzzer is connected to the phone.)

But even though I’ve had this same number since 1983, I get a wrong number once in a blue moon, and they can be pretty weird. Some from a stranger or messed up crazy just pressing buttons to try to get inside (I live on a very busy, main street, lots of foot traffic including bums.) So because of this, I keep the ringer and volume off, and just check the LED indicator on my answering machine to see if I got any calls, every hour or so. Which is frustrating, because I have four good friends whom I see a lot less, due to these strange calls that always start to occur whenever I decide that it’s okay now, to turn my ringer and answering machine volume back on. And you got it:

A good buddy I haven’t seen in more than a year, was back in town…I know because Donnie (that’s his name) buzzed me six days ago, and left a message. Two days later I decided that since no weird messages have been left on my answering machine for more than four months, it would be fine to put the ringer and volume back on. And that is when these county jail messages commenced, just two more days later! I really don’t want to miss out on seeing Donnie, he’s very sweet and good company…but I decided to go back to keeping all phone noises silent. Otherwise I’d have to be awakened every night from Marco Espinosa’s intruding run of unwelcome messages.

So for the past two mornings I don’t even bother to listen to the 20 or so messages left on my machine from the previous day and night…I just press the “listen to messages” button and let them all play through w/o hearing any of them. Once played through, I then hit the “delete all messages” button. What a hassle! That is why I finally decided that, starting today, I’ll just do the unplug/plug-back-in thingie, and be done with it. Not knowing if one or more of those calls was from Donnie or my brother, or perhaps from another person I like, and who is not an asshole.

Don’t know how this “Marco” got my number, it’s unlisted…though it may be one of those wrong calls that AT&T tosses in my direction, now and then. Perhaps he’s pressing “0” which is part of my number, instead of pressing “o”, or some other finger slip. But leaving a slew of attempted calls within the short span of 10 minutes suggests a desperate and pushy sort of personality…that’s not good. Why doesn’t he just call me once, for each of those three times per day, if he is a nice person? I also wonder:

What does he want…money? A place to crash or hide out? I am a poor person, thus not capable of providing him any help in any way, shape or form. I couldn’t even give him legal counsel or references, as I am largely alone in this world. Now elderly at 66, I realize I am prone towards ex-convict types who are known to seek out elderly queers to hole up and take advantage of. The last thing I need is some desperate bully robbing me of both sleep and finances…as well as winding up getting me evicted and even, possibly, arrested myself! Ah, the Castro, I am so sick of putting up with this crappy neighborhood, though I have accomplished much good over the decades. Enough is enough, leave me to my lonely pursuits, please. My days of street activism are long over.

Does he actually know who I am, through a mutual associate? Or has one of my enemies been handing out my number to troubled people in order to harass me? (This has happened before, though many years ago.) Is he gonna get angry at me for not picking up that phone, and track me down when he gets out? Where I live is very easy for anyone to find out, as I have occupied this edifice since 1983, my two windows face the main street, the building is not very secure, thus easy for anyone to slip in and out, especially since frequent building and service contractors leave the front gate ajar, for their convenience, often for an hour or more…and I am kind of notorious. And I do have enemies because of my decades of homeless outreach which sometimes involves confrontations with homophobes and other sorts of disturbed denizens who don’t like to see me on the streets at night, ’cause they like to think it’s their turf, even though they’ve only showed up a year or two ago, and I’ve been here since the Bronze Age.

Early this morning, BTW, around 6 AM, for some reason the ans. machine volume was turned up a couple notches and I heard Marco’s call again. So I picked up the phone and heard the recorded voice…but I already knew to press 7 to cancel any further calls. So I pressed 7, yet the recorded voice went on as if nothing happened, didn’t say anything like “Okay you pressed 7, you will receive no more calls from county jail.” Does this mean I must first wait as she drones on and on until she comes around to the “press 7” spiel before this will work? Am I cursed to have to put up with his message batches for God knows how long, that are blocking me from anyone who matters, reaching me?

Jeez, what a nightmare. And it’s still going on, AFAIK. Thank you for listening.


UPDATE 10/23/2016:

[–]keokutah – 2 points 15 hours ago:

I think all your questions could be answered if you just answered the phone and asked him what he wants. He’s in jail so it’s not like he can do anything to hurt you, and the calls are recorded so if he does threaten you they would know. And if you do feel like you are in danger, you can let the police know. Maybe it’s someone you know but the prison forces him to use his real name, and you know him by a false name?

[–]i-luv-ducks – 1 point 24 minutes ago:

I’d rather not, but thanks. Police can do very little, even if he threatens me. Picking up that phone can open up a can of worms that I’ll regret. So last night I was up when he began another string of calls…I held the receiver up to my ear until the recorded voice told me to press 7 to ban all calls from county jail. Then I pressed 7. Then the voice told me to punch in a 4 digit code, so that I could cancel the block in a future time, if I so wanted. Did that too.

A wave of relief swept over me, knowing that I’ll never be bothered again by such calls. But that relief was cut short, as his calls resumed a couple of hours later! This morning I arose to find six more identical messages on my answering machine, so I guess that “7” option is useless. So much for peace of mind. I know what to expect when I return home this evening. Happy Halloween. :(


UPDATE 10/24/2016:

Unplugging/replugging the answering machine does not remove all messages, just the date and time settings…how infuriating! So now I just turned off the answering machine and unplugged the telephone. After a week of remaining disconnected, I will resume phone and answering machine activity, to see if this “curse” has been lifted.

Donnie, where are you!

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On PTSD & Larry Kramer

July 5, 2016

Like the air we breathe, intense stress has become part of everyone’s life on this planet. This explains all the explosive violence ’round the world…and why I conclude it will lead to a sort of nervous breakdown for the entire species of man. You may not call it PTSD unless it manifests in the public eye as rage…but it leads to drug/alcohol abuse, bad tempers, ill health and broken friendships. For example, if a person is homeless more than a month or so, I’d say he or she has PTSD by default. Though not diagnosed as such, since medical care is beyond that person’s reach. The suffering and violence across Africa, for another example…well, no way PTSD is going to stand in the wings. I see homeless people, and those too poor to live in anything but derelict housing in bad neighborhoods, suffering from this or that malady, whether physical or mental. They are not classified as PTSD sufferers, solely because they do not belong to at least a reasonably affluent level of society, and thus are not classified by those well paid doctors and psychiatrists as suffering from PTSD. In fact, they are not counted at all. Not everyone may have severe PTSD, but they certainly have either mild or moderate PTSD.

Plug in my sensitivity chip? Ah, yes, I’m such a mean, cold spirited person, I don’t know why you even bother to communicate with me. Sensitivity chip, my ass. Where do you come up with such phrases…you sound like a new age armchair psychologist who watches Dr. Phil reruns all day long. Considering all the sacrifices I’ve made all my life on behalf of my gay brothers and sisters who are homeless or destitute in other ways, taking many risks that threaten my survival (including from affluent gays as well as hetero dipshits), and living hand to mouth for many decades in order to perform my good works than get absorbed by the capitalist Borg, working in a cramped office making another person rich…I really don’t see where you get off saying this. I get numerous threats on my life throughout each year, both online and offline for being such a bold, outspoken whistle blower for our lowest class sexual minorities. So I make a point of patting myself on the back now and then, since it’s so very rare anyone else does.

My latest whistle-blowing achievement is a piece I posted just yesterday, called “No PrEP for the Poor.” It’s about how our low income LGBT’s cannot afford PrEP, which is a drug that prevents, as well as halts and eradicates, AIDS. So while the rich in our community can live a good life w/o the debilitation that comes with untreated AIDS, the low income among us must continue to exist in a virtual 1980’s “gay plague” kind of world. See:

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/no-prep-for-the-poor/

Just before that piece, I released a related one, called “Expanded Medicaid = Sick Joke,” ’cause that’s what it really is for the low income. Yet our gov’t wants everyone to think that Obamacare is a godsend for the poorest among us…at least, in the blue states. And I gave /proof/ of my claims by providing links to appropriate resources. You mocked me by posting an “Obama is Satan” pic, which colors me as one of those right-wing nut jobs. Instead of taking a serious look at what I’ve claimed in these posts, you are like so many naive liberals who really don’t see the dirt piling around them, as a result of not just GOP treachery, but the duplicity by the Democratic Party, which is but a gutted out version of its once proud history. Here’s my Medicaid piece:

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/expanded-medicaid-sick-joke/

I know your Obama/Satan pic was in response to my original Medicaid rant, which I titled “Obamacare Defecates on the Poor.”

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/obamacare-defecates-on-the-poor/

Maybe that language was too much for you…yet that is a very good way of putting it. For it handed a death sentence to 10’s of millions of poor citizens, including myself…while the Democratic Elitists pat themselves on the back for what a “miraculous” success Is Medicaid.

I’m wondering if you’ve read any of my recent pieces about the attack on the poor and LGBT’s by both the RW and the progressive wing. Maybe so many folks like you, who have /some/ level of affluence that keeps the wolves at bay, are so shocked by looming specters of /genuine/ terror enveloping our society in greater proportion each day, that you cannot face the truth, and have become hypnotized into convincing yourselves that things aren’t really as bad as they are. Did you see my piece about Republican lawmakers proposing death to gays? Do you think I’m making this up? Here it is:

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/killing-gays-the-republican-agenda/

You and other naive liberals sure make my work an uphill climb that is far steeper than it should be. Bad enough I get ridiculed by the right wing for being an alarmist, and a deluded old fuk…but to have those on /my/ side (progressive and Democratic) do the same thing, is disgusting (to say the least). Let me tell you a secret about PTSD:

One can learn to harness this chaotic force to work in your favor, as a creative tool for righteous outrage. And that is what I have done. So enough of your flippant remarks (and here I’m not just addressing you, but the many others of your ilk whom I call “clueless liberals”): get off the pot pretending the poor and disenfranchised, especially LGBT’s, of our country, don’t really have it all that bad. For we are one step away from full blown holocaust. One may easily make a case that it’s already here, though in the form of a slow genocide. Slow enough, in fact, to make it easy for everyone to look the other way (and mock anyone who speaks out, such as yours truly)…as did the people in Germany as they saw Jews being shipped away by rail, to what they thought were neighboring nations and not (as it really turned out to be) concentration camps.

While I may keep a light heart and sense of humor most of the time, really, Marla, I deal with very serious issues. And some of your responses are grossly insensitive. Like so many on Facebook who prefer this space to be their frivolous getaway from life’s problems, and don’t really appreciate activists like me, who make their presence known. For the truly poor in these disUnited States can /not/ afford to participate in social media. In that way (among other ways), I am an anomaly.

In conclusion: I don’t think you’re that much in touch with the dark side of America, growing darker each day BTW, and seem to behave like things are far better than they really are. News flash: I think your own sensitivity chip needs some fine turning or (better yet) a total replacement. Maybe it’s just the battery, what do I know.

P.S.: I had a similar argument with another “clueless liberal” two months back…a gay, retired person living in Alaska, as it turned out. When I described the inequity of Medicaid, how it’s a death sentence for many poor folks, he told me to “get off the pity pot!” So I just ripped into him like nobody’s business…and called that piece “Baked Alaskan.” Obviously, his sensitivity chip is broken, too.

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/baked-alaskan/


The foundations set up by Larry Kramer and his ilk…which are upper middle class gays…do not benefit low income, and homeless within the queer community. Well, maybe just a little. The LGBT family is just as elitist as any other. ACT UP et al merely serve to save the lives of the affluent within their community, not the poor. Larry founded GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis) that now has outposts in all major cities across America. But for the most part, they do little for those who are homeless or low income, even though they claim to include them in their mission.

You can visit their web site, gmhc.org, and see for yourself, that there is nothing they provide for the homeless (or poor), except links to other organizations. And even those organizations offer threadbare assistance, at best. And mostly for “youth,” which they consider to be no older than 25. Once you hit the ripe old age of 26, it’s “fuk you” and you’re back out on the streets again (unless you’re already there). There is nothing provided by the queer community, for homeless LGBT’s who are no longer considered young.

Mr. Kramer /did/ speak out for our poor and disenfranchised LGBT’s, but they/we were dropped from the community as an increasing number of wealthy queers infiltrated these political groups and took over. Here is a 9 minute video of Larry being interviewed by a fluffy drag queen called “Lady Bunny”:

A Conversation With… Larry Kramer _ Lady Bunny

What Kramer had to say is right on, and I appreciate that. But c’mon, someone by name of Lady Bunny adorned with a humongous, puffed up wig turns the entire interview into a mockery of the horror of homophobia and what we are up against. Bad enough that heteros treat us like a joke, but for a queer celebrity to do the same thing, is beyond pathetic. She certainly doesn’t convey the gravity of this ongoing anti-LGBT persecution, to her hetero viewers who are concerned enough to educate themselves.

In the video, she asks where all the vibrant activists and leadership have gone. I’ll tell you where they’ve gone: into their own shells, because those already in power have repressed and marginalized us for decades now. Some, like me, continue to fight the good fight, in spite of rejection from our own community. Thank goddess for the Internet, for it gave me a voice to the world that would otherwise have remained obfuscated by our local, petty politics. I think most, if not all, of our present leaders are in it for the self glory and monetary profit, more than out of any true desire to elevate our position in this world.

I participated for a short while in both ACT UP and Queer Nation. But I soon grew discouraged, due to the numerous self-serving members who spurned most participants that were not white like them, or older than 35, or did not espouse their watered down, pampered middle class version of progressive activism. Very cliquish. It was no longer their strategy to embrace our homeless and low income brothers/sisters, as part of the struggle. What they achieved, therefore, was AIDS prevention and treatment, and other benefits for their own middle and upper class needs. Just like medicinal marijuana.

A perfect example of this is described in my own recent blog entry, how our lowest income queers are denied both AIDS prevention and AIDS recovery, while the reasonably affluent and up have full access, Have you read it yet? I just uploaded it two days ago. It’s short, though important, and I hope you do check it out.

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/no-prep-for-the-poor/

I have little to no support or recognition for my dedicated activism, by our SF community. Which is shocking, considering my talent as a reporter and author…that could be quite a groundbreaker for furthering our struggle. The social circle of both Harvey Milk and Larry Kramer pushed me out of their world, and for this reason I wonder how many other good souls they’ve repressed, that could’ve contributed much to our cause. I think what’s going on, is that they want to keep their own positions of power and adulation, more so than actually conquering AIDS and homophobia. For if that ever happened, they fear they’ll fall to the wayside and be replaced by others.

Many times over the last few decades I’ve offered my services to various LGBT newspapers and organizations, as a columnist or investigative reporter, as well as an activist with many novel tactics that could shatter the walls of our enemies. Yet not a single nibble. Though ounce in a while, one of my ideas gets stolen by an already-known activist, who then takes credit for it. Such as my dispute with Queer Nation in 1991:

http://www.gay-bible.org/truetales/6_dispute.htm

So thank you for comparing me with Mr. Kramer, it’s quite flattering. Just thought I’d fill you in with the reality of my situation, and that of disenfranchised queers at large. Though I do hold onto an ultimately optimistic viewpoint, based on the Buddha’s tenet: “We have no enemies, only teachers.”

For perhaps, just perhaps, the LGBT community is so hard on me, is because they have great expectations for my activism, and want me to be very strong. What better way to be strengthened through oppression by the very own people you struggle to save? And in never giving up and forging onward in spite of this undeserved backlash, I grow keener and more powerful, as well as wise. Until the time this community has enabled me (through testing by one obstacle after another) to reach a certain level of perfection…whereby they will finally cease their animosity, and let me through that gate like a charging bull.

I therefore think there is some secret society of LGBT’s that is grooming me and others (who they are, I have no idea) for leadership. Without letting me know, though expecting me to figure it all out in the long run. And that conclusion I reveal in Chapter 9 of my novel, “Free Me From This Bond”:

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/dragon-fire-in-the-hole/

How’s /that/ for a response to your chat comment? :D


No PrEP for the Poor

June 30, 2016

Many of you now reading this are under the illusion that if one is poor, he is covered for all his health needs at zero cost…especially since the advent of Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid. This is poppycock, though exactly what the government and mainstream media want you to believe. (And also the alternative press, so it seems.) The truth is this:

Our state, California, is a blue state, and thus has accepted expanded Medicaid. While I don’t think anyone destitute enough to be eligible for Medi-Cal should be charged any share of cost, the Golden Bear State instituted SOC in 2007 under the watch of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Though it is absurdly based on the cost of living eighteen years prior: 1989 (and never been raised since)! Which means that Medicaid will not kick in until you’ve paid the remainder of your income above $600. For example, if you collect $1,100 monthly, your SOC will be a whopping $500. PER MONTH.

Other blue states have followed suit, except for a few fair-minded ones such as Minnesota, which charges zilch on incomes below $1,301. For affirmation of my claim, get on the web and check out:

http://www.shareofcost.com/state-assistance/share-of-cost-california.html

How does this impact low-income LGBT’s in San Francisco? Very badly, as you can imagine. “But can’t they go to free services such as the city clinic, to make up for this shortfall?” you may be asking right now. Well, for some things, yes, such as certain vaccinations and STD treatments. But not for preventing or healing AIDS. While they offer PrEP and PEP capsules under Medi-Cal billing, you are still required to match your SOC first. Which is impossible for those collecting Social Security, whose monthly income exceeds $600. (Unless they starve or go homeless in order to cover the cost, I guess.) Thus you’ll be charged out of pocket, the full price. Even though in this meager financial state, you’re lucky if you can cough up ten dollars.

Note: the implications of other medical needs not affordable to most Medi-Cal recipients is horrendous, but I’ll save that for another time.

This means that, while affluent queers now enjoy partying and humping to their heart’s content with no fear of HIV complications, the poor in our community remain stuck in a virtual 1980’s era of the “gay plague.” For should they be unlucky enough to contract that disease (and more likely they will for obvious reasons), low income LGBT’s cannot afford any AIDS treatment, as well. As I walk by billboards and posters of handsome young men smiling because they only need a single pill to vanquish This Demon of Decimation, and live a good life:

I shudder to think of my brothers (and some sisters) who must live in terror and misery due to denial of such a providential cure. Thanks to the wonders of medicine provided only to the affluent for whom the poor, such as myself, remain invisible and even unwelcome. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party elitists pat each other on the back over the “miraculous” success of Medicaid.


See also: Expanded Medicaid = Sick Joke


ADDENDUM

Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2016 22:01:46
Subject:
No PrEP for the Poor
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Ellie,

I am preparing the following letter to send to our gay papers here in SF. It’s short. I’m hoping I can receive your valuable input before I post it.

Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2016 23:17:22
Subject:
Re: No PrEP for the Poor
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

On Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 10:48 PM, Eleanor Cooney wrote:

> I think it’s terrific. Powerful, explains it succinctly.

I performed my own investigative reporting by being a client at the city clinic. As I talked to different workers while being tested for this and that, I asked questions. It was difficult to get one counselor to admit that low income gays cannot get PrEP. They were very uncomfortable, especially since I was quite calm and personable while asking them loaded questions, such as:

“I am befuddled that health care workers like yourself, who focus on helping the low income, seem to be clueless about this outrageous Medicaid share of cost.”

and

“Why do you administer penicillin to those who may have been exposed to syphilis before the rapid test result comes in, which only takes ten minutes? I took that test last year, and the outcome was negative, yet I received the penicillin anyway, while waiting for the result. Isn’t that wasteful of resources that should be used sparingly to allay any superbug nightmare? Do you get gov’t money for each shot you administer?”

and

“Obviously I cannot possibly match my share of cost, so what will you bill me for PrEP?”

The counselor would never reveal the fee, and this was before he admitted that the poor can’t afford PrEP, because of this share of cost. Yet, even then, I couldn’t get the actual price for the medication out of him. I wonder if they charge a HUGE amount to Medicaid, and don’t want me to find out.

But, I did benefit by getting the first of three shots of the hepatitis B vaccine, and the vaccine for Invasive Meningococcal Disease which is the latest curse to have started spreading in the LGBT community, especially Los Angeles and Chicago. It is a very deadly microbe, and easily spread by sharing saliva, such as through kissing, drinking from the same glass, sharing a joint, etc.

And I can’t just be afraid of giving my buddies hugs and kisses, and smoking pot together. So I gotta persuade Zach to go to the clinic, and get vaccinated for both, ASAP. He is even /more/ vulnerable to these scourges, than I am.

This is horrible…after suffering AIDS for so long, and learning safe sex, now we must start fearing even kisses, sharing a fork or glass or doobie? I’m thinkin’ biowarfare here.

And we poor gay folks are denied PrEP…disgusting. All this, on top of this tidal wave of homophobia coming from both Xians and Muslims. No sooner had we begun to make inroads, turning Xians to our side (at least a bit, but progressing nonetheless), than Islamic demons burst through the door and threaten to wipe out all this painful progress.

> Will they use your utterance of “fucking” as an excuse to block you??

I doubt it, it’s just a newspaper. If they like my letter, but not the word “fuck” they’ll just change it to something else. But I doubt that will be any problem in the first place.

Thank you so much for reading my letter…I am fighting for Zach’s life, and that of all my low income and destitute gay brothers.

– Zeke

Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2016 23:44:09
Subject:
I changed…
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

…”fucking” to “humping.” Good call.

– Zeke


Baked Alaskan

May 31, 2016

Two Facebook conversations that occurred in late May 2016, covering two issues: sexual minority rights and the impoverished disabled. Names have been changed to protect me from Cornholio revenge.



Dialog #1: in which Mr. Arcauld, a gay Alaskan retiree, posted a video of some historic event that occurred several decades earlier. What that event was, I forget, but it’s not important to the context herein.

Zeke Krahlin: Historical moments can take on new, and even astounding, insights upon retrospect. I intend to keep that in mind while starving to death for the crime of being gay in a FEMA relocation camp.


Manny Arcauld: Get off the pity pot.


Zeke Krahlin: I’m too poor to even have a pity pot to piss in. Count your blessings that you’re not. In fact, I’m sure you’ve created some stunning stained glass pieces to embellish them…and sold them for a tidy profit.


Manny Arcauld: Sorry you’re so bitter.


Zeke Krahlin: I’m sorry you’re so humorless. Interpreting what is really just a joke (“black humor” in my case), as bitterness, says more about the critic, than the jester. I am definitely an anomaly here on FB, since most poor folks can’t afford to even participate online. And it does make a lot of people here very uncomfortable. Should I apologize for that? BTW, do you have any custom made pity pots on sale, right now…and do you take food stamps?


Zeke Krahlin: As a matter of fact, Manny, considering that I’ve been on Soc. Sec. Disability for most of my life, with inferior health care even during the best of times, and now that expanded Medicaid has arrived in CA, Medi-Cal wants to charge me a whopping $518 monthly share of cost (meaning I can’t afford /any/ health care whatsoever, my teeth are now falling out and I’m slowly going blind, and whatever else happens to me such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, etc., I must endure as if this were the 19th century)…I think I’m doing damned fantastic, what with keeping a robust sense of humor and all! And still writing incredible tales, many of them quite funny and dedicated to lightening the hearts of troubled LGBT’s around the world who shall /never/ taste of the comforts and luxuries you seem to take for granted, nor even what limited comforts I still have before the inevitable occurs: homelessness.

In fact, every gay person on the planet should celebrate my existence, for all the sacrifices I have made over several decades (a large part of which are my tales, poems and essays freely distributed across the planet), while you and other privileged queers suck on the teat of prosperity with little thought of your less fortunate gay brothers. I know you’re not a Log Cabin Republican, but you do seem to harbor some rather elitist and RW notions, as most recently displayed by your snarky remarks back to me, herein. So I say “shame on you” for not even lifting a single dollar to buy my book or broadcast my excellent activist writings to others. What have /you/ got to lose, my friend? Regardless of the /many/ gay people who mock me, put me down, and gossip ugly things about me, I continue to press forward with my tales and online and street activism for as long as I am capable. And you shall continue posting pics of your delectable feasts here and there across the Alaskan frontier, growing more and more plump along the way. And, eventually, we shall both die…one before the other, though I don’t know who’ll be first. Most likely myself, seeing as I don’t see /how/ I will possibly live more than two or three years from now, with virtually no preventative care whatsoever.

Regardless, one thing I’m certainly /not/ is “bitter.” And I resent your forcing such a notion about yours truly. I nonetheless remain an optimistic person, mostly happy. Obviously, most FB denizens are reasonably affluent, and would rather have poor folks like me stay outta this venue, or at least “stfu.” (One of my callings as an activist is, of course, to be a thorn in the side of those who are comfortable in their middle class bubble…in particular, those spoiled brats in our own LGBT family.) I don’t know many people could do that, under my ridiculously difficult circumstances. Instead of making false accusations about me, don’t you think it would reflect much better on your own nature, to congratulate my efforts under such duress? This is why I avoided seeing you when you visited San Francisco, as I sensed your snobbish elitism, which company I prefer to avoid. Hard enough to do in this uber affluent city, w/o another swooping down into my neighborhood to sip a little nectar before returning home once more. (You are like a little kid still trying to impress his mommy at what a success he’s turned out to be…only you project this to everyone around you now, every chance you get…like they are maternal surrogates.) Perhaps you are drunk right now, and will regret what you’ve posted by tomorrow morn. Whatever. If anyone deserves pity, it is you. (Oh yeah, and thanks for providing me with a perfect opportunity to vent…from which I gained tremendous satisfaction.)



Dialog #2: in which Mr. Arcauld posted a video of an armless young lady getting into her car, about to whiz away with her left knee guiding the steering wheel. Caption: “If your life is hard, watch this video!”

Zeke Krahlin: Only those with financial resources can benefit from prosthetics and other devices that make their disabled lives livable. Many such devices and therapeutic services needed can only be accessed by the affluent…either directly via their own bank account, or (more likely) via wealthy family and generous friends. For every one such lucky person, a hundred more go without. Need a high-tech wheelchair to get around? That’ll be $45,000, please. Need those artificial legs that allow you to run and hop like a rabbit, and even win marathons? That’ll be $70,000, please. If you are severely disabled and poor, you’re lucky if you can even afford a plain old wheelchair with an electric motor!

And let’s not even talk about all the high quality, VERY EXPENSIVE therapy so necessary to restore one’s life to a livable, fulfilling one. Months and months, or more likely, years and years of it, perhaps a lifetime. This tragic outcome is very much a variation on the Horatio Alger myth, which claims that no matter how disadvantaged you are, you can make it in America, if only you persist and never give up. Then just to /affirm/ this false (and CRUEL) notion, every now and then the media tosses out an example such as the one depicted above. Yet for every such glorious example, there are hundreds of seriously disabled people way too poor to afford the luxury of quality restoration and therapy. Venues like Facebook are flush with affluent people who love to broadcast just this sort of tripe, to assuage their conscience. Easy enough to do, since it is very rare that any low income person can even afford the luxury of social media participation. I am one such rare exception.

Federal Policy Barriers to Assistive Technology | NCD.gov

Poor Internet for Poor People: Why Facebook’s Internet.org Amounts to Economic Racism


Rom Proust: Amazing !!!! Thanks for sharing Arcauld.


Zeke Krahlin: Yes, just fabulous, she has all these financial resources at her fingertips to recuperate fully and live a rich life. So wonderful that she is not one of the many poor with severe handicaps who do /not/ have the benefit of these amenities. What an inspiration, my mind is boggled.


Annie Bliss Moore: THANKS MANNY….WONDERFUL AND AMAZING!!


Zeke Krahlin Absolutely! Now if only our crude society can bring the very same, expensive therapy, quality medical care, prosthetics, accommodating transportation (such as a car adapted to their special needs) and medical/social support group to the poor who also suffer severe disabilities. Shocking, I know, to think that the low income are even /more/ vulnerable to debilitating disease and accidents, than even the unfortunate rich (or at least comfortably well-off). I know, life is not fair…and a lot /less/ fair to the poor. Unbelievable, eh? The only successful and inspiring stories I come across, are from those whose trials occur within an affluent environment.

I know many people living on the streets with AIDS, cancer, blindness, brain damage, missing limbs, etc. Here in decadently wealthy San Francisco! Some with rickety old wheelchairs, crutches or jalopies…while privileged IT workers whiz by on their way to or from work, or to or from whatever nighttime pleasures they pursue (maybe an opera, 5-star restaurant, the theater or a Swedish massage date). Totally oblivious to the outlandish suffering of the disadvantaged scattered about the streets and lavish neighborhoods. (But not /too/ lavish, as the uber-rich districts make sure /those/ types never have access to their turf, with a little help from the police and Mayor Ed Lee.) I wish such a boon of quality assistance for them, these straggling souls with no roof over their drooping, sad heads…and for myself, as well. Though my head isn’t drooping yet; and through some sort of miracle I still have a roof over it, albeit just a dumpy SRO.


Annie Bliss Moore: Zeke Krahlin I AGREE.


Zeke Krahlin: Thank you. Always good to know there /are/ some others on FB with a heart, who /do/ care about the poor, who remain invisible anywhere on the Internet. And who suffer disabilities as serious as the woman shown above, and even worse…and who can /not/ avail themselves of all the quality care and devices that she is so lucky to have. Just because of one single thing: money.


Hope Springs Infernal

November 28, 2015

!!! WARNING. ADULT MATERIAL !!!

If you are underage, or in any way forbidden by your government or religious laws from viewing X-rated subject matter, please do not go there. If, however, you are not restricted by any laws in your geographical location, by all means click on the image above, to read my salty tale.


My Halloween Epiphany

October 9, 2015

!!! WARNING. ADULT MATERIAL !!!

If you are underage, or in any way forbidden by your government or religious laws from viewing X-rated subject matter, please do not go there. If, however, you are not restricted by any laws in your geographical location, by all means click on the image above, to read my salty tale.


Declaration of Dignity

August 6, 2015

I have lived on a very low income for most of my life, since leaving my family on Long Island in 1967. Through the late 60’s and into the next decade, I benefitted from free, quality health and dental care. Which of course I took for granted as a sort of birthright for every American. Then came the 80’s and Reaganomics. Until now, 2015, the social fabric that once had honored the poor, has been mostly eradicated. The final kibosh being Obamacare, which has betrayed the poorest among us.

For while I remain a blue-state resident here in California, and am regarded (at least on paper) as a fully-covered recipient of health care via Medicare and Medi-Cal, I am actually stripped of any and all medical services, due to Medi-Cal’s atrociously high share of cost. Which is, for example, $500 per month on a Social Security monthly income of $1,100. This means, of course, many of us receiving Medi-Cal can not even afford to see a doctor for preventative care, let alone emergency and maintenance.

Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid. I do not think that Medicaid in other states is much better…and probably much worse. President Obama’s mistake was to leave management (and even acceptance or rejection) of Medicaid up to each state. But is this truly an error, or intentional persecution of the poor in a grand plan to kill off all so-called “nonproductive” citizens?

I am not a Republican, nor ever will be. Yet this betrayal reflected in the Affordable Care Act, leaves a cold chill up my spine. At 65 years of age, I doubt that I will survive much longer than three years, without any sort of health care. But if I do, I will likely be blind and homeless by then. Yet not even the alternative media cares to cover this urgent topic…and obviously our government and mainstream press have swept it under the carpet.

How can one be truly proud to be an American under such diabolical circumstances? While the Democratic Party pats itself on the back over what a (so-called) miraculous success are Medicare and Medicaid, millions shall soon perish, including myself, that Barack Obama gain glory.

I walk the streets of San Francisco, passing by businesses that offer therapeutic massage, quality health clinics, dental services, sports medicine, psychological therapy, acupuncture, quality herbal extracts, organic health food, and vitamin supplements. You’d think we live in a cornucopia of maximum health for all residents, yet all of these services are well beyond my economic reach.

And that’s just the half of it. Being low income also means no real friendships or social circles, that make life enjoyable rather than merely survivable. Most of my friends, as a consequence, are poorer than myself, usually homeless. They are good people–very good people–and accept their lot in life with far more grace than I do my own. I do not want them to be without me; I do not want to die before my time. Yet that is the likely outcome.

Advertisements on television, radio, billboards and the Internet reach out to the financially comfortable, as if we all were blessed with expendable income. We–the poor, the disenfranchised, the homeless–are made invisible while all around us are the socially privileged going about their daily routine wrapped in a blanket of affluence. For we outcasts live in another world: a world of misery, illness, hardship, tragedy and loneliness.

Why can’t I taste the fruits of organic industry, or enjoy the comfort of a nice apartment with friends and family, celebrating our good lives? Why can’t I have beloved comrades who’ll always be here for me, rather than their passing through and struggling to survive that excludes forming long-term bonds? Why must those I love perish or disappear before I even have a chance to know them very well?

So this is my Declaration of Dignity, for which I will stand by unto my final breath. I have nothing to lose at this point, thus am ready to lay my life on the line for what I know is just…even unto war and revolution. I number among the Davids of society’s Goliath.

FINIS

See also my “New Declaration of Independence,” released in 1997.


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