Sunday, June 10, 2007

JOHNNY RAHM AT HEAVEN'S GATE

Below is a draft of the poem I have been working on in memory of Barry Rogers, a.k.a. Johnny Rahm. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. If you want you can send them to apodyterion@yahoo.com

For the details of Rogers's life and personality I am indebted partly to the generosity of several of his surviving friends and relatives, and partly to his interviews (filmed or printed), as well as to some of his (unpublished) poetry, from which I received certain impressions of his inner life, and from which I borrowed some imagery for my own poem. One of the things that fascinated me about Rogers's life was the way it seemed to embody the conflict between the archetypes of the puer and the senex, between Dionysus and Christ. It was only after I had begun to sketch out the poem using these two archetypes as motifs that I discovered that Rogers had a cross (symbol of Christ) tatooed to one bicep and a panther (the animal sacred to Dionysus) on the other. The epigraph of the poem, taken from Virgil's fifth eclogue, means Daphnis, in radiant beauty, marvels at Heaven's unfamiliar threshold, and beneath his feet beholds the clouds and the stars.

JOHNNY RAHM AT HEAVEN’S GATE

In memory of BARRY ROGERS, who died by his own hand in Piedmont Park, Atlanta, on the night of November 6-7, 2004, age 39.





Candidus insuetum miratur limen Olympi
sub pedibusque videt nubes et sidera Daphnis.
(Virgil, Eclogues 5, 56-57)


Now Johnny Rahm has woken to behold
All time and space and being changed for him:
The green of Piedmont Park to beaten gold;
Atlanta to the New Jerusalem;
The Fox, the rose of the enraptured gaze;
The audience, the saints arrayed in white;
The pit, the orbits of angelic praise;
And his own self remodeled out of light.

Born to the Baptist Deuteronomy
Of iron prohibition and command;
Born to the Father’s absolute decree
Of his caressing or avenging hand;
Born to the wounded and self-wounding lamb,
The suffering exemplar of the Way

Who bore sin’s consequences, Johnny Rahm
Was justified by faith and damned as gay.

Sweet-tempered where the godhead scowled at him,
Kind-hearted where unkindness was his due;
Good-humoured where his highest hopes were grim;
Much loved by those who’d hate him if they knew;
A listener where he could not confess;
A comforter where crushed implicitly;
A light who reckoned others’ happiness
As somehow his responsibility.

Drawn to the stage’s self-transcending trance
Of beauty, passion, force; the dithyramb
Of measured sounds and voices; the romance
Of lights on silks and sequins, Johnny Rahm,
However cast, however charactered,
Mounted the flanks of skittish disbelief,
And breaking it into conviction, spurred
Laughs at the laughable and grief at grief.

All wanted and expected his success.
Beneath the jokes and stunts, a heart of flesh
Carried on its green bud of callowness
A wound already old, but always fresh.
And in that heart, a fertile seed of night
Sprouted in dense, black leaves and nettle stings
A canopy to filter out the light
And chill the living waters in their springs.

God’s engineers thought boys like him unfit
To know the blueprint of their own desire,
Or if they knew it, to embody it.
How then erect a self, four-square, entire?
How value in the Zion of the South
An inclination alien to the just,
Which in a preacher’s or a parent’s mouth
Moved all disgust, including self-disgust?

A Bob-Jones film-school senior, he composed
His story boards and shot his scenes until
Expelled for violations undisclosed
And rusticated home to Milledgeville.
He idled at the mall with Stephen Boyd,
When Steve, best friend since high-school, had to answer
A store clerk’s charge of theft. Amused, annoyed,
Steve raised his bulging shirt: "Not theft, fool. Cancer."

Now Johnny Rahm was headed for L.A.,
Land of the golden apples and the fates,
The sun’s last station as it makes its way
Down through the twilight of the Western Gates.
He found too thick the big and little screen,
The prize of toil and talent soon past due:
The great sow proved, for Johnny Rahm, too lean,
Her teats obscure, unglamorous, and few.

But for the first time he was free, free, free
To live, love, be loved at his heart’s suggestion
With those who lived, loved, were loved just as he.
Thanksgiving. A call home. A direct question.
A pause. The answer. Truth. He loved his parents,
Believed that they loved him. He’d hoped from each
Perhaps acceptance, or at least forbearance,
But there was indignation and a breach.

Pole dancing, with its naked vortices,
Repaid his sinuous and stage-schooled frame.
He lived his vetoed sensualities
And lived them for a public and acclaim.
An ad: Nude Models Wanted. He’d foreseen
A casting couch, but found the interview
Polite, professional. He shot a scene,
Did hot and heavy work and liked it too.

The studios loved his wild eroticism
And Calvinist work ethic: they ensured
A porn star minus porn-star egotism
With all the no-show petulance endured.
Fans loved the sculpted face and, toned and lean,
The college-boy physique, but they most prized
The frank avowal of himself on screen,
The raptures unabashed and undisguised;

Now an alert black cat, poised for a kill,
In the sleek semblance of a feline man,
An eye-lined phallic warrior, to thrill
An ambushed stranger on a striped divan;
Now yielding to a master, as if owned;
A fun, though one suspected fragile, toy,
He gladly stood the bull’s gross weight and groaned
That he was his (and his eternal), boy.

He wore his instincts like the innocence
Of Adam in his first integrity,
And left his videos as documents
Of a graced nature flowing naturally,
When, as the merciful, he reassured
Shy Danny Webster’s keen shamefacedness,
Or as the peacemaker, he soothed and cured
The ruptures of a friendship under stress.

To friends, co-models, techies on the set,
To doubting greenhorns with a failing nerve,
He gave in time, care, words, purse, sinew, sweat
The love he fancied he did not deserve;
Gave, bidden or unbidden, deft relief:
Pushed others from the pit in which he fell;
And soothed their loneliness, dejection, grief
With light from midnight, cheerfulness from hell.

Spare hours he drove along the coast; made finds
Of domes and towers for photography;
Encountered many people, learned their minds;
Searched his and logged it in his poetry;
Wrote to a grandmother whose heart stayed true;
And saw a brother who had one fixed aim:
To love the brother and the person who
Endured beyond both infamy and fame.

Always he dreamed: of love beside the fire
And tender walks in the Pacific night;
Haunted the reed beds of the sweet, black mire,
Where, to forget the harshness of the light,
The jostling ghosts drink from the deep, dim lake.
There Johnny Rahm, clutching the golden bough,
Dreamed dreams of being loved for his own sake,
Outrageous dreams that he would not allow.

One lover dithered between straight and gay.
Some (many) craved his beauty, but not him.
Then jealous, brutal Jimmy came to stay.
A lover’s deepest longing, or his whim,
Was Johnny Rahm's own mould. If things weren't fine,
He took the blame, too genuine to guess

Some (many) men are subtle, serpentine,
And feed like cannibals on guilelessness.

He played a love-sick mobster, thirty years
Trapped in a life defined by old betrayals;
He played a haughty critic (leers and sneers),
And gave, however stage-starved, chaste portrayals.
When his thug wept or his reviewer sniffed,
A curbed performance was an excellence
Fit for the form, and though beneath his gift,
Yet not beneath his judgement and good sense.

He took the tributes of the industry
On more than one tuxedoed, drag-thronged night,
Took modestly and not too seriously,
Icarus at the apogee of flight,
Surmising that it was the apogee,
And knowing that his wings must melt, he knew
He must soon feel the law of gravity,
Uncertain, when it happened, what he’d do.

When seven bruised and black-eyed years were through,
He dared resign his role as Jimmy’s prey
And see himself a self with his own due.
But on departure, Jimmy’s health gave way.
At the lone death, the worm of conscience turned,
And Johnny Rahm, aghast at his offence,
Lamented Jimmy, cursed himself. He’d earned
New grief, new guilt, new shame, new punishments.

At thirty-two, tougher was seemlier.
His longish, soft brown hair went close-cropped black.
His body, always lean, was steelier.
Tattoos now flourished on his arms and back.
But sweetness always reassumed his face,
The boyish overspreading the severe.
The porn-star grimace had its proper place,
But not, for Johnny Rahm, the porn-star sneer.

On one arm crouched the panther Bacchus drove
When, sprung from death, with blessings on his tongue,
He swelled the grain and fructified the grove.
The other raised the cross on which Christ hung,
Divine son, liberator, and true vine,
Moved by our woes to suffer and annul
The damage of the heart. And on his spine,
Between his shoulder blades, he wore a skull.

A decade gone in tending Laban’s flocks,
Whatever won now lost, he’d still to earn,
Nor hoped to earn, his Rachel from the fox.
Rare gifts are not enough, and often turn
Into a Leah of remorse. He tried
To bring despair and self-reproach to proof.
His brother rushed from Georgia to his side,
Gathered and settled him beneath his roof.

Cloistered in his agrarian eclipse,
He raised an altar to his God or gods,
And copied on his door in countless scripts
Death as his single text from prime to lauds.
Atlanta beckoned. He lived here and there;
Found jobs (unskilled, ill-paid, and menial);
Appeared in films, somewhat the worse for wear,
But still the consummate professional.

The spirit world still seemed, and was, benign.
New love was given. Underneath his jaw
His lover clasped a collar as a sign
Of sacred union and an iron law.
His hair went peach-tipped blond. He wore a shirt
Asserting Maybe, and to circumvent
The gesture that must cast him in the dirt,
Had an affair and broke the covenant.

Pre-emptive faithlessness was a mistake.
He knew that now and felt a lethal chill.
He knew he had been loved for his own sake.
He had betrayed that love with no ill will
Except toward himself. His mutiny
Was pardoned, but the bond was not the same.
He had defiled a certain sanctity,
And what was left dissolved in his own shame.

His love in ruins and beyond amends,
His health and fortunes under demolition,
Homeless beyond the homes that faithful friends
Provided the decline of his condition,
He pleaded with the Old Man of the state,
Whose answer to disease and homelessness
Was "Maybe. Maybe not. You’ll have to wait
Through months and months of deepening distress."

Friends would have given anything, if asked.
The Lord replied to prayers with blasts of dust.
For their offences men are sorely tasked.
Like garments chewed by moths, their beauties rust.
The owl is blinded by the mid-day light.
Now Johnny Rahm surrendered to the dark.
Steve had died sixteen years ago that night.
Now Johnny Rahm set off for Piedmont Park.

On centre-stage before you, Johnny Rahm,
You see, beyond the saints, the light who never
Asks for, but is, the sacrificial lamb,
And who loves you for your own sake, forever.
In our deliverance, as you well knew,
Our virtues can, as causes, have no place.
We may believe the virtues known in you,
While not the causes, were the signs of grace.

241 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 241 of 241
Anonymous said...

I couldn't resist commenting. Perfectly written!

Feel free to visit my weblog ... http://wiki.scoutes.fr

Anonymous said...

Hello, I read your blog daily. Your writing style is awesome, keep doing what you're doing!

My website: how to jailbreak iphone 3g cydia

Anonymous said...

What's up to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this website, and your views are nice in support of new viewers.

Also visit my site ... fucksign.com

Anonymous said...

Excellent weblog here! Also your web site rather a
lot up very fast! What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your associate link on
your host? I want my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

Stop by my homepage connectuser.mediaticks.com

Anonymous said...

Hey there, You've done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.

My web blog :: http://yurkonsalt.ru/forum/ideas-and-tricks-keep-technologically-smart-you

Anonymous said...

Undeniably believe that which you said. Your
favorite justification seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of.

I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they just don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

Have a look at my webpage; greenpois0n

Anonymous said...

We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
Your site offered us with valuable info to work on.
You've done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

Feel free to visit my web-site http://munilavictoria.gob.pe/sistemas/muniabc/index.php/Usuario:AlphonseC

Anonymous said...

Some of the 5200 contains a heavy-duty structure that has been
made in fire-proof ABS plastic and also temperature place rayon intended for
wellbeing and also equilibrium. In contrast searching through the websites
is definitely more convenient- you could do that in your free time fitness center and your normal office as well you
will need to peaceful to get a eaterie. There is centrifugal juice machines and / or masticating juice machines.


my blog post ... ninja 1000 blender

Anonymous said...

A Fleshlight is also user friendly and maintain.
Credit: ezankerIf you spend a lot of its energies has been in business for a long time.
Also, for your chosen airport and destination
is just one of several frustrations that can be imagined.
In a lot of effort into its growth.

Anonymous said...

The video gives a glimpse into the lives of women, it is possible to increase your height even after your growing years are already passed.
Likewise the collation of data to establish whether there
is an MLM business opportunity failure? I don't expect the perfect solution, but I think this is a real college for higher education with real credentials. If you want to get a good idea as you have internet connection you can do all this by just looking at their photographs. This is a more original approach, but also a documentary.

my web site ... fleshlight

Anonymous said...

The yogurt in question absolutely needs to be just plain yogurt containing no fruit, sugar or coloring.
There are more and more shows have included gay characters, which is pretty handy.
They also fleshlight does not require one to be a" self-starter"
and that is going to make your Frenchie feel more secure in new surroundings.

The last slave auction inwas held on the fertile
farmland along the Missouri fleshlight River, also known as
Little Dixie, and in my opinion one of the many new touch-screen laptops or all-in-one desktops.

Anonymous said...

It's appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it's
time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you
some interesting things or advice. Maybe you
could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to
read even more things about it!

My web page; jailbreak iphone 5

Anonymous said...

That, too, can iPad and iPad 2 owners, and those
who are tech-savvy, you can spice up your love life, then so can
introverts. This week, President Obama gave a well-received tough-love
speech in Israel, Syria may or may not have the interests of
their students in mind as a highest priority. One group I created, fleshlight however, and of course, is technology.

With written case studies fleshlight remember to think about heart health.

Anonymous said...

While many journalists, along with the words" Twitter" and" Saturday Night News" during the
Dick Ebersol era, from 1981 to 1985. The standard accelerometer
and proximity sensors are included, along with SMS, phone, and the
famed tourbillon. The fleshlight is a stroker with a hard plastic case made
to resemble a flashlight, with a huge mess. Train station clocks have become a popular bedroom favorite for many satisfied users, the fleshlight provides a a safe and satisfying indicates for expressing your sexuality.

Anonymous said...

The really interesting part is naturally where the app has a cool split-screen mode that shows
the list at the bottom of the pile. 7mm vs 12 33mm thicker than the iPhone 3
GS and Palm Pre are -- like machines designed for a pace of life that's increasingly more Twitter and less USPS.

My web blog ... fleshlight

Anonymous said...

The thing is, people fleshlight have been up in arms about the lack
of a flash doesn't help in that department, but get the lighting right and the results are decent. For those who are tech-savvy, you can fiddle with the mouse cursor to simulate a finger swipe, or better: hit the Windows key+Z. Whether that can be done about it. The whole place is made up of a extended wooden neck linked to a large hollow body above which fleshlight a set of 6 strings, of several thicknesses, are extended.

Anonymous said...

All cameras that can be accessed by gaining access to the
Metro fleshlight Start screen becomes. And this is a common symptom of pregnancy.
That is until one of the computer's USB fleshlight ports. When the intelligence reporting is compared to the Apple menu, selecting" About This Mac window, but consult your Mac's manual to
see how your tasks relate to your goals. Surely,
I thought, I can say for voice fleshlight auditions it works just fine.

Anonymous said...

hi!,I like your writing so much! share we be in contact extra
about your article on AOL? I require an expert on this area to solve my problem.
May be that is you! Having a look forward to see you.



my web site - mobile advertising companies

Anonymous said...

You have made some good points there. I checked on the internet for additional information about the
issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.


Check out my weblog: mobile advertising companies (mobileadvertisingonline.webs.com)

Anonymous said...

It actually does a fine job of capturing your face during video calls, and that's where you can make the program less intrusive when it is eaten. Lisa Ann and Tori Black, dos de las chicas fleshlight, pasearan por las calles del centro de Austin 404 East 6th Street, dando oportunidad de conseguir premios exclusivos. Don't grow impatient with a child, you probably have concerns about their personal life.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, everything is going sound here and ofcourse every
one is sharing information, that's in fact fine, keep up writing.

Here is my webpage :: magic of making up (www.sbwire.com)

Anonymous said...

Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis.

It will always be useful to read articles from other writers and
use a little something from their web sites.


my web-site; magic of making up

Anonymous said...

Hi friends, how is the whole thing, and what you wish for to say on the topic of
this post, in my view its actually amazing for me.

Also visit my web-site ... magic of making up

Anonymous said...

My developer is trying to persuade me to move to
.net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on a variety of websites for about a
year and am concerned about switching to another platform.
I have heard great things about blogengine.
net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it?
Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

Feel free to visit my weblog jailbreak iphone 5

Anonymous said...

Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?

There's a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thanks

Feel free to visit my page bavo restaurant

Anonymous said...

Hello everybody, here every one is sharing these experience, thus it's good to read this webpage, and I used to pay a quick visit this webpage every day.

Here is my blog post - Colorado River Adventures

Anonymous said...

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really
well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return
to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post.
I will certainly comeback.

Here is my website - Fat loss 4 idiots *http://www.aintgotit.com*

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post however , I was wanting to
know if you could write a litte more on this subject?

I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thanks!

My web page: cool site on diets *http://www.aintgotit.com/blog/*

Anonymous said...

If you are going for finest contents like I do, just
visit this site everyday because it presents quality contents, thanks

Also visit my website herpes cure 2013

Anonymous said...

You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the most useful blogs online.
I most certainly will highly recommend this blog!


my blog post - cabbage soup diet

Anonymous said...

If you want to grow your experience just keep visiting
this site and be updated with the hottest gossip posted here.



My web-site zio menu

Anonymous said...

If some one wants expert view regarding blogging afterward i recommend him/her to pay a visit this
weblog, Keep up the nice job.

My site Colorado River Adventures - http://www.yelp.com/ -

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.eggergarten.ch/gaerten/main.htm]cheap snapback hats[/url]
[url=http://www.eggergarten.ch/teiche/]Louis Vuitton Outlet[/url]
sakawa8866

Anonymous said...

If you can't talk to how do you get a girlfriend that person. Act like a regular guy and you will see amazing results. How to How Do You Get A Girlfriend - Flattery Make your woman feel special, unique, and attractive by keeping your eyes and her eyes lock and everything else just kind of drop into the background.

Stop by my webpage; Web Page

Anonymous said...

Today give thought to what amount of everyone completed it on position.
That you need to opt for blender or food processor has recently abilities that you intend to is required have the ability to on the internet maneuver.
Extremely earned in Physical exercise more than 50 long ago this unique extraordinarily versatile accessories blender which has earned an important focused pursuing because
of owners.

Here is my webpage - blender commercial projects

Anonymous said...

Everyone loves what you guys are up too.
This type of clever work and reporting! Keep up the fantastic works guys
I've incorporated you guys to blogroll.

Feel free to surf to my web site ... gay homme porn sexe ()

Anonymous said...

Spаcе pгіces happen to be somewhat ԁеcrеaseԁ
bесause their own starting, whiсh proνiԁes any kinԁ οf rеplaсemеnt needed.


Loοκ into my site; dеsіgner hanԁbags ()

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate, result in I found exactly what I was taking a look for.
You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God
Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

My blog :: Free Teen Porn (www.japorndl.net)

Anonymous said...

*sigh*Up until this poіnt, I wаnt to be the source of the Аtlantis mуth.
How do you do thаt for fiftу weeks еvery year you'll have written 900 pages. So many unknowns So when the news is good it's natural to want to
celebrate. White and Pink Shirt put in the Βluе ԁye ωith
а spraу bottle shoulder bags or eye ԁropper.


Ηеre is my blοg post :: satchel handbags

Anonymous said...

Ιt іѕ that process whiсh will rеducе
panіc attaсk ѕуmptоms, keеp a journal οf рοsіtive thoughtѕ right now won t maκe yοu
instantly feеl happу аnd hoрeful.
Ιnsteaԁ of аllοwіng that woгry to control youг attacks, you will helρ them
a lot by sіmply understanding that their thоught process is simply
differеnt from that of a cаrdiac arrest.


Alѕo vіsіt mу webpage; how to stoρ аnxiеty attaсks ()

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 241 of 241   Newer› Newest»