1989, 1992, 2011 

Dream as Jeremy Atherton Lin dreaming as Every Ocean Hughes dreaming as Susan Sontag

Artefacts: ‘The Adelphi’, chapter 3 of ‘Gay Bar’ by Jeremy Atherton Lin, 2021. /  Performance, ‘A Gay Bar Called Everywhere (With Costumes and No Practice)’ by Every Ocean Hughes, a.k.a Emily Roysdon, first performed at The Kitchen, New York, 2011. / Interview with Annie Liebovitz, ‘My time with Susan’ , written by Emma Brockes, The Guardian, 07 October, 2006. 

It’s called EVERYWHERE
The name emblazoned on the sheen
In vast blue letters
Stretching out for kilometres over the aerodynamic curve of sheet-silver
Cruising through the ocean of stars
At hypersonic speed
EVERYWHERE is warping
Gliding past every blazing luminary
Every hunk of heavenly rock
Swirling in brutal gas
Each deadly
Desired orb
Another utopian gay bar
There are infinite possibilities
Out here
Pink deserts
Crimson horizons
Dense cores engulfed by sapphire seas
Wrapping around and around
An endless tide whipping in peaks
Magnetic pulses unconcerned
Ripe to drown any reconnaissance probe

Jeremy’s on the holodeck
A virtual re-creation of deep nighttime
Swallowing him up
Three dimensional visualisation
Gravity disenabled
So he’s floating
In all this nothing
In Vauxhall
In the last years of the second decade of the twenty-first century 
In the dimness at the top of grimy cellar stairs
On the wet steps down to the public urinals
As lights snap off
In the blackness of the first train escaping
Into the tunnel
Out to Zone Four
In the darkroom
In the bluelight, the UV
Deep in secrets and risk and joy
So far up, it’s disturbing the whole of him 
Grabbing at celestial bodies
Clammy phantoms
Randy zombies slicked with hair gel
Bare, bored torsos
Greedy nipples sticking out
Queeny thugs stripped down 
Thick fists dripping    
He bites the pill
Flicking gravity on so that he can
Hit the deck
Drop to his knees
In the centre of the tender stink
Grassy, like trouble
Hard-ons closing in on him

Blink, blink
The deck shuffling
White, then tan, then the colour of hazel
Green as scales, as dollar bills
Mist, violet, yellow of sulphur
Yellow of cheap bright paint
Eyes swap
Head hitting

Ocean is a vista
A city of gay bars
Egg-frying-on-the-hood hot
City in the south
Slap-bang in the centre
In the unlikely
A sea of shimmering sky
No coastline
No roads out 
No sound in this city
As though all the denizens went deaf
In those silent, sizzling streets
Everything, everywhere
Is a gay bar
You can’t walk ten yards
The heat will eat you up
So every car
Every motel
Every truck is converted
Dumpsters, even
Each a handmade seedy spot to stop
To order a pink-orange sickly-sweet
Thick, sober
Glass of potential
You can crawl these bars
It’s the only way to move anywhere
Passing place to place
Wide corner windows wrapping
Reflecting your flushed face
Searching for an answer
For the what
And the why
For a few hours of just release
Of closeness
Less distance
Of falling inside the crack
Bitumen burning up

Blink, blink
Turquoise, bruise blue, jet
Manhattan haze
Neons muddling 
Amber bright
Leaping in the glowering midnight
Flutter, flicker, roll
Jeremy’s eyes inside Ocean’s
Inside Susan’s

Dark in here
Not the holodeck glitch
No signal void
Though he’s unsure at first
Fingers sweating
Rather, moody dark
The recognisable deep brown grey
Of the closet 
Always some light
Seeping in past winter coats
Sliding through a slit in the wooden box
Mixing up in that ugly pixelated light
Rocks and shells spill out of shoes
Shoe boxes
A mound to sit on
Dig hands down into
Into the cold curves and splinters
Strange decor, in this gay bar
Dim and serious and playing folk music
Who plays that?
But, everwhere can be a gay bar
Here too, lazer-less, quiet
There’s a drink
Neat heavy glass
Hard block of ice
Ghosts hanging on wire hangers above
And Annie
Or the memory of Annie, at least
There to meet again
Right timing
Fierce, laughing
Susan’s going to wait here
Why not?
From this now
Through the regimes that will follow
Happy with waiting, certain 
She’s got a sense in her
Not a theory, but something
Itching, knowing
Waiting for the inevitable sea
Through styles, decades
Comings and goings
Still there
Knuckles bent, glass cradled
Anticipating a tide to roll up
And over

Blink, blink
Susan closes Ocean’s lids, closes Jeremy’s
Eyelashes long
Soft black touching soft black
Waking up