I am not a summer person. I am especially not a New York City summer person. I hate it here in the hot weather with its stinks, unbreathable air, and the damn hot sun that beats down on us. The summer of 1987 I remember as being particularly brutal. The heat in Tom’s apartment was steaming, and all his friends who were coming and going to see if they could help or just to say goodbye were sweating buckets. We knew Tom was not long for this world, he had lapsed into a coma and Pedro Jose who was quickly melting down from the stress and heat was the one who was in charge. Some of us were not behaving well or what I considered to be the proper way of dealing with this crisis. Number 1 among them of course was Hugo who after finally agreeing to come back from “his vacation” to help us with Tom was more interested in his silly poems and smoking dope than really giving us a big helping hand. Tom had made a living will and had made Pedro Jose and for some reason Hugo his executors and legal guardians. He had told me this month or so before he went into a coma from the effects of toxoplasmosis. I think he felt that I was not up to the task and maybe he was right. Trying to take care of Tom, there were days when I too was loosing it. I was having constant arguments with Pedro Jose who would break down in tears if you looked at him the wrong way, or gave an opinion that did not always agree with his. As one friend said “Pedro Jose can take a bad situation and make it worse” and that’s what he was doing. We tried very hard to take care of Tom in his apartment, but this care giving thing was beyond me. I could not clean him up, although before he went totally comatose I would have to hold his dick so he could pee in a cup. The look of humiliation on his face will stay with me for the rest of my life. David ordered a hospital bed and at about 12 midnight it arrived and we set it up in his small living room. It took up the whole space, and this was too much for anyone of us to handle. Finally we had a little talk in the kitchen and decided that Tom would have to be moved to Bellevue hospital. He had no insurance and this was the only placel that would take him. Immediately terrible scenes of crazy people and criminals flashed across my eyes. Hideous dirty AIDS wards where nurses would not lift a finger to help the patients, food left uneaten, dirty fouled soiled unchanged bedding & bed sores, nightmare of nightmare. We had no choice. “I’m not a fucking nurse, I can’t do this anymore” I screamed out to anyone who would listen. I recall everyone agreeing with me and an ambulance was called. The AIDS ward turned out to be the opposite of what I was expecting. It was practically empty and Tom had a room to himself. It was clean and the doctors and nurses were caring and attentive. The problems began with Tom’s living will, which by and large said that Tom wished to be allowed to die without extraordinary medical measures. The hospital and his doctors saw it another way, and refused to allow Tom to just pass without a fight which meant that he would be hooked up to machines and treated with drugs and all of us thought this was an impossible situation. Hugo, Pedro Jose and myself started to meet with the hospital doctors and lawyers over this, but they would not budge and finally we decided to take them to court. The drama began. We met with many lawyers and we met with many doctors, and Bellevue still said that he could recover with the proper treatment and that his AIDS related brain infection might recede. Bull all we wanted was for Tom to die the way he wanted to, but the hospital saw it differently and refused to go along with his living will. Before I knew it the media picked up the story and we were in the newspapers everyday and on the local news every night. Hugo was the one to speak to reporters, and the fool was so involved with himself that he had the audacity to actually take out a copy of his latest book and to push it on the TV reporters while being interviewed about Tom. We went to court and I can’t tell you how strange it was to see myself on TV and in one of those court house pastel drawings that they use on the tube. The judge on the case sided with the hospital basically because Tom might wake up and might want to be treated. Wake up? He was on the way to his big sleep. This was getting more and more surreal as the hot humid days slowly passed. What next I thought a movie of the week? One morning as I rode the subway to work I suddenly looked up and saw a huge picture of Tom on the front page of the New York Post in his hospital bed with the bold headline “Forced To Live Judge Rejects AIDS Patient’s Death Wish.” I thought I would puke. The New York Post had sent a Goddamn photographer to his hospital room and as Tom lay in a stupor had taken his picture. My God I thought what would Tom have made of all of this. Would he laugh or cry. Finally after an early August. meeting and an appeal threat looming, the hospital agreed that there was no hope and agreed to stop treated for the toxoplasmosis. A week later Tom was taken off the antibiotics the tubes were removed and soon after he died. Thanks to my close friend Alex who was the curator of special collections and archives at Kent State I was able to place Tom’s papers there. Lots of my stuff was already in their collection and Alex was delighted to take Tom’s archives. There were a lot of cartons. Every day I labored over this task in my old loft with the help of Pedro Jose crying my eyes out. Finally we were done sorting through the thousands of letters, cards, pictures and stuff, that Tom had saved over the years. He saved every scrap. While all this work was going on the ravens led by Hugo cleaned out Tom’s apartment taking everything in it and leaving me not a thing to remember him by. It was like when the harpies invade the recently deceased Lila Kederova’s house at the end of “Zorba The Greek” and clean it up neat and clean. “I hope you didn’t mind that I took his box of recipes and cookbooks”, Hugo’s wife Marion said in her syrupy dripping southern accent. I actually did mind, as I thought they should have been part of his archive but I kept my mouth shut. I did manage to keep a box that Tom had collaged with male beef cake photos, some early photos of him, and a wonderful 1979 large date book of his that he had decorated and collaged. I figured this stuff would eventually wind up at Kent State anyway, and I really thought that I deserved to have something of my best friend to remember him by. A few years later Hugo heard about this and through Pedro Jose demanded that I return them to the archive or he would sue me. I laughed in Pedro Jose’s face. “Let him.” I’ll return it when he returns all the stuff that he took. I stopped speaking to Hugo over this. Who was right and who was wrong? Who knows. I do know that nothing in my life was the same after Tom Died.
Three paintings Otoliths-A Magazine Of Many e Things. Aug. 1, 2006.
Fuck This AIDS Shit Already. 4 Collages. Rock Heals-A Narrow House Weekly. Aug. 30, 2006.
Goddamn This AIDS Shit Already. 4 Collages. Rock Heals-A Narrow House Weekly. Sept. 6, 2006.
6 Drawings. Barfing Frog Press. Sept. 20, 2006 http://www.barfingfrog.741.com/Galleries/arts_haber.htm
Collage. Melancholia’s Tremulous Dreadlocks. Sept. 2006
Drawing. Winamop Magazine. Sept. 2006
Retrospective of works on paper. October 2006. Siren Magazine
This issue has a lot of my works from when I was a 15 year old kid to the present.
Collage. Thieves Jargon Magazine. Issue 115. October 2006
Five Paintings. Foliate Oak Online Magazine. October 2006
Four Drawings. Triplopia. Vol. V. Issue 4. October 2006
Drawings and cover. DMQ Review. November 2006
This is also a wonderful represation of my work. The entire poetry section is llustrated with my art.
Broadside. Broadsided. Dec. 2006
This is a pdf doc.
12 Drawings. Double Dare Press. Issue 24. Dec. 2006
Drawing. Events Quarterly. Dec. 1 2006-March 2007
This is only one drawing.
6 Abstract drawings. Chick Flicks Magazine. No. 10. Winter 2006
Cover. Cerebration Magazine. Issue IV. Winter 2006
Collages. Softblow Magazine. Jan. 2007
Drawings,Collages, and Paintings. Eclectica Magazine. Vol. 1. No. 11.January-Feb. 2007
Four Images. Cipher Journal. Winter 2007
Broadside. Broadsided. March 2007
This is a pdf doc.
8 Collages. Ascent Aspirations Magazine. March 2007
6 Paintings. Brew City Magazine. March 2007
Four Paintings. Right Hand Pointing.No. 14. March 2007
Six Paintings. Foliateoak Online Literary Magazine. March 2007
Six drawings. Fiction Attic No. 20. March 2007.
2 Paintings. Blue Print Review. Issue 11. April 2007
Click on the “Foreign Dream” and “Cynical Moon Poems.”
The Indelible Kitchen. May 2007