The White House was a place where the "cheek-by-jowl paradoxes" of life were played out on a kaleidoscopic stage. Yes, some big wigs and a few who used to wear them, some "rich and famous" peoples; "high and mighty" men, and some individuals who thought they never would've been caught dead sleeping under the same roof with "commoners" were obliged to sleep less than a foot away from them, with their dreams as bed-mates, in cubicles made of one-inch ply about six feet high. The domicile where men who failed to turn over a new leaf were obliged to pass their final days turning over in grief, away from their loving families and wives, imbibing to feel sweet so they could fill the emptiness in their hearts and close the bitter chapters of their lives. The name of a place where some men curled up at night (some throughout the day) under covers romancing their hard covers while others lay flat on their backs looking at the naked, hard bodies on the walls wishing they were soft; still others reminisced with their heads propped up with one hand while holding a lewd paperback with the other---and it was not unusual to hear sounds of passion and pumping, then after what sounded like a pinnacle, a palliation. A place where cockroaches, rats, and bedbugs competed with a lot of grown men for the best conditions in a cramped cubicle. Then they added insult to injury by eating out of their mouths when they were fast asleep and feeding on their toes when they knew they were out cold for sure, and sucking their blood from a host of places, including an old sore, as soon as they started to snore. The abode of the penniless has-been artisans who painted glowing pictures of themselves, while mired in denial that those skills were dying on the shelves. And they were also blinded by the fact that they could no longer paint, not even make art stands, because booze, drugs, and time had robbed them of their artists' hands. A place of seclusion where some men who once pounded out the Beatitudes were reduced to pounding their hearts in lamentations, and beating their brains out to find the fulcrums to help them come out of their drug-induced conditions. Then beat their breasts out when they found it heard to knock some sense into their heads and change their attitudes. A place where men who once wore the latest fashion and rubbed shoulders with the haut monde
were "happy" to rub two pennies together in another world with "home boys" while trying on suits and ties that were donated when the owners died. A flaphouse where a lot of former epicureans who used to dine sprawled out on their terraces and savored the atmosphere without care or ordered directly from the bill of fare and ate gourmet-style out of plates as big as one of the chef's frying pans, now had to make do with old-fashioned dished-up meals or pork and beans spooned from warmed-up tin cans. A residence virtually filled with cigarette puffers whose dreams went up in smoke and left them to yearn. Some sitting in the lobby with hearts that were burning with desire, but now only burn. Quite a few lying in their beds with lungs filled to their hearts' desire with the smokers tar, hopelessly waiting their turn. Others were dying for a smoke but were going to die from emphysema because they wouldn't learn. Still others were resting on their laurels, but one could rest assured that the death toll was cause for concern. The final resting-place for ambition, and the grave of desire; a watering hole where some hearts that were once set on fire were cold; a den where some of those who used to turn up their noses must now take in the smell because they were bed-bound; a parlor where the lost could be found; a condition that some battle-worn men went into to wage the final war of attrition. A menage
where a man who used to play it straight was now more than willing to bend the rules and lie down--if space allowed--to take in his favorite man's membrum virile
. And if that wasn't enough bend over and play the "a trois"
thing with a third. A place where big shots who once lived en pantoufles
were forced to eke out a hard-scrabble existence in their flip flops while flipping from one page to the next, reminiscing about their days "in slippers"--which they'd bought in high-class shops. A home where some one-time doctors and lawyers and divers professionals who used to fete among themselves, even worked for the State, were now obliged to compete with pretenders, peasants, and ex-prisoners for a bit of real estate, And if that wasn't bad enough, they often had to eat while taking in the fetor of some guy's cheesy feet. Yes, and to think that many of them had wills to live and desires to claim fame and fortune, but died intestate.