Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 7 • Fall 2003 • Poetry

Celebrities I've Seen Offstage


Goober (what's his name?) from The Gomer Pyle Show on airplane to Chicago
annoyed that I didn't know who he was but I was only eleven his TV show before my

pope John Paul II outside St. Peter & Paul's cathedral our catholic neighbor
convinced my mother it would be educational for the kids to see him but truth
was she just wanted a ride

Pete Rose signing autographs at the 1980 World Series in Vet Stadium I was
wishing he was my father then I saw Tug McGraw and wished he was instead

Neil Diamond on Atlantic City boardwalk in blue western shirt smiling at the
excitable young girls

Debbie Harry entering the Kennel Club I got high in an alley with my friends
not old enough to get inside we imagined dancing and laughing doing lines of
coke with Debbie singing Heart of Glass the higher we got

Allen Ginsberg reading "Sunflower Sutra" at The Painted Bride I jerked Barry
off in the back row and later watched Ginsberg waste his angles on the
straight boys

John Gotti stepping out of a South Philadelphia restaurant someone opened his
car door for him I imagined the restaurant workers wiping their brows and

Melissa Etheridge in the lesbian bar after a concert my friend Kim ran
upstairs to tell everyone but couldn't find her again when they came downstairs Kim
made me tell them she wasn't making it up then Melissa walked out of the
bathroom to a crowd of sighs

John Waters signing autographs Pegalina asked if she could bite his neck he
agreed with a laugh which he soon regretted with a scream and asked us to leave
we walked into The Rose Tattoo Pegalina announcing

Tina Turner on Walnut Street her sweat evaporating and one day coming down as
rain turning into drinking water becoming us becoming her becoming us

Gregory Corso pacing back and forth in the North Star Bar office ranting at
me, Janet, Jim and Dee about how we only wanted to open for him so we could
ride his famous coattails which was crazy because we were invited to open for him
he calmed down later and we all had a great night

Michael Moore at a book signing
M.M.: (while signing my book) Where can I get a good cheese steak?
ME: I'm a vegetarian
M.M.: Oh, well excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me. NEXT! (to woman behind me)
Where can I get a good cheese steak?
WOMAN: I'm also a vegetarian
M.M.: Why are ALL my fans vegetarians!?
ME: We have problems with torture and murder for pleasure

Timothy Leary at Starwood having lunch with the Reverend Velveteen Sly a
couple of naked pagans asked if they could get their pictures taken on his lap he
twitched his gray brow with a big smile happy to oblige

Annie Sprinkle was dating my friend Marie they came over for a tarot reading
we spent most of the time talking about herbs to cure AIDS I don't remember if
the tarot answered anyone that night

Henry Winkler on Benjamin Franklin Parkway annoyed me to think of jerking off
as a kid "Oh Fonzie, cum on my FACE! SHOOT IT! SHOOT IT!" what was my deal
back then?

The Frugal Gourmet shooting a segment of his cooking show in the Reading
Terminal Market telling someone what a moron his cameraman was then oooing and
aaahing over the pastries for the camera moments later

Pavarotti signing autographs for the crowd outside the Academy of Music
seeing a plate of pasta with olive oil and broccoli rabe through the wall of the
restaurant across the street with his superhero x-ray opera eyes

Howard Stern in Rittenhouse Square talking about "snapping gyro" with Jessica
Hahn and Sam Kinison after a show in the park heckling Philadelphia disc
jockey John DiBella

Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba married my friend Kathy's daughter the three
of them came over for a tarot reading Danbert sat on the couch not saying much
while Kathy and Laura had a good time laughing with me on the floor reading
the cards

Courtney Love and Billy Corrigan at J.C. Dobbs while I was on stage reading
poems with Reggie Cabico for the Lollapalooza show everyone lathered themselves
in Courtney's drunken blonde drama later she crossed the street to Zipperhead
and set fire to T-shirts with Kurt's death certificate on them

Patti Smith outside the Trocadero
a year later on South Street
years later in HMV Records when she yelled at my friend Jeffery for taking
her picture

Buffy Sainte-Marie being interviewed by PBS in museum making bullshit
statements to the camera about how special and different artists are from "other
people" when I told her my mother was a big fan she got annoyed because she's
really caught in the same struggles as "other people" about ageing

Quentin Crisp at a book signing
REPORTER: Quentin, how do you feel about chromosome testing to determine if
a fetus is predisposed to being gay or lesbian to consider aborting the
Q.C.: Sounds fine with me, my life has been miserable, I wouldn't wish
it on anyone

I served Al Gore, Jimmy Carter and Nancy Reagan parmesan bread-sticks at the
Presidential Summit when I worked for Metropolitan Bakery their speeches on
Welfare Reform infuriated me and the live gospel music made me want to shove a
bread-stick up the ass of Christ to stop the music from celebrating the
destruction of poor Americans and when skeletal Nancy creaked by I wanted to shout

Laurie Anderson on Broad Street talking to a very sexy nerd with mustache
very serious conversation serious and sexy seriously sexy

I served Oprah Winfrey a skinny mocha cappuccino and a low fat fruit bar when
I worked at the Barnes & Noble cafe my co-worker Paul cried when he told her
how her show had saved his life and when she gave him a hug he wouldn't let go
which was beautifully unnerving Oprah patting his back "Okay
now...okay...okay...okay now"

Angela Davis at a book signing where a drag queen asked her why she had
stayed in the closet so long I don't remember her answer the question much more

Chastity Bono angry at my boss for running out of her book with C-SPAN and
local news stations in the audience she told everyone to buy the book at Borders

Bruce Willis eating a sandwich on Pine Street taking a break from shooting
The Sixth Sense

George and Barbara Bush campaigning for their son at the Republican
Convention waving from the steps of the Union League I joined PETA oinking at them till
George yelled something and a line of cops shoved us curbside

SEXY Ralph Nader shaking hands during the 2000 presidential election I swear
I could actually taste the man through the grip of his hand!

Andrew Tobias signing copies of his books My Vast Fortune and The Best Little
Boy In the World Grows Up

WOMAN: (whispers to me) He's so brave coming out of the closet
ME: BRAVE!? It's 2001! While he was busy writing about his
gay life under a pseudonym and making millions on the stockmarket from the
other side of a closet door others were getting their heads bashed in fighting
to make it safe for his rich white ass to FINALLY come out of the dark!

I sold a copy of Gay & Lesbian Philadelphia to John Waters
J.W.: Is there a biography of Uncle Ed, you know, that crazy
Philadelphia guy who bought young men's dirty socks and shitty underwear?
ME: No, there isn't
J.W.: Oh, what a shame, it's the ONLY biography I want to read!

CAConrad lives and writes in Philadelphia with The Philly Sound poets. His book Frank is forthcoming from The Jargon Society, while advancedELVIScourse is forthcoming from Buck Downs Books, and Deviant Propulsion is forthcoming from Soft Skull Press. He curates the project 9for9, edits Banjo: Poets Talking, and co-edits Frequency Audio Journal with Magdalena Zurawski. He can be reached at CAConrad13@aol.com.

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