David Bergman is Professor Emeritus of English from Towson University and the author or editor of twenty books. Next year Black Spring Press will publish his first two murder mysteries, Unassisted Living and Intensive Care, set in a retirement community in Baltimore.
The Man Approached by Dead Lovers
“ I wrote poems whose title began ‘The Man Who . . .’ for many years, and I still may write more. I have always loved case studies, and in these case studies, I could mix my own experiences with whatever material I needed. Sometimes I retold stories that others told me. Sometimes I used mythology or stories torn from the headlines.
‘The Man Who Was Approached by Dead Lovers’ grows out of several experiences. I am a gay man who came out in the early 70s, a decade before the AIDS epidemic. I am now in my seventies, and so many of the men I made love to have died not only from AIDS but from accidents and disease. Suddenly very vivid memories of them come to mind, and I am filled with loss, and joy and regret. Much is made of the profligate nature of the sex at that time, but few encounters have been more magical for me than walking down a street and suddenly feeling the interest and desire of a man whom I found interesting and desirable. These encounters did not all end in bed. Sometimes, as Auden says, we had ‘places to go and sailed calmly on.’ Nor do I feel that I initiate these sudden recollections of the dead, rather the dead seem to be checking up on me. Not as guardians, because they have no power to protect, but as well-meaning snoopy neighbors wanting to hear the latest news. ”