Saturday, May 27, 2017

the last book I ever read (David Talbot's Season of the Witch, excerpt thirteen)

from Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot:

Bobbi Campbell—a boyishly handsome hospital nurse who led a second life as a drag queen nun (Sister Florence Nightmare) in the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence—was one of the first people diagnosed with KS. He noticed the purple blotches on his feet after hiking with his boyfriend in Big Sur, and at first he assumed they were blood blisters. But when they got bigger, Campbell went to Dr. Marcus Conant, a dermatologist at the UC San Francisco medical complex overlooking Golden Gate Park, and Conant recognized it as one more strange occurrence of KS. Campbell immediately went public with his diagnosis, writing a story about his “gay cancer” in the Sentinel, a local gay newspaper, and persuading a drugstore in the Castro to post photos of Kaposi victims in its window as a warning to the community.

A political comrade of Cleve Jones’s urged the activist to meet with Campbell, who showed him the lesions on his feet and told him about his plans to start a gay cancer support group. Later, over dinner, Marc Conant filled Jones in on what he was learning about the mysterious new plague. Jones turned pale and ordered a stiff drink. He was thinking about all the young men with whom he had juicily joined flesh, and about how the Castro had turned itself into one big bed. “We’re all dead,” Jones muttered.

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