Until My Heart Stops: Review

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[BOOKS]
Until My Heart Stops
by Jameson Currier
Chelsea Station Editions

Reviewed by Hank Trout

Until_My_Heart_Stops[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n Until My Heart Stops, his collection of more than fifty “intimate writings” culled from forty years of non-fiction writing, Jameson Currier addresses topics familiar to gay men—sex and the search thereof, love and relationships, AIDS and loss—all rendered in vivid details that ring with the clarity of Truth.

Primarily a novelist, Currier employs the techniques of fiction in these non-fiction pieces. He is particularly good at short, cinematic scenes with finely crafted, believable dialogue. In “Threads” he recounts meeting a friend whom he hasn’t seen for two years at a viewing of the AIDS Quilt in 1992.

…[H]is eyes narrow and he rocks his legs nervously, and says, softly, his best friend died this morning. I answer I am surprised he is here of all places, but I understand why he is. I know exactly what he is thinking and feeling. “How could I stay away?” he says and stops rocking and then looks at the ground. “I have it,” he adds, and I know not to ask, “Are you sure?”

No histrionics, no melodrama, just a quiet, truthful scene rendered simply with great power and emotion, like so many scenes in this excellent collection.

Alongside the tragic, Currier’s humor informs these pages. He says of one partner, “His dick was wide and chubby and looked like it should have a nickname.” He refers to “The Liberace Museum” as “an homage to a man and his closet.”

Currier writes in one piece that AIDS “has changed me even though HIV has not infected me. It has, nonetheless, impacted my world….I write about AIDS because I am still alive.” Until My Heart Stops, achingly poignant and full of humor, left me eager to read the follow-up collection that Currier hints at in his introduction.


 

Hank Trout edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. His published writing has ranged from gay “smut” (his term!) to literary criticism of William Blake. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a thirty-five-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his fiancé Rick. He read two of his pieces at the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco last June.