SF North Beach Cafe Owner Tells Poet Mark Doty: Get Lost, Faggot

Poet Mark Doty describes an incident over the weekend in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood in which he and his partner, the writer Paul Lisicky, were taking an after-dinner stroll when Doty involved himself in an altercation between two drivers on the street. The woman he had scolded parked her car, came after him, and then crossed the street into a business  to emerge with a group of four big men who began pursuing them. Doty and Lisicky took refuge in a restaurant that to their misfortune happened to be owned by one of the thugs coming after them.

Macaroni
 Doty writes: "And suddenly, as if a trapdoor has opened in the evening and we've
landed in a scene from The Sopranos, two guys enter the restaurant, two
more are posted just outside the door, and I've got an angry
middle-aged guy in a black shirt with flowers on it standing in front
of me and he's not happy. I cannot narrate our conversation here, as
it's all a jumble in my head. He's threatening (not necessarily in his
words but his stance and tone), he's telling me to get out, but I'm not
about to walk out onto that sidewalk with these weird entourage
bodyguard types standing there, I'm saying I'm going to call the
police. Then the strangest thing: he takes my arms and he says, 'Even
though you are who you are, you gotta think twice before you talk to
somebody.' I have no idea what this means. Does 'who you are'
mean gay man, middle-class man, entitled person? No idea. The guy's
telling me to get out of his restaurant, and somehow I make it clear
that I will not leave with those men at the door, and they move over,
and out we go, with a barrage of insults behind us — 'The Castro's on
the east side of town, get out of the neighborhood, twinkletoes, get
lost faggot' and so on."

Even Though You Are Who you Are [mark doty]

Previously…
Seattle Ricin Gay Bar Terrorist Also a Plagiarist [tr]
Mark Doty wins National Book Award for Poetry [tr]

Comments

  1. Anon says

    So it’s OK for the 2 men in question to attack a lone women on the street in a matter that didn’t involve them. Then they’re racist by saying the big men that were after them were from the Sopranos because they’re big and thuggish, they must be Italians. They can’t describe everything, even though they’re both writers. Some people should mind their own business.

  2. fred says

    “Even though you are who you are, you gotta think twice before you talk to somebody.’ – TOTALLY TRUE – At least he recalled those words.

    Sounds like Doty is a bully, I am sure that he would never has said anything had the woman in the car been a 6’4″ 240 lbs african american male. Seems like the universe snapped back.

    …and now he wants to turn it into a hate crime?

    during these challenging times we all need to be more civil. People are on edge.

  3. JohnnyP says

    What an asinine thing to say, Alan.

    I’m glad it ended w/out injury. What an awful experience for anyone! Andy, I assume the picture is the cafe in question?

  4. says

    Alan, that’s quite a presumption: Mark Doty doesn’t need publicity for his poetry, particularly publicity that has nothing to do with poetry. He’s doing quite well without creating false dramas. Though I don’t know him well–we’ve chatted and I’ve heard him read on various occasions–he hardly comes across as any “armchair activist,” quite the contrary. I’m sure there’s another side of the story–isn’t there always?–but I think it’s safe to say that gay-friendly cities aren’t immune from Neanderthal homophobes.

  5. JohnInManhattan says

    Doty and Lisicky are obviously obnoxious gays promoting the homosexual agenda in San Francisco via books, poetry, and yelling at normal straight people.

    (Did I win “Troll of the Day”?)

  6. Leland Frances says

    My, my, my. How quickly the self-loathing, cocksucking cockroaches crawl out of their smelly holes.

    It seems every time that Andy posts about an incident of blatant homohate, these invertebrates rise up to blame the victim. Remember the story about the religious nut bleating his bigotry on the PA system at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, and those who said THAT couple made the story up, were overreacting, blah blah blah.

    And, oh, yes, yes, Wrongsaid Fred, the solution for uncivil people is to ignore them. Why stop there? Let’s supersize your magical thinking. Stupid Matthew Shepard! If he’d only ignored those 18 blows to his head while he was tied up that the coroner identified, those repeated kicks to his groin, he’d be alive today. And Gwen Araujo! Girlfriend, they only hit you with a frying pan! Oops, I forgot the shovel, too.

    And, “ANON,” the grammatical and semantic ignorance alone in your hissy fit could fuel an essay. BTW, how hard is it to come up with your own pen name?

    And how many minutes has it been since I said we have among us our own worst enemies?

    Everyone else: when it comes to being gay in a straight-dominated world, we ALL live in Croatia. You don’t have to stumble into the wrong place in North Beach, there are attacks in the Castro!

    Gay hate crimes in the county directly south of SF have TRIPLED in the last year—attributed to the Prop H8TE wars. [Other counties are yet to be released.]

    If you can: take self-defense courses, as potentially lethal as possible. Purchase pocket pepper spray where legal. Never hesitate to call the police; file charges; sue.

    And do exactly what Doty’s done:

    TELL THE WORLD!!!

  7. Mamma Rice says

    Yeah, the first paragraph of this story is missing something.

    As far as I read it, thoses two queens got into the middle of an arguement that didn’t involved them and “scolded” or most likely “cussed out” a woman.

    She ran inside and got her big friends, they went into the bar and got into a fight.
    And were called “fags”. During a fight. That they started?

    Yeah, we prolly won’t see these men at any gay pride parades but–i don’t think there is any need to call GLAAD on this one.

  8. fred says

    RE: “And, oh, yes, yes, Wrongsaid Fred” – they involved themselves in a traffic altercation. They would not have become involved if the woman had been a 6’4″ 240 lbs african american male. PERIOD – think about it – thats what makes these guys bullies –

    Invoking victims of hate crimes is totally inappropriate. “…he’d only ignored those 18 blows…” They interjected themselves into a traffic altercation that did not involve them –

    “…take self-defense courses…” absolutely – I agree with you on that point –

  9. Mission Poet says

    Ooohhh the North end of San Francisco is so rough these days, so tough. What’s a guy to do? Honey, here in the Mission we have beer bottles thrown at us by gang-bangers and 12 year old black kids calling us “faggits” from sunrise to sunset. And we still prefer it to North beach because North Beach is b-o-r-i-n-g…

  10. says

    I’m sorry, but telling a beyotch off (because this woman was OBVIOUSLY one honking at an elderly couple trying to get into a car) no matter how potentially rude does not in any way JUSTIFY this woman driving alongside these guys, taunting them and them grabbing four homophobic thugs to threaten them with violence.

    But I’m sure you’re the types to say a woman wearing a miniskirt deserved to be raped.

    *massive eyeroll*

  11. says

    Sounds like two entitled guys got themselves in some street shit and didn’t have the cojones to finish up what they started.

    Furthermore, why is ok for them to call the “thugs” in question “Entourage types” and refer to the scene as “something out of The Sopranos” but it’s not okay for those “thugs” to call them derogatory names?

    It was a fight. What should the “thugs” have called them? “You really obnoxious men who came around our neighborhood and ganged up on our friend and then wussed out when it came time have your ass pay the check your mouth wrote”? I would’ve shorthanded it to fag too.

    And no, I am not a self hating homo. I’m actually rather bored and bothered by Queens like this screaming “poor me” over every exchange with the world outside of their comfort zone. Sometimes it’s not a hate crime. Sometimes you talked too much shit and got your ass kicked.

  12. says

    I honestly can’t believe what I’m reading in this thread.

    Next time someone says something to me I don’t like, I’ll sic rabid dogs on them because oh, well, you know we’re in a fight or something.

  13. Sebastian says

    Wow, this is amazing, I have dined there a few times with my partner and have never once had any problems. And, for those who do think SF is so tolerant, get on a train or bus after school, the gay slurs flow in this city worse than they do in the hick parts of this country and it shows, we still have a lot of work to do.

  14. taodon says

    Question: Do we support Mr. Doty because of his story, or because he’s gay?

    And to the comment that “Threats against us are real and growing.” No. You are wrong. They are more reported now. Not growing. It’s amazing how the sacrifices of the older gays are so easily dismissed for hyperbolic sensitivity over a story with only one side.

  15. CHRISTOPHER says

    We don’t know what went on with that traffic altercation except that it didn’t involve Doty and he involved himself. Yes the rest is unfortunate but he needs to own up to some responsibility for creating the situation. And the “Soprano’s” remark that Doty should think twice before inserting himself into someone else’s affairs seems like good advice to me.

    That said, if I had been involved in this incident as described I would have left feeling exactly as Doty did. Pretty hard to think clearly when you feel threatened and insulted.

  16. Mamma Rice says

    “But I’m sure you’re the types to say a woman wearing a miniskirt deserved to be raped. ”

    Woah! Why did you go there? Totally different situation. Totally different act of violence.

    I’m simply saying we don’t have all the information-homophobia is awful and should never be tolerated. However, these weren’t two men walking down the street minding their own business, where they?

    Or did they start something with someone? Did they get into someone else’s face and have their negativitiy returned to them ten-fold. If so-then, that’s what happens.

    If we are to take “hate-crimes” seriously. If we are to take these attacks as something that can never be tolerated on any count then we must be particular and honest when we use them.

    Alex is right–sometimes it’s a hate time, and sometimes, you’ve been talking shit and shit gets talked back to ya.

  17. says

    Can someone please point out why there’s a question about the validity to this story?

    What in your mind justifies the behavior of this woman and these four guys?

    Is it because of that Corner Bistro story we had in NYC a while ago? I don’t know San Francisco, but the Corner Bistro story was so obviously bogus to me because I’ve been there and I cannot imagine anyone on staff there being so stupid as to harass a gay person on the premises. North Beach sounds like a rougher, more working class neighborhood. And there have been many times I’ve been followed by people in cars here in NYC while walking home from the subway in both Queens and Brooklyn.

  18. says

    The real story here is less the original post (and better to read Doty’s full account through the link) than the anger in this whole thread, from gay and (apparently) non-gay readers alike. We haven’t seen this much visiting troll-ness since last year’s election campaigns.

  19. says

    Mamma Rice, telling a rude driver to “behave” does NOT justify being chased, harassed and threatened. This goes beyond talking shit.

    Talking shit is “Behave” and the woman yelling back “go to hell.” This is an appropriate response.

    This woman saw two gay guys and decided to get her friends in on scaring the shit out of them for her sport. Sorry. That’s what I see here.

    Never ever ever is her behavior appropriate.

  20. Dawson says

    Has anyone notified the Mayors office or the Chronicle or the San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper? Hate has to be shown. We need to not support our haters and let others know this too. We can always picket the restaurant. That would pissed them off.

  21. TANK says

    So were these goombas italian? Fat uneducated, piggish da… playing “wiseguys,” or something? (No offense intended–or not, who cares–but I’m not a big fan of american italians…often uneducated, sloppy looking antisemitic douchewastes. The steoreotype is true!) If those assholes said that to me, I and a few others would make them cry in public really hard, and I wouldn’t give a fuck who was actually in the wrong. Don’t give those animals the satisfaction of a single slur, or they’ll walk all over you for the rest of your life. That’s the mentality.

  22. MissNee says

    LOL

    It’s amazing that this thread is full of people justifying that crazy bitchs behaviour!!!

    What Doty said and what this looney bitch did are two VERY DIFFERENT things. This lady was being rude and deserved to be called on it. PERIOD!! What Doty did was not “talking shit”. Anyone who thinks it is should have their friggin’ head checked ASAP.

    Just another reason I stay away from North Beach and it really is a shame…there are a few places I love to eat out there.

  23. FrozenNorth says

    Man. I am so sick of the helpless “we’re victims” stories on this site. Are all of us just big sissies? Do we all just cringe and run away to avoid confrontation…(of course in most of these stories it seems the “victims” usually make the first dubious move..but I digress.) Seriously, grow some back bones, girls.

  24. Mark Doty says

    Just two comments. If you want the whole story, it’s narrated on my own blog post, and Andy’s posted a link to that above at the end of his excerpt.

    And the restaurant in question, in case you’d like to avoid it, isn’t the one in the picture, but a place on Columbus called Caffe Macaroni.

  25. Garrett in SF says

    More info needed before I jump on … I’ve eaten at that cafe many times with large gay groups. (It’s very close to Beach Blanket Babylon and serves authentic family style Italian.) Never have we experienced anything close to discrimination while there. (There are however many places in SF however where I have experienced blatant discrimination.)

    So far, we have one side of the story with much of the details missing (what was said, how was it escalated, etc.) I need more info aside from the alleged victim’s blog post.

  26. Garrett in SF says

    Mark Doty: can you please clarify — Did the event happen in Caffe Macaroni or Michelangelos? Your prose is not very clear on that and the imagery used appears to implicate Michelangelos.

  27. Garrett in SF says

    For the record, my comments above were regarding positive experiences with Michelangelo’s. If it’s Caffe Macaroni, well … don’t worry I won’t be going back anyway as there food sucks compared to others in the ‘hood.

    (If it is Caffe Macaroni … then you really should update your own blog to limit the defamation to Michelangelo’s.)

  28. Rocco says

    1)Tank, I really did not think you were so ingnorant.

    2)IMHO there is nothing self-hating about Derek W.

    3)General FYI: There are very few Italians, or Italian-Americans, left in North Beach.

    4)To others: I have lived in the Castro and North Beach and never had a problem in either neighborhood. I would think an incident like the one described here would not happen in the Castro, but I also think the Castro would almost be more lethal because it is widely known to be our home. I also know of a couple of assaults (hate crimes) that ended the life of someone (in the Castro). I can’t recall that ever happening in North Beach(at least GLBT related). I do not recall many
    GLBT couples being openly affectionate in North Beach.

    5)The comment about after school MUNI rides is way true I think.

    6)Unfortunately I am not surprised by the ugliness we have for each other here. The level of vitriol is sometimes shocking though. See #1 above…

  29. fred says

    “And that’s when I did something I probably need to stop doing: criticizing the uncitizenly actions of strangers.” From the original story on Doty’s Blog

    Yes, you need to stop doing this. It is not a safe way to travel thru any neighborhood.

    Further, I would like you to consider this idea. Would you have accosted the driver if she had been a large and physically imposing man. I think not. What does that make you sir? A person that criticizes the uncitizenly actions of people you are not physically threatened by –

    Further, do you think the people that moved in to “help the women” knew what happened. She sounds like she suspect narrator. Possibly they were just protecting a women from aggressive men. – and now you want to harm there business? –

  30. Derrick from Philly says

    Doty sounds like a pretty decent human being to me.

    The woman who started this incident sounds like an alcoholic, drug addicted, psychotic, homophobic bully slut with a overly used and abused vagina.

  31. says

    Omg, it turns out I’m a self hating homo!

    Zut Alors!

    That’s French for, someone better tell all the ex Mr Washingtons that they now have a new thing to blame our breakups on.

    I’m just relieved to have a diagnosis.

  32. Derrick from Philly says

    Oh, don’t let ’em get to you, Derek, we got so many homo psychoanalysts on this blog–it’s amazing. I’m a “self-hating homo” myself–except when I play with my toy. I adore me then.

    I know one damn thing: show me a homo who looks like A-Rod…I sure won’t hate him.

  33. Patrick says

    Alex is right. Does the word proportionality mean anything regarding this story? I’m not willing to speculate on what Doty might or might not have done if the woman driving the car had been a 240 lb man or not, but yelling “behave” at someone being a complete asshole in public does not excuse this kind of escalation – homophobic or not.

  34. A.S. says

    To TANK
    “So were these goombas italian? Fat uneducated, piggish da… playing “wiseguys,” or something? (No offense intended–or not, who cares–but I’m not a big fan of american italians…often uneducated, sloppy looking antisemitic douchewastes. The steoreotype is true!) ”
    You are unbelievably disgusting! As a proud Italian American, I have an MBA and own my own successful chain of 7 stores. I work my ASS off and make more in one year than you’ll see in a life time!!! If you want others to stop attacking you, you need to stop the attack on others.

  35. kevin r. says

    Wow! sounds like a very, very, very annoying man. I wouldn’t want him in my restaurant (if I had one) either.

    I’ve lived in SF for over 20 years. This shit just doesn’t happen. This isn’t the 1970’s.

  36. Read please! says

    Doty removed the picture of Michelangelo from his blog because Michelangelo has nothing to do with this. It’s 6 blocks away from Cafe Macaroni. Macaroni Sciue Sciue is what’s “across the street.” You should take down the Michelangelo picture, too.

    Link: http://markdoty.blogspot.com/2009/03/even-though-you-are-who-you-are.html?showComment=1237321920000#c4568999586724599337

    “Mark Doty said:
    Just to be clear: Cafe Michelangelo has no involvement in this story at all. That picture was posted simply because we were walking in the neighborhood earlier, as I wrote in the post, and enjoying photographing the wonderful signs. I have removed the photo from the post so there will be no confusion. The guys who threatened us emerged from Caffe Macaroni, near the corner of Columbus and Jackson, and crossed Jackson diagonally to a small corner cafe also owned by the same owner.”

  37. misquoti says

    Oh dear, now he’s claiming that he was physically assaulted:

    “Hey Jeff, maybe I wasn’t clear in my description; it wasn’t easy to write that narration. I was backed into a corner by two large guys, one of whom was grabbing me…”

  38. says

    The vitriol on this thread is beyond amazing! Mark was simply relaying a homophobic experience that mystified and angered him and ruined an otherwise lovely evening–it was a post on his personal blog (not like he was running to the press to get the victim of the year award!), one that (perhaps unfortunately for him) got reposted here so he could be judged and hated by gay people. I really don’t get the anger towards him, it’s scary.

  39. says

    Before I start accusing anyone, I’d like to know more. The account of what happened listed here is vague at best.

    Living in SF, I can vouch homophobia is alive and well here. But being gay doesn’t excuse a person’s behavior. I hope to see a follow up detailed story.

  40. Bill says

    Ernie, the hate is coming from haterosexual males that come on this site. Haterosexuals always come on gay sites to force their bigoted opinion on us.

  41. Bayley says

    I hope every person questioning this VICTIMS integrity, and every gay victims story which many, many seem to LOVE to do on twoelroad (attack the gay, defend the breeder) gets the sh*t beat out of them for being who they are….attacked, and taunted! Yeah, I said it! and meant it!

  42. leighton says

    While gay they are MEN yelling at a woman. That is intimidating for a woman. I have got involved in situations that were none of my business bc a man was yelling at a woman. These guys got what they had comming to them by a group of hetros looking out for fellow citizens. then they whine about it. this happened not because your gay but bc ur a yelling asshole who thinks its ok to intimidate women or to be a prick

  43. Wade Collins says

    The Gay mafia tries to control everything in this city. We are forced to pay for all the queer celebrations, awards, naming of parks,buildings and whatever to some nancy boy or butch dyke. These fags think they own this world, so when they get cute with a couple of women they have their ass handed to them by some neighborhood gents. Flamboyant fags & mis-fires of nature: Get a clue stay out of North Beach!

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