West 34th

West 34th

Christ, it’s hot in here. No air. It don’t circulate at all, not with the wall of the next building five feet away. And some view, right? Anyway, this is home.

I got a folding metal chair, a mattress, a hot plate, a percolator and a radio. Two shelves for pots and pans and dishes, but I don’t really have much cooking stuff. One sink, one closet, toilet. There’s three layers of linoleum on the floor and the paint and plaster flecks and falls off. The walls are paper-thin, so I can hear everyone on my floor fucking and fighting all night. 80 bucks a month, and this is what I got.

Oh, and I’ve got a habit. Not much now, only two spikes a day, most days, more or less. But I’m past the 21 day period Burroughs wrote about, and I can see it getting worse, if I’m not careful. But it’s cool. I’m in control.

Damn, it’s good. Ever done it? Feels like flying through time while floating on the Dead Sea in an electric blanket. It doesn’t feel like sitting on a folding metal chair in a room on West 34th with a hot plate and three layers of linoleum and flecking paint and plaster.

So that’s where I’m at on my first month in the big city. I’m right across from the Garden, and sometimes I’ll take a cup of coffee down to the steps and I’ll see Clyde Frazier and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and the rest of the Knicks drive up to the building for practice. I can only imagine what they’re making, but it’s more than enough to cover 80 bucks a month for rent plus two, more or less, bags a day.

I don’t mean to sound jealous or bitter or anything. Like, with the junk, I did it to myself. And even in this fuckin’ dump I call home, I’m in New York and not cow-town Pennsylvania. So it ain’t all bad.

Still, it ain’t very dignified. I didn’t come to New York to live in a shit-hole and become a junky, y’know? I came to drive a Rolls and wear furs like Clyde. That’ll happen…right? Long as I’m cool and in control…right?

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22 comments
  1. A gripping life said:

    Your gift knows no bounds. I’m in awe. The electric blanket line — genius.

    • *blush* Too kind, Grips, thanks.

  2. You paint a picture of the 34th Street from the days of yore. This is nice and seedy. My good friend lives on west 34th — a block west from the garden. How anyone could live smack dab in the middle of all that — oh boy! Even though now it’s Disney Land compared to the way it used to be.

    • Ah, the old Hell’s Kitchen days! The Westies owned everything around there, and they weren’t shy about defending their turf. Fun times.

  3. Gritty and vivid. I want more.

    • niiiiiiiiiiiice, thanks!

  4. Hey! Like Frank said, “if I can make it hear, I can make it anywhere” ;)

    • Correct!

  5. I want to float in the Dead Sea in an electric blanket….sounds interesting. Very cool…

    • Hah! I may pass on that myself. *grin*

  6. Your words leave me with a gnawing sickness between my stomach and abdomen. Excellent writing!

    • Well, that’s always the goal… *grin*

      • Yes it is. “grinback”

  7. “Feels like flying through time while floating on the Dead Sea in an electric blanket. It doesn’t feel like sitting on a folding metal chair in a room on West 34th with a hot plate and three layers of linoleum and flecking paint and plaster.” Love this so fucking much! Damn you for writing real stuff over here on your blog. Brilliant. Now I want the rest of the story….

    • I try to provide for my people…

      • And you’re a good provider, Brian!

      • Will you still love me tomorrow (after the next post)?!?

      • Depends on the post, Brian. Don’t blow it, man. Don’t blow it.

      • With total lack of pressure like that, how can I go wrong?

      • I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the ways.

  8. You have painted a picture with words that make us want to either be there or run as fast as possible the other direction. Either way, it is clear and grainy at one and the same time.

    Wonderfully done.

    • Thanks so much! It was the best of times….

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