When I was much, much younger I lived in a second-floor apartment across from a gay bookstore in Philadelphia for a while. (Thanks to them for introducing me to Hothead Paisan at such an impressionable age, by the way.) It was a decent apartment, with a nice fireplace. We had several cats, my girlfriend and I. I owned an ancient underwood typewriter, which I place on a board in the window, I drank a lot of coffee and smoked way too much. And on rainy spring nights I’d sit in the window watching the people go in and out of the bookstore, and I’d try to write…poetry. This was before tattooing, before the west coast, before the zine, before I squatted, before I dropped out of civilization for the wild years. This was the start of that. It was the BEFORE TIMES.
It was horrible, in retrospect. But at the time I felt like it was a way to recognize that inside me hides an angry intellectual snob, someone who could rise above living in shitsville, who’d worked in factories. Some kind of Henry Miller/Bukowski/Hemingway persona. Some kind of talent that made me better than what I’d come from. I hadn’t started working at art in earnest yet, collage and a few drawings or paintings were all I’d done, so writing seemed a natural outlet for me instead.