Heilman told me about Jack Pierson. She said Oh youíll really like him
Eileen. Heís smart and heís working class and heís . . . really cool.
She sort of scrunched her face up in this way that there were no words
for her enthusiasm, but she felt it. A little friendly force. So I was
prepared for Jack and when I encountered him I felt like I had already
known him. That is, he reminded me of boys who sat on the rocks in Marshfield
early sixties. They dressed like preppies but their faces were rough.
Slightly criminal. It was always my favorite kind of look, not my own
look, but maybe a reflection of my mind. So Jack had this Ivy League
crook look too. Then I saw a bit of his workóactually
a corner of it at Pat Hearn. It was that funky Florida
few cigarette butts, and maybe a beer can. It was little rooms. Little
lyrical rooms to die in. When I grow up Iím going to live that way
children say when they see rooms like this. Hoboism seems like a twisted
manifestation of story books. So I think thatís what Jackís like.
Gay hoboism. The beauty of tragedy, the poetry of bus stations, dead-end
lyricism. And around the same time he handed me a sheet of his writing.
It was part of the show. Something about drowned kittens and it was very
good. Plus it made sense because his work is begging for text. I donít
mean it needs it. I mean it has it. So when it actually appears it seems
natural. The work is shorthand like facial expressions. I like that. I
mean I wouldnít write myself if I had anything better to do. I sent my
book of stories, Chelsea Girls to Jack. I think I did. Maybe he
just had it. I should have sent it to him. Anyway I got a postcard
saying how much he liked it. And I had written about his work by now in Art
I liked that we were both impressed with each other. I decided he should
write about me in ArtForum. I sent him a card. He came up with
this great idea which was to photograph my book. That would be the
review. Of course they didnít use it. Anyway, we met for lunch and he
gave me this picture. It was my book which is kind of creamy-colored
lying on one of those old Cambridgey Indian bedspreads. The pattern is
red and something else and kind of beige. Thereís a bowl on the bed
and it has some juice in it. It could be a cup of tea, but I think
itís a bowl with cantaloupe juice.
Sweet and warm, left-over. I like to think of my book in the sun
like a cat all day. I like this vision. Pretty seedy, his and mine.