Thursday, September 19, 2013

in search of the dead poets

One of my partners in crime loves the litgeekery as well and asked me about d.a. levy, our own homegrown beat writer who offed himself at 26 after a lot of police harassement and whatnot, where he lived, all of that. So we had homework to do, me a midterm, her papers to grade, so we got food and warm beverages at Algebra and then went for a drive in search of those fragments of past luminaries.

I still want to find a place inhabited by Screamin' Jay Hawkins but have had no luck, even trying to the appropriate channels of people who know such things. But I did have an address of a bar he performed at (his descendants, of which there are many, have a reunion every year I hear) that is now gone, and I know which apartment buildings members of Pere Ubu lived in, where Trent Reznor used to play,  just like in Kent I knew where Devo and the Dead Boys hung out. We don't have as much history as other places, so this is what we cling to.

We drove from Little Italy down Cedar to where Langston Hughes used to live and the library he went to. We forgot the address of the house but I've been through there before, and we got an address from one of my coworkers of a place where levy used to live so we went there too, and cruised my beloved industrial flats belching out pollution still. She says the smell makes her nauseous, I say that was the smell of jobs and it used to be so much worse. 

I still get some strange visceral pleasure out of these excursions that I can't explain. I don't like to be a cheerleader of provincialism, but there's a feeling when I'm driving the empty streets that makes me euphoric, inspired, and a little more alive.

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