2014 For Worse And A Little Better

Some of 2014 was the best of years, but after New Year’s Eve the year had rough spots for old Christmas trees and me.

Winter came in the first week of January. Wind whistled through the drafty bedroom windows of the Fort Greene Observatory. Snow buried the soccer field in park at the end of South Oxford and the temperature dropped into single digits felt, as if the world had shifted on its axis to include New York City into the Arctic.

The East River froze by the Navy Yard. I wore heavy layers of clothing. The mercury in the thermometer descended below zero.

After Richie Boy returned from his holiday in Brazil, he let me go from the diamond exchange. There was no business on 47th Street. No one was buying diamonds. His father Manny shook my hand and said, “Things always work out for you.”

“Yeah.” I wasn’t as confidant as the old jeweler.

America was in a deep freeze in more ways than the weather.

That evening Richie Boy and I attended Dave Henderson’s opening along the Newtown Creek. Sounds from the crypt of noise emanated from the sculptured cones. I digged it. Richie Boy was more interested in a pretty art curator. He had a better eye for women than art.

Dave was happy with his work. The turn-out recognized his collaboration with his brother as special.

I like the way one piece felt and wished it had a magical power similar to Dorothy’s ruby slippers. It had been over a year since I had seen my son Fenway. He was my little boy.

I finished January in a rodeo bar.

I stayed on the Bull ten seconds.

My good friend Frank thought it was a good laugh.

2014 was okay. I had a little money in my pocket and my rent was paid.

With a little luck I could fly to Thailand.

Te snow fell heavy in February. Schools closed for days. My jobs were cancelled due to weather. My funds were low. 2014 was getting ugly, but not too ugly.

Jay Battle had an art opening. The paintings were of his favorite restaurants. He served pasta and bottles of wine warmed our hearts.

Jay was a good cook and a better family man.

Even better was Peter O’Kennedy’s video of a man cutting grass on an abandoned estate outside Dublin.

I had mowed my father’s lawn as a child.

This lawn was bigger and i told the artist that I loved his work.

He was a good father and I thought about my daughter Angie.

She was a long way away too.

More snow.

Even more snow.

I was cold.

Abe Lincoln came to visiting Fort Greene as a promotion for Verizon. Their reps gave me a $50 check. It was the first money I made that month.

All my money was going to my families in Thailand. I had none, but the bartenders at the 169 Bar liked my writing. $5 got me well drunk on Naragansetts and whiskey. Dakota and Johnny played in a punk band WEIRD WOMB.

They played sixteen minutes sets.

I couldn’t understand a single word, but loved the music.

Plus they knew pretty things.

The young girls liked my stories.

They liked me even better for not hitting on them.

I was faithful to Fenway’s Mom.

She was living in Ban Nok with a relative.

Life wasn’t easy and I had a feeling that life wasn’t going to get better.

I had no work.

The snow melted in March.

I called my friends for money.

I accepted $10, $20, $100 and more.

Without them I would have nothing to give my kids.

I didn’t need money.

Thanks to Henry Miller I knew how to get a free meal.

The chowdah at the Oyster Bar was good on a cold day.

I went to art openings.

I especially liked Walter Robinson’s closet of beauties.

He liked my writing.

AS did the Welsh obituarist Adrian Dannett.

We drank cheap white wine.

It was cold outside.

I rank enough to take away the chill.

It was a long winter.

My friend Bruce Benderson was in love with a young boy. Geoffery looked like a caveman. He loved my stories. No one wanted to publish them.

Miguel Abreau opening a new gallery at 82 Orchard Street. I had helped him painting the ceiling. It was a horrible job for me. I couldn’t tell where I had painted white and the concrete drank paint like a sieve.

The works on display were eclectic.

The old crowd showed up in droves.

Everyone had something to say about this and that.

Some more than others.

Jan Frank less than some.

And Miguel sold some paintings.

Enough for him to be generous.

“Take care of Fenway and Angie.”

He was a good father and friend too.

Devlin arranged a diamond sale to his Gulf State friend.

I put a good piece of change in my pocket.

It didn’t last long.

I paid my overdue rent and sent money to my families.

Devlin invited me to Europe.

The Maastricht Art Fair was opening in a week.

We flew to Heathrow. I had $150 in my pocket.

The financier needed my translating skills and we flew over to London, where we met his Arab friend for a night at the Mayfair casinos. Al-Shara played 21. The dealer flipped cards faster than the cook at Benihana’s sliced meat. No one won against the house.

The next day I met Peter Bach. We drank at the Soho House. Old faces abounded at the venerable old pub.

We told tales of now and then.

We dug names from the graves of our memories.

Pints were drank in honor of us all, those present and gone.

Devlin was dining with the Prince and his entourage at a fancy restaurant.

I met with my god son Fast Eddie and his mother.

We ate no place fancy.

They were good friends.
Fast Eddie was planning on biking from Paris to Dakar in April.

“Through Mauritania?’


“They still have slavery there.”

“We’ll be fine.”

His mother didn’t seem to sure, but we toasted his venture and I returned to my hotel.


A soft bed and good wifi.

I called Thailand and spoke to Angie’s mom.

I fell asleep dreaming of the beach with my daughter.

The Gulf of Siam was always warm.

The next morning we flew out of London to Holland. Maastricht is one of the most important art fairs on the calendar. This was not Art Basel Miami. These people were the real rich. I saw familiar faces. Devlin had to ask prices. Neither of us saw anything of interest and we headed to the train station.

Luxembourg was within reach, but Madame l’Ambassadeur was hosting a state dinner at the embassy. Devlin suggest Antwerp.

“They have whores there.”

“I’m not into whores.”

Neither was he and we opted for Bruxelles, figuring on hitting Paris in the morning.

We love European trains.

Vonelli wasn’t in Bruxelles and we stayed at a cheap and cheerful hotel across from the Gare du Midi.

We dine outside.

Winter wasn’t winter in Belgium.

Cold, but not freezing.

The early TGV got us to Paris in the morning. We stayed in St. Germain. I had breakfast at Cafe Le Flore and called my friends. my old girlfriend Candida lived around the corner. Her husband was a successful publisher of art books. She offered to have a dinner for me.

“Invite who you want.”

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