December 15, 1978 – East Village – Journal

Last night I ran into John Kemp, with whom I had worked for the New School student registration. He suggested going to CBGBs. I thought about saying no. Alice waited at 256 East 10th Street. We haven’t touched each other in weeks.

“Sure, why not?” I agreed to the walk down the Bowery. A cold winter night. I was wearing tennis shoes. Wet from the melting snow. Nothing was happening at the bar and Lang joined us for drinks at Grassroots. The downstairs dive was packed with locals from the scene. Beer was cheap and I downed a few shots of cheap well whiskey. I looked at the phone booth more than once. Telling myself to call Alice, but didn’t want to hear the silence on the other end. Things are not good with use. I haven’t told anyone anything about her being late. Laing gave me a chunk a hashish before I left at 3. I was really late, but not so drunk. I have a problem of handling my liquor too well. I was surprised to see Alice still wake in the bedroom. She had been reading Ionesco. A dramatist. I had no idea what he wrote. I tried to read it several times without getting a hook. Too esoteric for me. I have a simple mind.

She looked, as if she had been crying. That happens a lot. She never says why. Do I make her so unhappy. Coming in this late must hurt her, but she never speaks with me. She goes to meet with her friend, Susan, and never wants to do anything with me, as if I am the sole cause for her possible pregnancy.

“Where have you been?”

“CBGBs first and then Grassroots with John and Laing.” I wasn’t drunk, but I wasn’t sober either.

“Why didn’t you call? I was worried about you. I thought you might have gotten hurt or killed or…”

“Or fucking another woman.”

“Well, of those three choices, fucking is probably the most likely.” She didn’t dare accusing me of infidelity. I recognized her fear. I had been violent at Irving Plaza during the fight with Blondie. My bruised ribs from the betting felt better, but I was sure everyone of her friends had portrayed me as the aggressor, instead of the victim. My reputation is not that of a saint.

“Would you have wanted to meet me?” This was the most we had spoken in days and we weren’t done. “Truth is I don’t now. Last month all I wanted was to be with you.”

“And now?”

“You never want to be with me.”

Alice was leaving for the holidays in West Virginia with the divorced mother and father, shuttling between Charleston and Huntington. I sat on the bed and held her hand, surprised she hadn’t withdrawn from my gesture.

“I know things are not good between us. This possible pregnancy, ahving to deal with feuding parents, trying to do the show, debts, dealing with me. You’re going to be gone for two weeks. Skiing most of it.” I hadn’t skied since leaving New England in 1976. There were mountains north of here. The Catskills weren’t New England and the Adirondacks were too far away from the city.

“Maybe this time apart will be good for us.”


The last time she left for DC she returned cold and mean. Nothing like the woman I love. Days passed before she was the Alice I love and that abyss will be crossed again.

Foto by Ann Sanfedele

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