Monday, June 24, 2013
the last book I ever read (Richard Hell's I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp, excerpt five)
from Richard Hell's I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp:
At Tom’s there was strength in numbers, even if the numbers were only one, two. There were lots of things we could say to each other and ways we could behave that no one else we knew appreciated or even perceived. I don’t know how much the nature of it was a function of our youth or our low social status and lack of power—our placement outside of any society but each other—but it was the most meaningful friendship I’ve had, I think, and the last male friendship of its importance. While in many ways we didn’t even like each other. Years later I got a note from Ted Berrigan inviting me to a reading he was giving with Ron Padgett. He wrote that it was the event of the season or something like that and added that he and Ron hated each other as only best friends can. It was the first time I’d seen that syndrome identified, but I knew exactly what he meant, because of Tom and me. The hatred came a little later though. When our friendship was at its most intense, when it was fully active, the hatred was more a kind of tension or confusion, a kind of unease at being a little off balance half the time. We needed each other, and because that made us vulnerable, we resented each other for it, and, after a while, also, just because we’d gotten to know each other so well, we might have despised each other a little. Then there was the unspoken competition going on. This is a particular, atypical type of friendship, but I don’t think it’s unusual among young artists, at least among egotistical ambitious young artists.