How we establish ourselves: every
night is spent together. I prefer to
spend as many nights as possible in
West Philly, where rugged old houses
sport ample foliage that is ripe with
the flush of late August. We make
love at least once a night, so
we can be fully animal and happily
married. Green herb follows us
around as a mode of relaxation and
to get our moods in sync. Trish is
developing my palette: I taste pesto
for the first time, vegetarian stews.
At 4325, there is a party all the time,
and it is like finding an adolescence that
I never had. Jackie was another painter
who lived on the ground floor (Trish’s
room was upstairs.) Trish and Jackie had
fooled around and Jackie painted in a far
more violent manner than Trish (lots of
smears, grays, blacks, more abstraction),
but he was a farm kid from Carolina and
a gentle soul. His girlfriend Grace was
from a well-connected Connecticut
family and knew J.D. Salinger personally.
She had a bit of an attitude, and her
lips were often curled in a sneer.
The rest of the 4325 crew were rock
and rollers and into doing Ritalin
lines. By October I am an honorary
member of the household. At that
time I was recording an album of
spoken-word stuff in South Philly.
I would zoom on a trolley up to
West Philly and that night there
was a party. The kitchen had
awful yellow wallpaper and a
blazingly bright light and I did
shots there with Jackie. I wasn’t
a big drinker but that night Trish
both went to town, and got rowdy.
Trish and I adjourn to her bedroom
and have loud, drunken sex with the
door wide open. Her diaphragm got
stuck but we just kept going. Later
we heard another couple hooking
up down the hall. The air was mild
and clean and it was warm for October
and there was no way we could go to
bed. We staggered down to the front
porch and sat on the forest-green
swing-bench that was held up
against Jackie’s window. Branches
hung between us and the street.
Leaves were falling in Clark Park.
That night was one peak of 4325.
There were many. We began to
develop our rituals beyond just
pot, food, and sex. I always
cherished the walk from Penn
(where I was finishing my
degree) to 4325. At 40th and
Spruce was the University
Pinball Arcade, what I liked
to call the Universal Pinball
Arcade, but neither of us ever
went in. We also liked to walk
late up to Fresh Grocer at
40th and Walnut. We’d buy
French bread, because on pot
there is nothing better. We were
also spending lots of time with
Tobi, who at that point was
Trish’s best friend. She was
another painter, less into
mythology and more into
precisely detailed figuration.
Tobi was tiny, with exquisite
cheekbones, bright blue eyes,
wavy brown hair, thick bow-
shaped lips. She was hilarious
but turbulent and wont to cause
scenes. There were to be lots.
One night Trish and Tobi came
with me to the studio in South
Philly where I was recording. We
drank Paisano (cheap red wine)
and listened to the recordings.
Tobi wanted us to walk her
home, but she was on her bike
and it was completely out of
our way. She was drunk and
upset and started yelling and
abruptly left. Trish and Tobi
tended to mirror each other
and so I wasn’t surprised that
Trish also started to freak out.
Trish ran into moving traffic
on 18th and Walnut (right by
B & N where we worked),
and I had to drag her back to
the sidewalk. Then she attempted
to strangle me when we had
almost reached my pad on 21st
Street. I managed to tear her
off, but it was my first inkling
that being Trish’s established
boyfriend could be onerous.
For the first time that night,
I went to bed tired in a bad
way. This wouldn’t be all roses.