1996: It was cold and Max Fish was packed to the rafters with sorted hipsters, artists, college students and frat boys. Outside the snow was falling lightly over Ludlow Street. This was before the luxury condos and when the Pink Pony was just a coffee shop with magazine racks, a few tables and a pool table in the back. Seems like ages ago now. A different world.
Inside the bar I sat with my friends at the booth near the door, occasionally catching the cold wind whenever someone entered or left. A whole group of us, celebrating the end of the week, drinking ourselves into oblivion, as we usually did on these cold Friday nights when the work week was done. Among the group was The Goth Chick – a cute, extroverted character who often said and did things to draw all the attention to herself. I liked her. She was nice enough, I suppose, but sometimes irksome with her incessant political correctness and her obvious overwhelming desire to be the center of attention. At the time she worked as a dominatrix and often regaled us with stories about how many freaks there actually were in this world, spoken loudly enough so everyone within fifteen feet of us could hear every word. She talked, smoked her clove cigarettes, laughed loudly, revealed some really weird shit, like the client she once had who liked to be beat on the ass with a wire brush until he bled. She considered getting out of it, she said. People were freaking her out.
At some point during the evening the news about my first poetry chapbook being published came up. We talked a little about it, although there really wasn’t much to say other than the fact that I was thrilled at the prospect of seeing my poems in print. She sat back, took a drag off her clove cigarette, eyed me for a moment. “You don’t look like a writer,” she said.
“What is a writer supposed to look like?” I asked.
She eyed me some more. “I don’t know. More “arty”, I suppose. The way you look now doesn’t reveal that you’d be a writer.”
“What does my look reveal?”
“Just…normal,” she said. “Like you could be anybody.”
I looked around the bar, this nest of hipsters and artists – all of whom “looked” the part: paint splattered jeans, ironic t-shirts, large black framed glasses, messy hair, a day or two’s growth of facial hair. She fit right in with her black clothes, Egyptian ankh necklace, her pitch black, choppy hair, black fingernails. She was a “creative” type and everyone was going to know it. Me, in my jeans, sneakers, blue flannel shirt worn over my black t-shirt, shoulder length hair just didn’t cut it, I suppose, not that I cared. The whole conversation was ridiculous. I was just “anybody”. I didn’t look the part – as if being a creative individual were a role to play, an actor to be on stage. A member of a style tribe. Three months into my 30th year and the high school bullshit was alive and well.
I smoked my cigarette, drank my beer and steered the conversation away towards more important things like the next beer I was about to get from the bar. Maybe I was just “anybody”, but at least I was myself.
About the Author: Julian Gallo
Born and raised in New York City. I am a musician/writer/painter who has poems and short stories published in about 40 magazines and journals throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and also has 12 books under his belt:
"Standing On Lorimer Street Awaiting Crucifixion" (Alpha Beat Press, 1996), "The Terror of Your Cunt is The Beauty of Your Face" (Black Spring Press, 1999), "Street Gospel Mystical Intellectual Survival Codes" (Budget Press, 2000), "Scrape That Violin More Darkly Then Hover Like Smoke In The Air" (Black Spring Press, 2001), "Existential Labyrinths" (Black Spring Press, 2003), "Window Shopping For A New Crown of Thorns" (Lulu Press, 2007), "November Rust" (Lulu Press, 2007), "My Arrival Is Marked By Illuminating Stains" (Lulu Press 2007), "A Symphony of Olives" (Propaganda Press, 2009) and "Divertimiento" (Propaganda Press, 2009). His second novel "Naderia" was released in January 2011 and his third, "Be Still and Know That I Am" (Beat Corrida) was released in September 2011. br> He is also currently playing guitar and bass for NYC singer/songwriter Linda La Porte. br> View My Profile