Monday, August 3, 2009
beth was from detroit, another one of several gfs who had craziness & incest in her past. i'd dealt w/northern women before at new college. they seemed to be a different breed, not genteel or passive but aggressive & violent. after di(from pitt) had drunkenly attacked dorothy(from fla) at a palm court party, big dan(from philly) had come to me & said, "look, you must not know about these pennsylvania girls. they'll fight over nothing much less a guy." di was never physically violent towards me.
on the other hand, beth had no problem taking swings, throwing things, & breaking fingers if she could get her hands on you. it's true that alcohol was usually involved but not always. this was just her way of dealing w/the world. she & i had broken up & i hadn't seen her for a few weeks. i was out on p'beach & stopped into the sandshaker & found a very very drunk marie sitting at the end of the bar. we drank some more but i insisted that she come home w/me & not try to drive home herself. she had no problem w/that. we pulled up into my apartment parking lot & as we were getting out of the car, i heard a car screeching around a corner & approaching at high speed. i recognized beth's car as it came flying up into the parking lot. i gave marie the keys to the apt & told her to go on ahead. beth's car screeched & skidded to a halt & as she came flying out of her car, i naively walked towards her. "we got nothing else to say to each other," i tried to say. i'm not sure if all of it got out before i felt a stinging hot jolt upside my head &, as i started to go down, i heard my glasses skittering across the parking lot. the side of my face went numb & there was a roaring in my right ear. i caught myself as i fell & scrambled up & away, instinctively knowing that if i ended up on the ground, she'd kick & pummel me to death. i ran. i ran as fast as i could. i ran away as fast as i could from a woman, a woman from detroit.
this guy is from detroit & does most of his work there. looking at his work brought back all those happy memories of beth for some reason. the violence in the pictures is subtle but still originates w/humans. there's the violence of indifference & the violence of abandonment. there's the violence of human presence & the violence of human absence. the shock that i feel looking at these pictures is a little unsettling. from my southern perspective, i'm used to seeing small towns wither & die & give themselves over to a rapacious natural consumption. seeing an industrial northern city undergo that same consumption is another thing altogether.