Susan Tepper is the author of nine published books of fiction and poetry. Her most recent titles are CONFESS a poetry chapbook (Cervena Barva Press, 2020) and the quirky road novel WHAT DRIVES MEN (Wilderness House Press, 2019). Tepper has received eighteen Pushcart Prize Nominations and other awards and honors.
Janis On West 4th
Janis Joplin came to my place on West 4th a week before she died. She came for some dope, which kind of annoyed me. I had given up all that, except for the occasional brownie, here and there, which I liked along with a cold glass of milk.
At any rate, there was Janis standing on my front stoop looking like something the cat dragged in then didn’t want. I hate telling it like this because she died in a bad way. But she looked damned ugly and kind of dirty.
“Doc,” she kept calling me, rubbing her scalp.
“It’s Chuck,” I told her more than once.
“Doc,” she kept saying.
“Who sent you?” I remember saying; or something close to it.
“Ain’t you Doctor Acid?”
It was Greenwich Village so that was almost a joke. Two feet away this guy was hawking passersby. Plus, she had a band. Why did she need to scratch around? She looked determined. I’ll give her that. Janis had this fierce determination that was kind of scary up close.
“Can I have a ticket to one of your concerts?” “You mean like a trade?” She was pushing that mop of hair off her forehead. It was hot and my building faced the sun in the afternoon. That hair was so tangled I thought of rats living inside and would she even know?
“I don’t have any dope,” I kept telling her. Finally I sent her to Original Louie in the next building.
“Which way?” She looked right to left up the street. Her see-through blouse had this sad little pink rose pinned on, some kind of paper flower hanging cockeyed so the safety pin showed. I could see her breasts sagging behind the blouse. They looked sad, too.
I asked if she would sing Me And Bobby McGee.
“Man are you crazy or what?”
Digby Beaumont is an artist and a writer. In his art, as in his writing, he is always exploring the idea of how best to produce some emotional response to the work He is a self-taught artist. An interview with him about his art plus a showcase of some of his portraiture feature in the November 2019 issue of the online journal, Tupelo Quarterly. As a short fiction writer his work has been published in numerous print and online literary journals and anthologies. His collection of flash fiction, one-page stories, Dancing Alone and Other Lessons, was released in early 2020. Digby has also published numerous English language textbooks with Heinemann and Macmillan, including international bestsellers. He lives by the seaside on the south coast of England. You can see more of his work on his website: https://digbybeaumont.com/