by Ed Hamilton 

Ed Hamilton has lived at the Chelsea Hotel for nearly 10 years.  His fiction has appeared in Modern Drunkard, The River Walk Journal, SoMa Literary Review, The Journal of Kentucky Studies, Exquisite Corpse, Southern Ocean Review, Lumpen Times, Limestone, No Umbrella and Class Dismissed: 75 Outrageous College Exploits (Villard, 2006).  His short stories are forthcoming in The World Is A Kitchen: Anthology of Humorous Travel Stories (2006, Travelers Tales, editor Sean O’Reilly).  Ed’s fiction has also appeared in dozens of online publications, including Smith Magazine, Pif, Eclectica, 3a.m.magazine and TimeOut:Net Books (the website for TimeOut London) “Goddamn Watermelon,” which appeared in Eclectica was voted best new fiction on the web by Michael Longo, the former fiction editor of About.com. 

Ed contributes the weekly “Slice of Life” column to Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog (www.hotelchelseablog.com).  His column has been featured on gawker.com, curbed.com, girdskipper.com, BusinessWeek’s Blogspotting and other popular blogs.

Hiroya, the crazy Japanese graffiti painter with wild black hair who used to stand in the lobby in paint splattered suits and accost tourists with boasts of his artistic prowess, left several paintings behind in Hiroya823 the hotel when he died.  Two of them, replete with crosses, caskets, and the symbolism of death, and heavy on Japanese text, have long intrigued us because they seemed to tell the story of Hiroya’s falling out with his friend, the punk rocker Dee Dee Ramone.  We have been waiting for a Japanese person to happen by and translate them for us, and finally we found one in Yuko Shingyoji, a Japanese fashion designer.  The yellow one that hangs in the stairwell between the seventh and eighth floors is rather poetic and reads approximately as follows:

From here it’s heaven,
Heaven is a forest.
Drink Rum in the morning, 
Everyone dance.
Beyond Death: darkness, time, space, land of God. 
De De Land.
Hiroyaorange_1 The orange one that hangs in the stairwell on the first floor, though it touches on a similar theme, tells more of a story:
De De Land.  In heaven I meet De De and Barbara.  De De always thinking something very deeply.  The job of Barbara is reading “pustory” (“true story?”) to De De.  De De makes blueberry jam.  He writes a poem on the pink chalkboard.  My job is after he finish writing a poem, put the poem into drawing.  My girlfriend Marcia take picture of the drawing and record to De De Land’s diary.  End of day at De De Land.  De De Land is very good feeling (comfortable), mellow world.
Yuko says Hiroya’s English is not very good, ungrammatical.  Yeah, that’s Hiroya alright.  The “De De” in question is the punk rocker Dee Dee Ramone of the Ramones.  Barbara is Dee Dee’s wife.  The story of the paintings is that Dee Dee paid Hiroya $500 to make two paintings of the Chelsea Hotel for the front and back cover of Dee Dee’s novel, Chelsea Horror Hotel.  Hiroya took the money, but then started to have second thoughts about whoring himself like that, and so couldn’t bring himself to complete the paintings.  This led to a falling out between Dee Dee and Hiroya, but in the end Dee Dee insisted that Hiroya at least owed him two paintings of some sort, and these are what Hiroya came up with.
About a year after their falling out, Hiroya left the Chelsea Hotel to enter a rehab program.  He attempted to move back into the Chelsea a couple of years later, but Stanley wouldn’t give him a room.  On the very night he was rebuffed by Stanley, Hiroya checked into the Gershwin Hotel and died. Dee Dee proceeded him in death by a year.  As often happens with such deaths, there was no way to know for certain whether it was an accident or suicide.  (Ed Hamilton)


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