A TRANSLATION OF HIROYA’S DEE DEE RAMONE PAINTINGS
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
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.
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
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,
Beyond Death: darkness, time, space, land
De De Land.
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)