eter helped me build an installation to show paintings that fall in my second show at Keller Gallery on McAllister Street, a block from the Veteran's Memorial Museum on McAllister Street (San Francisco's equivalent of New York's 'Orchard and Rivington' district) buried behind City Hall and The Opera House. By then, Allen who I'd met a month earlier (thinking he was trying to pick me up, not knowing he was on a search for the old bearded painter with the beautiful boyfriend) was living with us. He buys a drawing of himself, Peter and Natalie from the exhibition. Nude With Onions was first shown there. A lady approached me as I stood by the painting with John Keller who introduced me to her. After some opening remarks, she asks me,
"What's that between her legs?"
Allen brings home a bottle of Courvoisier on New Year's Eve. I come from work to join Peter, Natalie, and him for a pleasant kitchen evening celebration. I awake before midnight in a stupor. I wake Natalie. No sign of Peter or Allen. There's half a bottle of Cognac left. We stand on the front steps to see the starry new year come in. I'm devastated behind the smile as we toast the new year from the stairs of 1403.
Our household was broken up (or down) by reshaped relations, and all of us moved now to the Wentley, three blocks away where we no longer really lived 'together'. That is, no one to take care of or be taken care of. Fosters Cafeteria is our living room. Between there and The Place, it feels like we're in some odd cafe society.
My pain was that of being odd man out, as I longed for the closeness of relating to one Other. I missed the odd turns of mind that Peter brought to my Jesuit formed thought. In a surprising turn of my work after a weekend in the country, I reached out to that past in 'The Flower Inside', followed by 'Iris Natasha'. Then, bitterness of abandonment asserted itself in 'A Rose With Thorns'. When the high spirit of that group of paintings became apparent to my eye with a show in mind, 'A Rose With Thorns' seemed too mean a work to include. Allen liked it, asked for it and I gave it to him. Now my friend Damion has bought it at a Sotheby's Auction and it seems strange to see it in an apartment on Capitol hill in Seattle, having hung all these years pinned to the walls of Lower East Side kitchens.
The earlier experience painting oranges seemed a pattern repeating itself as I painted my way out of the emotional devastation of love-loss, at work among colors. The new works brought poems from friends energized by 'switchboard central' Ginsberg, that were slid beneath my Wentley door. Late into the work on this group, an exhibition materialized around one of the periodic invitations by Leo Krickorian to show with him. It kept my mind occupied in this age of sadness until August, when I went 'abroad' to Mexico, relying on literature's 'cure' for a broken heart.
From titles of my paintings, Allen made a poem, The Dangerous Garden of Robert LaVigne.
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