Private: Harry Crews

Maud sent this to me just before she left town for the weekend:

Dana has linked to this photograph of Harry Crews and his tattoo, which reads, How Do You Like Your Blue-Eyed Boy, Mr. Death?

When I took his fiction writing class back in 1990, in Gainesville, Florida, Crews explained that the tattoo was a quote from an ee cummings poem.

Crews wore black tank tops and kept his hair in an abbreviated mohawk. He was a recovering alcoholic who said things like:

Alcohol whipped me. Alcohol and I had many, many marvelous times together. We laughed, we talked, we danced at the party together; then one day I woke up and the band had gone home and I was lying in the broken glass with a shirt full of puke and I said, “Hey, man, the ball game’s up.”

He spoke like that all the time. Quotable sentences rolled right off his tongue.

Crews takes issue with his reputation as a violent man and has offered the following clarification, “Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a violent person. But if you wrong me, I’ll kill your fucking ass, and I’ll spend the rest of my life in jail. I’ll kill your fucking ass and you can count on it; depend on it.”

My point is, if Crews lived in the apartment above you and had a noisy whirlpool bath, you would not dare complain about the noise.

Damon Suave of Oyster Boy Review maintains the most comprehensive Crews site out there. And I’ve linked to it before, but here’s the Barcelona Review’s Harry Crews quiz.