During the preparation for Beatdom #12, in late 2012, I was honored to receive a submission from a man named Chris Dickerson. He contributed one of the finest essays I’d had the pleasure of reading in a long time. It was called “Down These Mean Streets,” and acted as a literary guide to Los Angeles, focused through the eyes of Raymond Chandler. Since publishing that wonderful essay, I have received numerous e-mails from delighted readers, and naturally I was eager to have Chris back for issue thirteen.
Indeed, not only did Chris submit another brilliant essay (this time focusing on Los Angeles through the eyes of another native author, Charles Bukowski) but he also contributed a piece of short fiction that took a somewhat light-hearted approach to the subject of drinking. I never noticed, but at the end of both the essay and the story, the subject dies. His essay ends at Bukowski’s grave, and the story ends with the protagonist realizing that he is in heaven, hell, or some other kind of afterlife.
A few weeks ago, my editor and a good friend of Chris’, Katharine Hollister, wrote me to pass along the sad news that Chris had suddenly taken ill, and that the outlook was not good. Although we hoped that he would recover, it seemed unlikely, and so we hoped that he would at least live long enough to see his last magnificent pieces of writing put into print.
Alas, it was not to be. Chris passed away on July 9th. He will be missed as a great man, a talented author, director, playwright, and poet. He will live on through his work, some of which can be seen on his YouTube channel. His poems are available on Amazon.
In the late spring of 1939, Weldon Kees, his wife Ann, and his parents, John…