I met Steve once, and wrote to him a couple times. He lived in a small house right on the beach at Holister Street in Santa Monica. I was in Los Angeles to hear Ginsberg read at McCabes; it was the 30th of March, 1991, and I know that because I showed up at Richmond’s house — unannounced — right before I went to the reading. Later that night, Ginsberg was nice enough to inscribe a copy of Photographs to me and date it.
Steve’s house was the closest to the beach. He’d been living there since the mid-60’s (that I know of) right after dropping out of law school to become a poet.
Imagine telling your folks you’re dropping out of law school to be a poet.
And showing up at a poet’s door to say hello and ask for some books to be signed is something I’d never do today, but I was a young, overzealous book nut, and I liked Steve’s work enough to do such a silly thing. He barely opened the door…and it was just enough to lean into it and tell me to leave.
I can’t blame him, really.
I don’t blame him.
The picture above, from left to right: Ben Pleasants, Charles Bukowski, and Steve Richmond.