The Baltimore Kid by Tom DiVenti

Holley carburetors, Pennsylvania Birch Beer, vacuum cleaner salesmen, Dodge City, the Ramones, the Donner party, the Lafitte brothers, Bob Gibson’s fastball, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the World Trade Center, an Amish buggy at a four way intersection and Tom DiVenti’s Baltimore: This is our American Mythology. He lost the thread, found it and survived the game, a horse that made up twenty lengths in the stretch and took the trouble to write it all down. Tom was aware of this moment in history while sharing Henry Ford’s sentiment: “History is more or less bunk.”
I started reading the essays silently and finished them aloud. The words are better spoken where drinks are served, and lighting isn’t great. Tom writes of our present. We have become saturated in the deep fried oil of advertising, when nothing is good for you and used car salesman are synonymous with American politicians, all of it blow jobs in the White House: There is good reason for this collection. Not since the sixties has this much outrage been voiced collectively with respect to the state of affairs, cycles of corruption and abundance of hidden information. Tom writes about what we have stepped in, the pile on the sidewalk, communicating like a beer bottle thrown against a barroom wall, shattering beside the black and white broadcasting evening news, reporting on all that is being “destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked . . .”
He takes stock in plain language, defining himself, his context and his shadow, all illuminated in flickering neon.
We are thrilled to present this selection of Tom DiVenti’s essays, originally serialized for Splice.
Kerouac began On the Road:
“Somewhere along the line I knew there’d be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me.”
Every writer waits for their pearl. Tom DiVenti’s had been rattling around the bottom of that can of Natty Boh for years.
A.F. Knott

The original and infamous "Bad Girls" photo by Paula Gillen: Bonnie Bonnell and Beth Downey hanging out in the back yard at Jayne De Sesa's house in Baltimore, MD. Circa 1979.

The original and infamous "Bad Girls" photo by Paula Gillen: Bonnie Bonnell and Beth Downey hanging out in the back yard at Jayne De Sesa's house in Baltimore, MD. Circa 1979.