Hack Job

by dave church

Green Bean Press, New York, ©2002.

a review by debbie kirk

I Drive a Cab

“I recently asked my boss to install a bullet proof shield in my taxi – for customer safety.”

DAVE CHURCH ROMANTICIZED HIS SLEAZY LIFESTYLE, and I believe he enjoyed it most of the time. In this book, Dave is a storyteller, a philosopher, a psychologist of sorts, a fragile boy at confession, and the most incredibly resilient personality. There are far too many quotes in this little book than I can fit in this review (I’ll throw in a couple), but the honesty that comes thru is incredibly endearing and inspiring.

Don’t get me wrong. Dave was a dirty, tough, big boy. He really seemed to need nothing more than the page. This book is great AND dirty. I got it in my twenties and had about a week of peace… But there are real prostitute finger licking, bondage, drug deals with scumbags… At times your fingers feel dirty just from touching the pages filled with his words and stories, his… confessionals? The pages are a list of his diary as he is driving his taxi in Providence, with poems thrown in like candy. I think Dave NEEDED to write this book. But he found a way to turn his hard times into funny stories and never asked for sympathy.

This is real, raw, sexy pulp prose that will remain timeless. I don’t have time to get into the three Greek references he made. Also, he made two references to his mother. The book seems to outline a pattern of him getting his heart broken by whores over and over, perhaps because that is where he felt the most comfortable.

Reading this book gives that genuine voyeuristic feel that we all secretly crave. As I mentioned, Dave had a clear, almost philosophical vision and approach to it all. It seemed those streets, whores, drug dealers, and anyone else needed him as much he needed them as a catalyst. One example of this is here… “I see better in the dark the human conditions- all it’s strengths and failures.” He also confesses with pride “… I can’t live without gutter sex – even if it is generic.”

And yes, it’s true he said that “everyone dies a slow death from the soul”, and the slice on the page where he wrote “What is more fitting for a poet to die in an insane asylum?” But Dave never stopped. He pulled up his sleeves, put on the gloves and went right thru. He will be deeply missed by the writing community and I hope this book goes into reprint somewhere… it has the good stuff…

I’ll close on Dave’s words: “God is not the answer. God is the question – who, what, when, where, why and how? Personally, I think God is working as a carnival barker somewhere in the Midwest.”