Convicts caught up with the writer and poet at his clothing store Le Petit Mort on Orchard St. during Thanksgiving week while he shared an honest and gritty journal entry from years past. We captured an honest and raw stream of consciousness recollection about a holiday all-nighter spent cold and alone on the city streets.
What’s good? It’s OJ, aka Slut Lust, aka Osvaldo Chance Jimenez — and right now we’re live from Le Petit Mort at 37 Orchard, right in the heart of Chinatown — and this is Convicts NYC. I’ll be your host, and please bring money.
I was born in the Bronx, at Lincoln Hospital, back when the infant mortality rate was at 50%, so you know, I guess I’m here for a reason. My mom took us down to Harlem — first Harlem Harlem — then Spanish Harlem. And then through a curious case of events we wound up on the Lower East Side, and I’ve been down here since ‘89.
Being a real New Yorker is something you can’t explain, it’s something you genuinely feel — it’s a feeling! But depending on who you ask, you’ve either had to get beat up here, or be born here. I think being a New Yorker means just be who you are: be an original; be comfortable; be compassionate; be considerate; and be genuine. There’s that whole, ‘I grew here, you flew here,’ — but to me being a real New Yorker is being creative, being something that the rest of the world wants to emulate and copy and have a part of. I can say that Le Petit Mort is my shop, this is my contribution. We’re New Yorkers, this is what we do, we all pay a small role in our city — in making our city what it is.
To be honest I didn’t think that anyone would ever read my writing. I didn’t think that anyone would ever see it — the only person I ever wanted to see it was my son. ‘Cuz it’s the digital age, eventually he’s going to be on the internet, and once he puts my name into google, he can find out whatever he wants to about me. I didn’t want him to see the narrative of my life without putting whatever illicit activity I was doing at the time put into context. At one point I was in an accident, I got hit by a car — apparently I should’ve died when it happened — but I got up without a scratch and was able to walk away from it. And the only thing I thought about — it’s not like I had a huge inheritance to leave my son — I literally have nothing. I was enraged with my father; my father’s never left me nothing. When you’re growing from a boy to a man and you have all these questions…in the end I had the streets. I mean it’s probably one of the reasons I love parties, when I say my friends are my family I’m really not lying about that! My friends became the man I needed in my — the father I needed in my life. I’ll never know the first girl my father ever kissed, or his anxieties, or how he dealt with bullies, peer pressures. But at least with this, with my writing, my son has the blueprint — he knows exactly how I dealt and saw shit.
I didn’t go to school for writing. I was probably on my fifth college at the time, I decided, ‘Let’s try DeVry out!’ I was going to be a computer engineer or someone that does graphics. But I had to write a descriptive essay — it was for an English prerequisite. I wrote one on how to roll a blunt, and it caught my teacher’s eye. She was like ‘Yo, you’re kind of a really good writer’.
When I started writing I probably didn’t even have a job — I might’ve been delivering weed. Then I started bartending, thanks to my friend Zach. My nightlife friends gave me a shot. I started throwing parties, grew a following, and then a good friend of mine gave me a chance at this bar called The Flat, and we were able to do wonderful things. Then I had the shop, LPM. All these things I’ve been doing, this is me showing my son ‘I know you think I’m good, I know you think I’m cool, but here’s all these wonderful things that you can do with your life, and all it takes is a smile and a little bit of perseverance, a little bit of good luck, and a little bit of you.’ My son loves it when he comes out with me, and we can’t go five blocks without somebody stopping me in the street — ‘Hey, OJ!’ and he sees that and he respects it.
My success has been pure fucking luck, it’s magic, I have no idea how it happened but all of this is just pure magic. I went out one night with a roll of 35mm film, and started taking pictures of everything, and didn’t look at the film for another two months. I tried to write about the night out from memory, from what I felt. My friend Mike found my blog by accident and put it in his art show in Chelsea — ‘I was like, wow, this shit is real!’ I just kept writing — ‘Let’s take more photos, let’s go to Japan, let’s go to Russia!’ And I somehow became the crew’s documentarian. I would capture all these really, really horrible photos, then I would write these real honest and pure stories. But all of them had a slant that was based on myself. The only reason being that when my son got older and if he had any questions about his father and he wanted to look it up, he could just put my name in, and he would have all these stories that I’ve left for him. He could use them allegorically, he can take a literal sense to them. At least he knows exactly who his dad is. If I could give my son anything, at least I could give him that — that he knows who his dad is. I’d rather give my kid what’s real and raw than than to have to have him figure out what to separate and decipher. I’m giving him my truth, my successes, my flaws, my failures.
New York has that thing where it’s like no matter where you are, you still feel like you’re standing on that corner, on that block, still riding that train. It’s a sickness. It’s one of those cancers or terminal diseases — you can’t get rid of it. I’m a born and raised New Yorker. You’re going to have to pry me out of here by my dead, cold body — you’re going to have to drag me outta here, ‘cuz this is it for me, no where else! When I travel and people ask me if I’m from America, I say ‘I’m not from America, I’m from New York!’ New York City is it’s own nation. This is my home, this is where I stand.