at the Smog Cutter

and so as not to dis the etiquette of my new found tribe i too partook of the shit on a shingle entrée… Saturday night with nothing to do i strolled down two quarter blocks on Virgil Avenue and turned left to order ginger ale from the one the guys called Mama San we were all AA students but the boys chose to ditch school 5 days a week they talked about the evils of malt liquor as they drank down their rye sharing army stories of the war in Viet Nam they hazed me into conversation but all i could muster was having read about Iran/Contra in current events for my 9th grade dissertation i called Susi over and asked for the check slipping off the bar stool they executed a synchronous head turn im not a drill sergeant i thought to myself i wiped my space dry with my over stretched sleeve and the guy with a Teamster’s Cap circa 73’ offered a story about Buffalo Springfield my stoic face gave me away and two old timers said i was a kid i sat back up and ordered Red Bull on the rocks knowing it would be a battle the Rolodex of my mind spun and whirred i lightly joked about Neil Young and Crazy Horse clarifying i got their CD from Target the soldiers they all had a chuckle detonating the wrinkles of suffering ingrained on their face i rammed through their barrier with my praise of Stevie Ray Vaughn and i wrapped up my ambush with a very harrowing rendition of Fortunate Son and as the cigarette smoke lifted their silhouettes shifted to a comfortable slump and they ordered some food so the party could start

11 thoughts on “at the Smog Cutter

    • thanks, Jen. this was a bar lovingly considered a dive that purveyed to our older Baby Boomers in the East Hollywood area. this piece was inspired by an actual event in 2010. around 2012 i moved out of the area. now im back working in that area and i drove by and the Smog Cutter is no longer there. its still a bar, but has been upgraded to serve the young student population around the LACC community.most of the time i find myself in an awkward social setting because im either too old or too young lol ❤ happy Sunday 🙂

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  1. Classic on so many levels… totally can picture this scene. I know I have mentioned this before, but you really do have a cinematic sense to your writing (in addition to Bukowski) that could translate to a powerful short movie. This one totally could convey so much about war/peace and generations and how the vietnam era still informs and yet doesn’t inform our lives anymore while providing commentary for the current generation of vets… rambling this morning sorry… don’t feel like I am making anysense.

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    • thank you friend. these opportunities as funny on the surface as they might be, are what i need to fill in the void in my spirit sometimes. ive never served in the military and as a young person i wasn;t too military friendly, but the deeper i got into my own issues, complexities and social work with the mentally ill and severely distressed i came to be more aware of the fortitude a human has to have to deal with such intensities and possible to face death and have to make a choice. i know that i have struggled for years on having to “take orders” from our cookie cutter approaches to social services, i know that some people can work with some things and some cannot, it’s difficult. if youve done years of 16 20 hour days of being on call heard some of the stories witnessed the emotional carnage and the occasional corpse out on the street it changes you the psyche the DNA . i feel like i can relate more to a combat veteran than a super model i still struggle with many many things like all humans do i love the freedoms that i take victim hood is something that i dont see i have suffered from although others who have come to know me disagree i treat all the same and if a man “disrespects” me i have the choice to take it or leave it to be the better person not before flipping them off of course, but in all fairness ive been treated no too cool by many folks of every background and gender, we are people movies that i absolutely love are Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, Forrest Gump, and lots of other war flicks. I also love the stories of WWII. i was born a fighter of sorts like we all are but theres only one me i suppose I HOPE lol thanks for sharing friend it means alot. Movies well … maybe in another life 🙂

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