yearning in code

breath

silent

sweet whisper

cooed inside dreams

honey veins the sting

it comes on spurts of hot

metal polish in the blood

wolfram exploding in the night

thinly necked liquid sand holy grail

near blue Nirvana send me off to sleep

a crumb of life

his fedora was camel tan felt with a gray ribbon around the crown he missed a tooth or two skin dolphin blue ashy like the flick of a Cuban cigar he belonged at that piano bar he had always been there an entity but every end of a lifetime he’d take on another body and the fedora man would return to the same old black stool sagging with confessions of past souls bemoaning life and living being a junkie i was on the look out to see if he could be trusted the old man spoke English but our real conversation was on another level we understood each other with our eyes we were all intuition instinct pulse gut feeling we were cons used to the streets i wasn’t stable material i thunk too much he wasn’t to be trusted he assumed too little one day we both happened to be there i told the owner who wore fake diamonds and bee stung eyes i’m just a grad student from Harvard can i stay and scope things out what do you study she asked hoping i might be a doctor her jowls exploded with pride that someone with class and money could be among her crowd yes psychologist i lied i lied oh how i lied old fedora was there wearing a black as night striped suit with shiny shoes the kind they wore in Paris long ago as they ran to catch the frantic trains heading for Lisbon when my mother was a little girl i must have had a wild imagination too many old Hollywood flicks i suppose he was just a dirty old man and i a junkie student just wanting waiting     

this thing

the thing it is fantastically big

dark with some pockets of rainbow

like an oil spill choking oxygen from the sea

this thing it creeps upon me

looks me in the eyes until my glance falls

to the ground beneath my bare feet

such a crazy thing it is comes when i need to rest

and like a vine above my dreams there it hangs

menacing the angels and their holy valor

the thing it swallowed my St. Christopher

when i was three it crush my compass too

ripped my maps to smithereens

left my raft broken in many places

now that i am old and sunken in

this thing still haunts me

it shakes me shrieks at me and makes me cry

i have tried to fight with fire water and dope

then i thought i’d be nice and slept with it

but to no avail this thing grew denser and denser

not even the sacred doves could pacify it

but like all who have come before me

and to those who come this way

i have learned to exist amongst it

this thing my fearful monster

i chained to it

both night and day

Venice beach man

i love the way you look at me

almond blue eyes laden with innocent sin

i love the way you steal a kiss from me

and sometimes hold me down

by my cat-like wrists

and tell me how you’ll take me

i love the texture of your ear

on my tongue rugged and sun burnt

crisped by the sea salt and the sand

i love to hear the song

of your primitive throat when you cum

i love how you scold me when i’ve had

one too many of the L36s

and i respect you

as a man who tells it how it is

with compassion while you grieve

for the slow motion death of my free spirit

cicatrix

it’s best if we sigh now

oh life for all of my days

you still haunt me

you just a state of neurological being

but you life you have gotten in my blood

no other place is better

i was conceived old

my thoughts Gemini to Don Quixote

and in times of desperation

i’ve gone blindly into battle too

just a shit head little cunt

from the city of LA

but fuck, fuck i say

you and i sister tough old bitch

we still stand

on the corners and the roofs

we too sit in the high life cafes

and the rat infested flop house bars

to tell old drunk sailors but not of Navy type

of how we got our scars

rape intoxication politics aggravation

education isolation insanity warm sun shine

loneliness love devotion twisted words

beatings in the dark making love on the sand

injecting poisons til the boils could hold no more

rode in the ambulances

mourning flat-lined blue lipped boys

ah life i am yours and no one else’s

when sitting by the ponds the koi fish

bubble up asking for my orange cheese crackers

every so often i can shed a few tears

when the coroner loads one of us into their van

never knowing who they were

but knowing that they’ll go to heaven

but my favorite scar by my cupids bow

when my face got smashed on the garage asphalt floor

so many fears and rage at the same time

and the pictures of my mother

lost on my travels with no paradigms

the scars in my heart

i keep those inside

some demons are best left

to the annals of the mind

now my friend lover spouse and enemy

we’ve walked down the path

that’s led us close to the horizon

of twilight and as much as i want to lay down to rest

and ponder your meaning and flick ashes on the floor

i realize that i’ve been just another story

at times screaming off my head

another woman scarred

by the significance

of nothing in your eyes

ma’ woman lef’ me too blues

My wife was fast, manipulative, expensive and mean, but when she was in my bed she had an addicting sweetness, filling the worm holes in my soul with the light of the stars under God’s feet. I simply believed then that I loved her more than anything, ever. The continents could fall below me, Satan himself could drag me into the molten pits of Hell by my guts; I didn’t care as long as she was there with me, on my arm or at least have her close enough where I could sniff her tarty scent.

An amber bronzed Persian princess, Schiva curled my toes with delight. Schiva licked and suckled universes in and out of my body and mind I never knew existed. Schiva’s almost vapory fingers massaged me, penetrated me in luscious blinding ecstasy, swirling my very breath in orgasmic space travel past the Nebulae that are yet to come.

The Schiva Nirvana ended one October. More or less a month prior I ran out of disposable income. Schiva did not understand that I was a working stiff with debts. “I do not give one damn about your problem Grady! You want me, you pay!”I thought I heard her say as I squirmed on a midnight blue suede couch. She left out my mind’s door and slammed it behind her.

I’d been crying all day. The madness that comes with convulsive laughter possessed me. The memory of a 30 year old, ex-orphan, trust funder named Jeff who introduced me to her at his King Edward Hotel suite came to mind. Jeff of rotund body and broken heart was the vehicle that would take me into what I perceived to be something better, anything was better than how I felt then.

Then Schiva whispered, Jeff whispered and the three of us shared penetration-less sweet love on his dirty blue sheets. Sheets stained with other sweats of other addicts who had too signed their life away to the Beautiful Golden Dragon.

Schiva and I started off by going out on dates with Jeff exclusively at least six or seven times a month. And as long as I had the money. The problem was that Schiva and I started dating at least twice a week behind Jeff’s back and he did not appreciate that. Jeff would become angry and jealous and would withhold her from me. He wanted to take Schiva first and leave me his sloppy seconds.

Being of a non-confrontational nature, I stopped hanging out with Jeff and Schiva off and on for about a year and a half. I had found other crutch mistresses to pass the time. At 17, things changed between Schiva and me; we got closer. I worked hard doing office work, recycling, driving trucks for my uncle all for my new bride Schiva. 

That October 10th I loathed myself, so I ran to Baker’s Beach in San Francisco for almost two days. I guess that about forty-four hours passed. I rolled around in the wet sand, vomited, cut my knuckles on the rocks, burned in fever, shook in the cold and cried; alone. Night turned to day back to night and then almost morning. The purge was good. The purge was the kindest thing I ever did for myself. I thought about dying to live, then all went blank.

But, in the midst of the spiritual hell of the very human junkie withdrawal, I had dark thoughts too. I would cut my arms in such a way that bleeding could not be stopped and before passing out, I would run into the water to make sure I drowned. But first, I would pan handle enough change to get a few bottles of Nyquil and vodka to make sure I was completely disabled in the cold bay water. I had all I needed, except the money. I giggled at the irony of being penniless now, when just a few measly weeks before I was burning through all the money I had to get high.

I hated myself. I judged myself to be selfish, weak, inconsiderate, cowardly and worthless. I tried convincing myself that no one could help my loneliness, my need of love and acceptance. I felt dirty because I had been repeatedly used and violated. I did not know how to express anything other than being good at being a fuck up. I did not know how to ask for help; I did not give anyone an opportunity to help. I wanted to run and disappear; I wanted something beyond mere death.

my way…

my wife was fast manipulative expensive and mean but when she was in my bed she had an addicting sweetness filling the worm holes in my soul with the light of the stars under God’s feet i simply believed then that i loved her more than anything ever the continents could fall below me Satan himself could drag me into the molten pits of Hell by my guts i didn’t care as long as she was there with me on my arm or at least have her close enough where i could sniff her tarty scent

an amber bronzed Persian princess Schiva curled my toes with delight Schiva licked and suckled universes in and out of my body and mind i never knew existed Schiva’s almost vapory fingers massaged me penetrated me in luscious blinding ecstasy swirling my very breath in orgasmic space travel past the Nebulae that are yet to come

the Schiva Nirvana ended one October more or less a month prior i ran out of disposable income Schiva did not understand that i was a working stiff with debts i do not give one damn about your problem Grady you want me you pay i thought i heard her say as i squirmed on a midnight blue suede couch she left out my mind’s door and slammed it behind her

i’d been crying all day the madness that comes with convulsive laughter possessed me the memory of a 30 year old ex orphan trust funder named Jeff who introduced me to her at his King Edward Hotel suite came to mind Jeff of rotund body and broken heart was the vehicle that would take me into what i perceived to be something better anything was better than how i felt then

then Schiva whispered Jeff whispered and the three of us shared penetration less sweet love on his dirty blue sheets sheets stained with other sweats of other addicts who had too signed their life away to the Beautiful Golden Dragon

Schiva and i started off by going out on dates with Jeff exclusively at least six or seven times a month and as long as i had the money the problem was that Schiva and i started dating at least twice a week behind Jeff’s back and he did not appreciate that Jeff would become angry and jealous and would withhold her from me he wanted to take Schiva first and leave me his sloppy seconds

being of a non confrontational nature i stopped hanging out with Jeff and Schiva off and on for about a year and a half i had found other crutch mistresses to pass the time at 17 things changed between Schiva and me we got closer i worked hard doing office work recycling driving trucks for my uncle all for my new bride Schiva

that October 10th i loathed myself so i ran to Baker’s Beach in San Francisco for almost two days i guess that about forty four hours passed i rolled around in the wet sand vomited cut my knuckles on the rocks burned in fever shook in the cold and cried alone night turned to day back to night and then almost morning the purge was good the purge was the kindest thing i ever did for myself i thought about dying to live then all went blank

but in the midst of the spiritual hell of the very human junkie withdrawal i had dark thoughts too i would cut my arms in such a way that bleeding could not be stopped and before passing out i would run into the water to make sure i drowned but first i would pan handle enough change to get a few bottles of Nyquil and vodka to make sure i was completely disabled in the cold bay water i had all i needed except the money i giggled at the irony of being penniless now when just a few measly weeks before i was burning through all the money i had to get high

i hated myself i judged myself to be selfish weak inconsiderate cowardly and worthless i tried convincing myself that no one could help my loneliness my need of love and acceptance i felt dirty because i had been repeatedly used and violated i did not know how to express anything other than being good at being a fuck up i did not know how to ask for help i did not give anyone an opportunity to help i wanted to run and disappear i wanted something beyond mere death

JC and the milk crate dancer

i’m so tired of being an addict i hate having to travel on Temple Street but all the signs are good Our Lady of Angels Greg Laurie Harvest Stickers car plates chock full of hearts and tiny hands instead of numbers letters they’re all messages from high up i’m cool i can handle this there’s the Déjà Vu Club who cares i don’t worry about chasing my fixations into there

what am i saying do i really feel safe walking down this damn street full of crazy assholes trying to get to the nearest bar why don’t i lay on one of these benches and just stay still damn it and what’s all this taking bumper stickers and 158 year old buildings as a sign that anything or anyone for that matter is cool

it’s comforting to me ok i know how anal i can get about that stuff not that anyone cares better yet not that anyone would ever suspect that a loser like me even thinks about her soul so why worry about it i can’t control my thoughts my fleeting humming bird mind

hmmm on the other hand lemme be a devil’s advocate do i ever feel like texting my people and telling them if i ever have to drop everything and everyone and give my life and soul and everything else and die in the name of and for Jesus would i do it

my heart says yes i guess you can’t be lukewarm its yes or no yes yes i would i don’t have anything in the world to lose but man yes yes i would

sounds a lot like i’m trying to convince myself that would mean leaving everyone and everything i love behind leaving the world I know for the unknown i’m crystal clear on that right

yes i am it’s the only thing that i am sure of look i don’t have anything to offer that’s original or universe shattering i can choose to be nice humble sacrifice all whatever etc but that my fucked up little mind is merely revolutionary NOT UNIVERSE SHATTERING right but the outcome is unknown regardless now why do i think that because the recipients of my choices and deeds are people and people are human and humans aren’t perfect so by that rational it doesn’t matter a flying rats ass what  do or don’t or believe or don’t my heart says do it jump off the cliff step off the boat God will be there my puny runty tiny black worthless heart tells me that not brains or conscience uh no hard feelings ok my little fragile mind but that’s what i believe i was born with this belief i can’t shake it shoot it out cut it off chemo it beat it it’s in me whether i want it or not i can’t even ignore it

besides a human would push me off the cliff and throw me off the boat in an episode of hysteria it’s just survival instinct who can blame them so i’d rather do it myself jump step off you know take hold of my own destiny captain of my soul whatever

then again it sounds like i’ve been watching too many Prophecy flicks so the church is sharing real estate with the strip joints do i think that’s funny do i think that juxtaposition by the freeway was there for me does it make me think deeply does it make me question morality hmmm

no not really i’m not special like that but if i look at it business wise being that this is Downtown Los Angeles the church gets its souls and tithes and the strip joint gets its saps and tips win win it’s all supply and demand my good woman

wow Adam Smith ‘Wealth of Nations’ who knew anyone could ever make a triangular connection between church titty bars and world economics freakin’ smart

well i do my worst thinking on the freeway ramps sorry but my decision stands firm can i turn off now my stream of consciousness is a big ass blinding light of a reminder in my eyeballs

what do i remind me of i’m just a stream of irrepressible and unimportant thought that no one can control remember

you remind me of where i am and i don’t want to be reminded at all let’s step off the milk crate now the sheriffs will be finding us soon enough

Rooster

In 1993 I learned two things about Chinese culture. First that it was the Year of the Rooster and second, that “he who strikes the first blow admits he’s lost the argument.”

 In 2003 I sat in the Cecil’s lobby, putrid and rancid with depressive thoughts, but hoping to score; human companionship. No one was there anymore and I was an adult now. My mind meandered.

Rooster was my father. In his youth he was Billy-from-Easy-Rider handsome, cocky, and a womanizer. Rooster would never back down from a fight, ever. He drank enough booze to fly a plane, snorted mountainous amounts of cocaine, cursed, worked hard and partied even harder. I heard that in the autumn of his life Rooster wore scars and tattoos like medals, sped on motorcycles, and had no connection with the children he spawned in and out of wedlock.

Two blond women with big jugs stomped into the lobby and yelled at the janitor demanding that he produce a Roy Mingus. I’ve never forgotten that name on account that is sounds really cool. I imagined Roy looking like Hugh Hefner but broke. The ladies left into the back of the hotel and gassy breeze sneaked in; I thought about Los Feliz and me squeezing lighter fluid into the barbecue pit when I was five.

During the years of my short lived young life, my mother survived through ten years of battle and then my parents divorced. When sober, Rooster was verbally abusive and when high and drunk ultra-violent if anyone crossed him. Other than that, he had been a devout Sunday morning Catholic, chest pounder, and rosary wielding. Tithe giving included.

Rooster came to the brink of death a few times at the hands of his own brother, Gjeo and their motor cycling brothers when they got wind that he’d beat up some broad. It wasn’t in their intricate code of ethics to strike women or kids. The running joke amongst them was that Rooster was like Lazarus for having the longest record of recovery after having his ass and several other organs handed to him over the years. In some ways, I admired the resiliency in him. In other ways, I had always felt profound sorrow and tenderness for the old man.

I curled up and nodded off into the ozone of the lobby. It was around one in the morning that old Pike straggled in and woke me. He startled me and I swung, narrowly missing his crotch. After cussing and gasping he sat across from me in the greasy old easy chair. We started talking about lawn mower motors. He chattered away, but my mind was ten years back.

That 1993 spring mid-morning was fragrant as the moisture in the air teased out the green hopeful smell of ferns and pepper trees surrounding my uncle’s garage. I needed my uncle to explain catalytic converters to me. My mechanic wasn’t able to fix my Jeep and maybe Aces, as my uncle was called, could.

my way…

in 1993 i learned two things about Chinese culture first that it was the Year of the Rooster and second that he who strikes the first blow admits he’s lost the argument

in 2003 i sat in the Cecil’s lobby putrid and rancid with depressive thoughts but hoping to score human companionship no one was there anymore and i was an adult now my mind meandered

Rooster was my father in his youth he was Billy from Easy Rider handsome cocky and a womanizer rooster would never back down from a fight ever he drank enough booze to fly a plane snorted mountainous amounts of cocaine cursed worked hard and partied even harder i heard that in the autumn of his life rooster wore scars and tattoos like medals sped on motorcycles and had no connection with the children he spawned in and out of wedlock

two blond women with big jugs stomped into the lobby and yelled at the janitor demanding that he produce a Roy Mingus i’ve never forgotten that name on account that is sounds really cool i imagined Roy looking like Hugh Hefner but broke the ladies left into the back of the hotel and gassy breeze sneaked in i thought about Los Feliz and me squeezing lighter fluid into the barbecue pit when i was five

during the years of my short lived young life my mother survived through ten years of battle and then my parents divorced when sober Rooster was verbally abusive and when high and drunk ultra violent if anyone crossed him other than that he had been a devout Sunday morning Catholic chest pounder and rosary wielding tithe giving included

Rooster came to the brink of death a few times at the hands of his own brother Gjeo and their motor cycling brothers when they got wind that he’d beat up some broad it wasn’t in their intricate code of ethics to strike women or kids the running joke among them was that Rooster was like Lazarus for having the longest record of recovery after having his ass and several other organs handed to him over the years in some ways i admired the resiliency in him in other ways i had always felt profound sorrow and tenderness for the old man

i curled up and nodded off into the ozone of the lobby it was around one in the morning that old Pike straggled in and woke me he startled me and i swung narrowly missing his crotch after cussing and gasping he sat across from me in the greasy old easy chair we started talking about lawn mower motors he chattered away but my mind was ten years back

that 1993 spring mid morning was fragrant as the moisture in the air teased out the green hopeful smell of ferns and pepper trees surrounding my uncle’s garage i needed my uncle to explain catalytic converters to me my mechanic wasn’t able to fix my Jeep and maybe Aces as my uncle was called could

contrition

Indeed, it is very rare when I can feel the stillness of my spirit. It is a wild one. It thrives on diving off the highest cliffs of life and relishes the feeling of narrowly avoiding the jagged rocks of human pain below. I feel her today. She sits next to me silently caressing the gold of the elusive clear horizon.

Thoughts of worry flood me every so often. Will the stillness leave us causing my spirit to tear my natural peace a sunder? It has been much too long before I had the courage to go on my own. To walk away from the safety of the rock solid artificial happiness was terrifying. I did not want to wander in the depth of dark waters for so many years more.

the day dream

the news comes and goes

laughing children noises

frame the window to a past

that has no terrible value

perhaps I should leave it to the dawn

The time for the appointment is here. I have made a commitment to go outside today. How I wish I was  in Big Sur with him. He loved me how I was, but I didn’t love myself. Do I love myself now, I wonder? I laugh a little. The water hushes me and I smile. His shoulders wide and strong, my disease and madness a little stronger. It’s not that he abandoned me, it’s just that he believed in freedom. I believed that my sickness was an entitlement worth dying for.

my way…

indeed it is very rare when i can feel the stillness of my spirit it is a wild one it thrives on diving off the highest cliffs of life and relishes the feeling of narrowly avoiding the jagged rocks of human pain below i feel her today she sits next to me silently caressing the gold of the elusive clear horizon

thoughts of worry flood me every so often will the stillness leave us causing my spirit to tear my natural peace a sunder it has been much too long before i had the courage to go on my own to walk away from the safety of the rock solid artificial happiness was terrifying i did not want to wander in the depth of dark waters for so many years more

the day dream

the news comes and goes

laughing children noises

frame the window to a past

that has no terrible value

perhaps i should leave it to the dawn

the time for the appointment is here i have made a commitment to go outside today how i wish i was  in Big Sur with him he loved me how i was but i didn’t love myself do i love myself now wonder i laugh a little the water hushes me and i smile his shoulders wide and strong my disease and madness a little stronger it’s not that he abandoned me it’s just that he believed in freedom i believed that my sickness was an entitlement worth dying for

Photo by Sue Vincent

Abe Lincoln blues

I loved the balmy Monday mornings, skipping school and eating candy bars for breakfast. I loved sitting on street corners and watch people beg and drink and carry on. Some would scream and yell at invisible entities. I, a mere ignorant child, would laugh at them.

On some Tuesday mornings I might go to some classes, English and Art. Nineteen eighty six was also a year of self decline and so I would become an internal rager. I’d scream in silence and yell very quietly, almost apologetically and like a mouse. I was my own entity.

It was around the cold season in LA when I met Taino at the Cecil. He was a friend of spare cock Amos. I suppose by today’s social and political standards Taino was a transgender person. A male to female.

There were discussions about the Iran-Contra affair at school. But, I was too high to care. The internal me was asleep in a bigotry of soul, intellect and spirit. Something in me was hurting awful bad and illicit street medication provided a wave of relief like nothing else I could have ever imagined.

My city was filled with anger and deep pockets of despair and poverty. My city was also filled with anger and discontent and profound pockets of despair, pain and prosperity. I quickly deduced that money does not necessarily hurt or help, but it never brought happiness. Not the kind you feel when you hug a puppy or your mom sings to you or your Da stays up with you when you had fever. I’ve always remembered the first time I hugged a puppy. Taino and spare cock did the best they could with the other things I sorely wanted.

During the cold season in 1986 I also began to feel something toward God. It was a cartoon I saw in The LA Times. The Challenger blew up in the heavens and it was televised. It appears that the astronauts had touched His face. I was high and sad and uneasy. Internally, I began to cave into myself, to think too much, to question and to doubt myself. I began to imagine that God felt we were becoming too bold.

On a rare occasion, I was pleased to be challenged by my school principal to write a report on Abraham Lincoln. For years I thought he looked really bitching; all Emo before Emo was a thing.

Grady learned different perspectives of global political history that 1986. I understood that in some ways human nature and our own personal choices would always drive the civilization inside of us before any collective could flourish.

That year, I had my fist brush of psychological testing. My principal felt that I was confused for being of the opinion that the Union wasn’t aiming at freeing the slaves first, per se, but rather in uniting the country. My folks never got wind of the situation and if they did, they probably thought I’d grow out of it.


my way …

i loved the balmy Monday mornings skipping school and eating candy bars for breakfast i loved sitting on street corners and watch people beg and drink and carry on some would scream and yell at invisible entities i a mere ignorant child would laugh at them

on some Tuesday mornings i might go to some classes English and art nineteen eighty six was also a year of self decline and so i would become an internal rager i’d scream in silence and yell very quietly almost apologetically and like a mouse i was my own entity

it was around the cold season in LA when i met Taino at the Cecil he was a friend of spare cock Amos i suppose by today’s social and political standards Taino was a transgender person a male to female

there were discussions about the Iran-Contra affair at school but i was too high to care the internal me was asleep in a bigotry of soul intellect and spirit something in me was hurting awful bad and illicit street medication provided a wave of relief like nothing else i could have ever imagined

my city was filled with anger and deep pockets of despair and poverty my city was also filled with anger and discontent and profound pockets of despair pain and prosperity i quickly deduced that money does not necessarily hurt or help but it never brought happiness not the kind you feel when you hug a puppy or your mom sings to you or your Da stays up with you when you had fever i’ve always remembered the first time i hugged a puppy Taino and spare cock did the best they could with the other things i sorely wanted

during the cold season in 1986 i also began to feel something toward God it was a cartoon i saw in the LA Times the Challenger blew up in the heavens and it was televised it appears that the astronauts had touched His face i was high and sad and uneasy i internally i began to cave into myself to think too much to question and to doubt myself i began to imagine that God felt we were becoming too bold

on a rare occasion i was pleased to be challenged by my school principal to write a report on Abraham Lincoln for years i thought he looked really bitching all Emo before Emo was a thing

grady learned different perspectives of global political history that 1986 i understood that in some ways human nature and our own personal choices would always drive the civilization inside of us before any collective could flourish

that year i had my fist brush of psychological testing my principal felt that i was confused for being of the opinion that the Union wasn’t aiming at freeing the slaves first per se but rather in uniting the country my folks never got wind of the situation and if they did they probably thought i’d grow out of it