Sunday with Hank

pain without reason you said i understood immediately but Hank aren’t we born into this situation

forever we seek to understand is pain the ultimate secret knowledge Hank you’re there with Buddha is that what he found

women understand but in the end we are all human what’s between our legs is incidental

i’ve stood on city sidewalks on the streets you’ve lived on and everything is the same the rat race is quiet in most places

i love watching the angels downtown we are a rainbow of gray brown and black

some in the name of ethics money and pretense call it trauma or grieving or processing events

to be beat raped tortured sodomized insulted belittled ignored and cast aside drugged whipped lied to and left to die some of us in shame and lies in the most dangerous of nuclear families

Hank you’ve been away from me remember DeLongpre i used to stay there too and how many more places we have been it’s been so very long

your thoughts and absolute surrender to the madness of our lives you painted beauty in it’s natural form although it wasn’t what they thought

hey baby since you’re up there in the clouds can you ask the Main Man for me when you aren’t too busy now

if the reason for our mortal pain is so we will seek Him out

traces

the sun she’s sinking down to party in the valley rolling hills full of tumbleweeds thoughts broken desperate for context if only if only if only then there is Sardinia and a dipped toe by a drunken uncle long ago here on the city of angels there city of giants i dig like a gopher i bleed like an ulcer who am i really its no fun to lose your Rhesus at the moment of the light but it has nothing to do with monkey politics i dare say i have no more lice to give

fancy James Brown footwork

Last night was rough at the Cecil. I invited friends from school to party at Turkish Turi’s, but they couldn’t hang. It wasn’t cool enough. Turi was salt of the earth kinda’ people. Rough and say it like it is, but protective of the people around him.

My mother agreed to meet me on Los Angeles Street and 7th on account she wanted to buy some rugs for her house. She was in a good mood and I wanted to bond with her. It had been a few days since I was at her home. I was late to our 12:30 p.m. meeting place.

As I made my way to greet her, my head looked down, avoiding eye contact just in case she was pissed. Mother was German, punctuality was no joke. She had on a beige PONY track suit, very soft and fancy; lady like and proper. Her hair pixied and dark red like cherry wood. Her neck graceful and pale was  adorned by a very thin gold chain and a blue diamond pendant Star of David.

Sitting in front of the Cecil daydreaming and sobering up; anticipating meeting with my mom, I remembered a time when I was around four. She was dressed like an angel, a Charlie’s Angel, bell bottoms, pink lips, rippling feathered hair and white boots. It was the mid 70’s, but my mom loved British rock and with a little Daniel’s in her she started grooving to T.Rex.

Lucy was happy that day, like genuinely happy, laughing and dancing and talking her German tongue to her lady friends and kinfolk. We kids never learned. Then, as I was looking for my can of apple juice, she invites me to dance. “Bang a gong, get it on, bang a gong.”

As the buses swooshed by and the vagrants were getting ticketed in vain on Main, I smiled wide. I was lapping up the memory in my head; a short chubby four year old with red patent leather Mary Janes contorting like Joe Cocker. I bent back, down and sideways, but the coup de gras was the fancy James Brown footwork I threw out there for my mom to see. I’d watch him on Soul Train when my baby sitter would come on Saturday nights.

The world felt better at 1:13 p.m. I was late, but my heart was in the right place. Lucy’s was too. The edge of skid row was my home away from home. It felt like my mother’s arms or at least what I thought her arms might have felt like. It was very unnatural to see Lucy there, so beautiful, but so sick at heart. I was more of a body guard than a daughter. She stayed in a home paid for by a man who was just like the other men who had sent many of the women I knew to exile at the Nickel. Lucy was not only a victim of my father, but her of ego as well.

my way…

last night was rough at the Cecil i invited friends from school to party at Turkish Turi’s but they couldn’t hang it wasn’t cool enough Turi was salt of the earth kinda’ people rough and say it like it is but protective of the people around him

my mother agreed to meet me on Los Angeles Street and 7th on account she wanted to buy some rugs for her house she was in a good mood and i wanted to bond with her it had been a few days since i was at her home i was late to our 12:30 pm meeting place

as i made my way to greet her my head looked down avoiding eye contact just in case she was pissed mother was German punctuality was no joke she had on a beige PONY track suit very soft and fancy lady like and proper her hair pixied and dark red like cherry wood her neck graceful and pale was  adorned by a very thin gold chain and a blue diamond pendant Star of David

sitting in front of the Cecil daydreaming and sobering up anticipating meeting with my mom i remembered a time when i was around four she was dressed like an angel a Charlie’s Angel bell bottoms pink lips rippling feathered hair and white boots it was the mid 70’s but my mom loved British rock and with a little Daniel’s in her she started grooving to T.Rex

Lucy was happy that day like genuinely happy laughing and dancing and talking her German tongue to her lady friends and kinfolk we kids never learned then as i was looking for my can of apple juice she invites me to dance “Bang a gong, get it on, bang a gong”

as the buses swooshed by and the vagrants were getting ticketed in vain on Main i smiled wide i was lapping up the memory in my head a short chubby four year old with red patent leather Mary Janes contorting like Joe Cocker i bent back down and sideways but the coup de gras was the fancy James Brown footwork i threw out there for my mom to see i’d watch him on Soul Train when my baby sitter would come on Saturday nights

the world felt better at 1:13 pm i was late but my heart was in the right place Lucy’s was too the edge of skid row was my home away from home it felt like my mother’s arms or at least what i thought her arms might have felt like it was very unnatural to see Lucy there so beautiful but so sick at heart i was more of a body guard than a daughter she stayed in a home paid for by a man who was just like the other men who had sent many of the women i knew to exile at the Nickel Lucy was not only a victim of my father but her of ego as well

nobody told pop there’d be days like this

we listen to agent orange when were pissed leave us alone don’t come in to the room our eyes are bloodshot with rage and shrooms it comes like a wave of lava and we thrash the place cut our arms on broken bottles there they are behind in the closet leave us alone if you know what’s good for you why do you tell us what to do when you back stab your neighbors and talk about fools we demand to go back to mutti’s we don’t give a fuck what your judge says hey asshole we’re just a kid not your self-righteous toilet paper wad to wipe your evil ass with we listen to agent orange when were pissed and the neighbor called the fire department cus the front windows shattered on account of the sonic geetar’ licks and surfer grooves oh we forgot to mention the baseball bat from out in the patio and your girlfriend’s mirrors are shattered into as many bits as apologies you owe to me fuck yeah we’re still pissed  and we will always scream as long as you won’t hear me                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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

gaza

with a fissured heart

and tired hands

aching legs and broken words

i grasp loosely to

figure

out

what is happening to us

i created the west of my spirit

and was gifted the east of my soul

not a child of import

but yes a child of a pompous war

not of one tribal affiliation

but stuck in the carnal politics

of the complications in people

if you could touch me now

my coat of lesser colors

you could set me free

You and i crossing water

to mourn my tiny innocence

she hangs in the corner closet

pretty robin’s egg blue coat

with every year

that has crawled by

she fades away from me

4th grade

red sun walks down toward the water

little flecks of black move to and fro

it just birds ushering her red highness

to her nocturnal resting place

when i was a kid the other kids laughed

when i drew a picture of soft round hills

and the sun with long red locks and sea shell pink lips

they said the hills looked like asses

and my sun looked like a witch

i don’t recall feeling anything in particular

i just left the class and walked away

and now that i’m grown up

that memory comes and goes

and i wonder what happened to those kids

with no imagination at all

civics

I’d been as dry as the moon. My pimply friend from PE class dared me. I didn’t last very long, maybe four days. Sobriety week was excruciatingly strange. My da went to jail and my mom had to bail him out with the mortgage payment. I didn’t witness this first hand, my uncle told me when he came looking for me at the Cecil.

Gjeo found me at Spare Cock’s. He greeted us with two of his brothers from the motor club. My uncle was liberal in his way of thinking. By that I mean women didn’t belong in the kitchen all the time; they could move about the house, preferably topless and in heels.

His Portuguese tongue stroked out for a few moments. Gjeo I suspected had never encountered a woman like Spare Cock. Tall, chocolaty, muscular, blond hair and with scrotum duct taped into her inner thigh.  He stared at Spare Cock and Brother Gertrude while they were snorting lines. Gjeo’s eyes shifted from the tomfoolery in the room back to me.

Until this day, I haven’t figured out how he found me. I was getting sloppy but maybe I didn’t give a shit. I was hallucinating and trembling. He called me out to the hallway. It was the way he said ‘Grady’ that made me feel like bad news was coming, but with the imminent heard of pink elephants with faces like Leonard Nimoy, I wasn’t too concerned.

In his 60’s biker boy lingo he told me that my pops had gotten picked up and that my mom didn’t want to bail him out. Blah, blah, blah slow motion in my ears. I was getting buried beneath the waters of slow decomposing withdrawal at 16.

My eyebrows were raised and my bottom lip curled back into my mouth. Then I’d look into the walls, real far away like. We made small talk and then he grabbed my wrist. I think I pulled away real hard and said I wasn’t going to my mom’s place. He looked at me. The hazel pity darts pierced me through. He had labeled me as a “poor little thing.”

He turned his head to the left a bit and then cracked his neck like a Sicilian Don. He pointed at me with his left hand and forced a whisper through his aging teeth. He ordered me home by the next morning. I asked him why I had to leave. I didn’t hear what I wanted to be told. Instead he said that no blood of his was going to be holed up in a rats nest with fags and… before he could blurt it out I punched him right in the neck. I was pretty short.

Things were never the same between us. But I was never the same either. Briefly, I experienced a moment of clarity. I felt my values and what I would tolerate or not. I loved my uncle, but I too loved Amos no matter who she was.

my way…

i’d been as dry as the moon my pimply friend from PE class dared me i didn’t last very long maybe four days sobriety week was excruciatingly strange my da went to jail and my mom had to bail him out with the mortgage payment i didn’t witness this first hand my uncle told me when he came looking for me at the Cecil.

Gjeo found me at Spare Cock’s he greeted us with two of his brothers from the motor club my uncle was liberal in his way of thinking by that i mean women didn’t belong in the kitchen all the time they could move about the house preferably topless and in heels

his Portuguese tongue stroked out for a few moments Gjeo i suspected had never encountered a woman like Spare Cock tall, chocolaty, muscular, blond hair and with scrotum duct taped into her inner thigh he stared at Spare Cock and Brother Gertrude while they were snorting lines Gjeo’s eyes shifted from the tomfoolery in the room back to me

until this day i haven’t figured out how he found me i was getting sloppy but maybe i didn’t give a shit i was hallucinating and trembling he called me out to the hallway it was the way he said ‘Grady’ that made me feel like bad news was coming but with the imminent heard of pink elephants with faces like Leonard Nimoy i wasn’t too concerned

in his 60’s biker boy lingo he told me that my pops had gotten picked up and that my mom didn’t want to bail him out blah, blah, blah slow motion in my ears i was getting buried beneath the waters of slow decomposing withdrawal at 16

my eyebrows were raised and my bottom lip curled back into my mouth then i’d look into the walls real far away like we made small talk and then he grabbed my wrist i think i pulled away real hard and said i wasn’t going to my mom’s place he looked at me the hazel pity darts pierced me through he had labeled me as a “poor little thing”

he turned his head to the left a bit and then cracked his neck like a Sicilian Don he pointed at me with his left hand and forced a whisper through his aging teeth he ordered me home by the next morning i asked him why i had to leave i didn’t hear what i wanted to be told instead he said that no blood of his was going to be holed up in a rats nest with fags and… before he could blurt it out i punched him right in the neck i was pretty short

things were never the same between us but i was never the same either briefly I experienced a moment of clarity i felt my values and what i would tolerate or not i loved my uncle but i too loved Amos no matter who she was

dustbowl

night

sleep is

hard to come

by outside the

dark it lingers on

shadows congregate near

the window as the whisper

of the dead scarecrows no longer

keep the fear of the shivering child

whose recited all her prayers at bay

cloudy head

pic by mbrazfield 2019

i didn’t always know

that life would be

ok

i was never sure

who would be there

but

my understanding of the

workings of the world

would

arrive some day i

guessed a lot at

seven

so i watched the

war planes fly fast

t.v.

kept my heart curious

about how life could

have

been but didn’t quite

happen that way for

me

but i have ten

fingers and ten toes

i

can still walk and

talk although nonsense it

may

be and i can

laugh and sing off

key

and i can find

those old reels of

the

blitzkriegs and still feel

the sadness for the

world

my head those clouds

i somehow knew well

just

a child i was

lost in the luftwaffe

of

life’s adults who were

possibly less well equipped

than

me a little kid

mastering the power to

heal