memorandum

would it make life easier for you if i said outloud what i’d rather just share with you

would it make you a bigger man if i would publish all of my missteps and ineptitudes

do you deserve to know how much you mean to me the tears i’ve shed the drugs i dared to impress you

do you care about my thoughts my feelings my decrees or what i see around this word

if what you want is to fuck and bolt pretend that there was nothing wrong

if all you want is to get a title of renaissance man a golden plaque with gilded letters and pretty words

that’s not really me i’m now buried in a cold dark life locked in under the headstone you chiseled for me etched with nothing meaningful

Yucatan

Picture courtesy of Sue Vincent

The evening was cool and the calm was fuzzy and delightful. Abbey walked through the narrow door of 4302 and laid down a paper bag full of spices and stuff. She loved going to Grand Central market to gossip and catch up on the news of her world. Abbey asked if I was going home tonight because her boyfriend was coming over and she didn’t want him to pick a fist fight with me again.

I promised her that I would go to my friend’s house on the west side later tonight and asked her if she noticed anything different about her room. The Pine Sol fumes suckled her dainty caramel nose and licked in and out of her nostrils.

Thank you for cleaning mi reina, the smell takes me back to the valleys and rivers of my town in the Yucatan. Abbey had come to the US in the early 60’s on a travel visa and stayed. She started taking the dried Chiles, peppercorns, cumin and pumpkin seeds and chocolate bars out of the paper sack. Being a little high, watching her pluck each item out of the sack was like watching a jeweler study his precious stones.

Sitting back on the only chair in the room, I asked Abbey about her town in Mexico. She pursed her lips inward and let out an exhausted sigh. Staring at the dim lit ceiling she noticed the freeway knot of spider webs forming on the northern corner.

Abbey looked past the top of my head and stared of the Virgen of Guadalupe poster on the waxy wall. In a little girl voice she described the valleys as having shaded trees and cool patches of grass. The streams, as she remembered were cold enough to soak their beers and sodas when the families of the village would go pick-nicking on Sundays.

Abbey appeared lost and happy reminiscing about her country. Did you know that in the spring time we’d light big fires and because the temperature in the valley was still cold in March, the smoke looked like cloudy fumes against the pitch black sky. And the stars, Ave Maria purisima, the stars were so bright and when you saw them through the smoke fumes of the fires the whole thing looked like a fancy lace veil twinkling with diamonds.

In a melancholy tone I absent mindedly asked Abbey if she missed those nights with the firewood fumes and the stars and cool streams. She smiled wide enough that I could see her gold tooth as she looked down at her old beige pumps and she shook her head telling me no.

The door shook from four heavy thumps. Her boyfriend was in the hallway asking why the hell she wasn’t answering. Abbey cursed under her breath and ordered me to stay quiet and to leave as soon as she let him in. I tried asking her if she was going to be o.k. or did I need to alert Spare Cock.

my way…

the evening was cool and the calm was fuzzy and delightful Abbey walked through the narrow door of 4302 and laid down a paper bag full of spices and stuff she loved going to Grand Central market to gossip and catch up on the news of her world Abbey asked if i was going home tonight because her boyfriend was coming over and she didn’t want him to pick a fist fight with me again

i promised her that i would go to my friend’s house on the west side later tonight and asked her if she noticed anything different about her room the Pine Sol fumes suckled her dainty caramel nose and licked in and out of her nostrils

thank you for cleaning mi reina the smell takes me back to the valleys and rivers of my town in the Yucatan Abbey had come to the US in the early 60’s on a travel visa and stayed she started taking the dried chiles peppercorns cumin and pumpkin seeds and chocolate bars out of the paper sack being a little high watching her pluck each item out of the sack was like watching a jeweler study his precious stones

sitting back on the only chair in the room i asked Abbey about her town in Mexico she pursed her lips inward and let out an exhausted sigh staring at the dim lit ceiling she noticed the freeway knot of spider webs forming on the northern corner

Abbey looked past the top of my head and stared of the Virgen of Guadalupe poster on the waxy wall in a little girl voice she described the valleys as having shaded trees and cool patches of grass the streams as she remembered were cold enough to soak their beers and sodas when the families of the village would go pick-nicking on Sundays

Abbey appeared lost and happy reminiscing about her country did you know that in the spring time we’d light big fires and because the temperature in the valley was still cold in March the smoke looked like cloudy fumes against the pitch black sky and the stars Ave Maria purisima the stars were so bright and when you saw them through the smoke fumes of the fires the whole thing looked like a fancy lace veil twinkling with diamonds

in a melancholy tone i absent mindedly asked Abbey if she missed those nights with the firewood fumes and the stars and cool streams she smiled wide enough that i could see her gold tooth as she looked down at her old beige pumps and she shook her head telling me no

the door shook from four heavy thumps her boyfriend was in the hallway asking why the hell she wasn’t answering Abbey cursed under her breath and ordered me to stay quiet and to leave as soon as she let him in i tried asking her if she was going to be ok or did i need to alert Spare Cock

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

they

they too tumultuous for the human skin in the concrete castles of their heritage across seas and spirits children of the mental Gypsy of the skies buried standing up because of the way it had to be they modern ancients blood slow blue for bruising not for nothing else pain deep from marrow bone deafening in the soul of future fruitlings scrubbing out a filthy spot that wickedly came anyway woe upon no one else but the dueling ‘archs’ and pass the wine for sobbing

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

simple misunderstandings

we

met

by the

fruit table oranges

you said were your favorite

fruit i smitten with the fairy tale ideology

of white pickets two point fives and a dog maybe even the PTA

you upstanding patriarch of the family business man in town i would be your one and only not your rodeo clown

psyche flags were risen and when discussed with the appropriate matriarchal councils all my flags burned down with the kerosene of suck it up or else you are not a woman worth your salt

fuck this i thought in the middle of a fight i would not be how i was expected to lay down

so rogue i went from that world of delusional pleasure tumbling weed freed

but alone in dissension doubt demons taunt relentless

so give me another bottle

to numb the

imposed shame

of

failure

Capgras delusion

she brushed her hair slowly asking questions to the air i sat and i doodled in my math book algebra was not my friend although in high school calculus was a little kinder honestly being a student of the formal subject and theory concept philosophy and algorithm was never my cup of anything i preferred to daydream observe and think later on i was given diagnostic labels for all three on account that some people couldn’t understand  how to appreciate those foibles of me and thus my mind was pathologized to fit into a neat little category i didn’t mind i was a kid but in some strange way much deeper and wiser than they would ever be not intellectual perhaps more intuitive a reader of in between the lines of the lines

Abbey was decent looking very natural and i liked that at home my mother and her friends laid on the war paint rather thickly and it was hard to tell if they were human in retrospect now i understand that all of the women i knew as a kid had pain to hide their veils make up booze pills loveless sex marriage unwanted kids back stabbing hate rage sarcasm some had money and when the rare expression of love was directed at them all hell broke loose love hurt too too much

besides a killer record collection Abbey had bottles of beauty products for Mexico Spain and France i personally never tried anything on except for some nail polish in pearlescent pink that i didn’t really like Abbey tried to teach me how to put make-up on but it really didn’t interest me there was something in my soul that frowned upon that sort of thing a kind of defense mechanism and i found the make-up styles of her younger years a bit on the grotesque side but what did i know i was a rag tag tomboy

on a dark gray November morning i decided to cut the rest of the day and i headed to the Cecil i knew someone would be there i almost floated up to the sixth floor where Abbey lived knocked on 607 and nothing i almost left to go rap on another door further down that hall when i heard the knob turn and the chain lock release Abbey had an ink blue and red left eye ball shut by the swelling of traumatized flesh

she told me to come in and as i walked through the door she told me about how she had gotten mugged last night and her purse stolen i knew from memory Abbey only had one purse tan kid skin leather silver zipper and fringe which was sitting on the floor of her opened closet door looking at her as every second ticked by i could feel a tightness in my chest my teeth began to clench and i punched a softball sized hole on the drywall i had seen the same on my mother

some time back on Franklin ave.

i love it when youre mad at me

and i try to lick your salty nipple

as you mutter in uncertainty

in between gulps of rye

i love it when we play house

you smack my ass

unzip your pants

and demand me to please

i love it when you ask of me

about politics and i say

i dont know i cant relate

but ive got to go and serve

the broken today

i love it when you yell at me

i shoot to the moon smiling

nodding on the fourth

like when Idris met Azrael

it breaks my heart

to come home

while youre lying on the floor

Gulliver tied down by

tiny airport bottles

i hate it when

i make you cry

after my lips no longer blue

call out your name

right before vomiting

my weakness you on your back

cock hard me on top

losing myself without regard

but right before

i come bouncing back to you

turning my tide

your palms on my thighs

laughing as we die

cover my eyes on your way out

it hurts me when i know

that i will be leaving

in a few hours to get away

from you

ill really miss

that ethereal tiny kiss

gifted from you to me

upon my forehead

when you asked to marry me

there really is no comfort

knowing that i love you

two grotesquely beautiful

liars contending

upon the mirrors of our eyes

Faye

the skill is to find life in the routine she said i’ve stood at this counter for 30 years pumping the same bottles into the air and nobody cares she said

do you want some advice i could tell you that you’ll age if you don’t cover up your face in these narcotics made in Spain but it’s your body love it any way you want

ya’ see this scar above my perfectly lined brow fell off a tree in 1963 you have a lot of scars all over are you ok or are you one of those foster girls from down the block

i’m sorry listen that was harsh there’s this cream for $49.95 that can help heal those dark circles under your eyes it helped before my divorce hearing when Harry hit me

the freckles on your face and the bleaching out of your hair you really should try this salve from France you’re far too young to have this damage men like long soft chestnut hair like yours

oh my i didn’t see those tattoos i have a concealer for that but you should really get it removed and it’s a shame with your good bones naturally formed you’d be a good model but you’re too short

can you smile yes that’s it i think you could be on the cover of this magazine but you really have to clean up child you look like a dog town mop head skater boy

those nails you’ve chewed them to your shoulders look i have to take a break my boss might give me a raise but i feel that he just might leave his wife for me tomorrow

Grady, don’t tell your mom she’s my best friend and i think she would worry here’s her order and some make up for you we all have the demons jumping out of us and soon the scars of sin we carry in will come up to the surface

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Artwork by Kira