closing time

slow traffic sign blinks

stray lights streak the wet pavement

my foot steps echo

you buy we fry

my favorite chair

are the sidewalks

those in the 20’s and 30’s

edge of downtown streets

a mix of rustic houses

shacks and alley ways

some with flowers

some with trash

my favorite chair

is not comforting at first

it affords me front row view

to the less palatable aspects

of genteel society

exposed vaginas cocks

twisted tongues

defecation out of

hundreds of orifices

then there’s the strip mall chair

with the upright and honest

vendor my favorite one

is Donicio from Panama

he has a way of telling

funny stories

across from there

is another chair

‘you buy, we fry’

it’s mostly busy

on the sabbath

my eyes their

veils of formal education

lifted and the life of life

exposed to all my senses

there is something thrilling

about hopscotching through

dog shit in a city

that treats us all the same

my favorite chair

in the bars of the people

although people aren’t

what they used to be

my amiga Casimira

has the latest I Phone

when i want to look in to

her deep brown eyes

and have her Oaxacan accent

transport me to another land

especially on jury duty day

to no avail

i lost my friend

to the latest pop up store

at the end of most days

when the journey’s done

i go home to my derelict

dog and two jaded kitties

with caffeine in one hand

Phoebe Ann the cat on my lap

the memories of my rest stops

deposited silently

in the removable data bank

inventory

It took about three hours to get back to Los Angeles Street from Mission Avenue with its grandiose blocks of junked cars and guys who waved flags like bull fighters guiding you into their shop driveways to get your muffler repaired for $75. I thought about Hemingway’s story. Looking down at the dirty greased earth wondering why I wasn’t dead that afternoon trying to find the lesson or the meaning of that particular event in my life. I became aware that at some point in my journey I would have to take control. My higher mind would have to take control of myself come hell or high water, against all gods, all demons, against all angels, against all saints, against myself, against the world.

My body hurt and the concrete was harder than I had remembered. My feet were pulsating with exhaustion. The worn sole of my right Chinese girl shoe mouthed slowly at every step as it “peeoed-peeoed” at me like baby birds demanding food. My left shoe was now a casualty strewn under a fire escape at Werdin Place. I imagined my shoe embalmed with bum urine and cigarette ash. My shoe had served me well. I just needed to get to the Cecil.

I never felt pity for myself until that moment. My one black sock was still on my left foot and I stank like cigarette and latex. My navy blue hoodie was torn at the nape where the hood connects to the body from where I was pulled. It had scabby matted clots of blood and snot on the arm cuffs. I could smell the blood iron sickly sweet rubbery odor ground into the fabric mesh of my clothes. Memories of how well-groomed and perfect my mother and sister always were wafted over my mind. Impeccable make up, pressed clothes, matching jewelry and exquisite scents. Jasmines, roses, spices, musks; all offerings to the heavens and here I was dirty deep into the marrow. Blood, spit and skin ground into the tar. My body and feeble sanity violated.

I consoled myself by tearing the bandages off my throat and my left ring finger. The bandages caused me to admit defeat or worst yet, victimhood. I felt guilty thinking about my mom and her baubles. Those were her drugs and her costumes hiding scars my dad gave her both inside and out. I sat on the curve of Sunset and Spring St. amongst the scent of Peking duck and taquitos. I cried for my mother. I hated myself for crying just because I needed her. I didn’t deserve anything, so I just allowed myself to feel her pain like I did when I was a kid. I needed to punish my stupidity and my addictions. I didn’t like silks or jewelry anyway. I was too ugly. My mom never liked my nose, eyes or my boyish body. I was too short for her taste. I guess my father’s Portuguese genes were stronger than my mother’s German ones.

Dedicated to my friend Nick Reeves.

different circles

in my mind i had run away again it was just a fantasy a longing to be missed the truth was i was often absent from home and so was everyone else who lived there a modern family i thought about visiting Mr. Petrucchio but it was early evening he was probably asleep in his green upholstered chair with his brown Ferragamos still on and Perry Como on the hi fi killing me softly was his favorite

a weathered bench behind the Cecil was waiting for me old gray plastic too hot to sit on in the summer and always damp in the winter very decisive for a gray bench

i went to biology class today the teacher spoke about how eggs become fertilized funny because in English class we talked about how eggs are a symbol for rebirth life all around i took out a clove and lit up watched the smoke defy gravity up past my nose my eyes head and eventually gone to be part of the universal ozone

my mind went slightly blank and into daydream mode thinking about the electricity of boy chicken sperm fertilizing the girl chicken egg i chewed some of the black polish off my left thumb and came to the realization that i had been an egg too life was so intricate and fragile but forging forward man and beast go forth and multiply

out of my dream i snapped there was a four lane street between my bench and the old warehouse across the street with the permanently shut back door that transients used as a Murphy bed or toilet depending on the weather

at first there was a loud white woman skinny like a sausage casing she was yelling and flinging her arms wildly then two or three black folks gathered along side and spoke loud enough in religious tones he dead he dead Lawd take ‘im ta heaven po’ sona bitch

my watch said 5:57 p.m. another homeless person had passed in a door way i wasn’t sure what to feel i was no stranger to corpses my grandmother chose to pass at her home when i was a little kid and we didn’t have to wear seat belts driving through the north 110 speedway i witnessed a man dying like a fish out of water he was riding his motorcycle before that but had been hit and just left there i didn’t do it then because i didn’t know i was just a kid but every now and again i say a prayer for his soul

a small crowd gathered at my bench as they watched the coroner’s van pull in to the site one of the coroner’s people looked across the street at us and began making his way toward my crowd while the dead man’s crowd shook their heads smoked laughed yelled covered their mouths with their hand and then slowly left as the PD hung their yellow tape the sign of seriousness and solemnity

dating app

the evening dewy with tired city rain

bustling streets hurried people

with other people in their lives

to call their own

to be me my only desire was to be

held by strong warm arms

will you be my protector

watching patrons coming in and out

sipping my sharp pop rock ginger ale

i wondered about nineteen thirty seven

thoughts broken for a second naked man

runs into traffic but he’s o.k.

my eyes sleepy mosey on downward

bei mir bist du schoen

serenade the Andrews Sisters while

women named Hazel with a hyacinth scent

sip their gin rickeys wiping their lipstick off the glass

in the saloon there are men reading the LA Times

yet others share lively union talk

then the sapphire eyed mysterious stranger

raven jet hair and a dead maus t shirt

taps me on my gothic shoulder Mary Pickford’s

angels wink at me as they slid off my left shoulder

as he sits down elegant right index finger half raised

signaling the hyperactive bar keep

from the antique flowered gold foil wall paper

Ingrid and Bogey nod at me

and i whisper at old sapphire in a sultry sigh

here’s looking at you kid

from west to east

unleash the ancient bones from the sewer sarcophagus what tribe did they come from and is there crude running through the cavities for we need another Dunkin Donuts on this corner for L Ron’s sake can you please scroll faster my children tasted human contact and i don’t have the time send the nanny to my third grader’s botox session i have roast goat yoga what is it the Bhagavad Gita is that the new shoe store at the center can you believe in something the tires of incongruence are filled with the holy toxins crossing the bloodlines of the time while religiously binge ignoring what’s around the glamour shots bus bench adverts warning homelessness is deadly unclear who they speak of and all the while for 17 just 17 i dream of Mulholland Drive on a two wheeled Pegasus can you hear me Jean Michel tell Andy that i love him the side swiper in the ‘vette looking for the boys long in the teeth the industry landlady needs new meat the volcanoes goofed on mick don’t feel duckie if he fails to bring them mini daisies to their oxy chambers pharaohs in their visions but down in the river racing cars on stolen clouds and i have a hardy laugh spray cans looming large can i paint the past pantheons of our minds yes i believe i can drop dropper dropped watch the hands watch the hands don’t look directly in the mirror while you’re under a spell quite the riveter you are i am the walkman helmet Rotten Johnny and Afrika Bambaataa with the Kiedis house band weaving eckankar in my drums while we carve our knees into the side pavements i didn’t know we couldn’t fly nothing takes out the stains of blood

teufelshund

time has passed by here

i pan the room i see my books

my drawings and the vibrant colors

the outfits different styles

yet mostly all black

the sleeves must remain long

security blanket still after all these years

the incense stretches smoldering in the potted plant

in Garudasana pose Cedar wood and salt

invasive thoughts seep through the fragile lucidity

of this quiet uneasiness the price i’ve had to pay

i shut my eyes i don’t trust closing them yet

at times boot camp trainings thrice removed

refuse to be shrugged off

i look in the mirror morning and night

brush the teeth etc. etc.

but today i’m feeling brave on an anniversary

of yore the battle of Werdin Place

and i see me in the mirror

piece by piece like a color by number pic

as the nights pass by hand in hand

i’m smitten with and embrace more

the medal shaped sCARs they gave me

of warrior heart i fought and fought

and that’s all that really matters

happy

sometimes in the middle of the night

i take the train from one part of town

and then back to the other side

i can’t sleep so i face my curiosity

tipping into the cleavage of the city

and her girlfriend moon

outside of the rolling cab my eyes

they register that it’s dirty

i swear i can see the car exhaust

black sooty pungent belching vulgarity

in the lungs of LA

behold the automotive crack pipe

then my attention flutters to the men

velvet skin plastic smiles and silver tongues

selling me a piece of Jesus and His hotrod

Hollywood Boulevard how much to eat me tonight

i burrow my alien feelings into the tunnels

and the cocky rail rides me to the platform

where humanity scrambles at the truth

of how small we must be to the Bitchgoddess

of everything all poets in history

have lamented about

to chase and purr on the formidable

lies that we are fed

only to show who kindness i wonder

i’m too old and out of time

to place gender or definition on my pleasures

the time to gamble with the rules and regulations

is quickly ending

at dawn pink and gray

with the smell of the city and

her beautifully cruel courtesans

on my hands and lips

i stagger up 7th street

and bum a cigarette from the Meals on Wheels guy

chat up Bang Me Billy and ask about his truck

we stroll to the rich folk Starbucks

he waltzes me up to the lines

we both feel very alive again

and smile at the young savvy people

when they turn up their nose

two sisters

during the teen years i became smitten with two sisters i’d take them from the pockets and purses of the people i knew dated them too my wayward street girl path hit the thickest part of the city jungle in my early twenties with my ruby mouth cigarette dangling out i would work through the summers at whatever i found i loved the way the first sister built up my courage i felt like a god she was so very soft put her in my mouth and fill my nose with her essence but like in all relationships i couldn’t trust myself to be faithful i needed more more more insatiable gaping fool on an empty heart hurt in the prime of the blossom so i cheated with the second sister exotic delicious i remember the first bang like it was three seconds ago my God what a fuck and then the downfall the second sister i had been forewarned by all the zombies before me little girl that lady is forbidden fruit but i chased that wild dragon sucking at my tits what a beast of a filly the things she would do send my clitoris up to Neptune and soon i had to pay dues and in the foggy LA morning they found each other out yeah i was singing the blues so we experimented with a threesome their death plot foiled by an angel on the street after running in traffic and taking a beat lost in the dessert of old Mission street but i was too much my father’s daughter i couldn’t be a slave to these beautiful women we know them by name a prize on my head said sister one i’ll blow out her heart crooned sister two no angel no devil could free me from them so we tried our ménage a few more times and it came down to the fundamentals their soul or mine i quit them cold turkey they dragged me to hell i brought up our pre-nup they tightened the screws sent their foot soldiers to give me the news entice me with freebies and i had to say no and the soldiers those soldiers they understood gave me a green light and i’ve been running ever since then

ain’t Nutbush City

1989 was a period in life when all back doors of an imminent hell opened to me my loved ones were self-deceived and in their view doing well so i let them linger in their truthful lies

the Cecil was really falling apart at that point a metaphor for the characters in my life i being a bit player young addictions mushrooming everywhere with most here and there would be one character more sophisticated than the other that player was Amos

the other being my mother she fancied herself a feminist with her valley feminist friends me i wasn’t sure what i fancied but  started to steal more of my folks booze and pills it felt good to be honest about my thieving it took the edge off the lies that we told about how bad ass we were in controlling our demons

Amos’s demons would wear pink hustle old has been business men for a suck that never seemed to happen they were rolled here and there after falling asleep taking their pants off on the faux zebra stripped bed

my folks never knew about my life in the city i was just a latch key mess 4.0 gpa high school back door graduate i went to college i don’t know why or even how or how i got a 4.0 shit just happened growing up i had to think faster than your common drunk or cokehead or devious spoiled beautiful caged in their superiority women who struck me as being in horrible painful relationships what was heart breaking was that in their fantasy of being happy and better than thou they were murdering their true potential with worthless crap

Amos wanted to be so much like those women but she just couldn’t go through the medical change or even tell her mother back in Haiti whom she adored i was ignorant as hell when it came to identity i just loved Amos and wanted her to be happy i saw a lot sex violence addiction pain tears orgies more violence but in a way i’m grateful to Amos she did the best she could to raise me if i happened to go by the Cecil drunk or high and she was home i’d had to stay there and get lectured until i passed out

for Amos life had to go on and the hustle continued i’d pretend to sleep or if a fight broke out i sneaked into the bathroom or the murphy bed on the wall no biggie i was a pro at hiding and by that time swinging the punches too on account of my folks and their way of life in a very twisted way sword life might not always kill you

in retrospect i somewhat owe my life to Amos she taught me many things such as using protection don’t go home with anyone don’t walk the street alone “be good kid for Chris’ sake” don’t ever leave your drink alone stuff like that