post card to Jean-Louis

being raised in los angeles is indescribable born in the old la county general hospital with its beautiful antiquity is an unbelievable honor i drive by there almost daily sometimes three to four times per day a place so intimately familiar and so alien at the same time i love it so much a sick love it makes me want to run through the abandoned hall ways and burrow myself in the old phone booths and never ever come out again Jean-Louis have you been here and do you know that i want to fill my lungs with that old air it was founded in 1878 ironically my three favorite numbers 1 7 and 8 forty-four years before you came to consciousness i was born there in the 70’s and i haven’t really consciously checked out Jean-Louis is it possible to be a human ghost i am a charity ward alumni but in many ways those of us born here continue to love our city bitter sweet the nursery that birthed us and healed us with ticket number infamy we have paid and continue to pay one large ass never ending bill one that is paid day in and day out hey! Jean-Louis you bum tell me something kid blow the sax of time is not a sandwich and we travel through the Ozone of your most triumphant hours general hospital with its jubilant height and art deco facades sends shivers through my blood cells when i see it off the santa ana 5 beautiful and mean and powerful and ever loving with its chiseled arms going towards the sky like the baby Jesus of your catechism years i can only imagine you Jean-Louis wide eyed Dharma child on the knees of love and me as a child i was introduced to many medical machines and medications i played for hours with knobs and hoses and tools i was sickly but willful as most angelinos but i wasn’t a wizard  the hospital in my mind was a nation state with endless halls and sulfuric smells with the aroma of vending machine coffee and chicken soup like mother’s Yiddish parlor the shower rooms with white cold chlorinated tiles and the smell of latex too oh Jean-Louis even now i am conditioned to seek out these smells and no food is as good as vending machine fare now that i’m older i beat the gravel around Boyle Heights and look in wonder my child eyes and Converse sneakers have not really changed much probably because i refuse to lose sight of my cradle but Jean-Louis what does it mean to look all of your life for a granule of meaning and be told you are in God’s image and behold on top of a mountain there you are and while the pigeons pan for peanut shell gold i look at the horizon and the junk yards of the northeast beckon while i thumb through the pages of the oldest book                                  

on being a native

assenting that

i am

still alive

after being

extracted out

of my

mother’s birth

canal with

pincers and

still incomplete

nothing else

startles me