owl

it’s metal cold in the room stings the surface of the skin a little cheeks flushed 104 degrees cotton fever nothing new thoughts of owls race through the mind far away New Mexico hills in a trip that failed to yield once what was expected seconds hop scotch off the arms of the clock apparitions in white cheap cotton come to check numbers and pulses disgust visible on the face like dust on grandma’s table the owls again the color of wild grain bare footed running with the breeze and the bugs birds of all congregations there to sing solitary ears robbed it’s cold please don’t leave but please don’t touch the New Mexican hills spread out Triple A magazine cover left in the lobby by the father who lost his son the owl took him the Yaqui say fever breaks gauzy cloak frosted from the sin and ignorance lips shiver pale so pale and deformed thirsty for baptismal waters wild wild girl the apparitions come on time oh no it’s her again when will she die my taxes deserve to pay better societal debts please don’t touch the owl she’s my mother looking at me hoot hoot hoot synapse without soul blood without spirit apparition grab the leg and tug cruelly get up it groans tax liability get’s up roughly like a broken transmission New Mexican hills will not be reached like that good bye owl

mbrazfield (c) 2020 gouache on paper

one night on Marengo st.

an emergency room is not an ideal place to sleep while you might not get beat up you might catch the flu or get arrested but sometimes you get to see the city in its an entirety a representative from all walks of life and we all stew in our vulnerability suddenly everyone hurts farts groans wails yells angers saddens and feels life in their gut like a cheese grater or wrecking ball if you’re on the gurney gunshot wound to the back easily a kid or a pregnant woman bleeding bad God’s credibility comes to question why did He allow this but my logic doesn’t go down that pussy route going nowhere i know that God is God with no need for anyone especially not someone the likes of me instead i wonder why that kid wasn’t at home at three in the morning was his mom turning tricks did he have a fight with his father or the bleeding woman with half a baby coming out her Oscar De La Renta ball gown while her husband’s wearing a Rolex what the hell is going on i wonder could i have prevented this how am i connected to these souls did i vote the right way did i pick the correct door my eyes dry out as i weep inside the x-ray room while they rearrange my arm loss is loss i feel inside my own insanity and so with dawn i’m finally gone and greet the sun upon the bridge while the train whistles blow as i turn to my left hoping that nothing else goes wrong for the ones left on the emergency room floor

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