to Clyde with love

the vinyl floors were what i really loved about King Eddy’s bar i just never ate the nachos or any of the bar food cooked in the back i just drank their booze the storm clouds had passed i was on long weekend from school by choice of course not because it was any particular holiday secretly i was hoping to see Clyde he was an older gentleman with property out in the desert valley not rich a Salton Sea Hawaiian shirt straw fedora wearing kinda guy he was smitten with me but for a long time he thought i was a very effeminate boy we couldn’t tell each other’s intentions my heart grew fond of him over the months in a time span of almost three years i knew he had been a hustler back in the 50’s and 60’s he knew the entire history of Pershing Square the seedy stuff of course not the pretty ribbon cutting ceremonies and the ice rinks at Christmas i came out i suppose by accident i was cramping pretty badly one Tuesday night and the girl bartender wasn’t working that night but Clyde was there many times before i had seen him hand out aspirins to friends so i thought he might have something with knitted brows he whispered jaggedly you’re a girl and i said yeah i’m not very femme but i didn’t think i looked that butch either ok goldilocks he laughed i was gonna ask you out on a date you see i prefer the company of gentlemen in my private life too not just in my industry wink wink i was confused but flattered thus began a deeper relationship my excesses slowed down i put on weight and i went to school more i read all of my books wrote all the papers took all of the exams and actually enjoyed it because of Clyde’s interest in my education there was a time buttercup he’d call me that when i thought i wanted to go to law school but i got lazy and time just passed me by you’re young kid i’ve been eyeballing you i know what you do why do you go to the Cecil he asked knowing dam well why i went i wasn’t angry at him but rather surprised and then creped out dude are you following me no he said but don’t forget i know lots of people around town buttercup don’t throw your life away is all i’m saying the feeling of genuine care felt like a boulder it was too overwhelming so i split

sonata for Tom Waits

no breeze only lights

blinking to a sad tempo

heads bowed its morning

silent warm sun up

notes are sober something’s up

maturity creeps

dawn’s hour moon comes

wisdom tied us together

passion made us one

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Picture courtesy of Susi Bocks

Doña Margarita

now as i look in the mirror i see the scar on my neck where his ring ripped my skin off and wrinkles from all of the times i smiled before and after the event during that moment i fought back with everything i had i too was Jacob Israel in my bathroom looking down as my fingers blindly feel for eyeliner i think of Doña Margarita standing four feet tall outside of Our Lady Queen of Angels Church where i had gone that night looking for watermelon agua fresca i was thirsty for normal human contact she cajoled me about buying one of her amulets a little brown felt square with a saint on it or was it Michael i don’t recall anymore i smiled and shook my head no and as i walked away my mind was already boarding cloud nine but she followed me and said llevatelo es gratis i took her offering as her eyes turned stony with warning a few blocks away deranged in the annals of fifth street i lost it somewhere so into the bar i stepped had a few laughs saw a few flies guzzled a few vodkas and prepared to go up to the third floor to visit Taino another LA merchant turning the corner to go into the morgue like hotel lobby two arms wrapped around my 80 pound frame and into Werdin Alley we rolled but i swung with weak little arms i reached and i scraped faces arms noses tracers in denial that this was reality i focused on our collective flailing tattoos then ink covered my mind i woke up in County over hearing LAFD say she’s been a victim of a violent crime yet i could still feel the brown felt of Doña Margarita’s amulet in my hand it was anchoring

charm school drop out

it’s very late and the crickets are bedding down in the banana trees for the night and behind the brick walls yes the ones tagged with nonsense the drunkard kings are pissing i’ve been kicked out of many a slummy joint you wouldn’t be the first bouncer to pop that cherry although i give you the fact that i was a little loud when the barkeep wouldn’t take my buck for a bottle of vodka but you understand i’m petite and not of swift feet when i’ve had a few tom collins’ down my gullet ok i get it don’t call my parent’s and that is not my id card but i do resent it when you won’t admit it that i’m the best duker in the bunch and while i have rosy knuckles to prove it let’s not point out last week’s black eye but don’t worry about me by the time i’m in my forties i might have been through a few programs for exceptional drinkers but psychoanalysis has nothing to do with a girl having fun on a Saturday night and by the way can you hold my hair back i feel a wave of chili coming up

bar fight haiku

the nerve is crippled
the blood will crust overnight
then i can go home

scars

i want to kiss your scars

but because i am not a siren

with shapely hips and meaty mouth

to give you drink of goddess wine

i cannot have your lips

i want to kiss the scars

left in your eyes as she robbed you of your light

let my tiny spark as weak as it may be

polish the lens of your outlook

of better days to come

i want to kiss your scars

savor one second of your misery

turning my back on a million days of paradise

so long as you are with me

beloved, i want to wash her painful

judgments from your ears

and pray the angels speak to you

from God’s own soothing verse

i want to kiss your scars

the ones thickly padded on your knees

and with my dreadful feeble arms lift you from yourself

to watch you walk away so as you travel

i can see the scars that i may kiss

Oh! your tired back

and gift you with my humble blood

to enrich your waxing path

i want to kiss your scars

and stop the hemorrhaging of your heart’s capacity

to hope

and with my graceless ugly hands nurse it back

birth a brave new rhythm

knowing that this heart of yours

will never sing for me

i want to kiss your scars

and make you king

while my tired trembling mind will unravel them

one after the other

and let the Moon

in her magic and love

dress you in her finest garb

i want to feel you soar

my love

with wings of gods ascended to Heaven

and as my temple fades away into the caverns of the lost

in your cloak of scars i’ll lay

knowing that you are whole again