on 4th street

when the dogs got tired

and laying on the floor

perfectly brown and gold spots

little Dachshund legs

stretch out but just a few centimeters long

and green eyed kittens by the door

wild shooting whiskers

like the sky on fourth of July

looking for big momma’s kitty teats

then we all look up at the window

simultaneously in time

although i’m just passing

through an old aunt’s borrowed room

the whistle of the train

needled through my soul

and they perfect holy and beautiful

yawn at the sound of the force

hey Mrs. Butterfly

hey Mrs. Butterfly

i want to just say

that in all of my years

i’ve known of you

and the fire flies

lady bugs bumble bees

june bugs dragon flies

and most of God’s

perfect creations

when not hyper vigilanting

over my folks or the predators

my mind would drift away with you

the colors and the hues

the mechanisms made of truth

your wings and curly tongues

and the symbols afforded to you

from people who came before me

and the Egyptians how they loved

the beetle called the scarab

something to do with Khepri

and the rising sun

i believe it

i always have

i know i’ve let your beauty

and your meaning

float from my hands

but i want to say

that i’m ashamed

that i don’t know how

to describe you

my thoughts and my words

cold hollow and crude

those that have been prescribed

to me during my days of rebellion

in my eyes and in my memories

i can only describe the violets

on the hill as like the colors

of the bruising in the midnights

or the red of carnations

as the blood from my lips

for refusing to give in

or the grace in the flutter

of you the butterfly

in complete and utter silence

but before you send well wishes

and praises

i want to tell you

i’ve been no angel

i deeply hurt and failed to protect

the one who i should’ve loved first

but look it here

daisies and trees cacti

and geese all of the colors

in the rainbow high

and the moon and the stars

and Venus and Mars

i dig you man

and i’ve haven’t lost sight

that universe and the life in it

has always been beautiful in my eyes

even if the magazines

don’t think so

i know that i’m right

Mrs. Butterfly

i hope you can find it

in your perfect heart

to forgive me

for not being able

to knit you the

words that are worthy

of praise to your merit

shroud

shroud

window at dusk

clove cigarette

clings between wet lips

diet coke

dangerously close to keyboard

sad tired eyes

the color of gypsy moss

blood trickles

from her nose

at times

thoughts bounce

like dandelion pappi

blown from the tiny lips of babes

and at times

an invisible pang

slightly electrically melancholic

in the middle of the chest

looking down to see

how people such as we

just all wander

on Spring street

she thinks with slightly damaged brain

do they see as i see

she feels the wounds of the mistaken

and soothes the misguided vigor of the innocent

the sweet sweat of gardenias

distract the ghost

locked in her heart

life becomes less ordinary

and so she sits to write

out the fabric of her soul

Abe Lincoln blues

I loved the balmy Monday mornings, skipping school and eating candy bars for breakfast. I loved sitting on street corners and watch people beg and drink and carry on. Some would scream and yell at invisible entities. I, a mere ignorant child, would laugh at them.

On some Tuesday mornings I might go to some classes, English and Art. Nineteen eighty six was also a year of self decline and so I would become an internal rager. I’d scream in silence and yell very quietly, almost apologetically and like a mouse. I was my own entity.

It was around the cold season in LA when I met Taino at the Cecil. He was a friend of spare cock Amos. I suppose by today’s social and political standards Taino was a transgender person. A male to female.

There were discussions about the Iran-Contra affair at school. But, I was too high to care. The internal me was asleep in a bigotry of soul, intellect and spirit. Something in me was hurting awful bad and illicit street medication provided a wave of relief like nothing else I could have ever imagined.

My city was filled with anger and deep pockets of despair and poverty. My city was also filled with anger and discontent and profound pockets of despair, pain and prosperity. I quickly deduced that money does not necessarily hurt or help, but it never brought happiness. Not the kind you feel when you hug a puppy or your mom sings to you or your Da stays up with you when you had fever. I’ve always remembered the first time I hugged a puppy. Taino and spare cock did the best they could with the other things I sorely wanted.

During the cold season in 1986 I also began to feel something toward God. It was a cartoon I saw in The LA Times. The Challenger blew up in the heavens and it was televised. It appears that the astronauts had touched His face. I was high and sad and uneasy. Internally, I began to cave into myself, to think too much, to question and to doubt myself. I began to imagine that God felt we were becoming too bold.

On a rare occasion, I was pleased to be challenged by my school principal to write a report on Abraham Lincoln. For years I thought he looked really bitching; all Emo before Emo was a thing.

Grady learned different perspectives of global political history that 1986. I understood that in some ways human nature and our own personal choices would always drive the civilization inside of us before any collective could flourish.

That year, I had my fist brush of psychological testing. My principal felt that I was confused for being of the opinion that the Union wasn’t aiming at freeing the slaves first, per se, but rather in uniting the country. My folks never got wind of the situation and if they did, they probably thought I’d grow out of it.


my way …

i loved the balmy Monday mornings skipping school and eating candy bars for breakfast i loved sitting on street corners and watch people beg and drink and carry on some would scream and yell at invisible entities i a mere ignorant child would laugh at them

on some Tuesday mornings i might go to some classes English and art nineteen eighty six was also a year of self decline and so i would become an internal rager i’d scream in silence and yell very quietly almost apologetically and like a mouse i was my own entity

it was around the cold season in LA when i met Taino at the Cecil he was a friend of spare cock Amos i suppose by today’s social and political standards Taino was a transgender person a male to female

there were discussions about the Iran-Contra affair at school but i was too high to care the internal me was asleep in a bigotry of soul intellect and spirit something in me was hurting awful bad and illicit street medication provided a wave of relief like nothing else i could have ever imagined

my city was filled with anger and deep pockets of despair and poverty my city was also filled with anger and discontent and profound pockets of despair pain and prosperity i quickly deduced that money does not necessarily hurt or help but it never brought happiness not the kind you feel when you hug a puppy or your mom sings to you or your Da stays up with you when you had fever i’ve always remembered the first time i hugged a puppy Taino and spare cock did the best they could with the other things i sorely wanted

during the cold season in 1986 i also began to feel something toward God it was a cartoon i saw in the LA Times the Challenger blew up in the heavens and it was televised it appears that the astronauts had touched His face i was high and sad and uneasy i internally i began to cave into myself to think too much to question and to doubt myself i began to imagine that God felt we were becoming too bold

on a rare occasion i was pleased to be challenged by my school principal to write a report on Abraham Lincoln for years i thought he looked really bitching all Emo before Emo was a thing

grady learned different perspectives of global political history that 1986 i understood that in some ways human nature and our own personal choices would always drive the civilization inside of us before any collective could flourish

that year i had my fist brush of psychological testing my principal felt that i was confused for being of the opinion that the Union wasn’t aiming at freeing the slaves first per se but rather in uniting the country my folks never got wind of the situation and if they did they probably thought i’d grow out of it

after life

lost

today

open sun

smiles a plenty

the kids all playing

innocence not taken

i breathe in the warm feeling

the ducks come near me for some bread

sweet genuine brown eyes smile at me

what does one do when you have won the war

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.

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

advice i’d give me if i was my mother

go ahead eat the three cup cakes

jay walk across the mischievous waters

buy Big Mac’s for the street kids

ask the hookers for beauty tips

church hop if the Spirit insists

wrap your thighs around whichever boy you wish

on your terms and not his

go against the family tradition

ride the Ducati instead of the Harley

crank up Led’s Black Dog as you’re lighting a fatty

stay home and read books and howl at the moon

at 3:30 past doom if that’s what makes you happy

talk about the Bard by the water cooler

turn the page when you’ve mastered your spirit

nurture your brain and balance that heart

if you punch punch with your left

but remember they got to swing at you first

if you look wicked good don’t hide it

and every compliment offered to the sisterhood

should come from the heart

don’t disrespect tit for tat the brotherhood

flash them your smile as you’re crushing that Zen

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