a girl’s gotta

I hadn’t been to the Cecil for about four months. I was going solo-er than usual. I had a habit and I needed to hide it, but at the Cecil, that meant hanging with the big children; my habit had to hide me. That took some energy, but I was chalked up to not only falling through the cracks, but literally jumping off the deepest canyon; voluntarily and with pleasure.

Tiny tattoos started bleeding through my skin and sex hated me. My mind was random, my family really random, but as I got older, I figured God’s grace ushered me through.

Early on a Friday morning just before 2 p.m., I decided to go see if spare cock Amos was still living at the Cecil. I was supposed to be at college prep but it wasn’t interesting. Sitting anywhere for longer than 8.9 seconds was excruciating and my limbs just needed to move.

The bust stop bench in front of the hotel had been vandalized and some Mexican guys in orange vests were loading the pretzelled metal unto a Metro Services pick-up. One of the guys, a squared faced short legged man with spikey salt and pepper hair puckered his lips at me a few times, like when a dog really needed to take a shit. I looked down, noticed a lady bug on the left cuff of my sleeve and cupped it in my right hand.

She was deep brick red with tiny black spots. Slowly the hand uncupped. The chipped black nail polish on my hand mimicked her spots. I too puckered my lips, blew a kiss and Holly flew away. I named things and stuff.

The hotel lobby was worn down, the palm trees dried out and their pots ashy and clay like. The coupons dissected and plucked from the Times were neatly stacked on the concierge’s desk. I sat across an olive toned man who wore a sports jacket and Laker color biker shorts. I could see that his toes were mostly calcified with nail fungus. He asked my name as he offered his, Steponas. Francine, I reciprocated starring at his foam green flip flops.

Looking around Steponas scooted to the edge of his couch. His ass must have been sweaty on account of the screeching sound he made when scooting. I sat back deeper into my couch crossed my twig legs and swung my combat boot left to right. Steponas retrieved.

My attention got hijacked by a loud drag queen coming down the stairs, but she wasn’t spare cock. She was just really pissed off. Apparently she contracted crabs and had no qualms about sharing it with the few meat bags staring at her in the lobby.

My eyebrowless Puerto Rican cutie with flaming red hair and flat ass stormed out cussing in Spanish now. I followed her as she bee lined north toward Broadway. I wondered if she’d be going to La India to share her tales of woe with the lovingly self-nick named “puta boys.”

my way…

i hadn’t been to the Cecil for about four months i was going solo-er than usual i had a habit and i needed to hide it but at the Cecil that meant hanging with the big children my habit had to hide me that took some energy but i was chalked up to not only falling through the cracks but literally jumping off the deepest canyon voluntarily and with pleasure

tiny tattoos started bleeding through my skin and sex hated me my mind was random my family really random but as i got older i figured God’s grace ushered me through

early on a friday morning just before 2 pm i decided to go see if spare cock Amos was still living at the Cecil i was supposed to be at college prep but it wasn’t interesting sitting anywhere for longer than 8.9 seconds was excruciating and my limbs just needed to move

the bust stop bench in front of the hotel had been vandalized and some Mexican guys in orange vests were loading the pretzelled metal unto a Metro Services pick-up one of the guys a squared faced short legged man with spikey salt and pepper hair puckered his lips at me a few times like when a dog really needed to take a shit i looked down noticed a lady bug on the left cuff of my sleeve and cupped it in my right hand

she was deep brick red with tiny black spots slowly the hand uncupped the chipped black nail polish on my hand mimicked her spots i too puckered my lips blew a kiss and Holly flew away named things and stuff

the hotel lobby was worn down the palm trees dried out and their pots ashy and clay like the coupons dissected and plucked from the Times were neatly stacked on the concierge’s desk i sat across an olive toned man who wore a sports jacket and Laker color biker shorts i could see that his toes were mostly calcified with nail fungus he asked my name as he offered his Steponas Francine i reciprocated starring at his foam green flip flops

looking around Steponas scooted to the edge of his couch his ass must have been sweaty on account of the screeching sound he made when scooting i sat back deeper into my couch crossed my twig legs and swung my combat boot left to right Steponas retrieved

my attention got hijacked by a loud drag queen coming down the stairs but she wasn’t Spare Cock she was just really pissed off apparently she contracted crabs and had no qualms about sharing it with the few meat bags staring at her in the lobby

my eyebrowless Puerto Rican cutie with flaming red hair and flat ass stormed out cussing in Spanish now i followed her as she bee lined north toward Broadway i wondered if she’d be going to La India to share her tales of woe with the lovingly self-nick named puta boys

Rooster

In 1993 I learned two things about Chinese culture. First that it was the Year of the Rooster and second, that “he who strikes the first blow admits he’s lost the argument.”

 In 2003 I sat in the Cecil’s lobby, putrid and rancid with depressive thoughts, but hoping to score; human companionship. No one was there anymore and I was an adult now. My mind meandered.

Rooster was my father. In his youth he was Billy-from-Easy-Rider handsome, cocky, and a womanizer. Rooster would never back down from a fight, ever. He drank enough booze to fly a plane, snorted mountainous amounts of cocaine, cursed, worked hard and partied even harder. I heard that in the autumn of his life Rooster wore scars and tattoos like medals, sped on motorcycles, and had no connection with the children he spawned in and out of wedlock.

Two blond women with big jugs stomped into the lobby and yelled at the janitor demanding that he produce a Roy Mingus. I’ve never forgotten that name on account that is sounds really cool. I imagined Roy looking like Hugh Hefner but broke. The ladies left into the back of the hotel and gassy breeze sneaked in; I thought about Los Feliz and me squeezing lighter fluid into the barbecue pit when I was five.

During the years of my short lived young life, my mother survived through ten years of battle and then my parents divorced. When sober, Rooster was verbally abusive and when high and drunk ultra-violent if anyone crossed him. Other than that, he had been a devout Sunday morning Catholic, chest pounder, and rosary wielding. Tithe giving included.

Rooster came to the brink of death a few times at the hands of his own brother, Gjeo and their motor cycling brothers when they got wind that he’d beat up some broad. It wasn’t in their intricate code of ethics to strike women or kids. The running joke amongst them was that Rooster was like Lazarus for having the longest record of recovery after having his ass and several other organs handed to him over the years. In some ways, I admired the resiliency in him. In other ways, I had always felt profound sorrow and tenderness for the old man.

I curled up and nodded off into the ozone of the lobby. It was around one in the morning that old Pike straggled in and woke me. He startled me and I swung, narrowly missing his crotch. After cussing and gasping he sat across from me in the greasy old easy chair. We started talking about lawn mower motors. He chattered away, but my mind was ten years back.

That 1993 spring mid-morning was fragrant as the moisture in the air teased out the green hopeful smell of ferns and pepper trees surrounding my uncle’s garage. I needed my uncle to explain catalytic converters to me. My mechanic wasn’t able to fix my Jeep and maybe Aces, as my uncle was called, could.

my way…

in 1993 i learned two things about Chinese culture first that it was the Year of the Rooster and second that he who strikes the first blow admits he’s lost the argument

in 2003 i sat in the Cecil’s lobby putrid and rancid with depressive thoughts but hoping to score human companionship no one was there anymore and i was an adult now my mind meandered

Rooster was my father in his youth he was Billy from Easy Rider handsome cocky and a womanizer rooster would never back down from a fight ever he drank enough booze to fly a plane snorted mountainous amounts of cocaine cursed worked hard and partied even harder i heard that in the autumn of his life rooster wore scars and tattoos like medals sped on motorcycles and had no connection with the children he spawned in and out of wedlock

two blond women with big jugs stomped into the lobby and yelled at the janitor demanding that he produce a Roy Mingus i’ve never forgotten that name on account that is sounds really cool i imagined Roy looking like Hugh Hefner but broke the ladies left into the back of the hotel and gassy breeze sneaked in i thought about Los Feliz and me squeezing lighter fluid into the barbecue pit when i was five

during the years of my short lived young life my mother survived through ten years of battle and then my parents divorced when sober Rooster was verbally abusive and when high and drunk ultra violent if anyone crossed him other than that he had been a devout Sunday morning Catholic chest pounder and rosary wielding tithe giving included

Rooster came to the brink of death a few times at the hands of his own brother Gjeo and their motor cycling brothers when they got wind that he’d beat up some broad it wasn’t in their intricate code of ethics to strike women or kids the running joke among them was that Rooster was like Lazarus for having the longest record of recovery after having his ass and several other organs handed to him over the years in some ways i admired the resiliency in him in other ways i had always felt profound sorrow and tenderness for the old man

i curled up and nodded off into the ozone of the lobby it was around one in the morning that old Pike straggled in and woke me he startled me and i swung narrowly missing his crotch after cussing and gasping he sat across from me in the greasy old easy chair we started talking about lawn mower motors he chattered away but my mind was ten years back

that 1993 spring mid morning was fragrant as the moisture in the air teased out the green hopeful smell of ferns and pepper trees surrounding my uncle’s garage i needed my uncle to explain catalytic converters to me my mechanic wasn’t able to fix my Jeep and maybe Aces as my uncle was called could

civics

I’d been as dry as the moon. My pimply friend from PE class dared me. I didn’t last very long, maybe four days. Sobriety week was excruciatingly strange. My da went to jail and my mom had to bail him out with the mortgage payment. I didn’t witness this first hand, my uncle told me when he came looking for me at the Cecil.

Gjeo found me at Spare Cock’s. He greeted us with two of his brothers from the motor club. My uncle was liberal in his way of thinking. By that I mean women didn’t belong in the kitchen all the time; they could move about the house, preferably topless and in heels.

His Portuguese tongue stroked out for a few moments. Gjeo I suspected had never encountered a woman like Spare Cock. Tall, chocolaty, muscular, blond hair and with scrotum duct taped into her inner thigh.  He stared at Spare Cock and Brother Gertrude while they were snorting lines. Gjeo’s eyes shifted from the tomfoolery in the room back to me.

Until this day, I haven’t figured out how he found me. I was getting sloppy but maybe I didn’t give a shit. I was hallucinating and trembling. He called me out to the hallway. It was the way he said ‘Grady’ that made me feel like bad news was coming, but with the imminent heard of pink elephants with faces like Leonard Nimoy, I wasn’t too concerned.

In his 60’s biker boy lingo he told me that my pops had gotten picked up and that my mom didn’t want to bail him out. Blah, blah, blah slow motion in my ears. I was getting buried beneath the waters of slow decomposing withdrawal at 16.

My eyebrows were raised and my bottom lip curled back into my mouth. Then I’d look into the walls, real far away like. We made small talk and then he grabbed my wrist. I think I pulled away real hard and said I wasn’t going to my mom’s place. He looked at me. The hazel pity darts pierced me through. He had labeled me as a “poor little thing.”

He turned his head to the left a bit and then cracked his neck like a Sicilian Don. He pointed at me with his left hand and forced a whisper through his aging teeth. He ordered me home by the next morning. I asked him why I had to leave. I didn’t hear what I wanted to be told. Instead he said that no blood of his was going to be holed up in a rats nest with fags and… before he could blurt it out I punched him right in the neck. I was pretty short.

Things were never the same between us. But I was never the same either. Briefly, I experienced a moment of clarity. I felt my values and what I would tolerate or not. I loved my uncle, but I too loved Amos no matter who she was.

my way…

i’d been as dry as the moon my pimply friend from PE class dared me i didn’t last very long maybe four days sobriety week was excruciatingly strange my da went to jail and my mom had to bail him out with the mortgage payment i didn’t witness this first hand my uncle told me when he came looking for me at the Cecil.

Gjeo found me at Spare Cock’s he greeted us with two of his brothers from the motor club my uncle was liberal in his way of thinking by that i mean women didn’t belong in the kitchen all the time they could move about the house preferably topless and in heels

his Portuguese tongue stroked out for a few moments Gjeo i suspected had never encountered a woman like Spare Cock tall, chocolaty, muscular, blond hair and with scrotum duct taped into her inner thigh he stared at Spare Cock and Brother Gertrude while they were snorting lines Gjeo’s eyes shifted from the tomfoolery in the room back to me

until this day i haven’t figured out how he found me i was getting sloppy but maybe i didn’t give a shit i was hallucinating and trembling he called me out to the hallway it was the way he said ‘Grady’ that made me feel like bad news was coming but with the imminent heard of pink elephants with faces like Leonard Nimoy i wasn’t too concerned

in his 60’s biker boy lingo he told me that my pops had gotten picked up and that my mom didn’t want to bail him out blah, blah, blah slow motion in my ears i was getting buried beneath the waters of slow decomposing withdrawal at 16

my eyebrows were raised and my bottom lip curled back into my mouth then i’d look into the walls real far away like we made small talk and then he grabbed my wrist i think i pulled away real hard and said i wasn’t going to my mom’s place he looked at me the hazel pity darts pierced me through he had labeled me as a “poor little thing”

he turned his head to the left a bit and then cracked his neck like a Sicilian Don he pointed at me with his left hand and forced a whisper through his aging teeth he ordered me home by the next morning i asked him why i had to leave i didn’t hear what i wanted to be told instead he said that no blood of his was going to be holed up in a rats nest with fags and… before he could blurt it out i punched him right in the neck i was pretty short

things were never the same between us but i was never the same either briefly I experienced a moment of clarity i felt my values and what i would tolerate or not i loved my uncle but i too loved Amos no matter who she was

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

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

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

Capgras delusion

she brushed her hair slowly asking questions to the air i sat and i doodled in my math book algebra was not my friend although in high school calculus was a little kinder honestly being a student of the formal subject and theory concept philosophy and algorithm was never my cup of anything i preferred to daydream observe and think later on i was given diagnostic labels for all three on account that some people couldn’t understand  how to appreciate those foibles of me and thus my mind was pathologized to fit into a neat little category i didn’t mind i was a kid but in some strange way much deeper and wiser than they would ever be not intellectual perhaps more intuitive a reader of in between the lines of the lines

Abbey was decent looking very natural and i liked that at home my mother and her friends laid on the war paint rather thickly and it was hard to tell if they were human in retrospect now i understand that all of the women i knew as a kid had pain to hide their veils make up booze pills loveless sex marriage unwanted kids back stabbing hate rage sarcasm some had money and when the rare expression of love was directed at them all hell broke loose love hurt too too much

besides a killer record collection Abbey had bottles of beauty products for Mexico Spain and France i personally never tried anything on except for some nail polish in pearlescent pink that i didn’t really like Abbey tried to teach me how to put make-up on but it really didn’t interest me there was something in my soul that frowned upon that sort of thing a kind of defense mechanism and i found the make-up styles of her younger years a bit on the grotesque side but what did i know i was a rag tag tomboy

on a dark gray November morning i decided to cut the rest of the day and i headed to the Cecil i knew someone would be there i almost floated up to the sixth floor where Abbey lived knocked on 607 and nothing i almost left to go rap on another door further down that hall when i heard the knob turn and the chain lock release Abbey had an ink blue and red left eye ball shut by the swelling of traumatized flesh

she told me to come in and as i walked through the door she told me about how she had gotten mugged last night and her purse stolen i knew from memory Abbey only had one purse tan kid skin leather silver zipper and fringe which was sitting on the floor of her opened closet door looking at her as every second ticked by i could feel a tightness in my chest my teeth began to clench and i punched a softball sized hole on the drywall i had seen the same on my mother

in the room

the edge of summer is always rougher in down town the garbage cooks in the hot August sun and the mango pits baste in the pigeons’ bath water but i can’t help to be in love with the complex and undeniable lived in beauty of the city

as soon as i step into the lobby i see Mr. Petrucchio’s grand daughter with a mile wide smile because granpa will be moving in with them today i agree the Cecil is no place for an aging refined man or anyone else who didn’t have the junky sickness or the negotiating with the devil credentials

half of my life has gone by although i count my birthdays in dog years so old in my soul and experience but too young in some circles a gen x’er with no money too many bills the last of the missing generation child of war birthday cake candle blower outer low brow collector little girl but i still have me rickety cracked me

sitting in my bed room with my cats and dog we laugh and talk as i finger bang the keyboard i think about smoking a cigarette but i don’t i miss the Cecil the old Cecil full of the residue of Adam’s sin i miss a phantom childhood you know the one where we become our parents’ parent yeah i’m not bitter i got to play with real barbie dolls mainly holding their hair back in my mom’s bathroom when they were throwing up too many cocktails diet pills and i guess too much cock that made them pregnant who knew i was just seven

its August 2019 the edge of summer again its rougher now we have placeless people stewing in the system stewing in the tents waiting for a breath of help the Cecil has cleaned up mostly serves to house tourists looking for the LA experience i shy away from their questions like where’s the best Mexican Food where can we find parking how much are you asking for a blow job baby and being me i have to answer back i’m too big to fit down your throat sweetheart i’ve learned to disarm some but not all yet i love my city it’s my home and she’s disarmed me any way she’s wanted to my sweet Sensei i’ve been a good student though she can’t deny that

where has life gone and my summers and popsicles hot dogs and fireworks on the fourth where has the magic gone i’ve missed much so the Fall is coming along with the adverts of pumpkin spice everywhere the new Fall collections the new laws that question the very validity of what the Gods have created and the pangs of sadness come but also the reminder that life goes on in spite of decree or tears or me i’m learning to love something greater than the world at long last hobo girl i say don’t worry you can still smile a mile wide

atmospheric tiramisu

that Friday had been particularly rough my science teacher Mrs. Thorndyke must’ve been on the rag or something i’m not even sure why i went to school that day i guess i just needed the routine life was unraveling all over me my folks money politics and a robust octopus demon had it’s addiction tentacles around by mind i felt heavy lost i wanted to make it all go away if i got a gold fish took out the trash make dad a clay ashtray maybe if i behaved but my check engine light had been flashing for almost two years now

i walked around downtown til i hit Main street i was too tired to go to the nickel besides i knew Taino wasn’t home i didn’t trust sitting in the lobby of the King Edward by myself i had a feeling i went up to the roof of the Cecil i was a runt back then no one knew i was alive the sky was baby blue like a Joe Jackson song and right where the mountain crests with the horizon an atmospheric tiramisu of different colored smogs

looking down at the sidewalk on Main i would count the people coming in and out of the lobby i remember thinking these must be really happy folks well mannered with nice houses and lawns and supper my mind began to wander my body relaxed i wasn’t comparing or analyzing anymore i was just of the moment alone face to face with my 17 years of invisibility of course i thought about jumping but that streak of rebel pomposity fed by my love of the Sex Pistols thought jumping off the roof would be utterly trite

thank goodness for my photographic memory finger tips without having to shift my eyes from the helicopters pigeons and flag poles i reached into my book bag and fished out the Ritalin pills that soothed me when i felt like curling up and sucking my thumb in about half hour or half day the lines blurred i was thinking about the news and the Contras Viet Nam vets and crack cocaine i thought about how many homeless people there were and the crips and the bloods and everyone in between

nowadays i often think of that Friday and i wonder what would have become of me if i had been a popular girl a girly girl a girl whose parents were proper closet alcoholic church goers conscious voters PTA joiners and i wore dresses and never took anything stronger than grape juice but we were not like that no one was ever like that in truth we were all just ragers in our own way

my daydreams about the world its wars and LA were just smoke and mirrors to hide from what would inevitably be an incredible ride into familiar unknowns of wanting to die and fly and vomit and binge and fuck and love and cry and laugh and feel whole