couch skinning

I woke up mid morning thinking of how many ways can one skin a couch. I slept on the floor boards of the 8th floor room of a woman who used “whore” as her pronoun.  I smoked too many things last night and my head was throbbing. My nose bled some too as crunchy clusters of dried blood dropped onto my arm cupping my head.

Last night, on Werdin Place there were lots of people hangin’ out and doping up. Lounge lizards sitting on about half a dozen couches, right there in the middle of the musky alley. There was one couch in particular that was just foam and wood. It was still very clean, but as hard as I looked I couldn’t  see where the cloth covering had gone to.

So that morning I started off with two canned  espressos and a diet coke that I had in my book bag from last week. Tiffany came in from the shared bathroom down the hall. She was pissed or maybe her traced on eye brows were crooked. I just looked out the door past her calves. Someone was getting yelled at then she slammed the door. Her eyes were hard and mean; beady as hell too.  Tiffany once told me that her momma had an affair with Elvis after her daddy left them to join the Navy. I never doubted her.

Tiffany lit a bong shaped like a big purple cock. A present from one of her many admirers she gasped between inhales. She offered but I politely declined. I was a few years away from wanting to explore those kinds of shapes inside of my mouth. I could see she was offended as she smacked her lips and twisted her neck at me. It hadn’t been the first time so I hid my smile from her.

Taking three long slow drags from the bong she stood up slowly and dropped her worn out Wonder Woman beach towel. The dirty blond pubic tufts flayed from her arm pits and crotch were stiff and wire like. Tiffany sat back down and I could see skin hang like Christmas decorations from collar bones and ribs. She was beautiful in a medical way.

We didn’t talk. I stirred around my back pack and got the works and a rock out.  Tiffany held her chin high and words crawled from her ashy lips. You can cook and shoot if you let me fuck you. She smiled and said she had wanted a taste since last year.  I wasn’t fazed by her condition, but I was inconvenienced because I didn’t really want to walk down to Werdin. I answered under my breath. Tiffany told me to get the hell out of her house. I said ok but thanks for letting me spend the night. I was growing tired at 19. There were 700 rooms at low weekly rates and I couldn’t just yet rent one. All my assets were tied in under the counter investments.

my way…

i woke up mid morning thinking of how many ways can one skin a couch i slept on the floor boards of the 8th floor room of a woman who used “whore” as her pronoun i smoked too many things last night and my head was throbbing my nose bled some too as crunchy clusters of dried blood dropped onto my arm cupping my head.

last night on Werdin Place there were lots of people hangin’ out and doping up lounge lizards sitting on about half a dozen couches right there in the middle of the musky alley there was one couch in particular that was just foam and wood it was still very clean but as hard as i looked i couldn’t  see where the cloth covering had gone to

so that morning i started off with two canned  espressos and a diet coke that i had in my book bag from last week Tiffany came in from the shared bathroom down the hall she was pissed or maybe her traced on eye brows were crooked i just looked out the door past her calves someone was getting yelled at then she slammed the door her eyes were hard and mean beady as hell too  Tiffany once told me that her momma had an affair with Elvis after her daddy left them to join the Navy i never doubted her

Tiffany lit a bong shaped like a big purple cock a present from one of her many admirers she gasped between inhales she offered but i politely declined i was a few years away from wanting to explore those kinds of shapes inside of my mouth i could see she was offended as she smacked her lips and twisted her neck at me it hadn’t been the first time so i hid my smile from her

taking three long slow drags from the bong she stood up slowly and dropped her worn out Wonder Woman beach towel the dirty blond pubic tufts flayed from her arm pits and crotch were stiff and wire like Tiffany sat back down and i could see skin hang like Christmas decorations from collar bones and ribs she was beautiful in a medical way

we didn’t talk i stirred around my back pack and got the works and a rock out  Tiffany held her chin high and words crawled from her ashy lips you can cook and shoot if you let me fuck you she smiled and said she had wanted a taste since last year i wasn’t fazed by her condition but i was inconvenienced because i didn’t really want to walk down to Werdin i answered under my breath Tiffany told me to get the hell out of her house i said ok but thanks for letting me spend the night i was growing tired at 19 there were 700 rooms at low weekly rates and i couldn’t just yet rent one all my assets were tied in under the counter investments

lava rocks

first the beers

then the hard stuff

then snow

she said good God don’t you feel alive

i moved my face down

my eyes look up

grimace at the stars

smoke invades my ratted hair

miss my cat she said

his name was butterfly

got killed by coyotes in the west hills

don’t you miss your cat

silence

then a nod

a snort

and a pop

i don’t have pets

i’m not responsible enough

brown eyes tears up

cheeks scarlet

my parents hate me

i’ve been such a huge problem

i saw yellow rose buds in the therapy room she heaved

they want to put me on depakote i said

my nose bled a little

why

i flipped my daddy’s car

on the 10 heading east

oh

then she swallows loudly

malt liquor spills out

from the corners of her cold sore covered mouth

but i dig it here i say

i’m thankful for the cool scars i caress and stretch my arm

and that i am aware of my self destruction i guess

sounds like you’re winning the battle she says

my face falls

under my breath

reaching for another cigarette

i hear the boots coming to seek us out

we know the routine

our tiny back packs get buried under the decorative lava rocks

officer Cassidy and the J walking kid

you/so what is the problem now

me/ nothing

you/your father is worried

me/hmmm… i haven’t seen him in three weeks

you/the school district is thinking of recommending a level 12

me/i don’t wanna go

you/it’s for your protection

me/all the shit i needed protection from has already happened

you/ why are you angry

me/why not

you/do you think sarcasm will help you

me/i’m not asking it to

you/your psych tests show you’re very smart

me/i’m a girl

you/(smile)

me/so… are you charging me or what

you/what’s the rush

me/you bore me

you/you made the driver crash his car

me/how do you figure that i was just crossing the street he ran the stop sign thinking i would suck his dick

you/now is that language necessary

me/i’m talking the way you boys do

you/he says you ran toward his car

me/i did not i was crossing the street J-walking to be perfectly honest

you/so you’re saying he was trying to kidnap you

me/no you’re saying that

you/enlighten me

me/he sped up as i was getting on the curb he thought i was a hooker

you/hmmm…are you sure

me/look i didn’t total a car so i really don’t care what you think or believe

you/your dad is worried about you he thinks you’re doing drugs

me/i know he’s doing drugs and more

you/you’re so young why so much hate and rage

me/(smile)

you/well

me/i’m cool man

you/maybe you need to go to juvey for a while

me/on what charge

you/(silent glare)

me/was my mom called

you/she told the principal to call your father

me/(knot in throat) cool

you/the driver wants to press charges

me/that’s fine

you/do you care about anything

me/sure i’d like to visit Bora Bora someday and i love NASA

you/you’re a piece of work

receptionist/the parent said he’s not dealing with this to call the mother

you/were going downtown kid

me/(knot in throat) may i request a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye”

you/(silent glare)

purple petals

when i was a teen girl

i had a teen boy lover

he was broken like James Dean

and like Brando a real bad ass mutherfucker

he kissed with a platinum tongue

as we walked along the Venice sand

he’d get into fights

all bloody and bruised

but we still caught the moonlight

sucking on the booze

we’d fuck until we couldn’t walk

not because of sex or anything

but because of all the glue we huffed

those were wild times

in the eyes of other people

to a punk skater kid

of broken inner spirit

the life style was his fort

me i was just a wanna be

looking for a Trojan Horse

to leave this solar system far behind

by sixteen i’d been dead so many times

and had gotten taken advantage of by force

all because of it

Blaine with the dirty blonde mohawk

my only refuge that boy was

we swore our love

with Sharpie marker anarchy tattoos

and shared pizza crusts

from the dumpsters down on Zephyr

at night we’d find some Gypsy camp

and howl unto the face of angels

howling at the moon just seemed so trite

but when we’d look in each other’s eyes

there were no stars in them

like with the Montagues’ and Capulets’

just an existential escape past our sullied souls

knowing that we had no plan

just living for the day

no flowers in my hair

no money for the Goddamned fare

from desperation blvd. to hole ave.

just me and Blaine alone together

simultaneous fear and madness punching in the air

we lived like Cohen and the Beats

the Velvets and Andy and Billy Name

we talked about fascism and Ollie and the gang

La Revolucion y El Che

we talked about other times

his aunt Myrtle’s minced meat pie

Constantinople and even Hemingway

he read about the Bolsheviks

while i adored Bukowski

he slept in the LA Central Library

on my bony dirty lap

one of the most beautiful

and sacred memories of my life

was my chipped fingernail polish

fingers picking out two tiny

purple flower petals

from his gentle baby hair crown

never too young for T Leary

Home was cold and lonely. Waverly had gone away for the holidays with her family. I hadn’t bonded with anyone at school. I wanted hot cocoa and warm pajamas, ginger bread men cookies and a Christmas tree with glass ornaments in 1985. I wasn’t going to get it. So I bussed it to Chinatown, scored and got a bag of stale fortune cookies.

I thought about going to the Cecil and dropping there, but I didn’t want to be lectured by the old lady on the first floor. Florida was the cleaning lady she had worked the docks in San Pedro during WWII as a steel worker. Bent and grey she would polish the walnut sticks of furniture sparsely laid out.

The walk from Broadway to the park on Plaza Olvera was calm in spite of the screaming bitch called traffic. I didn’t mind. I was trailing and smiling. As always, invisible to the eyes of the world but never to my city.

I sat following the giant furry beasts that seemed to engulf the people with multiple hands and faces. Deep blues and the oranges were never more orange. The sounds of people talking or laughing were vague, but I understood the strands of human energy feeding the cosmic realm set to take off into the sky.

The Pio Pico Building sat there quiet in the chaos of the mariachi music and the stop and go low riders booming the likes of Grand Master Flash and Run DMC. Then a mirror suited man walked up to me muttering sounds and wearing a huge red dot on his nose. Thousands of me’s exploded like shrapnel landing in the pupils of my eyes.

It took an eon or two, but I finally directed him to the train depot. Satellite man gave me a balloon dog. The dog was red and the heads and tails and every little knot fanned into dozens as fireworks dazzled from my finger tips. I felt alone in the sea of people, I felt cold frozen fire under me as the Aztec dancers circled about their worshiped sun it was all the same to him.

Time moved with grace like a swan in a lake. I thought about my father and how he taught me how to shoot a gun and a rifle and how to box and use a knife. Years later I found out that it wasn’t because he wanted me to be well rounded he was just disappointed I was a girl. He was really very disappointed and I was very lost. I needed a dad. I wasn’t sure how I felt about women. My mom was tough on me. She expressed numerous times how useless I was and even wished death a few times.

I feared women; they hurt your heart tore your spirit into nothing, fucked around with your brain. Men hurt me physically. I felt like I could at least fight back, scratch or kick something. I couldn’t hurt a woman.

my way…

home was cold and lonely Waverly had gone away for the holidays with her family i hadn’t bonded with anyone at school i wanted hot cocoa and warm pajamas ginger bread men cookies and a Christmas tree with glass ornaments in 1985 i wasn’t going to get it so i bussed it to Chinatown scored and got a bag of stale fortune cookies

i thought about going to the Cecil and dropping there but i didn’t want to be lectured by the old lady on the first floor Florida was the cleaning lady she had worked the docks in San Pedro during WWII as a steel worker bent and grey she would polish the walnut sticks of furniture sparsely laid out

the walk from Broadway to the park on Plaza Olvera was calm in spite of the screaming bitch called traffic i didn’t mind i was trailing and smiling as always invisible to the eyes of the world but never to my city

i sat following the giant furry beasts that seemed to engulf the people with multiple hands and faces deep blues and the oranges were never more orange the sounds of people talking or laughing were vague but i understood the strands of human energy feeding the cosmic realm set to take off into the sky

the Pio Pico Building sat there quiet in the chaos of the mariachi music and the stop and go low riders booming the likes of Grand Master Flash and Run DMC then a mirror suited man walked up to me muttering sounds and wearing a huge red dot on his nose thousands of me’s exploded like shrapnel landing in the pupils of my eyes

it took an eon or two but i finally directed him to the train depot satellite man gave me a balloon dog the dog was red and the heads and tails and every little knot fanned into dozens as fireworks dazzled from my finger tips i felt alone in the sea of people i felt cold frozen fire under me as the Aztec dancers circled about their worshiped sun it was all the same to him

time moved with grace like a swan in a lake i thought about my father and how he taught me how to shoot a gun and a rifle and how to box and use a knife years later i found out that it wasn’t because he wanted me to be well rounded he was just disappointed i was a girl he was really very disappointed and i was very lost i needed a dad i wasn’t sure how i felt about women my mom was tough on me she expressed numerous times how useless i was and even wished death a few times

i feared women they hurt your heart tore your spirit into nothing fucked around with your brain men hurt me physically i felt like i could at least fight back scratch or kick something i couldn’t hurt a woman

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

nobody told pop there’d be days like this

we listen to agent orange when were pissed leave us alone don’t come in to the room our eyes are bloodshot with rage and shrooms it comes like a wave of lava and we thrash the place cut our arms on broken bottles there they are behind in the closet leave us alone if you know what’s good for you why do you tell us what to do when you back stab your neighbors and talk about fools we demand to go back to mutti’s we don’t give a fuck what your judge says hey asshole we’re just a kid not your self-righteous toilet paper wad to wipe your evil ass with we listen to agent orange when were pissed and the neighbor called the fire department cus the front windows shattered on account of the sonic geetar’ licks and surfer grooves oh we forgot to mention the baseball bat from out in the patio and your girlfriend’s mirrors are shattered into as many bits as apologies you owe to me fuck yeah we’re still pissed  and we will always scream as long as you won’t hear me                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

orthopraxy 261

containment is necessary if life is to be kept in the outskirts of ethical veils a true man is often deceiving to himself let the mirror lead us to the kneeling chamber pure blue get a clue im not in soft cookie scented pajamas anymore woman whore all the more follow that fellow he knows where to score and take a tissue for the blood ransacked of the floods of dignity dispelled in drought of love freedom the cosmetic side free of pungent primordial scent does not an anchor serve to preserve what we claim is precious fight snot nose kid get out if you don’t like it accident of lust and loss of mind what we want is not what we sought after hear the engines grind Chopin rings in the ear of what was innocent for only days and then the angels of carnality lead the way to where her wings allegorically to be ripped of the whipping back of martyrs run pretty momma go around shes ready gotcha little cunt face first chipped tooth kiss the feet of the Queen of Angels and the DAs assistant can scrape evidence from broken fingers after the appropriate forms have been signed

Seth 3: Christina’s rebuke

Picture courtesy of Sue Vincent

the road she is cruel and with little respite

but i made it to Your house

with the help of Ruach Elohim

i can raise my knuckles to Your door

and knock to be let in

YWHW this is your daughter

the mother of the boy

who is now in your eternal care

i see his hands and eyes and smile

in the wild flowers waltzing on the ground

i traversed the firmament all this way

for You to look me in the face

and give me a reason

because i’m only Your daughter

and i don’t know anymore

did You give Abraham his bosom

from these stones that hold Your strength

my bosom is torn wide apart

forsaken forgotten and in pain

the glimmer in the joy of light

that showers Your front steps

no longer bring me comfort

YHWH

You and i know what love can be

we both sent our sons

unto the world of man

but only Your’s came back

MAT gala

by 4:30 in the morning id be standing in line at the MAT with about 20 others in front of me Barbara wore pink and red when id see her every other day plus holidays if needed there was a shine to the clinic’s sea shell pink linoleum floor tiles learning to hone my ADD mind to the specks of tan and baby blue accents on the tiles id imagine that i was at the bottom of a fish tank i noticed that on Thursday mornings the floor was freshly waxed as the foot prints of my ragged American flag high top Chucks were captured on the surface it fascinated me at times but more often than not i felt shame wondering if this would be the only place id ever leave my mark the tired medical staff started the dosing at 5:30 and then you could wait a bit to see your therapist Barbara was one of the first transgender people id ever met she was really tall and with huge feet a blond wig like Charo’s nest sat atop her head Barbara’s eyes were jet black and big as prunes i loved her caramel skin and wondered about everything that might have made her decide to follow this path the little scars on her face and limbs weren’t caused by happy childhood memories like falling off your bike or whatever Barbara was obviously a warrior on days that we managed to find two empty chairs next to each other she’d tell me about the tricks she’d turn and how rent was getting crazy i was a dumb kid half my nights were spent in bushes at Pershing Square i didn’t know about life or rent and i was lucky enough to not have to turn to trickery during the holiday season i wanted to give Barbara a red lipstick that i had bought from Estee Lauder Barb was really nice to me she walked with my soul through the valley of the shadow of LA after three missed visits i found out through “one fuck” Clark another clinic patron and a one hit porn wonder i guess that’s where the “one” came from that Barbara got busted for hooking and was at County cooling off for a bit i drew hearts and skulls in the bathroom later with the fancy lipstick