Friday, October 23, 2009

old one

I wrote this a while ago and I don’t feel this way anymore.


I can’t help but wonder if this spot of earth is groaning a little louder than the rest. I know that it’s not, but I still wonder.

The horizon is gone
because the night has nullified it,
and with no real reason to stay out
I’ll walk inside
and close the door.
If you pretend it doesn’t matter
long enough
it doesn’t.


It has been a while, quite some while,
since the evening
(with impeccable style,
and without asking,
and with its usual way of coaxing out
our unpleasant extremes)
has come upon us like the wilting of a flower,
where you don't notice the way it changes,
only, suddenly, that something has changed.
(is it dark out already?)


I close my eyes while I walk across the parking lot. I wonder how long I can keep them closed without tripping. I open them before I get to the curb and step up onto the sidewalk. The book store has big glass windows and a sliding glass door that squeaks. I walk in and see the books set up on racks in a room where they seem out of place, wrong. Escalators go down to an underground level, except they don’t go down, they just stay still, blocked off by boards, and the underground level is empty and abandoned.
Two men sit at the cash register.
I ask them, “Do you use the bottom floor for anything?”
“What’s that?”
“Do you use the bottom level for anything?”
“Oh no, that hadn’t been used for years.”
“Fell behind code,” the other adds.
“You’dve been 10 or 11 since it was used for anything. The owner won’t spend the money to bring it up to code. Used to be a fair, for kids.”
Banners for the fair still hang overhead.
The kids are gone and I’m the only one in the store besides the two at the cash register. We’re surrounded by racks of books on all sides. The light is poor and it’s hard to read the titles. I wander around until one of the men calls out that the store is closing, and I haven't found anything, and I walk out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where am I going?

You don’t know where The Scene is?

No, I’ve never been there.

Left on Saticoy.

I nod, then it’s silent. As the summer light dies down, gray, we turn into a small parking lot, where a shin-high brick wall is falling apart at the corners, the asphalt is old and cracked, and in the front there’s a group of people, they all stand next to an old van with a flat tire and they look worried. We get out.

You guys need help?

No, we’re okay.

You wouldn’t expect a bar here, it’s a dirty side street in Pacoima or maybe Sun Valley. Mr. Linux and I grew up here. If someone asked de donde eres or where you from I’d say nowhere. We walk through the heavy wooden door into The Scene.

It’s small and mostly empty. Two people at the bar, another one at a table. Mr. Linux gets a pitcher and we sit down at a small round table.

You don’t care what your school says?

You mean about contract?

Yeah. What’s it say, you just can’t drink?

You can’t drink, you can’t smoke. You can’t dance. You can’t – what else? There’s more. I can’t remember all of it.

What happens if they find out?

You get a talking-to. Maybe you get kicked out. I depends if you’re repentant or not. As long as you act repentant, you’ll be okay. My problem is I don’t know if I can act repentant, or if I’ll just say, to hell with all your bullshit rules, you brood of vipers.

Mr. Linux grins,

So you can’t have fun, in the name of Christ. You have to be boring for Christ.

I raise my glass.

To boring Christians.

I don’t know. I won’t drink to that.

We drink.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'll be okay if I can walk quietly enough

We paint our mess, and a man and his two young sons walk through, they're taking a shortcut through the closed road. They see us, and don’t say anything, and keep walking. They don’t even acknowledge us or seem to notice. I love them for that, they know. They know what it's like here.

When I see them, I’m sorry I’ve said that this place is mine. I’m sorry, it’s not mine. It’s not anyone’s. You can be here too. The other gangs and crews who have come through and marked it up, they can be here too. SOD, Newhall X3, they’re all welcome. We don’t have beef with anyone. We just want to paint, and destroy, and build. We want to love the dirt and the cracks and the walls, and the trash and the sky and the mountains and hills that surround us, and the weeds. It’s not just ours, it’s yours too, enjoy it with us.

They pass and we’re alone again. We keep going. We pull out more cans until we’re out of black, out of white, and out of colors, and every time we shake the last sputters out of a can we hurl it into the distance and let it sit among the weeds, and every time we finish a beer bottle we hurl it and let it shatter and let the glass settle into the dirt.

There’s paint on our hands and on our clothes. There’s paint everywhere. I can smell the paint. It smells like life, I won’t forget it. Every time I smell it from now on I’ll think of this fucking worthless action we’re doing right now.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I hear a train. I can feel it in my apartment. I can hear it through the window and feel it through the floor. Its horn blows and I hear the alarms clanging and the wheels squealing, and the heavy rumbling carries through the floor, and I'd feel it stronger if I was on it, that heavy rumble, that bone-shaking rumble that you feel through your skin so thoroughly that it goes into your soul. That train-hopper's massage, like that beautiful kind of wine-wince you get, it takes over. It makes everything alright.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

wall paint continued

“I don’t like that one,” he says about the painting on the city's concrete of a blue man with the caption written out,
I know, I say to him, I need to get better. I’m trying to get better. Why am I trying to get better? I don’t know. That’s it, chasing the wind.

bottle paint continued

“Finish your beer.” “What do you care if I finish my beer?” “Come on, douche, just do it. I want the bottle.” And I give it to him – he takes the bottle, fills it with paint, all colors, takes a few running steps and throws it at the wall, and what a satisfying smash, that smash is better than a gunshot, or a hand grenade, or a bomb.

sinaloa continued

There’s a roach-coach taco stand on foothill where Yasmin has been going since she was a little girl. Two women are inside, and they cook the meat and flatten the dough, and Jas talks to them like old friends. On the sidewalk there’s a few tables and some chairs, we sit down and eat and drink and I kick the beer into the bushes when the cops come for their tacos too. This is the kind of spot most people miss out on.

trees, continued

There’s a tree above me. It has thick branches and the sun is hitting it and I’m lying on my back looking up at it, the sky is bright blue behind it. Silence, only wind. Nothing touches me except the breeze. Everything that has ever happened in the world or to me is not here, it’s not anywhere. The only thing that is here is the breeze.

all is vanity
and chasing the wind,
come on, let's go and chase the wind.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

trees sinaloa bottle paint wall paint

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

a day

the moon, and a little later

the sun.

days keep coming and going, and in any given day there is happiness, sadness, confusion, elation, and hope, and in the night we stay awake as long as possible until we don't even know where we are, but we're not lost. The morning is the time for being lost. The night is the time for lying down.