Category Archives: personal

Baja adventures come to a close

Ah, to write is such glorious madness, and to live even more so, the night is warm and full of stars and soft winds and the crickets singing…

Saturday night was full of the sound of…firecrackers? I am still not sure, I know gunshots, I know firecrackers, there was no pop, no hiss as the firecracker takes flight, no crackle as sparks fly up and burn brightly before fading into their fall back down to earth as ashes. Whatever they were, they riddled the darkness with holes and woke me every time I was about to drift into dreaming. And cars peeled out, raced down the road, cruised slowly with a ghetto bumping that ranged from rap to banda’s trumpets and I did not sleep.

So Sunday dawned and we got up and went down to breakfast. I checked us out and lied about why we were leaving a day early and the woman peered at me suspiciously though I wasn’t angry and wasn’t going to battle for my money back. I ate the extra night’s charges happily and thought about Ensenada. A final view of ex-ejido Chapultepec, fondly referred to as Calcutta by Jose, the view from our balcony and the dream denied of access to a white beach to lie on and the lulling of waves…still, I am glad that we were there and enjoyed it greatly. It is a different sort of enjoyment then that to be found lying on a white beach, but enjoyment none the less. I love windows to other worlds.

We were up and out of there quite early, and two bus rides later arrived into Ensenada where we dropped our bags at the hotel, and then went for a wander along the port’s shore. It was picturesque, but often I prefer the interesting, we passed this:

Caution no bathrooms…I am glad they were clear and warned me about it, because I was thinking that might have been just the place…

I love boats, so we paid $2 to an old fisherman to go out in one, and he took us around the bay which hadn’t promised to be too exciting (to all those who don’t love boats that is). I would have been happy regardless as the adventure is the thing (and being in a boat), but we came suddenly upon the grand wreckage of an old pleasure cruiser half sunk into the bay, and it was an extraordinary thing to see

gutted and filled with salt and water, rotting away to the music of waves and the sea lion’s discordant barking, they lay sprawled across every surface. They are amazing creatures really, looking so ridiculous on land, long smooth rolls of fat awkward and ungainly, yet in the water they have such beauty. The old fisherman who took us around ignored us completely and set us back down onto the little pier, where the safety inspector was waiting clipboard in hand to ensure we were still wearing the life vests that had been thrust upon us when he suddenly appeared just before our departure.

A little further down we came upon the fish market, like the sea lions you can smell it for some time before you actually get there…and you can buy delicacies there beyond imagining

We wandered a bit more, I lunched on a cream puff and some coffee. When it was finally time to check in we rested for a bit, the cool comfort of a nice room can never be over-appreciated I have to say. And then we wandered the city some more. We had lobster for dinner, and just after we sat down a very self-important and probably minor figure in Ensenada’s narco-traficante world came in. He had a round red face beneath a panama hat, squat body and bandy legs, he was dressed in money and no taste rather like a Texan tourist. And his money had bought him a very young girlfriend with a beautiful face running slightly to fat and a tendency to look rather peevish. He kissed her regularly and with much enjoyment, and luckily for us monopolized one of the wandering groups of mariachis. He clearly did not care for music, only for his ability to buy it, so was rather annoyed whenever they asked him what they should play next as he was also involved in the tedious work of keeping several waiters rather busy. His girlfriend was annoyed at being loudly solicited for ideas, and so by default we heard of the exploits of other more famous narcos in one corrido after another, but since I myself do love music, especially the live mariachi variety, I wasn’t at all sorry. I was just sad he didn’t ask me.

At any rate, we left the seafood spot, and stopped into a couple of bars, watched with enjoyment the Ensenada cruising scene unfolding before our eyes, wrote a corrido ourselves on a napkin in honor of the one-eyed cholo from Friday (ay juedita tomame un photo, que yo no soy joto, pero si soy un cholo, de Doheeeeeee-ee-ny…forgot to say that our one-eyed cholo friend claimed the neighborhood of Wilshire and Doheny, ie Beverly Hills…it wasn’t until later when we had all calmed down from what seemed a probable scene of violence that any of us remembered such a ridiculous statement)

And so we ended up in the very nice and old wood-framed bar at the hotel…I was buying a round and talking to the bartender and I was all “hey, I was here for new years a year and a half ago…” and he was all “I remember you! You were sitting under that window at the table over there!” and I was all “yep (though with no little surprise!),” and then he was all “You were with your two friends playing dominos,” and I was all “yep,” And then he was all “I got you to dance!” and I was all ”er…yep?” I don’t remember that bit but it’s not hard to get me to dance at all, so it is probably true. This was all in Spanish of course, very loosely translated. But it gave me a certain sense of homecoming. So we introduced ourselves and Arturo and I are now friends. And then Bev and I smoked the Cohibas procured at Mario’s restaurant under the “beach hotel” only that morning, and I was happy.


And thus ended the third day.

Monday was involved almost entirely in travel, after a breakfast spent listening to the radio playing old pop songs by Enrique Iglesias and Alejandra Guzman and Shakira…it reminded me of living in Guadalajara and I was suddenly filled with a great love for Mexico. And all things. It was a brilliant weekend.

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Change

I was thinking today how the city changes…and I find it extraordinary how quickly you get used to changes in the physical landscape around you. I knew downtown L.A. full of parking lots and old buildings full of people. And now it has been built over, it is full of huge new shiny buildings and it is full of all new people. The empty buildings that once contained friends of mine mostly still stand, they are monuments to so many conflicting things: greed, pain, hope, love, struggle…and they stand as anachronisms, though once each was one building among many such. But for all that is now gone? Memory goes with them, I cannot remember what used to be underneath the lofts. I go through my photographs and try to reclaim my own memory of downtown before money claimed it as its own and rebuilt its landscape. I hate not only that they profited so easily and well, but also that I cannot remember what was there before. I hate that we could not manage to force them to build on the beauty and strength that was already there, while working to improve and grow and increase the number of people and services. Everyone has lost, though the ones who destroyed will never know how much, and the people they pushed out know it all to well.

I was thinking today about how I change…and I find it extraordinary how quickly you settle into the new outlines of your mind and forget what its thoughts were before. You hope to be always expanding, growing greater and wiser and stronger as you learn, I fear I might contract if I ever stopped growing…some people do, you see their minds steadily narrowing and fearful of change. And yet suddenly it worried me as loft construction does, how hard it is to remember what you thought before, how you felt before, what it was to be yourself before. It seems to me that to truly grow you must build upon all that you were, and recognize and remember the building. That way you have a hope of bringing people with you, and understanding people who are where you once were. I think too many of us destroy what we discard and do not recognize it as a piece of the foundation and a step to where we have come and a link with those behind. That is too linear a metaphor all together, but the best I can do at the moment…I shall have to create a new metaphor to stand upon the old one and remember how it came to be.

As for the dragon boat races…well! The Molinistas were destroyed and there was much jubilation. Here are the boats:

I am sure that we won as everyone followed the required ritual to grant us victory

This is wishing pain to your enemies (damn Gloria Molina, damn her, he is saying! You came to Belmont highschool and promised things and did jack shit about it! You lie Molina, I can’t believe you are still one of the most powerful women in L.A.! But not in the dragon boat you’re not!), and you impart this wish to your paddle so that it strikes angrily through the water…you then have to commune with your paddle like so

Do this and your paddle will know that you love it, and driven by this motivational combination of love and hate, it shall speed you through the water like a…platypus maybe. If you’re lucky an eel. But It shall make you fast, and you shall win.

The fried plaintains were delicious, as was the iced coffee…the breakfast (and lunch) of champions. There were Koreans line dancing to Alan Jackson singing about the Chatahoochee on the main stage, it was the zen approach to enlightenment, the equivalent of getting hit alongside the head or your nose tweaked. And the lotus festival hummed and flowed and danced around the lake and I enjoyed myself.

Hangover and hope

This morning I woke up cruda, cruda as I rarely am and so my head hurt and my stomach roiled and I had to get up far too early and I spent the day in rather a self-pitying lethargy with a hungry eye for any flat surface that looked remotely possible to nap on…last night was worth it of course, one of those nights where you get to talk on and on about writing and politics with someone who understands both and where you have enough in common to establish a sound basis of trust and liking and enough difference that you can really get into some interesting points and challenge yourself. I love those nights, they make life more brilliant. It was worth the pain of this morning.
And so today was a lost cause, but this evening? This evening I was glad to be human and alive and here in L.A…glad that I am not an organizer anymore, but a friend. Today I had a meeting with some of the folks I was once paid to work with, and of course I believe organizers should be paid, far more than they are paid really. But it is so good to be just a friend now, it is something beautiful to volunteer with people to take control of the institutions we created together before I left. Years of my life and theirs…tonight I watched these women step into their own potential, I watched them speak where they were once silent, I watched them fight for what they believe in and I know that this is how change happens. They will be strong enough to ensure true community control I think, and me and Leo will be there when they need help, and the inexpressible beauty of such a thing is beyond words really. Thus the cynic in me, who generally works fueled on pure rage, actually regained something beautiful and true and so happiness is mine. And I think all of my theories are right…I think I’m right and that’s always nice. Of course there are still a lot of holes, a lot of fodder for future nights of alcohol (though perhaps less of it) and passionate discussion and the writing of it and a lot of work to continue to put into practice what I think, ’tis doubtful I shall live long enough to sort it.

And so on the way home I endured the sour stink of alcohol and the unending stream of cars along the freeway and stared at the burnished piece of moon, it shone in the dark sky and lit up the clouds…the small specks of cloud that clustered around it. And I reimagined the world.

How to ensure you NEVER get my number

This is my good deed for the day, I figure putting an easy-to-read analysis of all this mutual frustration and misunderstanding out into the universe might, just possibly might, help some of the poor men out there. And ease my mind. All the below holds true no matter what part of the city I might be in. I admit that these tricks for causing immediate anger and annoyance might not be true for all women. Indeed, I have a very lowering feeling that some of this shit must actually have worked on some woman somewhere or it could not be as prevalent as it is, or is it simply that men’s hope and hopelessness springs eternal? But some of the lines…bloody hell, I can’t imagine them ever having any effect…who has turned around and replied waiting for you, when asked where she has been all his life? But I shall save silly lines for another blog, besides, they don’t bother me nearly as much, and often make me smile though they never work. At any rate, I know what I’d like to stop, and so please, cease and desist all of the below activities:

  • Continuing to ask me for my number after I’ve politely declined to give it to you.
  • Calling me a liar if I tell you I am married when you keep harassing me for said number. Suggesting I call you. Suggesting that your sister call me for you, so my husband will never know. If I lie about being married it’s to spare you the pain of rejection, but never fear, push me and I will tell you exactly what I think of you.
  • Telling me, once I have refused to give you my number, that you are married and your wife is almost due. That’s enough to depress me for days.
  • Bringing up the word or concept of polyamory. It may work for some but certainly not for me.
  • Staring at me makes me both nervous and angry. Don’t do it please.
  • Honking your horn is never effective. Nor is whistling, yelling hey lady, clicking your tongue, ch-ch’ing, or calling me baby. Perhaps it works on some, but other languages do nothing for me. Yes, I am bilingual and yes Spanish is better for those who are in love, but cuando me dices jueda, chulada de mujer o guapa y sigues con exactamente lo que me quieres hacer, te arriesges una chanclatada. In fact, I would really prefer you kept all of your amorous ideas entirely to yourself. And looking me up and down and saying you need you a taste of that white chocolate will not work at all either. Comparing me to food is far too common and has never been an effective way to win my heart, and offering me any amount of drugs has never worked either.
  • Continuing to talk to me if I do not take my headphones off after you try to start up conversation…it is because I really do not want to talk to you.
  • Continuing to talk to me if I keep reading my book after you try to start up conversation…again, it is because I really do not want to talk to you
  • Following me slowly down the street trying to open your door, or yelling out your window to talk me into getting into your car for a ride.
  • NEVER wave money at me, it really makes me angry. To the last one of you that almost went for it: Audrey Hepburn never slept with men for money and nor do I, though that’s where our resemblance ends. So don’t lie either.

And finally, and most importantly! If I pass you on my bike while you are on yours, and I continue to speed up while you try to talk to me, again, it is because I don’t want to talk to you while enjoying the freedom and motion and joy of the bike ride to work. If I run a virtually red light, it is because I’d rather take a risk of being hit by a car than be bothered with you. To catch up to me and continue to ask me stupid questions will seriously get you nowhere, and simply ruin the rest of my day.

Cheers.

Love and Hate

Los Angeles hurts.

It has always hurt, and all the things I love here do not seem to be quite enough to protect me from its teeth. Not now, when I am hurting so much already. Happiness carves its price into your flesh only as it goes. Los Angeles makes elections small, we had a historic day yesterday in the world of symbols, but symbols will change nothing. And I suppose if elected, Obama will carve his own price into the hopes of the nation. We saved rent control for another year, but in winning only defensive battles we are still pushed back. What are we doing? There were kids today on the train selling candy, perhaps they were 5 and 8? if that? I have seen them on the train before, and they are not the only ones. There are a few more kids, and a middle aged black man who has taped signs to his glasses saying 50 cents. He makes people laugh, and he makes people buy candy. We are being pushed deeper and deeper into a third-world economy, as the community crumbles around us.

I am writing. The words drip and smudge across the page, sometimes I think that if I were to dip a pen into my own veins it might be enough, the very ink itself my exorcism, because words alone fail. They cannot speak of pain enough, they cannot burn, they cannot taste of salt and hurt my eyes the way this does. The emptiness that night brings shudders along. I write and the words mock me, the powerlessness of them. I rage and it changes nothing. I imagine happy endings and know that in life they do not come true. I write but people remain broken, friends remain dead, battles remain lost, love remains bitter, the poor remain fucked. I smile at my own sweet exercise in futility.

If I could write the stars the way they should be seen, and can never be seen in Los Angeles, perhaps then…

i got the fallin’ downs

A rare joy in life is chancing a fiver on a CD and finding a true gem, I’m sitting here tonight listening to a compilation of bottleneck blues and the smile of pure gut wrenching happiness has not left my face…it’s amazing. Blind Willie Johnson…pure magic in his voice and his hands, Robert Johnson, Son House and Lightnin’ Hopkins of course, he’s fucking brilliant though I knew that before buying this, I’ve been listening to ‘goin’ away’ over and over the past few days, makes you close your eyes and sway back and forth and it does something to your insides like few songs can. Been in a Lightnin’ Hopkins – Steve Earle – Van Zandt sort of mood lately, sort of that bittersweet sadly happy kind of mood like the weather racing across the sky in sunshine and rain. Still, the sweetness is in the pain and the smiles in the song on this called ‘Hitch me to your buggy and drive me like a mule” can’t get better than that, until you get to ‘Busy Bootin’ with the line “Take it easy greasies, cause I’m busy bootin'” and “don’t you remember when my door was locked, I had yo mama on the choppin’ block” with a chorus of “I’m busy bootin’ and you can’t come in” How have I never heard the phrase busy bootin’ before? I know it’ll be a hit when I next slip the phrase I was busy bootin’ into casual conversation. Great song Fallin’ Down Blues, “I got the blues so bad, it hurts my feet to walk…Mama, I feel like jumping through the keyhole in your door…She caught the rumblins, I caught the fallin’ downs…” Dunno what the rumblins are but I catch the fallin’ downs from time to time, never knew what they were called before. The only hitch is that it’s a compilation made in the Czech republic where they don’t seem to believe in liner notes, sound’s not the greatest either but that could easily be the fault of the original recording so I shall give the Czech republic the benefit of the doubt, anyways, there’s a version of Statesboro Blues from 1927 with Blind Willie McTell playing and an unknown woman singing who is brilliant and I’ve never heard before, I shall have to see what google can do but this might be a bit beyond its powers.

This all reminded me of the liner notes from T-Model Ford’s album Pee-wee Get My Gun, a title in itself as brilliant as Burnside’s Ass Pocket of Whisky, but the liner notes are the best I’ve ever seen, they go “Years before, when I was a kid, I owned a little Ford runabout, a Model T. And I took care of that car as a man takes care of his love – for I did love it. I was and remain a Model T guy, more comfortable with imperfection than its opposite, cherishing the ability to discern and shore up a latent weakness, I knew the car wasn’t a Cadillac. Hell, what would a guy like me do with a Cad? It was a Model T, and I treated it good and it treated me good. When I sold it after two years of trouble-free driving, it was actually in better shape than the day I bought it.
Two months later it was in the junk heap.
Less than two months after I split up with Ellen, she was whoring.”

So I know I know my sense of humour is darkly twisted and politically regrettable, but I find this brilliant, besides being myself much more comfortable with imperfection than its opposite. Given the humour, I do thank the sweet lord I didn’t get that job with the feminists that I applied for, but after an interview where I discussed the evils of pornography with false enthusiasm and yet made the fatal misstep of saying the words fluffy porn upon which the room turned ice cold and my breath came out of my mouth in clouds I knew I wasn’t taking it even if it were offered which it clearly wasn’t going to be. All activists should be required to have a sense of humour anyways, the ones that don’t destroy the movement and make the rest of us look bad.

Right, I’m off to listen to my other find which is John Peel and Sheila – the Pig’s Big 78’s, random recordings off of random 78’s which is just my style and quite ridiculous but also contains another Lightnin’ Hopkins track I’ve never heard, and Sonny Terry…and then I’ll be busy bootin’ or, well, just thinking about it, I’ve got the wee single bed blues myself.

writing

Haven’t written this in ages, because I’ve been writing loads of…of…serious writing I suppose. And living brilliantly. But I had the perfect day yesterday, it was sparkling and glorious and included Hatch chiles on my breakfast eggs and incredible music and Iain Banks in the flesh and Macbeth performed on a jumping castle and activist writing and great company and drink and new friends and a drunk Welshman named Gary Cooper (!) and it went on and on, even continuing into this morning when I left folks sleeping as I headed out into the warm Edinburgh sunshine for my Glasgow bus, but a few hours sleep’s not quite enough and the day grew dark like the fog in my mind. Still I’m happy.

I was thinking thinking thinking about music and writing and wondered if poetry could always become song or song always be poetry, but that thought wasn’t deep enough for my mood and I sang to myself “I’ve legs to walk and thoughts to fly, eyes to laugh and lips to cry, a restless tongue to classify, oh I’m born to grow and grown to die,” which I love because the music and the words together turn my heart inside out and I think perhaps words demand their form as you write them and words meant to be sung must be different than words meant to be spoken aloud must be different then words written to be simply read by someone who can understand them. They all live in the spaces between people; to write for no one is to write words that lie dead. To breathe them life you must strip yourself bare, give everything, spare yourself nothing, seems to me music is the same, the hardest fucking thing you ever do and lucky there’s something driving you to it. And you truly love those few who have somehow found this immense generosity, you know them right away…yet still it is only between the one who gives and the other who truly hears that the greatness happens, I think that’s the beauty of the thing Es algo imprescindible. It’s a fierce rare joy to write something and get it exactly right, you ring golden like a bell, and you share its resonance then it becomes magic…songs, words, music, they are gifts, I saw it yesterday, think that’s partly why I am so happy. So tonight I’m wandering among some of my favourite words and tunes…and I have to say that without paper I would write my words into the sand even if I were the only person on earth, but it’s an amazing thing to give what you create, and to share what others have given.

At my window,
watching the sun go,
hoping the stars know
it’s time to shine,
the day dreams
aloft on dark wings,
soft as the sun streams
at day’s decline,
living is laughing,
and dying says nothing at all,
my babe and I lying here,
watching the evening fall
Townes Van Zandt

Lady in the frilled blouse
And plain tartan skirt
Since you have left the house
It’s emptiness has hurt
All thought
In your presence
Time rode easy
Anchored on a smile
But your absence
Rocked love’s balance
Unmoored the days
They buck and bound
Across the calendar
Loosed from the quiet sound
Of your flower tender voice
Seamus Heaney

Así te amo porque no se amar de otra manera..
Sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres
Tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía
Tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueno
Neruda

(I love you thus because I do not know another way to love
Only this way where I am not I and you are not you
So close that your..nhand on my chest is mine
So close your eyes close with my tiredness

the moon is hiding in
her hair
The
lilly
of heaven
full of all dreams
draws down.

cover her briefness in singing
close her with intricate faint birds
by daisies and twilights
Deepen her.

Recite
upon her
flesh
the rain’s

pearls singly-whispering

Possibly the most beautiful poem in the world, ee cummings

Begin
With singing
Sing
Darkness kindled back into beginning
When the caught tongue nodded blind,
A star was broken
Into the centuries of the child
Myselves grieve now, and miracles cannot atone Dylan Thomas

Las palabras fueran avispas…………………The words were wasps
Y las calles como dunas…………………….And the streets like dunes
Cuando aun te espero llegar…………………While i still wait for you.
En un ataúd guardo tu tacto………………In a winding sheet i keep your touch
Y una corona ……………………………….And a crown
con tu pelo enmaranado……………………..tangled in your hair
Queriendo encontrar…………………………wanting to find
un arco iris infinito………………………….An infinite rainbow
Mis manos que aun son de hueso……………my hands that are still of bone
Y tu vientre sabe a pan..…………………….and your stomach tastes of bread
La catedral que es tu cuerpo…………………the cathedral that is your body

No se distinguir………………………………I don’t know how to distinguish
entre besos y raíces………………………….Between kisses and beginnings
No se distinguir………………………………I don’t know how to distinguish
lo complicado de lo simple………………….The complicated from the simple
Y ahora estas en mi lista……………………..And now you are on my list
De promesas a olvidar……………………….Of promises to forget
Todo arde si aplicas………………………….Everything burns if you apply
la chispa adecuada……………………………the adequate spark
Los Heroes del Silencio

Forgive what I give you. Though nightmare and cinders,
The one can be trodden, the other ridden,
We must use what transport we can. Both crunching
Path and bucking dream can take me
Where I shall leave the path and dismount
From the mad-eyed beast and keep my appointment
In green improbable fields with you.
Louis MacNeice

Green improbable fields, damn I wish I wish I’d written that…and to end, all the things I try to believe in, Silvio Rodriguez, though cantera is hard to translate…talent isn’t quite it, ability perhaps…and masa’s hard too…dough might be better than flesh, corn flour mixed with water, but it could never mean the same in English

Si no creyera en lo mas duro…………..If I did not believe in what was hardest
Si no creyera en el deseo……………………If I did not believe in desire
Si no creyera en lo que creo………………If I did not believe in what I believe
Si no creyera en algo puro…………….If I did not believe in something pure
Si no creyera en cada herida……………If I did not believe in every wound
Si no creyera en la que ronde………….If I did not believe in what surrounds
Si no creyera en lo que esconde……….If I did not believe in what is hidden
Hacerse hermano de la vida…………………In becoming a brother to life
Si no creyera en quien me escucha…….If I did not believe in who listens to me
Si no creyera en lo que duele………………..If I did not believe in what hurts
Si no creyera en lo que quede……………If I did not believe in what remains
Si no creyera en lo que lucha………………..If I did not believe in my struggle
Ay que cosa fuera……………… …………..Ay what would I be,
que cosa fuera la masa sin cantera………What would the flesh be without talent
un amasijo hecho de cuerdas y tendones…A mass made of cords and tendons
un revoltijo de carne con madera…………….A mix up of meat and wood
un instrumento sin mejores resplandores……An instrument without greater splendour
que lucesitas montadas para escena………Than little lights staged for a scene
que cosa fuera, corazon, que cosa fuera…..What would I be, heart, what would I be
que cosa fuera la masa sin cantera……What would the flesh be without talent
un testaferro del traidor de los aplausos…A figurehead of the traitor to applause
un servidor de pasado en copa nueva………..A server of the past in a new cup
un eternizador de dioses del ocaso……….…An eternalizer of the western gods
jubilo hervido con trapo y lentejuela…Experience boiled with rags and spangles
que cosa fuera, corazon, que cosa fuera…..What would I be, heart, what would I be
que cosa fuera la masa sin cantera……..What would the flesh be without talent

Fucking hell this is long, inspiring at least to myself but long, I cannot be concise when this tired, and i can never tell whether what emerges from the fog is truth or rubbish…and there are so many lyrics poems words I love, better than sleep to read them but no, I’m off to my bed…

moving desks

Today was my last day up at the front of SAJE, because Gerry’s back tomorrow! He’s the office manager and gets his seat back after more than a month away and I get mine, and I’m happy. Happy to see him, and happy to return to him his view and one or two of his responsabilities. I was staring out our front door, been doing that a lot lately, and thought perhaps I’d let you all know what can be seen from Gerry’s desk, a slice of south central life as it were. We do work in a fucked up place, however, so a note of caution, most of South C is very nice contrary to popular opinion and I don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes. So here we go, grab hold of your seats and feel free to avert your eyes if it gets too scary…

1. Methadone addicts, very thin black folks with canes or in wheelchairs, one scrawny white guy who looked like he was in a metal band in the 80’s, a couple of old veteranos who drove up in montecarlos and cadillacs…we have a lovely for-profit methadone clinic across 32nd st and on the corner, it is the legal drug dealer of the neighborhood and since methadone is really only good when taken with other things, it attracts the other kind. One business concern is run by rich white men from San Diego who are respected and looked up to, and the other by poor folks of colour who are thrown into prison. I hate all of them, but the difference in treatment hardly seems fair.

2. So number two is drug dealers, since we moved in and started complaining they started operating much earlier so as to be gone before we opened, but lately have started becoming bolder and hanging around til after ten. I try not to stare out the door in the mornings, as i earnestly believe in the healthiness of witnessing as few drug deals as possible in life. That goes for people shooting up as well, that makes me sick to my stomach and my soul hurt.

3. Uncool turf related graffitti that hasn’t been painted over by the sweatshop opposite…a big MS for Mara Salvatrucha went up over a week ago, they’re the big Salvadoran gang. Two nights ago their tag got lined out, can’t tell by who. There has been mad tagging lately up and down the streets, tagged and crossed out and tagged again which means turf war heating up. I don’t like to think about that, and feel a bit unprotected on my bike…

4. Nice families with small children who live in the apartments next door to us.

5. The owner of the sweatshop opposite, Mr. Slut Magnet…that’s the name of his clothing line I think and he drives a big black hummer with magnets of naked lady sillhouettes that actually say slut magnet – I could almost give him a thumbs up for pure fucking cheek. I wonder if they work? Or if the hummer works? Makes me personally want to grab my baseball bat and do some damage, but then I’m not the type of girl he’s bent on attracting. He wears all black, grabs his crotch a lot, I think perhaps he’s Armenian? East European? He hangs out in front and directs the people actually doing work. I rather fancy driving one of his forklifts, though, those look like fun.

6. That hummer.

7. Large trucks and semis, lots of them, heavily rumbling back and forth all day long delivering things, taking things away…the steady beep beep beep of their warning bells as they back up is the constant backdrop to my day.

I think that’s about it, except for the cool folks coming to visit us of course, always a pleasure to see them. When I was little watching the sun set behind the desert mountains and one with the world I decided I would live life as deeply as possible and that somehow required facing all that was evil and taking it on…i don’t suppose in my innocence I quite realized what that meant and how hard it would be to keep my sense of balance and what is right and beautiful. So for balance here is the list of some things I would rather see…off the top of my head mind you, i should maybe work on a better list.

1. green things like trees and grass and maybe even flowers
2. penguins
3. A nice comfy bar where everyone knows my name, and they’re always glad I came, and they’re all a bit revolutionary
4. a mountain made for climbing
5. The Acropolis
6. Mariachis
7. Something mythical and extraordinary, like a dragon
8. Chanoch’s glacier. Chanoch is a large jewish mystic who keeps our books and refuses a fan on the hottest summer days because of the glacier he says he knows is right outside the door…
9. Fireflies.
10. a busy city street with a wide range of people wandering by in droves, of all races religions and individual styles, and not a damn one of them hungry, homeless, drunk, high, armed, or hurrying back to their 12 hour a day, 12 cents a sleeve sweatshop job.

The Doors 40th

It was Wednesday, imagine, the Doors at the Whisky A Go Go again! I had my special VIP pass…here’s what the spot looks like, Sunset and San Vicente at the heart of the strip:

Tafarai and I waltzed past the people in the line, right up to the very large bouncer who looked up our names on the list, gave us wrstbands and opened up the red velvet rope…it was magic. We strolled in fashionably late, and grabbed some of the free booze being passed around by the waitresses. And there was Ray Manzarek keyboard genious, Robby Krieger on Guitar, John Densmore on the drums…John called us over, we’ve met a couple of times before and he came to our big action at the Morrison Hotel when we were forcing our way into the building. That day gave me a high I shall never forget! We met the band, they thanked us for the amazing job we were doing making Los Angeles a better place and preserving the rights of working folks to live in the center city, and they they went on stage and played and the place just irrupted…

No, wait, that was just what i wanted to happen! Except for having met John Densmore before…like Dougal from father Ted I sometimes have a hard time separating dreams from reality I’m afraid. We arrived late, really really late which generally isn’t a problem where you’re out on the strip but we missed the program. Partly due to lateness, but mostly because we were in the damn vip line for an hour and a half…in the words of the guy behind me, “a fucking vip line just ain’t what it used to be!” I lost a bit more of my innocence that day I’m afraid. It was good for people watching though I never recognize anyone having never had mtv in the 80’s. Here’s some faded rockstars, they were on the corner while I was taking the above picture so I got a surreptitious shot in, the guy on the left was going on and on about his friend the drummer from the Runaways, but I particularly liked the guy in the skinny pants, black and white tiger stripe top and rockstar mullet, they were about to head off to the Rainbow Room…all my stereotypes come to life:

The line was made up of industry folks all going on about famous people they had worked with, skinny girls in short skirts and too much makeup were cruising up and down trying to make friends, people who thought they were more important than the rest of us were trying to talk their way past the bouncer and making phone calls, two guys got arrested by the cops and were dragged off, Tafarai was checking the scores from the Clipper game and the progress of his fantasy teams, the real vip’s were getting let right in, a few more rockstars from back in the day wandered by in leather and/or spandex. Gilby Clarke, guitarist from Guns N Roses rolled up in his black mercedes…wouldn’t have recognized him but for the talkative guy in front of us who knew who people were, but sadly his wife was a real vip and he got in far before us. While at the very front I saw the white light guy married to Piper in Charmed, he couldn’t get his friends in which made me feel better, Robbie Krieger’s wife took about 5 minutes to get past the barrier even…but finally, we were in!

It’s a small place, must have been amazing back in the day! The vip’s were on the top level, clusters of very stylish folks talking importantly…that wasn’t so fun so we headed downstairs to be with the proletariat, here’s a view from the stairs:

You can see there’s no one playing :-(, but some classic doors was blasting over the sound system, and everyone downstairs was singing along and dancing…it was a very cool mix of people, Mexican families and punk kids and old hippies, Roadhouse blues came on and the place just went nuts. Here’s one of my favourite characters:

I could not tell you the whys and wherefores of the wizard costume, but it was very cool all the same. So it was Tafarai and I; he was my ride and sadly had to leave early to get the car back to his girlfriend. Why didn’t I drive damn it! I’ll tell you, it’s a small matter of a warrant I belive I have, a question of a small unpaid ticket but that’s a long story…anyways, since the Doors now all hate each other they were playing in different venues, so we decided to go down to Book Soup to catch Densmore but that was over, and the Cat Club where Ray was playing had another fucking long ass line in the face of which our vip wristbands were worthless so…we headed on home. So disappointing, I was so disappointed, but I suppose you can’t recpture the magic that was once the Doors…Jim Morrison dead and 40 years and a long acrimonious lawsuit later…seeing domingosiete the next night and being able to dance the night away was miles better, and I think perhaps I shall just forget about seeing my favourite bands from back in the day and let them live larger than life in my imagination…much the best place for them really as the current reality is a bit sad.

ramblings

Friday lunchtime…almost no one is here in the office, we had a huge fantastic event last night, domingosiete played, over 150 people here, and I danced as if there were no tomorrow, so now that tomorrow has come like a load of bricks to the back of my head, I’m feeling a bit the worse for wear. Could’ve been that last bottle of champagne that did it…glad that no one is here actually, cause I don’t feel like talking. I took a little walk in the warm sunshine, eyes half closed against a much too sunny sun, down to the mercado for a bean and cheese burrito. I’ve decided to be a vegetarian until Christmas, and I’m five days into it, and you know what? I’m a lot hungrier a lot more of the time. Why did I decide to do this? I’m unsure of the exact reason, maybe just to see if I could! Maybe because I think eating meat is wrong? No…don’t think that’s it, clearing subsistence fields of diversified crops to plant massive regions of soya beans and lentils for export to the international market is just as wrong as massive pasturage for beef, and I think our teeth prove we were meant to eat meat, as do my cravings…still buddhists might have a point. In short, I just decided to do it, perhaps I just feel the need for even more change than is already coming my way. But as I say, I’m a lot hungrier a lot more of the time. I am going to take a turkey break over thanksgiving, as I don’t think I shall require my folks to change their eating habits for my accomodation, but in the meantime I am going to have to buy lots of healthy snacks I think.

I wandered past Theosophy Hall on my back to the office, Cool old building and there are still theosophists running around LA it seems…their motto is “The truth shall set you free” which I like, but apparently there is no commonly accepted definition of their beliefs, or better put the are many different strands of thinking that could be called theosophy. I have always wanted to go in and see exactly what they’re all about, because I just know about Madame Blavatsky and her familiars and also that Yeats was a theosophist. Obviously, however, today was not the day. It’s on my list though, of things to do before I leave LA…a list which is getting ever longer.

I’m supposed to go out for a quietish night on the (china)town, but I’m not sure if I’m up for it…have been out on the tear tues, wed, and thurs of this week, have another big thing saturday night and am off to joshua tree for 2 days of camping on sunday morning so…maybe the exciting Doors event shall be posted this evening. We shall see…