LA trilogy in two parts


i paid the extra hundred            for a last-minute  night flight     virgin air ticket               for a  late-arriving flight           to LAX                  its     a short rental car drive to playa longa      and into the arms of old true friends         they were happy to hear  of my out-of-character request    for a spur-of-the-moment      visit             finally       they said    yes,!  finally!

i might still make it on time       to register for the conference   we spoke of         too late   for a room at the hotel      a day early for L&N’s last gig     on time for a  meeting for coffee near japantown with new-acquaintance writing women in the heart of this  now-strange city    and one      earmarked   freed-up day will take me     traveling solo         pilgrimage-like      back to an old life at the ocean       

will  LA skies still be grey?          will ocean front walk concrete       still reek   of piss           spilled wine       coppertone sweat    and new danger?        what will i recognize?             will the 25th avenue beach tri-plexstill  be standing?    are any of the different houses once holding artist and musician brothers and sisters          recognizable?            will fear having me looking over my shoulder at every turn    over every speedway bump         i  was fearless when i left this town       now i know better

this journey has me wondering: are today’s ducks even allowed to deposit duck-shit     on now-arty overpriced, terribly quaint  canal winding paths?    are duckling babies even allowed to float on howland  or linnie canal anymore,  where once they nested in ruins of old rowboats tied to crumbling docks?   will  tiny cottages   third floor boardwalk apartments      side and one-way streets       trash-filled alley ways and sidewalk avenues    look or feel like anything i once knew       christ,  in those days, i moved every six months for awhile there    can i find my way to each one?   so much to remember     old          favorite restaurants  now surely defunct      two libraries/ refuge    two old art studios /1971 quake blowing out or in studio window glass       we were never sure     two blocks apart         countless storefronts       a house on a street called hill         in ocean park       full of someone’s childhood            and someone else’s tragedies         after 18 years  the oddness will be to see        what’s gone  and what might still be standing        there are ghosts to visit     a city to view through new/old eyes     business to discuss  and story to talk with old poets    one a wise old poetess letter-writing, old-style friend      the other     my memory-keeper pal    & new partner        in the crime  and the business of letters and storytelling     there’s no revenge or blood to extract  in this town           no one left to   waste time with        the only wait will be for respecting and remembering attendance for yom kippur at moe & esther’s old synagogue     maybe we’ll even find time        together for a lox/ bagel /cream cheese  brunch near  the beachfront land barons   is zucky’s still around?       this may, too,    complete the cycle of ending blood’s ties  and resuming relationship        with chosen family   whirlwind-style


three days is a short amount of time       to journey with such an agenda  in mind   i should bring a small bag       an old, half-empty journal from last days in venice         half-filled with memories and writings           from half-filled remaining days as                       a local        in that town         

tomorrow    it will be good        to get out of dodge           away from the yelps and cries of the puer aeternus    back in myself     to what’s left      and what’s important    while it still is


too much coffee             maybe  too  much wine         at the wedding                           has me jittering out    of my skin and this plastic chair while i’m waiting         its been years since i’ve hung out         at sfo               on a saturday night             back long ago       now defunct PSA Airlines           had  weekend midnite flights  from  LAX to SFO  for ten bucks a pop       the waiting room  like this one        was filled           with hippies   mostly running in and out of the terminal          to smoke      pre-flight       and the flight itself was one big    stoned out whoopin gigglefest     that was in the decades before 9/11 turned travel from      fun         to paranoid nightmare             got a slight case of the nerves tonight      a little shaky from little sleep        this week                    wonder what it would be like to have a private jet        security slammed the laptop’s bucket down so hard           that even i was seeing stars


the crazies come in threes    here    i keep checking my reflection  behind this town’s funhouse mirrors      to see what beckoning must be tatooed on my forehead that’s inviting and drawing them in      like magnets to the metal   moths to the flame   they must sense similar precarious edges     barely below surface    closer         moving in   they approach seeking kindred spirit   a  bond in the near-madness   a dollar for the next hit     they’re all needing a piece of something    find me!  touch me!  beg from me!  sing to me!  the forehead must be flashing in neon today     they can sense fresh meat from somewhere else   bill says i smile too much     make too much eye contact  with them         i tell him, “someone has to”…

small blondes barely peekin’ their tiny perfect    blonde perfect      heads over the steering wheels of their giant range rovers or escalades or hummers or merecedes SUVs        the bitches would rather cancel their next botox appointments   or run you down     in lieu of stopping for humans in these crosswalks         this is no walking town anymore       just crazy sunday in this city      of fallen angels     

bill explains that there’s a transit system now           in this town   says if i blow off tomorrow’s workday      we’ll park the rental      and   he’ll guide me through it  from    downtown back  to the beach for later  in the day    he says he’ll hold my hand     show me how much better LA looks from the window of a train whizzing you  by it all  in a near-blur     he says he can kill time getting drunk on both main streets    waiting for me   while i take care of things   needing great care  

 my hands may hold a little food     another shinto never sent          a mahler   favorite pens   and the  cursed notebook       if our nerves hold up  in that first moment beyond initial  contact    we’ll chuckle about it  all     laugh the stories and cruel lines away     it might even all seem funny by then    amid the chaos of the real human tragedies        maybe we’ll decide what to do   next   with this fat pile of    letters    maybe we’ll decide          nothing   

its harder here than i imagined    everywhere is enemy territory              every step   a land mine of   unfamiliar memories    they say if you dreamwalk  time through a life in  someone else’s town     it will eventually seem less and less like your own


blondie’s ridin on the metro-o-o     is stuck in my head        we only could remember the chorus     but managed to sing it/scream it   as we laughed and ran      into the almost-empty echoing car       when these doors spit me out  i’ll be standing in a near downtown somewhere i haven’t stood in over fifty years   fifty years!     turns out the westside line           is non-existent    its still in debate       but mondays in venice        aren’t sundays in venice      so   after this coffee date       with talented      beautiful angry young asian girl writers/poets      let’s drive back toward venice later          instead       

 i like those bars better, says bill      all that main street sawdust makes me sneeze        but all that  human wasteland    in the downtown morning bars in that neck of the woods   make my pen run dry     leaving  wet circles on blank page next to the sweating beer glass      i’ll be crying at midnite   over  the downtown  bars       over the empty-eyed and strung out    this is why i live near the coast       it could be me walkin those circles  when it all comes back to me    at midnite   yes, it tends to make me cry   

its ok        i’ll drive us home to playa longa    when i’m done       i won’t be long


we jokingly argued about curbside dropoff vs. parking lots and airport goodbyes ….  thank god i lost….  we hugged and held on at the security gate…..knowing that with we crazies, one never knows if there will be  a next time…. bill  asked me over pre-flight keoke coffee  if i was happy with the outcome   of this journey….was there an outcome?       hard to tell….   life throws these curveballs…. sometimes your glove is up   and sometimes you simply get hit in the head …but that  hit can wake you up sometimes   bloody and bruised,  dizzied from the new knot and swelling …but the concussion makes you see things so differently….we are lucky , you know, that after all the damage we’ve inflicted  over the years     that we’re not  quite as far gone …  still, i’m saddened by the aging of my old pal…. by the  loss of spirit…. and the absence of words that we’ll never see or feel again in our lifetime ….but sometimes its just enough to make  an old man happy with a visit… a few humble gifts…..words in the holy days of atonement …      sometimes a visit is enough to make you realize the folly of a dream …you were right, bill said,  you never wanted to make a buck off his blood  but you got waylaid into someone else’s world for a minute…losing sight of yourself…trust what you know, who you are      trust



About lindalou5150

as exercise or exorcism, i write...for the eyes of others, for my eyes and heart only, for the love and the rage, i release the gamut of tell the truth and say what's often thought but not written...
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