The Los Angeles Review

The Los Angeles Review The Sun Also Rises in the West. www.losangelesreview.org

We publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translations, interviews, and book reviews that mirror Los Angeles itself: sprawling, unexpected, and unpredictable. Publishing both established and emerging writers of the highest quality, we strive to give voice to the under-represented and to the silenced among us; we invite discourse and equality.

"Carefully, she brings a knife to its skin: yellow, paper-thin spirals cascade over the cutting board. In the late-after...
02/14/2020
Cheap Mother by Jeremy Tsai - The Los Angeles Review

"Carefully, she brings a knife to its skin: yellow, paper-thin spirals cascade over the cutting board. In the late-afternoon sun, the dark room feels so large and bright..."

New flash fiction by Jeremy Tsai—first runner-up in the LAR #literaryawards!

http://losangelesreview.org/cheap-mother-jeremy-tsai/

First runner-up in the 2019 Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the category of Flash Fiction. Final Judge: Brittany Ackerman.

"In the simple but never naïve voice, she seems to be asking individuals, decision-makers as well as ordinary citizens o...
02/13/2020
Review: The Tiny Journalist by Naomi Shihab Nye - The Los Angeles Review

"In the simple but never naïve voice, she seems to be asking individuals, decision-makers as well as ordinary citizens of the world, to consider another point of view, the human faces on the other side of our walls."

New: Nancy Posey reviews "The Tiny Journalist" (BOA Editions) by Naomi Shihab Nye on LAR Online!

Nancy Posey reviews a new collection of poems, The Tiny Journalist (BOA Editions), by Naomi Shihab Nye.

"...he gave me the closest thing / I ever got to an art education: 'That’s not / really how leaves look,' he said, 'but ...
02/11/2020
A Short History of Artists in My Family by Craig Blais - The Los Angeles Review

"...he gave me the closest thing / I ever got to an art education: 'That’s not / really how leaves look,' he said, 'but it’s still nice.' "

A new poem by Craig Blais on LAR Online!

by Craig Blais We’ve only had one really. My mom’s cousin Ronnie / who I almost never saw growing up. I was told / he went away to college in Boston...

“Of course I remember. Girl, I used to think I was polluted. I would scrub my face with mum’s special whitening soap bec...
02/07/2020
Ayna by Seema Yasmin - The Los Angeles Review

“Of course I remember. Girl, I used to think I was polluted. I would scrub my face with mum’s special whitening soap because of those stories.”

New Fiction by Seema Yasmin on LAR Online!

by Seema Yasmin If she could not find plastic bags to tie around her wrists and wrap over her palms, she would have to sleep with her hands dangling...

"The gun / in your hands, some power, prowess, a stiff, dark recognition / that we become the objects we own"New: a poem...
02/04/2020
From the Deer Stand by Alison Palmer - The Los Angeles Review

"The gun / in your hands, some power, prowess, a stiff, dark recognition / that we become the objects we own"

New: a poem by Alison Palmer on LAR Online!

It’s questionable. The gun ppppppppin your hands, some power, prowess, a stiff, dark recognition that we become the objects we own— pppppppppppppppppppppAnd the deer is muscle, is tendon-tight, and we will never own the speeches pppppppppppppppppppppppppppthey blink with their eyes, the fragilit...

"thin slice of ginger-root, apricot / seed, a stomach’s perfect / swell." New: a poem by torrin a. greathouse on LAR Onl...
01/31/2020
Before the Not-Child’s Not-Howl by torrin a. greathouse - The Los Angeles Review

"thin slice of ginger-root, apricot / seed, a stomach’s perfect / swell."

New: a poem by torrin a. greathouse on LAR Online! First runner up in the LAR #literaryawards in the category of #poetry!

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torrin a. greathouse #litmag #litjournal

A poem by torrin a. greathouse, first runner-up in the 2019 Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the category of poetry. Final Judge: Matty Layne Glasgow

"Not content to watch passively, she knows the migratory patterns, nesting instincts, and food preferences of the life f...
01/29/2020
Review: Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl - The Los Angeles Review

"Not content to watch passively, she knows the migratory patterns, nesting instincts, and food preferences of the life forms around her."

New: Nancy Posey reviews a new essay collection by Margaret Renkl on LAR Online!

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#essaycollection #litmag #litjournal Milkweed Editions

Nancy Posey reviews a new collection of essays, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, by New York Times columnist Margaret Renkl.

"I rejoiced, oddly, / as if towering wheatgrass / had somehow parted, a doorway from / the suffering temple."New: a poem...
01/27/2020
Lyme by Daniel Lassell - The Los Angeles Review

"I rejoiced, oddly, / as if towering wheatgrass / had somehow parted, a doorway from / the suffering temple."

New: a poem by Daniel Lassell on LAR Online!

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#poetry #litmag #litjournal

By Daniel Lassell. Every ending begins with a field. \\ Mom stems her fingers with cigarettes, says the smoke clears a pathway for her lungs.

"My mother & my grandmother / gave me timeliness. I am the daughter of the daughter of the clock."New: Winner of the Los...
01/24/2020
the blues, reproductive by Aurielle Marie - The Los Angeles Review

"My mother & my grandmother / gave me timeliness. I am the daughter of the daughter of the clock."

New: Winner of the Los Angeles Review #LiteraryAwards, in the category of #poetry, a poem Aurielle Marie!

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By Aurielle Marie, winner of the 2019 Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the category of poetry. Final Judge: Matty Layne Glasgow

"I’ve packed thousands of suitcases, / filled their bellies with truncated dreams."New: a poem by Johanny Vázquez Paz tr...
01/23/2020
Inheritances by Johanny Vázquez Paz - The Los Angeles Review

"I’ve packed thousands of suitcases, / filled their bellies with truncated dreams."

New: a poem by Johanny Vázquez Paz translated by Lawrence Schimel on LAR Online!

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#translation #poetry #litmag #litjournal

Inheritances, an excerpt of I Offer My Heart as a Target by Johanny Vázquez Paz, new translation by Lawrence Schimel on LAR Online.

"No visa, I’m a natural born citizen. Yes, I have a passport. What do you mean 'fresh off the boat'? No, I won’t say som...
01/22/2020
Between Foreign and Familiar by Tania Pabón Acosta - The Los Angeles Review

"No visa, I’m a natural born citizen. Yes, I have a passport. What do you mean 'fresh off the boat'? No, I won’t say something in Spanish."

New: an essay by Tania Pabón Acosta on LAR Online!

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#creativenonfiction #litmag #litjournal

By Tania Pabón Acosta. The day after the 2008 presidential election I woke up in my bed, achy and throbbing. It's a morning I haven’t been able to forget

"and it looks like a dancer on the loose, / like someone set free of her blues (or // maybe it’s just her imagination— /...
01/20/2020
She Sees A Pelvis In the Moon by Lynne Thompson - The Los Angeles Review

"and it looks like a dancer on the loose, / like someone set free of her blues (or // maybe it’s just her imagination— / a goulash of yellow and purple?)"

New: a poem by Lynne Thompson LAR Online!

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#Poetry #litmag #litjournal

Lynne Thompson, channeling Georgia O’Keefe, and it looks like a dancer on the loose, like someone set free of her blues (or maybe it’s just her imagination—

"Don’t tell him about the number of medications you have to take in a day. Don’t tell him about the specialist it took f...
01/17/2020
How to Tell That Guy You’ve Been Dating, Your Boyfriend, or Your Friend (Whom You’re Actually in Love With) You Have a Disability by Lillie Lainoff - The Los Angeles Review

"Don’t tell him about the number of medications you have to take in a day. Don’t tell him about the specialist it took five months of drifting on the waitlist to see."

New: Winner of the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the category of short fiction, a short story by Lillie Lainoff!

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#fiction #litmag #litjournal #literaryawards Lillie Lainofff

By Lillie Lainoff, winner of the 2019 Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the category of short fiction. Final Judge: Tammy Lynne Stoner

"Her watchword—in photographs and everything else—was control. Not in this case, though, not when she was unaware of the...
01/15/2020
Photographic Memory by Linda Murphy Marshall - The Los Angeles Review

"Her watchword—in photographs and everything else—was control. Not in this case, though, not when she was unaware of the photographer’s elevated presence..."

New: an essay by Linda Murphy Marshall on LAR Online!

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#creativenonfiction #litmag #litjournal

By Linda Marshall. The world comes to a standstill in the hands of someone with a camera. The word “snapshot” encapsulates the idea of freezing

"How has your heart changed, Konst, in the cool shade?Has it begun to moss?"New: a poem by Tim Neil on LAR Online!..#poe...
01/13/2020
Myth of Growing Old as Brothers by Tim Neil - The Los Angeles Review

"How has your heart changed, Konst, in the cool shade?
Has it begun to moss?"

New: a poem by Tim Neil on LAR Online!

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#poetry #litmag #litjournal

By Tim Neil. Aging is a possibility, like a promise made between you and me on an autumn day, when Halloween had thrill. I remember our names and the games

"I’ve had a lot of practice with this dynamic of identity. I can’t opt out."Winner of the Los Angeles Review Literary Aw...
01/10/2020
A Redbone’s Reality by Renée Ozburn - The Los Angeles Review

"I’ve had a lot of practice with this dynamic of identity. I can’t opt out."

Winner of the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the category of creative nonfiction, “A Redbone Reality” by Renée Ozburn!

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#creativenonfiction #literaryawards #litmag #litjournal

By Renée Ozburn, winner of the 2019 Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the category of creative nonfiction. Final Judge: Adrianne Kalfopoulou

"Burning down the world / so I can enter / into its hot blue flame."New: poems by Cynthia Cruz on LAR Online!..#poetry #...
01/06/2020
Three Poems by Cynthia Cruz - The Los Angeles Review

"Burning down the world / so I can enter / into its hot blue flame."

New: poems by Cynthia Cruz on LAR Online!

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#poetry #litmag #litjournal

By Cynthia Cruz. Terror Lullabies Nude on the hotel plush I eat red jam from glass jars warm cream with my fingers. Genet, I ask what will I do

We'll be taking a break for the holidays; see you in the New Year! #litmag #litjournal #happyholidays
12/23/2019

We'll be taking a break for the holidays; see you in the New Year! #litmag #litjournal #happyholidays

"How small / the audience you mesmerize tonight / I cannot say."New: a poem by Adam Tavel on LAR Online!...#poetry #litm...
12/16/2019
Consecration by Adam Tavel - The Los Angeles Review

"How small / the audience you mesmerize tonight / I cannot say."

New: a poem by Adam Tavel on LAR Online!

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By Adam Tavel, for Bill Evans, 1929 - 1980 The photo gives no year. I guess by hair, the spotlit sheen on your pomade—you’ve yet to grow it out.

"Name a famous Mexican who’s killed themselves.I can’t."Winner of the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the categor...
12/13/2019
Mexican Shoots Himself in the Chest by Stanley Delgado - The Los Angeles Review

"Name a famous Mexican who’s killed themselves.

I can’t."

Winner of the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the category of Flash Fiction, “Mexican Shoots Himself in the Chest” by Stanley Delgado!

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#flashfiction #literaryawards #litjournal #litmag

By Stanley Delgado, Winner of the 2019 Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, in the category of flash fiction. Final Judge: Brittany McLaughlin

"Look at me. / I have a mortgage. / I have a motor vehicle. / I’ve amassed / a garage of handsome / powerful tools."New:...
12/09/2019
There Will Have Been Phosphorescence by Ethan Stebbins - The Los Angeles Review

"Look at me. / I have a mortgage. / I have a motor vehicle. / I’ve amassed / a garage of handsome / powerful tools."

New: a poem by Ethan Stebbins on LAR Online!

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By Ethan Stebbins. Hi my name is Amenhotep and I’m an alcoholic. I’m 38. I’m an American citizen. I was named for an obscure brand of Canadian beer.

Celebrate Cyber Monday by supporting independent publishing!
12/03/2019
Red Hen Press

Celebrate Cyber Monday by supporting independent publishing!

Cyber Monday Sale!

Support your local independent publishing company and check out some of these great deals!

ART
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and BOOKS!

"My yoga teacher said the darkness is messing with her.I suggested light treatments, that she stick her head in a box ma...
12/02/2019
Dear Diary by Martha Silano - The Los Angeles Review

"My yoga teacher said the darkness is messing with her.
I suggested light treatments, that she stick her head

in a box marked August."

New: a poem by Martha Silano on LAR Online!

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#poetry #limag #litjournal

By Martha Silano. Dear Diary, Today wasn’t such a good idea. Not to seem ungrateful, not that I’m not breathing in love, breathing out hate, inhaling trust

Read, write, and make great art#litmag #litjournal #read #write #RedHenPress
11/28/2019

Read, write, and make great art

#litmag #litjournal #read #write #RedHenPress

"the mother cooed soft melody to / (జో)olt awake in her daughter a memory, the / (క్రి)rystallised offering of elders wh...
11/25/2019
An Abecedarian to Mother’s Tongue by Meher Manda - The Los Angeles Review

"the mother cooed soft melody to / (జో)olt awake in her daughter a memory, the / (క్రి)rystallised offering of elders who / (ల)ong to be preserved in the droll of a / (మ్)yriad tongues."

New: a poem by Meher Manda on LAR Online!

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By Meher Manda. (ఆ)fter my birth, there was a lull, but long (బి)fore, there was music in the family, in the (క్)alling of life

"in the distance Prague, the bridge the castle / the time on the clock tower / the clock tower in history"New: Sylvain G...
11/22/2019
Three Poems from Lointaines by Nicole Brossard - The Los Angeles Review

"in the distance Prague, the bridge the castle / the time on the clock tower / the clock tower in history"

New: Sylvain Gallais and Cynthia Hogue translate three poems by Nicole Brossard on LAR Online!

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#translation #poetry #litmag #litjournal Cynthia Hogue

Sylvain Gallais and Cynthia Hogue translate three poems from Lointaines by Nicole Brossard from the French on the Los Angeles Review Online.

Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of 2019 the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards! In the category of Creativ...
11/19/2019

Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of 2019 the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards!

In the category of Creative Nonfiction, “A Redbone’s Reality” by Renée Ozburn!

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#thelosangelesreview #LAR #redhenpress #nonfiction #creativenonfiction #litmag #litjournal Adrianne Kalfopoulou

Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of 2019 the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards! In the category of Flash F...
11/19/2019

Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of 2019 the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards!

In the category of Flash Fiction, “Mexican Shoots Himself in the Chest” by Stanley Delgado!

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#thelosangelesreview #LAR #redhenpress #flashfiction #litmag #litjournal

Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of 2019 the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards!In the category of Poetry, ...
11/19/2019

Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of 2019 the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards!

In the category of Poetry, “the blues, reproductive” by Aurielle Marie!

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#thelosangelesreview #LAR #RedHenPress #poetry #litmag #litjournal Matty Layne Glasgow

Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of 2019 the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards! In the category of Short F...
11/19/2019

Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of 2019 the Los Angeles Review Literary Awards!

In the category of Short Fiction, “How to Tell That Guy You’ve Been Dating, Your Boyfriend, or Your Friend (Whom You’re Actually in Love With) You Have a Disability” by Lillie Lainoff!

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#thelosangelesreview #LAR #redhenpress #fiction #litmag #litjournal Tammy Lynne Stoner

"I learned to sight a shotgun before / my first period, and pheasant-hunted // just once: rambled for hours through / th...
11/18/2019
Blake by Sarah Sala - The Los Angeles Review

"I learned to sight a shotgun before / my first period, and pheasant-hunted // just once: rambled for hours through / the tall brush, willing the jade birds // not to startle skyward."

New: a poem by Sarah Sala on LAR Online!

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By Sarah Sala. Last night I ate a bowl of venison stew and tasted Michigan’s sweet grass. I learned to sight a shotgun before my first period

"i only wanted to know you existed still / untouched by those faint signs / of winter in a warm place / i wanted to tell...
11/15/2019
Two Poems From The City Within You by Karla Marrufo Huchim - The Los Angeles Review

"i only wanted to know you existed still / untouched by those faint signs / of winter in a warm place / i wanted to tell you—there are yellow cities in our dreams, / cities built from other cities, / and perhaps i found you / in one of them"

New: Allison A. deFreese translates poems by Karla Marrufo Huchim on LAR Online!

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Allison A. deFreese translates two poems from The City Within You by Karla Marrufo Huchim, from the original Spanish, on LAR Online

"told in hushed tones my small desires to the eclectus parrot / who knew my name—"New: a poem by Gerry LaFemina on LAR O...
11/11/2019
The End of Childhood by Gerry LaFemina - The Los Angeles Review

"told in hushed tones my small desires to the eclectus parrot / who knew my name—"

New: a poem by Gerry LaFemina on LAR Online!

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By Gerry LaFemina. When the Cavern closed, that basement pet shop where I spent after school afternoons feeding the fresh waters & salt waters

"The body, the new altar of faith, prepared, sun tanned, soft and firm to the glance of others, is the new public space ...
11/08/2019
SweekStars 2018: Excerpt from Vaulted Home - Day Seventh by Ana Filomena Amaral - The Los Angeles Review

"The body, the new altar of faith, prepared, sun tanned, soft and firm to the glance of others, is the new public space of what was more ours and yours."

New: LAR announces the winners of the #SweekStars2018 contest! In the category of the novel, Ana Filomena Amaral!

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http://losangelesreview.org/sweekstars-2018-excerpt-vaulted-home-day-seventh-ana-filomena-amaral/

SweekStars 2018 contest winner Vaulted Home - Day Seventh, in the category of the novel, by Anna Filomena Amaral, on the Los Angeles Review Online.

"it was best to let a witness speak. It made them feel like they mattered. Like they were being listened to."New: LAR an...
11/06/2019
SweekStars 2018: Evidence by Joel R Hunt - The Los Angeles Review

"it was best to let a witness speak. It made them feel like they mattered. Like they were being listened to."

New: LAR announces the winners of the #SweekStars2018 contest! In the category of Short Story, Joel R Hunt!

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#shortstory #fiction #litcontest Sweek #RedHenPress #litmag #litjournal #indiepress

SweekStars 2018 contest winner Evidence, in the category of the short story, by Joel R Hunt, on the Los Angeles Review Online.

"Even the tree’s dead stump, / too tall to be prodigal, hollow, / fills itself with dark, peerless // holes"New: a poem ...
11/04/2019
A Cut by Kenneth Jakubas - The Los Angeles Review

"Even the tree’s dead stump, / too tall to be prodigal, hollow, / fills itself with dark, peerless // holes"

New: a poem by Kenneth Jakubas on LAR Online!

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#poetry #litmag #litjournal

By Kenneth Jakubas. Again we spot the mother deer. After her head reaches for a branch, her eyes whip open fear like buttons.

"I ask them if they know something about the buildings’ past. They shake their heads. 'No, no idea,' they say."New: Joe ...
11/01/2019
Through the Moors, Through Dachau by Michaela Maria Müller - The Los Angeles Review

"I ask them if they know something about the buildings’ past. They shake their heads. 'No, no idea,' they say."

New: Joe Paul Kroll translates an essay by Michaela Maria Müller on LAR Online!

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#translation #litmag #litjournal

Michaela Maria Müller's essay "Durchs Moor, durch Dachau," translated from the German by Joe Paul Kroll on the Los Angeles Review Online.

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Los Angeles, CA

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The Los Angeles Review was established in 2003 by Red Hen Press. We believe that the West Coast has a significant and growing place in American literature. Los Angeles, with its multitude of cultures, is at the center of the caldron of divergent literature emerging from the West Coast. Perhaps from this place something can emerge that speaks to the writer or singer or dancer or wild person in all of us: something disturbing, something alive, something of the possibility of what it could be like to be human in this century.

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Prosedy Collage, Minus the Elmer's Glue (author's note: those that are somewhat familiar with my work may recognize certain passages and phrases similar to or directly borrowed from my previous work; i do so with the utmost freedom, having decided that borrowing from onself cannot constitute true plagiarism, though it could justifiably be deemed repetitive. in this case i've collaged and chopped and glued and taped together ideas and feelings that seem to flow forward in a natural way. bon appetit, and remember, you can always vomit later, in private. ) TELEMARKETER/CHAPTER ONE now this, wanted to feel the nightly lightning strike, wanted to open the dam, that's all i ever do, i turn the tap on and it flows, i don't have to do anything but catch the water and maybe sweeten it a little, maybe throw a bit of bitter or salt in it, drinkmixerbartender of words, throwing this and that, everything hot hot, and meant to be consumed immediately, lest the air get to it, and change the flavor, but tonight i turned on the tap,all i intended to make was a little chicken noodle soul, this freezing lonely foghorn rusty moldy birdsh*t night of drooping roofs, i tried to light the fire under my expressive ass, and, nothing, the tap is dry, as my late-night dead doppleganger slings les pauls over sweaty shoulder panting in the jungle, rocking the socks off of the equator, my ghost still haunts the mossy gutters of liang seah street, sweating glorious victory after a magnificent rock and roll show, ears ringing walking home on the slient streets passing young lovers and rickshaw drivers the toughest of all smoking rolled cigarettes at eighty years old and 80 pounds of sheer survival and bitter silent victory secretly winning secretly kiling the overlords with the quiet and steady whirl of the tricycle wheels with time and time alone as his weapon rolling down queen street or rabid ingnoring allnight children seeing him less than a dog while powering up a hill in his sandals he knows he dies a noble death more noble and honorable, and all this i see peering down from my sixth floor window on a steamynight fantasy that really happened, i was there, and now this, i prepare for bed, i have nothing to say, i have chosen the parachute over the plane, i jumped but you can't pull the string too soon, the dogs and rats and cats and meth zombies barking and tweaking screaming my nightly lullaby mixing with the whir of my fan and sirens fire and police both howling distantly over the port and it all mixes together and i wish someone was here that i could kiss or even talk to but there is not,as we are all more or less engaged in the same battle, but tonight i really didn't have anything to say, and that's why i decided not to write or post anything tonight, and now i need to go to bed, so i can get up at 5AM and call new york and perpetuate the success of dow chemical and monsanto, i even cold-called a company that makes, well, bombs, you know, bombs that kill people,it's very, very lucrative, and i'm lucky, you see, to be getting in on the ground floor as it were, of this great american industry--we're making america great again, and i want you to know that i'll always miss all the good times believing in art, in literature, in culture, in acceptance, it just doesn't pay. so i'll end this very, very short note by saying, my heart might be a lump of coal....but i've been recently assured by a very credible source, that coal is not dead, we're bringing back coal. all the way. ah, but in fact christmas eve and christmas day were the worst, not that i normally place importance on these dates--but that year what with being divorced and destitute, alone in a tiny room, so forth--it was enough, just enough to cope with. that was until the hindu landlord kindly slid a small christmas card under the door of each of the roomers. we all did the same thing, i imagine, what i did immediately, which was to tear open the card to see if there was money inside--none there. then i looked at the picture on the front of the card. there was a cute little cottage house in the forest, snow-covered and surrounded by beautiful trees--and inside, through the front window, you could see a fire going in the fireplace and people sitting around talking and laughing. it was too much. at that moment it struck me like a freight train that these were all the things i didn't have, all my failures illustrated on the front of a cheap christmas card from walmart. i had no love, no companionship, no laughter, no warmth from the fireplace..just a small, freezing room late in the silent night of lonely winos, a different kind of silent night, silent in the depths of our mutual sorrow, it bleeding through the thin walls back and forth, each room with a different broken man, a different yet similar story of downfall, of degradation, of hopelessness. like i say it was too much, this card. i threw it on the floor, got dressed in yesterday's clothes, and went down and across the street to the liquor store, which at that time did not sell hard stuff--we'd have all been dead if so. i purchased five one-liter screwtop bottles of the cheapest white wine. it was quite a noisy spectacle getting them all upstairs into my room, clinking and clanking together in plastic bags, but everybody in the building knew that sound anyway and exactly what it was. then i was there, door locked behind me, ready to make that little house on the christmas card go away--that, and the german girl, and my beloved ex-wife, and all the years, and all of it, and everything. i tilted the first bottle back, knocking off half a liter in several huge swallows. i set it down on the nightstand. things looked a little better. merry christmas, dave. i even laughed out loud to that one. four-and-one-half bottles left--enough to make the whole world disappear for a while, and i did, almost permanently. but the world was not yet done with me that night i awoke in the dark, damp 5AM christmas morning, covered in half-frozen vomit and piss, and dragged myself up and over to the sink, where i drank water from the tap and looked up into the mirror to see the horror of my face. three days of grey stubble on a beet-red face, eyes yellow and bulging, tongue white and pasty, a pitiful vision of wreckage and self-hatred. at that moment, listening to the other bums asleep and snoring, i knew i was the only person awake in the world, awake to this disastrous and blank day. i fell back upon the bed and decided not to breathe anymore. this came more easily than one might expect as i had already had walking pneumonia for about a month and could barely breathe anyway. a silent grey sun began to come through the one small broken window facing the alley. i laid on the bed, not breathing unless pure instinct forced me to take a small agonized breath. the room around me began to fade to black as i looked out at the sky. i felt some relief--i was finally going to be free a bird flew by the window, a large black bird of some kind, but rather than flying on by, it floated, hovered, just outside my window, as seagulls are able to hover on the wind by the sea without flapping their wings, but this was no seagull and we were far from any sea breeze. still, the bird continued to hover, and suddenly i realized that this was my late father looking in on me at my moment of breakdown, at the crucial moment, the end, maybe. i felt him telling me not to give up, that things could get better, telling me to breathe, please breathe. with this i straightened my back, and took a full breath with much effort. the room came back into focus. i rose from the bed unsteadily, shedding my encrusted clothes. in the sink i ran hot water and i shaved off the grey beard, then put on clean clothes. i still stank of death and wine and the tortured sweat of delirium tremens, but could pass for normal in a pinch. i looked at the calendar--sunday. one more day to try to recoup the losses, internal and external, of the weekend, before heading back to the cubicle, the telephone headset, the endless repetitive calls, the irritated recipients slamming the phone down in my ear. headed downstairs for the street, i ran into the landlord hosing down the sidewalk in front of the motel. on pure instinct i launched into an a capella version of mel torme's "christmas song", complete with all the key modulations and changes, in perfect 440 pitch, in the key of g. i went for the big finish, and when i was done, he stared at me silently, convinced i was insane. sensing his discomfort, i decided to irritate him further, complaining about the thin walls and noise of the screams, insane demented laughter, and weeping of the other roomers. he turned away from me, saying, "this isn't the f**king hilton. get out if you want." i left him there with his hose and walked up the street to the liquor bar--it was now 9AM and they were just opening for business. i was on my way to breakfast, meaning a double shot of whiskey chased with a beer, and that most amazing feeling you get when a merciless hangover is suddenly gone and the young shining day looks beautiful and full of poetic promise again. i would live another day, at least, and maybe several. it was going to be ok, all of it ok, after all. i went in and sat at the empty bar--i was the first customer of the day and the bartender was clearly not pleased to see me, in spite of my clean shave and clean clothes. "yes?" he said suspiciously, eyeing my shaking hands as i produced my last $20 bill and laid it on the ancient bar. "two double shots of jack, and one tall beer, please," i said with the confidence of a man who has certain convictions and knows what he wants from life. "why two shots at once?"he asked. I explained logically, "because i know i'll have to vomit up the first one, and then i'd just have to bother you again." he looked at me disgustedly and poured the drinks. i did the first double shot, and it sat remarkably well in my stomach for a moment--then i knew i had to run to the toilet. i made it just in time to wrap myself around the bowl and let go. the puke was a vile mix of the whiskey shot, last night's wine, and some blood, but at least i got it all in the right place and didn't piss anyone off. i flushed it all down, washed my face in the bathroom sink, and dried off with paper towels. i walked back out and took my seat with the other shot and the beer waiting. they looked great sitting there. the bartender looked at me for a moment. "that's not normal, man." he said, then resumed his duties wiping down the bar. "suit yourself," i said, feeling quite good and renewed. "would you like to hear mel torme's christmas song?" a man who could have been my old boss and who sports the same pair of shades, a guy who just raped his sister, an old black woman who talks sh*t all day but is really sad inside, a couple of ruined old pachucos in slippers and nightgowns, all the cruising over now, old Fords and Chevvies parked in purgatory rusting lost, a beautiful young girl happy to be locked down, a beautiful black girl who shoots baskets all swish and show and hoop like god herself, a very kind man who will talk sense to you, or to himself if no one else is listening, a tragic old hispanic man with beautiful hazel eyes who begs and prays all day to an unanswering jesus all day and night long all the time, an amazing young all-american Nosferatu with shining eyes and a lost heart, a ruined former mistress of high society begging for mercy and cigarettes, an ancient ghostly white woman already dead and smoking cigarettes from beyond the grave a sight to shatter your heart, a man that spews non-sequiturs all day, the guy who got so drunk a few times that it became impossible to ever become sober again, beautiful addled young blondes that just missed being the next big thing in Hollywood and cry mascara tears, the guy that can't stop walking, the guy that can't stop talking, the guy that can't stop fighting, the girl that can't stop crying, futile arguments out in the yard at midnight and the finality of the gates, the sound of the freeway and cars and the so-called real world mere yards away humming along pleasantly past the nightmarish moans of restrained inmates, people going home to homes, people going home to wives and husbands and lovers, people going home to lives that have not changed and will never change, a respected and different kind of institution you can be locked down in--what is freedom? Where are the many locks in our lives and the longed-for keys that fit them? This is the blues that only a few can blow and now I'm one--break time--smoke em if you got em. Reese Witherspoon on the Haloperidine, my god, it's her, but where's that perky smile? That delightful hint of southern drawl? It never occurred to me until I saw her in here how exhausting it must be to constantly be pleasing people, to be known, to have a Reputation for being happy all the time--that life would surely not allow for even the remotest chance of humanity--the internal side-effects of maintaining that perfect smile must be sickening--imagine this: that she had to come this far just to have a good cry, and yet, she wears the jewelry of captivity like a princess, with that same gentle grace you see in those bad movies, a patient ID and a little multicolored plastic anklet and of course they keep her separated from the big-time crazies and she looks more shattered and more beautiful than anything any Hollywood producer could ever conjure up. One learns quickly in here not to engage, not to attempt to connect because it turns out that the bi-hourly smoke break is an opportunity for most to express all of the rage and inner conflict that landed them here in the first place--most of the yellers and screamers and punchers and kickers and Code Threes are slowly and surely burying themselves forever, ever lengthening their stay in hell, and the whole affair is intrinsically self-perpetuating, and so even if you feel you might wish to exchange a smile or a joke for the sake of a moment's comfort, no, turn away, look away, stare at the ground, stare at the sky, look inward if you must, but please, don't beg the yard man for another smoke. He is seven feet tall and dark black, muscular at age seventy, and is the king of our bathroom. He spends 12-16 hours a day in there with the one bare bulb washing a dirty rag repeatedly in the sink, shining the mirror, and laughing, laughing, giggling, giggles hideously emanating from in there without warning at 3:30 AM raising us from our troubled sleep--if you want to take a piss you gotta knock first, then, the king will decide whether or not you may urinate or excrete--most of the time the ruling is that you may not--after all, it's his kingdom, not yours. Blue gowns, grey socks, and the slow movement of feet far from the normal path--a small circle or square is the only remaining road to travel, all these good folks daughters and sons of someone, someone's little baby boy or girl and now it's group time but I'm not in there cause I'm going home, leaving lice and death behind for now, the only sounds at night the screams and moans and wild terrifying laughter, the laughter being absolutely worst of all. Blue gowns, grey socks, and the color of the fences I will never forget, up early as the neighbors wipe the sleep from their eyes over to the metro 40 up to redondo beach green line to long beach blue north into downtown proper, then upstairs in my fortress two or three locks and a couple of fences from utter lawlessness and mayhem right this moment, some young man has spent the better part of the day detailing his car, the first car he's had. it's not much, an old toyota, and for sure bearing the battle scars of LA driving, repainted splotchy here, dents there, like the dents and scratches we all incur living here, and crashing into each other, but the kid's gonna make that car look like a million bucks--it's SATURDAY NIGHT in Los Angeles, a gorgeous early fall night, the temperature could not be more divine, nor the climate--and a girl, his, girl, is also getting ready--they will go dancing together,,for them the night will be young, always young, the clock will never run out, the body will never feel pain, and if the heart feels pain at age 16, that kind of pain is as exquisitely pleasurable as good old pleasure itself....and all this excitement and dancing and wild passion and discovery is happening right now on this saturday night, not far from here, just a quick 30-minute run from pedro to downtown but i'm not going. and that's ok. instead i am cradld here in this space, in my place. it feels really good, tonight, and i can tell i will sleep better than usual, but not just yet, i want to again rest my arms on those wide and dirty windowsills, look out at the night, listen to the sounds of all the crazy and sad and sometimes ecstatic sounds of a pedro night around closing time, some will die, most will live, then, we'll do it again, and a friend asked me, if i ever thought, here in the 21st century, about getting an rv and going for a drive forever, and yes, some kind of rolling den of earthy, earthly pleasures on wheels, bound for the cornfields of last century's nebraska, tires and wheels shined up right to roll into a country town at night, ask directions where to hide the thing safely, then a splash of clean water on our faces, holy water from the last town, comb our hair back and especially splash the backs of our travelled necks, eau de cologne and out to shoot pool with the locals in town, at some point, drunk, i play the piano as you dance, and the room becomes a song, a poem of good yellow incandescent edison light, american warm safe light and not the ugly accusatory light of prison or parking lots, then in soft moonlight we amble and preamble and ramble back to our abode, to our secrets, to the love that we and only we can know and taste, ours and only ours now and forever, under a wood-paneled overhang in the back of our recreational vehicle, i'll kiss you, and i'll kiss you, and i'll blow your house down, and i'll never kiss anyone but you, and we will hold hands in every one of the continental united states. and never lie to each other, and go to the grave together in the time we have, one last long lovely sunset, then we'll continue, road-tripping the immensity of space, always you by my side, blue eyes smiling at my brown frown downtown, in a heaven of drive-ins, smooth sailing cruising in heaven, nary an oil change required, the tank always full, and we hold hands as the radio plays in a forever america of our making in the sky always.i just woke up, and it's three AM and the 20th time i've awakened in this cold january night to scratch the bedbug bites on my back, to smoke a cigarette, to roll over again on the lumpy roominghouse mattress and try to sleep until six. the tv is on with the sound down--it's showing old home movies of hollywood studios taken back in the 1920s---everything in hollywood was so new and clean and innocent, childlike almost. i have three layers of street clothes on in the bed, as well as a winter hat pulled down hard over my ears, as the manager does not see fit to turn on the heat even in the dead of winter. i can feel a horrendous hangover coming on, but it hasn't quite arrived yet--should be in full force by the time i get up at six to get ready for work. the underwear i washed out last night in the sink in my room has more or less dried, hanging on the edge of the styrofoam cooler that houses my nightly 10 or 12 tall cans of malt liquor. the jacket and pants i will wear today cost $8 at the goodwill. the shoes i've had for years, likewise the shirt. the tie, like all the ties, is from an ex-girlfriend. i never seem to be at a loss for neckties and ex-girlfriends. three weeks ago i was in another country on the other side of the world, performing for packed houses of appreciative fans. now i am here, in an anonymous flophouse motel in la. two of my fellow bums died last week and were each carted out unemotionally by the coroner. no relatives showed up to claim their belongings, which were dispatched promptly to the dumpster in the back of the building. ashes to ashes. they were nice people.on the other side of my small room, on the floor, there's the contents of a box i received around christmastime from a beautiful married woman who lives in washington with her husband. she's german and totally gorgeous and makes her illicit phone calls to me every day while her husband is at work. recently she's been describing on the phone to me how she shaves her pussy and plays with herself afterwards. now she's sent me a care package--several books she likes and wanted me to read, some naked photos of herself, and a pair of tiny thong panties, scented heavily with her perfume. she herself must be very petite, as i can see by looking that these panties would never fit on me. on the phone i've told her i'd gladly come up to washington one way or the other, for a rendezvous, but she's scared to take it that far, she says. in reality she is just torturing me for her own pleasure, and as i will come to realize in the next few months, never had any intention of meeting me in person. i get up from the bed and throw the panties in the garbage pail by the sink. then i lie back down, pull my pants down, and beat off in the freezing morning darkness. it's over quickly. i go down the hall to the communal bathroom to take a sh*t, then get back to my room and decide to shave and dress for work. it's good to have a job, it's good to be back in LA. i am a man. i am in charge of my own destiny. i am a telemarketer. but after 8 hours of selling and the intense feelings of the day, i see that a few things slipped by, despite my pointlessly aggressive and passive-aggressively boastful rants regarding the importance of the use of correct grammar at all times, and so, given the current state of de-evolution, the idea of dumb as a fashion statement, a lifestyle, the marketing and corporate branding of thugs, despite the almost singularly despicable yet hypnotic quality of sitting in the orchestra pit front and center in that very theatre bill shakes made reference to, despite having afforded myself, out of pure gutless simpering depravity and glutton heart lookylooing at the sick bad accident of sweet black and white america ever more hi def, the invention of so-called smart devices that are the precursors of complete and total entropic deavolution, and as long as any good primate with two opposable thumbs can manage holding a smartphone in one hand and a banana or something more personal in the other mitt we might manage over tens of thousands of years to eventually re-evolve back to say, about the mid-twentieth century, and right then instead of building up the military industrial complex we might have found a way to put the brakes on history, using atomic forces to counteract the willful and whipping spin of our little lonely blue marble, our favorite one, blue and shiny bright and marbled with streaks of green and brown with little white wisps hairing about it all, even with all that on my agenda, all the many things to notice and taste and love or not love, all the flirty tickle and tease of our almost-climaxed lifetimes, with all that to burn and raze my corny limited last sunsets, i am still self-critical,i find the time to be, i want to be, and in fact i am my own toughest, most disparaging. sneering arbiter, ever arguing the case agaist myself, in the dreary cobwebbed grandeur of great dank oaken benches sullen and stolidly perservering silently stubbornly honoring their thick treetrunk forefathers that also would have lasted and creaked quiet library creaky sniggles in a musty bookstore forgotten on a sidestreet of van nuys or somewhere equally haphazardly swathed in last year's tattered tinsel, i just wanted you to know, that i have not yet decayed to such an extent as to have lost my passion for proper spelling, cause man, not being able to spell is also one of those worrying things, like the dumb person that now is basically in charge of the entire world but probably would fail in a spelling bee when asked to spell words like philanderer, bigot, charletan, you know, as we are so obviously on a rapid backslide to bows and arrows, then sharpenened rough hewn daggers of gleaming black obsidian ripping dirty flesh in wordless grunting massacres over the last few known locations of potable water, as even now the documentarians resignedly click off the yellow bulbs under clean green shades in ivied shady libraries doomed for kindling and ridicule, as all we created in the golden century, the finest century ever to be in all the human story, we were uniquely blessed to have arrived in the chapter we did--not the very last chapter--the one right before, and yes, i can spell, it's easy, look, i love you. As I was forced to come up with a title, i thought well, why sugarcoat the message and what am trying to articulste? and then beyond that i felt like an artsy LA poetry-reading pretentious dick, and i'm none of that. i never attend readings, i write because it is a necessary function of fully human experience, i mean by that when you get up in the morning and you have to sh*t, that's as natural as the sky raining or you having to write, i mean, if you sit down and you find you can't write, give it up and get off the bowl and it will happen when it absolutely needs to. and i have been missing and desiring a devoted and loyal and monogamous life partner for years, but as bad as the yearning has been at times, i wanted to wait until the urge to excrete was unstoppable, and somehow this particular metaphor, i just sniffed and it's as dead as three-day roadkill, now at least i have the good sense to bet back inmy vehicle and drive away, the nearest motel is 300 miles away, just about the correct amount of time to fall in love, so then (and of course here i am painting with a brush even broader than the widest coarsest horse-est whinnying terror dead brush of sweet straw locks like angelhair pastas leftover from some joyous tomato porky ethnic ancestral bawhen i declare that there is no happy ending. that we peaked, we drove our colorful and poorly-concieved mostrosity rolling unpaid fiberglass lies, through pastel duran nights britpop dippy clueless and ill-equipped, our time, seemingly, had enough memories, enough radiant artists and movies and love affairs, to equal the many other memorable moments of this the biggest ship ever to float its fat steel belly lugubrious languid molding dumb upon the inpenetrable wet and foamy doom of the tide's eternal piston stroke, the tide just and only the largest hammer in the universe, and divine before its time, nature's salty bomb to come, a flexing and perversely insenstive whip, an unfeeling and violating razor wind cutting the face and making easter island stonefaces out of our later icecream rewards now stony and confoundingly teasing,refusing to melt in the tiny warm shelter of christmasbirthday raggedly and hopefully denying dishonest stupidly bravely withstanding eaons of callous poor and needlessly grey suicide weather anomolies of stony mocking, and only the next invoice in sight, rivers of paper, but if you don't have just the RIGHT kind of paper, forget it, especially in los angeles, the biggest, boldest, display of free-range homosapiens, look now, they get into wheeled motored boxes and try to kill each other, inbetweenmiserablefluorescently painfully truthful silent films of us in the supermarket, myself now having denounced the elusive divine early melodies, the orchestral introductions, the grand and uplifting anthems of our sugary young peachfuzz thighs ripe for the harvest, just think of the absurdity and reckless adolescent ways we delineate and with almost warlike determination, insist that we knew, all along what the ending would be. and now, stop--listen! the unrelenting bombings and screaming war crimes and winking pretty betrayals, now all the lover-murderers, the unfeeling, the expressively emotionally still-born exectives born dead and living almost forever forgotten dandruffy in gated deathwait laughing at dear unretreiveable joys of bubble screentwoknob carson chuckles, you saw it, you lived it. but everyone you knew gave up being a dreamer, laid down like a prisoner of war and surrendered-it's only human, it's forgivable. and still we, you and i, even never having known of each other, we travelled parallel highways that have now twisted, contorted, alligatordeathrolled us almost into the last moldy turtleswamp of lonely arctic nightseason and fading embers and lost lighters lost loves unwashed plates of momentary joyous reunions and forevernomatterwhat permanentbonds becoming imperceptively quietly brown and brittle before crashing down heavier than a body all things eventually falling down and back and in, might we one last time and forever hold each other? might there still be a late-night giggle, we permitting ourselves,together, in this last book and musty chronicle of our fleeting breath in out ah ah, to find a small light flickering in the mildew green cockshrunken and dry closed flowerblooms and dead dry wells abandoned, must we accept our incompatibility with each other as defeat? or alternately could we make good use of this simmering bonebroth, can we become immortal somehow, would you like try? and if that much is too rich of a soup to digest well, have a soup cracker, sit back in the glorious red leather forever booths of backroom deals, have pity for the man that is our brother and our age but impossibly irrevocably detached, a drunk astronaut floating away from the space station, the last hearing of doomed american pop playing one cold last time, but we need not, we have yet one more option, quickly now get your suit and helmet on, and i promise you that if heaven or something like it or even a decent threestar joint with clean sheets and not too far from the icemaker in the divinely and omniscient cleverly chucking rotaton of brightly painted american relics, just relent,my kind woman, come and go with me, you can be any color or age or weight, i am too. and if you, or someone else with an open heart,can hear the pure and brave sound of my big old brave, fifty-year-old heart beating, if there is any golden glitter still sticky on your 1960 true plastic and walkmanmoonwalkdatsunmtv deeper perception, do not, i repeat, do not hesitate, as the trickle of live-giving runoff evades the indequate fumble of our keeping hands, doah the sunsetting cranes on the harbor ugly and powerful giant mechanical longshoremen bowering towering cowering tall under the moonlight, we have down here big yellow cheese getting dry like crispy yellow hot moon and getting into every crack in the sidewalk, broken fused inward backwards needles in the alley but no one crying out loud tonight and in my kitchen a persian man frying potatoes in a saucepan, japanese boy handing out rice cracker treats in adolescent trepidation wanting to be friends and not a hair on his pretty body yet i keep my devious thoughts to myself and socialize, pretend to have a normal conversation as inside my mind reeeeels and i rock and i roll and i carry a big soul like a full bag of garbage slung over one's shoulder but tonight the weight is effortless gone easy, i sip from the cup, the warm lights of our compound make everything yellow mellow easy, nothing to get in a panic about, it's late and lonely as always in pedro, something is rotten and going south in my garbage smelling up the room, rot and coffee grinds and the drieduptears of last night's sorrow forgotten but for the salty taste along in the night we go fan blasting the sun whirling around dancing with the earth and the moon in a cold silent dance that none of us can hear, blazing volcanoes angry and waiting to erupt and nothing safe, least of all love, it's time for bed, in this crazy scary dangerous and wonderful world louis armstrong grunted growled it best, tore my heart out and yours. painted it the color red on a jazz canvas, no one framed it or bought it but we all know how it is, and here we go, again.n't stop yourself, grab my hand now and you grab mine and together we will be the greatest last poem of the earth, we will play the parts with effortless style,we will easily forgive the minor transgressions, the endless and engrained and totally unavoidable eccentricities we have sworn our loyaly to, our homogenous disinfected soulless apple pies frozen and silent staring display cases stained iridescent begging to be chosen, may i one more time, even as we agree to the mutual suspension of disbelief, and in mutual forgiveness for all the evil and foolish time we have created and then endured. hey, what would be the harm? and to speak of the benefits, well...i've just slashed a flowering well of my warm oldman blood on this digital canvas. this is not a game, this is life or death, dull death here on earth, or beautiful life with a man wise and deep enough of heart, to smell your fart, under thick covers together, always telling the truth, meaning, all of it, gorgeous and pervertedly creative and sofr and tender and heart available, and only, stress i am only seeking, the last and the one..if you read and understood what i have shared, and can indicate so, then we may have reason to connect. i have intentionally theft=proofed this posting, not that it was difficult, or required any effort at all. all i have done here is to speak a plain a simple picture of my life in LA, the greatest town in the universe, no matterwhatand especially what, come home, or better yet let's start simple and let me rain first a gentle and laughing LA light shower, just enough to partially obscure your tough smoggy freeway outlook and then i'll erupt in the sky, sudden and feral thrashings of our momentary annual winter always giving it all, ancient nature can be observed to be remarkably consistent in its monolithic tidal volcanic intent to erase the one unforgivable and wanton spawn, the only virus, the only and most pretty deadly malfunctioning end product of the mating of fate and biological roulette wheels spinning unseen behind forcefields in prehistoric laboratories maybe or maybe not, do i make myself clear? ah the sunsetting cranes on the harbor ugly and powerful giant mechanical longshoremen bowering towering cowering tall under the moonlight, we have down here big yellow cheese getting dry like crispy yellow hot moon and getting into every crack in the sidewalk, broken fused inward backwards needles in the alley but no one crying out loud tonight and in my kitchen a persian man frying potatoes in a saucepan, japanese boy handing out rice cracker treats in adolescent trepidation wanting to be friends and not a hair on his pretty body yet i keep my devious thoughts to myself and socialize, pretend to have a normal conversation as inside my mind reeeeels and i rock and i roll and i carry a big soul like a full bag of garbage slung over one's shoulder but tonight the weight is effortless gone easy, i sip from the cup, the warm lights of our compound make everything yellow mellow easy, nothing to get in a panic about, it's late and lonely as always in pedro, something is rotten and going south in my garbage smelling up the room, rot and coffee grinds and the drieduptears of last night's sorrow forgotten but for the salty taste along in the night we go fan blasting the sun whirling around dancing with the earth and the moon in a cold silent dance that none of us can hear, blazing volcanoes angry and waiting to erupt and nothing safe, least of all love, it's time for bed, in this crazy scary dangerous and wonderful world louis armstrong grunted growled it best, tore my heart out and yours. painted it the color red on a jazz canvas, no one framed it or bought it but we all know how it is, and here we go, again.