Tuesday, January 22, 2019

shattered but whole



I briskly walked down calle Insurgentes towards centro, a squat row of crumbling houses cast long and foreboding shadows across the shattered sidewalk. Dull yellow lamplight buzzed overhead as the crunching of my shoes on loose gravel was the only sound in this still slumbering town. My breath puffed out into frozen air as I made my way across Park Independencia – under dead and leafless trees, several concrete benches occupied by snoring immigrants waiting for their chance to cross the border. This city was depressing the hell out of me – I cannot connect with anyone. And for that matter, what was left to connect with? I am dead inside. As dead as the rotting houses which surround me. I bitterly glanced around. Why does this city attain the appearance of the aftermath of a bombed-out war zone? Ah, I forget…it is the aftermath of a bombed-out war zone. Who am I to judge?
Ding! I sling open the door to Café Central and took a seat at the long counter. Order coffee from the tired looking waitress in the grease splotched uniform and as I stired the sugar into my cracked mug, once again the question slaps me across the face: What the fuck am I doing here in Juárez?
I recall I stated that exact question the evening prior toward two intoxicated cohorts as we sat and drank caguamas at Bar Olympico. The statement fell on deaf ears, unfortunately. They did not care for my personal woes, they were more interested in the rentboy who slinked up at us slurping on his free beer.
“For a hundred pesos, he’ll let you suck his dick.” My friend confided. He pronounces it deek.
I eyed the hustler with obvious contempt. Oh. Of course. The solitary gringo in the joint and this doe-eyed waif decided I was an easy mark. Little did he realize I am one jaded homosexual and at that exact moment and time really wasn’t in the mood for any of his shit.
“Wait a minute.” I began, pointing toward the well-formed pecs hidden under the rentboys tight, flannel shirt. “You want me,” I point back at myself, “…me…to give you one hundred pesos so you can have an orgasm?”
“Yes.” He curtly nodded, with hip hooked in that universal stance of Hustlers of the World.
“And what about me? You gunna get me off? Suck me off? Anything?” I asked.
“No, man, I’m not no faggot. I don’t do that shit.”
“Don’t do that shit? What shit? What fucking shit don’t you do?” I barked. He glared at me in consternation, slowly realizing I was not the typical weak spirited tourist he usually employs. I leaned on my stool toward him, “Again, you expect me to pay you to come?”
“That’s the way it works, yeah.” He said morosely.
“Get the fuck out my face.” I retorted and slumped into my beer. The hustler casually shrugged and decided to lurk in the cantina's doorway and await more promising prey.
One of my two friends refilled my glass from my bottle, “Why were you so mean to him? He’s a nice boy.”
I paused. Lit a cigarette and watched the plume of carcinogens swirl up into the water damaged rafters, I said, “I think my time in Mexico has come to a close. My adventure here has grown stale. Nothing interests me. I have done it all. There is nothing else. It’s time I lay tracks toward a more civilized locale.”
My words, again, fell on deaf ears as yet another macho fuck sauntered across the dirty tile floor and distracted the two queens with a smile and a coy nod.
In the coffee shop, I sat bitterly. A lonesome Mexican ballad crooned over the speakers as I scrutinized my ravaged, tired face in the mirror attached to the wall across from the counter. Except for myself and the three servers, the only other occupant was a wrinkled old fuck slumped in a booth wearing shades. Probably asleep. The half-eaten fried eggs coagulating on a large plate in front of him. Gnawed chicken bones scattered about the formica. The thought of returning to my house, collecting my things and leaving screamed in my skull. And, I did.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

but why though?



The restaurant has wooden floors and mirrors behind the bar. It’s full, but politely so. We sit at the bar and I ask why we never sit in a booth. Hector says this is easier. He orders something minty to drink and I ask for gin and vermouth. Why is there a baseball game on? I’d like to drop my face on the bar and let the blood slowly draw away from my nose, down to the other patrons, drip some and pool to a puddle below my stool. I grab the menu. I shake my head. Snails and gizzards and cracklings and what the fuck is a date and why is it wrapped in bacon and stuffed with bleu cheese? Do you have ranch dressing? Of course not. Every place Hector wants to go to is too good to have ranch dressing or salt n pepper and let’s talk about sex. Fuck me. From behind.
Our drinks come and his is manlier than mine. I try it and cough a little. What is that? Martini? Yeah. I’m hungry. Why do you like me? Because you’re fucking weird. I like you. I know. Hector asks me to go to Los Angeles with him and I stretch my lips across my face like a smile and say maybe. The bartender takes our food order and I get the only thing I recognize and he gets the steamed escargot. When it comes, Hector asks me to try it. I say no. Please? No. This continues and I get frustrated. I want to leave. I want to drop my face on the bar and break my teeth, force them into my gums and pucker my nose in on itself, piercing my brain. Hector says if I don’t eat one then he’ll never be mine. I laugh and say we’re now officially wasting each other’s time.
I catch myself in the mirror, where two panes come together, and I look crooked, deformed, demonic, and utterly suave. Black leather jacket. Grey button-up shirt. Black herringbone tie. Stubble. How could he not want me? He cuts a snail in half and says to try that much. I tell him splitting it apart doesn’t help. I think about leaving and I start thinking about what I’m gonna say, ‘cause I have to say something. Or would it be better to walk out without saying anything? Not even a glance at him. Leave, man. Get up.
The bald man in the cowboy suit next to me leans in and says something about the game. I say something back to prove I am a man and I know sports and stuff. Then Hector and the bald man talk with me in the middle feeling suddenly awkward, but watching this scene in the mirror. Hector likes the bald man’s ambition and his watch and how he speaks four languages. I notice his discolored teeth and beady little eyes. Hector says he’s moving to Los Angeles, the bald man asks when, Hector says March, the bald man says he should be out there then. I say we should get goin’. I finish my drink and don’t take another. Look at Hector, look at the bald man, the game, the condensation ring, the mirror, me. What the hell happened? Heavy sigh, noticeable. Hector leans to my ear, You gonna fuck me when we get home? You gonna leave your clothes on? If you want. Maybe. You wanna go? Yeah.
I pay and in the taxi, Hector asks if I want road-head and I say no and ask the taxi driver to turn the radio up. I’m hard but we’re almost home. Up the stairs, to the bedroom, push the blankets aside. I fuck Hector bent over and I pull and push into him, using his hips like handles. Hector moans and sighs and whimpers and tells me to lie on my back. Tells me not to move. He fucks hard, twists and grinding but changes his mind and bends over in front of me, ass spread. Fuck me ‘til you come. I tease then give it then take it then give it deeper, taking Hector to the furthest until I have to pull out and empty onto him, weakened as steam in cold night air. I like you. I know. I mean, I like you a lot. I like you too. But why, though?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

the ballad of roland gerodias



Cerritos, California.
Somewhere during the late ‘80’s.
Saturday.
11:38pm

I flopped down on my back sickly ill from too many Boone’s Farm wine coolers. A ghastly feeling. Like you want to vomit but you can’t. The couch was one of those big, neutral colored, over-stuffed affairs, u-shaped, and took up most of the cavernous living room. In the darkened house, the party was ebbing away and most of the teenaged guests had departed. The house itself being a cookie-cutter two-story stucco monstrosity which infest every neighborhood in predominantly white suburbs of Los Angeles. It rested in a cul-de-sac, an exact copy of every other house on the block, except this one was somewhat more a bit unkempt.
On the couch, I complained about how my stomach felt woozy. The only other person with me was Roland Gerodias, a friend from my high school. We didn’t attend any classes together, barely associated through mutual friends.  The casual association primarily through Janet Tarrish, a fellow classmate and whose house we were currently sleeping over in. As I said, I was lying on this couch with Roland, the tops of our heads almost touching with our bodies sprawled in opposite directions. The couch was that big.
Roland was a third generation Filipino who lived with his parents in a one-story stucco house on the low end of the neighborhood. Soft-spoken, we met each other while playing Dungeons and Dragons after school at a friend’s house. We hit it off immediately and rapidly became friends.
Out of the half dark, he mentioned something about getting one’s fingers sucked took your mind off the ill feeling. Snickering with naiveté, I agreed and offered up my hand, in which he performed the remedy with slow, precise movements. That, of course, led to us making out, both fearing either Janet or the old grandpa who lived in the den and spent his waning years watching the Playboy Channel in soiled, blue stripped pajamas would walk in and catch us in this uncouth homosexual experimentation.
Up to that point, I had never kissed a boy, nor made out like two lovers on the lips as Roland and I did in the still of the night. Nonetheless, I liked it. I liked it a lot. It stimulated dormant passions in me I never dreamed existed. After an hour or so of fumbling and whispered giggling, we both fell asleep.
The following morning, at the crack of dawn, I rose and went to the restroom to relieve myself. Glancing in the mirror, my neck was a constellation of hickies. I examined them in my reflection, gliding a finger over the brown and purple splotches. In guilt and mortification, I left the house without a word and returned home, quickly darting over puddles of incandescent water created by automatic lawn sprinklers.
Later that afternoon as I was in the kitchen preparing a sandwich, my mother caught sight of the marks and hissed, “What are those on your neck?”
“I…uh…” I faltered in confused guilt. She, at this point, was completely oblivious of my homosexual tendencies.
My mother stated in hushed tones, her face disdainfully puckered as if she just sucked a lemon, “Only Mexicans give each other those.”
The way she said Mexicans was laced in contempt.
Several days passed and I never saw Roland on campus. Though during each boring class, I sat brooding with the images and emotions of what we had done burned into my mind. It was my first contact with another of the same sex in that way (apart from a fumbling quick blow job or mutual masturbation sessions of very, very few in the past) My mind reeled in teenage obsession yet with the unrefuted fact the act could never be repeated or spoken of in lieu of classmates catching on. And then again, why would occur again? A spontaneous thing ensued, nothing more. So, I kept quiet, tolerating the smirking jabs of humor by schoolmates of having a girlfriend or quips of “finally getting some pussy” over the prior weekend.
One afternoon, as I was in my room at my desk drawing horridly melancholy and surreal comics, my mother said I had a phone call. It was Roland. When I heard his voice it was like the air was snatched from my lungs. He asked if I wanted to hang out. I said sure.
At that time, my mother allowed me drive her ’74 powder-blue Maverick around. I came up some excuse to use the car and off I went. It was a horrible junker. The engine chugged so loud and low, you could hear it blocks away announcing your arrival. I had nick-named it “Das Boot”. I picked up Roland at his house and we drove around Los Angeles joking, talking, and having a casual time as friends often do; eventually making our way up to Griffith Observatory. The sun had already set and grey shadows stretched across an empty parking lot. Not too empty, there was a darkened car on the other side of the lot, windows steamed and slowly rocking. I noticed a pudgy, balding man in a track suit hunched in the bushes watching, his round face gleamed in a film of sweat.
Before we parked, Roland and I stopped and scored a bottle of wine from some hobo who we talked into purchasing for us at a liquor store. We sat in the car and talked about nothing until the event at Janet’s house was brought up. Roland asked if I liked guys. I stated timidly I did, never had an experience with a girl, I added and held no desire to acquire one. Roland stated he loved girls and looked forward to having a wife and children one day. My heart sank. While he confessed this to me, he viewed in interest the muddled shadows in the adjacent car and its rhythmic movements. He unbuttoned his pants, pulling them down to his knees; brandished his erection. Looking at me, he took my head in his hands and we again began kissing passionately. He took out my erection and began masturbating both of us. His copper-colored body was lithe and hairless. I truly believe it was this initial encounter which paved the way for my preference of the darkly exotic sort. I had never been driven to seek the embrace of men with fair skin or abundance of body hair. I truly believe it was Roland’s influence. We slid into the backseat and did what most deemed unnatural. Four times.
When I dropped him off at his house at 2am, I watched as he said “Check ya later…” and disappeared into the quiet darkness of his home. I was overbearingly smitten. Throughout the rest of the year and onward into first term of community college, Roland and I remained close friends. During that period, he was my solitary sexual outlet, much to my dismay. I was madly in love with him and he knew it and patiently tolerated it, I suppose. I would become insanely jealous, not when he chased after girls, but when other guys hit on him. Out right dramatically infuriated. It was during the final year of our friendship the entire ordeal crashed and burned. I became overtly possessive and went out of my way to take up all his free time. Free time spent either in the back seat of my car or some cheaply rented hotel room humping like rabbits. Over a period of a few months in lieu of attending different colleges and work schedules we stopped associating with one another. When I finally sought him out, he’d since moved out of his parents’ house and shacked up knee deep in a torrid love affair with a dumpy, fat girl with large, thick glasses and bad acne. I attempted to speak with him (alone, but the girl wouldn’t have it) eventually I was asked to leave and never come around again. I never saw Roland again after that.
A block away I sat in my car ugly sobbing, my heart crushed. Unaware future events would allocate far more insidiously emotional heart aches and disappointments. Ah, the ignorance of youth!

Monday, January 07, 2019

they're only words



How does one choose to be a writer? There are as many variables as there are people on the face of the earth, I suppose. I do not expect anyone wakes up one morning and claims, Hey, I’m going to be a writer. For myself, it was a long road both strange and beautiful.
Originally, in as far back as high school, I aspired to be a graphic artist. I created intricate illustrations with passion. Unlike my friends who filled their imaginations with comic book superheroes like Batman or The Green Lantern, I spent my money on collecting the magazine Heavy Metal. I was not only drawn to the remarkable stories, but the outlandish art. Especially the works of Jean Giraud a.k.a. Moebius. I would sit and scrutinize for hours the beautiful lines and simplistic clutter Giraud would impregnate into every frame. It was him and the luscious line drawings of Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon I gleaned inspiration. I would purchase reams of lineless paper and meticulously copy their works until my own style eventually emerged.
During long summers while my friends remained outside playing, I would find refuge in my cramped room drafting surreal comics about livid dreams I’d had and idiosyncratic adventures of lone wonderers. I would show my uninterested friends my strange doodles and be labeled crazy or weird. I didn’t care, I adored it.
Come college, I took both photography classes and intermedial art. I would roam around deserted alleys and crumbling buildings taking black and white snapshots of scenes I found interesting. I realized I was the odd one out when in art class all I drew were disturbing charcoal paintings of various oil refineries around Los Angeles. Scores of them one after the other. I was attempting to portray the mood of decay crossed with industrial beauty. My teacher had enough of my dark and sulky shit and expelled me from class.
That evening, I went to a local cinema in Pasadena to watch a movie. Which film I do not recall, all I remember is it was sold out, the only other playing in the small two cinema theater was David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. I knew of David Lynch from his breakout student film Eraserhead, but was apprehensive to view his latest work because at the time, I deemed Eraserhead was simply his one hit wonder. (I knew of Dune, which flopped and was never interested to view Elephant Man) Never the less, I sat in the theater mesmerized by the intense visuals and off kilter story. I stumbled out of the theater past jocks yelling “Fuck!” badly imitating Frank Booth with the burning thought, That! That is what I want to do. I want to make movies like that!
The following semester, I attended film school. While other students produced sappy romances and teen dramas, I cranked out short, ethereal stories of pain and solitude amid filth and degradation. I had always been drawn to the underbelly of society. Once, during ninth grade and living with my parents in Lakewood, CA, I took a city bus on a day trip to Hollywood. The route went through skid row Los Angeles and I sat there wide eyed gaping out the window in captivated interest at all the sordid squalor passing as the bus chugged along 3rd and Spring. That initial image lingered with me for a long time.
Years later, I would venture to skid row in downtown Los Angeles and film the drunks and addicts who haunted the streets day and night never recognizing one day I would find myself living among them. And live among them I did, the fervidness became an addiction as was I more comfortable surrounded by transients and junkies than mall crawlers or office workers.
I had found my niche. My passion. Film. I moved out of my parents’ house (they never supported any of my hobbies so it was a relief when I left) and rented a cockroach infested studio on the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Highland. I had transvestite hookers and aspiring porn stars for neighbors. I was well on my way, attaining employment at various film studios as gaffers or best boys, I would watch and study everything cinema related.
Then, life reared its ugly head. I fell in love. In love with someone who was absorbed more in the material things of life than the artistic. The four year campaign of this seemingly one-sided relationship was spent not producing films, but attempting to placate his varying affection. He was my world – the very reason I got up to go to work, to eat, to shave, to bathe. Indeed, I had it bad. I even spent a month incarcerated in Los Angeles City jail in lieu of stealing funds from my employment so I could afford to take this person to the various night clubs he so much revelled in. I would had done anything for him. Much to my dismay.
After four years, we eventually separated. My heart was shattered and never fully recovered. One afternoon as I stood in Mickey’s Bar on Santa Monica Blvd. with a gaggle of uncaring and phony friends, I was asked what I planned to do; now that I was single. My heart filled with pain and distrust, my only thought was to commit suicide as any over-dramatic queen would. I morosely stated I planned to go down to Tijuana for the weekend to think things through. I did and never returned to Los Angeles’ or its plastacine lifestyle.
Tijuana was an alien planet. A world both dangerous and liberating. Yet, I went there to die. Over dramatic, I assure you, but at the time it was the most dangerous locale I knew of and if I was going to go out, why not in style? I envisioned they would find my alcohol saturated corpse face down in an alleyway with pants around my ankles, sexually assaulted to death. A content smile across my insipid lips. I did not appreciate at the time on how this unrelentless city would become the major focal point for my future career as a writer.
I made it a habit to visit a movie theater at least twice a week and watch whatever seemed appealing. In downtown San Diego, at this monolith of a mall, I went to the movies and, again, the film I wished to see was sold out. The only other of interest was a film titled Naked Lunch. I thought it as simply a stupid teen comedy or at least a foreign sex drama in lieu of the title. Sure, why not, I’ll check it out.
The initial screening was both humorous and motivating. In the row ahead of me was five jocks from the local university. Before the film began, they teased about how the film was probably going to be a dumb comedy. My glee was to watch their appalled reaction change when instead of titties and cheerleaders they were subjected to drug addicted homosexuals and typewriters morphing into giant cockroaches dictating their thoughts out of their assholes. I immediately loved the film. When I learned it was based on a book, after the third screening that same week, I directly made my way to a local Barnes and Noble to purchase a copy of the novel.
At that time, I knew nothing about the beat generation or their influence on literature. In my first attempt at reading Naked Lunch, I found it dense and hard to follow. The fractured style was confusing, but I tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it segwayed into reading other works. I studied all the greats in literature both classic and contemporary. Supping up the works of Oscar Wilde, Jean Genet, George Orwell, William Burroughs, De Sade, Henry Miller, Hemmingway, Bukowski, William Kennedy, and many others. Instead of haunting comic book stores, I would sit for hours in libraries and book stores reading. I wrote my first novella (in longhand!) in a leather bound journal. I had concocted this horrible short story concerning a small person resembling a cross between Danny DeVito’s Penguin and The Babadook who terrorized and murdered small children in white suburbia – with illustrations! It was ghastly and extremely cinematic in the set up of scenes. I wish I still possessed a copy.
Still passionate about making films, I used this fodder of reading novels to pen screenplays which I sent to every studio I knew of. I never received any call backs. It did not slow me down, I wrote screenplay after screenplay all the while antedating when I would purchase my own film equipment and produce my own visual works.
It was about this time, while I trolled the cantinas of Tijuana on a nightly basis and indulging in all manner of decrepit excess, I found myself addicted to methamphetamines. Years passed and I began adopting some manner of mental psychosis. In lieu of the dope and lack of sleep combined with a toxic, hedonistic lifestyle, my mind was literally bursting with ideas and terrifying nostalgias. A coworker introduced me to the therapy of “blogging”, writing down my thoughts and problems and in trade expunging them from my head.
I titled the blog Borrowed Flesh from the first line of Naked Lunch, “I awoke from The Sickness at the age of forty-five, calm and sane, and in reasonable good health except for a weakened liver and the look of borrowed flesh common to all who survive The Sickness…” (Years later, I would be accused by some goofy bitch of lifting the title off her badly written zombie novel of the same name. Look, sweetie, if I’m going to steal, I’m stealing from the best) With the blog, I didn’t compose my thoughts per se, but focused on transcribing the idiosyncratic factors which seemed to pursue me on a daily basis. I had to admit, writing was soothing. I did feel better afterwards. In the beginning, no one read my tripe and that suited me just fine. Until a year passed and all of a sudden I became this underground literary hero being bombarded via email on all aspects of sordid Tijuana or the finer points of drug addiction. Back then, I penned this blog anonymously using the nom de plume Desolation Angel. I supped up the attention, as anyone would. The most common comment I would receive was the I Envy The Way You Live I Wish I Could Live Like You or a variation of it.
I would incessantly shake my head slowly and state, “No…no you wouldn’t. It’s terrifying. Truly terrifying.”
I made the decision no matter what I did, no matter what fate would fling at me, I was going to keep a painfully accurate account about it; writing with unashamed passion. Two decades later….here we are. During those years, I published nine novels and one tome of sickly poetry. I never dared read the reviews. My ego wouldn’t be able to handle it. I assume they are doing well, I still receive royalty checks. I rarely return emails yet the acclaim outweighs the negative critiques. I don’t care much for the limelight. The attention anymore. I simply want to be read. But, for one thing I can claim without fear of retribution is, I am a writer and a damn good one.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

memories like tears in the rain



Juarez City, Chihuahua. 1998. 11pm. Two years before the cartel wars.
A steamy Friday night. The reek of decaying garbage mixed with car fumes wafted along with the ever present banda blasting from every cantina from every shattered corner. Along Avenida Mariscal, the broken pavement was pregnant with late night revelers staggering past Day-Glo colored prostitutes and vomiting borrachos. A million neon signs illuminated animated faces of barkers who enticed the wary to enter their dens of questionable conduct. Every sin imaginable was hawked, every soul a potential victim.
In a dead end alley that scarcely saw the light of day, I readied myself in my furnished apartment. Showered, dressed, and shut the steel door behind me with such a loud clang it caused a dog to bark a block away. The air was warm and carried the ever present grit of desert dust that irritated your sinuses. I darted down the concrete stairs, past the all seeing eye of my landlady Maria. From the darkness of her doorway, she croaked, “Luis…a donde vas?” (Where are you going?)
A pasear…” (For a walk) I replied, striding toward the steel door entrance of the small complex.
Cuidado.” (Be careful) I heard as I opened the door and stepped out into the dusty alley bathed in dim yellow light from the one street lamp. Oh, Maria, I thought, she was not being nosey, she actually held concerned for the well-being of all her tenants…every junky, prostitute, madman, and homosexual writer who inhabited the twelve room dump. She didn’t judge.
I walked the two blocks over to Mariscal. I desired some sort of sexual contact and as so many that evening, I knew exactly where easy trade dwell.
I headed toward Burrito Row, an entire block offering one filthy stall after the other quick and cheap burritos haunted by vendors of sex from both genders and beyond. On one side of the short block, rows of smelly restaurants lined the broken concrete. Some offered dented and greasy metal tables to sit at, other simple rickety bar stools. The smells of refried beans, seared meat, and salsa competed with the pang of stale urine and unwashed feet. Adjacent to the cafés were rows of one story, red brick housing cubicles inhabited by prostitutes who stood at the dark doorways and beckoned with hooked finger or flashing silver teeth. On one corner lay Hotel Rex, the other Queen's Club where a gaggle of white shirt doormen, arms flailing and mouths opening and closing like landed fish. Especially when they caught sight of my sulky, white ass.
I ignored their calls and headed straight to Café Meny to shoot the shit with my good friend Antonio who manned the stall. Antonio was handsome beyond words. Married with a newborn baby girl, he once confided he too sold his ass to make rent “back in the day.” When he found out I was strictly gay, the sexual innuendo in our conversations was thick as tainted cheese. Alas, nothing came of that, but he was an enjoy to talk to and ogle. He realized that, too.
I said Hi, he said Hola and I order two burritos colorado, taking a seat on the frayed faux leather bar stool outside the soot and grease covered café. He asked for a cigarette and I passed one, lighting up myself. After casual convo and chomping down my cheap food, I turned and scoped out the menagerie of filth that occupied the popular area. Drag queens squealed and cooed bunched at a table, old fat men in Stetson hats and protruding bellies sat nursing bottles of Carte Blanc, as mariachis roamed through the throng offering brassy and melancholy ballads. The smell of marijuana blanketed the stench of the urine stained old woman sitting in a pile of week old garbage.
As Antonio assisted a group of teenagers out on dates, I languidly sat, biting the tip off of and sucking out the juices of a fat, grilled jalapeno. That’s when I saw him. I really couldn’t help it. He stood out in the sea of brown faces. Tall and fit, he was in his early twenties. A shock of shaggy, blond hair covered a handsome and clean cut face. He looked like he was more at home associating with his la croix team in rural American suburbia than meandering in this south of the border hell. And meander he did with the look of a lost, doe-eyed animal. He quickly passed the fey lifted eyebrow of many interested Hispanic faggot and transvestite alike and walked straight up to me.
“Excuse me, do you speak English?” He asked.
I dropped the stem of the now eaten jalapeno onto my dirty plate, “Fluently.” I croaked.
“Well, you know this area?”
“Know it? I live here. What are you looking for?”
“Yeah, well, I’m visiting.” He began, head held hang dog. He glanced up and down the sidewalk.  “I’m travelling from Florida, through El Paso to California and was wondering if you know anyone who could sell me some coke?”
“Coke? Cocaine?” I asked. I turned toward Antonio who was using a spatula to scrape rank grease and charred meat off the grill. “Yeah, sure. Antonio! This guy wants to buy some coke, know anyone?”
Antonio’s face remained blank as a poker dealers. “Si. I can get you some.”
Antonio wiped his hands on his filthy and frayed blue apron and stepped out of the stall. He called down to the gaggle of transvestites hookers loitering on the corner. “Senora!” He called. Several glanced over, their pan caked makeup faces slowly raised like animals sensing danger. He made eye contact with one and motioned for her to approach. “Oye! Jota, ven!
An enormous transvestite, who resembled Fred Flintstone in drag, clomped up and smiling, her blue sequined mini-dress was so tight over the corpulent form, I was afraid it would burst like can of biscuits at any moment. Face glistening in sweat and meth induced perspiration, she smiled hola and after pleasantries, Antonio explained the score. The tranny then reached into his blue sequined purse and fished out a small baggie of coke. She held it out in an upturned, pudgy palm.
“How much? The blond asked.
The tranny smiled a row of discolored teeth, “Fifty pesos.”
“How much is that?” The blond said.
“Five bucks.” I said. Five dollars was slightly more than fifty pesos, but I assumed the blue sequined monster needed to make a profit.
The deal was made out in front of God and the public without even a care. A stooped federale in shades stood in front of the doorway to Rex Billiards. He noticed what was going on, looked away. The blond turned to me and said, “Can I do this here?”
Antonio laughed, “No.”
“I live near here. We can do it at my place.” I offered.
“How far?” He asked. I could see in his handsome face his defenses were at full alert. Hell, I could be some deranged psychopath ready to feed on his corpse. Partially, that was true.
“A five minute walk.” I stated.
He agreed and we made our way through the gritty, dry heat. I saw no reason from pretense and asked, “By the way, what’s your name?”
He told me. It was Stephen or Mike or Eric. I could care less. As we made the turn up the dead end alley, I pointed to the decrepit looking building, “I live in there.”
Once in my dim apartment, he sat on the rickety bed as I offered two beers from the fridge. He used my end table to cut up three lines from the meager stash. I rolled up a twenty peso note and we inhaled the weak shit. Not much of a lift, but I am certain the idea was to scam the American tourist. It’s in the city charter.
He leaned back on the bed, propped up against the wall. My weary eye scanned his lithe form. My stomach tightened. At that moment, I fully understood Nosferatu’s angst when Harper cut his finger.
“Hey, man,” he began, “can you spot me a twenty so I can get some more?”
“Twenty? Twenty dollars?” I husked. I jerked my head toward the faint residue remaining on the end table, “This just cost you five. You planning on overdosing?”
“Well, I want to take some with me…”
Fuck it, I thought and said without any virtue of emotion or sympathy, “Look, I’ll give it to you but I need something in return. You let me suck your cock and it’s a deal.”
His face went slack and the light in his eyes died. He was used to this, obviously. Didn’t like it, but was definitely not unexperienced in these transactions. The look in his eyes stated scores of of similar occurrences had been made in every back room bar, truck stop, and cheap hotel across the Untited States.
“Sure…yeah…” He finally exhaled.
We returned to Burrito Row and copped a twenty. Returning to my lair, as soon as I closed the steel door, the blond peeled off his t-shirt and jeans in what seemed like one swift movement. He stood in the dank light in front of me. A lean and athletic body, tanned and hairless. He could had been a model, if he wasn’t a fucked up junkie.
“Before we do this, “He said, “I wanna take a bang first.”
“Certainly.” I said as I flopped onto the bed, propped up on my elbow.
He pulled something from his jeans and walked to the small bathroom. My eyes followed his well-formed ass and dangling genitalia like a lizard watching the course of an insect. From my vantage point, I watched him unwrap his works from a handkerchief – syringe, spoon, lighter. He had a problem locating a vein. When he was done, he lay down on the bed with a line of crimson trailing from the inner elbow to the elbow. He took a wad of tissue and wiped it away. A drop of blood formed on the hole in his arm.
“I always have trouble shooting this shit.” He said nonchalantly.
“Why don’t you simply snort it?”
“Shooting it is better.” He stated matter of factly as his green eyes glanced down to his crotch. “Wanna do this?”
Wordlessly, I moved in. I grabbed his floppy penis. Even soft, it was thick and long. Uncircumcised, odd for an American male. One hand held his penis while the other wove through light brown and trimmed pubes up along a washboard stomach. After some light work, he achieved a full erection and I sucked his cock. A few minutes later, he blew thick ropes of semen up across his abdomen. I rose, snatched a towel from the bathroom and handed it to him.
A long and uncomfortable silence followed. He had that guilty, sulky look on his face of when your mother found yellowed splotches on your underwear on laundry day, a look that he just committed an unmentionable sin and was caught. I took a swig of tepid beer as he wiped the offending matter off his golden colored torso. He threw the towel onto the floor.
“You have a smoke?” He finally asked in the dark stillness of the room.
We shared a cigarette and I slapped him the twenty dollar note after he wordlessly got dressed.
“I thought this was paid for already?” He asked slipping the crumpled note into his front pocket.
I took a drag, lay back, and blew a grey plume towards the soiled ceiling, “For the road.”
“Uh…thanks.” He said then asked how to get back to the border.
Since I lived on the second floor, I took him out to the landing and pointed to the International Bridge a few blocks away. He said goodbye and I watched him make his way down the alley and around the corner. From my viewpoint, I could see the entrance to the Mexican custom kiosks. I never saw him. Most likely he made his way toward Avenida Mariscal for more dope. I never saw him again, nor did I care to.

*post note: if any adventurous soul cares to travel to this locale and locate Burrito Row and surrounding diversions, it, sadly like so many other places I transcribe, no longer exists. After the cartel left - or at least toned down - the entire street was razed and eradicated. There is nothing there but empty dirty lots. a ver...

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Sunday, October 07, 2018

marsh mellow man

So, reality check. With the winter season rapidly approaching, I thought it would be nice to order some clothes from Amazon. One of the reasons was, I do not have a coat because I was supposed to go the the fucking tropics, so I never got around to getting one and had gave my good jacket away to my neighbor before I left Yuma. 
I recently joined Amazon's Prime membership and decided to take advantage of it. One of the items I purchased was a jacket. A little weary on buying clothes online (though the few I had purchased in the past, I was pleasantly satisfied), I read the reviews on said jacket and almost all the customers warned the jacket ran large, order a size smaller than you normally do. Fine, I thought and sent away for it. Positives? It arrived in two days and unboxing it, it looked great...until I put it on. The sleeves were just right, the cut and material I liked, but I had trouble zipping up the front. There was something in the way. Something created from the last two months I had not noticed from sitting around playing Fallout 4 all day. I have really gained weight. Now, you are probably saying, "Hey, fatso, just return it for a size larger." Well, smartass, I could orrrr purchase a gym outfit and go workout, using the goal to fit in the damn thing as an excuse to exorcise. Which I did today. Bought some sweats, tennis shoes, and joined a gym. So, there was that. Wobbled to the market and purchased fresh fruits and veggies - no bread, no meats, no sweets. I really need to get my shit together. I am turning into these marsh mellow shaped old men I see shuffling up and down the street petulant and dire wondering where their youth had gone.
What a fucking first world conundrum...


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

in a state of indecision


I have hit the inevitable crossroad. For the past three months I have been existing in a state of nothing but wait. Waiting for the months to drag by so as I can save sufficient amount of funds to purchase a couch, a comfortable bed, a state of the art television, a game system…all those little attributes which make the foundation of a nice home livable. After three months of this, the only outcome I have achieved is boredom and an expanding girth.
I know no one in this city and really have not attempted to connect with any the locals. The very few I have made contact with are mean and insufferable. Bitter and conniving. However, my logic being, let me get my affairs in order and then I will socialize with my ilk so as I can have an apartment I am proud of to show off to people I most likely won’t give a damn about. So, I remain at home, playing video games and writing absurd memes via Facebook or twitter to a dead audience. Online, the few people whom I do lovingly associate with (all travelers of various ages) broadcast their lives from Viet Nam, Peru, Mexico City and various other exciting and wayward locales. I sit in my uber modern apartment granted by the powers of fate and watch their updates in downright jealousy. Angry, depressed jealousy at that.
I have even stopped writing purely out of boredom. I began a novel, but lost interest. And writing? The sole passion that kept me sane over these crazy decades? The neglecting of updating in this blog confirms that. But, what ferments my fear of remaining and making this my home? What reigns in the decision of not simply continuing on travelling? Two major reasons, really. Firstly, it is my age and health. I am getting old and my health is waning, so that puts me in mind to stay put and live out my remaining years within this tomb. It is a tomb. My neighbors are all doting elderly and continue to drop off like flies – a week does not pass when someone isn’t being courted off in a body bag. It is depressing when you are faced with your inevitable outcome. Secondly, as you may or may not know, I receive a monthly supplement. It is enough to live comfortably off of, to be certain, however it is not permanent. Sort of. I am evaluated once every three years to see if I am still insane. I am certain, one day, it will be taken away. Then what? Work? I have not worked in over a decade…what am I going to do? In that, who the fuck would hire me? I know I wouldn’t.
So, the decision which hangs over my head like the proverbial sword of Damocles is this: Do I remain here in the constant paranoia of perhaps returning to the streets when this is all snatched away, becoming one of those shoddy old souls you see pushing his meager possessions down the streets in a cart or do I leave and experience all the crazy that I crave out in this wonderful and relentlessly cruel world?
The way I lived, the way I enjoy living, I understand is an outmoded construct. I am a dinosaur. Even among the gays I am considered somewhat of a pariah. Twisted and evil was what I was called recently in lieu of my books. No longer is the homosexual of today the pillar of free thinking or progressively different from the norm, this new generation has become the very thing that we attempted to differ ourselves from; they are now hateful and overtly judgmental. Especially among each other. Everyone is so divided...my time here in the states...fear, fear of doing what i want has been placed in my mind. I remember there was a time when I wasn't afraid to do or go anywhere. Is this what getting old is supposed to be like?
I am getting off track. I believe if I am to continue to live, I need to follow my passions and not preoccupy myself with accumulating material possessions.
Typing this out, I believe I have my answer…

Saturday, September 01, 2018

tucson city blues


I wish meeting guys in real life was as easy as it is for heterosexuals. I want to go into a coffee shop and write my number on a napkin without it being weird. I want to bump into someone on the street by accident and it be love at first sight. This internet culture gives me the green light when it comes to sexuality. Profiles tell me which males are gay. I wish I had the courage to effortlessly flirt. I wish I could go into a normal public space and pick up a guy. I have to travel a distance to a gay bar just to find someone similar to me while my friends get to go almost anywhere. I’m sick of staring at a phone when I just want to connect with another human being in the flesh.
Then again, perhaps I am feeling my age. Five months here in the states and, don’t get me wrong, I am living the exact opposite as far as standards of living goes, but the loneliness is unbearable. The solitude. I simply cannot connect with anyone of this culture. Though half of me wants to shut down all this wayward wandering in exotic locals down and retire, the other half screams fuck it go! go! go!
I have become to feel so alien here in this uber modern high rise I dwell in. I keep myself busy writing or playing video games or producing moronic posts on the internet, or plotting what next piece of swanky modern furniture I will purchase next. And yet, I feel so empty…so void. Is this what getting old is all about? The devistating finality of sitting alone in a souless apartment and living and reliving past experiences? This blog, after over a decade of spilling my guts, has lost its luster. Everything is at a standstill. And frankly, it scares the shit out of me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Thursday, August 02, 2018

new words; new work


Ten miles west of Las Cruces on a stretch of desolate highway, Stephen Foster began to realize hitchhiking was not as alluring as portrayed in romantic anecdotes he had read in those beat novels from the 1950’s. An adventure, he supposed, yet a negligible one at best. Definitely in no way an inspirational form of art. He came to the dire conclusion hitchhiking was more an act of reckless freeloading. Borderline parasitic. Even so, it was a decision he purposefully opted into and as Charles Bukowski once wrote, If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.
The sky radiated a brilliant cloudless blue of a late September common to the Great American Southwest. Whispers like the sound of long dead Indians and the forgotten frontiersmen who exterminated them, the ever present wind hissed across a seemingly endless prairie of yellowed and desiccated scrub. A monotonous and otherwise flat landscape was broken with an occasional tilted power pole or rusted billboard splashed with faded advertisements of by-gone products. The glaring sun beat down on the two-lane black strip of lonely highway stretching both east and west. A stunningly panoramic horizon of low-slung biscuit colored buttes to shimmered in the rising heat.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

quick...

white flash...mangled insect screams...
I woke up with the taste of metal in my mouth back from the dead.
         trailing the colorless death smell
         afterbirth of a withered grey monkey
         phantom twinges of amputation...
"Taxi boys waiting for a pickup," Eduardo said and died of an overdose in Madrid...
         Powder trains burn back through pink convultions of tumescent flesh...
         set off flash bulbs of orgasm...pinpoint photos of arrested motion...
         smooth brown side twisted to light a cigarette...
He stood there in a 1920 straw hat somebody gave him...soft mendicant words falling like dead birds in the dark street...
"No...no more...no mas..."
A heavy sea of air hammers in the purple brown dusk tainted with rotten metal smell of sewer gas...young worker faces vibrating out of focus in yellow halos of carbide lanterns...broken pipes exposed...
"They are rebuilding the City."
Lee nodded absently..."Yes...Always..."
Either way is a bad move to The East Wing...
If I knew I'd be glad to tell you...
"No good...no bueno...hustling myself..."
"No glot...C'lom Fliday"
Tangier, 1959

Saturday, July 28, 2018

me? i'm nobody



In the dry desert heat, I ambled across the street toward a 24 hour café near the old Greyhound station. I found the neon lit, brown brick restaurant relatively empty. I entered the diner dizzy with heat and loss and despair and made my way to the counter. The café was small, offering four worn leather booths running along a set of large plate glass windows dirty streaked with soot that looked out into dark and empty streets. Along the counter were beige faux leather stools (the leather cracked and peeling) bolted to the checkered tiled floor. Along the walls were tacked hundreds of amateurishly designed garage band flyers and invitations to local art shows. The café was occupied by a middle-aged and obese couple who were poured into a booth and a tall, read headed guy who sat at the counter staring perplexingly at the television set mounted to the wall over the cash register.
I sat at the counter and ordered a cup of coffee from a sullen, green-haired waitress with a nose ring. Following a news clip of four police officers violently beating a Latino homeless man with batons, the image switched to an arthritis medication ad.
“If you think Arbitol is right for you, consult your physician.” The images displayed smiling elderly frolicking in a pastoral park as a calm voice rapidly stated, “People who have used Arbitol have noticed the swelling of legs, hands and feet; capillary leak syndrome; fever; muscle pain; unusual bruising; dizziness, blurry vision; rash; hives; blisters; nervous system and blood disorders; lymphoma; swollen tongue; dry mouth; weight gain; inability to fight infections; nausea, diarrhea; constipation; depression; dehydration; suicidal thoughts, and death.”
Gawddamn! After all that shit, who the fuck would wanna take any?” Spat the red haired man sitting next to me. In his late thirties, dressed in Levi’s and a plaid shirt, he sported a dull orange mullet and his face and arms were covered in freckles.
“Old people with arthritis problems, I assume.” I mumbled as I tore open a sugar packet and emptied it into my coffee.
“Buncha bullshit.” The man snarled as he scrapped his fork in the sloppy remains of egg yolk. “Everything in this fucking country is designed to snatch up what little money you got.”
I took a sip of my coffee and chided, “It’s fear. Fear is the most valuable commodity on this planet. Look on the TV. What do you see? People selling only products? Nope. They’re selling the fear of having to live without their products. Fear of aging, fear of loneliness, of poverty...of failure. Fear is the single most basic emotion we have. And most importantly, fear sells.”  
The man slowly glanced over at me, ticking particles of food from his teeth with a serpentine tongue. His stare was both predatory and ominous. Gray eyes of a dead animal. Frowning puzzledly, he sighed, “What are you? Some kinda fucking intellectual?”
“Me? Nah…I’m nobody.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

"where my free shit?"


I have lived in abject poverty. I am perfectly aware how dire life can become when you hit rock bottom and I mean rock bottom when all options have been depleted and there are only two avenues you can follow: either change your situation or die. Now, this can apply to many things: addiction (all levels), mental stability, and/or financial stability.
With that being said, I’d like to focus on what happened earlier today. I went to change over my mailing address to my new apartment from the building where, if you are homeless one can receive a multitude of services…all free of charge and receiving mail is one of them. As I stood patiently in line among the insane and unwashed, there was an obese bull dyke on a phone apparently abusing her underpaid caseworker. That wouldn’t had bothered me until she snarled, “I want the things from you that I am entitled to!” In which I casually turned to her and stated, “Lady, you aren’t entitled to anything. Not one damn thing. These people don’t have to do anything for you.”
“Why don’t you mind your own business?” She snapped at me.
“Since you decided to yell and include everyone in you dilemma, you obviously made it my business!” I stated.
“Fuck you!” She barked.
“Nope. It is you who are obviously fucked.”
She rose red faced and faux hyper-ventilating, “I need someone to talk to! I need to calm down! This fucker….this fucker can’t talk to me like that!”
I sighed, “Look, lady, I’m not your therapist. Pay me $250 an hour and I’ll tolerate any asinine bullshit you can spill forth and then tell you all is okay. But, you don’t, so I’m not.”
Eventually, a case worker whisked her outside and I finished my business and left.
On the walk downtown, I was approached by an elderly woman. In a timid tone she asked, “Could you help me? I need food for me and my kids…could you spare anything?”
I explained calmly to her I just left staying at a shelter (her attitude dissipated quickly) and when I informed her of the family services provided at the Primavera Foundation (food, clothing - all free), she mumbled okay or something else dismissive and sulkily walked away.
That and that alone is why I never assist anyone in this country. For one, I know for a fact that the homeless or near homeless in The United States receive benefits free of charge that would be envious of anyone in other countries who work and toil for their meager possessions. As a matter of fact, years ago when I resided at the St. Vincent de Paul shelter in San Diego, during their lunch a kid from Central America was appalled and shocked at the amount of food wasted by the clients who ate – for free – in the cafeteria. His comment being the amount tossed into the garbage could feed the people in his village for an entire year.
The homeless of America – generally – are spoiled and over privileged. They believe they are irrefutably entitled to all free benefits and do become quite irate when those benefits; i.e. food, financial, or housing – are not provided at the given moment requested. They expect everything without any effort to work on the situation themselves. Please recall, I lived among them and witness this time and time again, so save your ignorant comments.
I for one will never assist anyone down and out in this country unless I knew them personally. There are far too many organization who will assist with food, housing, clothing, employment, among many other things most people take for granted.
As I have mentioned, I have lived in other countries and witnessed unassisted poverty at its most insidious. Most, and I refer to most and not all, Americans are in it for the short con…I ought to know, I did it for decades…

Thursday, July 19, 2018

the bad touch



The bar itself was out of the way, I mean, it was downtown, but hidden. Located in a dusty, cobble-brick alley from the main strip. For me that worked, I didn’t particularly care to be around a bunch of loud tourists…or students, for that matter. I ducked into the door, a battered, metal one plastered with flyers of bands no one ever heard of and after my eyes adjusted to the dank I took a seat at the counter.
The bar was small. The counter itself only offered about six or seven chrome stools bolted to the concrete floor. There were four booths lined along the opposite side of the bar. A large, dusty plate glass window shrouded in dead neon tubes. The bartender, a flabby, balding middle aged man with a ponytail, attended to a group of four University students who sat at the end corner of the bar.
I ordered a beer as I scanned the dank room for a familiar face. Nothing. Everyone I hung with previously in this town, where did they all go? An abrupt wave of alienation surged over me. An absolute feeling of being severed from the human condition.
I took a napkin and began jotting down notes for the novel I was working on. I made no eye contact with the group of raucous male students as I sipped my beer. Heaven forbid I get wrapped up with the Are You A Writer/What Are You Writing crowd. To be sure, conversations of that ilk don’t unsettle me, but at that moment in time, I simply wanted to drink, not to be bothered.
On the second bottle, I was approached by a scraggy little lad in baseball cap and worn jeans who apparently stumbled in from the heat. Shaggy, black hair fell out from beneath the cap and cascaded down over much of his dark, Native American features. Short but skinny, he obviously was poor and undoubtedly lived either on the streets or South Tucson. He was actually ruggedly handsome, but already intoxicated. The group of white, male students scowled at him in derision. He wasn't bothering anyone from what I could tell. I saw him as simply another guy out for a drink and managing with his life’s hardships like anyone else, through alcohol. I sighed, glancing at the students. People can be such hypocritical shits.
As I stated, he approached me and slurred timidly if I was German. I smirked and said no, I was American. He never asked, which was a plus, but I chose to drink with this guy, who said his name was Stephen. He was twenty-two and worked parking cars in a parking lot. For almost nothing, he sustained off of the meager tips from washing the vehicles and guarding them against thieves who have a habit of stealing license plates and selling them. He stated he wasn't queer and actually never had sex with a man. Leering at me he smiled that tonight he might want to change that. I laughed and said calm down tiger or some stupid shit in a vain attempt to be coy.
Noticing my scribblings on napkins, Stephen asked what I did for a living. I mumbled, "A writer."
"A writer?!" He snatched a napkin off the bar and plucked a pen from his pocket. "I don't believe you. Write something."
I smirked, grabbed the pen and scrawled out, "His eyes were stone. Sadness. Yet a spark rose from the ashes with a sudden burst of lust that was likely to drive a man mad. He eyed me as he ran his fingers gently back and forth across the stubble on his chin. His mouth was slightly open, his lips plump and soft, with a glint as though he had just ran his tongue across them. He wanted something. Actually, he wanted it all. And one day he would have it."
He glared at the scribbles and said in mock surprise, “Oh no! That’s about me?! It’s good, though.” As he folded the napkin and placed it in his front pocket, we both burst into laughter and more beer was ordered.
Things were going good and pleasant until Stephen threw up. Right there at the bar. A cascading flow of pinks and yellows splattered onto the cigarette butt littered tile. The students and the bartender reprimanded him as Stephen stumbled back into the mensroom.
After a bit, the bartender snarled at me, "Go check on your friend."
I rose and when I entered the toilet, I found Stephen passed out in the urinal. After a couple of are you all rights, I succeeded in pulling the young man out. Unfortunatly, a student witnessed this and repoted this fiasco to the management. Thanks, snitchy.
The bartender behind the bar ordered the young man out. Two of the students grabbed the lanky lad and tossed him out on the street. I followed them to the curb and picked Stephen up out of the gutter, handing him his cap.
“I want to go home.” He said, wobbling.
“I’ll walk you to your bus stop.” I stated.
“This late? Not running. I need a cab.”
Thoughts of dragging this lad to my house and doing all sorts of nasty things flashed through my head. Literally using his anatomy as my own personal amusement park. But, I digress. I am not a monster. I agreed to find a taxi to take him back to South Tucson. One surly fucker stated eighty dollars and before I had time to protest, Stephen climbed into the back of the cab. I handed the smirking jerk of a driver four twenty dollar bills (all I had left), waved goodbye to Stephen and headed back home.
3:26am. I exhale a breath and look around at the still buildings where I see darkness and light. I bet most people are in bed right now sleeping or reading a book or novella while some people are on the phone, watching the television or maybe there’s a few in love couples lying beside each other carrying on a conversation while sleep beckons for them and the smile and voice of the other encourages them to continue to ignore the sleep.
I walk the long, lonely way. Nothing out on these dark streets. Not a soul. I feel the beat tide of depression consume me. I seriously do not know what to do...