I'm so sorry...
Saturday, December 26, 2009
A report from within the mish as it is happening while it is happening which is rare. I have to get it out of my system because I am suffering from a rather severe anxiety attack at the moment.
Saturday night. 6:40pm. Just came out of the lavatory. White tiled floor a swampy muddy mess of soiled toilet tissue and gritty black grime. Toilet handle smeared in light brown feces while I tried to use it to urinate. Large thick deposit floating in water. Nice. Just had dinner. It was slop, anyway. Turkey soup. Ever since Thanksgiving - with the abundance of donated turkeys, it has been turkey everything. The heater does not work in the dorm, so there is a constant chill. My feet and hands have been cold all day. I wonder if the folks that donate all their money to the mission ever realize it is pilfered into the pockets of the staff - never ever used for the good of the shelter. Too bad. This building is rotting to pieces. The lavatory is a constant biological hazard, the showers hardly has hot water, winter is halfway over and there has been no heat, and don’t get me started on the bed bug infestation in which the director Blake Barrow seems to care little about. (It’s been a four year problem and counting!)
The building should really be condemned. Recently, the mission sent out a newsletter and I thought how funny and overly exaggerated it was. They really don’t help anyone here. Sure, they give you a bed from the cold - however, it seems the whole point is not to help you up - as at other shelters - but, to keep you down and in a state of medicated submission.
Around me, men eat, talk, yell, fart, sleep, cough, watch their personal DVD’s, listen to their radio’s, stand around staring at nothing, most just lay in their bunks waiting for time to slip away. Most are worthless, filthy, annoying shits.
Seriously…I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
It was bitterly cold and we stood in a circle under silver clouds passing under a dark navy sky full of stars. Two trains roared on either sides - great monsters of steam and metal - one going to Tucson, the other to San Antone. Our stomachs were warm from the thin potato soup that was just served for chow. Near our shivering forms, huddled in knots, men stood in dirty coats - collars turned up in a vain attempt to thwart the vile wind - smoking, spitting, coughing, talking. All black shadows in the dim lamps of the shelter.
In our group stood Gabriel, a Native American from Chicago with a baritone voice, red skin and the classic schnoz common to his race, Phil from New York, stout, portly, and distinct Bronx accent - Gabriel had given him the moniker 'Phil McKraken', funny if you say it fast - myself, shoulders up to my ears, cigarette hanging from lips, hands in coat, tottering from foot to foot in the dry, cold air, Jose, weaselly little Mexican good with card tricks, always craving attention, and Greg - 20 year old ex-Army heartthrob who at meeting him I do realise I must keep my control. Can't go overboard like William Wiggins.
Gabriel pulls out a small flask of whiskey and passes it around. All accepts except Jose. Burns going down, but warms the stomach. We goof and joke and share stories as the trains continue to rumble.
Off to my right and into the shadows a drunk potbellied hobo screams above the cacophony of passing metal, "So, at lunch this old fucker with a walker asks me ta git him some coffee so's I go and gets him some coffee and he pours the coffee out and says to go and gets me some juice and I tells the old fucker to go fuck himself - what am I his fuckin' waiter?!!" Him and his buddies burst into laughter.
I look around at the huddled masses and these people have nothing and the fact is I have nothing but tonight it is the night before Christmas and we are more or less happy because we have the compadreship of each others company and that is something.
I excuse myself and walk into the day room - silent catatonic figures sit watching television, smells of soiled clothes, unwashed bodies, urine, feces, rotten food assault my nostrils - up the hall into the dorm, den of chatter, radios competing with personal DVD players, coughing, spitting, random farting.
At my bunk, I down my psychotropic medications, don my pyjamas and fall into another night of troubled sleep.
Merry Christmas, Dear Reader -
From the Darkness of Despair
From the Insidiousness of Insanity
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Sitting in the bright ass Texan sun with a hangover trying to patch together the kaleidoscope of images from last night. I squat on a low brick wall in an alley downtown - Camel Wide in one hand, tall boy in the other - the small menudo gurgling in my stomach. Lying nearby, Robert snores in the shade of a saguaro bush. I lean over - bleeech! I stare down at my steaming vomit. Oh yeah, now I remember...
For being good trustees at the mish, Robert and I scored night passes and hit the bars. All dolled up we, we jumped the bus and headed downtown. The first place we hit was Po-Po's - an old joint with the bathroom downstairs where you could smell shit and piss and vomit wafting up through the floor boards from the past fifty years. We got ourselves a booth and ordered two pitchers and scoped out the place. Jukebox wailed country and ranchero, crowded with bikers, cholos, excons, drunks, junkies, b-girls, barflies - all you'd expect from a dive of this sort and I was eating it up.
Robert and I talked and laughed and had two more pitchers each - he was smiling at this fat bitch and I was making eye contact with this Mexican farm worker, all was going great.
I excused myself and took a leak. The bathroom was rancid. A large brown turd floated in the toilet as I pissed and no matter how I closed my eyes and turned away, the smell punched me in the nostrils. Even when I flushed, that disgusting fucker wouldn't go down!
When I got back to our booth, Robert was in some animated confrontation with a scrawny tattooed cholo - there was some shouting, some shoving then whack! The cholo went skidding across the filthy bar floor. He jumped up like a jack rabbit, but a friend held him back.
Robert roared, "C'mon, motherfucker, start some more shit!"
The owner asked us to leave. Out we went, both drunk - one crazily excited and one Mexican behemoth madder'n hell. So, we hit the Tap and relaxed with beer and a game of pool until screwy yet handsome rentboy Stevie shows up. Eating all my nachos and in the john teasing me with his flaccid penis. In the stall see, says I can have my way with him. And I do. Right through mid suck he pulls out and scampers out back to the pool game leaving me leaning aginst tiled wall laughing and frustrated.
After more beer, us three decide to stumble over to bar Sante Fe for more kicks in this no where night. On the corner of Stanton and Mills stood Tralala and her fairies in the dark cold like a brood of vultures. She took a shine to Robert, so I invited her along.
Tralala - how to describe that? If you took Marilyn Monroe and shoved her under a fountain for ten minutes, what came gasping up for air would be Tralala.
With it's sagging asbestos roof, and spotted mildew carpet, and the smell of a thousand beer farts, the Sante Fe at least had good music on the Juke Box. And the clientele just don't give a shit.
We drank and drank and talked and laughed. The alcohol really started taking effect. Talala met this short old man with one arm named Roy that started buying whiskey shots for our table. Robert - that titanic Mexican pig fucker fell out of his chair and was a bitch to pick up again, Tralala was sitting next to Roy cooing and giggling, playing with his hair, Stevie was popping boners at me left and right, going outside smoking my smokes - us sneaking in the toilet stall - standing behind him, jacked him off twice - damn you, Stevie - and us closed down the bar.
We all - and I mean all - pile into Roy's Fiat and spin out to a Waffle House and made a drunken ass scene that upset old Roy and I don't blame him especially when Robert grabbed the waitress' ass, I asked the busboy if he had a big cock and literally goosing him, Stevie stealing shit off the table, and Tralala kept standing up pulling the panties out of her ass, and at one point his penis flips out.
Roy excused himself to the bathroom and never came back. Robert and I did the same. As the sun crept over the frosty El Paso Franklin mountains, we stumbled down Mesa Avenue for breakfast of good menudo hoping Stevie and Tralala had funds to pay that outrageous bill...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Went to Juarez yesterday. Old boy had changed. It was like once long ago you had a sexy lover - had a lot of good kicks, you separate and after a few years you meet up again and that person had degenerated into a disgusting obese slob hard on the eyes.
Well, crossed the bridge that spanned the Rio and first thing noticed the bomberos were missing (The old fire station - use to stand and watch the hot firemen play soccer) walked down Juarez Ave. military solders stood four deep AK-47 strapped to the hip on every corner - looked like Nazi occupied France. Not one taxi asked me for a lift, not one vendor called me to enter their shop - it was...weird. The streets were teeming with pedestrians - life was continuing, but, the tension was there - fear was there.
Made my way to Plaza las Armas and sat on the cathedral's steps a good two hours smoking and bombarded by millions and millions of memories. Had a lot of good kicks in this town - but, not anymore. The vibes are gone - it's just not the same. It's all moved on.
Crossed the Plaza, around the corner and sat unbearably alone in the emptiness of Bar Buen Tiempo. Sipping my caguama Sol, I recollected when this place was jumping with rentboys and the men that chased them. Now, I sat alone in the darkened bar with the bored fat waitress picking her nose, staring at the clock.
I finish my beer and cut. I buy my contact lenses and make my way stateside. Standing in the cue at customs, I think, Juarez - how sad. It has truly become like it's sister city El Paso. A dead museum.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Woke up at 3am amid farting and snoring of one hundred sleeping hobos. I slipped my feet into my plastic shower shoes and put on my coat and shuffled outside to smoke a non filtered Camel. The sky - the sky was fulla stars! Beautiful! Finished, shivered and came back inside.
I sat in the lobby - suffering from insomnia that I was - and and chatted with Carlos,who was the graveyard reception - a retard, but pleasant.
Speaking of retards, resident wingnut (one of them) named Jackie Young came clopping up to reception. He asked to me in his distinctive country twang, "You know all thar is about that thar Medicare, don'tcha?"
"Yer all smartalleckey about it ain'tcha?"
"Well, I don't want nuthin tadoo bout no Medicare till they cover these particulars..."He held up four Vienna sausage fingers.
"They don't cover that."
"They don't cover that."
"Chocolate chip cookies."
"They don't cover that."
"Definitely not them!"
He turns on his heels and walks away as if the conversation never happened. I recalled a few months ago, receiving a notice on how Medicare stopped covering optics and dental. I looked up at Carlos.
"You know, Carlos, I wish I took advantage of Medicare when they still covered eye..." I stumbled on the word.
"Ice cream?" Carlos stated.
I chuckled, "Shut up!"
5:30am eventually rolls around and the mission woke its lazy ass up. I trudge to the filthy mildew crusted shower splattered with phlegm and feces and half ass wash myself the best I can. However, I am feeling it today. The good doctor has put me on some new medication and I am slightly over medicated. Feeling pretty warm and fuzzy. So, I invited an acquaintance of mine for a bowl of menudo downtown.
However, he had other motives, which were fine by me.
The guy's name was Robert - a huge brute that I had known off and on over the years from the mission. He was thirsty and decided to go bar hopping.
After a great bowl of menudo at a restaurant called cafe Mimi's, we hit the bar Rafa's down by the border. A local dive - packed with an assortment of local barfly's, losers, drunks - we fit in. Met some goofy goober named Larry, kept saying I looked liked the comedian Drew Carey. I don't see it.
On the way to the next bar, ran into fucking William Wiggins and family. Saw his newborn son - cute. Got his ears. Joked that I could throw the kid like a football across the Rio Grande, he'd do a loopdeloop and come giggling back. I thought it was funny, William did not.
Next up, bar Sante Fe. I found that if you are in a redneck hillbilly shitkicker bar and right after a string of country ass ranchero songs had just played, you do not - I repeat do not - play Queen's Flash. Did not go over well. And I am talking pool cue waving anger. But, played Santana's Oye Como Va afterwards, so the natives calmed downed.
Speaking of natives, was joined by an Indian named Gabriel and us three got shit faced - pretty much stumbled to every fucking back alley dive in downtown El Paso.
At Popo's - a certain bar of insidious reputation where young toughs con old men out of their pensions - this goddamn cholo got uppity during a game of pool and Robert smacked him across the back of the head with a pool cue. Well, the cops were called and we were asked to leave and actually barred from one of the scummiest dives in El Paso. Fuck it. We stumbled down the darkening streets with much backslapping and hooting and howling, knowing at that moment, we were kings of the world...
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
He sat out back with that look of bewildered lost so common to young hobos. That What The Fuck? face. I sat on the bench next to him - wood worn smooth as China plates from the asses of a million tramps offering a cigarette to this lost angel. He refused, don't smoke.
He wore your basic hip hop gear over a well built frame - his torso long and slightly lanky. A masculine jaw with classic movie star looks. But, his hair - that jet black mop atop his asymmetrical head - was styled into some goth quaff that resembled a dead tarantula. I was stunned by his looks, because he was so stunning - that is until he opened his mouth. Poor lad was nuttier than squirrel shit.
But, we hit it off - chatted the afternoon away. Walked the nearby park in the frozen night talking of pleasant things.
He confided how he was shacking up with some old troll and how he loathed said pervert. I nodded at intervals, agreeing, and giving advice of common sense in which the boy lacked. We walked to the convenience store and bought a few beers - returning to the park and guzzling that bounty.
A couple of hobo's sniffed out the booze and invited themselves to drink. Why not - more the merrier, right?
However, after finishing our beers (okay, the beers that I bought) we were asked by the two intruders if we wanted to go party at their camp. I said nah.Tarantula walks off into the night to El Stinko's and Old Squinty's camp under the freeway leaving me under that ominous moon.
Oh well, I thought, no big whoop. I just returned to the mish and lay on my bunk editing poems amid the cacophony of yelping obnoxious transients.
Two hours pass and down the hall there is all this commotion and yelling. Gossip spread that someone was stabbed.
I walked down the hall pass the back entrance, following drops of fresh vivid red blood to the front reception offices. Sitting in a chair was Tarantula - his face split on the right cheek -actually dangling off, exposing teeth and gore - he held his left side, a large red blotch under his white and yellow polo shirt.
"They fuckin' stabbed me!" He kept sobbing - his eyes bloodshot and shrink wrapped in tears.
I stare in cool apathy as moments later EMS and a shit load of cops arrive. Tarantula is whisked away - catatonic, in stupefied shock - as thuggish cops comb area and neighboring tramp camps.
I returned to my bunk and continued my editing...