A bus was boarded and after a year of numbing comfort - El Paso has become a double exposed memory. Transfixed on the monochrome landscape of New Mexico it saddened me to think I was leaving a place that I would be missing no one. A year of my life has been wasted. And yet, I traveled to a destination with high anxiety - my mind has been altered. Will I be able to cope? Have I changed so much that that lifestyle I gave up a year ago will spit me out and I am doomed to live in mental institutions?
A brief stop in the gray frozen waste of Demming - desolate and colorless - a lone Mexican sat huddled in his meager coat in a futile attempt outside the McDonalds to brave the biting winds - nibbled stale fries - wonder if he shared the same consternations that I did. He looked so sad and forlorn. Several hours later - I had to share a seat with a smelly drunk named Lloyd who went into explicit detail of all his girlfriends in Montany...nearly passed out from his halitosis - was relieved when he disembarked on our four hour layover in Phoenix.
And I hate Phoenix. Every time I traveled there I have experienced bad luck. Psycho was filmed there - twice. This time I was cruised by a blond strung out teen aged speed freak in the men's room - he dropped out when an old codger came in and the coot decided to pick up where the speed freak left off.
Long hours later - had watery eyes of relief as San Diego crept into view. Salty clear air of the sea assailed my nostrils. Clean modern streets - skyline pleasing to the eye! I immediately left the Greyhound station and took the trolley to the border. clikclakclikclakclikclak. My heart was in my throat. The millennium arch rose in the distant - I got that feeling like when you meet an old lover you haven't seen in a long time and you know you are going to have sex again.
Cross the border. You are past the frontier where all the Aztec pitchmen and Mayan street peddlers, chilango quick con artists of the world spread out their goods. Old pushers, embittered by years of failure, mutter through the endless grey lanes of junk amok with a joint (i.e., a syringe), shooting the passerby. The tourist is torn to pieces by Short-Change hypes fight over pieces. Candy Colored Neon tubes glow in the blood of the world. Everyone clear on the shit house wall stand out in white flames of a burning city.
Find a taxi libre and to Hotel Balem - $15 a night joint. Old lesbian shows me to my third floor trap - cockroaches scatter as she cliks on the light and I say gracias - take the keys throw my gear on the red tiled floor. I lay down on the hard bed and sigh. Too excited to sleep, I hit the streets and head to the Plaza. I am looking for a certain rent boy - my favorite rent boy at that. If Saul is working tonight - Plaza Santa Cecilia will be his lurking grounds. When the actor John Leguizamo was young and if he was a hustler - Saul and him would've been twins.
Standing with hip hooked under the lamppost by the McDonald's and sucking on a Baby Ruth so nasty I find said Saul - skinny and tall with big shiny shades and yellow scarf - he sees me and bounds to me like a gazelle flinging arms and legs around me. Laughter, kisses, hugs. I see Saul and the sparks deep in his eyes - he is on.
“Where you been?”
"Tejas? Por Que?"
I shrugged. He grabs me and pinches my stomach.
“And you got a little fat. But we fix that quick."
We walk over and take a seat at cafe El Norteno and have a couple of hot coco's. As foreign and local faggotry whips past us to the various clubs, bars and bath houses - the nights evil sodomy begins to blossom, we update each other on what ever happened to so and so and Saul really know what happened to so and so and I can't take it no more with his little pencil moustache and short black curly hair and amber eyes and slim frame and I close my eyes and when I open them we are on my hotel bed fucking like hyperactive porn stars. Sweaty. Breathless. Painful. Beautiful. Hot. And hour passes, we lay there, covered in each others semen and sweat - he goes limp inside of me. Cleaning up, we share a Lucky and Saul asks if I wanta come to a party. Yeah. Wouldn't you? - and we go out into the clear brisk night with the big orange moon...
All the streets of the city slope down between deepening canyons to a vast, triangle-shaped plaza full of darkness. Walls of street and plaza are perforated by crumbling dwelling cubicles and cafes, some a few feet deep, others extending out of sight in a network of rooms and corridors, hidden by mist and steam - smells of beans, seared meat, mota, and shit. Catatonic emaciated whores stand gray and whithered in the doorless diseased cubicles of Death – beckoning with flashes of silver teeth. Salsa music wails – cops stand with ominous sneer and truckload of them rumbles by kicking up dust with the screams of the prey wail in anguish – drunk loud Americans stumble groped by transsexual deviants of all sorts - Americans need it special. Squatting on old bones and excrement and rusty iron, in a white blaze of heat, a panorama of naked idiots stretches to the horizon.
Oh there’s tequila and vomiting in the streets and the groans under heaven, spattered angel wings covered with pale blue dirt of heaven – angels in hell we, our wings huge in the dark. Entering an apartment building dark and sinister like you don't know, we travel down feces ranked hallways - the green walls flake like sclerosis. We come into a garden in the middle of the building with an opening to the sky. Then I see ten, maybe eight other people all milling around the corners with spoons and matches – all of them junkies, that rugged tenderness, those rough and suffering features covered gray sick slick – the eyes alert, the mouth alert, hat, suit, watch, spoon, heroin, working swiftly at shots. Everybody is shooting up.
Saul grabs two beers and introduces me to faces I don't wanna know but he does and then to
Tonoch - the head of this debauchery. Short, obviously queer and in his mid-forties - though junkies always hide their age. There was no mistaking the neurotic hostility in his eyes, the fear and hate of life. He sat there in his black uniform nakedly revealed as the advocate of death. A business man without the motivation of avarice, cancerous activity sterile and blighting. Fanaticism without fire or energy exuding a musty odor of spiritual decay. Tenoch looked sick and dirty - though I guess he was clean enough actually - with a suggestion of yellow teeth, unwashed underwear and psychosomatic liver trouble. I wonder what his sex life would be.
Tenoch is blind from shooting in the eyeball, his nose and palate eaten away sniffing heroin, his body a mass of scar tissue hard and dry as wood. He can only eat the shit now with that mouth, Tenoch surrounded himself with pretty junky boys - they prowl him like aroused Tom Cats. Tenoch had the expression of a masturbating idiot. The man wants to touch these kids – young faces in the blue alcohol flame, invaded, possessed by the Substance…Tenoch sits eating the young blood, his face in the blue flicker cruel and sated and sexless, Aztec Earth Mother, Priest and Agent of Junk…
Life is a dream in which the same person may appear at various times in various roles. Saul approaches with two syringes and a spoon. Trace a line of goose pimples up a thin young arm. Slide the needle in and push the bulb watching the junk hit him all over. Move right in with that shit and suck junk through all the hungry young cells. Sauls eyes go slack. I roll up my sleeve. It goes in so sweet and clean. I fall back and sit onto a milk crate. And I gave them all a sleepy benediction…and snuggled down into my junk and went on the nod…last thing I remember was feeling Saul's hot breath on my ear, seeing not seeing behind fucked up eyelids his Aztec face in mine and him whispering, "Welcome back, guero - this is where you belong. This is where you've always belonged."