Monday, September 30, 2019


On the dusty sidewalk next to me squat my black duffel bag overstuffed with clothes, notebooks, and personal items I just couldn’t live without.
A few feet away, the massive silver and mauve bus lay idling. The passengers - all Mexican citizens - stood silent and pensive just like me. Mostly elderly - stooped old men wearing tattered yellow Stetsons and faraway looks clinging to cardboard boxes tied with nylon string. I mulled over what they were thinking about. New lives? New vistas? The simple fact of spending their remaining years with loved ones? I envy the dead.
Then it dawned on me what I should have been thinking about and the thoughts were this - I had wasted a year of my life in a numbing existence of relatively comfort and normality. A day hadn't passed my mind screamed, "How can people live like that? Doing the same thing day in and day out - year after year. The same friends, the same conversations - polite patter over warm cappuccinos on a frosty morning – languidly walking the boulevard window shopping for items you could never afford. How can people go on?" Without hesitation I forced myself out of that early death - Change is Life. Chaos is Change. Live to experience and not to simply exist. I made the decision to turn this stale life up a notch. Plan? Eh? A couple of weeks in Tucson, a few in El Paso, maybe San Antonio via Laredo then onward to New Orleans to finish and settle for a bit in La Perla, Puerto Rico. No time limit - just travel and write. Sounded good to me.
At the bus station, I took another long drag from my cigarette. Glanced at my watch - the bus was running twenty minutes late. I struck up a conversation with an elderly mother in a faded yellow granny dress with red wicker purse waiting silently next to me, “I hope this bus gets going.”
Her face wrinkled into a smile - skin the color of a rumpled paper bag - and nodded, looking out into nothing.
In her tinkling voice she said, “You will get to where you are going, joven. Not only that, you will come back and then go someplace else.”
The words of a Guardian Angel.
The fat, mustachioed steward poked his head out of the reception window and announced in Spanish it was time to board and with ten other passengers, we herded onto the bus. Taking my seat in the middle - as I always do, right side - pleased in the fact that the bus was not packed and that all the passengers, including myself, had a seat to themselves. I stowed my overhead luggage and hunkered down to the long, unknown future.
With a blasting fart of black soot and whining of gears, the bus shuttered and slowly rolled its way through congested street traffic to the on ramp of the 5 freeway north.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

camptown ladies never sang all the doo-dah day

The sky was illuminated by incandescent blue bursts of electrical fire. Rain fell hard from tumultuous, darkened clouds, drenching me and the scrawny hooker tittering on the corner in see-through plastic platform pumps. She resembled a melting wax figure, like she had acquired some hideous cancer. She squawks at me and through a rainy haze and the sound of her voice revealed she was a he. I press on home - streets now had become rivers and sewage outlets vomit forth a dry winters worth of back up.
I cut the corner to my trap, soaked to the bones, turn the key and slop my wet shoes into my house. Lights are turned on and I peel my clothes off like a used condom. Stove burns blue flame, water boils and steams, and a cuppa hot coffee is made. I hunker down and watch David Lynch’s Eraserhead just to make sure my life isn't that bad. The credits roll and I slip into bed. Rain always made me drowsy.
Had a headache, me, and took a handful of aspirin before knocking off for the night.
Poom! Poom! Poom! Somebody was knocking at my door. The clock read 2:36am. Poom! Poom! Poom! I fling the covers off and reach for my pajama bottoms (I always slept naked. Can't have it any other way. Wouldn't you?) I pull the front door open to find Jose, a teenage kid from the neighborhood standing on my landing with kind of a glow. Eyes all pupil and sniffing constantly. He went into some tirade about how he was in need of money and his grandmother was sick and that...Basta! Can't you tell how late it is!? I was sleeping! Some of us hafta work for a living instead of staying up all night taking dope! Don't bother me again! Slam!!
Had a hard time sleeping after that. Put some Juliee Cruise on the stereo - she always makes me drift away.
The alarm goes off, reggeaton blares forth; it is 5:20am. I stagger to the shower and bathe in tepid water, dress and hit the dark streets - still wet after last night’s storm. I purchase two burritos pulpa from the plump smiling woman on the side of the road - traffic whizzes past us going toward the United States - there is black dust in the cracks of her face. I gobble down one burrito before vaulting the turnstile to the International Bridge. Wait grudgingly in the long line to be waved through by a red-eyed and bored looking customs officer. Once on the Other Side, a phone call is made and a coworker picks me up, stopping first at Starbuck's for a Frappuccino mocha.
Work dragged like a wounded snail and I was nearly comatose by the time I clocked out. I hitched another ride back to the border and jet across that long divide. Shriveled, shit covered junkies in rags and grime coated ponchos, hands outstretched, looking like beat Christ's begging for change down under the bridge. You can hear their pleaful cries...they go unnoticed, as all I saw in front of me was an impenetrable wall of bouncing, fat asses en masse as we trudged across that hump.
Stopped by Burrito Row - I ordered a burrito mole with manzana fresca and shoot the breeze with Beto, the hottie who works at one of the stalls. I chomp my mess all the while wondering what it will take to nail that fine ass. I digress...I was still extremely sleepy and decided to make my way home. Mumbling adios, I walk through the muggy air - the occasional tsk tsk from the prowling chunky chilango hooker - dodging the kamikaze bus, the suicide taxi.
I reach my humble flat and snatch the $150 I stashed under a beat copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s A Princess of Mars. Down stairs, I pay rent to the slightly crazed landlady as her oily son looms silentky in the corner, arms crossed, watching me - the old haggish bitch counts the money and miscounts twice before agreeing it is the correct amount.
Back at my place, I languidly sat with a Sol cerveza and switched channels on my 32inch flat screen telly recently purchased with my tax return. Nothing but crap. There was a rap at my front door and was surprised to find Oscar standing in the street.
Inviting Oscar in he began bleating the same old same old and needed cash and, well, one thing led to another and I found myself sucking that cock - not ten slurps up and down his stiff brown shaft and he was squirting gobs of semen into my mouth; clenching the bed covers with one hand and grabbing the back of my head with the other.
Both of us showered, I gave him one hundred pesos and he split. Vibrating in meloncholy, I dressed and marched out - the late afternoon streets teeming with life. Fat fag in pinstriped jeans checks me out as I pass the shoe store; smells waft of mouthwatering rotisserie chicken displayed in neon blasted windows with blackened filthy bum pissing on the outside wall. Small Indian children, snot caked on their copper cherub-like faces, grab my pant leg as I walk by - moanay! moanay! - a clown, a fucking guy dressed as a circus clown, DJ's in front of a record shop. Three tattooed toughs slouch under a street lamp - flicking of cigarettes and toothpicks click between teeth - side eye me as I saunter along. My way is clogged by a group of young boys in soccer outfits - they stand laughing and talking in front of the dusty pane windows of an ice cream parlor, I stare at them with shattered limitless lust. Shoeshine boys call out to shine me leathers as I stroll past blue, yellow, pink adobe houses and crumbling buildings erected a hundred years ago. Shop vendors hawk their wares - vying for my attention. The music from various cantinas is deafening - I cut into a cafe, order a coffee americano, and scribble these words out...

excerpt from handwritten journal, 
cuidad juárez, march 1998

Friday, September 27, 2019

one from the vaults

Ceasar was only interested in the financial aspects. His concerns more focused on supporting his wife and newborn daughter.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

don't do it

"If it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don't do it. Unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don't do it. If you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don't do it. If you're doing it for money or fame, don't do it. If you're doing it because you want women in your bed, don't do it. If you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again, don't do it. If it's hard work just thinking about doing it, don't do it. If you're trying to write like somebody else, forget about it. If you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. If it never does roar out of you, do something else. If you first have to read it to your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend or your parents or to anybody at all, you're not ready. Don't be like so many writers, don't be like so many thousands of people who call themselves writers, don't be dull and boring and pretentious, don't be consumed with self-love. The libraries of the world have yawned themselves to sleep over your kind. Don't add to that. Don't do it. Unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don't do it. Unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don't do it. When it is truly time, and if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you. There is no other way. And there never was."
 - Charles Bukowski

Thursday, September 12, 2019

are you there, francisco?

The sky was a mottled grey from the drizzling rain. The wailing of an ambulance below, distant rumble of air hammers, always building and repairing in The City.
I sat naked in the rickety hotel chair and watched the boy sleep. 1:47pm the clock read. Could be wrong, felt later. Lighting a cigarette, I sat transfixed as his erection melted away in the early afternoon. Francisco, he said his name was and looked enough like a Latino Leonardo DiCaprio from Gangs of New York to pass as his brother, floppy light brown hair and scraggy goatee. He lay naked on his back amid rumpled yellow sheets in this ratty hotel embraced in the arms of Morpheus and content as a nodding junky. I took another drag and scoped him out, hairless thin frame, eyes shut, pouty lips parted in sleep breathing.
We met last night at a dive bar on Broadway called Chee Chee's and struck up a conversation amid the thieves and the dykes and the just released cons and Atomic by Blondie blasting over the juke box. Next day had brunch with him at a local Chinese restaurant - afterwards we walked over to a bar. Chit-chat ensued over drinks and then walking drunkenly to the Hotel Pickwick, a flop that by American standards can't get any shittier. Looking at me and smiling, Francisco said he needed to score for some meth and would I front the twenty? Sure, why not? Walking down several alleyways covered in shit, bums, and abandon shopping carts, copping his dope from a slick black with gold caps, we soon entered the dank hotel lobby. Flaming old withered fag with bad purple-tinted permed wig at reception.
"How much for a room?" I croak.
"Two Queens?" The receptionist asked.
"Nah, just two boys that need some sleep." Quipped Francisco. 
I laughed with cigarette between my lips and the warm glow of five whiskey sours in my gut. The room was occupied by large black roaches and bad tattered furniture. Yellowed walls stained by second hand smoke. The pillow casings had the faded tell-tale blood spots of bed bugs. The television got three channels; English, Spanish, and soft core porn.
I lay on the bed and watched Francisco take a shower, water running down his long thin smooth frame, over an ass that was like a peach. He sits naked on the bed and asked if I wanted to try a bang. Nah, not in any condition. Needle clogged twice, thin line of blood from inner elbow to wrist. I look away, always freak me out watching someone probe for a vein. He sighs as it goes in sweet and pure. I sure can pick 'em.
The sex was much needed - hostile, violent, hot - the bed creaked and rattled with our fucking. Your basic crimes against nature. Several nasty positions later, covered in sweat and semen we lay embraced as the rain pounded down outside our fifth floor window.
Like I said, sat there and watched the boy sleep. Finished my cigarette, gargled with what was left of a can of Steel Reserve, got dressed and left twenty dollars on the nightstand. Sweet dreams, kid.
I dart out of the hotel onto wet sidewalks and incandescent lagoons. Shifting through time and The Long Wait. Cigarette smoldered down to a butt - the cries and shouts and hacking of a hundred hobos echo in my mind. I stand and I wait. Waiting for the world to turn.
I am up to speed with the necessities of my quest - that long walk to Nowhere. But I am doing it anyway, you dig? The natives are getting hostile and I am quite drained from their antics - I don't wanna here of your pathetic problems, got my own.
Nothing to write - cause nothing’s going on.

- handwritten journal entry, 
San Diego, September 12, 1993

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Thursday, September 05, 2019

cuidad juárez

My foul smelling hotel room rests on the garbage cliff overlooking the poor Juárez barrio, tin shacks and white roofs of crumbling adobe, crisscrossed in dusty wire cables and television dish aimed up high with little dirty gardens down below bounded by the rusty metal wall and superhighway nightmare 20th century I-10. I stand on my garbage cliff under the setting sun rays of Huītzilōpōchtli and understand I am at the end of Mexico - the longing pulls at me, depression of a million nostalgic images inundate my withering mind.
The town is so noisy – dirty and trash laden, streetfulls of wild boys all night brandishing their erections under chino pants, drunken nacos in yellow Stetsons and sagging pot bellies, vulgar restaurants, nasty whore hotels, musicians, half American stores, jumping beans and tortilla concessions, Chinese Masonic lodges and barbers too. Big halls for hip-hop discos and ranchero music, painted crudely with monolithic donkeys. A portrait of a Chihuahua glares down at me donning Sante Fe style kerchief and bejeweled vaquero hat.
I light up a cigarette and walked through the border at night back to my sad, lonely apartment, a dead silent fairyland of U.S. dusk - deserted ghost streets and sad quiet air-cooled diners with white capped waitresses joking softly and no one on the streets.
A dream. We live inside a dream.

- handwritten jounal entry,
march 3, 1997