Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Los Angeles

What is needed is not this or that specific piece of information, but such knowledge as inspires a conception of the ends of human life as a whole: art and history, acquaintance with the lives of heroic individual, and some understanding of the strangely accidental and ephemeral position of man in the cosmos - all this touched with an emotion of pride in what is distinctively human, the power to see and to know, to feel magnanimously and to think with understanding.

____'Useless' Knowledge, Bertrand Russell

Los Angeles is nightmare wrapped in paper made of dream. an unstable system of glitter supported by poverty - you always wonder if one day all the homeless hiding out under the cracks in Brentwood are gonna light torches and storm the Starbucks. if there'll be a march of nomads (pushing trolleys filled with musty blankets and canvas shoes) down Santa Monica Blvd so that the pretty boys inside the Gap on Third Street lock up early and run for the hills while the hobos smash their way into Banana Republic and Club Monoco, stopping to tip their trolleys over the pier, diving into the water so that the beach is brown like the Ganges and nearly as holy and then, stepping into white pants, button up shirts and nautical belts, the bearded men walk off the sand and rejoin society as super hip yuppie-ites.


and after the 405 is done winding through the mountains, and you know it's special because you lose all phone reception, you emerge into the valley. a dust-bowl of beige stucco and sweaty Mexican faces. several degrees warmer and triple the glare. everyone squinting and thirsty and backs of hands always wiping foreheads. i sit in the parked car and a man approaches me, asks in broken english if i want watermelon. i ask him where it is and he points to an old (dusty) white pick up truck with a tarpaulin cover over the back. a little girl drinking water out of a 2litre orange juice bottle lifts it a bit to show me. i want to help them out but i decline and go sit back in the car and try and digest my guilt.


a Porsche pulls around the corner. for some reason i forget about the car and think how clean the glass is. no dust i note aloud but my companions stare at me blankly. the muffin and tea comes to $15 which i can afford, but still find concerning. we pay and a too-pretty-to-be-real waitress takes away the leather folder with the money. outside the sidewalk is a smooth grey (no dust i think) and lined with German and Italian cars. two Iranians walk past speaking louder than necessary - or at least their blonde hair is. Q you alright? i turn my head forwards again, what?
you into persian milfs now?
no. nono.


we pass a million old signs and i think who frequents these places. they're faded in tacky fonts on buildings with metal bars on the front glass. the mid-valley medical uniforms outlet, Signs-&-Banners-orama!, Liberty Donuts (with a broken neon sign that reads Liber y D nuts and makes me smile). who shops there? do you think? i keep my face glued to the passenger side window. someone must mom says. the line at the DMV stretches out onto the street and down half a block. at 11am it's already hot and i see a line of shiny people. what are you thinking? i'm asked.

i hum the Antlers: "All the while I know we're f*cked/ And not getting un-f*cked soon"


you should have some fun while you're here she says. i nod, but think how that's not really possible. why? this town's already too heavy. there are too many strings attached to me to get away



i couldn't ever be myself here. you're too close.
- you make too many excuses.
- that's probably true.
- although... [that's her acknowledging]

we pass some streetlights with posters stuck on them. Flying Lotus is playing next week. in another world that would be easily arranged.


Mona Capone: said...

you have my number - now call it. we'll drive until the streets can't be driven anymore.

Karleia said...

We're too old, not old at all