Tag Archives: madness

The Los Angeles Blue Line

I love them I know, and I also know I write about them a lot. I don’t know why the rest of my day doesn’t inspire me the way the ride home does.

I had a lovely evening, spent with friends that I haven’t seen in ages and haven’t really talked to for years, we met up at Masa in Echo Park and then they kicked us out for a hipster wedding party and I damned gentrification and we walked a couple of blocks to Barragan’s. Masa’s used to be called Carmelos, it was a brilliant cuban place that had been there for decades with pink booths and a counter the old men used to sit at and drink their cafe con leche, and they sold magical pasteles de guayava y queso, and platanos and all things nice. Now it’s dark and candlelit with brown booths and tatooed waitstaff and really good microbrews on tap and the food is nice too…it’s just all twice as expensive.

And we drank and told stories of course, and it was just what my heart needed…such evenings are rare in L.A. because they require so much coordination…Almost everyone I love most is here and I feel like I never see them enough. The people I see are on the train. I wanted to write a novel once about the train, how it was a portal to some other place, to some much better place where everything was flipped around and the poor were rich and the sad happy, and the crazy were sane…that the woman in the floor-length faux-fur leopard skin coat was the key, or the old guy passed out in his seat. I never wrote it, the raw reality of the train itself defeated me, this world we have created…

There was a crazy guy playing porter today along the blue line, he was frighteningly crazy, with his lips pulled back and jagged teeth and no touch of awareness in his gaze, he could not speak only yell words barely recognizeable. At each stop he got out and held the door and shouted what might have been all aboard, and ushered the people in who were brave enough to choose his door…we lost him at firestone station as the people poured in and filled the car completely, he continued to hold the door as the warning bells chimed again and again and sacraficed his place so the last family could jump on. It was his moment, and as he watched the train leave he was shining.

My friend with the glasses bearing white 50 cent flags stuck on each side and selling candy with a smooth fast sales pitch that makes everyone smile was on the train today, he had almost sold everything.

A man younger then me sat quietly on the bottom of the steps leading up to the green line, he held a forty in a brown paper bag and threw up to one side casually as though he were just spitting. Once, and again, and once again. The smell of it was sickly, and it mingled with the sour stink of beer to fill the air.

An old guy told me he loved me. He was too drunk to really speak and drink had marked his face as it’s own and I was too sad to do more then smile. He might have meant to say something else, maybe he didn’t love me after all. But his eyes never left my face and when he followed me onto the green line I realized he walked only with great difficulty and a congenital limp…and the fact remained he was frighteningly drunk and therefore unpredictable and I hate to be stared at and I was glad when he got off at the first stop.

My friend from a few weeks ago was on the train as well, the one who had a crush on Hillary Clinton…he had lost the one sock he had, but had acquired shoes that did not fit his swollen feet. He had a large black book with a red logo, and on it he beat an irregular rhythm and sang a song to himself in a language that probably only he could understand. The smell of him was terrible, and his clothes were falling off of him and he was doing far worse then when I saw him last.

I saw everyone with ghetto hard faces, the kind that say don’t fuck with me, I could hurt you. You have to wear it to wall out the overpowering need of others, to protect yourself, to create your own distance from what is around you. If you don’t live here you never see those faces transformed, masks melted away where it is safe, and people return to the way they ought to be. I lost my mask in Scotland, but I feel it creeping into the set of my lips sometimes…when I think about it I do not want it back, but there is a price to pay for that. Unconsciously your face hardens.

I biked home through the darkness and the smell of flowers, and laid out on the grass for a while to search for stars. If I could have any power at all, any gift, I do believe I would sacrifice my lifelong dream of flying for the ability to heal people. There are layers upon layers of what is broken and I know the scale of it…but it is the brokenness of my people on the train one by one that breaks my heart.

The next blog shall be funny, I solemnly swear.

Jesus is coming to Echo Park!

Terrible day today but enough of that.  I walked most of the way home today, hell of hot but I like walking and seeing the city in ways i’ve never seen it before, and it’s also good for thinking and getting tired so you sleep better because i’ve been doing lots of the first and not so much of the second…thought about what to do with myself and where to go and what I want to be and the best color to paint my toenails and why things are the way they are and how many squirrels it takes to screw in a lightbulb and similar sorts of things.  I’ll say now I had no time to eat a damn thing today so I was a bit lightheaded, though a lovely old woman who brings me her mail so i can translate it for her also kindly brought me a mango, I’m eating it later for dessert.  She thinks I don’t eat enough, though I don’t know what could give her that idea…

On my journey I saw an old guy in a wheelchair shaded by three very large chinese flowered paper parasols in brilliant shades of yellow, blue and purple.  I saw another old homeless man who using a sharpie had written on the back of his jean jacket in very large numbers 007.  I walked up the hill on 6th to find downtown spread out before me, and palm trees silhouetted against the blue mirrored glass of skyscrapers.  I saw heat rising from the pavement in waves.   I saw a man with a sign that said Arab arab = 9/11 and that made me incredibly sad.  I saw a tiny little traveling carnival called the Silver Streak with a carousel and a pirate funhouse and a giant bumpy slide…

The good news is that Jesus Christ is coming to Echo Park in a little less than a year.  Hooray!  About damn time too, he has left us on our own for far too long and christians have become just about unbearable.  I hope mohammed and yahweh join him, and whoever the mormons and jehovah’s witnesses believe in comes along as well, and buddha could add a sense of humour to the party.  I found these notices wheatpasted along sunset…took a picture but am missing upload capabilities so here are some excerpts, they’re brilliant!

“This is all the words for the return of second time to the world to fix the word.  Everyone of Los Angeles is giving God the greenlight to let Jesus Christ to Echo Park lake on 7-7-2007 at 8:00 pm, with a rainbow & 1,000 doves representing angels of god and angels of los angeles to be at echo park.

word-lotus-us-for jesus-ol>Olga prophet and St for christ.  he’s going to stop everyone from 40 and up so we can live to see 3007…”

and so on and so on, he’ll also be giving away green cards and clothes, and “heeling” people, not sure what that is, sounds a bit violent actually, but you have to be in echo park on 07-07-07 (ahh, numerology, my favorite exact science) to get them.  Think I might go, though absolutely sure that I won’t be living here anymore.  Think you can make something happen if you post enough hand written notices along sunset blvd?