A Broken Violin Floating Alone in December

uliI don’t know what’s worse – having to grow up in the 1980s, or having to hear people get nostalgic about that decade, as if it was some wonderful time. No, it wasn’t.

Everyone was pissed off, at least the guys I ran with. This was the dreaded Reagan era after all. Just Say No to drugs, Iran/Contra, Ronny’s annoying, smug smile, that voice that made you want to smash the TV, the fairy tale that he was singlehandedly responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nancy’s platitudes, the father-knows-best speeches about the evils of communism, the series of obvious lies, and worst of all, the fact that people thought he was some sort of hero. 1985 might as well have been 1955, the whole country was sterile and boring, with clouds of bullshit hovering for 10 horrible years.
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Even Hitler Had a Wife

Holding-Hands-300x237I’ve always been drawn to complex women. Intelligent, opinionated, philosophical, not-so-perfect childhoods, maybe a little crazy. They say it’s foolish, even dangerous to date that kind of a woman, but when is it not risky to expose your heart?

I don’t know why I feel this way. Thoughts and desires just come to the brain randomly, like specks of ketchup sprayed from packets being stomped by curious children. I can have an epiphany that enlivens the spirit, another that disturbs the soul, but there’s no controlling any of it. Continue reading

The Social Implications of Lower Case Font

DearGarbageMan Children. They want to grow up to be ballerinas, firefighters, architects, park rangers, dog petters, singers, candy store owners, astronauts. I wanted to be a garbage man.

It was the late 1970s, and each week I’d hear the rumbling of the garbage truck outside and look out of the upstairs window of my house, in awe of what I saw below. Back then garbage men had sort of an outlaw vibe. As one guy drove, another would hold on to the outside railing on the backside of the truck, non-chalantly bracing himself against sudden stops and any bumps in the road. It seemed dangerous; it looked fun. They were dirty, didn’t smile, and didn’t care about disrupting the neighborhood with the commotion of their work.

Yeah, this was the job for me. Continue reading

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landfillShe was my first crush. The exact date is not clear – 1978, maybe 1979, 4th or 5th grade. Back then, at Overland Avenue elementary school in West L.A, it seemed that every girl wanted to be one of the women on “Charlie’s Angels” and every boy wanted one of Charlie’s Angels.

My favorite was Jacqueline Smith, the classy, dove-skinned brunette who always kept her cool under pressure and seemed higher on the maturity ladder than the blondes on the show. The blondes were girls; Jacqueline Smith, she was a woman. The revisionist historian in me could claim that my crush developed because the girl resembled a mini-Jacqueline Smith. Who knows; at that age, I wasn’t aware of the connection between desire and exposure to pop culture. I just had a thing for a pretty girl named Sheri Alexander. Continue reading

Hand-Held Device Blues

handheid blues

people pressing buttons
as the sun begins its ascent
people pressing buttons
in every waking movement
people pressing buttons
because the buttons are there to press
paying attention to everything but the world
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Environmental Blues

env blues
there are no more
blues bars
in San Francisco
disillusioned souls walk the city
with the blues
they’d rather not hear any
tales of woe
instead they go to clubs
to see DJs who get praised
for playing others peoples’ music
they hire personal coaches who
two weeks earlier worked in
marketing at a failed start-up
they could get better advice and
actual wisdom
from a blind willie johnson record
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The Film Maurice

Some stoner wrote it on the outside of his locker in black marker: R.I.P Randy Rhoads. It was the day after the plane crash, the hottest guitar player on the planet was dead, and the collective of 7th, 8th, and 9th grade metal heads and assorted outcasts couldn’t stop talking about our minor JKF-like moment. During class, between class in the halls, in the bathroom, on the quad, on the bus going home after school. Dude, that’s fucking crazy.

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