072116 Lost in Los Angeles

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During 2016 AWP I got lost in Los Angeles, having left the pub going in the exact opposite direction of my car.  I got to re-experience one of the primary emotions that I felt as a teenager, a sense of sprawling dis-integration.  This is the same feeling I get every time I write.  A network of insecurities that is felt out only by putting myself on a road and wander-looking.

My catalog of reasons to un-exist might be a lot like your own.  If you want to compare, here goes:

why write, why look, why be disappointed, why take these photos, why didn’t I take the right direction, why am I worthless, why have I acted so shamefully, why was I so ignorant of my actions and the actions I have allowed others to take?

My catalog of excuses to combat my reasons to un-exist look like this:

who will feed my dogs,

who will hassle my wife,

who will lose at Halo 3 to his eldest son while watching said eldest son afflict his youngest brother with the same tough-love of head-shot-sniping that he experienced growing up with his father,

who will still love giant robots in 2016,

who will write elaborate series of threshold poems incorporating fold and dimension theory and then try to cobble them together with ekphrastic works which also conveniently explore threshold spaces,

who will wonder at the bank with the rock wall facade behind a giant glass plate window,

who will be lonely enough to talk to the homeless people,

who will resent paying 13$ for a hamburger,

who will remember walking until the blisters on the tops of his feet ripped off-only to find this blood streaming across the jujitsu mat during his ill-advised attempt to learn self defense which resulted in 30+ head-locks in a two hour period which would later steal his voice for a week and make him unable to swallow food for two days,

who will gauge the yellow content in street-lights particularly as they filter through the tips of leaves,

who will feel safe in any city at just about any hour after he was mugged at knife point when he was 18 and walking around OntErio at 2 am because something about moving the body across a sidewalk and its words on the page calms him just enough to fake enough self-care to clamber exhausted into a car or a bed and sleep.

This photo was of a light day, which is not to say my load is always heavy, but to say that I have made it so, almost every moment, the only thing distinguishing this moment you see in this photo and any other of my trawls through cities is I ran into a friend and mentor that night, who, seeing me, was excited to go to a reading in Chinatown that evening, and instead of clambering into a car to sleep, we went to see wordsmiths fly.

Poem:

Photo of: Rest/everywhere is at rest/the superior jujitsu of the coffee/house chair resides in its resolute/stack with his brothers/all uniform and going the same/way as the cars on one way streets go now/empty the people/all in choke holds the tables/turned upside down/atop each other/the vertical weight of the glass suspended between girders reflected/ in the arm-bar/of the cashier/effortless each gasp/of the asymmetrical strung lights/overhead only one witness/no witness no/me.

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