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Sixth Avenue Howl; or Bums of Chance

by Shawnacy Perez

Digging sixth avenue LA nights, when the moon hangs low

like to stepping-stone it over the tops of the buildings, maybe pirouette a little on the Tower Records spindle, because, why not?

and there’s nothing in your ears but the rush of jungle freeway life and the occasional birdish outbreak of laughter or angry strutting fllusterfuck of the hustlers in big jackets like tinfoil snowmen who appear and disappear

at streetcorners like coocoo, coocoo birds in a clock that’s always striking out.

Garbage piled in drifts, like walking through Sahara dunes.

Dunes of refuse, dunes of old letters and coffee cups where bums shot dice and looked for God. Dunes of old dresses and one shoe, always only one shoe, that no Cinderella foot ever fit.

Dunes of grey shapeless, nameless things, shifting and growing and reforming themselves in the face of a be-atified wind;

the only thing that can take the time to touch and move anymore.

What do you think of; nights of blowing desert garbage and moon-skipping?

You think of time-- piled up around us, blown into gutters and down drainpipes, swimming through rivers of screaming excrement.

Time dripped down doorways and settled in drawers. Time climbing walls like window washers and careless-sitting on rooftops, swinging its legs.

Time in your pockets, time on your hands, time under your hat, and there’s never enough.

You think of people you’ve never met and what it’s like not to know them,

and where they’d fit in the family portrait of eagles and guitars and baseball gloves and checkers boards, and orange pulp fiction that’s folded up in your wallet,

behind the emptiness of the leather smell and nothing inside.

You think of your empty wallet, and you think of the drink you’re not drinking, and you think of the time you went to Colorado one night just to have someplace to go,

and that girl you met there… what was her name… Cathy? … Carol? Katie? Kundun? And you think of her black wing hair and how the moon shone in it, like a reflection

and how it’s the same as the moon in the windows of the stores blind-window eyes, floating there and wavering and how she had looked at the end, walking around that corner and never looking back.

You think of your father, and his smokes and his never speaking, even when he didn’t stop talking all night. And you think of Ray Bradbury and cinnamon rolls and toothpick log cabins,

And you think of the lumpy shaped heap of old clothes stretched out here on the curb, and how there’s a kid under that heap,

or what used to be a kid, and maybe his name’s Frank, or Sam, or Larry or Moe or Curly or Harpo. And how he’s just a bum. And I’m just a bum. And you’re just a bum,

and we’re all just bums sleeping on streetcorners… only some of us have a lot more shit in our shopping carts, and our park bench beds hold falser hopes.

And you think of music arrows shot from clarinet bows, and you think of this thing and that, and your mind swings like a hamburger trapeze

flipping in areal tomfoolery above the heads of all the snapping tigers and dancing bears of

The city, hands in pockets, cigarette hanging listlessly out the side of his concrete teeth, looking down on you from everywhere,

(Humming this song:

What the moon don’t know won’t hurt her.
Go on and sell your soul
Cheap commodity anyway,
Not diamonds, only coal.
An’ I’ll take it an’ I’ll run this town
On the blacksmoke juice of you
So bring your friends and lay them down
You’ll all be shiny new

Hoo la la la
Hoo lee laa laa
(dontcha love the beat?)

Like you never had one single thought
Inside your baby’s brain
And you’ll buy anything at all-
That freedom falls like rain
On all those who can play the game
And stay within the seems
S’long as freedom hasn’t got
A thing to do with dreams

Hoo la la la
Hoo lee laa laa
(dontcha love the beat?))

Dig that riff, my brothers and sisters. And close your ears to hoppin’ little ditties of sirens of any old shape. The kind that’ll drag your soul, sleeping, out your ears and run it up the prison flagpole. Ragged, hopeless gunshot banner of the Ageless Hyena Give-Up Party.

Honey on any bum’s crumpet’s what that is. Easy and sweet. But no way you’ll catch me smoking that particular lotus joint. Fantasy grave dreaming with the rest of the passers-round.

Naw, you all go ahead. Wind your ribbon soul around the institution maypole. Skip to their unglody loo, and feel a part of all the twining, contrived, lost soul tapestry.

I’ll be here waltzing Matilda in between these heaping stalagmite sculpture piles of everything nobody wants.


Posted on 06/24/2011
Copyright © 2023 Shawnacy Perez

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