Graft

graft

Indentations from a lover’s handwriting on a white legal pad, like a palimpsest, and I write on top of it and it devolves into repeated deep dives into the apocalypse…desire to tend bar effortlessly…what’s the point…bitter black coffee from 7-Eleven on the corner, Hyperion and Rowena, at the top of the hill…Silver Lake, Atwater Village, Eagle Rock, Echo Park, Echo Park Ave., liquor store, yellow sign, black letters, at the bottom of a hill, gray of early morning, the groan and chhhhhh of the bus and the driver steps out and stands around in the lot…Elysian Park, Dodger Stadium, Alvarado Street, and Glendale and up to Altadena, photo shoots in the woods, behind a waterfall, and I think of how people describe LA as “spread out,” and it is, yet looking at it on a map, neighborhoods seem close together…climbing through late afternoon sunlight, tall weeds, golden wheat…generations of linens stuffed into a closet, corn-based products, tear open a plastic bag to an ear of corn, multitasking, driving and texting, IKEA furniture…the ongoing work of developing avocado varieties…grafting, graft, hustle, hard work, the fruit, it’s beauty, grain distilled, fruit slit open…what are my greatest fears and what is it I do not want anyone to know? If I’m writing to no one but myself as a kind of journal entry, I want this to be over or to erase it all and yet I obstinately pursue threads of memory, free rein to think at random moments throughout the day that this is the good life…tattoos and big hoop earrings and large buttocks, ordered Bacardi 151 and Coke…said he’d find me in back of the club after my shift and beat me down because he was angry at the price I charged him for the Adiós Motherfucker cocktails, but I didn’t make the prices…downtown LA rooftops, smog sunset, nocturnal cityscapes, lights on in the apartments, earthy green banquettes and cabanas, seat of scandal, drinking from the bottle, snapback baseball caps and thick-rimmed aviators, gold teeth, until everyone’s gone…sun shone in my eyes as I watched from behind orange tinted lenses men, restrained by bouncers, swing at each other…and taking shots with him, and taking shots with me, small green eyes and weak chin, and a voice that sounded like he had a hairball stuck in his throat…lights on the back bar illuminated bottles, turquoise glow…the dance, the street and club and party and alcohol culture…look good, sling drinks, get money, LA state of mind, living the dream in the dark and the light… she said people in LA have more time than people in New York to watch music videos…emptiness all around me and I saw myself becoming it and sun and dark alternating…bottles and ice and avocados and thugs and women and cars and freeway and sunsets and cityscapes and a field. And I saw myself getting lost in it and I let it go on. And the following morning, a wooden floor and a sliding glass door leading to the balcony and the day was slightly hazy and overcast, and the carpet of the office and the glass panther in front of the fireplace. And then lightness, I felt relief…laboring and waiting, avocados on the brain, drinking with the boss, a metaphor for skipping out on the life of a neglected mind, trying to fill a void with money, 100-proof rye whiskey and a lonely ritual that haunts me just before dawn, empty bed, torn quilt, feathers peaking out, dark birds fly across a grey sky in front of the Citigroup building in the distance as crows perch on the metal poles that hold up the Hollywood sign, and we wrongfully assume we’ll be forever young in a land of junk yards, exhaust pipes, columns of smoke, piles of gravel, parks that seem eerie even in the sunlightlines of reporting opened…why? Was it because I played this in my car, the CD, rented from the LA public library on June just north of Melrose, and returned years later, Watch it, a deep, powerful voice, long afternoon shadow on the dirt, running along a ridge, off to the races, nowhere, lost, who cares…melancholy, sense of longing while searching for lines I opened, don’t ask me what I did with my life…relentlessly dark, fits perfectly, La Cienega, tequila billboard, raucous Champagne brunch but I only see the white stucco walls from the outside…seeing a clear warning sign, ignoring it, and barrelling ahead at full speed, damage done in the blazing midday heat, soaked in sweat, had a thought, a memory, an idea, relating to the story, sharp pain, so you thought, and, now, as you try to recall it, you can’t, and hope it’ll come back.

Digging into the avocado pile, again, source of infinite intrigue, or reaching for the fruit on the banch, setting foot on lands on which those trees grow from Michoacán in Mexico to Fallbrook in California…cash crop…drugs, trafficking…the fruit, work, sweat, death and longevity, two tales offer a searing dichotomy…something in all of this draws me in, the notion of living long in a sun-drenched landscape, exploitation, working oneself to death but in the process, and indirectly, yielding fruit, hawking alcohol in a land of make-believe, style and deceit, corruption and debauchery, violence, drugs…sink your teeth into these connections, industry, fruit and agriculture, the night life and antidotes we seek in the mundane and the everyday.