by Tom H. Brooks 3
I put a message in a bottle and threw it in the ocean…it said, “I`m an idiot, please help me!”
“POLITICS IS LIKE TRYING TO SCREW A CAT IN THE ASS”
I just pulled a moving dismount from the 163 Hollywood Bus…..he barely even slowed down when he opened the door…
I saw a dead deer on the side of the road in Cahuenga Pass (It turned out this was foreshadow)
Blue Monday 9/23/02
PIG died today. Our lovable, old pit bull that I`ve known for 11 or 12 years is gone forever. I`ve known him
since he was a puppy in San Diego, since his whole body was the size of his big head. His big brown eyes
with huge black pupils will never stare at me again. There will be no more lovable howling and harmonizing
with jazz music. He is gone. I will always remember him; the canine character with the floppy lip chasing
the ragged tennis ball is no more. It is enough to make me come unhinged. I am so tired of death.
Everything and everyone we love is taken from us eventually and sometimes this thought is more than I
can bear. All I can see right now is just last night while I was lying down listening to John Coltrane,
Pig with his head on my chest and a half-hearted howling sigh, trying to sing along but too tired to do it.
I knew something was wrong but I couldn`t face it. JB is obviously really upset too. You just couldn`t
help but love that dog. I picture the image from a Murakami book when he writes of the dog sent into space
by the Russians. You picture him staring out the little port window at the lonely endlessness of space. You
wonder what he is seeing. I hear the Hawaiian version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and I feel
nothing but despair…
Morning, fire clouds looming in the east. The Pig is gone and the house seems so empty. With sad eyes,
I watch the sun cross the sky accompanied by Miles Davis, “Someday My Prince Will Come.”
“What was my image? Did I even have one?
Dance. Dance so it all keeps spinning.”
nothing more then an obstruction
on a path of destruction
Since Sunday, it is now Wednesday, there has been a GIANT wildfire burning in Angeles National Forest.
There is a billowing purple-orange sky in the east. Ashes are falling from the sky, somehow they are
even IN the house on the stereo. The weather is fucked up, there is haze everywhere, incredible sunsets,
“and I wonder…
when I sing along with you,
if everything could feel this real forever,
if anything could ever be this good again,
the only thing I`ll ever ask of you,
you gotta promise not to stop when I say when…”
One thing I can say with certainty….
no matter how bad things got in life,
I never felt suicidal.
I always wanted to see where it all ends up.
I guess insatiable curiosity is what keeps me going…
At least 10 ravens swooping and squawking and diving,
torturing a lone hawk gliding across Point Fermin…
I`m standing here on a misty cliff as I stare at the sea.
It unfolds before me in a tapestry of colors; multicolored
blues, purples, and grays flecked with white, foamy sea crests…
the ocean is every bit as moody as I am.
A fishing boat drifts slowly by a buoy with a barking sea lion on it
and the sea wind smells of salt and seaweed….faded colors in the mist…
I climbed down the cliff to the rocks by the sea and I sit for a long time.
The high tide comes in suddenly and I find myself stranded.
I laugh and don`t worry, I can swim.
I`m always amazed at the effortless ease with which pelicans glide
just inches off the surface of the ocean, their wingtips just skimming
the ripples on the sea. Truly graceful, the essence of smooth, on
a gentle wind, floating, their reflections below…a shadow on the water…
I wonder if Bukowski ever sat here, stranded on the rocks at high tide at
Point Fermin, drinking beer and gazing at the gray sea on a misty day,
thinking what the fuck is it all about? I wonder if he heard the hidden
music in the sea crashing on rocks and saw the jewels in ocean-washed
glass. I figure he probably did…he lived just a few blocks from here
and he had 70 years to do it…
Now I`m breaking big rocks into little rocks….
ME MAKE SAND…
Woke up from a nap later on the 446 bus in Wilmington. The first thing
I see is a 13-year-old black chick giving me the finger. Well, fuck you too….
PUT IT IN A FRAME AND CALL IT ART
4:20pm Phillipe`s French Dip Sandwiches….NO LINE?!?
The world must be ending.
hundreds of parrots flying around the palm trees at Union Station
GOTT IN HIMMEL!!
The “Free Hollywood” idiots were out in force at Hollywood and Highland making
a stink over a very stupid idea. Yeah, let`s shrink and divide the city into yet
another confused, financially deprived subdivision. Great idea, morons…
Isn`t this city already in enough fragments? Isn`t it already sprawled beyond reason?
“The oppressed make the best oppressors.”
I`m watching people standing in line at K-Mart, waiting for the store to open. Once again,
it reminds me of how spoiled we are here in America, the land of convenience. I am poor;
I can`t go anywhere or do anything that`s not practically free. These people in line are poor;
otherwise they wouldn`t shop at K-Mart. We have hardly any money. Yet….we can all
afford to shop at this dump for socks and underwear and toothpaste. This is how “The Man”
keeps you down–just enough money for shopping but never enough for ESCAPING…
“An Old Man Awoke in His Own Death
This is the place that was promised
when I went to sleep
taken from me when I woke.
This is the place unknown to anyone
where names of ships and stars
drift out of reach.
The mountains are not mountains anymore;
The sun is not the sun.
One tends to forget how it was.
I see myself, I see
the shore of darkness on my brow.
Once I was whole, once I was young…
As if it mattered now
and you could hear me
and the weather of this place
would ever cease.”
“Reaching your head
with the cold
of a Divine Messenger
Let me tell you
and the loss of God
in hopeless night
Out here on the perimeter
there are no stars…
we is stoned…
“I contend an abiding sense of irony over all that I do.”
Cabrillo Marine Museum
Octopi, starfish, a shallow pool that you can reach in and touch various sea creatures
including some kind of a small non-aggressive shark and these crazy fucking amazing
purple and orange sea slugs; oh, and let`s not forget the jellyfish, glowing white and
pale pink and flowing and pulsating and undulating in their blue shadowy world….
On the beach later; first time I`ve ever seen an oily purple and green sand dollar…
Sitting on a bus–what else is new? Watching vandalism in action as a seedy Latino kid
with his face all pierced up proceeds to tag the window in the back, carving half-illiterate
chollo scrawlings into the window with a box-cutter.
“George Bush is like a lost driver who won`t pull over to ask for directions.”
“Perception is Reality.”
An old and true cliche……”easy come, easy go…”
“Our scars help remind us
that the past is real.”
I wake up in the Sunday morning sunlight on Venice Beach.
I am startled by a strange and disturbing sight. Hovering over
me about 4 feet away stands a cackling and barefoot black man,
maybe 40 years old. He`s laughing crazily and has white crack
lips and he`s repeating over and over….”I`m a high plains drifter,
I`m a high plains drifter…..” Yes, as always the freaks come to me….
After the aforementioned scumbag wandered off to torture someone
else I watched a baby seagull walk at least 100 yards across the
beach directly towards me, with purpose, to stop and nestle down
and sit in the sand not 10 feet from me and just stare at me intently.
What does this mean? Probably nothing. Two weird things, already,
and it`s only 9:20am. I`m gonna go get a beer.
A few days later, I find myself waking up in a Studio City doorway
on an artificial grass turf front mat. I do not remember how I got
here. It appears to be a real estate office. I go to the In-n-Out
Burger across the street for a healthy breakfast and then I return
to the real estate office to negotiate the sale of my Bel-Air mansion
and my holdings in Nassau…
Bitchy sullen blonde girl at Rexall drugstore, cuts in front of me in
line, like she doesn`t see me. I normally wouldn`t really care but
I don`t like her attitude so I give an exaggerated “AHEM!”
She acts like she`s shocked anyone has the balls to stand up to her..”Fine, you go first.”
“I will,” I reply. People behind us in line are snickering.
The guy behind the counter is already ringing up my six-pack of tall boys, $5.78.
After I pay, I start to leave, when I hear her say to the clerk,”I was first…”
Alright that`s it,”Noooo, you WEREN`T. You had SHOPPING blindness. I know
how you ladies get when shopping amongst all the bright colors and pretty
boxes. Listen, woman, get a hold of yourself, I don`t want my beer to get warm.”
I tossed a dollar on the counter and said,”Put that toward your hair coloring…”
This gets a lot of laughs in the line and I walk out on a high note, laughing
quietly to myself.
The happy homeless guy, a black man of about 60, gets on the bus wearing red and gold stripes.
He begins to talk loudly but non-threateningly to the whole bus, “It`s a beautiful day. Everybody
should be alright and smiling on a day like this. I wish I could give everybody a dollar. If I was
a millionaire, I`d feed ya`ll right now, but unfortunately, I ain`t got shit. But I`m smilin` anyway.
How you doing, young man? Alright, alright….I love ya all. We all the same, you know, ALL the same.
We all goin` to the same end, you can`t get away from it. Someday, you`ll all be as dead as me.
But keep smiling anyway….” He went on and on like this….
I have to say, it was an intriguing and original way to get a little sympathy and perhaps money, and,
at the same time, spread a little love…..classic.
Not having my camera with me all the time is a BIG mistake.
Once again, I missed a beauty of a shot. I will describe it, a memorable image that I failed to capture;
Downtown LA, early morning…foggy. Main and 7th Street. Decrepit buildings surround me with their
gray and useless existence. A rat scuttles into an alley. In a musty bricked parking garage, a Latino
man sits, illuminated, reading under a lone and dim light. His expression is of intense and studious
concentration, as he is surrounded by the cobwebbed darkness….
You had to see it, but it was perfect….symbolic…….ART
“Let`s Have a War!!
We can start in New Jersey!
Let`s Have a War!
Like rats in a cage!”
The Bradbury Building at 3rd and Broadway; a masterpiece of architecture…
To think that the Alexandria Hotel at 5th and Spring once boasted the likes of William Howard Taft
and Teddy Roosevelt as its guests! In its day, it was considered one of the finest hotels on the
West Coast along with the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. The rich and famous gathered here at
the Alexandria for dancing beneath the stained-glass dome of the so-called “Palm Court.” Sarah
Bernhardt, Enrico Caruso and Jack Dempsey were guests. Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Mary
Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks met here in 1919 to form United Artists.
You should see it now. It is filled with junkies and whores and people on the lam from the law.
SERIOUS decline…..it is now a pathetic dump. I think I`ll go inside and see what`s what…..
from skid row pleasure stroll to the rooftop pool at the Standard Hotel, swimming, drinking
bloody marys and listening to DJ music from India and Africa. When I go out on an adventure,
I like to go for extremes……and I do it so well….
I walk through Pershing Square and a crazy red drunken bum across the street screams at me,
“HEY! HEY, HOW YA DOIN OVER THERE?!” Bewildered, I wave and move on….
Up in the mountains, scouting a spot to watch Santana later tonight at the Hollywood Bowl
and I saw 4 deer.
Later, watching the concert from up on the hill; giant telescreen and the magic of Carlos
Santana`s liquid guitar stylings rolls across the hills like water. Moonflower or Flor de Luna
is playing as I see the moon setting over the western mountains. It is a sublime moment.
“They listened to the moaning of the wind. The wind; it came from someplace unknown and
it blew past to someplace unknown.”
“I need this shit like I need an asshole on my elbow!”
I love it when the sexy girlies do each other`s make-up…..
” ` I once was told about polar bears; what solitary animals they are. They mate just once a year.
One time in a whole year! There is no such thing as a lasting male-female bond in their world.
One male polar bear and one female meet by sheer chance somewhere in the frozen vastness,
and they mate. It doesn`t take long. And once they are finished, the male runs away from the
female as is he is frightened to death; he runs from the place where they have mated. He never
looks back–literally. The rest of the year he lives in deep solitude. Mutual communication–
the touching of two hearts–does not exist for them. `
` How very strange.`
`Indeed, it is strange. I remember asking, then what do polar bears exist for?`
`Yes. Exactly. Then what do we exist for?` “
“The ultimate value of our lives is decided not by how we win but by how we lose.”
He/She broke his/her leg. We had to shoot `em.
THE EVIL BLUE GLOW OF TV
When I was young and in school, I used to go on “field trips.”
They were meant to be educational, you know, museums, historical places, La Brea tarpits etc….
Now, I have an observation to point out this foggy Tuesday morning. I am working a morning shift
at Marmalade Cafe in a few minutes and I see like… 100 kids running around Farmer`s Market
and the Grove, with school buses out front. Let me ask this; am I to believe that these little
fuckers are on a FIELD TRIP?!!? To a goddamned MALL?!? I am shocked and appalled.
What happened to education? What are you teaching `em, how to buy useless crap? How
to shop for what you DON`T need? You might as well take `em down to Skid Row to show
`em how the other half lives and teach `em a little about reality and the ugliness, the choices
we have to make. Go to college, get a good job, have a family and work yourself to death
and make sure and SHOP along the way. Or you can drop out, smoke weed, graduate to
crack and/or black tar heroin and live in a refrigerator box in a Main Street alley spitting up
blood. The options are limitless. Dreams really do come true, kids! When I see these
poor little shits running around a mall for a field trip, I just feel sad. I wonder if any of them
could tell me who Pablo Picasso was or if any of them has ever read Catcher in the Rye.
I doubt if a single one could tell me the difference between a Manet and a Monet.
Yes, learn to shop little ones. Learn to be a breeder and a consumer.
It really is what makes Amerika and the world tick……………
ETERNAL CONSUMPTION ENGINE
Another funny poster in Hollywood….
“WAR MAKES ME HORNY: LET`S ROLL…”
It was in kind of an old propaganda WW2 style with 2 people kissing and missiles in the background…
you had to see it really…
Haunting, empty….there`s something about quiet mornings in San Pedro that make me feel like
I`m at the end of the world–somewhere out on the edge….the fringe. It is this quality that always
draws me here; it calls to me like a siren song…solitude, the song of silence, the hiss of the wind
down empty avenues. I sit at Sunken City on Point Fermin amongst its graffiti-covered stone
monuments framed against sea and sky. I listen to the wind in the palms and the birds. At Ports
O`Call, the distant clanking of industry and the sailboats creaking in their births, rolling gently
on the small waves that ripple through the harbor. I am alone and at peace with the world…….
There is simply nothing left to say
It`s all been said before
one way or another
has been diminished
The world grows
tiresome and repetitive
“masterpieces” of philosophical angst
said and done
said and done
solve your problems
with a gun….
ain`t no sunshine
when it`s gone
but we try
to think of new ways
to express what
many of us may be feeling
It`s not easy
but I can`t help it
so I continue writing
and the ugly
trying to understand
trying to clarify or
that will bring even an
of form to this formless
blob of chaos
into which we were born
mold it into something
that is my own
with sublime new meaning
The sun continues its routine arc
across the dome of blue sky
leaving me no answers
giving me nothing
but the warmth
of blessed sunshine
but that counts too…
I was making hits when you were just a gleam
in some drunken Mick`s bloodshot eye. You
should be thanking your lucky stars you`re not
making bombs in Belfast, Mr. Clean…”
Frank Sinatra to Sinead O`Connor on Saturday Night Live
hysterically funny sketch…
“Let`s Have a War!!
So you can go die!
Let`s Have a War!
We need the space!
Let`s Have a War!
And clean out this place!!”
“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow,
than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live,
not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall
USE my time.”
Got my camo, got my knife and my boots—I`m ready for WW3, Mad Max
shit in the LA streets. I`ll split ya from your chin to your nuts……
Brutal work doubleheader at Marmalade Cafe: I had to work all day on Saturday
and I have to be here tomorrow morning at 9am. Funniest campout night
yet…I spent the night upstairs sleeping in supply/storage room C. I went in
with a 32oz of Miller High Life, made myself a little nest of napkins and slept
like a baby…I am officially insane (as if we didn`t already know that.) I was awoken
at 7am by the security guard`s footsteps walking by (he`s not doing a very good job.)
Time for work, the nightmare of Sunday brunch…old Jews screaming for their eggs
done just so. My eyes are bloodshot. Delirium is the drug. Welcome to the
monkey house, see you in the funny pages….
“In my experience, it`s better to have a gun and not need it,
than to need a gun and not have it.”
“Clarence” from “True Romance”
falling asleep with my empty skull resting on a tiny 4 inch by 6 inch television
in a kitchen in the Hollywood Hills. Is this what it`s all come to? Just shoot me…
damn it all! Why do I always think of good things to say, good comebacks, when it`s too late?!?
“A heart that`s full up like a landfill
a job that slowly kills you
bruises that won`t heal
You look so tired…unhappy
bring down the government
They don`t….they don`t speak for us
I`ll take the quiet life
some carbon monoxide
This is my final fit
my final bellyache
such a pretty house
such a pretty garden
No alarms and No surprises
No alarms and No surprises
5am Hollywood Blvd. A lone graffiti-covered payphone is ringing forlornly without a soul in sight.
Of course, I pick it up. I hear a black man`s voice:
“Yo, whassup? You paged?”
I say, yeah.
I reply, I need 3 rocks. Then I start laughing and I slam the phone down.
I probably made him paranoid for a week.
Then I see a dude stringing up a 100 foot rope made of bras between two palm trees. Some other
pervert is filming him and cackling hysterically. What the fuck is going on in this town?
Why do I always enjoy giving things away at random? As long as I can remember, I`ve been handing
out my personal belongings to friends or anonymous strangers at my leisure, often when I`m simply
tired of the item in question. I have no attachment to personal property nor do I calculate potential
financial losses. I only buy, sell, and give away on a whim and usually for no particular reason except
that I feel like it. Go figure. Today I gave away a nice Old Navy reversible down vest to some downtown
hobo, and I smiled all the way home. All she really cared about was a cigarette though.
The pigeon has flown the coop
The bats are in the belfry
I was craning my neck, looking up at an old building, admiring the architecture, when my head was
almost taken clean off by a bus that passed less than two feet away. I moved just in time, the unseen
hand of fate….
Just for the fun of it, have you ever had the urge to walk up to a sexy mannequin in a crowded shopping mall
and just slap the shit out of it while yelling? Of course, just to see the reactions of the stunned onlookers…
No? Well, I guess it`s just me….
your building is full of drugs
your drug is full of buildings…
Even older women act like sexy schoolgirls if you get them a little horny…
It`s weird standing at 7-11 on Cahuenga while classical music is blaring and I`m surrounded by scumbags…
it is such a juxtaposition of opposites…
Saw 2 movies for the price of one today….”Jackass”, which was fucking hysterical….”Tokyo Party Boy”, HA!
Then I saw a very interesting animated film called “Spirited Away” by Miyazaki.
After the movies, I met a hot Japanese babe named Ai Fukushima, which means happy island love. What a great name.
I`m in love with the idea of you….
Disney paid for the Angels to win the World Series…
ANGEL$ FOR $ALE…
YOU KNOW NOTHING
(you cannot know my powers)
No answer could be more perfect than no answer at all.
“I`m a politician, which means I`m a cheat and a liar;
when I`m not kissing babies, I`m stealing their lollipops;
but it also means I keep my options open…”
“and the sea will grant each man new dreams…”
My horoscope on October 30, 2002…
“light up your home; avoid walking through dark hallways…”
Well, that`s kind of fucked up scary, isn`t it?
The bus I just rode was a full-fledged goddamned rolling mental hospital,
a loony bin, a mutant train…..it was right out of that movie “Jacob`s Ladder”…
“I wanna hold the hands inside you
I wanna take a breath that`s true
I look to you and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth
you live your life, you walk in shadows
you come apart and you go black
some kind of light in your darkness
close your eyes to what`s not there
fade into you
strange, you never knew,
fade into you….”
Tagging; illiterate scrawling on a wall. Not art, not like a painting, just box cutters
or stickers or a big felt tip pen. Tagging, the most pointless and stupid act of
vandalism. If you really want to make a point, just throw a brick through a plate
glass window. It makes a really loud goddamned noise and the people inside are
horrified and shocked.
“Your sorry eyes
cut through the bone
they make it hard
to leave you alone
Leave you here
wearing your wounds
waving your guns
at somebody new
Baby, you`re lost..
baby, you`re lost..
baby, you`re a lost cause….
I`m tired of fighting,
fighting for a Lost Cause…”
“The Liver is Evil and Must Be Punished”
huge bum fight outside the Hollywood Bowl. Aerosmith playing. White haired and bearded,
beating the shit out of his drunken friend…strangling, choking, kicking, bloodied face, bloody
boots, knee in the face, smacks his face, “This belongs to me!” I couldn`t see what it was
cause it was covered in blood…..a girl nearby vomits….ain`t life grand? Time to go before
the cops get here….
Hollywood apartment buildings filled with drugs….buying and selling shit like it`s a fucking thrift store…
A crazy girl on an underground train just SCREAMING at the top of her lungs, somewhat unnerving to say the least….
Goddamn, this city is BEAUTIFUL…..!
I`ll put ya to sleep…
I`ll put the leeches on ya…
A ship in the harbor called Irene`s Synthesis….
this bus smells lemon fresh….
I have moved from the Hollywood Hills to the Hollywood ghetto…..YUCCA STREET!
yes! the chaos continues in a new theatre!
“You think I ain`t worth a dollar but I feel like a millionaire….”
My new neighborhood is quite colorful to say the least…
“You`re so ugly, you could be a modern art masterpiece!”
“Full Metal Jacket”
From the journals of Kurt Cobain……
“Once, I saw Jesus on a tortilla shell…”
“Humans are dumb. Ashamed to be human.”
“WORDS SUCK. I mean everything has been said. (SEE? I said that TOO)
I can`t remember the last time I had an interesting
conversation. Words aren`t as important as the energy
derived from music, especially live. Music is energy,
mood, atmosphere, feeling, emotion….”
The mean streets of Hollywood viewed from the night
rooftop on Yucca Street….
“What a stupid day it had been; a stupid day of a stupid month
of a stupid year.”
“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”
“I`m just a warm, toasty cinnamon bun and I never want to leave this bed…”
Don`t give me any trouble, Jack, or I`ll carve you a new asshole in your forehead…
“It`s only lies that I`m living
It`s only tears that I`m crying
I guess I`m doing fine…”
“This town is crazy
V elocity “
“The tender asshole school of fiction writers….”
On bringing kids to West Hollywood`s risqué annual Halloween bash…
“But in a world where sending your kids around the neighborhood to gather
uninspected candy is an increasingly scary prospect, a street full of nuns
with dildos strapped to their habits is almost charming…”
LA Weekly Nov. 8-14
vol. 24 no. 51
“I used to believe in things when I was a kid.”
“I spit on your grave; I thumb through your magazines…”
“Nothing so consumes a person as meaningless exertion.”
“High towers and deep wells.”
“The point is, never resist the FLOW. You go up when you`re supposed to go up
and down when you`re supposed to go down. When you`re supposed to go up,
find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you`re to go down, find the
deepest well and go down to the bottom. When there`s no flow, stay still. If you
resist the flow, everything dries up, the world is darkness.”
space invader was here….5905 Wilshire at the corner of Spaulding on the curb….
3 shitty color-themed poems for your amusement….they`re bad….I warned you….
is the color
that runs in rivers
is the sunset
and autumn leaves
and neon dreams
is the apple
and her hot pants
and the twilight of the world
is within you
is the question
and the answer
and the contradiction
the whisper of your heart
telling you nothing…
is the color of the sky
and the sea
and my eyes
is the way
on a gloomy Sunday morning
is the noonday river
is ice melting
and the hearts of many
is stinky cheese
are the cops
with their black hearts
and cold steel
is the color of my jeans
is the mist at dawn
and the neon of night
and the dirty asphalt
and the ink I use
to cross out these words…
and the Army
is the grass
and the moss
and the frogs
and all slimy things
is the springtime
and verdant life
is the bottle
and sunken murky swamps
is not the color
I will see
after writing this
no one would
ever pay for this shit…
“You`re not at all ready for the transformation. I can only save the prepared.
Those that are still clinging to illusions will have to wait in darkness. You`re
probably quite happy in your little dreamworld, so why should I disturb your
slumber? The man who woke up Sleeping Beauty was a fool, in my opinion.
The arms of Morpheus are sweeter than any prince, I assure you. Unless
Sleeping Beauty were having nightmares and perhaps she was….”
“After all that trouble, there was nothing to it;