by Tom H. Brooks 3
“All you wicked city-slick chicks
and all you nitty gritty hicks,
It`ll make your nipples ripple,
It`ll make you wanna dip your dipple…”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers
you shall know MY velocity…
THE ONLY ANSWERS ARE THE ONES
WE INVENT FOR OURSELVES…..
“What I find is that you can do almost anything
or go almost anywhere it you`re not in a hurry.”
`Tony`, a beachcomber on the Northeast Wild Coast of Queensland, Australia, in the never-never,
as quoted by Paul Theroux in The Happy Isles of Oceania
“If you show someone their future, they have no future.
It takes away all the mystery and all the hope.”
“I did not fast because I wanted to; I fasted because I had to.
I could never find the food that I liked. If I could have found
what I liked, I would have gorged myself like the rest of you people.”
“The Hunger Artist”
Lost in the mists of time, soon to be forgotten like all the rest of my brothers and sisters…
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDIN`
“…real and false were fused here so perfectly that they became a new substance.”
“In California, we bury our dead, then forget…”
“Ecology of Fear”
I raced the #2 bus down Sunset towards downtown. I made it all the way to my birthplace, Echo Park,
before one showed up. I didn`t get on it. I continued skateboarding east…
Non-fiction….REAL LIFE, is often so much more bizarre than fiction. A mirror to a mirror, different worlds,
different means to the same end; they are very often indistinguishable from one another as a final result.
Example: As I write this in Venice Beach, CA, a classic tweaker pulls up on a bike that is surely stolen–
thrown together from a mish-mash of various parts–with a ghetto blaster playing hesher music full blast
while he`s screaming and singing out loud along with the music. He gets off the bike and is pacing back
and forth like a caged panther, no rest in sight, totally nuts….YEAH! They couldn`t think SHIT up for movies
if it weren`t for guys like this. They got nothing! He`s got a sick-ass mullet and he looks like he rode all
night straight from a trailer park in Fontana. Priceless…
LET`S DO THE LA THING AND EXCHANGE
CELL NUMBERS AND NEVER CALL EACH OTHER…
The Gift that keeps on giving…
“Only those who believe
ever see what they dream…”
Sweet Blessed Silence
Yes, my friends; once again, I, the original LA skateboarding urban explorer, have found another pocket
of forgotten nature in San Pedro`s industrial wastelands as I ride about town. Naturally, I stop there for
a beer and a bowl and some reading and writing…
Given time, fiction and reality almost always merge together to fuse into a mutation, a confusion, something
nameless and new that defies description, labeling and/or statistical explanations. In other words, chaos theory……
non-linear behavior or aberrations…….yes, the madness continues and the weird just gets weirder….
Pigeons, ravens, sparrows…..just to name a few; the City birds will still be here long after we`re gone. Although
they have become somewhat co-existent and semi-reliant on humans, they are still excellent foragers and
scavengers and THEY CAN FLY. Yes; their chances are very good….
The sun bursts through the clouds with blinding intensity. The squawking seagulls and the barking of sea lions fills the air…
January to March is the best time of year at Sunken City on Point Fermin. It is the rainy season in a city that has little rain.
Springtime is just a couple short months away. Everything is green and lush, which insures plenty of birds and wildlife
activity. Occasionally, the sun shines through the coastal mist and makes all the broken glass and beer bottles shine and
sparkle like colored gemstones. Even trash can be beautiful under the right circumstances…
I exult in the chaos
I smile at the darkness
I laugh in the fire
I scorn the danger
I face the immensity of it all
There is no stopping this journey
in this life or the next…
is within you and without you
It is nowhere and everywhere
at the same time
It speaks to you clearly
and it ignores you completely
It is in your face
and it sends obscure messages
It is both good and evil
happy and sad
neither here nor there
It defies explanation
yet makes itself known
It says profound things
without obvious meaning
that seem to be pointless
It is both chaos and order
love and hate
The only way to understand it
is to be unpredictable
It is non-linear
It is always subject to change
It is randomness
Do not try to stop it
Go with it
GROOVE with it
FLOW with it>>>>>>>>
I don`t care about rules and regulations
I don`t care what `they say`
I don`t listen to what I am told to do
I do what I want, when I want
Expect nothing less….
Always talk to strangers…
Gregory Isaacs, “Mr. Brown” is blasting at the reggae store in Ports O`Call, it is blasting PROPER
in the bright winter sunlight and my heart is filled with joy…
Here is a picture of glamorous LA for you;
7th Street, San Pedro; two grotesquely wasted caricatures from an old medieval novel, the town drunks,
were slumping on a bus bench. The woman was picking her nose…DEEP…and the man was fondling
her flabby pancake tits in the slanted, dusty sunlight. Welcome to the land of sunshine, welcome to
the dark side, welcome to the night train……….It`s ok with me though, everyone needs love/lust, even mutants…
Looked out the train window and saw a hobo dude with a grizzled two-week beard, guzzling a 24oz beer and smoking
while, nearby, I saw a black dude breaking into a house through a side window. On the street nearby, another
useless cop gives a ticket to a round little Latina woman who likely has a family of 6 or more. Great job. Thanks
for nothing, PIG. Go catch some rapists or something, go get some REAL bad guys….fuck it, you are USELESS.
Los Angeles, 6th and Main….truly the End of the World; watching two black guys arguing over money;
“I ain`t got HIGH today, nigga!”
“I already gave you money, yestaday, ya damn fool! Bullshit, mothafucka!”
“If it weren`t fo me, you wouldn`t have SHIT, nigga!”
charming, isn`t it? Beautiful.
It`s kind of funny, I am just standing in the midst of the rabble, the ONLY white dude in sight and no one seems
to notice or care. They are too busy trying to get the next fix. Crack rocks are being passed around me like
candy, I`M NOT KIDDING. They are so desperate that they don`t even put em in baggies, just little yellowish
rocks in bare dirty hands exchanged like Chiclets. Truly a disgrace that we`ve allowed it all to come to THIS.
Hill Street 4:20 pm: MY SPOT at the top of the stairs, hidden in the trees. I have NEW LA on my right, the sun
glaring down on the high-rises of Bunker Hill (built on the remains of the old), towers and a vividly opalescent plume
of smoke from the DWP building. To my left lies Chinatown and the industrial wastelands of the east side fading
into the smoggy distance and Spring Street, the road to the LA River….now, I`M GETTING HIGH, NIGGA!!
I look at the decrepit ruins of derelict buildings. I see the old nostalgic buildings preserved around Olvera Street,
( La Placita de Los Angeles). I see the tourists, slack-jawed and lacking the advantage of personal historical
knowledge of the region, traipsing amongst little stalls filled to overflowing with useless knick-knacks. And there
is Elysian Park in the haze, the hills, Dodger Stadium, Chavez Ravine and WAY out in the far distance, the snow-
capped San Gabriel Mountains.
I hope you readers realize that this is meant to be RANDOM. Sure, it is messy, from-the-heart, shorthand scribbles;
it has all been rapidly thrown together in the vast and somewhat dangerous, I`m told, Metropolis of LA while riding
a skateboard and stopping in obviously sketchy areas. Sometimes, I even write WHILE I am riding the skateboard…
like I have said before…..WORDS IN MOTION……..
JUST BE NICE, EVERYBODY
“gweilo”; foreign devil. Some of the older Chinese give me dirty looks as I ride through Chinatown but I never care.
They were probably around in the old days when the Anglo Saxon folks persecuted the Chinese along with the
Mexicans and the Blacks and the Indians and just about everybody else. What do ya expect? That is nothing
new. Give me all the angry looks you want, I don`t care about you. I am only interested in your sexy daughters.
THEY SMILE at me, which of course brings joy to my heart. As I write this, a smiling and sexy Filipina girl in
a Catholic school girl uniform walks by and then my writing stops and I forget what I`m talking about and…..
RELIGION IS JUST MAN
TRYING TO PUT A FACE
ON THE INFINITE MYSTERY
Joseph Conrad “Heart of Darkness”
The advice Marlowe receives before embarking on his voyage up the Congo River…
“Proceed as the Way opens…”
An old Quaker proverb
“…time for me is nothing `cause I`m counting no age…”
“IF A GRAIL APPEARS,
THE SOUL MUST FOLLOW…”
William Least Heat-Moon
His journey across America by boat on rivers…
“It wasn`t, of course, the beginning of my trip, for who can say where a voyage starts– not the actual passage
but the dream of a journey and its urge to find a way?”
William Least Heat-Moon
“Know thy native country before thou goest over the threshold thereof.”
(English Historian of Olde…)
“I never come,
I never go,
I am never born,
I never die”
Meher Baba (The Avatar of the Age)
“Traveling by boat is the best way to travel,
unless one can stay at home…”
existential fit of agony
everyone seems stupid
the world is angry
I don`t want to talk to anyone
they don`t want to talk to me
no one is smiling
the slow death
routine is marching on our faces
it all seems a bunch of crap
everything is pointless
when death comes
it will be a pleasant surprise
to float peacefully in the ether
always the root of my discontent
is feeling TRAPPED
trapped in monotony
I do not like to feel TRAPPED
I want to throw everything in the trash
and travel the world endlessly
until I die
I need FREEDOM
I must get it somehow
or I may smother….
aren`t so bad…
The passing of still ANOTHER LA tree, this one WAS on Melrose between Martel
and Poinsettia. It goes unnoticed by most frenzied shoppers, I`m sure. But
I NOTICED and it irks me to no end. This city has already cut down enough
trees. That tree went to a great green mountain in the sky. As I sit here,
feeling sad, the bus kicks a cloud of dust in my eyes and my day is complete…
I guess when I say I don`t care, sometimes it is a lie.
I often DO care but the saddest part is that I can`t find
a reason WHY to care…
On this Friday, 1/16/04, I am in a foul mood. I sit here in of the few LA parks that they
haven`t turned into a shopping mall (YET). I am in Pan-Pacific on 3rd Street before I go
to stinking work. Thank heavens for the bird songs, the trees and the sunshine. Otherwise,
my day would be without hope.
Bateman….you`re gonna drive yourself nuts if you keep second-guessing me.
You know why?
BECAUSE I`M RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG.
Well, that ^ is pretty arrogant isn`t it?
IT`S STILL TRUE.
Goddamnit, there`s DUNG everywhere in this fucking city!
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Chinese Calendar New Year
4072 YEAR OF THE MONKEY
“We are dying to know life in every breath.”
“`I should have died so many times before.`
`Now, you live again.` “
“The Last Samurai”
So I was just checking out an Antarctica photo exhibit at Fahey-Klein gallery on La Brea. There, I met some
guy who is actually GOING to Antarctica in a few days and he just got back from Patagonia. There you are;
another lucky bastard waltzing around the globe while I bring people their FUCKING EGGS….
George Bush is just SO FULL OF SHIT. 1/20/04 State of the Union address is just a collection of blatant lies.
It made me so sick, I almost turned it off after only 5 minutes but I was hypnotized by its transparent deceptions
and outright idiocy. Whoever believes this clown or ANY politician is a moron of the LOWEST order. They are
zombies who believe everything they are told. When the white flash of light hits, I will be laughing. Fuck this
circus sideshow. I`m going out like “The Last Samurai,” charging headlong into the fire. This world is truly
China: The Sleeping Dragon
“Things fall apart,
the center cannot hold.
Mere anarchy is loosed
upon the world,
the blood-dimmed tide flows,
the ceremony of innocence
The best lack all conviction,
while the worst are
full of passionate intensity.
The darkness drops again,
but now I know that 20 centuries
of stony sleep were vexed to nightmare
by a rocking cradle.
What rough beast, its hour come round at last,
slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
William Butler Yeats
“I suppose that everyone who writes is afflicted some of the time by
the suspicion that nobody out there is listening…”
“It seemed their marriage had reached the traditional truce, the point
at which so many resign themselves to cutting both their losses and their hopes.”
“…some dreamers of the golden dream…”
“The future always looks good in the Golden Land because
no one remembers the past.”
“Because when we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something
or need something, not that it is a pragmatic necessity for us to have it, but that it is
a moral imperative that we have it, then we join the fashionable madmen, and that is
when the thin whine of hysteria is heard in the land, and then we are in bad trouble.
And I suspect we are already there.”
“As it happens, I am still committed to the idea that the ability to think for one`s
self depends upon one`s mastery of the language.”
“Slouching Towards Bethlehem”
The future doesn`t look that good.
However, I`ll take the ride anyway…
Sitting in the morning sunlight finishing a book on the streets of Hollywood, outside the library.
A charming fellow with an undeniable Scottish accent approached me with some words leading
around to a small donation for a local `soup kitchen.` He told me he lived in India for 12 years
among other tales. I gave him a dollar and watched him wander off through the parking lot and
I sat there smiling and reflecting on life. I suspect he just conned me out of a buck but I really
don`t care, I can afford it. His parting words were “Carpe Diem!” And I responded, “Seize the Day!”
“All I wanted to do was accept myself, my life and my mistakes but they wouldn`t let me, so I
lost everything and everything that wasn`t lost I broke into tiny pieces. Now there is only one
thing that will keep the dogs off my heels–the rhythm of ramble–the possibility of Golden Gates
that never come…”
“The only identity I had was the one I made up, and to me it was the only one worth having.”
“…diamonds on the horizon…”
“Everyone is a pioneer. The frontier runs through our veins like a Greyhound Bus.”
Eddy Joe Cotton (a.k.a. Zebu Recchia)
A Young Man`s Thoughts on Trains and Tramping in America”
“I contend an abiding sense of irony over all that I do.”
IT WASN`T ME
CALL MY ATTORNEY
YOU CAN`T PROVE A THING IN COURT WITHOUT VIDEO
I just saw a street flyer posted on a palm tree that said,
“Is there a child molester in your church?”
Only in LA….
Bateman is babbling nonsense AGAIN
HA HA, THAT DOESN`T EVEN DIGNIFY A RESPONSE…
My life is beset by ironies at every turn.
I have given up on trying to understand them, but instead,
I simply try to notice and accept them for what they are….
“Many people back East have been to Los Angeles or San Francisco. They`ve driven through
a giant redwood and seen the sun glaze the Pacific in the afternoon off Big Sur. They naturally
tend to believe they`ve been to CALIFORNIA. They have not been, and probably never will be,
for it is a longer and in many ways a more difficult trip than they might want to undertake, one of
those trips on which the destination flickers chimerically on the horizon, ever receding, ever diminishing.
I happen to know about that trip because I come from California.”
What man of reason could ever
be truly prepared for all of THIS?!?
“When I was home I`d dreamed of the river, but when I was on the river, I dreamed of home.”
William Least Heat-Moon
…regarding nightmare days of restaurant work, specifically, Sunday Brunch:
Never think of the end until the end is IN sight…
Oh yes, THIS is the stuff dreams are made of…
Drank WAY too much last night…as I was going home from work, I got the best and the worst,
both the last thing I need and the greatest…..contrasts, if you will;
I am on the 217 bus and a homeless dude gets on with two filthy hefty bags of cans. The whole
bus now smells like stale beer, the last thing a dude with a hangover needs. I open the window
for fresh air and it gets better. I am at the back and he is in the front. He gets out at Fairfax and
Sunset. Later, the girl from out front of the Chinese theater, Marilyn Monroe gets on and sits
right next to me. She smells like gardenia perfume and she looks pretty damn good. It is a surreal
experience sitting next to Marilyn Monroe at the back of a dirty bus in Hollywood. I get out at
Hollywood and Cahuenga and go to 7-11 for–you guessed it—MORE BEER. The only cure for a
hangover is more beer….and there are people waiting for me on the roof….
Notes from Yucca Fantasyland….
The following is a real letter that I left for David Bateman, my genius roommate;
2 crack-fiend-looking chicks came by looking for you. They looked terrible and desperate; it kind
of made me feel bad for them. One of them, the emaciated one, was named Laura. The other, I
didn`t ask her name, asked me for 5 dollars. Normally the generous man, I had to say no. The last
thing that bitch needed was another rock. Their eyes were bugging out of their heads and they had
open sores on their greasy, pale faces. It was 7:30am when they came by, which is too goddamned
early. Now David, if you insist on having these stinkbags come by, please, for THE LOVE OF GOD,
FIND SOME SEXIER WHORES! I beg of you…
heading to the beach on the #4 bus. I love it when I get a bus that is nearly empty at an hour when
it is usually packed full. Sunny, cool, high clouds, 66 degrees Fahrenheit…
A jet at supersonic speeds, tail lengthening behind it, appears to be flying directly into the stark white
eye of the winter sun. The air is crisp and cool and I am surrounded by millions of birds on the bluffs
above Santa Monica, especially those strange tweeting birds that gather by the thousands on power
lines. The sea is glassy and blue. The day is mine…
Venice canals….Polston has come down to meet me. There is a newspaper on the ground open to
the caption,”Nobody`s Perfect, But Someday I Will Be…” HA!!
We`re going to drink beer, smoke herb and get into some kind of trouble…
Hindu on a scooter
sunny Tuesday 1/27/04
On my way to work, I am chased on my skateboard by a vicious Yorkshire terrier, which leads me
to a hot Filipina babe, its owner, working at a store on Melrose. We laugh and talk for a while and
I`d say this day has STARTED well. We`ll see what happens from here…
In the park, a pre-work joint to smoke while listening to the virtuoso performance of a mockingbird
in the morning sunlight…
“You are surrounded by slaves. Everything about you is in chains, and you are in chains yourselves.
I fear if I should change my life for yours, I too would become a slave.”
An Osage Indian Chief to a White Man
“Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.”
ruby in the dust
You know how much money I have right now after paying ALL my bills?
$34.00……HA!! One dollar for every year of my life. WHO CARES?!?
“Sometimes…..things ARE exactly as they appear.”
“GOD IS AN IMAGINARY FRIEND FOR GROWNUPS”
“Sometimes You Get So Alone, It Just Makes Sense”
“So a skeleton walks into a bar. He says, “gimme a pitcher of beer and a mop…”
“Only the curious, if they live, have a tale worth telling…”
“I fear, above anything else on this river, losing my logbook; better I should go under
than this most important object in my life. If I saw logbook go down, I`d dive for it,
stupid but necessary resolve.”
William Least Heat-Moon
(at least I`m not the ONLY ONE thinking this way…)
2/2/04 The day after Super Bowl Sunday….
Surefire headache/hangover cure: In the darkness of dawn, 5am, get your sorry ass
out of bed and drink water and coffee and take aspirin. Then, proceed to skateboard
FULL SPEED down Cahuenga to Santa Monica Blvd. and catch the #4 bus to the beach.
Magic. Headache gone.
“Beware thoughts that come in the night.”
“On the old highway maps of America, the main routes were red and the back roads, blue.
Now even the colors are changing. But in those brevities just before dawn and a little after
dusk–times neither day nor night–the old roads return to the sky some of its color. Then,
in truth, they carry a mysterious cast of blue, and it`s that time when the pull of the blue
highway is strongest, when the open road is beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a
man can lose himself.”
“That night, as I lay wondering if I would get sleep or explosion, I got the idea instead. A
man who couldn`t make things go right could at least go. He could quit trying to get out
of the way of life. Chuck routine. Live the real jeopardy of circumstance. It was a question
William Least Heat-Moon
The moon of heat or the `blood moon` is in the seventh month, July
The autumn of my life…
beautiful sunrise, unbelievable!
I am a very lucky man. The Santa Monica police just drove
by me while there was still marijuana smoke hanging in the
still morning air. I am on the roof of my favorite parking garage
between 3rd St. Promenade and 4th street. I am 9 floors up and
I`m enjoying the gorgeous and panoramic 360 degree view.
I take an EPIC skateboard run down….>>>>>>down, full speed,
passing the cops who are just sitting in their car eating donuts
or jacking off or both, who cares, I`m FLYING, baby, across the
alley and into the smooth and silent marble tunnel that leads
to the Promenade and I`m hooting the whole way….WHAT A RUSH.
What a child at heart I am and will always be…..
8am, Santa Ana Wind conditions, and I`m now sitting on a bench on the
Santa Monica pier watching the sun begin its morning ascent in the heavens.
The sun casts a glaring yet lazy light across the land, it is almost eerie.
The ocean is still and glassy with small rippling surf. Seagulls squawk
and wheel about in the air as I watch the white light shimmering on the
surface of the sea. I am enveloped in the quiet morning air; I become one
with it. Bliss. All is peaceful. I melt away and am surrounded by curious birds.
This shall be one of MY days; a Monday of polar opposites…..of contrasts….
From the sea to the city. Morning at the beach….by 11am, I`m on an empty
33 bus heading east down Venice Blvd for Downtown LA. I`ve been taking
photos and I will continue to do so all day. Next stop, ANYWHERE I feel like it…..
Anywhere and everywhere, indeed. I am now sitting in the trees on my secret
stairway enjoying a cold brew. LA River is next.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire. LA river pollution bubbles, flotsam and
jetsam. Looking at my painting beneath the gang graffiti, river gnats flying
helter skelter in a cool wind, the river smells like soap or detergent, mixed with
algae and urine. It runs murky, greenish-brown with some deep blues and is strangely
foamy. Sad, empty and starkly beautiful in its own way, when the sunlit water
glitters next to graffiti walls and the river sings her forlorn and desolate song, final
thoughts on a lost era, nature gone to industry, a sad song telling a million
Hundreds of white seagulls wheeling in the air over Chinatown; these little fuckers
are WAY inland….I think they followed me.
Phillipe`s: BEEF; it`s what`s for dinner.
Every picture tells a story.
So VERY tired….
“I`m only a vessel through which genius flows.”
I HOPE YOU REALIZE THAT I AM ONLY
GIVING YOU THE READER`S DIGEST VERSION…