In the late afternoon light as the heat of the day slowly dissipates and shadows begin to grow. John settles into a convenient position on a green metal bench leaving behind his anxiety at the intersection of La Cienega and 18th Street. It is here that John displays his soul to the rest of humanity as he drifts away from the aroma of exhaust and the pandemonium of metal, glass and tires. He has found his universal solution to serenity while holding the worn pages of his book. Sometime ago John changed the narrative of his life, shipping out on red Target shopping cart, sailing the West above the red painted curbs and redefining window shopping. Books have become John’s traveling companion, his shipmate, his amigo and his manual. Words on a paper that fills the emptiness of time and place on his long voyage home.
Life in the City of Angels: Sponsored By The Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority
My friends, jump-start your day with a good night’s sleep with the comfort and quality you get from our single steel frame beds. You are guarantee with a life time warrenty to wake up refreshed and ready to roll out of your slumber to start a fun filled day of adventure. To make more of your space, go for the twin beds seen here. All our beds are bolted to the concrete sidewalk with built-in storage giving you space to chain your shopping cart or with the roomy space underneath to slide your backpack underneath. Our urban beds also give you the option to use your backpack, Von’s plastic bags or jackets as a pillow for your catnaps. And we have everything else for your street needs; steel slates for circulation, imaginary firm mattress for your back, and a duvet that you wear. All this to complete your bed in style. We are your Urban Outfitters courtesy of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
All kidding aside. When one has exhausted all resources and is reduced to the insane condition of toting a small travel bag, aimlessly riding buses, selling plasma, eating in soup kitchens, walking in a dream, sleeping in shelters and parks, and knowing that going to jail is a step up on the social ladder, this is homelessness.
What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas
Asleep and protected from the desert heat and drunk predators, Donna finds refuge on a city bus in Las Vegas. She wears gold shoes with a white jump suit that is divided by a belt with sea shells glued to it. Donna’s hair is resting on the top of her head with a gold comb parked in front. She has grown accustom of sleeping over the sound of the diesel engine, air brakes and the frequent stops. Her head rolls from side to side with every turn the bus makes as it travels the back streets of Las Vegas. At first glance, Donna looks as if she has been shopping but the plastic bags are full of clothing and personal hygiene items which props her up right to a vertical sleep. The bags are her only worldly possessions.
A black man sitting next to Donna stares out the window to the lights of the casinos and hotels. He clutches a paper bag. He has no rings on his fingers or a watch on his wrist. His attention is focused on the world outside the window. Here, they are both protected from the elements of Las Vegas and lost in their own world.
Life in the City of Angels: Cigarettes and Relativity
As she rested her elbow on an old L.A. Weekly newspaper bin, she continue to smoke from a stubby discarded cigarette.
She then tells me,
“I have more than once made contact with the pavement and it wasn’t so gingerly either, the last time was at the corner of Fairfax and Beverly.”
“She paused, took the last drag of her cigarette and dropped it on the concrete between her battered boots, strange how the world looks from the ground up, I once saw an ostrich too……. all well…. life has no obligation to give us what we expect.”
Life in the City of Angels:Chinwag on Melrose Avenue
“Hey man ! It’s all about infinite reflection isn’t it? We ask for an eternal embrace after our rite of passage, but like string theory it’s always about getting the right vibe. The vibe man, the vibration of energy from someone who believes in the third eye… Jesus! I sound so woo woo or stoned. Which reminds me, back in the day I use to watch wonky Dance Fever on tv while stoned….popping Tootsie Rolls and caramel popcorn, man oh man! Maui Wowie! Good shit back then.
Jesus! Dance Fever man, hosted by that baby face and swarthy Adrian what’s his name of T J Hooker and Captain Kirk. “Where no man has gone before.” Oh yeah, been there in the cerebral abysses man, damn near didn’t come back. Got to go man, have a date at Pink’s Hot Dogs, peace brother.”
Life in the City of Angels: Now Playing L.A. Film Festival
We are the little people, faceless and sad, we accumulate at a bus stop near Sunset and Sad, as you can see we wait for a bus that will never drew near. We are surrounded by the artificial glitter of the Stars, which provides the illusion of certain happiness which seem more real than where we are. We see the failed sitcom stars and the whole fragile scene as the dumpsters are filled with broken dreams.
Life in the City of Angels: I Am a Traveler
I am a weary and a lonesome traveler
I’ve been a traveling long.
I’ve traveled near and I’ve traveled yonder
I’ve been a traveling long and traveled cold and then
I’ve traveled hungry. Lord, I’ve been a traveling long.
Yes, I’ve traveled with the rich and traveled with the poor
I’ve been a traveling long.
One of these days I’m going to stop all my traveling
Going to keep right on traveling on that road to freedom
Going to keep right on traveling long…
Life in the City of Angels: The Old Man and the Street
Life in the City of Angels: Cheetos and the Man
Tecate Mexican Beer: Light hop bitterness. Bread and malts are present. Straw color appearance. Has a lager taste. Not too carbonated, goes down easy. Nice on a hot day like today then a nap.
Cheetos Crunchy Cheese Flavored Puffed Cornmeal: When cheesecake is not available Cheetos hits the spot. It has just enough spice (jalapeno) to be flavorful but not too hot. Not for folks who like Pringles…and you won’t emit flames from the nether region either!
Life in the City of Angels: Lease on Life
Once long ago I was a man able to stand alone
I’m in the third season of my life and I live alone
Someone like you sees me everyday, but I’m not invited
My hurts are no noticed, but I wish you the best
I can see you crystal clear, yet you do not have time to hear my story
You don’t think I’m real– but, in fact, I am you
I haven’t been on my own two feet in a very long time
I’ve heard that your dreams came true, only yesterday I had dreams, too
Isn’t it funny, what we become isn’t what we wanted
I once held my head high, if I could only tell you who I once was
It’s the darnedest thing to understand, even after surrendering
The lease on life is short, swept away by time