My second hometown, not born there, just lived there many years.
I know the streets, hills, signs, landmarks.
A lot of struggle, a lot of time spent, a lot of people I used to know.
So many stories to tell, both good and bad, how would I describe it?
A town that was hot and yet so cold at the same time.
When you first go there you love the red sunsets and palm trees blowing in the ocean breeze.
When you leave you just want to get out no more scathed that you are.
A quiet exit, when no one is looking, out the side door to the freeway and gone.
The smell of sun-baked exhaust and the scent of red sand blowing from the east, a red wind Chandler warned about.
Such beauty and ugliness, wealth and poverty, peaceful serenity and violent chaos next to one another.
I remember the riots and earthquakes, torrential rainstorms, the scary but harmless potato bugs, the gorgeous colors of the Bird of Paradise growing under my window.
The window of a small mother-in-law apartment built on the front of a house, a rent deal I couldn’t afford to say no to, in a black neighborhood, and being white, I acquired more depth to my education.
Went in and out of alcoholism there. Endured many a record heatwave, worked some of the strangest jobs and lived on next to nothing most of the time.
Learned to watch out for the California smile, because it isn’t friendly beyond the veneer.
Some of the strangest people I ever met, some of the most dangerous, most unreliable, yet, most memorable. They come visit me at night in the nocturnal mind-scape when I go on seemingly illogical missions: like trying to find my car, where was it parked?
Of course, it’s gone, stolen again. I had 2 go that way, only in this recurring nightmare, I’m like a character from Kafka, I just can’t get there in time, always another delay, wrong trail, things turning into other things, persons into other persons and then I awake to discover it was just a dream. Another dream of L.A.