Friday, July 15, 2011

ballad of the [b]old punk

i had to get thru the day. that was paramount. then after i left the office with the thought of heading to the newsbeat to see what periodicals i can find. i had to get there first and first i needed to walk down j st packed with traffic and people. coming up to the bus stop often used as shelter by street people i see someone's walker rolling, slowly, from the covered bus stop. the walker picked up speed and dropped from the curb to the street and in front of a bus about to pull out from the stop and into traffic. the owner waved his arms in alarm. the bus stopped and honked for someone to retrieve it. that someone was me. i ran the half-block to get the walker and when i handed it to the old man it began to roll back down the sidewalk again. i gave it back to the man and his fingers clenched the object with such surprising strength. i muttered something like, take care, and continued my perambulations.

i made to to the newsbeat, bought the newest issue of rue morgue and lungfull!! and a couple of house mags for anna. nothing interesting in that because those are the very sorts of magazine i usually buy. i'm sure if there is a profile of me in some marketing database [and i'm sure there is] i wonder if my obsessions causes some headscratching. horror and poetry and home decor?! i imagine the analysts of marketing asking. who is this fucking guy?! but for the fact that the young lady who works at the newsbeat and who has rung up my purchases many, many times before has these very lovely fine black-line tattoos on her wrists and hands. i ask about her ink. i say, i'm an old guy and don't know where to get such work done but i love black fine-line tattoos. she tells me about one. i ask, is it too personal to see it? no. it's on her right hand. a very finely drawn reproduction of a drawing by jean cocteau. i want to ask her about the tattoo artist. instead i thank her and go on my way.

now i'm on k st. lots of clubs, mostly gay, and bistros. the street is packed. it's a lovely evening. a cool breeze and sunny. i recall a new shop, phono select i think it's called, that specializes in vinyl. i don't have a record player but noticed on an earlier jaunt that the record shop also has books. tonight i step inside. a few books and lots of zines. a cool coffee-table book of pictures of joy division. a new study on swedish exploitation films. then i hear the song. 'out of vogue' by the late '70s punk band middle class. i love the song. haven't heard it in years. i laugh in delight and spin around to the guy working the counter right behind me. i say, my god i've not heard middle class in ages! he's the owner of the shop, del. he grew up in the area. knew all the punk bands and the scene as i did. i think we might be around the same age. we talk for some time about punk music, the old shit, hardcore bands and records. i'm delighted to talk to del as we travel time together. after a while i thank him and go on my way.

back down k st where it dead-ends into alhambra blvd and the safeway supermarket where i stop to pick up beer and vittles. happy to be ensconced in my little burg and even in my own little life. outside the store is a young lady looking for citizen volunteers for a charity that helps in-home care recipients. she says to me, did you know unemployment rose 10% last year as corporate profits rose? yes, i say, i know that. i ask if they have a website. no, she tells me. i take her flyer and walk the couple blocks home thinking that maybe if she and her group want greater equity and a fairer distribution of wealth then her and her group might do better to try to organize labor and try to wake people up from whatever is preventing them from demanding a fairer share of what this very rich country offers its top earners. a start might be to demand fewer working hours and an increase in real working wages. i think all this. i am thinking about all this. how in some times in our past politics does become metaphysics. i think that the presence of the young activist woman might not be a bad start.


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