Mornings, like me, enjoyed up with a cup of coffee, the first sip a prayer, an offering, for Patty and the kids before work, primed the pump, but I don’t think he ever worked on his bio, and I’m sure he did not know a pronoun from a down dulcet.
All day long he stayed disappeared in the galvanized wooden shells, from ground breaking to the pipes out the roof, returned with the turning of the tide and said, “Get Dad a beer, will ya Joe,” each from which I took a sip until one day I took too much out of us and things were never the same again but in the mornings before work, quiet over a cup of coffee,
maybe I was up early to go surfing or ride my bike to school times my car was broke down usually a Bug in the shop at Jim & Jack’s, two Iranian brothers down on the corner of Grand and Sepulveda, but that’s another story.
Dad was no good with cars, couldn’t hear the engines, always “feels like it ain’t gettin’ no gas,” he’d say. That’s one way it was just outside LA city in the industrial beach town on the edge between the cool water and the heat some mornings sunup with a cup of coffee and few words, maybe enough for a haiku:
damp carob odor as three trees drop chocolate pods crushed on the walk.
“Day after day that August, the weather stayed hot and dry. These days we call it real holiday weather but, then, only the well-to-do in those parts went far afield and even a week at Scarborough was remarkable. Folk stayed at home and took their pleasure from an agricultural show, a traveling fair, a Sunday-school outing or, if they had social pretentions, a tennis party with cucumber sandwiches. Most country people had a deep-rooted disinclination to sleep away from home and a belief that, like as not, to sojourn amongst strangers was to fall among thieves. It was the way they always had lived and, like their forefathers, they traveled no further than a horse or their own legs could carry them there and back in a day.”
And these days the weather rather like some older person no longer relevant fluous, superfluous your personal covenant (within a place of your own family and knickknack weekends yard games reprieve from work a bit of a book a work of art music hot dogs pizza and beer) the seal broken by those expensive wingtips these days full of closet dust expansive neckties the colors of ecclesiastical vestments no one in the office guessed how much trouble caused from the either or fallacious suits and no longer personally responsible for the ugliness of the world find beauty reflected in all the broken pieces.
No quotes suffice nor even allowed the etiquette of now of an equality unshared in the shadows of human conditions the tics of post traumatic stress disorder not to mention the tics of now living in the moment cursed with mindfulness.
Anyway, we were on the radio a dinner party was playing and we lined up to go through the food line like at an automatic car wash noises on soaps flooding and after walking down the line feet locked into the tracks nude through the car wash slapped to and fro back and forth by the wet washing cloths and huge spinning wheels and sprays we dried and redressed and vowed next time we’d be better rehearsed.
The only thing left for us is the weather to go out in it to get wet and dry wet and dry again and again day after day.
Pinned to Ted’s chest a list of opinions changed daily like a tie or underwear and on his forearms his feelings tattooed in secret for most days he felt nothing unless he rolled up his sleeves
which he often did when Jocko came in stinking of the couch where he put all his cards into watching sports on TV exercising his extensive vocabulary culled from an encyclopedia of games
while story after story after story came from the very vocal pen of one high falutin bird dogging Mitch whose body still twitched from his days in the ditch of public service (“The buck stoppeth here,” he liked to say, “safely in my pocket. I did my time, it’s your round to buy.”)
Mr. Moneybone knew all about finance and happily pulled out a wad and spat into a gold spittoon declaring one on him for the whole house
though only Agnes in her corner chair sipping rye correcting papers and doubting Tom at the end of the bar where the petrified wood curved all the way into Montana and now
all their words gone to seed mixed on the sawdust floor with that tracked in from the road in the Breeze a one draft pub they considered their last deed.
Past the railroad tracks around the tents, tarps bags closed to noses metal poles drip wet gravel tar oiled wood fences chain-link flowered concertina wire dancing waltzing in the dust barbed hooks, tons of massive steel box cars ringing of crossing bells corner of Woody Road and Bob Boulevard tall walls with no windows crows coming down for the night.
Waterbeds for the dead heads smoke on and rhyme on a dime ocean lapping at the door under trestle down to the beach creature returns to the shore from the fires the smoky land strongest survive in water adapt quickly or not at all the tortoise and the trickster.
When spirit wants loose fury shoots craps with angel for scraps of your soul passing over buried treasure the X intersection of forward and backward slashes of dashes you can’t recall the night spent in blackout in a swell that’s travelled a long ways to this wave.