We didn't go to Pen State,
But got our degree in the State Pen!
Education for us wasn't bitches at spring break...
But we'd break 'em! Fuck 'em bitches and snitches!
God bless our mothers for raising us Thugs,
Pobresitas, It was all our fraud!
We were Warriors on our turf....
Screw em! 187 on their curve!
Que pendegos, bien proud!
TRECE ESE, branding on our brows!
Eses, Paisas, Brothers and woods,
A fuckin menace...all defiant fools!
To Karma only our open wallets,
Cuz with our shorties,
We shall pay the balance!
From the streets we come and to the streets we return.
- Luiz Syphre
2nd stanza - Pobresitas - poor ladies
3rd stanza - Que pendegos, bien - How Stupid, very proud....
Trece Ese - Thirteen (as in Florencia 13, a local gang) Ese - Slang for Hispanic Gangster
Paisas - Illigal Aliens, Brothers - Blacks, Woods - White = Jail terminology for different races.
It was in tribute to a friend of mine's Son, as he was killed in South Central L.A. gang violence.
somewhere in hollywood along route 66
stood a cheap motel—
for rockstars and their groupies,
artists and and poets and strangelings alike.
the morning only saw its residents,
drunken and drowsy,
and its black-tiled pools as dark as the night;
yet the nights were its prime
when the artists would gather
in the name of music, dance, recklessness.
the syringes would pierce their skin
and the alcohol like ocean waves
washed out the most of them,
and events too unspeakable were the norm.
the motel never attained 5-star ratings,
but it become the playground
for fleeting moments, wild nights,
brewing grounds for creation.
these nights were so loud and colorful,
but only remembered in hazy visions
and muffled sounds.
and so all those nights end here, today:
at the south of The Strip
where some modern, ordinary hotel now stands
once used to be the mess
that the likes of Jim Morrison
and Tom Waits called home.
its guests would have burnt it down,
but they would've wasted their money,
and who has the time anyway?
ladies and gentlemen, the tropicana motel—
a stop over where
wild minds and wild hearts would meet
and eventually go their way,
the place where these legends
of music and madness
came to play.
I went back to the Santa Monica Pier today.
It’s been over a year; I could no longer make excuses for why I didn’t want to go back.
I remember walking along the coast and feeling at ease.
That night was an escape from the suburban nightmares, at least at the beginning it was.
The high tide brought the foamy sea closer and closer to my feet.
My new boots were dirty and covered with wet sand.
A light drizzle started falling.
You paused and said you were in love with me
I don’t think I have ever felt so unnerved.
I didn’t know what to say.
I didn’t know how I felt. And I ran.
But you caught my arm in time.
I will never forget how strong your grip was,
Trying to forget your heavy touch is like scrubbing blood out of concrete.
I yanked back my arm and fell into the sand trying to get away.
The drizzle turned into heavy rain.
I took a shortcut to get to my car.
Rusty chain link fences bit at my ankles.
I dropped down into a pile of leaves flecked with Styrofoam and cigarettes.
The gusts of wind blew dust off of the streets and onto the windshield of my car.
The fading sounds of the Pier’s arcade,
the screams from children on the rides,
and the drunk adults laughing in the nearby restaurants
Were just as chaotic and wild
As my mind.
Panic sets in and my already trembling hands
Begin to shake.
I turned the radio off,
And instead listened to the sounds of the rain outside.
I drove home that night with the windows rolled down.
There is something cathartic about a rainstorm.
The wind had never felt so cold,
Even the palm trees were shivering.
There's no heart left in Los Angeles
All those screaming ascendants
Living with Beats around their necks
But nothing beating in their chests
They got beaches, buried toes in the sand
Can you feel the heat yet, fire from your hand
There's no love left in Los Angeles
We got out of the murder motel early,
while we still could,
before the rental car got stolen
or our room underwent dynamic drive-by refurbishment.
There was supposed to be a
complimentary continental breakfast,
but the coffee machine was broken
and someone had already swiped all the donuts.
My only frame of reference for Inglewood was that it was Sam Jackson's character's home turf in 'Pulp Fiction',
leading me to suspect it
probably wasn't a nice area,
although the fat hooker smoking outside
when we'd checked in at 2am
had seemed very friendly.
You were right about LA, about
how there must be a sun, but you can't
really see it, you just
sort of assume it's up there somewhere
behind the fog huffing in off the Pacific
and the toxic breath rising from the
city's gridlocked mouth.
We made for Venice Beach, because you
don't fly all that way and then not go,
us figuring ourselves early enough
in the grey, jet-lagged damp, to
avoid the junkies, the winos and the crazies,
the symptoms of America driving itself mad with
But they were already there, muttering and
shivering on sand and cement, some
under rags or cardboard,
just waking up in
spite of themselves.
A woman with the hungriest face I ever saw
threw a cigarette lighter at me, then yelled,
shaking in her filthy clothes, that she wasn't giving it to me, bitch, FYI,
FBI, CIA, JFK... then
started screaming about Kennedy and all those lying fucks up on the hill.
The ocean sucking away at the land behind us, like it was
whetting its appetite for the day when San Andreas splinters, and the waves finally get to
The hungry-faced woman was still shouting when
we walked away, through the graffiti and
gangs of bastard-huge, hulking seagulls.
If I'd stopped and tried to talk to her, if I'd
gotten anywhere close enough, I was
afraid she'd tear a bite out of my face,
and I didn't know what shots I'd need if that happened, and we didn't have medical.
Which was a shame,
because I'd have liked to hear
what she had to say about Kennedy.
We walked to where you'd street-parked
the car which
still hadn't been stolen.
On the way, some guy, a stranger
coming the other way, called you
'Football Dude' and asked you
to catch his neighbour if she
jumped off her balcony, but
I think he was joking.
Oh, and the car was yellow.
Arturo Bandini didn't smoke Marlboro Reds
Didn't need to
The dust was enough to choke his soul
And John Fante put it all down
In a little guide
For Bukowski to update some
40 years later with his
Wild, wild shit
About good ol' USPS
Baking in that hell hole
All the movie stars call
City of Angels
As his skin pulled in from
Gallons of beer
All sorts of rotgut
Leftover from that spiritual
Daydreams of the 30s all over again
Tradition says he’ll come today
With the wind,
In a ray of sunshine
On the arrival of a friendly bird
Was that creak his footfall in the hallway?
Was that warm breeze his breath upon my neck?
Is that his familiar scent or just my deep desire to have him here with me?
We’ll set out candles
Prepare his favorite foods
Bathe our home with love and light
Because today the children,
Returns from the grave
I had walked miles that day.
Finding myself in these old
Los Angeles side streets,
was to travel back in time.
with color, festooned the
weathered cedar cottages.
Heavy trumpet flowers,
sleepy in the filtered light,
stirred beside huge green
leaves, in the easy marine air.
I walked on.
Evening had come, and with it,
a few stars shone over the ocean.
After a perfect dinner, I still
craved a bit of sweetness
on my tongue.
Walking back from the end
of the pier under deep
cobalt, the night sky held me.
Just ahead, tiny birthday candles,
and warm, kind faces, welcomed
me into their midst.
Softly, they sang 'Las Mañanitas'
in one voice, and I sang with them.
reached out to me; a
thin paper cake plate,
heavy with treasure,
was silently offered.
Tres Leches, soaked
with tender love
and milky sweetness.
Heaven could only be
more of this.
©Elisa Maria Argiro