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Danny Valdez Jan 2012
I remember
my Dad coming in through the front door
late at night
blood stained all down
the front of his shirt
from a big open cut
right in between his eyes.
I ran to him and hugged onto his leg.
"What happened Dad?"
He patted my head
and took off his leather jacket."
"Ahhh, I got into a fight son."
"Yeah...some ******* busted a bottle on my face. See?"
He said, showing me the jagged cut.
"You should see the other guy. I busted him up real good, boy."
"But then why are you bleeding?"
"Cause it was my fault, I wasn't paying attention. Hit me when I wasn't looking.
See that's why I'm always telling aware of your all times.
When you don't pay attention, this is what happens."
"Let's get the guns Dad...let's go handle this ****."
And he laughed
that infamous gut-shaking laugh of his
walking down the hall
into the bathroom
to clean himself up
and lick his wounds.
Danny Valdez Jan 2012
We're driving on the road at night
through the desert
between Ajo & Gila Bend
a place my Dad called
Crater Range
he told me lots of people died out there
he saw lots of scary stuff out there
and I would stare out the window
into the desert.
The headlights lighting up
the shrubs and rocks
the full moon in the sky
taking care of the rest
the arroyos
the rusty train tracks
the vast
stretch of white rocks, shrubs, and sand
illuminated and glowing blue.
And he'd keep talking to me
while my mother and sister slept.
We'd keep talking
forever it seemed
I eagerly awaited these talks
the green light in the radio lighting up his face
his beard moving up and down
telling me about all the family members & friends
that died on this road
he told me about them
as we passed through a large formation of rocks
on both sides of the road
Class of 79'
Martina & Ernesto 4 Ever
Peace signs & pentagrams
were spray painted all over the rock walls.
And from that green, glowing, radio
Morrison's voice
about the killer on the road.
And then it'd get real quiet again
we both would
and I'd just lean my head against that window
staring out
into the darkness
and looking
squinting real hard
looking for something
alive and moving
lit up in the light from the moon
down in the arroyo
or by the tracks.
There was something out there
I knew it.
Danny Valdez Jan 2012
In the past ten years
the world has changed
The Digital Age.
That's they all call it.
You used to be able to
fill out a paper application
hand it to the manager and
begin to charm your way in.
Not in the digital age
everything is done online
face to face, is dead.
And everyone
the people out there in the world
the people in markets, shopping malls, restaurants, bars and cafes
they've all got their heads down
their faces illuminated
their thumbs working a mile a minute
they're everywhere.
A table at a pizzeria
an entire family there eating
Mom, Dad, the two teenage girls, and the ten year-old boy
they've all got devices in their hands
and faces lit up.
No one talks to each other
except to share a funny video
We're all becoming strangers to each other
putting all of our eggs
into one digital basket.
phone numbers
credit card numbers
social security information
every conversation
every call
every move we make
what kind of foods we eat
what books we read (or don't)
what political causes we support
pictures of our
naked lovers
it's all on
Paper is a sin
didn't ya hear?
Ya gotta
go green
go digital
you're either
with us
or against us.
It's a dangerous game
the world is getting itself into.
a house of cards
a mansion built on a sand cliff
sharing a bank account with a ******.
All it would take
is for the satellites to get
shut off
knocked out
wiped out.
Don't laugh like that
don't brush it off
don't be so smug.
Then what will you do?
When the apps
won't load
when your devices
no longer sync to the network
when there is
no page to display
and everyone is left
with zero bars
and no signal.
When then?
When the digital age becomes the Dark Age?
What then?
You *****.
Danny Valdez Jan 2012
Flat broke.
Eleven bucks to my name.
But I didn't care
I was gonna get a pack of smokes
and a burrito anyways.
A guy's gotta live sometime.
Walking past the dirt lot
behind the gas station
I spotted a ten dollar bill
smiling up at me from the dirt & rocks.
I snatched it up
and ran with it held up in the air.
"Woooo hoooo!" I hollered.
Running & skipping
all the way to Losbeto's.
Walking back
a bean & cheese in my hand
smokes rolled up in my shirt sleeve
a ****-eating grin on my face.
Passing the dirt lot again
there was a guy with his head down
looking for something in the dirt.
"Ya lose something?" I asked.
"Yeah....thirty ******' bucks man. A ten and a twenty."
"****, that *****." I said, feeling a bit bad.
"Can I get a cigarette?" He asked, pointing to the rolled up pack in my sleeve.
"Sure." I said, pulling a Pall Mall and handing it to him.
"Don't mention it."
I didn't normally *** smokes
to people I didn't know.
I had to.
I mean, he paid for em'.
Now every time I walk by that dirt lot
I find myself scanning the ground
looking for that missing twenty.
Every time.
Danny Valdez Jan 2012
We were just laying there
her in front of me
my arms wrapped around, holding her tight.
It was one of those modern cushy porch swings
as comfortable as a couch.
Kissing behind her ear
that one special spot
it got her worked up real fast
she grabbed my hand and slipped it down
beyond the elastic waistband of her pajama pants.
It was so cold outside
felt like she was steamin' on the inside.
She reached around and unzipped my pants
taking it out and rubbing it against her ***
the moon giant sized, yellow, and rare
above us
as I slipped it in from behind
still laying down, her in front of me.
It was such a relief
after months of no lovin'
on account of her Christian pre-marital *** guilt.
With each ******
the swing moved more and more
just swingin'
rockin & rollin with the *** beat
we had goin.
That's when we both heard the front door of her house
slam shut.
It was her mother.
From the backyard we could see the entire house
through the numerous windows.
Her mom was a real miserable *****
from China.
She hated my guts
hated everyone
especially herself, it seemed.
She was headed straight to the backdoor
we were frozen stiff
too terrified to move
my **** just sitting inside of her
our pants around our ankles
hidden beneath the blanket draped over us.
Her mom set down her bag and was coming right for us
we were caught.
And my pecker was about to get cut off
with a Chinese sword.
not two feet from the backdoor
she was about to bust us
when my girlfriend's little sister
grabbed her mother's hand
and pulled her
led her back to the other side of the house.
We scrambled to pull our pants up
pulled the blanket back over ourselves
and sat upright.
I pulled her close to me
and gave her a soft kiss,
"*******. That was close, huh?"
"Yeah too ******* close. Oh my God. She would've killed you Danny..."
And she kissed me again
both of us cracking up and laughing in mid-kiss.
I put my arm around her and breathed a sigh of relief.
Her mother's voice boomed into the backyard
as the door swung open, hitting the wall
Whatever you say lady.
Whatever you say.
Danny Valdez Jan 2012
All day long
saying the same five sentences
over and over again
hustling satellite t.v. customers
for more money
getting them to take more premium movie channels.
But most everybody was broke
out of work
down & out
like half the ******* country.
I'd get an old lady from Compton, California
"No, no, honey. I can't do no mo. I just called in
last week to remove some channels. Can't do nothin. I'm
legally blind now, can't even watch no t.v. They gonna
cut my legs off this Sunday...cause of my diabeetus. And
my son was just murdered yesterday. I can't do no mo.
No sir. God bless you. Bye bye."
And onto the next call I went.
Yes ma'am
that job made me feel like
a real ******* *******.
Danny Valdez Jan 2012
He woke up
next to the empty spot
where Wonder Woman had been.
He puked in the toilet
slammed down a forty-ounce Miller High Life
and started putting the suit on.
the gray and black tights
the gloves
the yellow utility belt
and the cape.
It was leather.
He put the cowl
under his arm and left his apartment.
It was a late start
nearly noon
by the time
the bus got him to
Mann's Chinese Theater.
He saw a lot of his
friends and colleges
as the bus went down to his stop.
It was a regular day
all the characters were
in their usual little groups.
Spider-Man & Captain America
two Mormon boys that had been
excommunicated from the church
they got caught **** *******
each other
now they were stuck in Hollywood
like everyone else.
The X-Men
or H-Men as most people called them
were a group of junkies.
One of them had a cousin at Fox
and they got four replica X-Men costumes.
So that's how they scored
their junk everyday
garnered pretty good tips from the tourists.
Cyclops, Jean-Grey, Storm, and Wolverine.
It was a good grift. **** good idea.
Then you had the impersonators
plastic surgery freaks
obsessed with Michael Jackson
creepy bald men dressed as Dr. Evil
and there was always
a lazy fat guy
that would do Elvis.
Not know any of the songs
and saying the catch phrases all wrong,
"Well, thank you Ma'am....thank you so much."
Those guys never lasted too long.
The cutesy cartoon characters
were almost always
pedophiles or ******* ladies.
The horror people were hands down
the most bat-**** insane of the lot.
They got into the most fights
they terrorized the kids
and they talked a lot of ****.
Would bate guys into fights.
Michael Myers would always start ****
with guys that had beautiful women with them.
It was ****** up.
The LAPD took away Freddy Kruger last month
for beating up a guy
right in front of his kids.
There was talk from the cops
about shutting down their whole thing down.
Making it illegal to dress up in costumes
and get tips.
'Panhandling' as the office had said.
Batman hung out with
Superman & Wonder Woman
while doing his thing.
The night before
Wonder Woman and him
had been drinking, smoking, and
they ****** once
before she asked him
what she needed to.
"We got two new guys starting tomorrow."
"Yeah. They came up to me on the street today,
wanted to know if they could hang with us."
"Wha? What? they have costumes?"
"Yeah." She said, exhaling smoke, wrapped in the sheet on the bed.
"These guys got a Green Lantern and a Robin costume. Really good quality,
they showed me pictures. Hey, you finally got a Robin now! Isn't that great?"
"****...I don't know Diana...I was kinda liking our little *******.
"Oh come on, Bruce. It'll be good." She said, wrapping her arms around him
as he sat on the edge of the book, looking out the window.
"We can finally get the big, group tips. Like what the H-Men got going."
"Alright. That's fine."
And the next day
there they were,
Green Lantern & Robin.
Wonderful costumes, like she said
their hair color and overall appearance
spot on.
"Hey there!"
"Hello. Robin. Green Lantern."
Their gloved hands all shook.
They got acquainted and he couldnt help but like them.
Nice guys, musicians, Rockabilly guys, from Venice.
They went out into
the crowd of people
Superman's voice booming over the crowd
telling everyone that they're safe from
evil and wrong doers, blah, blah, blah,
the usual ******* that Superman always said.
Batman yelled to Robin over the enclosing crowd.
They were now fully entrenched by people
fat & sweaty
Batman's panic attack took over.
"COME ON!" He shouted over the rising crowd noise.
The dynamic duo
shoved & pushed
parting the sea of fat tourists
and breaking out onto the sidewalk.
"What's up, Batman?" Robin asked
looking up to him.
The size difference was just like in the comics
Robin was a little guy.
"I just needed to get outta there. Let's go take a lap
down Hollywood Boulevard...see what kinda cash we can grab."
"Okay, Batman."
They walked
up and down
the walk of fame
posing for a few pictures
making some kids day
with wide-eyed excitement
that will be with them forever.
They made forty bucks too.
"Alright, that's good for now. Let's grab a beer, Robin."
It was a small dive
on Hollywood Boulevard
they were two beers in
and Robin was learning a lot
about how Hollywood really was.
Some real talk from Batman to Robin.
"Yup. I moved out here in 1997. I saw that movie 'Swingers' and I thought...
I could do that, that could be my life, I want that."
"And what happened Bats?"
"Well...I came out here, went to film school, did everything I was told, and...
I still got ******." He said, taking a long pull from the bottle.
"Well what happened exactly?"
Robin's green glove, gripping the brown bottle
tilting it back, bubbles rising
"Well...ya see...when I was in film school, the instructors all told either do your internship here in Hollywood or go to New York. Anywhere else and you won't be able to make it. That's what they said."
"Yeah. So I did my internship here in Hollywood and it was for nothing. The whole two years that I was at Faramount, I was never allowed to even touch any film equipment. Well, just to dust it off and clean it. But they didn't even try to teach me anything there. I just did food runs at lunch, got them their Starbucks in the morning, and took out the trash. Swept the parking lot, cleaned the toilets, I was a ******* janitor at that place. And you know what happened next?"
"One day they just fired me. Just like that. After two years of being their ***** boy. So now I have $50,000 in student loans that I can't pay back, and a degree that got me nowhere."
"****." Robin said, finishing his beer.
"Yeah. So what do you do?"
"I'm in school for audio engineering."
"Ah...the music business eh?"
"Yeah, Batman."
Batman grew silent then, just finishing his beer, and staring into the mirrored wall.
He wanted to say,
"I have 117 scripts sitting in a stack next to my t.v. That's eight screenplays a year. Robin, I've been at this for fourteen years and it doesn't get any better. I never stop trying and I keep at it, year after year. But I'm done. Get out while you
still can Robin. This city will eat you, **** you, **** you. If you still have a home, I suggest you go back to it."
Batman sat there, his beer finished, still staring straight ahead.
Robin pulled out a ten dollar bill, smiling, calling for the bartender
with that sparkle in his eye
of youth and hope.
He didn't want to say all that ****
crush that gleam in Robin's eye
like he once had.
Those were the best days
the great days
the glory days
to be young, handsome, poor, and hopeful
that you could make it
that it could happen.
So Batman didn't say another word about it.
There were things
Robin would have to learn all on his own.
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