Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Moonscape Snapshots

Each morning I left the Mission through the cafeteria doors, took a free sack lunch from a sullen Disciple (when Disciple Brady was on sack lunch duty I always made sure to give him a belly laugh by answering the staff-required "God Bless You" with "No, Thanks!"), walked north along the Mission gates, past the forbidden gated garden, and onto the Moonscape, a bare stretch of dirt and rock bordering a railway line that appeared mysteriously lunar in a manner both ancient and forward-beckoning.  Against a glaze of orange sunrise and the glitter of broken bottles, some images  I remember:

--Lonnie, a legally blind veteran and conspiracy theorist who gives free lectures on ancient aliens and the History Channel; Free Mason/Mormon puppet-mastery; 9/11 and high-intensity focused military-grade microwave weapons;  crop circles created by post-hypnotically controlled illegal immigrant farm workers being unconsciously trained for saucer duty; NASA fakery at Skywalker Ranch (as a black man, Lonnie admires George Lucas for dating a black woman, but knows he's in cahoots with the CIA/WHO-created End times AIDS plague); Government cell phone Neuro-Remote Control; manifestations of bible prophesies in Braille on the arms of addicts . . . practicing Tai Chi near the No Trespassing sign, white cane propped against a concrete section of sewer pipe, one of several scattered about the barren landscape.  His face looks stuffed together, white-filmed eyes embedded in crushed putty, and his body swells with the edema of some painful disorder, but each morning his movements are slow, slow turnings and precise finger tracings in the chilly air as overpass traffic flits behind him in utter silence.

--The  frantic hopping,  groans, and hoarse exectrations of men who just can't make it to one of the contested public downtown toilets, ranging from the casino to the courthouse juror parking garage to Starbucks (One dark recent night, many downtown toilets  acquired token-operated locks, said tokens obtained at the discretion of clerks or janitors after visual inspection to detect severity of indigence), yanking down their trousers, squatting and splattering.

--Jordon, a male schizophrenic and occasional model who used to sleep in the bunk above me, drank Folgers Instant Coffee 24/7, and slept like the dead--often having to be yanked and pummeled awake by a Disciple-- sitting on a dead shopping cart and eating from a monster stash of carefully wrapped  Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches (expensive-looking white paper folded like some aggressive form of origami) in a canvas shopping bag, staring at nothing and gurgling "PB and J! Goddamn PB and J!  PB and J! . . .what are you gonna do without PB and J? Fucking PB and J!"

--Dangerously crazy Mondo, howling from the deep-down of  himself at the rising sun like some pre-Copernican barbarian, objecting to the remorseless start of another day.

--A blackened ring of ash and rocks with a scattering--like tossed Pick-Up Sticks--of syringes inside.

--My bunk mate for a few weeks, Little John, a former L.A.stick-up artist in his 60s, whirling each time I edge up behind him, crunching gravel and high-stepping over blanketed lumps, screeching at me, "Don't want no trouble, mister!  I got nothing for you!  No damn trouble after all this time! . . ." and trembling until I remind him who I am.

--Me, framed in the camera viewer on my little-girl-cell-toy-decorating-party phone I got at Target, snapping an early morning Moonscape shot of myself against the  railway company warning sign, thinking about two main things: my achievements before arriving here--divorce, bankruptcy, car-repossession, clinical depression, addiction, eviction, and this daily trespassing--plus the undeniable fact that these 3-5 minute stretches of my 20 minute morning jaunt to the bus depot and my teaching jobs, numbering in the hundreds now, are some of the happiest times in my life. 

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