Leaning Tree of Pisa

Are you sure the trunk is straight, I asked. My comrades said yes. Are you positive? Yes, we’re positive. That’s good enough for me, I said. They’d never misjudged it before. And now we have the Leaning Tree of Pisa.

I suppose it gives the room a touch of Whoville, sans Grinch. It is a lovely tree. Even lovelier if you have one leg a couple inches shorter than the other. I recommend that the ladies where one pump and one flat, and the guys lean to the right. Then you won’t notice. The Charlie Brown in me frets as Linus quotes Boethius and Shroeder gets lost in Bill Evans, the chords glittering softly like tinsel on a perfect California day.


Hay fever

Some deluded plant around here thinks it’s May and begins wantonly dispersing pollen as the sun sets in crimson fire and giving me hay fever–in December. Only in Silver Lake would some ridiculous exotic from Bali or Martinique or New Jersey go into a horny plant reproduction frenzy at Christmas time, leaving me involuntarily humming Feliz Navidad between sneezes and eye watering and Kleenex like new fallen snow.


Just read, with knees clenched, the Wikipedia entry on eunuchs. Quite a history, especially in Asia. Lots of famous eunuchs. By the end of the article I was thoroughly unsettled and walked around the house singing Old Man River in as deep a voice as possible, reassuring myself.

A hot dry wind

Been loving this bone dry air and skin cracking heat. The desert blows in and it’s Raymond Chandler time, honest, brooding, beautiful. Languid moves and the cool delights of shade. Desert grooves spin on the victrola and someone says Fats Domino has slipped this mortal coil.

Writing on paper

This is an old school So Cal October heat wave, dry as tinder, hot as hell. The room swirls in desert wind and I lie on the sofa and evaporate. I love these days and even more the nights and the memories of slow stoned afternoons writing on paper.

Power Outage

Power’s been off and on, mostly off, all day here in our stretch of Silver Lake. Gotta love the DWP, delivering juice with all the intermittent excitement of a fourth world capital besieged or maybe Caracas on a bad day for socialism. I made dinner in the dark. Spilled milk. Didn’t cry. Ate in a candle lit room accompanied by our battery operated phonograph. I had listened to Chicago jazz all afternoon–found an extraordinary LP side of Pee Wee Russell, Vic Dickinson, Wild Bill Davison and Bud Freeman from the 1950’s I don’t think I’d ever listened to, with a riotous Muskrat Ramble at be bop tempo, just nuts. At one point I realized I’d listened to three LP’s worth of tracks none of which had been cut less than ninety years ago. An afternoon like that. Then the power came back on halfway through some late forties Ellington. Cat Anderson hit a high note and switched on all the lights. So I put the turntable away and reset all the clocks and started laundry and got online when Elmer Fudd at the DWP tripped over the extension cord again and the whole neighborhood was draped in dusk. As it lingered, ever darker, I lit candles and pulled out the record player again and switched to the two Bowie LPs I have left (I used to have a dozen, but they’re gone) and cringed at Kooks, as always. Then power came back on finally and I put the record player away and blew out the candles and was about to turn on the computer when Jerry Lewis at the DWP beat me to it by falling onto the main off switch with his foot stuck in a waste basket. Darkness again. The whole neighborhood enveloped in darkness. I sat in the living room in the dark and listened to distant light. A siren cut the stillness and coyotes howled and it was like the end of civilization, like Paris in the depth of the 14th century, beset by plague and war and brigands and famine, when wolves haunted the night time streets and snatched the unwary. Like that. Well, not quite like that. It was dark, though. So I lit more candles, pulled out the record player, and listened to the first Buzzcocks LP which I bought forty years ago next year, and it sounded gloriously low fi like it did on cheap punk rock record players in 1978, and I sat in the dark and remembered what a great album it had been to fuck to, but never mind. The second album sounded even better, incredibly creative, and just as Late For the Train reached its swirling, soaring, pounding finish the power came back on, lights on everywhere. Damn, someone at the DWP has groovy timing.

And here comes the epilepsy, a buzzing numbing fog. I forgot.


Corner of Effie and Lucile, a hill or two over, in another blackout, but you get the idea. That’s Sunset Blvd down there, looking awash in klieg lights. Photo by Armand Emamdjomeh, Los Angeles Times, from 2015.