‘Twas the Night After Christmas

So I woke up on the couch at 4 a.m. and as I stumbled off to bed I noticed a kitchen completely untouched since dinner. Pots, pans, plates, leftovers, utensils up the wazoo. A spattered stove. Half dreaming it I washed everything, then dried everything, then put everything away. Then I sleepily cleaned up the stove and countertops. Did I mention the carefully wrapped leftovers in perfect stacks in the fridge and freezer? I got to bed at 6 a.m. This must be the retired life, clockless, unrestrained by civilized standards of time. And then oversleeping.

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Christmas 2017

A vast hollow boom rent the silent night, followed by a ragged series of other booms, just as loud. The first one startled me, the others just made me smile. No matter how much they’ve gentrified Silverlake, there’s still little pockets of Mexico where somebody’s tio borracho breaks out the stash of unbelievably illegal fireworks he’d smuggled up from TJ or maybe bought off an ice cream truck across the river and sets them off in a ragged volley because, hell, Christmas Eve is a holiday like any other. Now Silver Lake is utterly silent again as I write this, even in here, where the Christmas tree lights throw crazy shadows on the ceiling and the entire room looks like a Van Gogh still life. Brick needs to take his seizure meds.

Merry Christmas, all.

Xmas free again

The pad is utterly Xmas free again. Every year there is a Christmas explosion that fills the house, and then just as suddenly it reverse explodes back onto the closet shelf, all of it but the tree (which goes wherever sacrificed trees go), a crazed Christmas party’s worth of stuff reboxed with an inherited Germanic efficiency that my Irish half observes with lazy poetry.

Christmas Eve, 2017

A vast hollow boom rent the silent night, followed by a ragged series of other booms, just as loud. The first one startled me, the others just made me smile. No matter how much they’ve gentrified Silverlake, there’s still little pockets of Mexico where somebody’s tio borracho breaks out the stash of unbelievably illegal fireworks he’d smuggled up from TJ or maybe bought off an ice cream truck across the river and sets them off in a ragged volley because, hell, Christmas Eve is a holiday like any other. Now Silver Lake is utterly silent again as I write this, even in here, where the Christmas tree lights throw crazy shadows on the ceiling and the entire room looks like a Van Gogh still life. Brick needs to take his seizure meds.

Merry Christmas, all.

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.

Singing Christmas Tree

(2011)

A few christmas parties ago our techie neighbor gave us a robot alarm clock….you set the alarm and when the time hit it would go berserk and roll around frantically, bumping into things, racing about, its alarm screeching and whooping and generally being absolutely awful.  He set the time for 11 pm or so, wrapped it with pretty christmas wrapping paper and put it under the tree. By 11 pm the party was truly happening, packed and loud and not out of control but threatening to. A good party always threatens to. The sofa facing the tree was full of pathetically stoned people. It’s like they showed up, sat down, and hadn’t moved since. They couldn’t. They’d melted into it, become one with the fabric. It was almost zen.

Suddenly our neighbor’s present began thrashing about in its wrapper and screeching and whooping. No one noticed but the stoners, since they were staring at the tree and had been for hours. All the pretty lights. Now one of the presents starts thrashing about and bleeping and screeching and whooping. Ummm wow, that’s fucked up. Fuck. Dude, yeah, that’s fucked up. Then stoner paranoia set in. Maybe it was terrorists. (It had only been a year or two since 9/11.) Dude, terrorists at Brick and Fyl’s party. Fucked up. The whooping and thrashing suddenly stopped. Someone fired up a bowl.  Continue reading

Eleven hours

Damn. Eleven hours. That might be a record. We considered breakfast but the place looked like the remains of a riot so we settled for cookies and scrapings of hummus and cup after cup after cup of strong coffee, punctuated with beer and other things. John Ramirez was reading aloud from my blog of parties past–that was new, people reading my blog aloud at my own house, but it was so late I was past the point of self-consciousness–as Carey Fosse was spinning jazz at the stereo. Heard so much Bud Powell my ears we’re ringing with it as I awoke around eleven, then noon, and finally a few minutes ago. Bouncing With Bud, over and over, every take Michael Cuscuna could squeeze into that double CD, rattling through my head between all the seizure meds and Benadryl and memories. Hadn’t heard it that album in years and certainly never heard it played in its entirety, both discs, every out take, at five in the morning. He played good, that Bud Powell. Better than I can write right now, and certainly better than I am cleaning the house right now. Instead I am sitting here stumbling through this post surrounded by wreckage and listening to Shin Joong Hyun and thinking just how groovy and swinging and punk rock a bohemian life style can be. No responsibility, just happenings, experiences, and the lies–well, exaggerations–we tell about them later.

Great tree, too. A beautiful Christmas tree. Each one like a work of art assembled by all these weirdos, and after two weeks it’s gone forever.