He understood the down and out,
bumming cigarettes, and ill fitting clothes
that once belonged to another man.
He had no hometown,
spent his youth on the Mexican border.
There is no need for a hometown,
when one lives permanently on the run.
He often could not explain his actions or
his love of a good beat-down.
He survived in a melancholic. alcoholic world.
It was LA, 1974
he was an outsider, a troubadour from the noir world
of this city’s past.
This was California.
suntans, drugs and money.
This was America, but not his “America”.
He was from a more “pre Rock and Roll”,
more “Grapes of Wrath” America.
It’s 2:30 am,
I’m eating eggs in a ancient metallic diner,
with those who washed up on the
shores of the Promised Land, but
missed the bus to prosperity.
They sip on endless cups of coffee as the night
hides the reality of the streets outside the greasy windows.
There is a sense of freedom here.
There seems to be a tradition that
resembles despair, despiration,
but is something quite different.
Here they live free lives,
Here some keep to the old ways,
here in the night,
here in California.