overhaul / undertow

Friday, June 14, 2002

My friend from the radio station penned this.

Thanks, S.A.......
it's so wonderful how some people seem to get the idea.

Life is a crazy mad barrelling run of gorgeousness, of vividity, even your every blank and sorrowful moment bathing you in glory...

well, here it is.

Almost Home Again

2:30 in the morning on the other side of a Thursday nite

I had just finished my late shift at the
internet radio collective setup
affectionately known to all as

Kill Radio
for the alternative boho
that is gonna
change the world thru
consensus process

the station mantra - kill corporate radio

kill is the bomb

our mission - to provide community based
news and

my show was The Auto Zone
my mission was to have a good time and to
get the message out between
tunes and words
to set the word free for the five or so
regular listeners
every week
and to sing
the 1st Amendment hallelujah

this particular Thursday happened to fall on Veteran's Day
I was joined by my Kill confederate Hassan who hosted a
jazz program on Mondays after midnite
also in studio were
poet High Frequency Larry
and his most high grooviness Mr. Guy

for the evening's musical repast
I served up classic vinyl like
The Dead Kennedys
"Kill The Poor" sweetened by additional punk
some beat era
and in house rants by Larry

a proper good time

as I was locking up and getting ready to
roll home
Hassan comes running up to the station
broadcasting that somebody had
bashed out the window of my car

sure as hell
the back window had been knocked out
with a small steel
manhole cover
still resting in the back seat
amid the chunky little pellets of shattered glass

my cd player and all my cds were still in place
and nothing had been ripped up or

it seemed that the only thing missing
was my flight jacket
issued to me when I had served
during the Viet Nam debacle
while stationed in Alaska

I was pissed

that damned thing had seen me thru almost 30 years
and it was the only thing I had left in my life from that period

so we mounted up
as the late nite
over the hill ganga gang gathered
to set off
in search of the culprits who had
done the dastardly deed

easy enough
as it was a well worn G.I. green
no chevrons
no name tags
and lined with
old issue
button down Korean underwear

would keep anybody warm inside of this
sad and
shaky cold November of nervous

Mr. Guy and myself
started by shaking down the homeless
in the immediate area
of The Good Luck Bar

we roust a few poor souls sleeping in the parking lot
and in the alleys
but it was soon more than apparent
that this was a
dead end

"We're wasting our time. I know who did it. It was those fuckin' bums hanging out and partying on the steps by where I parked my car when I got here tonite. I know where to find those fuckers. Tangs.
You guys meet me over there."

Hassan rode shotgun with me in my hoss
and Mr. Guy rode with Larry in his

a posse of whacked out
slacker poets and musicians
with a cumulative age of just over 200

Tang's is a notorious
dilapidated coffee and donut dive
about a half mile up the road from
the Kill Radio scene
a Starbucks for the insane
where the inmates are actively running the game
from the inside
ground zero for crackheads to openly hang 24/7
to crash
burn and
hustle chess

Hassan and I rolled into the lot first

we walked inside to give the joint
the quick once over

no go

I turned around and walked outside
looked out towards the street
and sure as shit
there was my
wrapped around
some crackwhore
bending over and
getting into a yellow cab

a second more and she and my jacket would'a been hasta la bye bye

RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!!" I demanded in a 60 foot tall tone of voice
that rolled over the nite like a circus parade of sudden thunder

the woman froze
one foot in the cab
then turned slowly
and looked at me

she knew that the jacket was mine

she walked slowly towards me
then carefully peeled
and handed it over

no doubt about it
it was mine
had my filth
dead skin and
stink on it

the biggest of about four of the men
began to fuck with me

his story started slowly
as he stepped out of the

a loud mouthed sonofabitch about my size who had the
nuts to say,
"Who the fuck are you, man? This ain't yer jacket
where you get off
talkin' to a lady like that?"

I recognized his poetry

I ignored him while I quietly began to rifle thru my jacket
as I began to think in razors

I didn't want any trouble
just my damned field jacket

the woman asked if she could have her stuff outta the pockets

I stopped for a second
and looked at her

not a good move on my part
and I knew it
but I couldn't help myself
I felt bad for the poor used woman

I didn't have any use for
whatever she had stashed in the pockets
and she more than likely had to suck off Mighty Mouth
in exchange for the luxuriant warmth and comfort of my
warrior togs

I ritually began handing her lipsticks
and eye liners to her
while trying to take in all the dark turf around me like I was
on The Universal Studios Danger Tour of Hollywood
and this was the set for
"The Donuts of Dr. Caligari"
starring all the hungry
brain eating zombies from "Night of the Living Crack Dead"

no half-stepping in the shadows

when walking thru the desert
pay attention

by now Hassan was out there more or less
getting' my back
and High Frequency Larry and Mr. Guy had
pulled up and were hovering close by
waiting for
the tension to break out into
a wounded movie

as I was giving the poor fucked up woman her things
her man made a mad grab at the jacket in a last ditch effort
to wrestle it
from me

the offensive broke

and we were

this is what it seems
I had lived
all my life for
this arcane moment
all so eagerly apparent to me

to be standing here with a bunch of advancing crackheads
on Veteran's Day 2001
helping to fight the
war on terror by
playing tug 'o war over an old field jacket
with this burned out
welfare junkie
backed by my friends
who at their advanced ages
and less than imposing
collective presence
were awful damned brave
or possessed with all of the above

and all for a jacket

but this was MY field jacket
and only mine
bartered 4 prime years of my
youth to get it
and there was
no fucking way I was
coming home without it

we yanked at the green thing like a couple of old
alley cats fighting over fetid fish bones
until finally
he released his hold on it and I went tumbling warp speed across
the parking lot

I sprang up afraid of being rushed

everyone was frozen still in the bitter cold
humping the nite with teeth

the window of opportunity
was knocking
and I heard it loud and clear

I moved towards my
small urban assaultless vehicle
while screaming at the head asshole,

Mr. Mouth and about 3 or 4 of his crack dead soldiers began to
close ranks on us
confident in our

I had what we had come for
time to move along little doggie
and make our exit stage left
before this evening's comic farce
turned tragic

I barked at Hassan to get in the car

we got into my
cranked her up
slapped that sucker into reverse
but when I looked in the
rear view
I saw that
High Frequency Larry had parked right behind me
blocking my escape

Guy was there
but where was Larry?

we looked
and there he was
quietly standing his ground
facing the advancing pack
armed with nothing but a shitty K-Mart steering wheel lock
as if he was gonna take them all on
single handed like Sampson tackling
the Philistine army with the jawbone of an ass

but Larry
in spite of
years of high frequency treatments
on his scalp
still doesn't have that much
so wasn't quite
up to the task at hand

"Larry, let's get the fuck outta here. Move you're fucking car man, let's go!!"

Hassan and I kept shouting at him to get in his damned car
so we could all get off this
crazy train
because it was about to
jump the track

Larry had to be high
or maybe he was caught in the headlights
who knows
all I needed to know is
that he was with me
and we sure as hell
weren't gonna leave without

finally he snapped out of it
made for his car
backed out
and we were

then old mighty mouth began to light into Hassan
with some more of his
subterranean rap
trying to force the hand,
"You're a cheese eatin' Uncle Tom, motherfucker!
You ain't shit, man! You're a fuckin'
pussy too!!! You government-cheese eating Uncle Tom."

and then back to me
picking up the pace
and upping the ante

"You're a pussy man. Talkin' to a woman like that. If you were a real man,
if you'd really been thru Viet Nam, you'd fuckin' stand here and fight.
You ain't nothin' but a bitch mother fucker."

Hassan and I just let his
come fuck with me
rhetoric go
and kept moving
straight ahead

"Fuck you man." I said as we rolled by, "You broke the window outta my car for a fucking field jacket you fuckin' asshole. FUCK YOU!!"

he held steady at the exit
to Tang's parking lot
yodeling like Tarzan
trumpeting his call to arms for
the dead armies of the wind
as we stayed the course
continued past him
and back onto Sunset Blvd.
to re-enter the fear factory
fleece in hand

I dropped Hassan off at the station
and we all went our safe and separate

Lorraine has been asleep in our bed for hours
waiting my return
from the
city on fire
with wild war
spreading fast
across the parched and brittle

let us all pray we win the unnameable war together

blow it all to hell with
and justice
in the drop

somewhere in this great city
a gang of very young boys
rip apart an old abandoned couch
sharp kitchen knives
in the practice and belief that they are

rape continues to masquerade as progress
as we pave the rainforests
while still more young girls enslave themselves
in orgiastic fits of binging
purging their
in reverent prayer
before the dogma of prime time television

visions of peace within the tangled reservation of the heart
pepper the dance
as ten thousand angels
are delivered
by the inquisitor
genius of
popular opinion

condemning innocent humans to die in our corporate prisons
and on the streets where they live
as the trail of tears
circles the centuries
like a faux pearl necklace

history remembers the killers
but never the killed

the jacket feels good on me

I have somehow managed to dodge yet another bullet

I am almost home again

2002 S.A. Griffin


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