Sleeping behind a closed Fox Theater
i got off work early and there was traffic on the bridge and i got home feeling dragged through the dirt i shovel all day. the apartment felt like night had already fallen as if i'd gotten home at the normal hour and the only thing i could think of doing was find something to smoke and go to that little used bookstore on piedmont where the weekday clerks are stumbling over their glasses and stuttering to communicate. all the feeling in my body was dry and i'd have to go another day without showering knowing the changing effect it would have on my attitude.
that miserable book of manly bukowski prose was what i walked out with along with something on kansas city jazz and another on english and american ballads. the brown bag felt comfortable in my permanently brown sun stained hands knowing that i could dirty the books no more.
but this is not the point of my story. the books turned out to mean little more at the end of this day except the blurb about not smoking too much and drinking enough to take the edge off, and the last four lines i've written. so with that inspiration, this 24 fluid ounce aluminum can next to me is going to bring us to the hero of my story, fast eddie from downtown oakland...
fast eddie whom won seven golden state / lakers tickets at sweet jimmie's cause someone put his name in the raffle. fast eddie whom is looking for a pretty black girl with full blown HIV that has already given it to four others and lives in the gray apartments on jefferson so he can inform the authorities where she is. fast eddie who's mama turned to skin and bone in diabetic poverty after he got back from vietnam and once said his massage felt just like his daddy's. fast eddie whom tells me he loves me after a conversation outside my building that rests on empty streets. fast eddie whom the cops can trust and fast eddie whom knows how to break up the fight and fast eddie who's place it is to help and not save. fast eddie the marine. fast eddie the human relations man who once didn't get shot because he talked to the enemy soldiers with sincerity. fast eddie born and raised in oakland. fast eddie that knew the delicate, young and beautiful francoise, the one time junkie, that died in my apartment. fast eddie whom sleeps behind the closed fox theater one block away.
my story is about this man. this sober, hungry, lookin-for-a-break man living behind a theater for 12 years straight. we never got to the story about when he moved in behind the fox but i didn't want to know. not tonight.
tonight, i'm thinking about those colonels smoking the poppy seeds to kill every living thing easier and to get their mind what they are doing. i'm thinking about what that six dollar meal at sweet jimmie's tastes like. i'm thinking about when fast eddie finally gave up on god despite all those years at the church after the war. i'm thinking about the deep fissures under his eyes and the straggly gray hairs on his chin.
i'm thinking about fast eddie and i'm thinking about that golden state game. about being in that front row - in front of those giant healthy sweating bodies.
i can hear the new sneakers squeak on the floor.