marvelous Los Angeles

// Self-Portrait//

We sat together. There were hundreds of people around, but it was us alone that counted. The situation presented itself nicely, I began to deceive myself. It’s been ages since any of it all began. What I mean is, here I am! Sitting! Quite quiet. I’ve been on edge for the past however many minutes for however many reasons. But alas, here I am, must be twelve minutes. Sitting, as I do. Sitting, as we do. Not talking, silent, quiet maybe. As we often never do. It’s probably been not more than one hundred and seven seconds. Eight. Nine. ?. There are mission bells literally going off outside. It’s brilliant the way it’s lit. Nice shadows dance around, twisting and twirling, contrasted with such sharp colors. It’s almost as someone planned it. “It presented itself”, I said to no one in particular. To speak several words would have made it real. I believed it. I’ve got it! Yes, I see the backdrop, an earth tone canvas, tan, with an outline of the aforementioned sharpness of the colors. There’s the few I can make out: yellow is first, mustard yellow, the kind of yellow mustard is scattered up around it. Forest green scatters the other half, dark, but approachable. This, of course, perfectly compliments the lime green, that if I were to describe, looks more of an avocado green, as it creates a tuft behind the neck. There is a weathered white that covers inadequately the rich magenta blood, just inside the thick skin-colored skin. Blue. Just blue. There is blue everywhere, and with the blue, it’s not so much the color as it is its sheer size. Like an ocean that covers the earth, not the earth tones, not even the forest greens, but the entire earth, I stand lazily bound to its charm, drowning. It’s been long over thirty seconds now, I think I’ll go. Make your move. Go. Ready? Go. Gone.

// Why I Don’t Vote//

By Sako Ohanian

For the past eight years that I’ve been eligible to vote, I haven’t. I recently began to think of why that is.

Since the dawn of politics there has been exhaustive analysis on how a certain party should carry itself. As these parties refuse to stray from the comfort of their perceived beliefs, we, the general public, get to reap in powerful arguments on each end of the extremes.

I don’t vote because these extremes focus only on relative, “non issues” in regards to societies problems, and truly never, ever, provide solutions. Viable solutions, that is. These misnomers, Democrats and Republicans, make topics of abortion, religion, race, education, or health care large issues that must be tackled! We excite ourselves during every single election year and allow ourselves to be tricked into thinking that these politicians truly believe in something we think we believe in; only to forget about it soon after a fateful November eve.

“No matter the outcome, it doesn’t affect me”. Even if I vote, my state has a predetermined (pick-your-color) party, my vote just doesn’t matter. Whatever the policies, whatever the president, I’ll continue to chug along working at a job I don’t much enjoy, that gets just comfortable enough to be able to retire—never. Taxes, no matter how low, will always be too high.

I don’t vote because I have more than just the right to choose the lesser of two incompetent puppets. We are well aware of the shortcomings of [all] politicians—be it their slandering lies or greedy corruption—and that just doesn’t cut it for me. As the best nation in the world, we deserve the best people running it, not some bush league amateurs, who frankly can’t even talk a big game.

As crude as these reasonings are, they are irrelevant if you do not exercise your privilege to speak. I am voting this year, and I am proud of it. I am voting because I’ve grown tired of the complacent comfort that we have been conditioned to accept, the lack of initiative in favor of a “sense” of security. I’m voting in favor of a properly educated youth; one in which will retire the sticks and stones models of our tired textbooks, and one in which will see past a Gross Domestic Product, to a brighter, more ethically based view that considers what essentially makes life worthwhile. I vote for our health; from the food we eat, to how it is produced. Without a healthy mind or a nourished body, there will not be a chance to learn or to change. I’m voting against a majority who are diabetrically opposed to the idea of public health care for reasons I cannot comprehend. And, I’m voting for my own future. To be aware of a long term approach to life, and our only remaining planet, seems difficult and potentially uncomfortable; it is essential in preserving, not money or material consumption, but something more that is not necessarily correlated to it…happiness.

Although I will not categorize myself within the cartoonish name-calling of our two party system, I am voting for (the certainly flawed) Barack Obama, because his policies, not looks/race/personality, more so coincide with my own stance, than of a Mitt Romney, whose unabashed, traditional proposals do not provide a holistic approach on what will help us work towards a better future.

// And This One//

I’m standing on this corner, staring at a blinker. Blink-blink it goes, as I try to calibrate it to my own stream of whatever. It isn’t raining, but it would be if this were a movie. I’m thinking about gold while thinking about laundry while fervently fighting a runny nose with my forearm. The Earth is spinning normally but I hear a deep, distinctive piano playing, almost Gainsbourg-like. I’m thinking now about riches because I had already thought about laundry. I’m distracted again by the light. Blink-blink, thud-thud. The piano is still singing. Dark and ominous, with an attitude several octaves up. It’s a box full of things that all attribute to the drama of what would normally be routine red light. I’ve been running much too much lately and I’m sore. My bones ache and I could be accruing some extra pounds. Or getting old. Who knows? I feel the blinking now pulsating in my temples. I’m asleep and as my subconscious turns into my conscious, I think of people. The motives of these people and how their favors and good will unreasonably turn into greed and corruption. I never think of myself at this time but the song starts again. I’m lost in the tug of war between my conscious’, so I just wait, as usual. All good things have come to an end. History has proven time and time again that there is order and direction to our lives. Some are good, some not so. There’s a momentary silence as the song starts up and repeats. Again and again and again, it’s never through.

// Belated Birthday Bash//

We’d gathered around to celebrate her life’s work. I don’t usually credit myself, but it was my doing, the exhibition, everything really. The cake was large and smelled good and it was black. Actually, I couldn’t see the color. She opened up the cake like a present, but neatly, as I sometimes do, almost mocking me. Inside there was a briefcase with four metal rods, packed as I’d assume only a snipers toolchest would be. Stealthily, she engaged the parts and (immediately) struck it through my left breast plate; as soon as she retracted the blow, I just as soon remembered hitting the ground. I’ve been writing this laying in more blood than I’d expected, face up, watching everyone seemingly happy. No gasps, no shrieks. I can be selfish at times. They were carrying on, some tiptoeing past, some avoiding me blatantly. It’s funny to see that. Whichever way, there were no helping hands. Sometimes I want that, sometimes it can overbearing. It’s quiet down here and, as you know now, that gets me thinking. I figured out the “gift” was nothing more than a grabber that upper class transients use to collect bottles and cans for the recycling money. I guess that sounds right, I’m not entirely sure, they’d need to collect quite a lot just to get by. I wasn’t even aware they had different classes. I digress, I’m not dead. No no, I’m standing, to the disbelief of no one, still with the strange looks and none of the helping hands, but alive and mostly well. With these strange feelings of life and death and all the wordplay used to describe their similarities, all I can wonder is: what a usually neat gal would be doing with such garbage? The hell of it all is, I can’t figure out what tune to listen to.

// Los Angeles//

It was a loud and foggy night, which is mostly unusual for a July 3rd. She was tall, tall as I like. That’s all I knew then. The luke warm vodka out of the trunk was the only thing keeping me focused as the loudness cleared, relatively, and became quite clear what my purpose was there. Here, with her high priced, low brow drinks and that discretely monotonous, melting pot style, with an incomprehensible disregard to the not so dissimilar. I finally saw her, and it was perfect. Between the neon blue lights and noise pollution, there was that tall, tall as I like figure, standing, towering over anything. I froze as I watched her unbent lips wrap around a cigarette, tilting her head down with cold, big eyes, still looking straight ahead, right through me. She shut those eyes momentarily as her tongue curled to the roof of her mouth to exhale. The smoke poured through and wrapped me deep inside her. Nevertheless, I’m driving home convulsing any feelings I had from my time tonight by means of any exit. It’s uncomfortable to be next to her. I generally don’t sleep well at all, actually. After being on the receiving end of a flat tire, I made it to a home. Scrambling, I scribbled ‘tonight was perfect’, wiped the now dried tears of vomit off either side of my cheek and laid my head on the concrete pillow. Day was breaking, I reached my arm up and around you, realizing how strong you’ve got a hold on me, and watched the sun rise.

// October Leaves//

Trees have changed color. They’ve grown for the worse and have dried out, as expected. The days, they pass seemingly fast, but October is a long month, the lengths in which are, to an extent, well known. For me, it’s in the number of steps I would take to reach this particular place I aim. Once I get up that is. The cold drags the days, I suppose, but I’ll wear my coat. It shields me from the falling rains and roaring winds, and as I divert my eyes from the mustard yellows and sweet potato oranges of the season, I stand outside. Myself, the coat, and the cold. We notice the leaves that cover most of the ground. The hard work of merely standing up straight is swallowed up by the simplicity of this field of nature. Naturally, however, I feel better. As I’m swarmed in the dried remnants of October, I’m well aware, it’s a fact, that they will blow away. It does end. When October does leave, when I’m without the accompaniment of the leaves and countless storms, I’ll stand with my coat, still, and all that will remain are the expired facts that provided the comfort of this sweet October. November brings expectations. Expectations, again, of failure. But there’s a gleaming ounce of pride this time, so I accept it as such and bid my adieu (any other equivalent word being a bit much). The days become shorter, leaving more room for the dark skies, dark skies that bring about old age. And, as I sit and ponder these thoughts of old age, I’m left again, no longer with my coat, just an emptiness that is my continuing childish youth.

// dear doctor,//

…it was a while in the making, but i was finally aboard the boat that would send me to the vast red ireland. i entered the country as i entered the world: surveying, absorbing everything. only this time i had what was left of a brain abused in mindless shenanigans throughout the forty and two years past. there was, as far as i knew, purpose to this venture. i was here to visit a museum, an estate, rather. i had visited the hearst castle in my youth, and i’ll preface you now to get that image out of your head. a behemoth, yet cozy, mansion this turned out to be, with all sorts of worldly furnishings. we were walking through this house and every piece was used not for decor or as an exhibit, but for living. i wasn’t alone in exploring. my girlfriend’s uncle accompanied me, who i shared the bond with since first hearing of this place. i was, however, alone inside, til i came across a man with a scruffy, peppered beard about yay in length. he was wearing a cowboy hat and an intriguing demeanor. i said hello, quietly, feeling nervous for no apparent reason. he returned the salutation, but held me where i stood. he was the owner of the property on which i was a voyeur. a humble man, in both the way he spoke and the way he stared. the skin covering his bones had seen some sun, after all, it was the redness of “our” irish sun that attracted him to this place, he later went on explaining. soon thereafter, the mood turned grim as he went on about the abduction of his son, which caused him and his wife (who, out of the corner of my eyes noticed, was descending one of the staircases) much, obvious grief. i opened my mouth to utter if there was “anything i can do?” but he quickly asked me to walk with him instead. they walked me to the master bedroom. there were no arts, no glamour here. only a bed, in the dead center of the room, made of wood so heavy, you can see the floor struggling to stay put. there was also a tall, white door, surrounded by even whiter windows, lots of them. as they proceeded to walk me through, a grand pool stood in what we, in our country, called ‘backyard’. cascading it was a plateau of rocks, which had a stream of steady water going upwards from the pool. it was a sight to wonder, so i took a deep breath, blinked my eyes closed loudly, and appeared out in front of the house. i didn’t remember being alone in a desert, in fact, i was certain there were other houses close by, but i didn’t make much of it when i saw my partner, inconspicuously crawl back into the scene. the wife looked as to speak, only before clearing her throat…she was a very beautiful woman, her short fair-hair the symbol of dignified style. i had noticed this about her before, only now it was beginning to take effect on me. her voice was soft and nimble, yet she was fierce like a lion. she pointed to the sky where an eagle was soaring, patrolling the great canvas above. just as she whistled one time, a dog, part pit-bull, part something else (i was never very good with dog types), began sprinting toward where the bird was making its way down. as the eagle was low enough, the dog jumped on its back and they took off together into what had blossomed to a dark, white, half-moon…away from all of us. it was quite nice out. sunny, warm, and not hot. my eyes finally opened from the blink earlier. i was twenty minutes late.

// the means of (y)our media//

uniqueness has crossed a very jagged line over the centuries. we as humans are presumably unique, with our physical features picked fresh from our folks and our mental direction which had grown and flourished through these centuries up until we were apprehended by today’s best source of information. it seems, as presumably as we started, that we base our mental ideals in society through what we see and hear amongst our kin and the ever so powerful media, whichever media that may be. now, this may have a familiar ring, we are inherently influenced by our peers and interests, but what’s changed is the over-excitedness of the newspapers, the local and national broadcasts, the left and right wings, all of them. they’ve deferred us off the course, and, as we’ve off’d the course we’ve gained diminishing returns on our intelligence, strength, valor and most importantly, respect. this diminutive nature we’ve adopted is precisely the reason we’ve lost our sensibility. the mediagasms spread like rolling earthquakes with uncertain ends to the aftershocks. they, yes THEY, passionately jump on a topic and relentlessly shove it down your throat. we need our information, so they tell us, but they don’t give us what really (derivative of reality) is happening. would there be war still if we are shown graphic video of people being unjustly killed? i’d say so. we blame the desensitization on movies or television, but that’s a bit convenient, and a lot like us, to toss it onto something or someone else. our mental heredity stems from these societal issues. as we sit back, less people aren’t dying, someone else isn’t accepting the blame, we are standing idly by, educating ourselves of a future that will not exist, nothing more. in interminable conclusion, going green is not the answer, nor is getting rich quick, dressing or acting a certain way, not even writing a pop song about something completely adverse to the message it tries to convey. once you get back to focusing on yourself and finding your own voice, not that of some celebrity with vibrant lips matched with even sharper, fiery, red lipstick caked on as if it had come hot out the barrel of a shotgun, you’ll realize it’s not about adapting to the way others are and their incessant chase of money, fame or any other stereotypical gimmick. what they hope to achieve are nothing more than frivolous prizes. show some respect.

// we’re oft made to wonder//

you know i don’t know why i drink. i’d say it’s the same reason as to why i would dream, yet at the same time, my time, i don’t use it as a means to. i have. but there are a number of other plausible reasons that i won’t soon admit. it’s a simple process. that of drinking, really. most everyone has a cabinet full of different types. pick your nectar and after about the fourth or ninth whatever, you’re in a different reality. one that seems very familiar, what with all your friends and family around (if not actually near you, at least in your head), yet somehow, so different. no, not like a parallel universe or some far-fetched idea similar to that, it’s just that you see the world in a renewed sense of confidence. suddenly these thoughts/ideas(/rubbish) come to life and you parlay it onto the next and so on. you stop and look/think back, the next morning usually, to the receiving end of this new you and see a stone-cold stare back, jaws dropped to the floor, eye’s fully fledged open, hangin’ on the edge of the seat, biting off fingernails…you stop and look again, not closer, just again, and you see the reason for this excitement is not because this “person”, whether it’s someone you know or created, really has any interest in what it is you said, they are merely flabbergasted by how you could come across in such garrulous ways, once again leaving you as alone with your mind as you’d begun. i hate to drink like any dog hates a mailman, but in this case the old dog is me, and the mailman, well is any one and all of you.

// no orders//

i’m a man of few words.

How Do You Feel?